Top end rebuild question - now bottom end diagnosis

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Top end rebuild question - now bottom end diagnosis

Post by Who.Me? » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:48 pm

Hi

I'm going to need to rebuild the top end of my 1600 dual port engine. It leaks past the rings and at least three of the inlet and one exhaust valve.

The engine came with some old AutoLinea heads that were pretty poor castings, so I'll probably just replace the barrels, pistons and heads with one of the all-inclusive kits from the usual vendors. They come with gasket sets etc., so seem to be a decent deal.

From reading around, I've seen that some people recommend wiping cylinders with 400 & 300-grit wet and dry to knock down any high spots in the honing marks. Is that sensible with new barrels or just something that's done if the old ones are re-honed?

Also, is there any value to checking the ring gaps for out of the box pistons and cylinders, or is that also something more relevant to refurbished parts?

I've read through the procedures in the Haynes 1600 manual and the Tom Wilson 'How to' book, and watched a few YouTube videos. Anyone got any helpful practical tips to add?
Last edited by Who.Me? on Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by type21f » Mon Sep 30, 2019 12:58 pm

I know nothing!
I was responsible within my team for the manufacture of Land Rover 5 bearing cylinder blocks...
To my mind if the bore has been honed it has been done to create the surface to hold the oil to achieve lubrication?

"Honing is a process of conditioning the surface of the cylinder wall to help with lubrication of the piston ring(s) during operation. Honing creates fine crosshatch imperfections on the surface of the cylinderbore. You can think of these imperfections as peaks and valleys in the surface of the metal."

It seems contrary to Polish NEW cylinders which my would glaze them and remove the benefit of the honed surface.

I can see the logic of using a swirly action to remove glazing and attempt to aid lube andsealing on used bores..

I know nothing!

Never done it on VW used bores..
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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Marvelwear » Mon Sep 30, 2019 1:31 pm

Yes good practice but only to mate up with shims etc ,had to lower my c/rash too high but mated to barrel shims with grind paste to seal better also with heads .still had blow on head later but a little paste and retourque and now great .I know nothing and please research before doing any of these actions ,I did gene berg etc..

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Who.Me? » Mon Sep 30, 2019 3:55 pm

Thanks both.

I don't think the suggestion was to remove the honing altogether, more that some honing jobs may be too rough, causing ring damage. so they took any 'edges' of the honing grooves by running through with w&d paper.

Marvelwear; how did you clean the paste off to avoid damaging the valves? Did you have to strip your heads down before lapping the barrels in to the heads?

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by type21f » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:30 pm

Fine..
G
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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Who.Me? » Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:58 pm

type21f wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 4:30 pm
Fine..
G
It might still be cobblers though. :D

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Marvelwear » Tue Oct 01, 2019 6:44 am

Petrol and a rag.and yes tear down.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Banger » Wed Oct 02, 2019 11:21 am

Just my tuppenny worth, and more so if you don't know the history of the engine, but given if you've already got all the tinwear and the heads & B&P off, it's not much more work to split the cases to fully investigate. Other than that, I would at the very least check the end float.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Who.Me? » Wed Oct 02, 2019 12:52 pm

I don't think I'd be able to diagnose any issues that splitting the case might reveal. I'm comfortable with the diagnostic tests that indicate the top end is more worn than I thought, but couldn't tell you whether bearings or a crank or cam were in good order or not.

I may reconsider depending on what I see when I pull the barrels off though.

I can't feel any endfloat from the pull/push pulley test.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Who.Me? » Sat Oct 05, 2019 6:43 pm

Pulled the engine today after one last run. Dumped the oil and found quite a lot of what look like silver and bronze metal flakes about 0.5 to 1mm long. I don't think they're steel because I have a couple of magnets stuck to the inside of the drain plate and they just had the usual grey fur that looks like graphite dust.

The drain pan is also my catch tray when the truck is parked in the garage, and the garage is quite dusty/gritty. I can't tell how much of the debris came out in the oil and how much was in the pan to start with, but there was definitely some floating in the oil. I couldn't see anything in the filter screen. I run non-detergent oil so crud settles out rather than circulating (I don't have a full-flow filter).

I checked the end play by hand and I can hear it click, but can't see movement, so I don't think it's horrendous.

I'm not sure where to go next with this.

I'm not fazed by the top end rebuild, but I'm not sure that I have the facilities to diagnose and rebuild a short block in my garage (or at least not one that I'd build in to an engine that I'd trust).

Do I carry on with a top end overhaul and take a closer look inside the case when I've got the heads and jugs off, or cut my losses and start thinking about a new long block? Top end parts and tools etc. are going to set me back £500-600 even with club discounts.

Is there any benefit to getting one of the end float measuring tools to check the actual amount of end float? (The type you use feeler gauges with.) Is that going to give me any more insight in to whether the case needs rebuilding than the push/pull test?

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Marvelwear » Sat Oct 05, 2019 7:30 pm

Feel for you ,I ran my 1500 so with a ridiculous amount of end float. It never failed and went in a 63 bug for two years before rebuild.Im no expert but if it clicks it's on it's way and will contribute to the top failing .maybe get a good machinist to go over case and crank or use it to push it up the road a bit ,I went for a rather warm 1776 ,but now it is o lot milder .good luck with it and look at a short motor as an alternative.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Banger » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:39 am

I think you might have answered your own questions, the non-magnetic silver and bronze particles are most likely bearing materials, and the clicking sound checking end float probably means it's game over for the bottom end - the end float maximum is 5 thou ie not a lot.

If you're of a mind to rebuild this engine, I would suggest you initially get the case, crank, rods and cam checked by a reputable rebuilder (I went to Danny Wharton at Reichspeed in Gainsborough, Lincs). Assuming (hah!) the case doesn't produce any additional issues e.g. cracks, pulled studs, you are looking at an align-bore, possibly a crank grind (or at the very least a polish), new/reconditioned conrods, and cam lifters. I would also budget for a new cam & oil pump though. Whilst it's all apart, I would also highly recommend getting the crank, rods, flywheel, clutch pressure plate & crank pulley balanced. Oh yes, and think seriously about going the full-flow route, probably the best single upgrade you can make IMHO. There are a few options/variations on this, from personal experience you might find that the standard exhaust set up doesn't allow enough clearance for the oil lines depending how you locate the oil filter. Finally, don't go buying any special tools you might need, PM me!

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Who.Me? » Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:16 pm

I got it stripped down to the short block today. I checked the head bolt torques before I removed the head. about a third of them were loose and the top left and top right case studs unscrewed from the case (the case savers stayed put though, thankfully).

Both heads and all the piston crowns were sooted up. I'm not surprised. It ended up quite rich when I tuned the carb after advancing the timing to make it run. There are what look like some small cracks around some of the spark plug holes. The valves are intact. I don't have a spring compressor so couldn't check the seats.

My phone is dead so I had to go to EE and get a loan phone. The camera is awful , but here are some pics. Maybe someone knows whether these are good, bad or indifferent...

3&4 head - oil marks around the cylinders.
IMAG0002.jpg
3/4 head
1&2 head - generally clean
IMAG0019.jpg
All the pistons showed signs of axial scratches/scuffing...
IMAG0008.jpg
All the cylinders showed the same to about the same extent, but I couldn't feel them with a fingernail...
IMAG0018.jpg
The barrels were glued in to the heads with tons of blue silicone. Enough that it had oozed through in to the sockest the pistons sit in. This is after I'd peeled the worst off...
IMAG0027.jpg
The barrels measured just over 85mm, so I think it's stock for a 1600.

Close up of the rings...
IMAG0041.jpg
The crank has VW Audi markings and the cam and lifters look clean...
IMAG0028.jpg
I'm considering splitting the case after all, though I might not fix it myself if it is shot. At least I'll know what to look for in future. As you can see from the pictures, I don't exactly have a surgically clean workshop to reassemble everything (or a parts washer to get rid of swarf etc. from new/reconditioned parts. I can at least use the truck bed as a clean workbench though.

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Re: Top end rebuild question

Post by Marvelwear » Sun Oct 06, 2019 5:46 pm

You'll be fine ,built a couple of motors on wifes washing machine.get a load of card and get that sealant off.find a local vapour cleaner to see what case is like if your stripping it .If in doubt get it to a builder to rebuild bottom end and then you could complete .Heads seem to crack around plugs and again will need testing ,between valves and that's bad.I bought cb heads and put 15k on them and so far no cracks.
Good luck with it .

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Re: Top end rebuild question - now bottom end diagnosis

Post by Who.Me? » Tue Oct 08, 2019 7:40 pm

Well as they say in the Memes, 'That escalated quickly'
Block.jpg
71853363_388946478664317_2511115048366112768_n-001.jpg
71825718_2530465980520782_7851445253562171392_n.jpg
71914531_1544146632376789_2377967643396145152_n-001.jpg
72539878_537788327055224_2032157217687339008_n-001.jpg
Main Bearing saddle-002.jpg
72841790_693848701113016_7942017850317733888_n-001.jpg
I have some reading to do on case and bearing diagnostic, and I need to get the con rods off the crank to inspect the big and little end bearings.

I had a few problems with the strip down:-

One of the case savers came out with the stud, so I need to work out how to get it off the stud and back in to the case.
The pressure relief valve plunger nearest the flywheel won't come out of its bore.
The distributor drive gear seems to be stuck

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