Contact: Rich Kurz   Page content last updated April 17, 2018

The Construction Diary


It's a new year and a new life!
I drilled new spark plug holes in the engine tin, trimmed off an inch so make the driver-side tin to fit the engine compartment opening after shifting the engine over when centering it, fitted the fan housing, put the tinware on, bolted on the alternator, adjusted the cooling flaps, and discovered where the thermo timing switch went.
While preparing photos for this page, I discovered I mislabeled cylinder 3 & 4, which meant I might not have the engine at TDC! Big problem for the distributor!! But how could that be? the distributor key was at 12 degrees and the #1 rocker arms were both closed when I rocked the crankshaft. Lots of reading later, and I learned a new term: "TWADDLE." That is when the rocking motion of the arms overlap with one closing and one opening. There is a brief moment when they are stationary and equal. And THAT is what I was seeing on #3! So I buttoned all the tin up and was back to where I started.
The coil posed a fit problem. Maybe the newer ones are slightly larger in diameter, but the bolt-down strap wouldn't bolt down. First the retainer bolt hole was stripped, so I tapped a new one, going from an M6 to and M8. Then I ground down the cast fins on the fan housing where the coil rested so the strap would bolt down. It worked.
Then on to the intake air distributor. I think it bolts to the engine housing using two case bolts. But I want to be sure before undoing those bolts. Then I scraped out gunk from the EGR valve and wondered if some of that was old seals. I learned that the EGR is a hard to find part. And needed to pass emissions on a 1977 engine. More research. So many little parts that I am missing.



Group 42-1, 6-7/8"x6-7/8"x9-1/2"

Things are now dragging out on the engine. Since I am going to have a good mechanic finish it up for me and check my work, I decide it is time to take it to him. He tells me there is only one engine ahead of mine. I also learn that I do not need the EGR valve. So there I leave it. I still need to adjust the brakes and fix the safety brake, make the front battery compartment, and fab the gas tanks and lines.
Oh! And I also need to clean up the heat exchangers. They are used and I have to drill out a couple of bolts. The biggest problem I see is the rusted out ends that fit around the exhaust pipes. The large gaps allow the outside cases to move around, and of course, will let most of the heat escape around the ends. I wrap 1/2" to 1" wide pieces of stainless steel wire mesh around the ends and slather muffler putty into it. The putty dries rock-hard, but we shall learn what a vibrating air-cooled engine does to the seal.
I adjust the rear brake drums and then see how much I can adjust the safety brake. Not enough to noticably work, it turns out. In addition, the adjustment nuts are on the back of the brake handle, which will be an elbow poker. That will have to change. It simply sticks up way too much. But where to run it?!?!

My first thought is to screw them into the base plate behind the brake handle, but the cable is not long enough. My second thought is to add a pulley wheel just in front of where the cables come up to the brake handle, and then have the cables screw into the base plate about midway beneath the brake handle. That should work, but sounds more complicated than is necessary. So, how to simplify?! My next idea is to run the cables straight along the underside of the handle. My neighbor thinks it will still need a pulley, but I try it without one first before going to that trouble. And SURPRISE. . . It works! But then, one of the cables pulls out of its threaded end piece. It takes two tries using a torch to heat it and the solder in the cable cavity, but finally it holds. Then all I have to do is balance the left and right rear wheels. Now it's the middle of March.
A call to the mechanic informs me that my engine is waiting for two owners to pick up their vehicles before any more can be worked on. I can be patient. Do I have a choice?
On to the battery compartment. To do that means I will have to box in the front compartment. I hope to fit a spare in there, too. Time to dig out the cardboard and start boxing it in. The nose will have two compartments: one in front of the "firewall", or passenger compartment bulkhead, will hold the battery and the steering coupler; and a larger one for the spare and a piece or two of soft luggage. I mock it up with flat panels and it looks like a decent amount of space. But then my neighbor suggests adapting the wheel well from the VW 412. If it could be made to work, it would be simpler. Or would it?!?!

The problem is fitment, and specifically fitment in the front. Will it fit in the nose profile? I plot out a cross-sectionat 27 inches in front of the front wheelbase, about where the front of the wheel well will be. It does appear to fit! But then, my neighbor, who does the welding and can't believe he is saying it, suggests to cut down the well sides to be flush with the framing members. It sounds like a lot of work to me, but is it more than fabricating a new box? And is it worth it?? Welllll. . . I won't know unless I try. So I begin giving the well the Michaelangelo treatment, i.e., cutting away everything that it not the final well shape. After a three long afternoons, half of that time measuring again and again and discovering the framing members are not exactly symmetrical left to right, I have it all trimmed down and prepped for welding, and IT FITS IN PLACE AS I PLANNED! Yup, I think I'll go with it.

Check back for more progress!

The Build--2018


1st ROW
(L) A peek inside at the valves - they both looked closed.
(C) Confirming TDC - rocker arm positions for cylinder 2 (left) and 1 (right).
At TDC, #1 rocker arms are both holding steady in the same postion and don't move when the engine is rotated.
(R) And rocker arm positions for cylinder 3 (left) and 4 (right).
When #1 is TDC, #3 rocker arms have moved in opposite directions.
But at the moment of #1 TDC, #3 rockers "overlap", or "twaddle". Yes, that is the word for it.
That means #3 rockers are in the same postion. They are and rotating the engine reveals their opposite movement.
2nd ROW
(L) Checking the angle of the distributor drive key . . .
(C) But the dizzy won't insert when the rotor aligns to the alignment mark on the distributor edge.
(R) The engine tin is where the vacuum can wants to be.

1st ROW
(L) Here's the problem with the engine tin when it shifted after the engine was centered.
The answer is to cut about one inch off the driver side, and add some to the passenger side.
(C) Side view - upper cooling tin in place and attached to the block and fan housing
(R) Front view - cooling tin
2nd ROW
(L) The rest of the top tin in place
(R) Straight-on view of the fan housing


1st ROW
(L) The engine as far as I took it - left side . . .
(C) And right side . . .
(R) Top view from rear . . .
2nd ROW
(L) And a view from the rear . . .
(C) One way to lift a 200 pound engine without a hoist.
(R) Padded for its trip to the mechanic


1st ROW
(L) A view of the interior and the safety brake
(C) Close-up of the safety brake adjustment. It's an elbow-gouger.
(R) The modified safety brake handle

2nd ROW
(L) Close-up of the new adjustment position. The pieces freely pivot.
(C) Another view looking back-to-front along the brake handle
(R) Before (right) and after (left) heat exchanger repair. Note the stainless steel wire mesh pieces.


1st ROW
(L) I began by simply boxing in the battery well and the spare tire well. I expected to employ plain flat sheet metal. And it works.
(C) First test of using the VW 412 spare well. Yes, it will fit and is strong, but it wastes space.
(R) This view shows the necessary angle to fit within the nose profile.
2nd ROW
(L) I need a cross section at the forward end to accurately check fit inside the nose.
I begin by transferring a full-sized line drawing to cardboard.
(C) To do so, I trace the line by punching holes along the contour, pencil it in, and cut it out.
(R) The contour correctly positioned - and it clears!
3rd ROW
This view better shows the clearnance. The yellow arrows point to the area of greatest concern.