On Thursday I pulled the Bus into the backyard and popped the driver’s side valve cover off. There was oil all over that fancy, expensive silicone gasket! Well, I can’t keep going through a quart of oil every 100 miles, so I had to try something!
I grabbed one of my new, old fashioned, cork gaskets, went to El Zone Del Auto, and got a tube of Permatex. So I layered Valve Cover – Permatex – Gasket – Permatex – Head. I put it back together and have given it about 96 hours to get to know itself (the tube of Permatex says 12 hours, but I figured more might be better) before I fire it up to test it out. I’m about to go do that now; more news later.
So, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post; I guess I owe an apology to both of my readers. Turns out it’s harder to keep updating when you’re confronted with the real world where events like work and social obligations, and distractions like TV and the Internet get in the way of doing things.
I got the engine back together and running and idling on Thursday, July 2rd at around 10:00PM (the twilight was fading as I finished up). I figured the best way to test out the engine was a nice 400 mile round-trip, so on Friday the 3rd I took off towards Baroda to go to the fireworks. It ran pretty well, but it was rough going; definitely a “tinkering” kind of trip.
On the way there I stopped alongside a 2-lane country road to try and figure out why it felt like I had almost no power; I was expecting to adjust the ignition timing a little, but when I opened the engine compartment I noticed that one of the fuel injectors had come unplugged. Oops! After I reconnected that I had a lot more power, it’s amazing what using all 4 cylinders can do!
It’s still leaking oil like a sieve. The silicone gasket didn’t work as well as I’d hoped, so I had to stop every 100 miles or so and add a quart. That’s not the end of the world, but it sure gets expensive after a while!
I did make it to the fireworks, leaking oil the whole way, and a good time was had by all. Here’s some pics from the fireworks this year:
I’m not sure how, but I can only account it to some minor miracle. My Bus, which just last night outrightly refused to idle, is idling near perfectly tonight. Man, that sure makes it a lot easier to drive!
So I’ve got a couple days of update to do. Yesterday I got the head torqued down and all the accessories back on. It felt good to empty little baggies of screws and nuts and bolts and bits and bobs. Each empty zip-top bag is like a little victory; and then there’s no more baggies left.
So I started her up last night and it wasn’t quite right. I could tell that we were running on all four cylinders, but it wasn’t running steady. If I held the accelerator in one spot the engine would hum along for a few seconds then it would slowly… slow….. down……. until I moved the accelerator pedal. That’s not right! Moreover, on deceleration there was a “pohp” sound, a backfire into the intake manifold; which is also pretty bad.
I called a car buddy and talked some theory with him today, and we decided that either there was a valve problem or there was a hellish vacuum leak. The valve problem could’ve been that one of the intake valves wasn’t closing all the way, and the vacuum leak could have caused it to run lean. Either of these could cause a backfire, so I checked both.
Turns out it was a little bit of both; actually, a lot bit of vacuum leak and maybe a little bit of valve issue. Part Number “022 133 083 D” was my vacuum leak. This little T-fitting was originally made of rigid plastic by VW, and the original lasted over 30 years, but eventually formed a small crack and needed to be replaced. A few years ago a company started making after-market replacements (which is good because they’d been unavailable for a long time), so I was able to get a replacement — made out of soft, flexible rubber instead of rigid plastic — and install it. For some reason, the replacement only lasted 3 years; maybe because it’s not made of the same material as the original. Anyway, the replacement T-fitting on my Bus was nearly in shreds and I have no way to get one by tomorrow, so I decided to take a trip to my local El Zone Del Auto and see if I couldn’t make a replacement.
A few varied pieces of rubber hose and a 5/8″ plastic T-fitting later and my vacuum problem is… better. Okay, so She still won’t idle (but, has It ever?), but if I hold the throttle in one position it stays at a steady RPM now, and no more backfire! I think that’s good enough for a road test, and what better way to test it than going to the Baroda Fireworks on Friday?! 😀