Two seater, targa topped bus restoration (914)

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

  1. I’ve just been re-reading Tom Wilson’s ‘How to rebuild your VW engine’ for tips on what to do next. Handy because his Type 4 specimen is from a 914. Turns out I was completely wrongly attired for taking the engine out, but I did assume the position correctly;

    Last edited: Mar 21, 2018
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  2. It's clean and dry in the fan shroud – no oil leaks from the rear seal, looking good so far.
    How far are you going to strip the engine and how well do you know Type 4 engines? I can tell you what to look for and things that need particular attention but I don’t want to tell you what you already know.
    mcswiggs likes this.
  3. condition of the heads could cause issues if any cracks , 2.0ltr 3 stud heads ain`t cheep
    mcswiggs likes this.
  4. davidoft

    davidoft Sponsor

    Mines be fine for 6 or more years
  5. That’s a really good question, particularly as I don’t think it’s run for possibly 30 years and seized. At the moment my plan of attack is;
    1) Keeping pouring diesel down the bores until there is a bit of movement on the crank.
    2) Whip off the heads and have a look at the bores and clean up any debris. Probably means taking the cylinders off too.
    3) Cross fingers and take a look at the heads for cracks, sunken valves, knackered guides.
    4) bolt it back together, stick the gearbox back on and use the starter to run a compression check, even though the engine will be cold.

    I’m hoping the bottom end is ok as it’s (only) done 70k.

    After all that I’ll know what to try to fix or whether I can put it back together and start hoping the ancillaries and ecu all work.

    To be honest it the first time I’ve got this far stripped with a Type 4 - in a way it’s a training ground for when the camper needs doing. Having a reliable, working engine that is a bit more mission critical as I usually take the camper round France with the wife in the summer.

    I’m not a mechanic, but by training I’m a mechanical engineer, however they never taught me how to fix up old VWs! So what I’d really like is to be able to post pictures and ask for thoughts on what’s ok, not ok or a marginal call. And any thoughts on the plan of attack appreciated.

    Have to admit I only just realised the 2L 914 heads were different (3 studs as you say and the plugs go in at a flatter angle.) I doubt I’d be able to find replacements.
  6. As it’s seized it’ll probably need new cylinders but save them if you can. It will need new rings even if the cylinders and pistons can be reused and the cylinders will need to be deglazed.
    At 70k miles I’d change all the bearings. And the cam is probably past its best, pull the cam followers and check they’re not concave. With the followers out you can have a look at the cam, they can wear like this.

    Camshaft worn.jpg
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  7. Flakey

    Flakey Sponsor

    I'd accept that the rings are rusted to the barrels and some kind of work will be required, heads off and then you can see what's happening, ease the barrels off rather than trying to turn them with the crank.
    mcswiggs likes this.
  8. Thanks @77 Westy and @Flakey, sound advice. I’m probably deluding myself if I think I can get away with just doing the top end. Next step: heads off, let’s see how badly rusted solid it is. May not get to it this weekend though, jobs on the van to do plus trip to Sandown for Volksworld (yay!).
    Last edited: Mar 22, 2018
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  9. You’ve taken the trouble to remove the engine and it would be sensible to do a full overhaul in my opinion. And it could be the crank that has seized - is there any oil in the sump?

    When you start to disassemble the crankcase the first bolt to remove (and the last to refit) is the oil strainer bolt. And the second one is the through bolt that goes into no. 2 cam bearing saddle – don’t forget this one. Why these two bolts will be obvious once you’ve split the case. Removal of the oil pump is easier once you’ve slackened the case bolts but it has to be removed before the crankcase can be split and if the crankcase halves don’t split reasonably easily you’ve probably missed one of the bolts, there are a couple hidden away.
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  10. Ok - you’ve convinced me I’m going to be cracking open the case. The kind of things that are worrying me are;

    *Finding a reliable but local machine shop - I’m assuming I’ll be asking them to grind the crank and find me some new bearings. And skim the flywheel while they are at it.
    *Finding a replacement cam and followers of the right hardnesses so they don’t eat each other
    *Fettling piston rings and honing the bores so they seal properly
    *Getting everything really clean - will a workshop cold dip the case clean for me?

    All new territory for me. But, once under my belt I can tackle the bus engine with a lot more confidence (it’s done 75k and never been stripped down as far as I can tell!).

    I’m really appreciating the advice btw; please stay tuned for more updates!
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  11. Never assume; strip it and measure it. The crank might not need a regrind or it might be beyond reuse. Bearings are available from several suppliers – Silverline brand are good. Skim the flywheel only if it’s necessary not just because you can – it’s forged by the way, bus flywheels are cast.
    Replacement cams and followers are available just shop around, Webcam are best (and most expensive), but be careful with the selection; the FI doesn’t like a cam with too much duration so stick to a standard profile or close to.
    Bearing in mind the engine is seized the pistons may not be reusable. Any decent engine machine shop will be able to deglaze the cylinder bores. If the cylinders are damaged you could get them bored to 96mm, pistons are readily available and you’ll have a small capacity increase to 2056cc.
    A workshop could clean the case in their parts washer but I clean them with a pressure washer, solvent and bottle brushes. Oven cleaner works but don’t leave it on for long and wash it off with lots of water. You’ll need to remove the core plugs and tap for new plugs – I think there’s a ‘how to’ on @Deefer66 engine build thread.
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2018
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  12. F4F3989F-12C4-4C6B-98BA-00213E420F73.jpeg 2B0B1159-A300-454F-98AF-F08D3D086BE5.jpeg FFE9FFFE-EE84-4B38-9348-ACB6D3352446.jpeg 4B8C1FC6-8997-487A-B005-16D208A7B009.jpeg @77 Westy - thanks, that is all great advice and I’m listening.

    After being suitably inspired after my trip to Volksworld on Sunday I came home and carried on stripping the engine. I’d given it a good blast with the washer on Saturday but it remains covered in crud in the hard to reach areas. And one bit of good news is that new plugs all went in easily without cross threading; not sure why one on the originals was mashed in, but it was.

    So, one head is off. One barrel came with it and doesn’t want to release its grasp quite yet - how brutal can you get with a soft hammer without breaking fins? Everything is pretty coked up bit on first inspection I can’t see any cracks in the usual places, and the valves aren’t sunken. Is there a better way of getting the crud off other than soft scrapping and perhaps a light Dremelling with a brush?

    Meanwhile the No 2 pot is the seized one. I’ve put a bit more diesel in it for now but not sure what to do next - heat? Bash with that hammer again?

    Haven’t had a proper look at the cam yet and obvs need to be able to turn it first. The followers look pretty good with and just visible dish to them. Will come to all that with photos later.

    I’ll be having to split the case just to clean up properly anyway. There was a good couple litres of old oil in the sump so I’m hoping the only seized thing is the No 1 cylinder I’m staring at.

    Just to show my ignorance- I take it the purpose of removing the cores is to get at the oil galleries to remove the cleaning fluids and floating crud that cleaning has introduced?
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2018
  13. @mcswiggs The head looks in good nick but you’ll need to check it for cracks once it’s clean. From what I can see of the head gasket it doesn’t appear to have leaked. The cylinder will only be stuck on the head gasket and it’ll take a bash or two on the edge of the bottom fins – you’ll know if you hit it too hard. :) Incidentally, you’ll see why the cylinder has those cut-outs on the bottom once you get the crankcase split and see where they line up, new cylinders often don’t have them but they should be there.

    Fill the combustion chambers with diesel and let them soak, that should soften the coke and make it easier to scrape off. Leave the head gaskets in place while you’re cleaning to protect the joint face.

    You can give the seized piston a bash with a soft hammer or piece of wood – hit it towards the edge rather than the middle of the crown and along the axis of the gudgeon pin.

    If the followers show even the slightest sign of being concave they should be replaced or resurfaced and the cam will probably need to be renewed.

    Yes, the oil gallery plugs are removed to clean the 70k miles of sludge that would have built up. You might want to leave the one by the fuel pump – if you drill too deep you’ll break through the sleeve for the pump pushrod.

    That socket screw below no.1 cylinder between the pushrods is the oil control valve; if you don’t have the correct key a 3/8 extension will remove it. Very late type 4 engines don’t have it and sometimes you’ll find refurbished engines have them gagged with a solid spacer instead of a spring.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
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  14. @77 Westy - thank you for your write up, excellent stuff, and I really appreciate it.

    Managed to get an hour in the shed earlier and knocked off the sticky barrel off the head without any trouble. Started cleaning up the head - as you say it’s in good nick with no sign of cracking. Still got the head gaskets so I assume it hasn’t been stripped before now. The inlet valves are pretty knarled; I’m thinking I might as well get them done with new valves and guides.

    The barrel on No 2 is still seized up - will tackle it later but keep on with the diesel in the meantime.

    Will keep you posted!
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2018
  15. @77 Westy

    I thought the 2.0 had high comp pistons ? As in dome toppped
    They look like bus ones ?
  16. I thought the 1.7 914 had domed but the 2.0l were shallow dished. But I'm not certain.:)
  17. Nor me 1.7 defo has domed but I thought 2.0 was either flat or domed .. perhaps not
  18. It doesn’t really matter anyway, as long as the CR is correct with good squish.
    I’m using flat top 96mm pistons and the problem I have is getting the CR low enough without a big deck height.
    mcswiggs likes this.
  19. E19C267C-10D0-4CBE-A593-2A9A4F130ED4.png
    It’s a GA code engine (US, not California) which has the slightly lower CR compared to European ones - in other words it’s a bus engine!
    77 Westy likes this.
  20. There are a few differences. The 914 has a much better head design, decent positioning for the spark plug and larger valves. It should have swivel foot valve adjusters and a different cam compared to the bus. There should also be a baffle in the sump that the bus doesn’t have.
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