Chirco Builds a 1904cc Aircooled VW Engine….Then drives to Cali with it!
So…it turns out that in addition to whatever it is I do here at Chirco.com, I’m also an ok car artist. I was able to land an art for parts deal and my client sent me some of the parts I needed to turn my 1776cc into a 1904cc engine. That’s all fine and dandy when that kinda thing happens to an artist that is also a engine builder, but that is not the case with me. I am not a mechanic…I do not posses that skillset. I am not mechanically inclined. I am not capable of building an engine. I can draw the snot out of one though…go figure. So…I had parts, but little clue as to what to do with them.
That being the case I walked into Joe Chirco’s office, closed the door and proceeded to beg like there was no tomorrow. Actually it was Joe who thought it would be cool to put together an engine and then drive it to California and back. That’s about 1000 miles round trip across 2 deserts. The VW Classic presented a great “reason” so Joe said “go for it!!”
This shot was taken right after my car got into the shop and on the lift. When Bob opened the decklid it was nothing like the case with the golden glow in Pulp Fiction. It sounded more like Tales from the Crypt and I think a bat flew out.
Bob turned to me and cast the look of disappointed mechanic upon me. It was kinda like the look your teacher gave you when she handed you back the test that you clearly didn’t study for. I should keep my engine cleaner so the look was deserved. Here you can see what they were starting with. The engine size was 1776cc. I had it in the car for about 5 years. It was still pretty strong. Dual Weber 40 carburetors, full flow oil system, deep sump, electronic ignition and a few other goodies like an electric fuel pump, fuel pressure regulator, cool straw hat…etc.
After pulling the engine, the disassembly began. Here you can see my pistons and cylinders looking like they’re on time-out or somethin. It turns out that despite my engine’s dirty appearance, it was in pretty good shape. Many of the parts were donated to a local VW Club member who is putting them into an engine for his wife’s car. Pay it forward.
This is just a pic I took after Bob washed his hands. Actually Bob let me stage this. He is always mindful and does a good job de-shopping before handling customer goods. I just thought it was funny.
Just in case you hadn’t figured out my art client. Great outfit to do work for. You can actually order CB products through Chirco.com. Chirco has great relationships with all of their vendors and many other businesses in the industry.
After having my case cleaned, something bad was discovered. If you look close in the blue marker area, you can see the crack in my case. There was no repair, no quick fix, so…..
…”Say hello to my Magnesium Case!” (Note: If you say that like Tony Montana…it’s pretty fun. :)). Fortunately Chirco.com had one in stock like they do a lot of stuff. Joe said “If you’re gonna do it right…do it right.”
This is another one of those “Just cause it’s cool” shots. I could get into the lighting and use of negative space and how it emotionally affects the viewer…they teach you stuff like that in Art School. If you learn mumbo jumbo like that you can get VW parts sent to you. Try it!
Next John set the case on the mill to step out clearance for the pistons and cylinders. A stock case fits an 85.5mm. By increasing the opening to 90.5mm if you kept a 69mm crank you would have just turned your 1600cc into a 1776cc. What a difference 5mm makes!
The requisite lifter shot. All the cool kids do this.
Here’s a shot of the crankshaft after it got dropped in.
From this overhead side shot you can see the rods, and the lifter clips.
Next the guys CC’d the heads. That means they measure the CC’s using the tool we have and then they figure out the deck height on the pistons and cylinders. Once you have all the numbers, you can use one of many calculators to figure out your compression. Here’s one I found just by searching “engine displacement compression calculator”
Though this may look like Bob is practicing his washtub bass routine, he is actually installing the pressure relief plugs. I want you to take a close look at his hands….see??!! Told ya so.
Here’s a look at the new Pistons and Cylinders. You may be wondering why they have a sharpie there. I was. I’m thinkin “wait….is John and artist and a mechanic??!! Damnit!!” Turns out that sometimes they will mark the pistons if the arrows that indicate the direction to the flywheel are too light…..and they draw caricatures of target=”_blank”>1950’s cabaret singers on them too.
Ahhh…new heads. I have been told that heads make all the difference when it comes to power. I don’t know that to be true, but I do know that Chirco carries a wide range of heads for just about any aircooled vw application.
During this stage of assembly Bob Kinda looked like the GNK Power Droid that got it’s feet burnt in Jabas palace. I told Bob that and he gave me that “dirty engine” look again.
This is the GNK view from the other side. Pretty cool to see it get to this stage so fast.
Next they put in the Magna Spark distributor and started the top end assembly. The RTV is used in addition to the gaskets. It helps add a little extra sealing as the metal surfaces of different parts are not always perfectly smooth…plus the red really works for me.
This is a shot of the oil extension for the deep sump. Having that extra quart and a half of oil helps…especially out here in super duper hot Arizona.
Here’s the new pully with a touch of red…yay!
John towed Mistie (my car) to the car wash and gave her innards a cleansing before the engine went back in.
If you tilt your head and drink a lot of cough syrup, it kinda looks like a space station docking port. Actually it’s just the cleaned up transmission.
I have seen many VW people that have pop cans or beer cans as their coil covers. It’s a look preference kinda thing. I dig it so I took a Chirco.com coil cover and had my buddy at a local sign shop make me a super cool 3M Tomato Soup can label. It fit on the coil cover perfectly. Thanks Chris!!
Here’s a shot of the full flow oil lines. I also had John install my external 12v oil cooling kit. I knew I was going on a long trip, it was a good time to get it put in. See the trip stats later in this post.
Here you can see Bob installing the carbs and the breather box. After that it was almost done.
Bob and Mike installed the decklid and……
…IT WAS DONE!!!! I was sooooooo happy at this point. Next they started it in the car (yes it had been fired up on the engine stand.) This is still the first start in the car though.
So…how did it go on the trip to California and back? Frekkin amazing!!! Trip total was over 1500 miles. I averaged 26mpg doing between 72-80mph on the freeway. Oil temp never went above 220degrees even though it was seriously over 110 degrees out at times. I had no issues with the engine at all. No leaks, no sputters, no stalls. Now…some of the towns in the L.A. area I will never drive in again as their roads were not really “lowered car” friendly but other than that…flawless.
I need to take a minute to thank Bob, John and Isaac for all their help and expertise out in the Chirco service center. You guys are great!
The whole engine build only took a few days to a week. If you are interested in getting an engine built, contact the guys at Chirco.com 800-955-9795. They can give you a time and cost estimate based on how busy the shop is and what it is you would like them to build.