Saturday, June 30, 2007

1962 vs. 1963 VW 1500 pistons

In the last few weeks I've learned a lot about the differences between 1962 and 1963 VW 1500 engines. Many components were changed at the beginning of the 1963 model year, as listed here in a March 1964 supplement to the VW 1500 Workshop Manual:


I knew that the pistons, cylinders, and heads changed at chassis number
0 064 916, but it was never clear to me exactly how. Now I know.




The pistons introduced in August 1962 are about .060 in. taller than the earlier pistons, and the cylinders and heads were also redesigned, raising the compression ratio from 7.2:1 to 7.8:1. It's something to keep in mind if you're rebuilding an early 1500 engine. Not all 83mm pistons and cylinders are interchangeable.

We were able to use my newly sourced NOS '63 1500 pistons on the Ghia's engine by shimming the cylinders .060 in. Since we're still using the early '62 heads I was worried that the shims might cause problems in fitting the intake manifold, the early cooling tin, and the muffler, but a test fit on the reassembled longblock put my worries to rest. The muffler was a tight fit but enlarging the holes in the mounting flanges slightly took care of it.

I saved the Ghia's three original Mahle pistons and will be on the lookout for a fourth to have on hand in case they're needed for a future overhaul. Here are the markings on them (part number 311 107 101):





This weekend I'll be reassembling the engine, and hopefully the Ghia will be back on the road within a week.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Better know a dipstick



Many early 1500 Ghia parts were superseded by redesigned parts, and VW's documentation of superseded parts and when they changed is spotty at best. The early dipstick is a case in point. Lee Hedges has pointed out this photo that appears in the November '61 and August '62 owner's manuals showing the early-style dipstick in use.



Sometime in 1962 or 1963 a rubber collar/seal was added that was continued through the end of production. The earlier dipstick had an internal cork gasket in the cap. Since the new design could also be used on earlier cars, all reference to the old part was removed from the VW Parts List.



I had always assumed that the new collar was just added to the existing dipstick, but a side by side comparison shows there's more to it than that.



Sometime later, probably in early 1964, the word "oil" was moved to the top of the cap. This was apparently to make it more visible. Lee is surveying owners of '64s to try to determine when the change was made. The investigation continues.

[More information here]

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Oetiker clamps

Since I was placing a McMaster-Carr order I decided to get some Oetiker "ear" hose clamps.



McMaster sells Oetiker pliers too. I don't know if Oetiker hose clamps were originally used by VW or not, but my former low-mileage '65 Squareback had one section of very old fuel line when I bought it that was secured with them, and they looked old enough to be original equipment. I've always liked them.



To install them you crimp the ear, and to remove them you clip the ear off. One use only.



A much more professional solution than those hardware store screw clamps you see on most engines. I never did like the idea of using garden hose technology on a car.

New rear transmission mounts

In the few miles I was able to drive the car a few weeks ago it was very apparent that the transmission mounts needed attention. Since the engine's out again I went ahead and replaced the rear mounts. Replacing the front mount is an ordeal that I'll try to leave for later.



When I loosened the 27mm rear trans carrier bolts the large 20M spring washers broke in half from stress and age. I tried all my usual local sources for replacements but no one stocked them. Luckily McMaster-Carr came to the rescue. McMaster has pretty much everything you could ever need in the hardware department.



The old mounts were -- in a word -- toast.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Volkswagen + VW 1500 postmark ad



Another ephemeral piece of the Volkswagen + VW 1500 ad campaign: a postage meter stamp ad postmarked November 14, 1962. They didn't miss any opportunity to get the word out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

NOS VW 1500 pistons



Sometimes when you stop looking for something that's when it appears. I found these NOS 1500 pistons today at Bill & Steve's. I spent the whole VW Classic weekend asking everyone if they had a set of these or knew someone who did, but no luck. I even asked THE Steve of Bill & Steve's, but he said no. I guess they were on the shelf so long they had become practically invisible -- they were hidden by some other parts in the display case.



The pink paint dot is a color code for matching pistons to cylinders. Pink = 82.96mm, which is in the middle of the range of sizes that were originally available. I still have a used set of 83mm pistons on the way to me from Greg Skinner in Colorado too. Odds are one of these sets will be compatible with my original cylinders. I hope.



VW 1500 pistons were supplied by both Mahle and Kolbenschmidt. You can see the KS logo stamped on the top of each piston below the size.



This version of the pistons, 311 107 101 AA, was introduced at the beginning of the 1963 model year, at engine number 65 745. The pistons Greg is sending are from a '63, so they should be the same ones. I'm not sure how the 1962 pistons were different but I'm confident these can be made to work.

"Im Volkswagenwerk gepr├╝ft" means "inspected at the VW factory." Nice to know.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

NOS door locks

I've been looking for a pair of NOS door locks for a long time. These lock mechanisms take a lot of abuse over the years, and 45 years on most of them have loosened up too much to function properly. NOS right side locks are fairly easy to find, but the left ones are scarce and can be very expensive when they do turn up. I won an Australian eBay auction for a right side lock recently, and got a surprise when the package arrived:


Sometimes auction errors can work out in the buyer's favor. The Australian part label misidentified this as a right side lock when in fact it's a left one. A happy accident.

I was able to add a right side lock to a large order of NOS parts that Tom McCaughey arranged to have shipped from the Philippines. There was more than one OEM parts supplier for these locks, as is the case with many other VW parts, so my left lock was made by Bomoro (BuM) and the right is a Kiekert. These locks were universal for all Type 3s, including Type 34s, through the 1966 model year.



Also from Tom's Philippine order is this NOS Type 34 right side turn signal base. It has a little shelf wear but will look great installed on the Ghia.


Thanks again to Tom for coordinating the complicated overseas order.

VW 1500 tool rolls

Every VW 1500 originally came with a set of basic tools. As is the case with most old cars, mine is missing its original tools, so I've slowly been collecting the tools needed to complete the kit. The contents are detailed in my well-worn English-language copy of the 1962 1500 Ghia owner's manual:


I have a complete set of tools now, but a few of the pieces are placeholders.


When I was at ISP West's pre-VW Classic event I picked up a pair of reproduction wood handled screwdrivers. I've been looking for an original pair for a long time now, but when they occasionally turn up they sell very quickly and for a lot of money. Until I find an original pair these will do. The combination wrench I currently have is a 10x13, which is correct for later Type 3 tool rolls. I'm on the hunt for the correct 8x12 wrench.


For the 1963 model year a 27mm open end wrench was added. The manual points out that it can be used to turn the spark plug socket. It was also useful for holding the generator pulley when changing the belt -- without one it would be quite a challenging job. The 8x12 combination wrench was also changed to an 8x13 for 1963. Much more useful.

[image from the Samba archives]

For 1964 the 1500S models got yet another selection of tools, including a new spark plug wrench and operating bar, a combination screwdriver replacing the two wood handled screwdrivers, and a 10x13 combination wrench. The 27mm wrench was still supplied for the 1500N models, which didn't get the new spark plug socket and bar, but it was discontinued for the 1500S.

[image from the Samba archives]

VW really should have included the 27mm wrench with all of them.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

VW Classic 2007: 1950 Tempo Matador



This truck is about as far from a VW 1500 as it gets, but I just had to post some photos of it. What an incredible restoration. The attention to detail is mindblowing. Jonny Lieberman and I saw it as soon as we entered the show, and we just stood there slackjawed like everyone else. Then we remembered to start taking pictures.



It's a strange looking thing, but the design has a great integrity. Tempo built the VW-based Matador from 1949–51, until VW stopped supplying engines due to its competition with with the Transporter. Less than 1400 were built and only a handful of them survive, making the high level of this restoration even more incredible. I believe that's the gas tank right behind the front sheet metal, in front of the driver (!). Love those suicide doors.


The interior is a little on the spartan side, as you'd expect.


The seat had been removed to reveal the 25hp engine mounted under the seat, under a transverse leaf spring with the transmission forward. It's a mid-engined front-wheel-drive aircooled VW truck. Strange and very, very cool.


A nice detail I've never seen before in photos is the design of the back of the cab, with its reference to the shape of the VW hood.



Everything about this one is right. No detail was overlooked, including the cargo.


To me it was the standout of the show. Makes the 1500 Ghia seem ordinary in comparison.

VW Classic 2007: 1959 Rometsch cabriolet

There are dozens of nicely restored VWs at every Classic, but there are always a few that really stand out. Today this '59 Rometsch cabriolet was one of them.


It has an Okrasa engine and Abarth exhaust. Nice.



It was for sale for an impressively high asking price. I had a chance to buy a '58 Rometsch coupe for $1000 about 25 years ago but passed it up -- still kicking myself about that one.

VW Classic 2007: the Type 34s

Only four Type 34 Ghias showed up this year, the fewest in years. The highlight was Paul Kramer's all-original low-mileage '67 which Lee Hedges drove up for the day.


Nice to see a well-maintained later model Type 34. The interior is in great shape.


A nice '65 1500S from British Columbia:


A '63 with what must be original paint:


Kevin's tastefully customized 1500S from the high desert. Pedro's racks are beginning to seem inevitable!



Here's Lee on his way home for the day. Very nice car.


I met up with Tom McCaughey and Dave Whitaker to complete the exchange of NOS parts that Tom arranged to have shipped from the Philippines. Thanks again Tom! I didn't find the NOS 1500 pistons I was hoping to in the swap (or much else for that matter), but Greg Skinner offered me a set of original 1500 pistons he has that came from a low mileage '63. Looks like my Ghia is back on the road to being back on the road. It was Lee who tipped me off that Greg might have the pistons I need -- thanks again to Lee for connecting the dots. Nice to meet up with some old Type 34 friends today, and to meet others for the first time including Dave Ball, here all the way from the UK in search of parts to rebuild his '68 automatic. Dave wins the Type 34 long distance award!

VW Classic 2007: the Type 3s

Nice Type 3 turnout at the VW Classic today.








Three early Type 3 engines: Dave Love's May '62, Jack Fisher's early '63, and Jason Weigel's later '63.




If you're going to customize a Variant this is the way to do it.




Nice semi-custom Variant with accessory seat recliners and headrests.



And Pedro's roof racks as far as the eye can see.