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Thread: An Unpleasant surprise - Running on 3 cylinders - To rebuild or renew?

  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default An Unpleasant surprise - Running on 3 cylinders - To rebuild or renew?

    Hi!

    I need some advice!

    After snapping a sway bar on the way back from a surf on a potholed road, a routine service and simple repair job has progressed to a nasty surprise. My 1975 Bay Microbus has been running on 3 cylinders. I believe one of them has no compression or something.

    It has actually been running very well for a while now (since the last set of problems anyway - not engine related, 8 or 9 months ago). So I was pretty surprised to hear the motor is bung. And not pleased, due to my current finances (also bung).
    Slightly pleased to know her current power is not her maximum power.
    Overall, displeased.

    The question is -
    to rebuild (obviously doing the things that need doing while your there, but not going overboard)
    or to buy a reco'd engine (and if so, where? how much)


    I have been researching the threads, and havent gained much clarity on what to do...

    Deets:
    It is an 1800, no mods that I know of, with 79 000kms on the clock, plus once around, but it may have been around more than once and so be actually 290 000kms, but I was told it only went once around, by a man with an honest face.
    It has gone through a full reco once before that I know of, in 2003 at 57,000km (ie 22 000km ago) according to the records.

    The invoice for that reco lists -
    engine bay seal, spark plugs, s/h camshaft, s/h vac unit, primer fillers etc, carb. rebuilt, engine mount, acc cable, air filter element, battery terminal

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Default

    I'm guessing it is a valve in cylinder 3 (front left ) if your motor has only done 79,000 I would just get a replacement 1800 head, new($550?) or reco (?) plus fitment unless you can DIY
    Cheers, Mike
    I don't have a bucket list I have a fu#kit list a mile long
    _______________________________________________
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    63 Micro bus DIY home resto

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Penna, Hobart
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    Default

    The rebuild list sound interesting. Primer filler? Sound more like it had a bit of a tidy up more than a rebuild although if it had the camshaft replaced it must have been pulled right down. Get the valve fixed. Means an engine out and bit of head work and then as Andrew said find out what caused it. Bit of homework for you.

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  4. #4
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    So replace one of the heads?
    Makes sense I guess, as the car has been driving fine. Seems crazy to do the whole engine over.

    with the fuel mix - I always use premium and additive. I havent noticed any changes in power since I have owned her which makes me suspect it had already happened??? Is that possible? I have owned the bus for nearly a year and notched up 15 to 20 000km.

    Thanks for the help Andrew, Adrian and Mike.

  5. #5
    Join Date
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    It is a pain and extra expense but with another second hand engine you might end up with a similar or worse problem and be back where you started.

    Good luck

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mordred View Post
    It is a pain and extra expense but with another second hand engine you might end up with a similar or worse problem and be back where you started.

    Good luck

    Adrian
    I agree, this is exactly what happened with Monty, bought what was said to be a fully rebuild ready to go 2nd hand engine...... all it was good for was a sea anchor Our mechanic salvaged a few parts from it and rebuild the original in the end.
    Lorraine

    HAPPY NOT HIPPIE
    '77 Bay Single Cab Ute 'Monty'
    '76 Bay campmobile 'Molly'
    '67 Splittie Panel 'Blue Bus'

  7. #7
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    After some investigation, I am pretty sure the destroyed engine we have acquired a month or so ago in another bus was caused at least in the most part by a set of worn carbs. I fitted them to another 2l to get it going and after fiddling with them found that the idle circuit control screw was wound in hard, so stopping any fuel air enrichment at medium to high revs. This was probably because the throttle body bushes were so worn to get it to idle you had to wind in the screw that far. As a result it was running lean at highway speed (due to the fact that even though it is called the idle circuit it forms part of the normal high speed running system) and number three valve overheated, burned and then broke, destroying the cylinder piston and head. As the proud owner of 2 properly rebuilt sets of carbs, not to mention after a lot of research and playing with the worn out ones, I highly recommend you get them properly set up and rebuilt as the cost of the rebuild, although not peanuts, is cheaper than a new engine. - not to mention the noticeable increase in power.

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  8. #8
    Join Date
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    Location
    Bracken Ridge, Qld
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    Kombi Guardian has seen this thread and offered the following:
    May only have a vacuum pipe off or a leaky connection which will give zero compression on No3. - I had similar problem on rebuilt motor

    Won't hurt to check this possibility
    Let me out when I call my name, IGOR is ALIVE
    Still known as Bert

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    sunshine coast
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    The parts list on prev repair suggests a repair rather than reco. Thus dont be dissapointed if something else has decided to rear its ugly head.
    My suggestion would be find a very reliable and vw experienced mechanic who is well recomended in your vicinity. Get an assesment of what he thinks is wrong and his recomendation re fix and itemised quote for any options suggested. Take this away and think about it or get a second opinion as well.
    There may be a simple fix ,or it may need reco. You need a few tests done to ascertain what the condition of the engine is.
    Run the checks on simple fixes first as Bert suggests.
    Air leaks, Compression test for valves,rings,head gasket.
    Listen for excessive bearing, piston, cam ,lifter noise.
    As the cam has been replaced with a second hand unit its possible that it,or something associated, has failed.
    If cam is gone ,usualy best to consider a full reco.
    If valves, Worth installing a new head as long as everything else seems ok.
    Av cost to drop engine around $500
    Then heads ,gaskets, and probably a few hoses ,seals etc

    If you consider a second hand engine which may be in the $1000-1500 bracket[unless reco with reciepts] ensure that it can be heard running and checked before purchasing. It may be an option


    Good luck
    Remember ,check the simple things first and dont make a decision under duress. Take time to gather reliable advice
    cheers
    col
    Last edited by cbus; 08-01-2010 at 01:38 PM.

  10. #10
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    I concur. Well laid out explanation Col, much more logical than my ramblings, but along the same lines.

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  11. #11
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    sunshine coast
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1500king View Post
    In terms of unknown engines, I never assume it is good unless it can be heard running and I am allowed to test the oil pressure /compression. Therefore, they are all stuffed unless proven otherwise. This way, you are never disappointed and is well worth the effort as you soon find the dishonest sellers before any $ changes hands.
    Absoloutly

    cheers
    col

  12. #12
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    Finally did a check on the motor I pulled last week, compression around 130 on all except cylinder 1 with 50 (cold test not hot) . pulled the head and without dropping the valve out couldnt see any major problem. cylinder walls were clear and the piston crown with a little carbon on it like its neighbour, so I will try my spare head on it and see how if it goes up to the same compression level before I pull the whole thing down.. It has run well if quite very under powered so you saying that you might have had the problem when you bought it. Mine was still firing on the cylinder but with very little effect.

    If it all works out I will leave it in the shed as a spare if I have a problem. A goer rather than a perfect replacement.

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  13. #13
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    Yeah, I am thinking along the same line and this was an easy way to prove it.

    Adrian
    -------------------------------------------
    1975 Microbus Deluxe "Olive"
    1976 Microbus Deluxe "Millicent"
    (Pop Top Camper Conversion)
    1974 Microbus Deluxe "Matilda"
    (shell and parts donor)


    The best way to find a needle in a haystack is to set it on fire, then search the ashes with a magnet......

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Austinmer, NSW
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    Hi guys. Havent been on KC for a while, thought I would reply to this thread. Thanks for all your input! The Kombi Club brains trust was in fact correct in assuming a burnt valve. While I didnt notice any change in power, I did notice one day it started having less power before it had warmed up.

    Anyway apparently it was really far gone. The valve seat was not happy. It looked like the engine had been reco'd without replacing the heads so I got the heads replaced (and a few other things) by my very excellent mechanic, and got a sway bar from a wreck and the old girl is back on the road and going better than ever! My pockets are lighter though. The end. For now.

  15. #15
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    Perth WA
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    Don't feel bad about not noticing it was running on 3cyl, I've seen plenty of dubs still running surprisingly well despite being down a cylinder .
    Garth
    Sometimes I wonder...''Why is that frisbee getting bigger?''... And then it hits me.
    '72 V6 Lowlight see the rebuild here - http://www.osp.metrohosting.info/kombiv6.html
    '91 T3 - 2.1lt auto, I don't care I still call it a Kombi

  16. #16
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    i have definitely noticed a big improvement! haha

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