Friday, March 7, 2014

Installing pistons and cylinders in an air cooled bug and then some!

I spent the day thrashing on the engine again. It is coming along nicely. Here are the updates. I pulled the fuel pump and the fuel pump base off to reseal it. I always had oil leaking from there so I figured now was the time to reseal it. VW uses paper gaskets on a lot of their parts and I'm not sure why. Anyways I use gasgacinch on all the paper gaskets. Here is the lower gasket before I installed the base of the fuel pump. I forgot to get a picture of the base of the pump but it is made of some kind of phenolic/plastic and it breaks really easy. Be careful when you remove it from your engine because they swell up and a lot of them will come out in a few pieces because of that. It's not the end of the world if it breaks, just make sure you remove all the pieces from your block. They are still available to buy. I got lucky and mine removed with a little persuasion.
 Here I have installed the base, the other gasket and the push rod. If you are changing the base make sure you measure your push rod to make sure it is the right length. It's easy to do. I didn't measure mine because I reused all the old parts and mine was fine before I tore it down.
 Before you install the fuel pump, put some grease in it. I like to do it like this. Now just install it with wavy washers and the nuts and torque it down. Be careful not to over torque it or you might break the base of it.
 OK now it was time for the pistons and cylinders. Here they are all layed out on a clean section of my toolbox. It is very necessary to make sure you clean everything before you install it whether it is used parts or new parts. I sprayed down all the parts with brake cleaner before doing anything. You can also use soapy water or you can even put them in the dishwasher. If you do this just make sure you wipe them down with oil so they wont rust. I think Dixie would kill me if she came home and saw the dishwasher full of car parts. Ha Ha.
My cylinders came with the rings not installed on the pistons. I like it better that way because you will need to remove the rings and check the gap anyways. I checked the gap on the rings and they all were good so I started by installing the oil scraper. The spring part goes on first followed by the top and bottom rings that sandwich the spring. This ring can be installed by hand without using a ring spreader.
 Examine your rings closely before you install them. You need to install them correctly. If there is a small dot like this or they say the word top you will need to install those rings with the markings towards the top of the piston. If there is no markings then you should be able to install the rings either way but make sure you look at the directions supplied with your rings.
 Don't dump all your rings out on your work bench without closely looking at the box. As you can see here the instructions are printed on the flaps of the box telling you which rings go where. It could be tragic if you install them wrong.
 I used a ring spreader to install the rings. It keeps them from twisting and makes installing them very easy. You can install them without these but be very careful not to twist them as you install them. You need to spread them out to install them over the piston. Do not try to spiral them into the groove. Bad things can happen if they get tweaked.
Once all the rings are installed onto the pistons you need to make sure you get the gaps aligned right. The 2 compression rings need to have the gaps of the rings 180 degrees from each other. The oil scraper needs to have the spring gap on the top of the piston. That means you need to figure out where the piston will be on the engine and which side the top of it will be. You then install the gaps of the top and bottom of the oil scraper and place them 1 inch on each side of where the spring comes together. Don't worry if your a little off on the gaps, it will be OK. Just make sure you don't line up all the gaps. That would be bad. Now just oil up the rings really good before you install the piston.
 I used a cheap ring compressor and it sucked. I like the ones that are like pliers but this is what I had to work with. It did the job but I had to mess with it for awhile to get it to work.
 Here it is in use as I installed the last piston into the cylinder. You line it up and just tap it in with a rubber mallet. Be careful if it binds, pull it out and figure out why so you don't break a ring.
 On a VW engine you have 2 choices on how to install the pistons. You can do it like I did by installing the pistons into the cylinders just enough to compress the rings but still have enough room to install the pin. The other option is to install the pistons onto the connecting rods and then use the ring compressor and install the cylinders onto pistons. I think it's easier to do it the way I did it. Another tip is to install the spring clip into the piston on the side that has little access. That way your not trying to install it with limited access. Make sure you oil everything really good before you install them.
Here are the cylinders and pistons installed onto the block. I ran a small bead of RTV on the cylinder base before I matched them up. That is enough to seal the cylinders up. Make sure you install the pistons correctly. The arrows need to point towards the flywheel. I found 1 piston installed wrong when I tore this engine apart. I had to work fast installing the heads before the rtv dried so that is all the pictures I took.
This is how I left it tonight. The heads are on and torqued and I started installing the tins and other accessories. I need to get the intake gaskets and some other things tomorrow to finish putting it together. I think it will come together quickly and hopefully it will be running tomorrow.
I will try to get it on video the first time it fires up. That is if I can figure out how to use my phone to record a video. Ha Ha.

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