Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Updates on the Dahon and the Vanagon

It occurred to me the other day that I never updated the blog vis-a-vis my progress on the Dahon rebuild project. Well... it's done.

...more or less. Well, it's all reassembled, but it's been too cold and I've been too busy to do the final tuning and take it for a test ride. The biggest obstacle will be tuning the internally-geared 3-speed hub. But, I'll get to it soon.

I've been working on the van's new engine these past weekends. I cleaned it up this past weekend, after stripping off the intake manifold and accessories:

My first load of parts arrived this week, so I'll be doing more work this weekend. I'm waiting until I'm sure there won't be any more snow before I pull the old engine out of the van. The logic is this - aside from dealing with the cold... when it snows, I need to have all my cars off the street and in the driveway. The garage may not be tall enough for pulling the van's engine. I may need to do that outside. If so, and I need to wait for more parts, the van could be sitting outside on ramps for a week or more. It's been a warm winter (55-ish in Boston today), but that doesn't mean we're out of the woods. If the van is sitting outside, then there MAY not be enough room to park everything.

This weekend I'll be measuring my jackstands, the ceiling height in the garage, and the height of the engine. If I can, I'll pull the old engine with the van still in the garage, which will also speed the project up.

Also, I randomly picked up a new project last week. Now that the Dahon is "done," I found another folder - a 1990s Fuji Marlboro promo folding bike. I'm saving this project for when I have nothing else to do:

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Coming soon to a road near you... again

Well, life has a way of surprising us sometimes, doesn't it?

As you know (if you've been reading along these past few months), the Vanagon died way back in October. The bottom end of the engine finally just got tired and wore out on me. That, or the oil pump went and took the bearings with it. Either way, the damage was done.

I contemplated what to do next. Eventually, I got my Mercedes 220D project running again, and put the Vanagon into the garage, presumably for long-term storage until I could afford an engine swap. I even sold the 220D and used the proceeds to start my "Save the Vanagon" fund. As best I could figure, it would be a few years before I could afford to swap in a Subaru EJ22 engine or a Bostig Ford Zetec.

Last week, somewhat randomly, I ran across a local ad on Craigslist... for a good-running VW Vanagon 2.1L waterboxer longblock... cheap. Apparently, it was a running takeout from an engine swap, and I knew the seller already. Well, 24 hours later (give or take a bit) that engine was loaded in the back of the Legacy and I was headed home.

I haven't done much yet, aside from moving the engine out of the Subaru and into the garage. I start this weekend.

The engine is out of an automatic, so I'll need to swap out the flexplate for my clutch and flywheel (from my engine, which is still very much mounted in my van), as well as some other ancillaries which are much newer on my engine. But, I should be rolling again long before the summer.

I know I swore up and down that I wouldn't be putting another VW engine back in, but I couldn't pass it up at this price. This keeps me rolling until I can afford a proper engine swap.