Two seater, targa topped bus restoration (914)

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by mcswiggs, Feb 18, 2018.

  1. Well actually it isn’t, it’s really a solid, pretty original, American Porsche 914 - but I’m hoping the good folk and Type 4 motor experts of TLB will help me get it back on the road. After 7 years of camper ownership and having got her into a condition I’m happy with, I’d been looking to sate my appetite for another project when I saw this cheeky one that Graham at FBI had imported. Egged on by an prototype owner over a curry and two bottles of wine late-ish on a Saturday night the deal was done. (Note to self about making significant investment decisions after drink has been taken).

    So - it’s a 2 litre, D jetronic (ruddy hell), USA (not California) 3894C538-F9E2-4566-951F-7B37A15B5804.jpeg B1B6D4D4-E4A5-4FB3-8B2A-E00826565874.jpeg 35C25B07-5A48-482E-9C48-3E6D2DC6ADA2.jpeg ‘74 model with a very straight and rust free body. That’s the good news. The interior is original but suffers from the pvc having turned brittle so the seats and dash are cracked. The engine is an unknown quantity; it’s all there complete with red, green and brown braided hoses, but judging by the date on the Colorado license plate it may not have turned over since 1988!

    It’s next to impossible to work on the engine in situ so the first thing is to drop it. It’s currently sat on axle stands waiting for the body to be raised enough to trolley it out, but I ran out of light and feeling in my hands last weekend - will complete the job on Saturday, and then will be able to see what I’ve got.

    The D Jetronic is very daunting - it’s all there but there’s no way of testing the ECU as far as I know except rebuilding everything, plugging it back together and hoping for the best. Any ideas on this front appreciated. Carbs are an option, but crikey Weber’s are expensive, and the PDSIT 40s are rare. In fact everything is expensive.

    So if you don’t mind me interloping on here, put the kettle on and draw up a chair. It’s going to be a long thread...
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
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  2. Dubs

    Dubs Sponsor

    Nice project! I wouldn't worry about the ECU, they rarely go wrong unless they have been left in a bucket of water.. change all the hoses and make sure there are no air leaks, service it, then fire it up.. :thumbsup:
    mcswiggs and Flakey like this.
  3. Flakey

    Flakey Sponsor

    The FI will work, I have faith
    mcswiggs likes this.
  4. that's different to our usual restoration threads, looks nice, good luck!
    mcswiggs likes this.
  5. I’d always hated the look of these until just last year. I think they had one on car SOS. Something clicked and I got it. This looks like a good one.
    nicktuft likes this.
  6. 0956069A-A038-4DE9-9F1E-03B967E9753E.jpeg 78D04285-C560-49B7-AC7D-14BE7AB32406.jpeg
    That’s very reassuring, thanks. There are an awful lot of pipes to replace!

    The only proper bit of rust I’ve found so far on the whole car (I mean bus) is the air filter box. It’s rotted all the way through at the bottom; although it won’t stop me starting her up replacements are about $300 on American ebay. I can only think it was prone to condensation because it does look like it’s been left in the bucket of water.

    The rest of the engine and underneath is covered in Colorado dust which when combined with oil and grease makes a wonderful preservative that needs a chisel to dislodge. There were a couple of ancient wasps nests tucked up behind the front bumper with one or two of its former residents entombed in various nooks and crannies (Colorado wasps look like real viscous bast@rds). Mice may have made a cozy nest on top of the cylinders too. And don’t ask about the spiders.

    It’s a weird looking thing and an acquired taste I think. I can take my time on this one’s engine which I’m hoping will train me up for when the van’s engine will need rebuilding (it’s on 75k and running fine at the moment). Being mid-engined, the engine is in the wrong way round, making something simple like adjusting the fan belt into contortionist’s nightmare.

    Wheeler Dealers did a show on one, I’ll check out Car SOS, ta.

    If anyone happens to come across any of the following spares do let me know;

    European rear light lenses and UK headlights
    Dashboard top
    2 litre/D Jetronic air filter box (probably also used on the Variant)
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2018
  7. davidoft

    davidoft Sponsor

    I may have a few spares for the 914 FI if you need them.
    Coco and mcswiggs like this.
  8. Terrordales

    Terrordales Nightshift Admin

    Now there's a surprise.
    art b, Razzyh, scrooge95 and 8 others like this.
  9. Nice project, does the eight track work?
    Coco likes this.
  10. Nice project - i've always had a soft spot for 914's. Good investment too i think.
    nicktuft and mcswiggs like this.
  11. Cracking, thanks. Let me take apart what I’ve got and find out what’s wrong and I’ll be in touch.

    Meanwhile if you’ve got this type of air filter box taking up space I’ll gladly take it off your hands;
    Thanks - it’s coming apart really easily! Eight track is another unknown quantity - haven’t dared put a battery on it yet. The fuel tank was dry but the electric fuel pump had smelly green fuel in it which I suspect is the remains of the diaphragm. Fingers crossed for at least the radio working.
    Coco and Valveandy like this.
  12. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Isn't the digi jet engine the same as the T25 DJ 2.1 112 bhp?

    Nice project btw. Look forward to seeing the update pics :thumbsup:
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    mcswiggs likes this.
  13. Nice project, cant get my head round the engine in this position!, not much room around the engine and hope it comes out easy. Keep us all posted on project with lots of pics.
    mcswiggs likes this.
  14. I was hoping you might be on to something but from what I make out all the Late Bays and Wedgies with FI have the later J Jetronic Bosch system which sadly is mostly completely different to the D version.

    Meanwhile here’s a bit of wheel arch action to be going on with;
    CB32314D-5051-421E-ABFC-D8A01EEE6CDD.jpeg B9ECB62B-E23A-4F82-A2C7-6C1D7A5033B7.jpeg 3A169FF4-03C5-4260-96EB-8653F6939E69.jpeg
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 20, 2018
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  15. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    I had a DJ engine in my last T25. I thought it was a factory fit to some, but as mine was a retro fitted jobby then maybe not.
  16. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    from a page on VWHeritage website. read the bit at the bottom

    People like the diesels because they suit the nature of the T25 and most were derived from the Golf, tilted over to fit the lower engine bay. A word of warning, though, the early 50bhp CS 1.6 is dangerously slow and many diesels will have endured a hard life as it was the obvious choice for commercial use. The 1.7-litre KY engine (57bhp) was slightly better, but parts are scarce, which makes the JX codenamed 70bhp 1.6 turbodiesel (below) the one to go for. Performance is about on par with the air-cooled petrol unit but with far better economy.


    Some owners have managed to eek out 40mpg on a run but between 30-36mpg is probably more realistic. However, cylinder heads crack and turbos can fail, so beware misfires and worryingly sluggish performance. We sell JX cylinder heads here for £549.95 while replacement turbos are £508.96.

    Water way to go?
    By the end of 1981 there was a switch from air to water-cooling for the petrol units with a 60bhp and 78bhp version being offered (below). The 60bhp DF 1.9 feels a little underpowered, making the 78bhp DG unit a much better option – although beware any with leaky exhausts as it’s a complex system and tricky to fit. Economy from these engines is likely to be in the region of 25mpg.


    Unfortunately, all ‘wasserboxers’ suffer from a design fault by virtue of the fact that the cylinder head bolts pass through a water jacket and can corrode if the anti-freeze (containing rust inhibitors) hasn’t been changed regularly. Some owners swear by the use of pink phosphorous free antifreeze (G12), but basically it’s a case of ensuring it’s been changed every two years on the dot. If the bolts go and the gasket starts leaking coolant (you might see a feint crystalised trace initially), then a full rebuild or replacement engine is the only option. Our full range of T25 water-cooled petrol engines are listed here.

    The fuel injected 2.1 from 1985-on (with 87-95bhp) is brilliant and can be made to produce a bit more poke if you (legally in the UK) remove the catalytic converter. The pick of the bunch, if you can find one, is the 2.1 carrying the DJ engine code which produces an eye-watering 112bhp and has a surprising amount of usable torque. Being fuel injected any running problems are likely to be a result of faulty sensors, so make sure it idles nicely and doesn’t cut out when warm.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018
    nicktuft likes this.
  17. Ah ha - if the last photo is of the rare DJ engine then the snail shaped thing is the air flow meter (rather than the pressure meter used on the D Jetronic) so J Jetronic or later I think. Thanks for the gen.
    Poptop2 likes this.
  18. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    The person who bought mine blew the engine in a month. They ran it 6 miles home when when it was boiling due to a faulty thermostat. They replaced it with a scooby and reckon it isn't as powerful!
  19. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    I don't think that last photo is a DJ.
  20. Good candidate for a concourse build there
    its ted and mcswiggs like this.

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