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1986 2.1 L 2WD Vanagon GL Head Gasket Project
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I see shims under the valve springs. True? Any reason why?

Nice work on the documentation. Good pics will help a lot of people who want to take on projects like this.

I think you might have missed my point about putting on the corner nuts. The idea was to use the corners to pull the head all the way down into place. Then I put sealant on the inner four nuts, run them down just snug, and remove and add sealant to the corner ones. That's just to avoid overworking the sealant by spinning and spinning, although it probably doesn't matter.

I use anti-sneeze on spark plugs, exhaust nuts, O2 sensors. If I lived in a damp climate I might also put it on water pump nuts and other cooling system fittings, as they seem to attract corrosion the fastest where the weather is wet.

I use a touch of medium strength Loctite on rod nuts and flywheel bolts.

When you're closing up a crankcase, the yellow goo should be used under the main bearing saddle nuts that are within the water jacket, as that is filled with hot water under pressure. You didn't deal with that on this run, though. I also like the Dirko or Reinzosil that you use on the channel seal to seal the case halves; great stuff. I use it to seal the oil pump, too.

Oil pump cover nuts are supposed to be new ones with the red plastic insert that seals the threads, but Loctite thread sealant works well there instead. I use that also anywhere studs go thru into the case, like the oil pump studs, to prevent oil seeping out the threads.
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id
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Shims?

The heads and valves are as I received them from Boston Bob. Is there something I need to look for here?

I think I followed your procedure re: bolts as described. I only put the yellow goo on the corners when they were ready to go. I used them dry to get the head snugged down.

For the valve cover gasket, Muir recommends adhesive on the cover and wheel bearing grease where it touches the heads. Is this important or should it be installed dry?

I'll try to keep up with the pictures...
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You're doing a great job with the pics.

It sure looks like there are shims under the springs. Maybe Bob thinks they're needed. Are those his big valve heads? If so, the extra valve mass would be why he's doing it. Otherwise, I couldn't imagine why he would want them with the stock FI's rev limiter. Or I'm seeing things that aren't even there.

My misunderstanding about the nuts was just due to the order of the pics. It's a minor point in any case.

Yeah, it's sweet when everything's clean. The challenge is to keep it that way. That's why I enamel paint my cases when they're apart; it makes them much easier to spray clean and stay on top of the grime formation. Clean motors are easier to spot leaks on, when they develop. But these things just love to seep oil everywhere they can. I'm starting to think some of the reason is the odd crankcase ventilation systems VW uses, which is a European thing in general, I've noticed. They are basically passive, not positive like the US cars. One area where the Americans do do it better. Designing a better system is on my list of tech projects now.
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dry is the last way you would want to install VC gaskets. The cork needs to be fed to keep it supple. It doesn't soak up enough oil before it gets roasted if you put them on dry; they need some nourishment first. So the best practice on aircooleds was to smear them thoroughly with grease, and stick them to the inside of the covers. That was good because they were taken off often for valve adjustments.

With hydro lifters the VC's will be left on for a long time, so best practice for wbx's and hydro T4's is to use a non-hardening sealant to stick them to the covers, as assurance against the gasket shifting over time, and then smear the face with grease or oil. The cork soaks up some oil so it doesn't dry out and crack, but the gasket stays in place. Non-hardening sealant makes it easy to get the old ones out without the need for heavy equipment. I like Gascacinch for that, as it is rubber cement and never hardens. I would not use any silicone product, shellac like Indian Head, or Permatex Aviation Form-a-gasket in this application, as they all will make it very hard to get all the old gasket out of the cover when it's time for a periodic replacement.
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id
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2008 10:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back at the project in dribs and drabs throughout the day. Some shots of the progress and a couple of embedded questions...

Quick shot of the gasket in question. I need to make a trip to the Canadian Tire and try to find some Gascacinch
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The engine mount bolt removed. I couldn't stand the muck on and behind the engine mount.
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A shot of the bottom bar of the engine mount removed. I found myself cleaning this with a toothbrush and varsol. Have I developed some type of VW illness?
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This is the last bolt I had to undo to drop the engine mount. It's nice and shiny now Smile
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Once the engine mount and behind were clean I started to reinstall the water pump. Here's a shot with the new gasket installed:
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Here's a shot of the water pump installed. I cleaned the bolts, but I had to guess on the torque on one of the bolts because the a socket just doesn't fit in there. I think it should be fine. Notice the pitting on the face where the crossover pipe connects. Should I use the Gascacinch here as well? Or is there a better product for these gaskets in the water system?
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I installed the crossover pipe with some never seize because the bolts were a bit rusted (prior to cleaning). If I should use some product here I can disassemble it. Again it was not possible to accurately torque this connection because I have not pulled the pulley.
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Shot of the other end of the crossover pipe. Again this surface is pitted. It also had some type of sealant on it which I scraped off. Gascacinch here?
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Shot with the crossover pipe installed. Again with the never seize due to previously noticed rust.
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View of the O-ring for the dipstick tube. This leaked like crazy, but none of the O-ring sets I received had this one in it. I guess I'll try to seat the dipstick tube tighter on the re-install.
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tencentlife
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 7:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The oil pump is one of the highest-wearing items on the motor. You should put in a new one for sure.

Anti-sneeze is good to use for all those cooling system fasteners. Gascacinch works great on those junctions. I usually brush some into o-ring grooves and onto the flat surfaces they seal against, too, but that's optional.

No clamps on the crossover pipe hose junction? Or just not put on yet?

Some of the sets don't seem to include the dipstick tube o-ring. Even when you use the right one, that joint still seeps. I think a lot of the seepage is due to the non-positive case venting.

As long as you have stuff apart, there's nothing wrong with cleaning, cleaning and more cleaning. Easier to do now, and it makes it easier to work on things later if you keep it that way with a trip to the wash bay now and then.
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2008 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"What is this thing? Anode? Skid plate? "

I think that's a block heater or a pan heater. Might be worth hanging onto.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I attempted to pull the oil pump yesterday but I couldn't get it to budge. (I think that's one place the engine isn't leaking:) Any hints on how to pull it out? If I can't get it to move I am going to get some replacement sealing nuts and reassemble. I tried to get the .003 feeler gauge under the straight edge on the oil pump gears and couldn't so the paper gasket is going on.

I checked a couple of the local stores that stock gasket sealer etc. All they stock is Permatex products. I bought the "Ultra Blue" gasket maker. I'd prefer to use the "Gascacinch" 10cent refers to but can't find it.

Anyone in Canada seen this product on the shelf?
Anyone have experience using Permatex products on gaskets during a re-build? Positive or negative...
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 6:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

After a little hunting around I think I've figured out that 'Gascacinch' is spelled 'Gasgacinch'. I think I've found some stores that supply the stuff.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 7:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yup, I misspelled it.

Did I misspell misspelled?

Apparently not:
http://www.yourdictionary.com/library/misspelled.html

Gad, English is weird.

Gasgacinch is great stuff: easy to use, stays soft and flexible pretty much forever, and it cleans up easily even after long use by just rubbing it off with a little solvent. The bottle doesn't lie: it's an excellent belt dressing, too.

Anyway, if you have anyplace nearby that specializes in VW stuff you can probably get an oil pump puller for less than $10. Looks like this:

http://www.jcwhitney.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet...ogId=10101

In the photo the bolt part is turned the wrong way. The tee on the end of the bolt engages in the inlet and outlet holes of the pump body (after removing the gears), while the U-shaped band bridges over it against the crankcase above and below. Tighten the nut and the pump is drawn straight out.

You only actually need it if you want to reuse the pump. Especially with wbx's, whose pumps tend to be a looser fit in the case (which possibly accounts partially for why they have weak OP), you can draw the body out by gently prying under opposite corners of the pump body.

No special tools are needed to install it; just a soft mallet or wood block and hammer to drive the body in without marring the face.

I wouldn't use the cover gasket if I could avoid it. You want that gear endplay tight. Less than .003". It's the surest way to get best OP.

I strongly urge you to put in a new pump. Resist the temptation to use a high-volume one, as it won't offer any real benefit other than too-high OP when cold. I only use the CB Maxipump 1 because it's driven gear is keyed to the shaft. Other than that, I've seen no functional difference in quality or fit between various makes. Some may fit tighter in the wbx case than others, though. That would be a plus.
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PostPosted: Tue May 20, 2008 10:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The strong urging has fallen on receptive ears $0.1. Got my hands on a new oil pump this evening. Got back to work yanking out the old one. Fun times. Barely extracted it using a lot of prybar action. It's a good thing the old one is headed for the great recycling center in the sky.

Also managed to track down some Gasgacinch with the old school gal on the can. Plan on using it on the oil pump gasket that sits against the block. Then mic the oil pump to decide how to detail the oil pump cover.

On with the photos since the last photo post. I started installing the bits and pieces since yesterday was a holiday in Canada.

Shot of the oil pump cover prior to yanking.
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View of the inside of the oil pump cover prior to a good old fashioned emery cloth treatment.
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And a shot of it after sanding. I've been using the top of my table saw as the back up for sanding. Very handy.
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Oil breather re-installed
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Thread locking the exhaust manifold studs.
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Re-installing the alternator/dipstick support assembly
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Thermostat housing reassembled with new o-ring. (I wish the rebuild gasket set I purchased came with an index for all the gaskets and o-rings. I have been going on right size for the o-rings anyways.)
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Close-up of the block attachment for the thermostat housing. Anti-seize on the threads for this potentially rusty area.
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View of the hole after the old oil pump was yanked.
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View of my new oil pump. Question: What are those arrows on the gears for? Anyone? 10cent? Plan to install this baby tomorrow and put the mounts back on.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 9:23 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Id,

You will want use the blue phosphate free antifreeze when you are finished putting your engine back together. It's about $16/gallon from the dealer. You can mix it with distilled water to a 50/50 mix. From your photos it appears that the green antifreeze was originally in your engine. This was probably the cause of the head gasket failure.
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never known any reason the little arrows are on the oil pump gears. The gears are symmetrical and it doesn't matter how they engage each other.

Definitely stick with the steel pump cover. The wear on it didn't look too bad, actually, but a new oil pump is cheap and the cover is not the only place they wear. Looks like you did a good job of leveling it out. Now check the gears' endplay, in place, against a straightedge laid across the pump body. You would like the endplay in the complete installation to be less than 0.003". I notice the exploded picture in Bentley p.17.7 doesn't even show a gasket under the cover. I had never noticed that before, but I stopped putting a gasket in long ago. Hopefully you have endplay of not more than 3 thou. If so, you can put on the cover with Gasgacinch, or even use some of the head gasket black sealant instead. I really like that stuff for sealing the case halves and other places below the oil liquid level.

Coolant? With all due respect, there's no need to go out of your way for the excusive blue VW stuff or any other exotic supplies. I've had nothing but excellent results with Dexcool and non-hard water (my water source is rainwater from my cistern, which is slightly acidic; use distilled or deionised water for your mix). I have AMC heads with over 100k miles, no coolant changes, with zero pitting. I'm wondering if the AMC's are of a different alloy than VW used. It doesn't matter with me; I won't use the VW heads anyway, as they are structurally weak and any available anymore have too many miles on them anyway. But there's no reason to buy exotic antifreeze. To me, supplies like that have to be chosen for performance AND ubiquity. It does no good to use the fancy stuff if you run out of it out on the road somewhere.

Oh, I wanted to mention that I thought you might have misinterpreted your results with the Plastigage. The picture you showed indicates a clearance of between 0.0015 and 0.0020". The Plastigage gets wider the tighter the clearance; a narrower band indicates a wider clearance. You're still good with that clearance, though. Under 2 thou is where you want to be.
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Last edited by tencentlife on Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:16 am; edited 1 time in total
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pgurnee
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PostPosted: Wed May 21, 2008 10:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

what a great thread.
first, thanks for taking it on and documenting it.
second, thanks for everyone helping along the way.
wow.
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PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2008 6:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the tip on the Plastigage 10cent. The good part of photographing this is I can go back and see exactly what you mean.

Got the oil pump in last night. Tolerance on the gears was between .003 and .004. Given this I used some of the black Dirko sealant to close up the end plate. Pictures to follow.
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well the last couple of nights have been somewhat productive. Busy re-installing plumbing bits on the van. Hoping to be able to slam the engine back into the tranny this weekend...

Some shots of the work so far.

A shot of the oil pump with Dirko sealant on it prior to bolting the plate on. Tough to keep the little groove free of sealant, but I think it's okay.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


View of the water hose connections on the rear right of the engine. I've gasgacinched the gaskets in place, and just waiting for them to dry prior to installing the hoses.
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View of the water hose connection on the water pump for the crossover pipe. Gasket is "cinched" in place.
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Shot with the crossover pipe and the hose nipple reinstalled on the right side of the engine.
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Shot of the crossover connection at the water pump reconnected.
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Shot of the original water piping and oil cooler with the replacement water hose connections.
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Shot with the oil cooler gasket "cinched" in place. The PO had used some type of silicone caulking to set this gasket in place. Hopefully the `cinch is sufficient. I wonder why this gasket is not included in the rebuild gasket set?
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


View at the oil cooler with the water lines installed. I've got a shopping list of hose clamps to replace as most of them were pretty rusty.
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View at the thermostat housing with the water line installed.
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 6:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As the reinstallation work progresses the collection of gaskets and o-rings in the rebuild box is dwindling. There are a couple that I am unsure what they are for. Please let me know what these babies are good for....

I think the green one here is for the dipstick connection, but what about the rest of them?
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One of these is the front seal? The one that's not recommended for use?
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The small one is the rear pulley seal and that one will be fine. Never seen one leak yet.

The large is the front flywheel seal (aka the "rear mainseal"). The ones that come with the sets are pretty inferior. Three obvious measurable aspects differ from the OEM seal: the depth of the shell front to back, the thickness of the tension spring around the seal lip inside, and the weight of the shell material.

I have 4 different ones, and took measurements: a Reinz cheapo that come in the gasket set; an Elring cheapo from their set, the same as the one in your pic; a Reinz orange Viton that sells for $10 by itself at VC; and the Sabo all-black one, $30 from GW, that they claim is the OEM VW seal.

Reinz cheapo is dark purple in color. The shell depth is 9.8mm, spring width only 1.9mm. Weight 48g.

Elring is black, grey, and red. Depth 10.1mm, spring 2mm. But this one weighs only 40g! Very thin shell material.

Reinz Viton is 11.8mm and 2.25mm, 51g.

Sabo is 12.1 and 2.5mm. You can feel in your hand how much heavier this one is: 61g!

So the more expensive ones have a deeper and meatier shell, and stronger spring to keep pressure on the seal lip. The difference in weight between the cheap Elring and cheap Reinz is remarkable. The Sabo is even much much heavier than the Reinz Viton even though dimensionally they're very close. The deeper shell means that when they are driven into the case until they bottom out, they present the seal to a wider part of the flywheel flange, which is flared, so there should also end up being a bit more lip tension. There are other slight differences in the lip design. And of course they are made of different compounds.

I think the Reinz Viton is a good value, and they work pretty well for me (VW's mainseal design has always been a weakness so getting a perfect seal can be hit or miss, anyway. I find that they often need to run-in awhile, as in they leak some for awhile and then stop). But the Sabo, although expensive, is truly bomber. That heavy shell will really resist distortion under pressure. GW claims that they only use this one, and that they bought up all the available stock. I haven't searched to see if they're available elsewhere.

Looks like you have the Elring gasket set. It's a more thorough set overall, has some o-rings that the Reinz set lacks, like the tstat housing yellow one. But it has the crummiest mainseal, if only judging by weight.

Neither set includes the oil cooler seal for reasons unknown. Maybe that was a late add-on and they've never altered their sets.

I think I can help with some of the other o-rings in the picture. The little green one is for the dipstick tube. Use plenty of sealant there as these always seep. There's nothing to hold any tension against the o-ring in place is why.

The wide aluminum crush ring is for the oil pressure relief valve plug. You really should be sure to put in a new relief valve spring. I've found most old ones are collapsed a bit, so a fresh one will do a lot to stabilise OP.

The wider copper is for the drain plug. Two of the smaller ones are for the water jacket drain bolts.

The black one at top, if it's not round in section, is for the diz body. The tiny aluminum one might fit the fuel pressure check nipple plug on the 4-way tee.

The felt goes behind a retaining ring within the flywhel center. It should be soaked in oil or grease. It helps to keep grease in the pilot needle bearing in the end of the crank.

You did well to keep Dirko out of the groove encrcling the oil pump gear cavity. That groove, you'll notice, ports to the suction side. So any oil that seeps out as far as the groove will be sucked back into the pump. That's the theory, anyway, but it seems to work, as pump leakage is not a chronic problem with the boxers.

Anyway, you're moving right along. I like lots of pictures, too, as it's like a form of note-taking for future reference, which can come in quite handy. You should definitely get a better mainseal, though. I wouldn't use either of the cheapo ones.
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PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the information as always 10cent...

Couple of questions:

1. Rear mainseal, how important is this to swap out?

2. Oil pressure relief valve plug... I don't think I've seen this beast along my travels. Where is it located? (I'm at the office and I don't have my Bentley handy)

3. Fuel pressure check nipple plug... not looking at my engine I am trying to think where this is.
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tencentlife is offline 

PostPosted: Fri May 23, 2008 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Main seal: unless it has been serviced recently, I will always replace this whenever I have access to it. The only time I won't replace a mainseal is if it's of known low mileage (like under 30k) and doesn't leak at all.

If yours meets those conditions (you can fudge on the mileage; those are my general standards, but I'm not rigid on mileage), you might stick with the seal you have if it doesn't leak. It's always taking a chance with these, because as I said, they can be erratic. I've always noticed this with the VW mainseal design, going way back to the hundreds of aircooleds I've built. Most do OK, some leak, some leak awhile and then stop. The condition of the sealing flange on the flywheel has a lot to do with the success of the seal.

If you decide to do that job, don't use the crappy seal you've got. Get one of the two quality ones I described, either the Reinz Viton from VC, or the Sabo from GW. There may be others of good quality on the market, but those are the ones I know.

Endplay, flywheel, clutch: I always check and adjust crankshaft endplay since I'll be having the flywheel off to do the mainseal. Study Bentley for this procedure.

If the clutch friction surface of the flywheel is less than perfectly smooth, having any palpable grooving at all, I will take that to my machinist and have it ground flat again. It's a good time to check out your clutch, too. Examine the spring fingers in the center of the pressure plate that they're all even, wear marks from the TOB are pretty even across all the fingers, and the friction surface is also not scored. Put the plate flat on the ground, on a piece of cardboard to protect the surface, and step with your heel on the middle fingers. If it's easy to depress them all at once, the plate is getting weak and you should invest in a clutch kit.

If the flywheel and PP friction surfaces are smooth, they can be brushed up with some sandpaper by hand to remove glaze, and cleaned thoroughly with Brakleen before reassembling the clutch.

If your PP is OK, examine the disc. There should be ample thickness to the lining (there is some minimum thickness, but I don't know it; I know just from looking at thousands of them whether it's good or not; also, how good is determined by how soon you'd like to pull the tranny to service your clutch, but right now it's easy to do). It will probably look a very dark brown, but if it's jet black and slick, it may be oil contaminated. There may be evidence of oil inside the flywheel, spraying out from the center. This says that the o-ring that seals the back of the flywheel hub to the crank is no good. There is a fresh o-ring in your gasket set.

Even a disc with good lining remaining can have a bum hub. Look at the springs around the hub. In a new disc, they will be able to rattle just slightly if you shake the disc, but if you can see visible gaps between the spring ends and their holders, like as wide as the thickness of a matchbook cover, then the springs are heat-weakened, and that disc may begin to shudder on engagement. The springs are there to dampen the torque stress when the clutch is released, especially when taking off in low gear. If they're loose and rattly, new disc.

It used to be that the discs were cheap, PP's were expensive, but now the tables are turned. For what a disc alone costs, a complete kit with new disc, PP, TOB, and pilot bearing is a great deal, about $130. They also come with a little plastic pilot tool that makes it easy to center the disc when you reassemble, even though it can be centered just as well, or better, by the eyeball micrometer if you lack the pilot. The pilot tool makes it quick.

Also, it's always good to put in a fresh TOB while you have the engine out. It's the disc and TOB that determine the service interval on a clutch, barring abuse, so you might as well push Reset on this stuff so you won't have to do a clutch job any time soon.

Now after writing all that, you'll tell me it's an automatic.

OP relief valve: It's the wide plug on the left rear underside of the block, straight below the filter mount. It, stupidly, has a flat screw slot in it. The best way to undo them, usually, is with one of those handheld impact drivers with a wide, flat screwdriver tip in it. I swear I'm going to start welding a nut to these plugs. The screwdriver thing makes them really hard to undo a lot of the time since they've been in there awhile, which guarantees this item will be ignored. But if you can bust yours open without damaging it, out will drop a long spring, followed by a little valve piston with a groove around its top. The pistons in wbx's are usually OK, with a minimum of scoring, but I find the springs are often shorter than spec. So I always put in a new spring, but not necessarily the piston, if it's not badly scored and runs smooth in its bore. Both are available as a kit from many vendors, but I haven't seen one yet that has the correct spring for the wbx. VC has the right spring and the piston as separate parts.

Fuel pressure check fitting: there is a 4-way tee in the engine bay, near the diz and FP regulator. It has 3 fuel hoses attached, and the fourth, unused nipple has a tiny hex bolt screwed into it as a plug. This is there so you can easily remove the plug and fit a pressure gauge there to make the all-important pressure tests for the FI. I think the tiny aluminum washer in your gasket kit may be for that plug. I find that the existing washers can be used again and again, so replacing it isn't a high priority.
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Hmmm, provincial much?:
Quote:
"I wouldn't go much on whats written on the samba, they love a "theory" and rarely ask any Europeans what is actually correct."
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