OK, now that we had the parts in hand, it was time to really get rocking on the new engine. My goal for the day was to get the engine back into the bus. We had a tight timeline - while I got to my parents around 8:30 I had to leave no later than 2:30. Then I would zip back to Saint Cloud and help Kelly and her mom bring what was left from the garage sale to the local thrift shop.
The first thing we ran into was that the adapter we waited so long to get was missing the bolts necessary to actually mount it to the rear engine support. On the old engine block, three threaded posts came out of the engine block and would get bolted onto the rear engine support. The problem was that the adapter just included the holes for said three bolts, not the bolts themselves.
Off to Beisswenger’s Hardware. My dad has been going to this place for years; the phrase on their website explains it all: “If we don’t have it, you don’t need it!” I got a crash course in bolts…Steel, Grade 5, Grade 8, and others. We decided on grade 8 bolts, picked up the sizes we thought we’d need and went to the checkout. We picked up the requisite snacks from the “2 for $1” items near the checkout and waited in line. (My dad and I both picked out the same snack - Tootsie Rolls - imagine that!) While in the checkout line my dad and I were jovial as usual - for a while the person ringing us up kept on getting distracted with our humorous banter and charged us $770 dollars for one bolt! That just led us to more laughs.
We drove home and found out that the oil pump plate Dune Buggy Supply gave us was slightly off from what we needed to squeeze over the oil pump mounting posts. After 15-20 minutes of filing away by hand, we managed to make it fit. Another 15 minutes and we had ourselves an engine compatible with the rear engine mount. Yay!
From there we went about securing the rest of the chrome air shrouds and ran the throttle linkage through the fan housing.
Now it came time to mount the exhaust. After relaxing the intake manifold’s bolts attaching it to the engine block, we were able to squeeze the exhaust onto the exhaust headers and around the heater boxes. After a quick pry with a screwdriver and the handle of a ratchet we squeezed in the metal seals between all the parts and began bolting things down. The seal between the exhaust headers and the exhaust itself is a pinch-type seal. We had a few issues on the passenger-side of the engine (the heater box was getting in the way of the engine mount and exhaust making for a tight fit) but after a quick lunch break things went together just fine.
After re-securing the intake manifold, we finished more shrouding and tightened down the ring securing the generator to the fan and the fan housing. Just that one bolt itself took 15-20 minutes to tighten down - it is in a very confined space, making for a bunch of little tiny turns of the nut.
I assembled the spark plug wires and we went about routing them around the engine block. When we got ready to fit the distributor cap we realized we needed to move the engine to TDC so we could correctly attach the spark plug wires.
This became much more of an ordeal than we first thought. Usually, whenever my dad has worked on VW engines before he’s been very careful to avoid moving the engine from TDC. This makes for quick reassembly, but with a new engine and our love of combining the best parts of each to make a better whole we couldn’t rely on the previous setting. The Muir book came in handy again. After some noodling, we managed to get the engine reset to TDC and the distributor cap correctly positioned, which allowed us to attach the spark plug wires 4-3-2-1 in counter-clockwise order from the plug located the furthest rear of the engine.
At this point, we were very close to 2:30, so we began packing up. The engine was certainly heavy before we added on the exhaust, fan and shrouds today, but now it was even heavier. We moved it to the side of the garage and stashed the rest of our parts in the corners and recessing surrounding the garage, allowing my mom room to park.
We didn’t get the engine in, but all we’ve got left are the electrics and then we should be able to slide it back in. I can’t wait, each step we get closer to the end I can feel myself getting more and more excited and filled with anticipation.