Assisting with a Porsche 914 engine rebuild, Part 2

I’ve some catching-up to do in reporting on progress with Ron’s Porsche 914 engine, as I’ve made two subsequent visits to his place since my initial report.

To briefly recap: Ron bought a derelict 914 many years ago, only to discover that its engine was junk. He purchased a spare motor, and invited me to join in the festivities. We’re on equal ground, because neither of us has ever rebuilt an air-cooled VW or Porsche engine before. To quote Ron: “What could go wrong?”

The good news is, we are still in the disassembly phase, and as anyone who has attempted any kind of project can tell you, taking something apart is easy, compared to putting it all back together (and expecting it to operate).

During my 2nd visit, we were able to remove the rocker arm assemblies, pushrods, cylinder heads, and cylinders (jugs). Ron kept reminding me that he wasn’t too concerned about the condition of all these parts, as he has already purchased new replacements for all of them. However, one issue that is keeping me concerned is that we started with a 1.8L engine (I think), we are now working on a 1.7L engine (I think), yet the new parts are for a 1.8L, as that’s what Ron thought he’d be rebuilding until discovering that it had been stored in a pond. Hey, we’ll figure it out. (If you have any familiarity with the similarities and differences between the 1.7 and 1.8 914 engine, please drop me a line.)

 

Rocker arm assembly prior to removal

 

One cylinder head off the crankcase

 

Condition of valves is unknown but unimportant, as new heads will be used

 

Pushrod tubes required force to remove, as prior rebuilder glued o-rings (known leak point)

 

We reasoned that once unbolted, cylinders should slide right off

 

And they did, exposing pistons and rings

During that same visit, we had intended to remove the flywheel, but we lacked the exact tools we needed (½” drive impact sockets). During my all-too-brief 3rd visit, I brought the required sockets with me, but, even with an air impact gun, the final flywheel bolt would not budge. We worked it so hard that its corners started to round off, so cooler heads prevailed, and we left it alone until a Plan B arises from the pond….

The blue wrench is again utilized in a vain attempt to remove final flywheel bolt

At my urging, Ron did buy a set of snap ring pliers, and they came in handy when removing the snap rings, two per cylinder, one on either side of each piston pin. With those out, the pins were easily knocked free with a drift and hammer, and all the pistons were removed.

With access hindered in places, Ron still managed to reach all 8 snap rings

 

Ron eyes connecting rod bolts, ponders bearing replacement

 

I informed Ron that I had a busy August coming up, so in the interim, he had some decisions to make:

  • If the flywheel bolt can’t be removed, what is our next course of action? Just leave it be? He was leaning in that direction.
  • With pistons removed, the con rod bolts are accessible, and Ron was considering replacing the con rod bearings (but not the crank bearings). He was actively mulling that over.
  • While he had previously purchased a complete engine gasket kit, was he certain that it had everything we needed for reassembly? He was going to inventory that kit.

Since that 3rd visit, Ron emailed me with an update: he had purchased a set of bolt extractors, “guaranteed to remove the most stubborn rounded-off bolts”, so he was engaged in that exercise. I hope to get back to wrenching on this engine within the next week or two, but I’ve got the Alfa brakes to tackle, and that’s a project (and a story) that will take me through most of the remaining driving season.

 

All photographs copyright © 2019 Richard A. Reina. Photos may not be copied or reproduced without express written permission.