Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

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Dennis Vogel
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Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#1 Post by Dennis Vogel » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:00 pm

I have decided to rebuild as much of our 1960 Super 90 engine myself as possible. I am mechanically inclined, but have no first-hand experience rebuilding an engine.

Does anyone have any cautionary experiences they'd be willing to share so that I might avoid as many rookie mistakes as possible? They could be critical but non-obvious steps that might be overlooked or require extra care. Feedback on vendors that you've had good luck with, or not, would be helpful as well.

In preparation, I've purchased an engine stand, yoke, and parts washer. I've also obtained the factory workshop manual, and a copy of The Maestro's Engine Assembly video. I'm currently researching machine shops with 356 engine experience, and powder coat painters.

I could see how some might consider this a foolhardy first engine project, but I am looking forward to gaining intimate knowledge of the engine and some satisfaction in knowing I had a hand in getting it running again.

Thanks for sharing your experience and wisdom.
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#2 Post by David Jones » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:16 pm

Dennis, find other 356 owners nearby and talk to them. Some will have first hand experience to share and some will be able to assist practically and some will know where best to go for all your needs. There a very few special tools but there are some techniques that can save you time and heartache. Ask all the questions you can and remember there are no stupid questions only stupid answers.
Post your location within California. Not your address just the city will suffice so other 356 'ers can know roughly where you are.
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#3 Post by Dan Epperly » Fri Nov 02, 2018 4:34 pm

It's all about the machine work and being able to follow stepped directions. There will be some confusion and experience will come into play, but there are so many highly experienced and generous people on this board that help is a few key strokes away.

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#4 Post by Dave Wildrick » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:35 pm

Get a copy of the Maestro’s “Secrets of the Inner Circle” and follow the steps of teardown and reassembly closely, using his tapes as a visual aid. That’s what I did on my 1965C motor in 2010.

I think assembling the lower end carefully is the trickiest part of the job. So, I copied each reassembly stage from “Secrets” on to a separate page in a loose leaf notebook, noting all parts (including hardware) and tools required for each step within the stage.

I Fedexed a lot of my engine parts from Houston, TX, to Jack Staggs in San Clemente, CA, including the case, crankshaft, rods, lifters, cylinder heads, and flywheel. Jack works with 3 or 4 machine shops for different things, and he measured my crank and had it reground to second under, as it already was at first under, and he sold me a set of new main and rod bearings. The engine case did not need an align bore, fortunately, and was good as is. The rods were shot peened, balanced end to end, etc. and were balanced together with the crankshaft and the flywheel (which did not need work). The lifters were reground, and Jack supplied a new C/SC/912 camshaft (by Webcam), and cc’d and rebuilt the heads. I also bought Victor Reinz upper and lower end seal kits from him.

I then drove my minivan from Houston to San Clemente, picked up all the parts, took them back to Houston, and reassembled the motor in my home garage. I bought an AA big bore kit (1720cc) from CIP1 (cast iron cylinders). I was able to reuse all my pushrods and pushrod tubes (all checked for leaks). A couple of rocker arms were too worn, and I replaced them with resurfaced ones from Jim Breazeale at EASY.

If I were doing this job again, I would probably try to do it the same way. Obviously, as you live in California, there are plenty of other ways you can go to get this job done, and I know folks with much more experience than me will advise you.
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Dennis Vogel
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#5 Post by Dennis Vogel » Fri Nov 02, 2018 5:58 pm

Dave Wildrick wrote:Get a copy of the Maestro’s “Secrets of the Inner Circle”

I Fedexed a lot of my engine parts from Houston, TX, to Jack Staggs in San Clemente, CA
Hi Dave. Thanks for sharing your approach and tips. I will see about locating a copy of that additional Maestro resource.

I remember reading about Jack Staggs in a Road and Track Shops We Love article not too long ago. I could make that drive in a day.
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#6 Post by Dan Epperly » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:37 pm

Dennis Vogel wrote:
Dave Wildrick wrote:Get a copy of the Maestro’s “Secrets of the Inner Circle”

I Fedexed a lot of my engine parts from Houston, TX, to Jack Staggs in San Clemente, CA
Hi Dave. Thanks for sharing your approach and tips. I will see about locating a copy of that additional Maestro resource.

I remember reading about Jack Staggs in a Road and Track Shops We Love article not too long ago. I could make that drive in a day.

My only other suggestion would be to get John Muirs "Idiots Guide...to keeping your VW Alive. It gives a really good overview of how the aircooled engine works an step by step in layman language on how to rebuild a VW engine transfers very well to doing a Early Porsche engine.

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#7 Post by Jim Clement » Fri Nov 02, 2018 7:45 pm

google up walter odenthal porsche engine rebuild..
it is a great 4 part you tube of an engine rebuild. they are great to watch even if you are not going !!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X13VNtfE90E
 

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#8 Post by John Brooks » Fri Nov 02, 2018 9:21 pm

It's not that hard, but call Jack Skaggs and see who he recomends for the head rebuild and rotating balancing. Assembly is not hard, some of the machine work and measuring takes some special stuff. But it is not hard.

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#9 Post by Richard Shilling » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:05 pm

Since nobody has mentioned it yet, I will. Most of the disassembly of a 356 engine requires a good screwdriver and a set of metric wrenches and sockets, except..... You have to have the right tools to remove the flywheel gland nut and crank pulley nut. The 36mm 3/4 drive socket goes on a slide bar, not a breaker bar with a hinge at the end. Most 36mm 6-point sockets will requite a grind on the outer edge to get them to fit down into the flywheel, and you also need a flywheel holder. Here's what I found on the web, I presume they'll work, all mine are ancient and were bought from tool salesmen.
AASE Sales, 356 flywheel lock
Amazon, Great Neck EX418, 18" 3/4" drive slide bar
Walmart, Sunex 436M 3/4 drive, 36mm 6 pt impact socket for the gland nut
Walmart, Sunex 430m 3/4 drive, 30mm 6 pt impact socket for the crank pulley
Plus a piece of pipe about 3 feet long to fit over the slide bar to give enough leverage to break loose the gland nut while your buddy stands on the opposite cylinder heads.

Good luck
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#10 Post by Greg Bryan » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:02 pm

I bought a copy of the Torque-Miester torque multiplying tool for the flywheel nut. It's a great tool and replaces the 3/4 inch socket, breaker bar, cheater pipe and flywheel lock, so the price is a wash and it is super easy to use. It can also be used on the rear axle nuts on your '60 car. And you can use it to tighten the flywheel on the crank to check your end float clearance before you install the crank in the case. Saves the possibility of an ugly surprise it you wait to check the end float until the motor is built.
Jack Staggs shop is great, but there are also good resources in the bay area. Ron LaDow has a list of shops in one of his threads that you should be able to search.

Added by edit - I looked up the thread with Ron's list of Bay area ships
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=46291&p=312485&hili ... ns#p312485
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#11 Post by David Jones » Sat Nov 03, 2018 11:15 pm

If you are pushed to get a torquemeister and you do not have a heavyweight friend to sit on the engine you can use a stout piece of angle iron bolted to the flywheel to hold it while you break the gland nut loose. Before the torquemeister that is what I did. You do not need a flywheel lock either with this technique. That was straight out of the idiots guide by John Muir.
Buy John Muir's book and have a chuckle while educating yourself on your air-cooled engine. I bought this book when I still a VW in 1970 and was indispensable for many years and a large percentage of the info carried over to my first 356 a year later. Worth every penny and it is stupidly cheap.
https://www.amazon.com/How-Keep-Your-Vo ... 1562614800
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#12 Post by Vic Skirmants » Sun Nov 04, 2018 8:50 am

I would caution AGAINST a flywheel lock that bolts to the case. I have seen cases with missing chunks at the top mount holes, as well as torn out lower mounting studs. Don't do it!
I'm sure many have used one successfully, and I don't want to hear from them; you were lucky. I do want to hear from those who damaged their engine case and are willing to admit it.
If you are only attaching/removing the pressure plate, that's fine. Just not for the proper torque on a flywheel bolt.

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#13 Post by C J Murray » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:00 am

Vic Skirmants wrote:I would caution AGAINST a flywheel lock that bolts to the case.
Use a Torque-Miester with that type of lock.
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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#14 Post by Martin Benade » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:08 am

Doesn't the torqumeister still put the same large force against the lock as a breaker bar with a pipe? I use the angle iron method because it's cheap.

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Re: Engine Rebuild - Tales of Caution and Woe

#15 Post by C J Murray » Sun Nov 04, 2018 9:13 am

Hi Martin. The Torque-Miester torques against the flywheel. The flywheel fights the force.
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