Engine back OUT

In our last episode we noted a bit of brake fluid seepage from the right front caliper and some adjustment trouble with the hydraulic clutch. Well.

After futzing around with it for a couple days I got the idea to just manually lever the clutch in. It did not go well.

Turns out, what I thought was the “free play” of the lever arm was actually its full travel. The arm was going to the end of its travel without touching the pressure plate, because I put the clutch together without a crucial bit of hardware, rendering the hydraulic arm actuator useless.

This is a thing with old VWs. The really old ones (like pre 1972) require the pressure plate springs to be bound up in a kind of collar. The throwout bearing pushes on that collar and you disengage the clutch.

The merely old ones have an improved system that involves a sort of tube surrounding the trans input shaft. The throwout bearing ( a different type than the newer models) rides on that, and the ends of the bearing engage the clutch fingers directly, as in most modern cars.

In my defense: the Spyder’s clutch came that way, new style, and it worked in its previous application: a Speedster. The one in Bridget looks just like it and works fine.

Then again: when I put that clutch in Bridget I made the same mistake, only in reverse. That clutch came with the part I need for this one. I mistakenly installed it, it jammed up the engine, I removed the engine and trans, took it out, and then it worked.

This is the part, as it appeared in my hand five short years ago:

I scoured my spares collection for it on Wednesday. I know I must have kept it, as I keep just about every fool thing. But of course I couldn’t find it. So I ordered another one for $22. It’ll get here next week.

Mean time, we gotta get to it. I called my buddy Cory, who has some experience assembling 1:1 scale plastic models of iconic sports cars. He drove up from Annapolis this am to help me pull the Spyder’s drivetrain back out. It went fairly smoothly.

By early afternoon we were cleaning up the shop and trying to get it a bit more organized.

I’ll be sorting tools for the next few days, and maybe getting back into the interior work. With any luck I’ll be able to put the engine back in next weekend or the one after that.




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