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Copyright 1997, by Harry Pellow, All Rights Reserved.


.....It was one of those Tragic Stories- a poor, sweet, innocent, naive young man suddenly faced with his father's death, and the inheritance of a 356C Porsche.

.....The poor guy even advertised the poor car for sale, and the Maestro just happened to see the ad, and a short time later, the poor car.

.....At first the Maestro was encouraged, for the car be in the High Hills of Altos, a very nice place to be- where nice 356's play happily in the idyllic hills.

.....But when the Maestro saw the car it was and had been stored under a car cover, outside, in the rain for a DECADE!

.....With Great Trepidation, the Maestro gingerly opened the Driver's door. And gazed upon Entirely New Life Forms inhabiting the interior. There were molds and mildews the Pentagon had never heard of- on every piece of what used to be Upholstery. On what used to be chrome there were rusty, bumpy, sometimes shiny, green evil-looking deposits. Obviously Vulcan.

.....There was no way the Maestro was gonna enter this habitat of things unknown- after all he saw a lot of Monster Movies when he was a kid and besides, there was nothing of value inside anymore.

.....The Maestro eyeballed the engine- a 1964 356C. Old. Ugly. But great fodder for the Maestro's Rebuild Program. And the 356C Transmission is certainly usable. But as a restoration project- no way, Jose.

.....The Maestro passed on the car, but got to know the owner's son who had inherited the car. The son was a Professional Juggler, and a pretty good one too, for the Maestro had him perform at a party or two later on.

.....Anyhow, that was the last the Maestro thought about the car until a few days ago, when the Juggler called the Maestro up. Seems as though the Juggler had met a 356 Prophet when he was trying to sell the car. And the 356 Prophet convinced him to RESTORE the car, not sell it. And, of course, the 356 Prophet just happened to know how to get everything done.

.....Unfortunately, the 356 Prophet turned out to be a FALSE Prophet- one who announces what an Expert he is for all to hear, but who has probably never done it personally! Said False Prophet convinced the Juggler and his sister (the joint heirs to the 356) to Restore the Jewel to perfection.

.....Twenty Thousand Dollars later, the Juggler calls the Maestro.

....."Maestro here, said the Maestro.

....."Hi. I'm the Juggler and I FINALLY got my engine back from the False Prophet. He dropped it off at my house one day when I wasn't there!

.....(Geez, thought the Maestro- that's not a Good Sign when your engine rebuilder drops your engine off at your house when you aren't there, rings the bell and LEAVES! Beats feet back to his VW van and screeches three millimeters of rubber as he drives off down the road!)

....."But," continued the Juggler. "It's missing a lot of parts and is STILL not together. Could you please finish it off and get it running?

.....The Maestro, always looking for New Challenges, but wary of the Terrible Troubles Turkeys can get you into said, said:

....."Sure. I'll get it running- if it's possible to do so- or tell you why it won't run. Bring it on down."

.....Which the guy did the next day. And what a sight it was! A Glorified Turkey. That's when a Turkey rebuilds a 356 engine, but tries to gussey it up a lot. Like Brazen Hussies, Turkeys invariably mess up the color combinations or chrome plate all the sheet metal, or Cad plate it or use Plaid with Stripes or something equally awful.

.....This one was no exception- how about two DIFFERENT "Blacks" use for the sheet metal- Gloss black AND Flat black on opposite side, mirror-image sheet metal pieces! Wow, Man, like that's Far Out. Far Out UGGGGGGGLLLLYYYY!

.....How about the Gold Plated Generator Shroud- normally a Good Idea, but on a Fan Shroud that's painted Silver, it just doesn't look right! On a Fan Shroud painted in Gloss Black Powder Paint, the Gold Plated generator shroud looks GREAT!

.....And here we have a Cad II Gold-colored plated Generator Pulley, but with a Cad I, Silver Nut holding it on. Doesn't look right.

.....Either do it up in Gold consistently, like the 912's did, or do it up in Silver, like the 356's did, but don't MIX Silver and Gold- the eye won't like it! AC/DC may be OK in some places, but not here!

.....Besides the bad color combos, there were The Marks of the Turkey all over this one. The Case Perimeter Bolts had washers under their HEADS as well their nuts. The lifting lug was missing, of course. There were almost NO 6mm bolts used anywhere- instead all 6mm fasteners were screws. Porsche had a certain way of doing things-- all the Horizontal surfaces got the screws, and all the Vertical surfaces got the 6mm Bolts.

.....The Blue/Black RTV all over the base of the cylinders screamed VOLKSWAGEN MECHANIC at ear-piercing, pony-tail blasting levels! Sigh. thought the Maestro. I wonder what Demons lurk deep inside this one, just waiting to bite me?

.....The Maestro popped the Valve Covers to eyeball the valve train. Yes, it had the 356 valve train, but one side had the open oil holes in the exhaust rockers and the other side didn't! And, by Murphy, the #3/4 side- the side that needs oil the most- had the CLOSED oil holes in the rockers! And got the least oil! Turkeys must do this on purpose!

.....Since the Maestro had to remove practically all the sheet metal to take out the wrong fasteners and put in the right ones, and match the Powder Paint etc, he decide instead to fire this mother up in long-block form- just to see ifin we had any Serious Problems here.

.....There was NO sense spending a lot of time and money putting' all the nice stuff on it and THEN fire it up to find it has no oil pressure and a bad rod knock.

.....So, the Maestro quickly stripped off all the sheet metal except for the J tubes, Heater boxes and Muffler. He installed the Zeniths and hooked up a gas line between them. (Remember, there's no fan shroud.) Stuck on a fuel pump. Stuck in a Distributor. Hooked his oil pressure gauge to the end of the Oil Inlet line that would normally go to the Oil filter. (But, since the oil filter is on the fan shroud and the fan shroud was not on the engine, there was no oil filter either!)

.....Note that firing up a long block necessarily means that there is no fan belt attached! No fan belt means no cooling fan. No cooling fan means OVERHEATING! Which can happen in TWO MINUTES at 70mph on a hot day when you break the fan belt! You can actually see the Temperature Gauge needle MOVE! It's very scary.

.....BUT, you CAN run a 356/912 engine under idling conditions for two or three minutes without it getting excessively hot. That's enough time to check for oil cooler leaks, or cracked oil cooler stands, measure the oil pressure and set the timing. Then let it cool for an hour. Fire it up again and adjust the Carbs.

.....Though certainly not as good as running a complete engine on the Test Stand for an hour, the long block fire-up method is a good test to answer the Question:

....."Is it a Cracked Case or just a bad Oil Cooler that's causing the Big Oil Leak?"

.....So, the Maestro hooked up his 0-80 psi Oil Pressure gauge to the Oil Inlet Line of the oil filter, rolled his engine stand with the Juggler's engine attached, out the door of his shop, hooked up the 12 volt battery to the attached starter, fed the engine some gasoline by pumping a 356C pump with his hand to fill up the Carbs and lines.

.....Just about that time, the engine's owner, the Juggler walked through the Maestro's door. And the Maestro brought him over to his about-to-be-fired- up engine.

....."Why that's AMAZING, Maestro". Said the Juggler. It's taken the False Prophet three YEARS to get the engine even halfway built. But in just one DAY, you've got it ready to start up! How you do that?"

....."You just DO it, said the Maestro. You don't just talk about it. That's the Difference. Anyhow, if you'd like to stand over there and operate the Zenith's linkage arm, please feel free to do so."

....."How do I operate the linkage arm?" asked the Juggler.

....."Just goose the hell out of it until the engine starts, then let it go," said the Maestro. "Now, get ready."

.....And get ready the Juggler did. And the Maestro hit the 6-volt starter with the 12 Volt battery and it sprang into action, cranking that 356C over like a Real Starter. The Maestro and the Juggler each goosed his respective carburetor. And the Beastie started up with a roar.

.....The Maestro glanced At the Oil pressure gauge and at first thought it had NO oil pressure, but a better angle showed that the oil pressure was PEGGED at over 80 psi!

.....Hummh, said the Maestro, that's a rare event- a Turkey Engine having TOO HIGH oil pressure! Wonder ifin it's a stuck Pressure Relief Piston. Or maybe too much assembly lube? Or some other trick hot VW setup that never works in a Porsche?

.....Anyhow, the Maestro began to adjust the Zeniths, which, amazingly, adjusted! In a mere minute, he actually got the engine running pretty well, and then it happened!

.....KNOCK,.... KNOCK. Rattle, Rattle. An Ominous sound. You recognize it as Ominous the Very First Time you hear it- that Certain Unmistakable Expensive Sound of Rod Knock or Worse from Deep Down inside the nether regions. It's like VD. Bad news.

.....The Maestro reached for the battery cable and shut the engine off. It was then that he happened to glance at the bottom of the engine, near the flywheel end, and noticed a stream of Liquid Gold flowing copiously down the engine stand's middle leg.

.....No, it wasn't Liquid Gold- it was OIL from a MASSIVE oil leak! the Maestro eyeballed the Flywheel- and there like the starburst from an evil, somewhat off-center star were 8 slightly asymmetrical streaks of oil, emanating radially outwards from the DOWEL PINS of the FLYWHEEL!

.....Uh oh, said the Maestro pointing to the Evidence. THAT's Real Bad News!

....."Whaddya mean," said the Juggler. "Those little leaks are Bad News? What about the Big Bad leak???"

....."The little leaks are WORSE- 'cause they're from the crankshaft dowel pins that means the Soft Iron Gasket- the interface between the Crank and the Flywheel is messed up- and LEAKING oil right where your clutch would've been had I put it on!"

.....Looks like we gotta pull the flywheel. So the Maestro went over to his tool kit and pulled out the 10 foot long, extendible 3/4" Breaker Bar, used to remove every flywheel nut so far, no matter who overtorqued it or by how much.

.....The Maestro played Archimedes and showed the Juggler where to stand on the Engine Stand, placed the 36mm socket on the flywheel nut and began to exert Torque. Before he exerted much more than a handful of foot pounds, the flywheel nut LOOSENED!

.....Oh, God, thought the Maestro- the previous Turkey FORGOT even to torque the Flywheel Nut!

.....And the Maestro explained the Possible Ramifications of this to the Juggler, who got ever the more scared with every word.

....."If you had put this engine into your 356, fired it up and drove it down the block," said the Maestro. "It probably would have RUINED the engine- the flywheel would have elongated the dowel pins of the crank, the crank would have elongated the dowel pin HOLES in the flywheel, and the moving crank could have messed up the inside of the case breaking off the Main Bearing tabs in the Case and requiring ANOTHER overhaul! Plus a Thousand Dollar Crank and a several hundred dollar flywheel!"

.....The Maestro was pulling the flywheel as he said this and just as he got to the end of his Speech, the flywheel came off. The Maestro stared at Surprise and Disbelief at the end of the crank!

.....Were the Dowel pins elongated? Was the Crank History?

.....Nope, the Juggler was lucky- the dowel pins ofd the Crank wee fine. What the Maestro was staring at in Surprise & Disbelief was something that wasn't there!

.....What Wasn't there was the: FLYWHEEL OIL SEAL!!!

.....NO FLYWHEEL OIL SEAL! The Clown who put this engine together delivered it to the Juggler, dropping it off at his house when he wasn't there- and DIDN'T BOTHER TO INSTALL THE FLYWHEEL SEAL IN THE CASE! That's Gross Incompetence! The Bureau Of Auto Repair oughta yank his license and not let him near a car again- EVER!

.....Not only didn't the Previous Overhauler install the flywheel seal- he hadn't even torqued the Flywheel nut down! And he had DELIVERED THE ENGINE TO THE CUSTOMER!

.....Boy, this one oughta make the Movies! You listening, Jerry?

.....So, the Maestro set the end play, put in a Flywheel Seal, Torqued the Flywheel Nut and fired the beastie up again. Would the noise be there still?

.....Nope! The noise went away- thanks to proper setting of the End Play and TORQUING the Flywheel Nut like it oughta be Torqued! Oh, and installing a Flywheel SEAL seemed to stop the River of Liquid Gold from running out of the engine onto the Maestro's floor.

.....There was still one nagging little Problem, however- The Oil Pressure Gauge was still pegged at 80PSI! And didn't cone down from 80psi even when the engine got pretty hot- which it did in 2 and a half minutes.

.....The Maestro, engineer that he is, wanted to find out just what the damn oil pressure WAS! Sooooooo, he got out his General Electric Nuclear Pressure Gauge, "Liberated" from a defunct Test Ring long, long ago, but still functioning and recently Calibrated in 1968.

.....With a 5" face, this gauge is accurate to 1 psi, leaving no doubt as to what the Oil pressure really is! The Maestro even used it on Jerry Seinfeld's Engine to see just how low IT was (ans: 16psi).

.....So, the Maestro hooked up the GE Nuclear Pressure Gauge and fired the engine back up again.

.....WHOA!!! 120 PSI! The Maestro revved up the engine- the Gauge almost but not quite pegged - at damn near 160 PSI!

.....Double WHOA!

.....The engine had a Hundred and Sixty PSI Oil Pressure- about 3 times Normal! The Juggler asked the Obvious Question: "Uh, is having such high Oil Pressure BAD? Like will it cause damage to the engine?"

.....The Maestro had to think about that for a while. What would VERY high Oil Pressure really damage? Not the crank- that likes to see lots of pressurized oil. Not the rockers- they'll be happy to see more oil too.

.....AH- what about the OIL COOLER- it could burst! But the Maestro tests Oil Coolers at 125+ PSI and the good ones don't blow out. (The Bad ones whistle like Banshees though!)

.....But then his Engineering Brain began to think about other parts of the engine - the oil seals- might they not pop out? He had heard Stories about excessive oil pressure popping the oil seals. The Maestro glanced down at the Pulley and Crank Seal areas. No leaks. The seals hadn't failed! Yet!

.....But there was one thing that could really cause damage on an Engine with 160 psi oil pressure- something that was NOT on this long block the Maestro had just fired up.

.....Think about that- what OTHER item that's on a Complete engine that's NOT on a "long Block" that COULD suffer from too high oil pressure? Think about that for a while.... That's right! THE OIL FILTER CAN!

.....With a diameter of almost 4" the Oil Filter Can has some 12 square inches. Subjected to a pressure of 160 PSI, that's almost 2,000 Pounds Force- ONE TON pushing' on the top of the Oil Filter Can!

.....The Bolt holding the Oil Filter Can Top on is about half-inch diameter, so the Stress on the Bolt is over 10,000 PSI. That's getting near the Ultimate Strength of a O/F can bolt. Especially one that's 30+ years old!

.....Fortunately, since this was a Long Block, the Oil Filter Can wasn't attached. The Maestro leaves the demonstration of the dangers of applying 160+ PSI to the Oil Filter Can to the Student. But he's glad he wasn't a-leanin' over the completed engine at the time- with his face just about even with the Oil Filter Can Top!

.....But WHY was there 160 psi in the first place- on a Turkeyfied Engine yet???

.....You just answered your own question- the Turkeyfied engine must be the reason!

.....So, the Maestro had no choice but to pull the Pressure Relief Valve, which meant that he first had to pull off the Muffler, the J tube on the 3/4 side and its Heater Box. THEN he could finally pull out the Oil Pressure Relief valve and spring to see what the Story was here! Was it merely a stuck plunger? Or something really esoteric.

.....Actually, it was more like what the Maestro suspected- the Turkey VW Mechanic had used, of course, some "Trick Hot Set Up" OIl Pressure Relief Spring to raise the Oil Pressure of the Porsche.

.....Unfortunately, the "Trick Hot Set Up" spring had a REALLY THICK wire diameter- so thick that when one compressed the spring just a half inch or so- the coils met. Having the coils meet is called "coil bind", and once this happened, the spring ain't no spring no more! It's a SOLID! And won't compress any more.

.....Which meant that the plunger, no matter how hard it tried, couldn't ever depress the spring enough to uncover enough of the oil return hole to lower the pressure below 160 psi!


.....So, the Maestro replaced the spring with a Real Porsche one. Reinstalled all the stuff he took off to get to it, and fired the engine back up AGAIN!

.....This time his Nuclear Oil Pressure Gauge showed 45 psi idle, 60 psi at 3000 RPM. THe 356C was back to Normal.

.....And the engine now ran- sort of OK. A bit rough since the stuff inside probably had not been properly balanced, but acceptable for a Porsche engine rebuilt by a VW mechanic.

.....That was all the Demons the Maestro could exorcise then, but he figured he did do a decent demon decimation for one day.

.....But would the Turkey strike yet another blow? Would there be Something Else lurking inside just biding its time, waiting to strike an economic Death Blow? The Maestro'll let you know. Until then: KEEP THE 356 FAITH. The Maestro.



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