I'm sorry, ShamWerks may have looked like on hold for quite a while now...
Actually, I'm currently in the process of making many improvements on Kitty (that's my Ghia's nickname - don't ask), and it's taking me more time than I had planned for... And I was waiting till I had reached some major steps before posting anything about it here!
So brace yourselves for quite a series of "Kitty Upgrade" posts ; speaking of which, I'd like to thank Bazoom who made the drawing I use in this post's title ; this is kind of a preview of what my Ghia should look like when I finish it. I know, I know, I got quite a lot of work to do before I get there!
One of the long awaited modifications was installing the Fuchs wheels presented here almost... Phew, 6 years ago!
These are genuine, original, pre-Feb '71 Porsche Deep Fuchs, not repops, 5.5" in the front, 6" in the rear... Überlike! :
It took me a while, I finally got them polished. Yup, I went the easy way, bringing them to a professional to do it, I didn't have the courage/patience to spend 15 hours per wheel sanding! (Olive-from-the-Hills, if you read this : yes, I'm kinda ashamed )
So, I first took the rims to paint stripper to get rid of the many paint layers. Fun fact, he didn't manage to remove the original black layer from Porsche, even after putting the wheels four times in his paint stripping bath! That paint was pretty tough!
Then, I took the rims to Moriano to get them fully polished. He ain't cheap, but the result is just perfect, they look like they're chromed!
And to those who tell me "that's too shiny, too bling, go on and detail them", well... No. I do like'em this way, they'll remain fully polished! (well, at least until I get tired of cleaning/rubbing/polishing!)
Then I had to decide what the size of the tires would be... Not an easy task, since there's not that much room under the fenders of a Ghia.
So I first spent quite some time browsing several Aicooled VW forum (F4E, FKG, TheSamba...) to see what tires other people used on their Ghias. I compiled all these data in an Excel file, which might prove useful to anyone out there who wants to put Fuchs on his Ghia : download this file here, you'll thank me later...
I finally set my mind on Yokohama tires, 165/65 R15 in the front, and 185/65 R15 in the rear, ordered on the french website 123pneus (and delivered within 48 hours as usual, that's a good address!). Tires were installed with tire tubes inside ; that's not perfect, but you don't really have a choice with Deep Fuchs, since there's no ridge around the rim to keep a tubeless tire in place...
After a quick test, the Fuchs seem to pass just fine inside the front fenders with the 165/65 R15 tires. That's mainly thanks to the 42mm inside offset of the Deep 5.5"... The tire just slightly rubs the fender when I'm turning full left, but it should be ok. To be confirmed with dynamic driving on the road, though, but I might very well not have to change my front beam for a narrowed one!
On he other hand, the rear tires do not fit the rear fenders, but I knew that would happen.
While I was at it, I installed four red Koni adjustable shockers, trying to make the best I could to improve the road holding. Concerning the shockers, they were out of stock at all the aircooled VW dealers I contacted, but I found them available, and cheaper, directly on the Koni-Shop website, delivered within 24 hours!
Well, I've made the mistake of taking a part off to clean it... Then a second... And a third.... And well, finally, it wasn't a priority for me, but I've restored the whole thing!
I must admit, spending time of the online (french) forum usinages.com (there's a thread about my lathe there), and seeing all these beautifully restored machines, temptation was to high!
I've started by painting the stand. Degreasing using solvent F (naphtha) and Scotch-Brite scrubbing sponge to remove most of the thick coat of grease that was all over it (with some additional WD40 on sticky grease patches). Then complete washing/cleaning using "St. Marc" (french equivalent of your "Cillit Bang", I guess), rince, and a good rub with 90° alcohol to remove any remaining greasy film (the cloth has to remain white when doing this).
Finally, a coat of green, hammered finish Hammerite paint (not that easy to brush, but final visual result is really nice).
Painting the bed and the headstock : same process as for the stand, solvent F/Saint Marc/90° alcohol/Hammerite... While cleaning'em, a lot of metal chips came out of the little space between the bed and the headstock : aluminum, steel, brass, bronze, nylon, you name it ; my little lathe has been using on many different materials!
On some of the following pictures, you can see the bed standing up in quite an unstable position : that was the only way I could access the under and inside parts of it. Unfortunately it almost fell off on me, my cervical vertebras hurt for 3 days... Don't do this at home, kids.
Then I start on the feed gearbox.
There again, I originally just wanted to give it a good external clean, but... I got carried away.
I must say I had a moment of doubt when everything was disassembled on my workbench, with gears averywhere... But finally, with a bit of patience, methodology and organisation, it's not that complex.
Some of you may think I went too far with the mirror finish on the bronze bearings, but I couldn't help.
Then, dismantling the carriage assembly, down to the smallest screw... Now this is where you gotta be cautious : dozens and dozens of small parts just waiting to be lost... You must be organised : containers, reclaimed jam jars, Ziploc bags, hand-drawn schemas, pictures, anything's good to make sure you don't lose anything, and preparing for the re-assembling step later.
I won't go through the detail of cleaning each and every part here, the process was always the same : degreasing in a tay with solvent F (naphtha) and a brush, then brushing/polishing with a rotary brush mounted on my hand drill (soft blue plastic brush) to remove oxydization marks. Eventually, some scrapping when there was paint stains, and/or 600 grit sandpaper with abit of WD40 to remove deeper oxydization.
Aaaaand finally, reassembling everything with clean oil/grease, while adjusting all the necessary plays : this is the funny part.
Tailstock and spindle
There's stillthe tailstock and spindle to restore. Regarding the latest, you must be extra cautious to reassemble it just the way it was originally, since the different parts broke in together.
Originally, my lathe had a little drawer, which is quite handy to keep tools protected and within a hand's reach. Unfortunately, the drawer was lost at some point in the history of the lathe. So, here I go, building a new one out of 10mm. plywood.
A quick tip about plywood : to have a smooth finish once painted, you have to sand it before painting ; a good thing is then to humidify the wood a few minutes before sanding (use a spray or a sponge to slightly humidify the wood, don't soak it!). This will raise the grain of the wood, so you can sand it smooth. If you don't, the grain will raise with the humidity of your paint coat, and you and up with an ugly rough surface.
Since I don't have three-phase current available in my workshop, I use a variable speed drive to drive the motor (I use a Schneider Altivar 31, great product.).
The original motor (1,5 kW/2hp, dual speed) will finally be in too bad a shape to be used. I don't know what its previous owners did with it, but boy does it have suffered : the output shaft was beaten, it was impossible to mount the pulley on it without heavy vibrations. I may have been able to grind it back straight, but since the motor made a naughty noise when running, I preferred to replace the motor + pulley assembly. For 160€ for both (same power as the original motor : 1,5kW, 1500 rpm, pulley 160mm in diameter), I preferred to have my mind at peace on this point.
As per the commands panel, I had on my mind for quite a long time a nice engine-turned aluminum panel. But I wanted the engine turning pattern to be very regular, so I built myself a jig for that.
The abrasive grindstone I use is from PolirMalin, a bit expensive, but does a great job. The circles are 30mm in diameter, I've decided to shift each line by half a radius, the final aspect is much nicer. A bit more complex to do, but the result is worth it, see schema below. This is when the jig comes really handy!
403 holes precisely drilled (that took a while...) in a bit of melamine chipboard (not ideal, but does the trick).
The holes on each line are spaced by a radius distance (15mm). On each line, the holes are shifted by half a radius compared to the previous one.
Then I just need to put the buttons in : I use paint adhesive tape (two layers) to protect the aluminum while driling the holes. Additionally, you can write on it, which is hande to note down where the holes should be!
As per the electrical box, I called for some help. I didn't have all the necessary skills/knowledge to make one up to standards, plus the equipment get pricey when bought one after the other...
Fortunately, a member of the forum usinages.com proposes refurbished high-end second-hand products (thank you so much Emmanuel aka "Turbo Gros Michel S.A" for your help!), and he prepare a complete electrical box for me : relays for the motor drive, pump and light (even I don't use these last two for now), 27V transformer for the commands, 12V transformer for an electronic speed indicator that I'm gonna install later, emergency stop button with an adjustable 2.5s temporizer for the speed drive (which wouldn't appreciate being disconnected while in charge, so it waits for the motor to brake before shutting the current input)... A real electrical bow, up to standards, full options!
And finally, the result... It's such a pleasure to use this machine!
Here are a couple of "before-after" pictures!
Motor pulley :
Speed drive :
Electrical box :
Miscellaneous (paint, hardware...) :
The final total cost is way below the current price this kind lathe resales nowadays, so I guess I did good... Well, obviously, as long as I don't take into account the dozens of hours of labour I've put in it!
My only regret : the size of this lathe. A bit too small, I can't work on my VW drum brakes for example. But well, a bigger lathe wouldn't fit in my workshot anyway, would it??
That's it for today fols, I'm going back to the workshop, I got metal ships to make!
Elvira : Rebuilding the 36hp, part 2 : parts, parts, parts...
part 2 : parts, parts, parts
Step 2, bits and pieces :
The main issue when you start rebuilding a 36hp, is obviously the availability of parts...
Well, I must admit that the situation did evolve in a good way those past few years, you can finally get few parts directly from your usual dealer. But that's only reproduction, with only one reference available (i.e. you can't choose between Berg/CB/CSP/Scat/etc as you would on a type 1 engine), and I have doubts about the actual quality of these parts.
Anyway, it's been a long and bumpy road, but I finally found everything I needed to rebuilt my engine! One definitely needs to be patient with a 36hp... in the workshop as well as on the road!
What's next :
No old-speed preparation on this engine : parts prices are just way out of my league, for limited performances, and as soon as you modify anything on this block you must make other modifications to get a coherent, somehow reliable engine.
I hesitated a while about investing into a Wolfsburg West Okrasa Kit, but as long as they keep this ugly heads casting issue, I'll stick to the original heads. One day, maybe...
So, the only "perf" part will be the camshaft, the "Okrasa" camshaft from Joe Ruiz, even if I know Okrasa never produced camshafts for VW. It's actually a re-grinded shaft using the same admission diagrams as the early 356 (I've read somewhere Webcam takes care of the grinding). This will just help my engine make a better use of nowadays fuel evolution.
Then, I'll do my best to optimise the engine to make sure I don't loose any of the original 36hp :
Crankshaft, flywheel and clutch mechanism balanced.
Connecting rods and pistons weights balanced.
Cylinder heads : combustion chambers and exhaust duct polished, intake duct smoothed (probably overkill on a small 36p, but I can mabe grab a couple of free hp here and there), valve guide checked, valves lapped.
So here's the result of years (literally!) of parts hunting!
Well, actually, only part of it, I'll keep adding the rest along the way...
On the left, a used crankshaft, not NOS but double checked and within tolerances ; coming with it, a set of push rods used as well, but checked and fine. On the right, the Joe Ruiz Okrasa camshaft.
My flywheel was in a pretty bad shape, so I had to find a replacement : here it is, a bit rusty, it'll will need to be grinded. But the dowels holes are perfect. After a quick cleaning with steel wood, it looks better all of the sudden. I re-tap the clutch assembly threads : it was impossible to put in the screws because of the rust and threadlocker paste...
VW NOS connecting rods, NOS crank main bearings, NOS pistons shafts. Any real vintage enthusiast will have a boner looking at these pictures!
Yeah, this cost me a kidney, but at least I can reassemble the engine knowing that these parts are perfect... and come on, I had 2 kidneys anyway.
Pair of cylinder heads I found at the Valence 2012 swap-meet : 60€ for the pair, that was a bargain worth the 7 hours round trip driving by -14°C at 6AM! These are used, but in great shape, no crack between spark holes and valves ports, all the threads and studs are OK, they'll be just perfect once prepared. There's only one of the combustion chambers that has a naughty hit, but nothing my Dremel can't fix. It's getting tricky to find a set of 111.101.371A heads in good shape! I had found one NOS in Germany a few years back, but I never found a second NOS one, so I finally decided to sell the NOS head to get funds for the rest of the engine (contact me if interested!)...
Spring cleaning :
In order to work on a proper base, I've started with the inside-out cleaning of the carter.
Tray, brush, toothbrush, Scotch Brite pad, WD40 to begin, then liquid degreaser (the one from our local Home Depot equivalent used to be great, but the new formula is crap!), kerosene, hot water pressure washer (local car cleaning booth), and finally some brake cleaning spray to dry out the metal. All oil galleries are flushed with brake cleaning fluid, then blown with compressed air, several times to make sure they're clean.
A few bad news uncovered by the process : the carter is badly corroded on the underside. That will not affect the oil tightness, so it will remain this way. The last camshaft's bearing (which is the carter itself, there's no actual, separate camshaft bearings on 36hp engines) on the flywheel side has some corrosion spots. Nothing too serious, and the previous camshaft didn't have any marks, so I'll leave it as is.
Outside finish : I first wanted to bead blast the whole thing, but I've read numerous times this wasn't a good idea since the glass bead are then very difficult to remove from oil galleries and all the little corners inside the carter. And if these beads start wandering around in the oil circuit, it's a recipe for disaster, so I won't take the chance...
On the other hand, I've tried using a drill-mounted nylon rotating brush (blue ones from Home Depot, for soft polishing of wood), and I'm quite happy with the result! It sure ill tarnish a bit, but it's good enough to me.
Last news before I close this article... My crankshat/flywheel/clutch assembly just came back from balancing at Slide Performance. I recommend their service, great work, they've been very helpful and very nice contact on the phone. I've wok again with them in the future!
The flywheel has been resurfaced at the same time ; just compare the the previous "before" pictures, they're as different as chalk and cheese.
So! Finally I see the re-assembly time coming! Stay tuned!