06 January 2011

Pistons are in!

This lump of iron is finally starting to look like an engine again. Though I haven't posted for a while, I have been busy with things. Hit yet another snag after all the work I went to to install those wrist pin bushings -- the wrist pins did not fit!! I only discovered, after it was far too late, that new wrist pin bushings ship undersize and have to be reamed to fit your pins. Ugh. Thankfully, I found a really good machine shop that did it for about 1/4 the cost I expected so the damage to the wallet wasn't too bad. There was yet another delay of several days, though, which hurts the most.

Once I got my rods back from the shop, installation of the pistons went a bit easier than I expected. I purchased a cheap ring compressor from Harbor Freight, which, typical of Harbor Freight, did not work out of the box. Apparently it was designed to install the pistons in 18-wheel Mack trucks or perhaps ocean-going cargo ships, because it was way too big for my little VW pistons. However, cutting it down to 2/3 it's original size allowed it to compress my rings and the pistons were tapped into the cylinders with a chunk of wood and a rubber mallet. With any luck, I can finish the major portions of the engine block tonight and bolt the head on tomorrow. That means the engine might be ready for installation in the car on Saturday! Exciting times!! But I'm not getting my hopes up... some minor snag will probably delay things yet again. In fact, now that I think about it, I don't have a head gasket -- hopefully the local shops stock them so I don't have to wait for shipping.

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