Saturday, June 22, 2013

Installing a step stud in an aircooled VW engine block.

I decided that I would keep Ed's engine installed in him until winter. I will then pull it and do a top end. I am pretty burned out on working in the garage and I want to enjoy some of this awesome summer weather so I opted to do the quick but proper repair on the sump plate stud while the engine was in the car. If you didn't read my previous post, the stud in my sump plate fell out while I was driving on the freeway. I shut it down before any damage happened. I ended up installing a "temporary" stick into the hole on the side of the road to get me home. This is what I am starting with today.
 I jacked it up and evaluated the situation.
 I drained the oil then removed the stick and the sump plate. I let it drip out for a long time while I purchased a step stud and got some needed tools rounded up. You can see the missing stud in this picture.
 The hole only had threads way up at the top of it. It must have been working it's way loose for awhile.
Here is the step stud I picked up. It is the stock size and then goes up to 8MM. I didn't have a 8MM X 1.25 tap and the place where I got the stud didn't have one either. I ran to Lowe's thinking they would have one. They don't even sell taps. I was surprised about that. I ended up at auto zone looking for one. They only had a 40 piece set. It was made by great neck and was cheap. I figured what the heck, I was going to be tapping into magnesium which is very soft and so it should work just fine. I opened up the set when I got home and could not believe the crap they called taps. I wouldn't use them on scrap metal yet alone my bugs engine block. I called a buddy that lives pretty close and he had one so I promptly went and borrowed his set and took that crap back to auto zone. If you ever think of buying that garbage from auto zone, DON'T. It will only mess up whatever your trying to save. (OK the rant is over.)
 These 3 things are what you will need to do this. The proper size drill bit, tap and some grease.
 If you load up your drill bit with grease it will hold most of the chips that will be made while drilling the case. I used a "H" drill bit. I didn't have a metric bit but this one matched up to the size I needed. Drill straight and take your time. You can step drill it if you want to. I didn't and it turned out just fine. Be careful because the magnesium throws out lots of chips and it likes to grab your drill bit.
 Take some time to clean out any/all chips that may of gotten in the engine. I used a few Q tips.
Load up your tap with some more grease and tap the hole. Again, go slow and work the tap a little at a time. Pull out the tap often and clean off the chips that are in the grease. The magnesium is really soft so just take your time and don't force anything.
 Here you can see how many chips are embedded into the grease. The grease will help keep them all under control. Now clean, clean and then clean again. If you are doing this while the engine is in the car then it is really important to make sure there are no chips left in the engine.
 Make sure that there is no oil in the threads where the new stud will go in. I used high strength thread locker on the stud. I installed it and then let it dry for awhile before doing anything else. This is a permanent repair for this engine so I DO NOT want these studs coming out again!
 Here the stud is installed and the loctite is drying.
Clean your screen if you haven't already and then install the gasket and then the screen.
 Make sure you install the 2nd gasket after you install the screen.
 Install the sump plate with the proper washers and make sure you do not over torque them. 5 ft. lbs max.
 I think I will keep this stick that I whittled on the side of the freeway waiting for oil to be delivered. It will now become part of my emergency kit just in case this ever happens again. Who knows, maybe I can help another VW guy out if it happens to them. I will definitely be carrying at least a case of oil at all times. I just need to remember to put it back in the bug when I take it out.
 I finished it off by filling it with oil and then Ellie and I took it for a spin. It ran like a top so we are back in business.
Hopefully I can enjoy the rest of the summer driving Ed. It seems like the beginning has been full of set backs but it should be clear sailing now.

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