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Fat and Greasy: Badunkadunk Repairs
March 12, 2003
The Virginia Vanagon Overhaul

For two weeks in March, we wore (are wearing) out our welcome at Anthony's brother's (and his family's) house in Richmond, VA. The original project: new engine. The eventual reality (and still counting): new engine (rebuilt), new transmission (rebuilt), new clutch, updated shift linkage, new front seat upholstery, auxilliary battery system (pending), alarm (pending), new floormats, new back left bumper end, new thermo-time plug end, repack CV joints, touch-up paint scratches, wash and wax.

Of course basic tune-up was included, new rotor, distributor cap, wires, spark plugs, intake and exhaust manifold gaskets, belts, oil, air and fuel filters and a spiffy new shift knob.

Oh, and while we were at it, we painted most of the engine sheet metal to make it look extra special and degreased and polished just about every single part, even the heat exchangers which were, who would've guessed it, silver under all that black crud.

I'm planning to write up some of these procedures, though not necessarily step-by-step as many have done so already, so check back. I'll try to pass along the little things I learned that weren't in any of the books and so on like that.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for good resources for this kind of job, check out Sean Bartnik's excellent, accurate and concise article here (Sean also has great stuff on the fuel injection which was very useful, as well as many other well-written and very helpful articles). I also used the Haynes manual extensively (good photos), wading through the extreme use of British words. "Renew the gasket. Take care not to hit the tyre with your jacks-a-donut pram spam pram absolute pants." Also tremendously useful was How to Rebuild Your Volkswagen Air-Cooled Engine by Tom Wilson (even better photos). I didn't rebuild mine, but next time I will. Tom's instructions for removing, stripping, refitting and installing the engine were very nice.

There will be more. I'll type it up as soon as my knuckle stops bleeding.