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Copyright 1997, by Harry Pellow, All Rights Reserved.

The 1963 Signal Red 356B had just left the Maestro's Shop two weeks ago, having had a MaestroMassaged Industrial Engine installed to replace its incorrect, worn out, unexciting 1959 356A Normal engine.

..... The California Sun was smiling warmly on the 356's bright red sheet metal as it rode off into the sunset, to be broken in locally by a friend of the Owner so that the Owner could fly down and drive it back the 1500 miles to Washington State, the Land of Bill.

..... A good thing that break-in guy was a-breaking in the engine locally, because there was only ONE thing that the Maestro DIDN'T replace- the relatively new Weber Carbs.

..... And sho' 'nough, wouldn't you know that the old left-hand Weber turned out to be not-so-hot. The break-in guy brought the car back the First Time for larger Idle Jets.

..... That didn't work.

..... So the break-in guy bought the car back a Second Time for 120 Main Jets and F-3 Emulsion Tubes.

..... But it still didn't run quite right, and the guy hadda bring the car a THIRD Time. That being the Charm, the Maestro finally did what he shoulda done the First Time- an A/B test of the carbs wherein you disconnect one linkage arm and drive the car on ONE carb proved the Left Hand Weber to be not working well above 3000 rpm.

..... Anyhow, the Maestro popped off the not-so-good Weber and popped on a NEW one.

..... And all was well with the Universe.

..... Until TWO DAYS LATER- Today.

..... When the break-in guy called again (the Maestro was beginning to dread his calls after the Weber experience), to say that he- the break-in guy was BROKEN DOWN in Los Altos.

..... Fortunately, Los Altos is a nice place to break down, but unfortunately, the description of the problem sent chills down the Maestro's Spine.

..... For what the guy was describing surely sounded like a bad clutch. And the car just had a NEW Clutch Disk and a New Pressure Plate on a nicely surfaced and balanced 200mm flywheel.

..... "Yeah," said the break-in guy a little annoyed. "I was just driving through town, and all of a sudden, it was like the engine would rev up, but the car wouldn't go anywhere."

..... "Groan," thought the Maestro. What could POSSIBLY be wrong with the Clutch? I've NEVER had a new F&S Pressure Plate or disk that was that bad- although once in a Blue Moon a new Pressure Plate will be unbalanceable sometimes, as something is moving around inside.

..... But NEVER has a new 200mm clutch pressure plate/disk combo failed to transmit Torque.

..... So what could POSSIBLY be wrong with this-a thing-a???

..... The break-in guy thought maybe he could back off the clutch cable a bit and all would be well. The Maestro, knowing full well that this wasn't gonna work, told the break-in guy how to adjust the clutch cable anyway.

..... "First you gotta pull up the rubber floor mat. Then there's a 10mm ATF 6mm bolt holding the wooden kick panel in place. Remove that, disconnect the windshield washer pump plastic line and any hold-down clip that's probably not there anyway, and pull up the Driver's side wooden kick panel. (You gotta pop off the gas pedal's linkage rod too.)

..... Once the wooden panel is removed, get out a Vice grip. Adjust it so that it'll grip the approximately 1/8" thick clutch cable. Push the Clutch pedal down with your left hand. With your right hand, place the Vice grip on cable just in front of where the clutch cable goes in to the tunnel area.

..... Clamp the Vice grip onto the cable and release the clutch pedal.

..... If you did things right, the clutch cable is held by the vice grip, and the adjustment end of the cable is free and sticking out from the Clevis pin, making it is easy to get to the lock and adjusting nuts.

..... Loosen the lock nut (usually 11mm ATF but sometimes 10mm ATF so be prepared), and turn the adjusting nut (also usually 11mm), Clockwise (from your perspective) to lengthen the clutch cable or Counter-Clockwise (from your Perspective) to tighten the clutch cable.

..... The Maestro tries about 5 turn increments, releases the Vice Grip and checks the Clutch pedal for free play. (You want at least an inch of free play at the top of the clutch pedal.)

..... Once the free play appears to be in order, hook up the accelerator linkage rod, move the tools and fire up the engine. Try out the clutch and see what happens.

..... If it's not right, redress the clutch cable adjusting nuts again, as needed.

..... The break-in guy, on his knees in Downtown Los Altos loosened the clutch cable until the gearshifter- would barely go into gear, with some gear grinding.

..... And tried to drive the car.

..... No joy. The car still acted like it had a "slipping clutch".

..... The Maestro was now beside himself. HOW could a brand new clutch FAIL in this particular way- so as to NOT transmit the torque?? It would have to be something VERY weird- like a clutch Disk that came apart, or a Throw-out bearing that separated into two pieces and wedged the clutch "down" as happened once to the Maestro personally.

..... But this was a good Throw-out bearing the Maestro had personally inspected and re-greased only a couple of weeks ago, not one that was ancient and worn out. How could this be?

..... But there it was. Out of luck and Stuck in Los Altos.

..... There being nothing left to do, the Maestro said it was his Professional Opinion that the break-in guy oughta tow the car to the Maestro's Shop, at the Maestro's expense.

..... Sixty dollars and an hour later, the Bright Red 356B was back at the Shop again, for the FOURTH time. Geez.

..... After the tow truck driver left, the Maestro got into the Red Beastie and fired her up. She fired up immediately, as all MaestroMassaged engines do.

..... But when the Maestro put her into Reverse (with a bit of grinding), and let out the clutch, she would barely move. And there was this funny grinding sound.

..... The Maestro carefully nursed the stumbling steed into the Shop, for a closer eyeball, the thought of pulling out an engine he just put in in 100 degree heat not a pleasant one.

..... Once he got the Lady in Red inside, he noticed something particularly funny. Not funny ha-ha but funny "curious".

..... He could put the transmission in Reverse gear, with the emergency and service brakes "on", (applied that is), and let out the clutch pedal fully. And the engine WOULD KEEP RUNNING. But the car, she-a no go no mo'.

..... So, gentle 356 Fans, what do you think was wrong with this Beastie???

..... Yeah, the Maestro thought so too. He really couldn't see how it could be HIS fault that this car she-a no go-a no more-a.

..... So he tried one of his Tricks. A Trick that hasn't had much success recently. You remember that 356'er from Bezerkeley who was a-going up a Bezerkeley Hill when all of a sudden he couldn't go no mo' because the engine wasn't connected to the wheels no mo'. So, of course-a the car-a she-a no-a go-a.

..... The Man from Bezerkeley posted this problem on the Internet, and the Maestro made the suggestion that the guy oughta try taking the rear hub caps off. Then, put the car in gear with the brakes on, let out the clutch and have someone outside check to see ifin an Axle nut be a-spinning on one brake drum, in particular the Driver's Side which can be conveniently viewed by the Driver from the Driver's seat.

..... Ifin under these conditions, (Car in Gear, Brakes on, Clutch OUT, Engine running), you DO see the Axle nut turning on the Driver's Side wheel, congratulations- you have just stripped the Splines on the Rear Brake Drum!

..... Hey- you're LUCKY! That's a LOT cheaper than a Transmission Overhaul. Or even a new Clutch!

..... The Man From Bezerkely did that experiment, but alas, the Axle nut did not turn.

..... Too bad thought the Maestro, for now it sounds expensive.

..... (And it was, for the Man from Bezerkeley brought (flat-bedded) the car down to the Maestro's Shop. And once the Maestro attempted to drive it, and heard the Nasty Rumblings deep down inside the Bowels of the Machine, and saw the Axle nut not turning, he knew it was a Serious Transmission Problem.

..... Removal of the Transmission found all the Ring Gear Bolts sheared off, which broke the chain of power distribution, which was why she-a no go-a.)

..... But in the Case of the MaestroMassaged Lady in Red, the Maestro decided to check out this one last thing before he began pulling his new engine and Admitting Defeat.

..... Sooooo, he took off the two rear hubcaps, put the 356B into Reverse. Set the emergency brake. Fired the engine up and released the clutch, slowly of course.

..... The car remained motionless, with the Trans in "Reverse", the clutch pedal fully "out" and the engine idling happily at 1000 RPM.

..... From the Driver's seat, the Maestro turned his handsome head to eyeball the Driver's Side Axle Nut.

..... And yes, Gentle e-mailers, there ARE Porsche Gods. They DO exit! For the Maestro could clearly see the Axle nut a-ROTATING at the center of the Brake Drum!

..... Hallelujah! shouted the Maestro, casting his eyes heavenward and praising the Porsche gods to High Heaven. "Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you..."

..... So he happily called the break-in guy and said, proudly, "I've found your Problem."

..... "Wow! That was quick," said the break-in guy. "So what was wrong with the Clutch?"

..... "NOTHING was wrong with the clutch," said the Maestro proudly. "The Clutch is fine. The problem was your brake drum had the Splines machined off of it by the Axle!"

..... "OMYIGOD!" said the break-in guy. "The Owner had a brake job in Washington State just before the trip! Guess the mechanic that did the brakes didn't do a good job."

..... "Well, maybe," said the Maestro. "But maybe it had a lot of hard usage and quick take-offs before. Or maybe it was just its Time."

..... "Anyhow, all you need is a brake drum and she should be fine. In fact, you might even be able to pick it up today. How about THAT for Same Day Service?"

..... The break-in guy was Happy as Hell. The Maestro was Happy as Hell. All was even better with the Universe.

..... So the Maestro went back to the car, jacked it up and removed the Driver's side rear wheel. Then he removed the Cotter Pin in the Axle Nut. All in the Sun. All in 100 degree weather.

..... Then he got out his Nuclear Powered Impact wrench and 36mm, heavy-walled socket.

..... With the air Compressor set at Max Pressure, the Maestro attached the 36mm socket to the axle nut. And pushed the button on the impact wrench.

..... Ever so sloooowly the Axle nut began to turn Counterclockwise.

..... The Maestro applied more Impulse. The nut turned faster. Soon it was off.

..... Brimming with Overconfidence, the Maestro pulled off the Right Rear Brake Drum and eyeballed what surely would be, completely machined-off Brake Drum Splines! Which would, of course, confirm his Diagnosis and be Proof Positive of his Incredible Problem-Solving Ability.

..... The Maestro's eyes eyeballed the splined area of the Brake Drum.

..... It sure seemed like the splines were there!

..... The Maestro eyeballed the splined area a second time. Yep, those things sure look like splines.

..... He took off his optical aides and eyeballed the splines from 2" away, VERY clearly.

..... VERY Clearly, the splines WERE STILL THERE!!!

..... Play that Twilight Zone Theme again Sam. The Maestro really longed for some 15-year-old Scotch right about then. Hell, even week-old Scotch then!

..... For he had been WRONG!!! The Brake Drum splines were NOT "Murphy machined" off by the Axle shaft! In fact, the Splines were in pretty damn good shape!

..... The Maestro eyeballed the Axle shaft. And the Splines on the Axle shaft were IN GOOD SHAPE TOO!

..... The Maestro was now really in Shock. His Theory of what was wrong, WAS WRONG!

..... Feeling dejected and old before his time, the Maestro picked himself up off of his knees and walked to the Fridge to do Lunch and some Cogitation on the Situation.

..... Which is what YOU, Gently 356'er should do too.

..... How can the Axle Nut rotate or "turn" in the middle of the Brake Drum, and the splines on BOTH the Axle and the Drum be Good???

..... During Lunch, the Maestro applied some of his Kempner-Tregoe Problem Solving technique to this little beauty of a Conundrum.

..... The Axle nut was tight on the brake Drum- it took many Heap Big Impulses from the Impact wrench to remove it.

..... The splines on the Brake Drum are Good. The Splines on the Axle Shaft are also Good.

..... Both Spines mate OK. So, Torque from the engine SHOULD be transmitted to the Brake Drum.

..... But the Brake Drum, she-a no-a t turn-a-

..... Well, said the Center of Higher Reasoning, "Is the Brake Drum Continuous? One piece?"

..... "Well, no," said the Maestro to himself. "There's an outer Aluminum fin area, bonded to the Steel Drum. And the center section of the Brake Drum- where the Splines are is a pressed-in Steel Insert into the Aluminum Brake Drum..."

..... "Hummmh," said his Center of Higher Reasoning. "You say, the steel splined section is Pressed into the Aluminum Brake Drum?"

..... "So, suppose that the steel section in the center is LOOSE! Did you ever think of that?"

..... "Nah," said the Maestro. "I've NEVER seen that! And I've seen a lot of bad brake drums- corroded brake drums- drums with common-mode cracks in them- cracks that will ALWAYS return for they are caused by WATER getting in BETWEEN the Aluminum Fins and the Steel Liner by capillary action.

..... The water then RUSTS the steel and corrodes the Aluminum. And the corrosion products have a lower density than either Steel or Aluminum, so the VOLUME of the corrosion products is GREATER THAN the original volume of the Metals.

..... So, the ever-expanding corrosion products in the space between the Aluminum Drum and the Steel liner push inexorable against the steel liner, like a hydraulic ram, distorting the steel liner INWARDS and causing cross-shaped cracks!

..... But the Maestro had never seen a Pressed-In Steel center splined section "fail" before. Ever!

..... Finishing lunch, the Maestro decided he had little to lose so off he went to the Brake drum to eyeball it one more.

..... It looked fine- just like it did before. But the Maestro knew it WASN'T fine!!

..... He tried to move the splined area, but it wouldn't move.

..... Soooo, he replace the drum on the splines of the Axle, got out the axle nut and his Impact Wrench.

..... He quickly realized that the Porsche Axle Nut has such a wide flange that the flange covered up the steel center section of the drum. So you couldn't see ifin the steel center section was a-moving or not.

..... Hummmh.

..... So the Maestro went off to his Oddball Parts bin and found a VW Axle nut that had no wide flange on it and a washer with a hole in it large enough to go over the axle but small enough in Outside Diameter that the washer wouldn't protrude over the splined steel section.

..... He put this washer over the axle shaft and screwed on the flange-less VW Axle nut.

..... Then he placed the Impact wrench's heavy-walled 36mm socket over the VW axle nut.

..... And pushed the button on the Impact wrench.

..... And as he got down to Serious Torque, what did he see but the steel flange ROTATING CLOCKWISE- INSIDE THE BRAKE DRUM!

..... YES! Yelled the Maestro, and out of Impulse, did a few more Impulses on the Impact wrench, Feeling the Joy of being Alive that Moment!

..... The Splined Steel Center Section of the Brake Drum was ROTATING inside the Drum!

..... And Of COURSE no Torque was being transmitted to the rest of the drum nor to the wheel nor to the TIRE!

..... And that-sa why-a she-a no-a go-a no mo'!

..... The Maestro called the break-in guy to ah, slightly correct his Diagnosis of the Problem!

..... Yes, it still was the Brake DRUM that was bad, and not the Maestro's Clutch (Thank you Porsche gods. Porsche gods are Great. Porsche gods are Great,... repeated the Maestro three times.)

..... And it WASN'T that the splines of the drum had been machined by the Axle Shaft.

..... No, it was much more subtle, it was the steel HUB itself that was spinning INSIDE the drum!

..... What a GREAT present to give to one of your enemies! Say Peter, how would you like this nice Rear Brake Drum. Maybe use it when you break down out in the Desert? Here ya go.

..... Yes, and the Maestro had NEVER seen this before. And all his Loco friends had never seen one either!

..... (Although he does vaguely recall reading something about this very thing in the "356 Registry". But since it didn't happen to him personally, then maybe it didn't really happen.)

..... Oh, YES it happens!

..... The Maestro just found that out.

..... Which is why the Maestro NEVER says that he's "seen it all", because there's always something new under old 356's!

..... And you'll fix it too, ifin you: Keep the 356 Faith Maestro

..... P.S. The Maestro proceeded to post this Story as a "Quiz" on the 356 Internet Group, (which you can join too, merely by sending e-mail with only the word "subscribe" in the body of the letter to 356talk-request@356Registry.org)

..... The Maestro posted the Quiz and almost IMMEDIATELY FOUR People responded with the CORRECT Answer. One guy said that he had the "Spinning Hub" problem TWICE on the SAME car. 'Course it was a Race Car and when the Drums got REALLY Hot as they are wont to do in Racing, the splined hub would loosen up and spin!

.....He had two examples.

.....The Maestro Called those two examples with his own two examples of the spines on the axle Murphy machining the splines on the inside of the insert.

..... Thanks to the Internet, within mere MINUTES the Maestro was informed in no uncertain Terms that his Impossibly Rare Rotating Insert wasn't so I mpossibly Rare.

.....Certainly, it wasn't a "One in a Million" Problem. There aren't a Million 356's (Drat!) Only about 80,000.



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