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The adventures of my 1970 lowlight

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  • Mick's 70 Lowlight uploaded a new video
    The finished result...
    Sig Erson 1.4 Rocker Setup
    •   General
    •   Monday, 26 June 2017
    Dialling in my rockers setting up the geometry
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  • Got the valve train geometry sorted out today. Had to make up a custom adjustable pushrod for the Sig Erson ratio rockers as they have a cup style end instead of the normal ball end, this unfortunately meant sacrificing a pushrod. The Sig Erson pushrods were too short to use so I decided to cut... Got the valve train geometry sorted out today. Had to make up a custom adjustable pushrod for the Sig Erson ratio rockers as they have a cup style end instead of the normal ball end, this unfortunately meant sacrificing a pushrod. The Sig Erson pushrods were too short to use so I decided to cut one of those up, I had a set of aluminium cut to length pushrods for another engine build so used those instead.

    Setting the pushrod and rocker geometry is a job that requires a little patience to get the best results, and after making up a number of different thickness shims I found the perfect setup. Overall lift is 9.9mm which is 0.389" a definite improvement over stock but not as good as I had hoped given that I'm using a 1.4:1 ratio rocker. Ahh well. Will just have to see how it performs. Really need to get that dyno built so that I can start to verify some of these mods.
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  • Another small but vital part of the puzzle, my Sig Erson pushrods arrived today. This means I can set up my valve geometry this weekend, Yay.
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  • Another small step towards the end goal. I made up a small calliper to measure the thickness of the cylinder head at the second plug location so that I could select the correct length spark plugs. The second plug is a smaller 10mm plug. Next task on the agenda is to make up a spark plug indexing... Another small step towards the end goal. I made up a small calliper to measure the thickness of the cylinder head at the second plug location so that I could select the correct length spark plugs. The second plug is a smaller 10mm plug. Next task on the agenda is to make up a spark plug indexing tool. The idea behind spark plug indexing is to face the electrode bridge away from the chamber to aid in flame travel. Ideally electrode gap wants to point towards the densest part of the charge. The location of the charge is determined by reading the spark ignition point on the plugs (small clean area on the electrode). Alternatively facing the gap towards the exhaust valve is stated to help improve the burn.

    This may be taking things to extremes but as I am running twin plugs I want to make sure that the flame fronts from each plug travel in the same direction and at the same rate. If one is obscured by the electrode bridge it could result in an uneven burn.

    I also want to get into the habit of indexing the plugs as the next incarnation of development is to run a squish piston design which will totally enclose the plug except for a very small burn chamber. In this case indexing the plugs will be very important.
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  • Another piece of the puzzle...
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  • Carried out repairs to the rear moustache bar mounts today. Unfortunately the threads had stripped out, probably when the bus grounded out in the same pot hole that tore through my oil line. Repairing them involved drilling the holes out larger and tapping them to accept helicoils. With the rear... Carried out repairs to the rear moustache bar mounts today. Unfortunately the threads had stripped out, probably when the bus grounded out in the same pot hole that tore through my oil line. Repairing them involved drilling the holes out larger and tapping them to accept helicoils. With the rear bar fitted I made a start on modifying the exhaust to fit properly. Fortunately I've got some stainless pipe of the correct size so it's a simple case of cutting and extending the J Tubes, I can rotate the flanges to line up with the header at the same time. I'm tempted to cut and shut the header so that it sits a bit better too. Will see how I get on tomorrow. More
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  • Had plans on getting a bit more done on the bus today but got a bit sidetracked by the Speedster. Did manage to get the exhaust offered up to see how it fits. I opted for an el-cheapo sidewinder in stainless to replace the vintage speed that I had been running previously. Mostly as it's better... Had plans on getting a bit more done on the bus today but got a bit sidetracked by the Speedster. Did manage to get the exhaust offered up to see how it fits. I opted for an el-cheapo sidewinder in stainless to replace the vintage speed that I had been running previously. Mostly as it's better flowing than the VS unit but also as the tail pipe on the VS unit scrapes on my driveway (you can just see it in the banner photo above).

    Another thing I wanted to check out was the fit of the exhaust with the rear moustache bar and also whether the J-pipes that I have would work with the new exhaust. After getting the exhaust loosely fitted it was clear that the angle of the flanges on the J tubes would need to be reorientated as the holes did not line up. The flanges would also need a little persuading to align properly. The moustache bar pretty much fits with no dramas, it slightly fouls the silencer, but nothing that a little clearancing cannot solve.

    One thing that was clear, which is quite unfortunate, is that the system sits quite low. In fact it is level with the moustache bar, which I was actually hoping to replace with a custom made one to give me some more ground clearance (previously the moustache bar was the lowest point). This means that I don't gain any ground clearance by fitting this style of system.

    That said, it looks like the tail pipe sits a lot further forwards so my issue with the tail pipe scraping the driveway should hopefully be resolved.

    I also trial fitted the rear valence to see how the system fitted up behind it. To be honest there is a heap of room behind the valence that that system could tuck up into if it was modified. At this stage I don't think I will do this. I rarely had ground clearance issues as the moustache bar sits 100mm from the ground. It might be something that I look into if I decide to go lower.

    There's a couple of things to sort out - namely the flanges on the J tubes and I also need to make up a bracket to support the rear of the silencer. I also need to weld in a bung for the O2 sensor. As there is a heap of room behind the valence I am tempted to mount it on the top as this is nicely tucked out of the way but I'm not 100% sure if this will clash with the rear valence mountings. I guess I will leave this until after the engine is installed just to be sure.
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  • Spent some time having a trial go at putting the engine together. Discovered a few bugs with the new setup that required some fettling to make fit. Made up the inlet manifold for the throttle body, modified the alternator stand for the new larger manifold to fit and made a new bracket to hold... Spent some time having a trial go at putting the engine together. Discovered a few bugs with the new setup that required some fettling to make fit. Made up the inlet manifold for the throttle body, modified the alternator stand for the new larger manifold to fit and made a new bracket to hold the crank sensor. Also removed the distributor drive and made up a plug for the hole. Goodbye distributor and hello coil packs.

    Being twin spark, trying to find a location for two coil packs is a bit of a challenge. Ideally I would like to have one each side behind the fan shourd, but it looks like there may not be enough room on the 1/2 side of the engine. The cool thing about going twin spark is that I can run one pack for each side which enables shorter plug leads.

    Still have a bunch of stuff to do before taking it all apart again for painting including making up the fuel rail tie downs, modifying the fan shroud, making up some coil pack brackets, making up a spacer for the alternator backing plate, trial fitting the exhaust, welding in a bung for the O2 sensor helicoiling the rear engine bar mounting holes and a bunch of other stuff. The list seems to be never ending.
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  •   Mick's 70 Lowlight commented on this post about 3 weeks ago
    Made some more progress on getting the engine back together. Finished off the heads which involved blending the new seats in, fitting the valves with the new heavy duty engle springs and tapping the second spark plug hole. Also found some detonation damage to two of the pistons where the ring... Made some more progress on getting the engine back together. Finished off the heads which involved blending the new seats in, fitting the valves with the new heavy duty engle springs and tapping the second spark plug hole. Also found some detonation damage to two of the pistons where the ring land had become bent pinching the rings. As a result of this I decided to use a set of P&C's from an old doner Type 3 engine I bought for the razor. I took the glaze off with a hone and cleaned the pistons up and fitted a new set of rings. The barrels are a little worn and could ideally do with replacing but I decided to go ahead and fit them as I'm keen to get the bus running again.

    I CC'd the heads at 44cc's and measured the deck at 50 thou, this gives me a CR of 8.7:1 which should do quite nicely. I was ideally aiming for 8.6:1 but rather than stuff about trying to remove 1cc's worth of material from each chamber I decided that near-enough is good-enough.

    I reassembled the engine and took a bit of a stray from my normal assembly procedure as I decided to use some red hylomar to seal the barrels and pushrods. I normally don't seal the pushrod seals and use blue sealer on the barrels but as the engine was a bit leaky from #1 barrel I decided to put a stop to it. Also decided to take a look at the sump strainer to see if there were any metal particles. (none - it was clean as a whistle)

    Next up is to set the valve geometry. I'm fitting a set of Sig Erson 1.5:1 ratio rockers (as they were cheap). This is about as much as I can do with the stock cam and will be a good test of what you can do on a basically stock 1600. (Previously I was running 1.25:1 CB Performance rockers). With the stock cam I will end up with about 0.500" lift which is a massive increase over stock. I'm interested to see how it performs.

    So the engine specs as it currently stands:

    Stock 1600, case, crank, rods, cam, P&C's
    Reworked stock 1600 twin port heads (dual spark)
    1.5:1 ratio rockers
    Sidewinder exhaust
    Joe Blow AMR500 supercharger kit.

    I'm waiting on a set of pushrods and lash caps before I can set the rocker geometry, hopefully they will be here next week. In the mean time I should start looking at getting the tin wear painted up and fitted.
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  • Mail call. Another piece of the puzzle arrived today. Wideband O2 sensor.
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  • Got another delivery today, a pair of Sig Erson 1.5:1 ratio rockers. I need to swap out the ball style adjusters for cup style so that I can use a standard push rod. I'll probably stick these on the 1600 when I've got the heads back on. With the port work and a bit more lift it should really... Got another delivery today, a pair of Sig Erson 1.5:1 ratio rockers. I need to swap out the ball style adjusters for cup style so that I can use a standard push rod. I'll probably stick these on the 1600 when I've got the heads back on. With the port work and a bit more lift it should really help liven things up a bit.

    Also fitted the new valve seats to the other head. Cooked up the head on the BBQ and froze the seats in the freezer overnight. A little drifting and the seats were in. I cut the new seats and re-cut the inlet seats to suit the new stainless valves. I also gave the heads a 3 angle valve job. After lapping in the valves I also added a 30 degree cut to the valves up to the lap mark.

    Apart from some final finishing the heads are pretty much done. I still need to cc them so may have some fettling to do to get the CR right. Hopefully I'm not too far away from where I need to be.
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  • Finally got my long awaited order of gaskets and valve guides only to find out that the exhaust valve guides were a non standard size. Guess I should have checked before ordering. I ended up making some new ones instead. I also cut the inlet valve guides down by 10mm and added a 7 degree taper... Finally got my long awaited order of gaskets and valve guides only to find out that the exhaust valve guides were a non standard size. Guess I should have checked before ordering. I ended up making some new ones instead. I also cut the inlet valve guides down by 10mm and added a 7 degree taper to them to help streamline things.

    I also made up the remaining two valve seats and removed the old ones ready for fitting. I started to cut the new seats but ran out of time.
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  •   Harry Ganavas liked this post about 1 month ago
    Managed to get out in the workshop and do a bit of work on the bus. Decided to try and get the rear safari finished off - or at least a bit closer to being finished. Spent some time mating the two halves of the frame together with simple joining plates. Also procured some rubber seals for the... Managed to get out in the workshop and do a bit of work on the bus. Decided to try and get the rear safari finished off - or at least a bit closer to being finished. Spent some time mating the two halves of the frame together with simple joining plates. Also procured some rubber seals for the tailgate and to hold the glass in.

    The door itself needed a bit of cleaning up so I removed the old inner trim panel and curtain rails along with the remnants of an old light fitting and an external handle. There's a few dents and dings to fix up but the door is completely rust free, which is more than I can say about my old door.

    So with the door stripped down I was able to install the hinge and frame into the door along with the pinch seal that I bought. The frame closes up nicely against the seal, although there is a little flex in the frame without the glass that shouldn't be evident after the glass is fitted. All that's really left to do now is figure out how to adapt the bug quarter window latches to work with the safari and make up some stays for the side. Not a massive amount of work. Hopefully I can get to the point of a trial installation next weekend.
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  • Didn't get to do any work on the bus this weekend as I had another welcome distraction; I picked up a Bridgeport mill that I bought from work. For those who do not know, the Bridgeport is a universal milling machine with adjustable head, power head and this one also has power feed on the cross... Didn't get to do any work on the bus this weekend as I had another welcome distraction; I picked up a Bridgeport mill that I bought from work. For those who do not know, the Bridgeport is a universal milling machine with adjustable head, power head and this one also has power feed on the cross slide. This is a bit of an upgrade from my smaller mill and will increase my ability to make metal chips a fair bit. For the most part my smaller mill is good enough as it is large enough to bore cases and fly-cut heads and for the odd job I do in steel it works okay. Boring is a bit of a chore as there is no quill and no power feed so I have to raise the knee to bore which is hard work. The Bridgeport will certainly seem like a luxury in comparison. It is also big enough to take the 8" vertex rotary table that I own which means that I will finally be able to look at making some toothed pulleys for my blower kits (the rotary table is about a big as my little mill itself)

    I also picked up a larger shop press. It needs a little bit of work as it has a leaky cylinder but is rated at 55 Ton. It makes my old 12 Ton shop press look like a toy. For the most part the 12 Ton press was fine for disassembling blowers and the odd jobs that it generally gets used for but on the odd occasion it gets close to its capacity.

    Also received a delivery of goodies for the new engine including 1.4 ratio rockers, retainers, cut to length aluminium pushrods and a set of 90.5 P&Cs
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  • Did a bit more work on the heads this weekend. Yesterday I modified the jig I had made to allow me to counterbore the holes for the spark plugs and had a go at machining the test head. Unfortunately there is a LOT of vibration when milling through the fins and the jig didn't last past the first... Did a bit more work on the heads this weekend. Yesterday I modified the jig I had made to allow me to counterbore the holes for the spark plugs and had a go at machining the test head. Unfortunately there is a LOT of vibration when milling through the fins and the jig didn't last past the first hole. In fact the jig came apart and the hole became elongated.

    So today I decided that a more substantial jig was needed. I knocked up a new jig using 6mm plate and drilled it to accept the head in the two orientations required for machining the inside and outside holes. The head simply bolts to the plate using the rocker shaft bolts or through the mounting holes - depending on which side you are drilling from. I also allowed some clearance from the side to make it easier to clamp to the table. The initial wooden version could only be clamped from the rear which was not too great.

    I tested it by boring the second hole on the test head, the result was much better. No movement, vibration massively reduced and a much cleaner cut. With the machining completed for the spark plugs the only thing I have left to do it tap the threads. I'll need to get an M10x1mm tap for this as I only have regular M10x1.25's.

    I also spent a bit more time evening up the chambers and un-shrouding the valves. I'm still waiting for new valve guides to arrive so cannot cut the valve seats yet which is a bit annoying as I really want to cc the heads to find out where I am. I have a feeling that I still need to remove a bit more material to get the compression ratio where I want it but will hold off until the valves are fitted and the heads cc'd. (it's easy to remove material but not so easy to add it if I go too far.) I also added a second set of Singh grooves pointing towards the second plug.

    So the heads are really not too far off from being finished. I'm (mostly) happy with the porting (maybe a bit more from the exhaust floor), the chambers are reasonable considering that it's a stock casting with no welding and the machining for the second set of plugs was a success.

    I think that I'm just going to fit these heads back on to the stock motor and run them. I've ordered a bunch of stuff to build up a 1776 which leaves me with a 1600 long block doing nothing so I might as well put these heads back on it and do some more dyno testing. The new cam will go into an AS41 case that I have along with the counterweighted crank, a new set of 80.5 P&C's, a new set of 4140 H-beam rods and a new pair of heads. If the dyno testing shows some reasonable figures I'll buy some new stock heads and port them myself, else I might invest in a set of Panchitos.
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  • Spent a bit of time out in the workshop today. I fly-cut the other head and cut in the Singh grooves using a modified file. I previously used a Dremel but the slots were not uniform so I heated up and bent a triangular file and used that instead. The finish is much better now and it is much... Spent a bit of time out in the workshop today. I fly-cut the other head and cut in the Singh grooves using a modified file. I previously used a Dremel but the slots were not uniform so I heated up and bent a triangular file and used that instead. The finish is much better now and it is much easier to align the slots so that they point directly at the spark plug.

    I also drilled the holes for a second set of plugs. I did this on a scrap head just in case, but they went in really easy. The main purpose of the exercise was to make sure that the alignment was good and that the spark plugs cleared the push rod tubes. All I need to do now is to counter bore the holes from the opposite side to form the seat for the spark plug. I also need to get hold of a set of 10mm spark plugs to test everything out with.

    I cleaned up my new heads today to discover that one head had cracks. Could have sworn that they weren't there when I bought them. Guess I did not check close enough. At any rate, one head was okay. I'll pair this with the one head that I have that is also okay. Only issue is one is a type 3 and one is a bug head which means the inlet ports are massively different. Nothing that a little time with the Dremel cannot fix. Managed to get one port done, will do the other tomorrow.
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  • The last bit of work I managed to get done was to knock up a jig for adding a second pair of spark plugs...
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  • As well as doing a bit of work on the engine I also decided to fit the adjustable spring plates that I got from Pat Brown.

    My old spring plates were only supposed to be a temporary measure and were more than a bit of a hack job (just check out the photos to see what I mean), so it was long...
    As well as doing a bit of work on the engine I also decided to fit the adjustable spring plates that I got from Pat Brown.

    My old spring plates were only supposed to be a temporary measure and were more than a bit of a hack job (just check out the photos to see what I mean), so it was long overdue that they were replaced. Swapping the old and new spring plates was pretty straight forwards with the only real 'issue' being that the brake line to the caliper runs through a hole in the old spring plate so the spring plate needed to be cut to remove it. The new spring plates are slotted to accommodate the brake line. Once fitted I took some time to set the height so that I could measure up for new rear shocks. One of the rear shock bolts had come undone causing some damage to the shock. These are stock length units and are too long so it's time for some new ones to go along with the new spring plates.

    For future reference, with the rim level with the wheel arch the shock length is 15 1/2"

    I can totally recommend Pats spring plates and the other VW goodies that he makes. Top quality gear.
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  • Did a fair bit of work over the long weekend, just haven't had a chance to post it yet.

    First thing I did was to make a an arbor and cutter for decking heads. I considered buying one already made, they're not really that expensive, but decided to make one. For me this is half the fun of...
    Did a fair bit of work over the long weekend, just haven't had a chance to post it yet.

    First thing I did was to make a an arbor and cutter for decking heads. I considered buying one already made, they're not really that expensive, but decided to make one. For me this is half the fun of tinkering with old cars. Not just the job itself, but making the tools to do the job. I turned down some aluminium stock to fit a steel spigot. I then milled to the aluminium arbor to accept standard HSS tool stock. I ground the tool stock with a 5 degree clearance on the face and underside. I left the end of the tool as it was but the cut finish dod not come out too great on the internal diameter so will regrind this.

    The results were acceptable. a small amount of noise from the cut, mostly as my mill does not go slow enough but the finish is easily good enough and will make a nice seal with some minor lapping.

    I also fitted the exhaust valve seats into the head. I stored the seats in the deep freeze overnight and heated the heads up on the BBQ. The seats tapped in nice and easy. I then started to cut the seats but was not happy with the play in the valve guide. I initially thought this okay but after cleaning everything up there is a little too much play with the valve in the guide. I've got some new ones on order so will wait until I've fitted those before finishing the seats off
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  • So a few steps forwards followed by a few steps backwards. Picked up some stainless valves and a 69mm counterweighted crank at the weekend. My valve seat cutters arrived and I finished porting the heads so was pretty much on track for finishing off the heads this weekend. That was until I... So a few steps forwards followed by a few steps backwards. Picked up some stainless valves and a 69mm counterweighted crank at the weekend. My valve seat cutters arrived and I finished porting the heads so was pretty much on track for finishing off the heads this weekend. That was until I noticed that there were cracks in the exhaust chamber bowls. Hadn't noticed this before as the bowls were pretty dirty and it is not an area that needs material removed so they only showed up after I gave the ports a bit of a sand and polish.

    Not put off I decided to try and weld the ports, I prepped the outside of the crack and managed to get some beads laid down but just could not get a bead to take inside the port. After a few attempts I gave up.

    I ended up moving on to another spare pair of heads that I had (the test heads) figuring that I could simply replace the recessed exhaust seats once the porting was finished. So I ported these and researched removing and fitting exhaust seats. In the process I discovered that the seats are made from a variety of materials including 4140. As I had some 4140 I decided to make up my own ports. All I need to do not is fit them.

    Something else I decided to have a go at is making my own flow bench. I didn't get too far but did manage to make a pressure take off point from an old spark plug - basically remove the insides and then tap for 3/4" NPT and fit a barbed fitting. Still left to do is make the manometer and a calibration plate to allow me to be able to map the characteristics of the bench which will allow me to read in CFM. Will be interesting to see what these heads flow.
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