Sunday, February 24, 2008

Owner's manual folder

Yesterday I went down to the LA Lit and Toy Show, the annual show for collectors of Porsche and VW ephemera and toys held at the Los Angeles Airport Hilton. It was about 95% Porsche stuff, but I did find this original vinyl owner's manual folder.

The '65 Squareback we used to own came with its original paperwork in exactly the same folder. This one isn't perfect but it's cleaner than most. My Ghia's owner's manual and service book finally have a home.

Now I just need the '62 edition of the North American VW Dealers and Distributors book and I'll be ready for the highways of 1962.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

NOS EMPI Camber Compensator

I found this EMPI Camber Compensator a couple of years ago after looking for a long time. Another vintage performance accessory that's eventually going to go on the Ghia.

The Camber Compensator was developed by Joe Vittone of EMPI around 1960, probably inspired by the Porsche Super 90's similar compensating spring. The purpose of the Super 90 compensator was a little different (to literally compensate for the use of softer torsion bars), but it also turned out to be an effective way to limit the travel of the swing axles on hard cornering, addressing a particularly dangerous shortcoming of the swing axle suspension design. EMPI's compensator was a big seller and helped elevate the company's profile among aftermarket parts suppliers in the '60s.

Here's a 1960 Camber Compensator brochure complete with a business card from the legendary Competition Motors of Hollywood stapled to it:

So it was possible to buy one at your local VW dealer right from the beginning, at least if you happened to live in Hollywood. And you could also buy a compensator for other cars with swing axles too, including Porsche, Renault, and Corvair. Unsafe at any speed? Not anymore!

The compensator shown in the brochure is the earliest version designed for the old split-case transmission. In 1961 a new mount to fit the synchromesh transmission was introduced, and most of the compensators available today still mount to the bottom of the transmission too, but in the late '60s EMPI introduced a completely different mount that clamped to the frame horns instead, eliminating the gear oil leaks that the trans mounts are prone to causing. Here a drawing of the later mount from Bill Fisher's great How to Hotrod VW Engines (H.P. Books, 1970):

This later mount is the one I prefer. It just seems like a better, stronger design to me. They're relatively hard to find, though, and it took me quite a while to track a used one down. Then about a week after I found it an NOS one turned up at a reasonable price. Wouldn't you know it. Here they are together:

The used one shows how they wear. The mount is slightly bent in the middle and all the rubber parts show a lot of wear, especially the center pivot. Looks like the car it came from was driven pretty hard.

Some close-up shots of the NOS compensator's frame mount:

New replacements for all the rubber bushings and straps are now available from Eric Outland on The Samba. He sells completely restored vintage EMPI Camber Compensators too.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

NOS bypass oil filter for the VW 1500

Here's another vintage VW 1500 performance accessory: a Type 3 oil filter. I found it on eBay a few years ago. The seller had bought it at Bill & Steve's back in the '90s — a good example of the kind of stuff they used to regularly have in stock that's now practically impossible to find. It's essentially the same kind of oil filtering system used on Okrasa engines as well as the Porsche 356 and 912.

It's an official VW-approved accessory, listed in this VW accessory catalog [the yellow highlighting is mine]:

Here are all the parts in the kit:

And here they are loosely assembled. The filter mounts under the left rear corner of the engine hatch opening. One of the braided hoses is connected between the oil cooler and the oil pressure sender via a banjo fitting; the other hose connects to a hollow bolt that replaces one of the crankcase breather stand's mounting studs.

When installed it siphons off some of the oil circulating through the system at the oil cooler mount, filters it, and then returns it at the breather stand. Some people are skeptical that a bypass filter can really do much good. My opinion is that it may not be as effective as a full-flow filter, but if Porsche used the same system for years it can't be all bad.

Installation instructions:

For the 1500 Karmann-Ghia the instructions call for cutting and bending part of the lower engine bay sheet metal for clearance. I'm not thrilled about that idea but I would really like to install the filter, so I'm looking at alternate ways to mount it. Or maybe I should just bite the bullet and install it exactly per the instructions... what do you think?

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Goetze engine gasket set for 1961–62 VW 1500s

I picked up this NOS gasket set not to actually use but as a reference for what seals were originally installed on the earliest 1500s. Goetze was an OEM supplier to VW, so these are the same gaskets they actually came from the factory with. As the box says, this set is for 1500s up to engine number 0 065 745 (August 1962 — interestingly the box label has the date code "1261", which suggests that the engine changes that came in August were already planned by late 1961). Under another warehouse inventory sticker I found a ROKA label with the VW part number 311 198 007.

It's not 100% complete and some of the gaskets are probably beyond usability, but they're still a good reference for original gasket types and materials. The following is an inventory of what's in the box with their respective VW part numbers.

Pushrod tube seals (113 109 345 A) and early-style rocker stud seals (113 109 449 A, used through engine number 0 672 697):

Rubberized cork valve cover seals (113 101 483 B):

Case/cylinder gaskets (311 101 341) masquerading here as an Audi logo:

Clockwise from top left, gaskets and seals for the breather support (113 101 219), oil filler pipe (311 115 315 A), flywheel (113 105 279), crankshaft pulley (311 105 267 A), oil pressure relief valve (N 13 817 1), oil drain plug (N 13 815 2), and oil strainer cover (113 115 189 A):

Top, oil pump cover (111 115 131 A), and bottom, oil pump body (111 115 111 A):

Left to right, intake manifold seals (N 13 823 1, metal crush rings like a 40-horse), carburetor flange gasket (311 129 799), distributor shaft seal (111 905 261), and fuel pump gaskets (113 127 311):

Gaskets for the exhaust flanges (111 251 261 B, missing two of the four) and pre-heater pipe (left side, 111 251 263 A, and right side, 113 251 261):

There should also be two asbestos exhaust sealing rings, but they're long gone.

Finally, there are two washers. The left one is a 14mm diameter stud seal washer (N 13 830 1, there should be two of them).

The one on the right is a bonded metal/rubber washer (approx. 24mm o.d. and 15mm i.d.) that I'm not familiar with. I have a feeling it doesn't actually belong to this set — if anyone knows what it is please let me know.