WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Big lumps of metals and spanners.

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mm289
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WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

Hi,

so I am going to completely strip down and (hopefully) rebuild the 2.1 DJ in our camper and thought y'all might be interested in following my progress!

Intention is to make this thread as informative as possible as a thanks for all the info you peeps on the forum have given me since buying the van

Normal rules apply, any advice, thoughts, suggestions, free parts gratefully accepted!

Doing this alongside other work so will try to break the posts down into logical sections to keep the updates going (and save me from RSI whilst typing!!)

History
This is Gunther, purchased on 2.1.11 as our first foray in Vdub land.
Image
Been camping/trailer tenting etc all our lives, parents had loads of motorhomes including a Bilbo but this was our first time. Finances meant it had to be a "project" so was bought knowing it had some bodywork needed and with an engine that was clattering a bit.

On the upside we have loads of history and the van is really solid structurally and in pretty good nick inside - but this thread is about the engine, sooooo

Van is a 1989 Autosleeper with a 2.1 DJ mated to the 3 speed automatic. Van did 95k in first 5 years (may have been a company car) and then 35k in the last 16 years. Same owner for last 13 years and only done about 1k in the last 3 years.

The engine was replaced with an Elite VW unit in 2006 which has done approx 10k (more on this to follow..... )

When we bought it the van had been standing for 4 months and clattered a lot! Low on power which suddenly improved during the test drive (but still noisy) so suspected sticking hydraulic lifters or valves.

Survived the 35 mile drive home OK, pulled reasonably well, no smoke, maintained temperature etc so seemed reasonably solid.

Before stripping I ran the engine for 15 mins with a Wynns additive I use in the Yank motors (my other restoration work) for de-gumming hydraulic lifters etc, replced oil, filters, plugs etc.

Still clattered a lot , so figured this was not going to be a quick fix. Suspicions confirmed by a compression test that showed ~ 150 psi on #1, #2 & #3 but only 35 psi on #4, which sounded like it was loosing compression into the valve cover.

Decided at this point it was an engine out/rebuild job so started gathering info.
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mm289
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

Job #1 - research

Now as this is a forum what is the first thing you do when you need info on a job like this - submit a post?

Noooooooo, you look on the wiki

So here is the link on engine removal http://wiki.club8090.co.uk/index.php/Pe ... _refitting
.....and here is the link to general information about these engines http://wiki.club8090.co.uk/index.php/Ma ... rcooled.29

Then you post on the forum and get really helpful advice from people http://forum.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=37&t=79674 and if your really lucky an e-mail from Grun saying he has a copy of a couple of old articles published in volkswagencamper magazine by Laurie Petit on how to re-build WBX's and would I like a copy

If you want to do a bit more research you also look on Vzi at the thread Iain Ambrose did on building a 2.1 WBX for his Bug http://www.volkszone.com/VZi/showthread.php?t=353775 (its long but well worth the read and I think "Mucky Green " on Vzi is the aforementioned Laurie Petit )

You then search the shoptalk forum where our cousins across the pond do allsorts of wierd things to wasserboxers http://shoptalkforums.com/viewforum.php?f=37

And finally through a post on Brickwerks you find out about a chap called Marco Mansi who apparantly builds seriously quick WBX's and when you e-mail him offers, very nicely, to give you some advice on parts and stuff - and if it all goes horribly wrong will sell you one of his handbuilt units

Having done all this research (which took me a lot longer than it took you to read this thread) you then sit back and reflect on what a wonderful world Vdub ownership is and how nice all your new friends are ...and read the Haynes manual

Right - now its time to get the spanners out.
Last edited by mm289 on 27 Jan 2011, 21:21, edited 1 time in total.
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mm289
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

Job #2 - Engine removal

You know what the worst thing about having a fully equipped workshop with a 4 post ramp is?

When you buy a vehicle that won't fit in the blasted thing

So engine removal happens when it is freezing cold and pouring with rain. The only upside is my son helps, whilst sitting INSIDE the van POINTING OUT PIPES I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO DISCONNECT

Removal is pretty straight forward:
- Read link to wiki above and Haynes manual
- support rear of vehicle on axles stands or ramps (needed to be at least on 2nd position on my stands - fairly high to clear engine when sliding out)
- if (like me )you have just spent £40 on G12 antifreeze find a way of collecting it when you disconnect pipes!
- Undo all pipes, electrics etc and follow instructions in Haynes.
Only bit i missed was the heat shield that goes above the rear box on the exhaust - this is attached to the rear body cross member with 4 or 5 10mm bolts that are a pig to get at.

Then drop the engine onto a trolley jack, undo final bellhousing bolts and slide out. it helps to have someone help you balance the engine at this stage. (not quite as easy as a Hillman Imp, used to be able to get those out in 40mins, but it had a removable rear cross member and you did get lots of practice as they regularly overheated and needed head work )

You then manhandle it into your workshop where it is nice and dry and it looks like this!
Image

The heatshield is the big silver thing at the bottom of this picture. if you leave this on you dont have to fully remove the oil filler pipe btw. I don't know if it is easier to remove this from the engine prior to dropping the engine but i wanted to repair/paint it anyway so was happy to take it all out as a job lot.
Image

With the engine out the next job is to install it on your engine stand so it is nice and easy to work on,
Image
you can even sit down whilst on the job - oh, such luxury
Image

So, know you can work in the dry, listening to the footie on the radio and start removing all the ancilliaries
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

wot, no comments - not even a small word of encouragement

Job #3 - remove ancilliaries
So, now we have the engine in a workable place start stripping off all the ancilliaries.

Exhaust bolts are all badly corroded. Over a couple of days soaked all the visible engine nuts/studs in penetrating fluid. Don't use WD40 or similar as it isn't a penetrating fluid as such. PlusGas seems to get a lot of recommendations - US guys use products called Kroll and Liquid Wrench. Cant get Kroll (I may have spelt it wrong) in the UK but have some Liquid Wrench on order so will see what that is like when it gets here.

Got all the nuts of the engine exhaust studs except one which snaps - so will look at extracting that when rebuild starts. The bolts holding the manifold/knuckles/joints together were all rusted badly and wouldnt take a socket so used an angle grinder with a very thin metal cutting disc (0.8-1.0mm). These are brilliant for this sort of work as they are thinner than the gaskets used between joints so you can slip them in and cut the bolt without destroying the mating surfaces.

Eventually removed all the water pipes although some are badly pitted and will probably need replacing.
Image

Intake manifolds cam off easily and set aside for refurb before rebuilding and then it looked like this.
Image

Much easier to work on

Should have probably pulled the water pump, crank pulley and flex plat at this point but was impatient to get the heads off and see what was happening inside
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by Aidan »

good thread this, those of us who like the wbx are always happy to see them being rebuilt and I wish we had the clappy hand smilie on here to applaud your contribution, especially as you've done the research first and then bring it to the forum for others to benefit from

anything you want ordering from classicparts just ask, they have pretty much all the original parts for these engines it seems, apart from the 0.24 shim for the flywheel end float
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mm289
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

Job #4 - head removal

Started on the left hand side of the engine as you look at it from the back of the bus, these are cylinders 3&4 and 4 was the one with a suspected leaking exhaust valve - so seemed like a good place to start.

Rocker cover and shaft removed and it looks like an original VW head
Image

Be careful when you remove the valve gear/pistons/cylinders that you note which cylinder/valve they came from if you want to re-use.

Next undo the cylinder heads bolts in the reverse order to the tightening sequence. I use a T bar on a socket with the large end of my trolley jack handle slid over it for extra leverage. Took it easy and felt each nut give before it made a rather disconcerting cracking noise. "Cracked" all the nuts in sequence then went back and untightened them and voila.
Image

Liners stayed in the block and heads came off nice and cleanly. When inspected on the workbench the head actually looks in really nice condition - won't know till I pop out the valves and look at the seats but they look pretty new.
Image

Even the water seal looks in good nick - btw way engine had no fluid leaks prior to stripdown and just a little mayonaise in the oil which I put down to lack of use.

Bouyed by my success on the first head we swung into action on the other side.
Image

Oh! This one is an AMC (aftermarket) head. Made in Spain apparantly and some reckon the valves aren't all that strong.

Anyway, strip down the rocker cover and shaft again
Image

Crack off all 7 head nuts happily and then THE LAST NUT snaps - bugger, why is it always the last one
Image

Head comes off and leaves liners in the block like on the other side,
Image

ooh, don't like the look of all that oil in the bores - it could be just where I had tilted the engine to take the heads of the other side but I wouldn't have expected that much to seep past the rings Have to wait till I get the micrometer on those bores.

Again the heads look in remarkably good condition on the bench. As this was a recon unit I am guessing this AMC head has only done 10,000 miles so it should look good!
Image

Seems to be alot of residue around the valve gear though.
Image

Also can see that some of the heads studs are in decent condition - maybe put in new when the engine was reconditioned, and some have DEFINATELY BEEN RE-USED. Looks like they have stilson/grip marks on them. You can see the difference here.....
Re-used and damaged Image

Newish looking Image

And yes, it was an old damaged one that snapped

So, thats the heads off - next job to look at liners and pistons
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by AdrianC »

Really daft request... Could you take a quick pic and point out where the engine number's hiding? I can't find it for love nor money...
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by kevtherev »

It's under the casing breather tower. (black plastic cylindrical tower) and faces rearward
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

Thanks for the encouragement Aidan, i was beginning to feel a bit lonely out here

Will do Adrian, although if you are lucky someone might beat me to it with an answer. i can remember seeing it and thinking "oh, thats where it is" but can't remember where I saw it now

Cheers,

MM
Last edited by mm289 on 27 Jan 2011, 22:55, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by mm289 »

there you go, before I could even finish typing kev steps in
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by jason k »

good work and intresting thread
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by Ian Hulley »

Nice to see this being documented, when I did ours I never thought of taking photos

Thanks, Ian
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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by AdrianC »

kevtherev wrote:It's under the casing breather tower. (black plastic cylindrical tower) and faces rearward

Thanks. Too flippin' cold this morning to go hunting - but I'll be servicing it tomorrow - I'll have a rummage...
A year and a half living in a Westy hightop... http://www.WhereverTheRoadGoes.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by Ian Hulley »

kevtherev wrote:It's under the casing breather tower. (black plastic cylindrical tower) and faces rearward

Here ya go ... Image

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Re: WBX 2.1 DJ re-build (with pictures!)

Post by Cruz »

Don't over look a new o-ring for the crankcase breather tower

Locked