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ANOTHER ABNORMAL NORMAL
It was a call from a guy from the Granite State, where men can marry men and women women.
It was about a '62 356B Normal with a Minor Problem. The Minor Problem being that the Owner had:
Ran out of oil!
This quickly leads to many MAJOR Problem(s) and a call to Triple A.
Seems as though the engine was burning a bit o' oil, when the guy took the car on a Two Hundred Mile Trip. On the way back home, he stopped for gas and checked the oil. It was low.
He didn't have any oil with him, but being "only" a hundred miles or so from home, he figured he could make it. So he kept driving.
Somewhere down the road, before Home, the Green Light came on.
Now here, a Green Light does NOT mean "go". It means STOP! The Green Light is the Oil Pressure Idiot Light and when it comes on, you'd best find out WHY! Usually, it's a bad sender or the wire fell off and is grounding out. But sometimes the Light is Right! And you DO have low oil pressure! Like I said, you'd best find out WHY!
Even with the Oil Pressure Light "ON", the Owner thought he could make it home.
As many Owners find out, when trying to drive "just a few more miles" with the Green Light "On", he was WRONG!
Soon, he saw mucho smoke-o coming out of the back-o, pulled over and THEN had the car towed home. But the damage had already been done.
The Shop he took it to called the Maestro and explained that the engine had totally expired and the Customer wanted another engine FAST!
The Maestro explained how The Summer Rush had started- like it always does just after Tax Time- and the wait is now a couple of months.
Except that the Maestro happened to have a couple of rebuilt Normals on the shelf.
Of course, they weren't really Normals anymore, they were MaesttroMassaged "SupraNormals" (tm), with MaestroMaster Cam Grind, ATE Cam followers and the Super Rocker Train, among many other improvements.
The Maestro wrote out an estimate, figuring that SOME of the Normal's stuff might still be usable. Like the Heads.
The owner was extremely Hot To Trot, and two days later, the remains of the old engine appeared at the Maestro's door, via Fed Ex!
It was Delivery Day at the Maestro's Shop, with UPS, Fed Ex and several Nationwide and Loco Wholesalers backing up Eighteen Wheelers to disgorge copious quantities of New and used Porsche Parts!
The Maestro, Deluxe Exacto knife in hand, went from box to box, dutifully opening each and eyeballing the contents. Ah, the New Valves. Ah, another batch of .050 Distributors.
Ah, a Used Normal Engine.
That got the Maestro's attention. It was the "Exchange" engine from the Man from the Granite State.
The first package contained the Crank and Rods.
It was a 356A/Early B crank withOUT the "Cross drilling". And it still had the 356B Normal "00" rods on it. Being a Normal, the Rods were the ones with the rough beam.
He removed the 356B Normal rods and saw once again the Usual Effect of The Out Of Oil Syndrome- the Crankshaft Rod Journals were badly Blackened and scored from the Heat of Excessive Friction. Naturally, the Rod Bearings on those Rods were gouged and blackened too - and just seconds from spinning. And a minute from Ventilating the block.
The Maestro hung a 2-3" micrometer on the Crank's Rod Journals. Sadly, they were already First Under and below Low Limit, besides being scratchy & blackened and would clearly have to go to Second Under. Great.
Next he grabbed the Camshaft, and noted that, Surprise, it was a Super, not a Normal. And it had been reground with some unknown grind- no name nor number anywhere. But it was obvious that the "Base Circle" had been cut down a bunch to put the grind on.
And then he noted something else- the first Cam Lobe in from the Flywheel end was quite a bit "smaller" than the others.
Smaller? How can it be smaller?
He took a closer look. Yep, it was almost a mini-lobe! And when he measured the "lift" it was a Molehill- with only 0.200" lift, rather than the 0.315" the other lobes were. Which means of course, that to get the back "up" the Base Circle had to be ground "down" 2-3 millimeters. That's almost an EIGHTH of an inch. And there wasn't enough Base Circle left to do that.
Sigh. So much for this Cam.
Next came the Cam Followers- the Old Cast-Iron Normal Cam Followers, best know for their End-of-life Failure of breaking their heads off and being beat by the Crank THROUGH the Case, ruining the engine. It's the Normal's Normal Mode of Demise.
And sho' nough, TWO of the Cam followers were deeply and badly pitted- the two against the bad lobe of the Camshaft, of course.
That was no great loss- the Maestro never uses Cast Iron Cam Followers anyway. He's seen too many lose their heads.
The next box contained the Cylinders and Pistons.
And Oh, what a surprise he got!
For they weren't the expected, low-compression, flat-topped, unexciting Normal pistons. They were SUPER-90 Pistons! In a Normal!
And one of them had a Terminal "Ring Eating Monster" in the Piston. The rings had broken, along with the Ring Lands, and "chunked" the top of the piston, where the pieces entered the Combustion Chamber and Wreaked Havoc on the Head.
The Maestro grabbed the Heads, and sho' 'nough, one Head had the Certain Unmistakable Signs of Severe Head Dingus.
It also had a Burnt Exhaust Valve too!
Sigh. So much for that Head.
The Maestro went back to eyeballing the Super-90 Pistons and found a SECOND Piston with a broken Ring Land- another Mahle Super-90 that's pretty Useless.
One Special Plasma Arc-Sprayed Ferral-coated Super-90 Cylinder was destroyed thanks to the chunked piston. Another Cylinder had the Ferral Coating completely removed right where the broken ring land was.
Coincidence? The Maestro thinks not.
Actually, the Maestro has some extra knowledge here. Ironically, the ONE part on a Super-90 he never liked were the Pistons & Cylinders. These he always replaced with a Big Bore kit because as the aged Hot Rodders used to say "you can't beat the 'cubes, baby".
That feeling was confirmed years later when the Maestro met a guy at a Swap Meet who was the Rep for Porsche in Switzerland back when the Super-90 was first introduced. Where he found that if you are doing 100+ mph in your new Super-90 on the Autobahn and then go up steep hills, like the Alps, the Alloy Super-90 Cylinders expand and become "barrel-shaped". The rings lose their sealing ability, the oil is burnt off quickly, and Total Engine Destruction results.
He said they'd go down the parts list, checking off the things needed: the Crank, the Rods, the Cam, etc. etc....
So much for the Super-90 Cylinders! Cast Iron Normals would have been better- at least those can be bored to take the Shasta/JE Big Bore Pistons.
The Maestro next checked the Case. Maybe, just maybe it would be OK.
The Dowel Pin area of the Flywheel Main Bearing was "Hammered"- not by the Crank- but by a HAMMER. With some stupid Human holding the Hammer.
The other dowel pin holes in the case were elongated enough that a "stepped" dowel would have to be made.
Of course, whenever you see elongated dowel pin holes in a 356A/B case, chances are the Case will need an Align Bore too. And finding align Bore Bearings for 356A/B 50mm Cranks are like finding Hen's Teeth! Or the Lost Dutchman Mine.
The Final, Fitting touch- the Moldy Icing on this Poisonous Cake was the Distributor- an Original of course. Even looked good with a new Cap, Rotor and points.
But when the Maestro tested the Distributor on his Special Sun Machine, he got another Surprise. The Timing started out at 0 degrees, like all Distributors do, and stayed there for quite a while as the Testing Machine's Rpm rose.
Then, the Timing jumped instantly to 18 degrees advance.
And it jumped again at higher rpm up to 30 degrees. So far, so good.
But as the rpm went up, the timing went DOWN, so that at 4000rpm. the Timing was back to 20 degrees advance!
That's not enough spark advance and probably part of the reason the pistons fried.
Another example of a Bad Original Distributor RUINING a Porsche Engine. (Well, almost- with a chunked piston, a burnt valve and no oil, it wouldn't have lasted long anyway- even if it hadn't run out of oil!)
Here we have a almost Perfect Example of a "Mismatched" Engine- the "Heinz 57" Engine.
Way back when in "The ABC's of Porsche Engines", the Maestro first mentioned the Mismatched "Heinz 57" Engine Syndrome.
A Classic Example is a "Hot" Camshaft mated to Normal Rockers and Normal Zeniths. The "Hot" cam has little low end torque, so not much happens until high rpm. But when the Cam comes on, the Normal Zeniths with their 24mm Venturis are all done.
As a result, the Engine doesn't really perform well in ANY rpm range- - in fact, it performs downright poorly everywhere!
And here we have a Heinz 57 Engine with:
1. a pre-A Fuel Pump
2. An unknown regrind of a Super Cam with a badly worn cam lobe.
3. Two severely worn Cast Iron Cam Followers
4. A worn out Flywheel with a VW clutch disk and worn out Pressure Plate.
5. A Case needing an Align Bore and dowel pin repair.
6. One very badly damaged 356B Head.
7. A set of worn, Normal Rockers.
8. A rusty, cruddy oil cooler.
With SEVEN "End of Life Failures"!
1. TWO Spun Rods.
2. A worn-our cam lobe, with two bad cam followers
3. TWO defunct Pistons & Cylinders
4. One badly beat up Cylinder Head
5. One Burnt Valve. Let's see, 2+1+2+1+1=7 End of Life Failures (11 if you count the Cylinders and Cam followers too.)
Things like this only happen on "Exchange" engines the Maestro's gets back- the ones all the owners think run just "perfectly" up until the disaster happened.
Oh, yes, these things happen even ifin you:
Keep the 356 Faith
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