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Type 4, 1700cc engine rebuild for a bus, what to do, suggestions
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Ceckert64
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:41 pm    Post subject: Type 4, 1700cc engine rebuild for a bus, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Hello, I'm in search of some advice, I will start with what I have and some of the plans intention.

I'm looking to rebuild an engine for my 72 Westfalia campmoblie Weekender (Tin top). It has the original 3 rib transmission on it. The bus has 92,000 miles on it so I'm not sure the tranny is good. Does anyone have an idea how long they usually last? The PO had it scoped and said it looked good and he had it blasted and painted it.

I would like to do some long road trips with it so reliability is important. I would like to shoot for 125-150K miles on it. My main want and need for it is reliability and longevity. I don't need anything high performance. I want to do it right for reliably, but I want to keep cost lower and not do anything uneccesary. But I will buy the best quality parts for it.

I have two type 4 motors. One is a 1971 411 wagon motor, W case, 1700cc. It was a rusty car it came out of. It had 77,000 miles on it so its not extremely high mileage. The engine turns over easily and seems to be in good shape. It has a original replacement exhaust on it, its a left exit lestritz muffler and heater boxes but the heater boxes don't have the aluminum fins, did the early style not have them? The engine was also set up for AC. I have the complete D-jet system for it. The engine was still in the car and it was fairly well protected.

The second engine is from an EA case, 1700cc. It seems to be from a late 73 or and early 74 412 fastback. It doesn't have the rear oil dipstick machined out, it is next to the oil filler on the top. It was sitting on the cargo floor of a Bus bolted to the manual transmission. I thought it turned free, but it only does for half a turn and it wont move past that. The oil looked pretty good on it. It was also set up for AC. The clutch/ flywheel is the 210mm version. It is set up with vented heads. The exhaust stystem is rusted out on it.

Then I have some more parts. I have a 70amp alternator that came with my bus, which will be nice since I'm adding a gas heater and fridge. I have a cople 55amp alternators. I grabbed pieces from other engines in the junkyard to fix the AC cut out. I also grabbed the oil filler pieces for buses and the front mesh. I also have another 411 lestritz right exit exhaust that look NOS, maybe used once to test an engine.

I have some engine experience rebuilding. I tore my sqaure's engine down to the pistons and replaced rings. I replaced the engine studs and fixed the Fuel injection system and got it running. I've also tore another T3 engine down that sent a connecting rod through the case to see the internals. So, I get how it all works, just still learning how to rebuild it, check clearences, etc. I've read through part of Raygreenwood's Type 4 rebuild thread and clatters cheap junk engine rebuild.

So, first I have to decide what engine to rebuild. I'm thinking the 412 engine since there is some thing wrong with it, my guess is rust in the cylinder. The insides of the heads looked good on it, I don't believe it dropped a valve. Anyways, there's no way it could get new oil and filter and run again, where it looks the 411 engine could be used again with out a rebuild if I decided to do something with it. And, if the 412 engine turns out to be a total turd, I can just go to the other.

Then, I'm thinking keep it fairly stock, either 1700cc or 1800cc since this is my first build and I don't want to go too crazy with it. That said, I want to go FI route. I was thinking D-jet but I was reading that the engines run really hot with dished pistons and stock D-jet. So, I think I want to do modern EFI for better gas mileage and it would run cooler. From what I'm reading a Web cam sounds like that is the best option, but I'm not sure which one.

So any thoughts would be great, good or bad. I will post pictures up in a little bit. Thanks in advance for the help!
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Last edited by Ceckert64 on Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:11 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ceckert64
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 2:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Here are some pictures
The 411
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The 412
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both
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muffler
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

I will get some more picture soon.
Both engines and a ton of other parts were $500 at the junkyard. There are still probably 5-10 other T4 motors there.
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Wreck
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

how you tackle it depends on the budget . For touring I would look at getting a 4.57 ratio ring and pinion , either a good secondhand 091 (some risk in that ) or get your trans rebuilt with a new ratio R&P and a 0.89 four gear. (best option)

A 96mm bore on your 66mm bottom end will work but for the cost of a 2 ltr crank and rods the extra torque is worth it . you can get one of your 1700/1800 cranks off set ground to 2 litre specs ,then just get a set of new rods .

Most will recommend the basic 40mm IDF weber fitment for easy and simplicity . But if you are not scared of electrics ,modifying the fuel injection to suit a modern computer is the way to go . There are a few threads on STF on people doing that .

Exhausts make or break a good engine , log type exhausts don't work as well as a tri y or 4 into 1 . Even a basic empi thunderbird copy exhaust are a better solution. then a log in my opinion .

If the budget allows I would fit new heads from AA or AMC for reliability .
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 5:53 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

i will guide him through the electronics. he needs a mentor to start teaching him engine building basics.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

1700's love the revs, I'd avoid too much ratio messing right now personally. They are also exceptionally bulletproof in their stock configuration, don't mess with success.

My first plan of action would be get them apart and inspect and measure every part, if you need spares find out now before you go back to that wrecking yard and the other engines are suddenly all gone one day, or worse yet the whole yard is gone and there's condos there.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 27, 2020 6:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

the closer you are to a square or over square engine the better for your application. you wont be reving very high so no need for a large bore. plus you can keep stock valve sizes this way, and use the thicker cylinders. you will need the low end power.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:42 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

I rebuilt my 72 1.7L awhile back. I stuck with the stock displacement. My bus is a full Westy so probably a little more weight than yours.

Ended up with:

1.7L displacement
HAM heads
Right at 8:1 compression
Pretty tight deck (0.040 I think?)
T4S 9590 cam
Porsche swivel feet
Chromoly pushrods
Fully balanced rotating assembly
Weber 40IDFs
VintageSpeed muffler
Stock 72 heater system

It gets up and goes pretty good. I have no issues at all with low end power. Easily revs as far as I want to rev it. I usually stop by 5000rom. I usually cruise on the highway anywhere between 3600-4000RPM. On a decent amount of hills when fully loaded down with gear, I need to drop it into 3rd. I think everyone does too.

Here is my build thread if you want to look through it:

https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=695322

For the record, if you want to ensure > 100k miles you are most likely looking at a pretty expensive rebuild. I would budget > $6k if I were you.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:24 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Try to stock with a stock cam so you can runs the stock lighter weight aluminum push rods and stock spring preassure. Longer lasting valve train. And, you told me you were on a budget... it's very hard to spend little on anything not stock. Even with "mild" builds, it all adds up. Like body rubber and seal kits
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 9:51 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Those transaxles are pretty strong. I'd drain the fluid and look for chipped gears or metal shaving in the drained fluid. Refill with proper fluid and it should be good.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 10:00 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Chickensoup wrote:
Try to stick with a stock cam so you can run the stock lighter weight aluminum push rods and stock spring preassure. Longer lasting valve train. And, you told me you were on a budget... it's very hard to spend little on anything not stock. Even with "mild" builds, it all adds up. Like body rubber and seal kits

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:29 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Stock T4 cam grinds are horrific, and should not be used even in stock rebuilds. I have yet to see one that has even survived the years without the lobes wearing off.

That being said...putting a decent cam in a T4 will make a HUGE difference in power, cooler running, and if its a good cam, correctly installed, it will not decrease valve train life in the slightest. For a small mild engine, I would use a Web 73. Make sure to get the compression in the correct range for your cam. With a Web 73 I would not be running lower than 8.0:1.

Brian
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 11:46 am    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

yes. web cam makes a good product. i would not hesitate to buy a cam from the. not only is their quality and quality control very good but they also make some nice grinds. they are pricier tho.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Thanks for all the help so far!

Wreck, thanks for the help, but that sounds like it will a bit too pricey for my range and I’m trying to keeping it simple, so I probably won’t go to that extreme.

Busdaddy, thanks for the help, I think you mentioned that in my last thread and recommended that I get the T4 passenger car engine.

I will start tearing into the engines in a month or two. I have other things I have to get done first, but I would like to start getting some ideas in mind. Do you think I should tear them both down or tear one down and see if certain parts are bad and if so go into the other?

RalphWiggam, thank you so much for your thread, I’ve made it a few pages in. I have been looking for a good recommendations thread, yours never came up in research. That’s good information in your post, that helps. Is that around the cost of your engine build? If that’s what it’s going to cost to do it right, I can live with that. My issue for budget is that I don’t want to go spending money on unnecessary parts that have minimal to no benefit.

Brian, I have heard the Web 73 brought up often, that sounds like a good way to go then. I read through the cam thread in the bay window thread but it’s mostly people saying what they have in their bus and they like it, I couldn’t find a great answer out of it. So thanks for the recommendation. The original cams wore out somewhat fast too, correct?

So I think I’m going to go with 1700cc engine as everyone that has/had a bus with it has said all good things about it and for what I’m looking for, it sounds the best option.

So, the original muffler is just too restrictive causing hotter engine temps?
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 2:52 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Everything works together. You cant just slap on a part expecting good results. This is why you plan ahead as you are doing. Yes on the 1700cc. You cant have cheap, fast, and reliable all at once. Pick two. I was concerned when you told me you installed new rings in your type 3 without checking and/or setting the ring gaps. And without honing the cylinders to the specifications the brand recommends. You need to start reading lots of tech articles and lots of books and be able to determine which practices are acceptable and not. Polish a crank with emory cloth Is a big no no. I learned the hard way. Dont skimp out or your measuring tools. Borrow some if you have to. Dont forget machine work. Odds are you will need it. Start looking at reputable shops. Preferably acvw shops. Even if you have to ship the parts. Take your budget. Now double it. An engine is an engine. Not everything you read has to be specific to vw. Some "free" hp mods that will keep cost down low and give you a little more oomph, and longevity. Balance con rods, end to end. Again, you dont have to read a vw specific article. A con rod is a con rod. Unless it's a 3d printed LS rod but that's different. What you do have to know is where to remove the material. Match balancing piston assemblies. Setting up a correct and even deck height. Debering the inside of the case to help the oil flow back down into the sump easier. Of course, for what your doing, you wont have to go that far into detail, but you get the point. Porting work, the correct cam for your engine and your needs, exhaust, real efi, and a well built engine will be night and day from a stocker. Like I said, parts work together. If you change one things, look at the pros and cons, then look at what else needs to be changed or modified for optimum performance. I am no expert, and learn something new almost every day. But... I have been where your at recently. It's easy to make really dumb mistakes early on.

My 0.2
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

For a budget build you could use a cheap Scat C25 cam to save a little money , then use that money for a 96mm bore kit .

you may be able to strip, clean and inspect the bottom end of those engines and find one that you can even re use the crank /rods and bearings, just replacing the cam and cam bearings . a 1700 shouldn't need tunnel boring .
Measure the end float before you tear down the engine . Then it's just a case of re assembly .

strip the heads , clean them up and check for cracks and wear . Then if work is needed , ie guides /valves etc . get prices then compare the difference with new heads . It may not be that much . The money you possibly can save by re using the main bearings etc can then be used on heads .
Don't skimp on the heads . If you're stuck on the side of the road half way through your trip with a dropped seat or valve you will wish that you'd spent the extra cash then ! Even if it means spending time saving money now during the build .
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 3:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Wait... do either of the engines turn over? Dont tare them down yet if so. I will text you a basic operation of determining engine life/wear before you take em apart.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Chickensoup wrote:
Everything works together. You cant just slap on a part expecting good results. This is why you plan ahead as you are doing. Yes on the 1700cc. You cant have cheap, fast, and reliable all at once. Pick two. I was concerned when you told me you installed new rings in your type 3 without checking and/or setting the ring gaps. And without honing the cylinders to the specifications the brand recommends. You need to start reading lots of tech articles and lots of books and be able to determine which practices are acceptable and not. color=darkred]Yeah, that wasn't good, I realize it now but then I didn't think much of it, i had gotten the right size rings and thought it was good enough. The only reason I had replaced them was because I figured I might as well. why would I need to hone them? I used the original P/C that were on the car when it rolled off the assembly line that only had 36K miles on them?Should I invest in the how to rebuild you Volkswagen Aircooled engine book by Tom Wilson?[/color] Polish a crank with emory cloth Is a big no no. I learned the hard way. Dont skimp out or your measuring tools. Borrow some if you have to. Dont forget machine work. Odds are you will need it. Start looking at reputable shops. Preferably acvw shops. Even if you have to ship the parts. Take your budget. Now double it. An engine is an engine. Not everything you read has to be specific to vw. Some "free" hp mods that will keep cost down low and give you a little more oomph, and longevity. Balance con rods, end to end. Again, you dont have to read a vw specific article. A con rod is a con rod. Unless it's a 3d printed LS rod but that's different. What you do have to know is where to remove the material. Match balancing piston assemblies. Setting up a correct and even deck height. Debering the inside of the case to help the oil flow back down into the sump easier. Of course, for what your doing, you wont have to go that far into detail, but you get the point. Porting work, the correct cam for your engine and your needs, exhaust, real efi, and a well built engine will be night and day from a stocker. Like I said, parts work together. If you change one things, look at the pros and cons, then look at what else needs to be changed or modified for optimum performance. I am no expert, and learn something new almost every day. But... I have been where your at recently. It's easy to make really dumb mistakes early on.

My 0.2
I have been reading through some threads dealing with balancing all the parts and pieces, I do get that. It's cheap and helps engine life. I think I get deck height. The area I'm really unsure on is the heads/ valve train. I honnestly don't get all of the setting up the right rocker geometery, valves, guides, porting. Is it possible for me to do some of the work there? It seems like most Type 4 builds send out the heads. I'm definitly willing to do some upgrades on this build but I'm not looking to go crazy with some high horse power monster. What, D-jet isn't real efi? Laughing Wink Yeah, the mistakes made on the bug, I learned from, did better on the square, and then I learned things that I will put towards this build. Yeah, some mistakes are pretty bad early on. One is that not all advice is good. There's one story with my square's engine that comes to mind Rolling Eyes

Thanks for the help for sure, I'm sure i will mess up along the way, like they say, you learn from your mistakes Wink but I dont want my build to end up like one rebuilt engine I got in a parts deal that had a con rod through the case and had destroyed the whole engine because a nut wasn't torqued right. Hopefully soon we can call and talk.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 4:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

Chickensoup wrote:
Wait... do either of the engines turn over? Dont tare them down yet if so. I will text you a basic operation of determining engine life/wear before you take em apart.


The one does completly and easy. The other only half a revolution. Someone also way over-torqued the spark plugs on the partial turn engine to the point they wouldn't come lose with a breaker bar. I didn't use too much force since i was afriad of cracking the heads and figured I'd get the heads off and heat up the threads if thats a good idea.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 5:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

You have two type 4 CAR engines. If they stay true to form
...with that low of mileage....typically 411/412/914....1.7 and 1.8L engines lasr 150K miles easily when well cared for.........these two engines.....could be excellent as is.....with just a cam change and having the heads PROPERLY rebuilt.

The 411, 412 and 914 1.7L engines did NOT have the valve seat issues of the bus engines. Different load, gearing and weight.

As Busdaddy noted....they were pretty bulletproof.

One of your engines by the case # should have domed pistons and 8.2:1 compression...and made 82hp with the iniection. The other could have either domes or dished pistons. The dished making about 68hp.

Get a good webcam....check the pistons and cylinders. Get new rings if the pistons are good. Go through the oil pump. Check the main and rod bearings and replace if necessary.

If need be.....reduce compression with a cylinder shim but no lower than 8.0:1 ....or leave it alone and get a good pair of carbs.
You cajln probably get another 100k miles easily. Ray
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 28, 2020 6:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Type 4 Bus engine rebuild, what to do, suggestions Reply with quote

raygreenwood wrote:
You have two type 4 CAR engines. If they stay true to form
...with that low of mileage....typically 411/412/914....1.7 and 1.8L engines lasr 150K miles easily when well cared for.........these two engines.....could be excellent as is.....with just a cam change and having the heads PROPERLY rebuilt.

The 411, 412 and 914 1.7L engines did NOT have the valve seat issues of the bus engines. Different load, gearing and weight.

As Busdaddy noted....they were pretty bulletproof.

One of your engines by the case # should have domed pistons and 8.2:1 compression...and made 82hp with the iniection. The other could have either domes or dished pistons. The dished making about 68hp.

Get a good webcam....check the pistons and cylinders. Get new rings if the pistons are good. Go through the oil pump. Check the main and rod bearings and replace if necessary.

If need be.....reduce compression with a cylinder shim but no lower than 8.0:1 ....or leave it alone and get a good pair of carbs.
You cajln probably get another 100k miles easily. Ray

Thanks for the help, the 71 411 engine is an W code so the ~80hp so that has domed pistons assuming its original, correct. The 73-74 412 EA engine is 8.2:1 with 82hp as you said, correct? I belive they still are in their true form as their body's rusted to nothing before the engine needed rebuilding.

Since this will be going into a bus, would you recommend lowering the compression ratio? Does the domed pistons make the engine run hotter? Are there any other changes that should be made going from a 411/412 engine to bus application? Without the top engine hatch I may have to change the dipstick/ oil filler location on the 412 and open it up to accept the dip stick tube.
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1964 sunroof Beetle Restoration "Herbie"
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“Joann” 1970 Elm Green Squareback
1972 Sierra Yellow Tin Top Westfalia Camper + 1700cc Type4 engine rebuild
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