September 2, 2003

Yesterday was Labor Day, and it was quite miserable out. I was planning on starting the brake job, but I figured that was best saved until a nice day when I could just take the whole day to do it. Instead I changed the oil. I took off the drain plate and found a layer of shiny, sparkly paste. I guess it’s a good thing I’m changing the oil so soon after the top-end rebuild. I planned to do it this soon anyway, since I didn’t know how much crud I might have accidentally gotten in the engine, and I plan to do it again after my first drive around the neighborhood. I was reading some of the tech articles on Aircooled.Net last night, and I realized that the one thing I never did during the rebuild was gap the rings. This could prove to be a major mistake. The article said the rings come tight, and that you have to slowly shave off progressive amounts of material until they are within spec. I’m not sure how tight my rings might be. They didn’t seem to slide in the cylinders with any amount of difficulty, so I don’t know how bad off I could be. I’m wondering if I should take everything apart again. I’ll probably leave it as is and hope for the best, and will consult the list to see how bad I futzed up here. If it turns out to be OK, all I have to do next is the brakes and then I can try to take Wilson for a quick drive. I still have to make sure all the nuts and bolts are torqued down well since the engine start and rev. Plus, I should adjust the valves once again. After I get the car insured and registered, I plan on taking it to a local aircooled VW guy to get it inspected and I think I’ll have him go through everything to do a quick check, and especially check the suspension components. I’m not ready to get into that quite yet. I’m looking forward to getting the car out in the open where I can get started on other work like cleaning out the airbox,… stuff like that.