I’m sick and fucking tired of the oil leaks. I got it, after changing gasket after gasket, to a slow seep that makes things smell like hot oil and puts a very fine mist on the rear of the bus. As the beetle is currently out of commission for registration (failed emissions), and I have to drive the bus constantly, this is unacceptable. So, I bought some things to fix it:
Some bolt-on valve covers:
that use these style of gasket:
There are generally cheaper EMPI brand bolt on valve covers, but both TheSamba and Porche 914 412 forums (both use the type IV VW engine) state that the EMPI ones are hit or miss, and the CB Performance ones are the way to go. Much more forgiving on gasket mating as well as being thicker and supposedly reducing the “tinny” tap-dance sound of the pushrod tappets.
Now, CB Performance has these covers on sale for $75, which is a steal, as even the EMPI ones go for more than $100 on Amazon and similar sites. Since CB Performance, like a lot of VW parts supply warehouses, runs things kind of ‘old school,’ things like free shipping are out of the question. They charge an actual (and honest, I’ll admit) base shipping fee, and adding small parts only increases the fee by like $0.75. Since shipping on the valve covers was like $15 (still less total than an EMPI set), I threw in these two things:
An oil temperature gauge:
And the temperature sender:
These are the same parts that I put in my beetle, and I’m super happy with them. The sender goes in the oil return galley plug, so it gets fresh oil from the cooler, and I believe gives a fairly accurate reading on the oil temp that the engine is seeing, as that’s the oil that is going to the pump that will go to the valves/cams/crank. That, combined with my oil pressure gauge, gives me a fairly accurate readout of engine health without having to resort to head temp gauges (nice, but really expensive) or a tachometer (not necessary, but also kind of nice to have). And oil temperature gauges are fairly cheap; both cost less than $35 put together, and added less than a dollar to the shipping/handling charge.
I’m still working on a solution for the beetle, as I’ve discovered through old email order searching that the carburetor I put on there is a 34 PICT/3, and the one I took off was either a 28 or 30/31 PICT/3. The much larger carburetor may be the reason I’m failing emissions on Hydrocarbons, as it’s just running rich. Now, the plugs looked fine, but a large carburetor is a large carburetor, and they probably only looked fine at the time I did the pull and change (the same day I was trying to run through emissions) because I was also running 40% denatured alcohol. In my defense, I had just gotten the bug, and had no clue that a 34 was too large for the stock 1600DP engine.
AND NOW, A BEETLE INTERMISSION
Still waiting on the valve covers and carburetor stuff, but on the drive home on Halloween the beetle’s brakes finally gave up. I’ve had a slow leak from the master cylinder for forever, but I totally forgot about it during the deployment, and didn’t check the level at all during the past 4 months I’ve been driving it. The master cylinder finally ran partially empty, and I only had rear brakes for the final mile home.
Well, after playing maybe 4 hours solid of Fallout 4, I felt like a shitbag and that I needed to go outside. The beetle was just sitting there, and I have had the parts on hand for nearly a year now, so I guess it was time to crack on.
I upgraded the fluid catch reservoir on my vacuum pump. This is an old 3L suction canister from one of our ambulances. We threw all of these away in favor of disposable ones (you’d put a bag inside these then just throw the bag away). It holds an entire bleeding session’s worth of brake fluid. Why let a good plexi can go to waste? Even has a built-in gauge.
Well, haven’t driven it yet*, but the pedal feels rock-solid so far. A lot shorter travel than before, which is also good. And before you VW gurus chime in: yes, I was sure to leave a little play in the acuating rod at the upper end of the travel (drum brakes build pressure between actuations, and without free play they never fully depressurize and will eventually lock up while driving).