Didn’t we just rebuild the engine, like, a year ago?
You shouldn’t have to do this. Somehow, we do.
The bus wasn’t starting after getting warmed up, was running poorly and the power was down. After multiple tune-ups and lots of poking around, I finally did a compression check. This is always the last thing on my list – the news is always bad.
I’ve forgotten the exact numbers, but it was something like 90-120-90-90. Not exactly a goner, but on the way. The imbalance from #2 wasn’t going to help things. Then, after running it for a while, I checked again to be sure. When hot, the compression was 60-60-90-60. And, oil on the #1 plug. I don’t completely understand it, but that’s a goner in my book.
So, I sent out some feelers for some help. I contacted the guys I met in Olinda and posted on a Brazilian VW forum. Basically something like “I’m near Natal and need space to rebuild my engine. I you can recommend a place to buy parts, that would be good too.”
Within a few days, I was in contact with Marcello – the president of the Club do Fusca in Natal – and then he put me in contact with Marcio – a local friend with a shop.
I showed up at Marcio’s place and tried my best with Portuguese. After agreeing on a space to do the work (right in the middle), I crawled under the bus and started getting dirty. I had an audience.
I dropped the engine and had it on the bench and down to the case in about 2 hours. Not a record time, but I think I impressed a few of the guys in the shop. Maybe it was just the amount I was sweating. Still, I was offered a job.
Marcio grabbed the heads and took off, while I went to a por kilo lunch with a few of the guys. After lunch, I scrubbed everything that could be scrubbed. In the back of the shop was a tank that looked like ‘the dip‘ from Roger Rabbit. They warned me not to put anything in for too long.
The heads came back in the afternoon and Marcio produced a Mahle rebuild kit. Pistons, cylinders, rings, pushrod tubes, and gasket set. All in one box.
On day 2, the engine went back in, and I did a little more poking around and taking advantage of everything the shop had to offer. All my broken bolts and stripped threads were taken care of. I finally had a puller to fix my leaky steering box (new seals were another thing in the goody bag from Mike). I even managed to weld the broken seat springs – for us, this is a quality of life improvement.
Then – the way every engine rebuild should conclude – a barbeque!