The Bug is Down....Someone Call an Ambulance!

In the few blog posts I've made since I started, I haven't said much about my involvement with the air-cooled VW community. I'm Vice President of Strictly VWs Auto Club based in Salisbury, MD. I've been working on and driving old Volkswagens for over ten years. There's not much I can't do to them with the exception of welding. I don't own a welder, never learned to use one correctly. I'm sure one day I'll be on top of that, however.

Recently I built myself a brand new, bored out, ported and polished 1835cc mild racing engine for my Bug. I was in the process of seating the rings and breaking everything in when I began to notice an unusual amount of end play in the engine. For those of you who don't know what this means, I could grab the pully on the end of the crankshaft and the assembly would move in and out of the engine case more than it should have......if that makes sense. It still seemed to be running okay and I didn't see any metal flake in my oil, so I just moved along. A few weekends ago, it started leaking oil BADLY. The end play had become so bad it pushed a seal out and shortly after, the engine began to squeal where parts that shouldn't be rubbing together....well....rubbed together. I pulled the engine and removed the flywheel to find that the thrust bearing in the rear of the engine was shifting with the crankshaft. For those non-gearheads out there, that's REALLY BAD. I'm hoping that maybe the thrust surface had been shaved by a machine shop and the case wasn't stamped to show this had been done. This would mean that as long as no serious damage has been done, an oversized bearing will solve my problem. It does, however, mean that I have to tear the engine down ALL THE WAY back down to the crank. So once again I have the lifeless shell of my Bug sitting in the driveway.

My wife has a Type 3 Fastback that we got her a few years ago. It has some rust issues, but it's a driver. Recently the exhaust rusted out so bad that it backfires like mad. I've bought a new exhaust system for it, but the bolts holding the old one on are so corroded from 40 years of heat and humidity that they act like they want to snap off rather than turn off the proper way. I'd rather not deal with sheared off exhaust studs in aluminum heads. I've been putting this one off for a while. I need to take care of it.

Anyhow, wish me luck my nerdy friends. I miss both of my V-Dubs terribly and want to drive them again soon. See you next time.

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