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Twinkie Rebuild: Day 6

With our normal Saturday timeslot taken up with a trip to the Minnesota State Fair with Kelly’s folks, we ended up working on Twinkie this weekend on Sunday. It turned out to be the perfect day; overcast with a few sprinkles throughout the day to keep things cool.

We started off moving the engine back onto the workbench. (Wow, it was heavy!) Fixing the spark plug cables was the first thing; we shortened the cables for cylinders 1 and 2 and attached the additional boots on all four cables to protect things a bit better. (They were included but the manual didn’t explain how they went on…or if they were even needed…we only realized after we got all the wires assembled how they fit onto the wires!)

Next step was to finish putting on the final few shrouds. We installed the two pieces which surround the drive pulley, then we installed the fan belt and torqued down the drive pulley. Next step was to move the spacers on the fan pulley until we got the 1/2 inch of give on the pulley, then we torqued down the fan pulley as well. We wired the heater boxes open (since Twinkie has an electric fan which draws the hot air in from the heater boxes, instead of using the engine fan to push it through) and brought the heater box air intakes up above the rear engine shrouds to avoid any exhaust fumes from being sucked into the heater boxes (and eventually into the passenger compartment!)

Finally, it came to the point where we had to figure out the electrics. A lot of the electrical cables are connected to the body of the bus - those we will worry about later - but there are a few which run between things on the engine block. (Such as between the carburetor, generator, alternator, and coil) Luckily, we had taken pictures of things before we removed the old engine, so we popped up the pictures on one of our laptops and tracked down which wire went where.

Before we reinstalled the engine, my dad showed me how to adjust the valves, since it would be much easier to learn on the workbench instead of upside down under the bus during an oil change. .006 inch was the desired gap; we found all but cylinder 4 was set perfectly. After a few adjustments, everything was ready to go.

We positioned the engine back onto the jack, wiggled it back and forth to get the back engine support brace up and around the support’s body brackets and slide it back onto the transmission. We positioned the rubber supports on said support brackets and got ready to bolt the transmission to the engine. Then we noticed that we forgot to pull the accelerator cable free from the transmission, so we had to pull back off the engine, pull the accelerator cable out and then slide it all back together. Luckily, after we got the accelerator cable out we were able to unbend it and guide it through the fan housing for later connection to the carburetor’s throttle arm.

Next up was the “four big bolts” which hold the engine onto the transmission, which now that the accelerator cable was clear, fit together like a hand in glove. We tightened down the top driver-side bolt with the 17mm nut and then went to work on the top passenger-side. This side has a locking head, but the 15mm nut you need to tighten down is back and behind the fan housing in the engine compartment, making it very difficult to access. After a few minutes with the crescent wrench, I found just the right combination of socket and driver to clear everything back there and make comparatively quick work of the bolt.

After getting both of the top bolts fastened, we went to work on the bottom two bolts. After a glance it became apparent that we were missing two studs which should have come off the engine block, through the transmission housing, so we could use two 17mm nuts to lock things in. Looking at the old engine, we found the two studs, released them from the old engine block and got them to both just barely fit past the transmission housing and set them into the new engine block without having to undo our work on the top two bolts.

We secured the rear engine support to the body with out two remaining 17mm bolts, which completed the process of mating the engine back to Twinkie. We installed the two heater ducts which span from the heater boxes to the ductwork on the body. Then we removed the fancy transmission support (a sawed off 4×4) and lowered the jack.

Only a few more things left to go before we got to finally try to turn the engine over. We attached the accelerator cable to the throttle, connected the generator to the on-board electrical system, attached the fuel line, and plugged in all the low-voltage electrics for the gauges. The only extra wire we had left over was the cylinder temperature gauge, which we couldn’t fit onto the new engine, so we tied it up and out of the way.

The old engine had dual carburetors, so we couldn’t use the air filters from that engine. We also couldn’t use the air filter which came with the new engine, as it was designed for the Beetle body. Thinking ahead, my dad picked up an air filter for a Type 2 from eBay. We were puzzled how it would fit onto the engine, since it is quite a bit taller than the Beetle air filter, which was already much taller than would fit inside the engine compartment of Twinkie. After a bit of investigation online, we managed to find a picture which detailed how the new air filter would be connected, off to the side of the engine. The shelf which was supposed to be there had been cut off of Twinkie, presumably when the dual carburetor engine had been installed. Realizing we would at least need to buy some new hoses, we put the air cleaner to the side for now and made plans to install it the next time.

Finally, we installed the battery, fresh off the charger. Being a negative ground system, we connected the battery cable which had two wires to the positive battery terminal, then connected the grounding strap to the negative terminal. My dad roughly set the timing and we double-checked everything. I unlocked the driver door, hopped into the seat while my dad sat in the back and watched the engine as I tried the ignition. The starter engaged, I could hear the engine trying to turn over, but it never started rumbling away.

My dad went and got some starter fluid, sprayed some into the carburetor, and sure enough, the thing would purr away until it had exhausted its supply of the starter fluid.

At this point, we knew we were looking at a fuel delivery problem. We followed the troubleshooting in the Muir book - we heard the bubbles in the gas tank and siphoned some down the fuel line from the tank, but the pump wasn’t pumping. After substituting the old engine’s fuel pump, we still had the same problem. We checked that the shaft coming up from the inside of the engine was pistoning up and down, which should have driven both pumps to pump fuel. At this point we had basically eliminated everything but the chance that both pumps were bad!

It was 7:30pm, Kelly and my mom were getting hungry and impatient (we had been working on Twinkie since 10:30am) so we cleaned up. This meant we were left with two problems we had to solve before we got to checking the brakes and getting Twinkie back on the road.

  1. We need to come up with a mounting solution for the air filter, as well as purchase the necessary tubing which will hook it up to the carburetor.
  2. We need to figure out what’s wrong with the fuel pump, or get a new one!

But, overall, there was lots of progress made. It was wonderful to hear Twinkie purring back to life after so long asleep in my parents’ driveway. Hopefully we’ll overcome the two problems from today, checkout the brakes and suspension and I’ll be driving Twinkie again soon!


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on August 29, 2004 10:22 PM in Twinkie.

The previous post in this blog was An Amazing Essay.

The next post in this blog is Twinkie Rebuild: Day 6.1.

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