La Cueva del Volkswagen

Thanks to everyone who has emailed, commented or offered help regarding our recent engine woes. We’re waiting on the machine shop and thinking hard about improvements we can make the next time around – the list keeps growing.

Lot’s of the suggestions had to do with cooling, and I would have to say that the engine never ran hot  – even in the jungles, deserts or climbing the Andes (and we’ve been cross-crossing the Andes for almost a year.) Still, we’ll take the expected care when putting everything back together to ensure proper cooling.

The most reasonable consensus is that we’re getting dirt in the motor. The air filters aren’t that great and the extra scoops are sucking in extra dust. I have to agree with both of those. What to do about it is a little difficult, though.

I always hated the scoops – I kept them thinking that the extra cooling wouldn’t hurt. Well, the cooling didn’t hurt, but maybe the extra filth did.

At the time, I had borrowed a MIG from a friend of a neighbor (thanks, Doug!) for the weekend and had done about all the welding I could stand. There was an A/C cut into the roof, an extra gas tank on the driver’s side, all sorts of holes and things to patch up… and I’m no welder. It was a long weekend – I dug up some more photos to remind myself why I didn’t just weld over the scoop holes (last 6 pics below). Anyway, now that it’s a bit too late for that, I think I might just cut up some sheet metal and screw on some flat panels to cover them up. We’ll see how much cleaner the engine compartment and carb filters get.

I’ll also look around for some oil bath filters and might try to rig something up there as well. Can’t hurt.  But, this might have to wait for Chile or Brazil. Contrary to popular belief (mine, anyway) finding VeeDub parts in Argentina is extremely difficult. We’re now being told that there are no new bearings in town – kinda critical.

I hear it gets easier to find parts in B.A. (i.e. closer to Brazil) but in the rest of the country, they are pretty rare. Nobody imports ACVW’s because of the extremely high import duties levied to try to ‘encourage’ residents to buy new cars manufactured in the country (like Citroen & Fiat!) I hear there is a $5000 USD ‘tax’ to permanently import an outside vehicle. Likewise, the VW parts that are available are extremely expensive – so we’re getting nothing new and re-machining it all. Hopefully it will be good quality work and will last (at least until Brazil).

Until the machined parts are ready and we find bearings, all I we can do is wait. We’re checking out the parks and museums, and continuing to clean things up…

7 thoughts on “La Cueva del Volkswagen

  • September 5, 2011 at 5:30 AM

    I would also concur about the air scoops. You can temporarily seal them up for now and see what difference if any it makes. I am going to bet you will have a cleaner engine bay and engine from not force feeding the extra dirty air in there.

    Keep an extra eye out for some oil bathers along the way for sure.

    Looking at those earlier pictures of Red Beard reminded me of a post you wrote a millennium or so ago under the heading , The Vehicle ,

    “Over time, I’ll have more time to post details about the restoration and upgrades for all the VW folks out there.”

    ……not that you are short on writing material for your daily posts….but it would be interesting to see some posts about the actual restoration process. Perhaps you can visit your archives and dust off some clips from way back.

    Sanford, Manitoba
    aka VW Busman

  • September 5, 2011 at 10:29 AM

    Do not block off the air intakes to the engine compartment! The scoops actually improve cooling and horsepower as the engine does not have to pull harder to get air from the outside as from your rocket scientist days remember the air flowing past the little scoops up top actually pulls air out of the engine compartment as it rushes past-remember the hose adapter with holes to drain a pond/pool? The extended scoops (I laminated two together for my 71) stick out enough to grab and force (turbo effect) air in at no power or cooling loss. If blocked off the air will have to be drawn in under the bus! Very dirty, probably where dirt is coming in now-make sure the upper rubber seal between the front sealing piece (where the fuel and throttle and wires pass through and the engine comparment) is tight and flexible. Ditto the rear rubber piece behind the fresh air hose/muffler tin-cooling AND dirt conduits.

  • September 5, 2011 at 10:35 AM

    I have boxes and boxes of main bearings if Fed Ex can get them to you-remember after a line bore new oversize bearings are required-also a cut to face the front main thrust sides of the case due to your pounding. Then over size thrust bearings cut to fit the newly cut case thrust. Brazil is where I get all my VW bearings from now- perhaps an online link to a supply house and a quick drop ship to you there? UPS and Fed Ex seem to work OK in the rest of the world.

  • September 5, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    No worries – if we block off intakes, it will only be the lower ‘extra’ intakes with the plastic scoops (I might even fab some sort of simple adjustable louver so we can open them up on the highway and close them for off-roading – a nifty reader suggestion). The original upper intakes will stay there just as the VW engineers intended. Worst case, we will have essentially stock VW cooling.
    No worries on all the engine seals either – we bought all new ones before we left and they are still good (but getting brittle.)
    And, it seems as though the aero background isn’t getting me much mileage these days. It’s only good for attracting grief or settling bar bets when someone says “Well I’m no rocket scientist…”

  • September 5, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    I have a simple but non-elegant suggestion to block the lower intake…make a temporary filter with a nylon stocking stuffed or form-fitted with a piece of paper furnace filter or similar material. Would be easy to pull out when in the city or to change once it’s clogged…of course, there’s always the duct-tape solution.

    Have followed all your posts for the past 2 years, 2 weeks, and …..

    Tweaks many fond memories of past VW vans….never knew where I’d be stranded 😉 but “it’s not a car, it’s an adventure!” Thank you for taking us all along for the ride.

  • September 6, 2011 at 10:25 AM

    Well now I know what I’m doing with all my extra totally rusted out cylinders… flower pots! Love it! 🙂

  • September 6, 2011 at 6:05 PM

    Yeah, great pic of the flower pots & best of luck with the motor work.

    Take care & have fun!


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