Getting ready for the trip…

As I mentioned in my last post about the 2012 VWs on the Green show, I had been working quite hard for the last few months trying to get Gus ready to drive to the show. I drained the gas from the gas tank, which was a disgustingly smelly and painful job (some a lot went on my arm, and if you’ve never spilled gas on yourself, well…don’t. It burns. )

This is what the gas looked like after I drained it. Normal, fresh gas is almost clear – like water. After I drained the tank and put some fresh gas in Gus ran (and smelled) much better.

I finally had gotten the muffler attached, and put on new(er) tires and wheels that I bought a few years ago. It was time to take Gus for a spin around the neighborhood to see how he did.

As usual, Gus attracted quite a few neighborhood spectators, as he rarely makes it out of the garage. He did ok driving around the ‘hood – the brakes were a little soft, but still worked. The next test was to go out onto the “big road” – the 35 mph road around the subdivision. I’ve never taken Gus outside of the friendly confines of the 20 mph streets surrounding his home. We headed into uncharted waters (for me anyway…I know Gus has been on many a road).

And, not having really driven a VW bus on a normal road, it was a bit scary. Especially since I couldn’t seem to get him over 35 miles per hour. He did make it a few miles around on the big road, but something seemed off. He was very sluggish – I had to floor it to make it to 35 mph. Something was wrong, and there was no way I could drive only 35 mph to the VW show. So it was time for diagnostics. A compression test was in order.

Richard Atwell’s superb VW bus site has an excellent write-up on engine diagnosis here. Basically a compression test tells you how much compression the engine has – generally, the higher the number, the better.

Here are Gus’s results:

Cylinder 1- 75 first time, then I could only get it to 60
Cylinder 2 – 89 then 86
Cylinder 3 – ZERO (checked and rechecked many times)
Cylinder 4 – 115 then 110

ZERO is not good. I posted my results on the IAC website, and was advised to adjust my valves, and check again. I adjusted the valves, and #3′s intake was 3 1/2 turns off (counterclockwise) before making contact…so 5 turns total when you take into account the 1 1/2 turns clockwise for adjusting, if that makes sense (to those of you reading who understand what I was doing…)

I rechecked compression, and here were the new totals:
Cylinder 1 – 94, then 75
Cylinder 2 – 83 then 81
Cylinder 3 – ZERO
Cylinder 4 – 110

ZERO is still not good. It basically means there is no compression on Cylinder #3, so the engine is running on only three cylinders, instead of the four it should be running on. Confirmation from Colin and some other folks basically confirmed it’s time to pull the engine. Probably valve seat recession, or a burnt valve. Bummer.

So…did Gus make the trip? No, unfortunately. But I am in the process of removing Gus’s engine now, and I’m going to check out the spare engine to see if the compression is good on that one. If so, I’ll switch engines and hopefully get on the road this summer!

So it’s back into the garage for now…but he is looking pretty spiffy, huh?

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