With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

Oh, THOSE bolts

2011 January 20 08:19

Good news on the vintage Beetle front. After pulling the engine a couple of months ago, I've retorqued the cylinder head bolts and now I'm putting the engine back togther for re-install. Here's the engine as far apart as I got it. The valve covers are off and the rocker assemblies removed, to get a all the head bolts at once.

Here's the engine a few days ago. I stopped the re-assembly because I was a bit worried about some oil that was building up on the front left corner of the engine, under the oil cooler. I was worried that the oil cooler was leaking, and the time to replace it is when the engine's out and dis-assembled anyway. However, advice I've received is that oil coolers don't drip oil; when they have a leak it's a hemmorage. So this last weekend I went to take off the oil cooler to test it. The cooler is the sticky-up thing that's wrapped with orange foam on one side. There are bolts on the bottom that I'm going show up close in a minute.

Here's a close-up of the base of the oil cooler.

The green dots mark the edges of a piece of sheet metal that's sometimes known as "the Hoover bit". It provides a place for the fan shroud to bolt to, and forms an air dam to keep air going around the oil cooler. My hoover bit is broken, there's an arm missing that's supposed to wrap around to the left side as seen in this picture. I've replaced that functionality with a piece of sheet Aluminum that I bent to shape, which is marked with red dots. Both the original hoover bit and my sheet Aluminum patch are held on by the nuts indicated by the yellow arrows.

When I got to think about removing the oil cooler to test it, those nuts were the first things I took off. They were barely tightened on at all. When I last assembled the engine, I must have thought that their only job was holding on those two pieces of sheet metal. What I didn't realize is those nuts are also two of the three fasteners that hold the oil cooler on to the engine! The ends of those threaded studs aren't part of the oil cooler, they are attached to the engine and those nuts also hold the oil cooler itself in place. Here's the oil cooler pulled most of the way off:

So basically my problem was that the bolts that provide the tension to keep the oil cooler sealed against the engine weren't torqued properly at all, and so oil was seeping out of the joint. Which is excellent news. So I cleaned up the sealing surfaces, put new seals in the space, put the oil cooler back on, and this time torqued it properly. I'm hoping that will resolve the issue.

One night this week I got back to putting on sheet metal and assembling things. I got the inner sheet metal shrouding and the crank pulley on. Here's when things stand now:

Next is the intake manifold and the fan shroud and generator.

Graphing real data

2011 January 08 10:37

I'm not going to say that there aren't enough graphs in the world. I there are probably too many, in fact. They are, frankly used to obscure information as much as illuminate it. I obviously can't change that in a day (or at all for that matter); all I can do is use well here and let the rest fall where it does.

This is a graph of my flying time since I started in 2006. The spot marked "C-150" is when I got signed off to fly my club's Cessna 150 and likewise with it's Cessna 172. I like that in the last two years the trend is sharply up. :-)

Apart, then back together again

2011 January 06 07:55

covers November-December 2010

Since I was fighting with blog software for a lot of 2010 (and still am, although it's coming together) I missed blogging a lot of stuff. I had some stuff late in the year to blog about--but I forgot to take the camera with the latest photos stored with me for Christmas, so I didn't get caught up then.

Anyway...I got 500-ish miles on the vintage beetle since putting the engine back together, so it was time to pull the engine and re-torque the heads. This is apparently something that you do to engines with Aluminum heads. I pulled the engine in November, and in December got it all taken apart and re-torqued the heads, for what should be the final time for 60,000 miles or so.

The good news is, the nuts holding the heads on didn't move at all, which is great. So now I need to put the engine back together and in the car. The lingering issue is what to do about the oil cooler--I suspect it's leaking a bit, but I'm not sure. I will hopefully work on it this Saturday before the Colts play.

This is the view of the garage with the engine farthest apart in mid-December:

Fortunately Fat Tire

2011 January 01 22:54

Christmas break/Vacation is almost done. :-(

I got a bunch of great stuff done this trip, including getting this blog software semi-operational. I've been busy the last couple of days; I need to finish my reading about how to use CSS to position elements on the page.

I did learn a few things about transitional html. I've done some reading about xhtml, and I think one of its precepts is that all tags must be closed. However, apparently, a lot of html tags CANNOT be closed. The way I found this out was using the w3c's (world-wide-web consortium's) web page validator.

I ran into a much more immediate physical last night (new-year's eve). On the way home driving (I was stone sober, for the record) I must have hit a freak rock because all of a sudden I got low tire pressure warning (the yellow thing in the lower left corner):

Then the car started beeping at me. My right rear tire was severly leaking. I parked the car and walked the rest of hte way home (1/2 a mile, maybe).

This morning I drove out and the spare on the right rear.

It turns out that 1) my car has a full-sized spare (which is nice); and 2) all the parts of the tire change kit are there and they work. So I will head back home, via another stop, and get the spare fixed when it's convenient.

Here's the car with the replacement on the right rear. It looks a lot different but it really is the same size.

My friend Henry, who also vacations in this area, has a vintage army jeep that he drives around this area. I think I knew he had it but I didn't realize that it was that old or that it was that type. He let me drive it around Thursday (he was with me the whole time) which was really fun. It's called a "Willy's Jeep" or an M38. It's just the sort of jeep that they drive in M*A*S*H.

The last paragraph and this one typed on a Frogpad keypad.