Posté le 01/04/2014 at 23:48

Workshop : Floor Upgrade!

"Small" upgrade of my workshop...
First, I managed to get myself a second garage, next to the first one. Well, not exactly next to, so I can't just remove the wall between'em, but close enough. Not a perfect situation, but better than nothing.

Next, I had an opportunity for bargain priced floor tiles (thanks a lot to my buddy Dangerous for this, and lending me his Type 2 to transport everything!), so here we go : let's tile them garages!
So, I have two garages, 17m² (183ft²) a piece, so a total of 34m² (366 ft²) ; I got myself 40m² (430ft²) worth of tiles, just to have some room to deal with cuts and broken ones.

These tiles are 50x50cm (20"x20"), solid porcelain stoneware, 9.5mm thick, anti-slip texture : 27 packs of them, 27.7kg each, so almost 750kg to move... Meh, I'll just get my spine replaced after this one. icone smiley laughicone smiley laugh
Note : for you to imagine the 30km trip with the Bay Window Type 2, packed with 750kg of tiles, in winter, under heavy rain (orange weather forecast flood alert), without any heating (so windows wide open to get rid on the condensation, so in rained an much inside as it did outside!), with a fire extinguisher at my feet "jus in case because I have a leaky fuel pipe", and the obviously vintage braking system, I suggest you watch again the classic movie "The Wages of Fear" (1953). icone smiley laugh

Why tiles in a garage?

To answer shortly : way easier to clean, a quick sweep and it's clean.

I was rather happy about my floor paint, after 3 years of use : it resisted quite well, only a couple of compounds manage to dissolve the paint if let too long in contact (mainly braking fluid and aceton).
But my floor isn't perfectly flat : the concrete slab had originally been indented with a spiked roller to make it non-slip, and even though I had used a concrete grinder to smooth the surface (see this article), it's still full of small holes that keep gather dirt. Impossible to keep it actually clean. icone smiley sad

And for those of you who think : "yeah, but if you drop a tool, your tiles gonna break!" : well, I know a tiled car body shop, they have tools falling everyday, and they even hammer form sheet metal on the floor tiles! So, no, I'm not too concerned about solidity! icone smiley laugh
And if I happened to break a tile, I have quite a few in advance, I'll just replace it with a new one...

First garage

OK, here we go!
First step : empty the whole garage to be able to tile : in itself, it's already a heavy project, fitting in one garage what usually fits in two... It's like playing a life-size Tetris.
Next, carefully preparing the floor : sweeping, vacuum, complete washing/rincing using "St. Marc" washing soda, and a coat of primer to make sure the tile adhesive sticks to the substrate. Then, tiling using "Parexlanko" tile adhesive (spread with a 9mm toothed applicator, using the double-gluing technique on the back of the tiles, important for solidity), and water-repellent sealing comound from the same brand. Nice products, I would use th same with no hesitation ; a total of almost 3 bags of 25kg of adhesive per garage were used, so it's another 150kg to transport... Plus 25kg of sealing compound for both garages...
As expected, the walls aren't straight, so I tile everything perpendicular to the garage entrance (if you ever so such a job, take your sweet time at the beginning to make sure you start square, Pythagoras is your friend here!). A world of thanks to my buddy Flo here for lending a hand!
I finish it up ith a stripe of grey paint at the bottom of the wall, to keep it clean when I sweep the floor (and cover the stains made by the sealing compound). Another solution would have been to make "skirting boards" out of the remaining tiles, but the added thickness would have been in the way when I install my shelves.

So, first garage done ; this one will be mainly used for storage, so I install there all my shelves. And since I scored on LeBonCoin (the french equivalent of Craig's List - that was a steal!) a set of really sturdy boxes that neatly fit in the shelves, I'll finally be able to sort out my mess stock!! icone smiley laugh

Second Garage

One down, one to go. Heads up, we're only half way!...
This one begins with moving the 350kg of my lathe (which almost fell on me this time, thanks Xavier for your help!). icone smiley sad
Next is exactly the same procedure as for the first garage, deep cleaning and priming the floor (primer is mandatory to install tiles on a painted floor), and finally tiling :
And two down! Done! PHEW! I had under estimated the amount for work tiling such a surface would be!

These small things that make your life easier...

In the first garage, I first install 4 two-by-threes below the glass roof I have at the back of the garage : that will be a tire rack, and that much room saved!
Build in 3 minutes with what was laying around : 2 angle brackets, 3 old roller ball bearings, a threaded rod and a handful of bolts... And here you go, a nice kitchen roll holder running on ball-bearings! icone smiley laugh
Here's something I should have done 20 years ago, I keep using it all day long!!
Now for the workbench : I paint the feet/supports to be able to clean them later, as the raw wood stains very quickly in a workshop environment (and for the looks, let's be honest!). I give it two coats of a nice vintage "Eucalyptus" green, with a light sanding between coats. Sanding is mandatory on wood, as the fibers tend to raise after the first coat.
The shade of green is shamelessly copied from inspired by Jack Olsen's garage, of which I'm very fond of... If you don't already know it, you must give it a look on, and check the build details on (be careful with this forum, it's addicting and you quickly end up spending hours there!) icone smiley wink
Workbench again, that was a paint in the ass to make : a strip fitting nicely in between the workbench top and the rock stone wall behind. No more washers or nuts rolling all the way behind the bench! Looks like nothing, but the usage comfort is so much better now! On the down side, it took me almost half a day fitting that strip, using a rasp and a Dremel... icone smiley smile
The strip is made of 10mm thick MDF, covered with the edgebanding material that came with the bench top. It's then screwed on top of a 1"x1", itself glued/screwed to the back of the bench top. Neat!
I found on LeBonCoin again (40€, a bargain!) a nice all steel tool cart... Probably originally a medical cart, with that stainless top...
A bit of elbow grease and some paint to match the workbench, and it's perfect!
There, that's it, end of this upgrade, with a sore back and knees (all my respect to the guys whose job is tiling!)... Just to compare, here is how it looked like before...
OK, enough, now that it's nice and clean, let's put some grease and rust all over it! icone smiley laugh
Back to cruising speed and altitude at the workshop... Over'n'out!
Posté dans : Workshop
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Posté le 30/01/2014 at 09:03

Kitty Injection : Moteur 2 : 1776!

As I explained in my previous article, after my signature "distributor gears salad", I'm moving to plan B : I'm taking the spare engine case from the shelf it's been sitting on for years, make some thorough measurements and... it's like new, with perfect, stock-size bearing saddles!
  • Bearing saddle 1 : 64.98 / 65.00 / 64.99 / 65.00
  • Bearing saddle 2 : 64.98 / 64.99 / 64.99
  • Bearing saddle 3 : 64.99 / 64.98 / 64.98
  • Bearing saddle 4 : 50.01 / 50.00 / 50.00 / 49.99
Finally some good news! I have an engine case! Woohoo!

While I'm at it I measure the crank that's inside this case ; out-of-round is OK with 0.01mm, but the rod and main journals have been ground to 2nd undersize. Serviceable, but well, not ideal.

So...What now?

I take a deep breath and give it a good thinking... Since I'mm rebuilding a complete engine, why remain with a stock 1600? icone smiley laugh
So, after a lot of reflection about the cost / reliability / performances ratio of my future engine, I decide to go for a 1776cc : stock 69mm crank stroke, and larger 90.5mm bore pistons/cylinders.
My objective is to build an engine capable of long drives on the highway, but still playful on the little mountain roads of my area - this will remain a "week end driver", so mileage is not my priority.
I want a strong, durable, optimized engine, with a wide range of usability, while keeping the Mex injection manifold for now, but keeping an upgrade as an option for later...

So, I roll up my sleeves, and here we go! icone smiley wink

Case :

I make some modifications to the engine case, inspired by the "Bob Hoover's Sermons", what he used to call the "HVX modifications" (read about it on his blog here, and there). A good reading (in french, sorry!) as well if you want to give it a shot, this post and this post by Vince/PanelVan, who demonstrates this procedure very well.

The idea behind this modification, is that the right side of the case is supplied with oil only through the grooves around the central camshaft bearing (see schema below). That's far from ideal, since the lifters/rockers/valves on the right side (cylinders #1 & #2) are less lubricated/cooled than on the left hand side of the case (cylinders #3 & #4).

The solution recommended by Bob Hoover was to extend the lifters oil gallery (bottom right on the schema), and feed it through a hole drilled below the gear-side camshaft bearing.
OK, here's a schema of the modification, that'll be easier to explain! icone smiley laugh
In practice, to make this modification, we first remove the oil gallery plug (green arrow on the schema) ; there's a method involving drilling and pulling with a screw, but we found out it was actually way easier just to push the plug in, with a punch and a hammer, until it drops into lifter bore! icone smiley laugh

Next is the extension of the lifters oil gallery, to bring it up to 225mm long. I've used for that a foot-long, Ø6mm drill bit, and used a small hand-held electric drill. The trick is to go in slowly with relatively high RPM (to avoid breaking the bit in the case), using some lubricant to avoid vibrations (WD40 will do), and back off often to get the shavings out. A piece of tape on the drill bit helps spotting when to stop.
For the hole under the camshaft bearing, I used a Ø7mm on a press drill.

It's actually quite an easy process ; I was a bit nervous the first time, but I drilled 4 cases in a row that day, I was pretty confident in the end!
Beware : make sure there's enough material on your case before drilling anything, not all cases are identical, and on some of them your gallery extension would end up outside of the case... Which would surely end up in the trash bin for that.

Simultaneously the oil grooves on both the camshaft bearings (red arrows on the schema) are widen with a Dremel to increase the oil flow.
As next, I drill a hole below the alternator stand to enhance the air flow inside the case, thus avoiding pressure build-up by using the volume on the cam-gears side.
The first hole is drilled with a Ø9mm bit, and then widen it with a pneumatic die grinder and carbide bits. My brand new bits eat through magnesium like if it was butter!

Here again, I was a bit nervous at the beginning, but the handling of the die grinder comes with practice... Three cases in a row that day! icone smiley laugh
Security Hazard : all these modifications produce quite a lot of magnesium shavings and dust, which are highly flammable. Magnesium burns at very high temperatures, and its combustion is almost impossible to stop... So make sure you safely and often get rid of these shavings/dust!

Next step, the case is shipped for some machining, but not alone : since we are a small group of friends building engines at the same time, we're pooling the shipping costs, and it's a complete pallet that leaves the workshop!
My case will be bored to accommodate the bigger 90.5mm cylinders, get a full flow outlet (to install a proper oil filter), a shuffle pin of the central main bearing (to increase the rigidity of the block), new 8mm inserts installed, and finally a complete chemical cleaning, just to start on a clean base.

And after a couple of weeks of patience, here's the result! icone smiley laugh
There, it look better already!

Camshaft / Lifters :

The camshaft is a L&G V280 lobe 108°, to keep a street-oriented yet playful behavior to this engine... a compromise, we'll see in practice if it was the right choice!
It's running thanks to a couple of straight-cut cam gears, to limit the axial efforts on the camshaft, and gather a bit of power too... The gears are steel and aluminum to limit their nose : steel on the crank, aluminum on the camshaft.
The lifters are Tool Steel ones, mainly for me not to have to worry about the camshaft break in (the unknowns of injections when you're a newbie, you know...).
They're lighter than the stock ones : 57g each instead of 87g, nice! That's will help grabbing HPs at high revs!
At a hefty 350€ the set, these are quite expensive lifters, but at least I won't have to worry about'em.

Finally, the camshaft will run on a set of dual thrust bearing, to make sure it's axially guided on 360°...
To be continued... Soon! icone smiley wink
Posté dans : 1968 Karmann Ghia
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Posté le 01/01/2014 at 19:15

Happy New Year 2014

Posté dans : News
Affiché 129933 fois.
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Posté le 30/11/2013 at 15:47

Kitty Injection : Engine

Engine tin :

Since the engine is outside of the car, I decided to give it a fresh look as well.
I started by sandblasting all the engine tin (why the hell did I wait so long to build myself a sandblasting cabinet?!), then brought everything to the auto body shop a for a shiny coat of black paint :
There you go! That will look waaaaay better now!

Cylinders heads :

I was a bit concerned by one spark plug threads (cylinder #3), so I took off the head to have a closer look... In the end it only needed a tap to get it straight.
It was the opportunity for me to take the head (35.5/32 DP) apart, to give a thorough cleaning to the channels and valves, and check everything... And I did the same with the other head as well for good measure.
Everything's fine, no cracks, no bad threads... A good cleaning and it'll go back on the engine.

Exhaust :

It was the right time as well to get rid of the hideous exhaust that was on Kitty since I bought it, and replace it with a 38mm CSP Python, along with its specific heat boxes. That's quite a pricy baby there, but a really nicely made one. And with its merged design, I should get a nice lambda reading. Well, hopefully!
It's a bit overkill on my little 1600cc, but at least Ill be prepared if I ever decided to go bigger! (spoilers alert!)
I take this opportunity to give a tip of my hat to the Customers Service of CSP : I did not receive the correct muffler for my Ghia, so they exchanged it for me (twice!), never asking me for a single dime, sending me directly a shipping company to retrieve the incorrect one, all of the above just sending them an email.
That's quite a common customer experience in the US, but here in Europe it's usually not that smooth. Great job guys, some shops down here in France should learn from you! icone smiley laugh

Putting it back together and... my Major Screw Up :

I put back the engine in the car for a first start with the Megasquirt and its wasted spark ignition (distributorless), but without the injection, still with the carburetors, just to validate the setup.
A funnel hooked to the ceiling and some rubber hose will provide the fuel to the system...
And here it comes, my Major Screw Up.
The Class 1 mistake.
Like, 8 on the Richter Scale of Blunders.
I forgot to remove the distributor drive shaft..

So upon start-up, it went up a little bit, till it went out of its bottom housing, so it tilted a bit, seized up into the case and machined the drive pinion on the crankshaft, sending bronze shavings all over the case...
The engine has probably not run more than 8 seconds, but it's too late, back to square one, I have to take it out again, open the carter and clean everything! icone smiley sad
I'll remember this one for a long time... Excuse my french, but F*CK!
Round of applause for the 2013 Screw Up of the Year! And simultaneously, stretching my knees articulations to give myself a couple of kicks in the butt.
Argh, I can't believe I was just moment away from being able to drive it! Grrrrr!!!
Still, the good new is, it started perfectly, so at least my ignition setup is validated! (come on, let me have this good news!)icone smiley laugh

Ok, so, i just have to open it, clean everything, throw in a set of main bearings just to be sure, an close it back, right? Ts'gonna be easy, ain't it? Imma right? Uh?

But nothing's ever that simple... That would be too simple. icone smiley laugh

Opening the engine :

I can't avoid the usual set of nasty surprises : just by removing the flywheel I find a nice oil leak at the crank seal...
Next, on the crankshaft itself I find heavy bluing marks, which I really not like. Upon inquiry, it might just be the result of the machining process of the journals, but still, I'm not too keen on putting it back like that... Anyway, moving on.
The lifters are totally worn out... Great... icone smiley sad
Needless to say, the camshaft looks the same.
Now that's a good start, right?...
Next, I take out my metrology set to see where we're at... A couple of micrometers, a bore gauge, calipers, a small surface plate, V blocks, magnetic stands, telescopic feeler gauges, Plastigauge, depth gauge, gauge blocks set, I got myself reasonably equipped over time, which gives me some autonomy when it comes to controlling my parts.
These are quite pricey toys, but keeping an eye on eBay and the adds on specialized forums helps finding bargains!
The crankshaft is fist on the line...
Bam, it keeps getting better : the out-of-round is 0.07mm! Volkswagen gave a factory tolerance of 0.02mm max, it's already way off! icone smiley sad
Next, I measure its main journals : they're OK, still in standard size (a bit too much out-of-round on #3, I'll have to double check to make sure).
  • Main journal 1 : 54.988 / 54.985 / 54.988
  • Main journal 2 : 54.980 / 54.980 / 54.980
  • Main journal 3 : 54.988 / 54.985 / 54.983
  • Main journal 4 : 39.994 / 39.993 / 39.993
Well... Let's say that it's salvageable through grinding... Meh, I'm not to happy with that solution.

Next comes the time to check the case... I fetch the bore gauge, and then, you get a laugh :
  • Palier 1 : 66.02 / 66.03 / 66.04
  • Palier 2 : 65.51 / 65.51 / 65.49
  • Palier 3 : 65.49 / 65.49 / 65.50
  • Palier 4 : 50.57 / 50.58 / 50.57
Yup. The main bearing #1, on the flywheel side, is in its last machined dimension : -1mm (confirmed with the markings on the bearing itself : "KolbenSchmidt EXT 1mm, INT STD"), while the other are machined at -0.5mm!
What the Hell?? Someone felt asleep on the mill at VW South Africa??

All things considered at this point, I reckon it's finally a good thing that I opened my engine... OK, it used to work great, but it might very well not have done so for much longer. icone smiley sad
So, plan B it is.

Years ago I bought an AS41 case/crank set from my friend Dangerous, as I had the project to build myself a bigger engine...

It might very be time to do so, don't you think?! icone smiley laugh
Posté dans : 1968 Karmann Ghia
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Posté le 23/11/2013 at 18:24

Tribute to Krapo Bleu

Precisely 25 years ago today, on November 23rd 1988, was put into circulation my daily driver, aka "Krapo Bleu"! (that would translate as "Blue Toad")
I thought it was the perfect time for a small tribute, to celebrate its quarter-of-a-century, including 16 years (and 120.000km) at my service : I bought that car in august 1997 for a whopping 23.000 Francs (around 3500 €)!

My "old friend" as I call her, is a Golf (it might be a "Rabbit" in your country) Mk.2, a limited edition created in 1988 to celebrate the production of the 10 millionth Golf, and named for the occasion "10 Millionen" (but renamed "Champ" for the French market, go figure)...
It featured specific rims, paint color, blue tainted windows and upholstery, that's quite a rare model! I recently managed to get my hands on the original brochure available at the time in the german concessions (collector!) :
The Golf went a long way since then, as the 30 millionth was produced last June!
I really did everything this one, and I transported just about anything with it!
It occasionally suffered a bit (I drove with low oil and/or water levels, without the water tank cap on, overloaded to the point the tires rubed in the fenders...), it made *me* suffer as well (interior radiator exploding and sending boiling water on my feet, clogged rain water drain holes getting a good 8 inches of water in the car, etc...), it sometimes got bumped into (along the years I had to fix 2 fenders, 2 doors, a bumper...), and it had to deal with the weather for 16 years (never slept into a garage), but in the end it has always been faithful and was always there for me! (well, almost always!) icone smiley laugh
I made some modifications to her, lowered it by 40mm with Apex springs, and installed Bilstein B4 shock absorbers (I rode adjustable Red Koni Sports for a long while, they're efficient but way too hard).
The original, model-specific 14" wheels were badly corroded, so I replaced them with a set of 15" ATS Cup (found brand new on eBay Germany, with their original VW/TÜV certification papers!), mounted on Yokohama Parada 195/50/15 (great tires, and affordable with that! I highly recommend them!). It has quite a impressive road handling capabilities!
I can't imagine parting ways with that old thing anytime soon... You get pretty attached to these buggers! icone smiley laugh
But well, it's getting old, I'll need to plan for a coat of paint one day or another... And if one of you had a spare 1.8l engine (carb 90hp) with not too many kilometers on it, I'm interested! icone smiley wink

Happy Birthday Blue Toad!
Posté dans : 1988 Golf MkII
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