| June/July 2001

VBS Engine

118 N. Glenwood Ave., Orlando, FL 32803. georgefair@earthlink.net

I had just put the finishing touches on my 'basket case' engine. It looked great and ran well, but this was the middle of May. In Florida, most of the swap meets are in the winter, when the weather (normally) is excellent for outside engine shows. The long hot summer is almost here, and I have run out of rusty iron to clean up while sitting in the shade of the big oak tree in my back yard. My wife reminds me that help is needed at chuech to build a boat for Vacation Bible School. The VBS teachers had empty refrigerator boxes for construction material. I worked on the project with others, but my mind was on my next engine. I had some ideas for building an engine, but with my limited selection of power tools, it would be a challenge. Some of my self induced restrictions were to use scrap and used parts with no welding, milling or lathe turning. The only power tools that I had was a drill press, a belt sander, a portable electric drill and a Dremel tool. I had no plans or drawings.

'Curbside Parts Supply' (trash piles) is my source for angle iron. Just before the metal was put on the trash pile, it was recognized as a bed frame, but now it will be a frame and braces for the engine. Perhaps this project will help clean up some my accumulation of junk.

On Saturday morning I went to R & S Performance, a diverse Volkswagen repair shop, to visit with Big Daddy and Scooter. I told them of my ideas and asked if they had anything in their scrap barrel that I could use. They offered a head with valves, two connecting rods, two wrist pins, one cylinder and a piston complete with rings. At last I had a project engine to work on.

The dual port head was from a 1600cc VW, and had a crack from the spark plug hole to the intake valve on one cylinder. A hacksaw was used to get rid of the cracked half of the head, while carefully leaving the intake port on the 'good side' in tact. The valves were removed and new retainers that would work with weak springs were fabricated out of copper tubing and inch copper sweat joint caps.

Three of the cooling fins were hack-sawed off on the cracked side of the VW head. This part had the flat surface needed to give the bottom end of the cylinder a flat mounting surface, and functioned like a large washer. The bottom of the cylinder was supported with angle brackets. The VW head was supported with a short piece of aluminum channel, and would be mounted to a frame as soon as I could determine the overall size.