Follow along as Sam and Nate get to work rebuilding the top end of this 1600cc engine for Nate's 1972 VW Baja Bug.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Lifestyle, VW Tech Tips

Watch as Sam and Nate rebuild the top end of this 1600cc engine.

With all the "math" for setting up the compression ratio, and all the prep work for setting the ring gaps done, Sam and Nate start to work putting together their old short block. Starting at the bottom with a new oil screen, and working out and up from there, Sam shows Nathan how to install the gaskets, oil relief pistons and springs. Then they install all the piston rings on the pistons, indexing them so that none of the gaps line up. The pistons are set into the cylinders, and then attached to the connecting rods and set into place on the engine. Once the cylinders are set in place, cylinder cool tin is snapped over the head studs around the cylinders to direct the air around the cylinders.

Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Sam.

I'm Nick.

We're going to start building this short block into a long block, starting with the bottom oil screen,

which is now the top.

Well, bottoms now on top, but that's only because it's upside down. So I like to use gasgacinch on these screen, gasgacinch, sump plate, torque the bolts in place. We had one of these guys come out, so I cleaned it up, put some Locktite on there, throw it back in place. Hopefully, it's good to go, but yeah, we're going to do all that stuff.

That's an old gasgacinch. Uh, it'll do the job. All right, you got some gloves? I call that a well-coated gasket. So I did that one, so these you got to do this one right there. Spread on both sides of that. Put that on the engine. Slide up the studs press it in, and those are supposed to have a tight fit.

Yeah, have grippy things off .

Yeah, there we go. All right, continue to coat that both sides.

So, put the copper on there?

No, both sides really good.

Yeah, all right. What are you trying to hold on at this point? You try to hold the air inside the engine, or you going to try to hold the oil inside the engine?

I don't know where this came from. This may have come from Kyle, but.

Thanks, Kyle, if you gave it to us.

Yeah, now this thing is in inch pounds, so 5 * 12 would be 60.

Watch this point and listen, you see that? From here,

the short one goes in there, right?

Short one in the back, and then long one in front, long one in the front. Now we need to use our oil squirter, get a little squirt. All right, you want to do the back one?


So this wipe down all the way on the circles and then give it a squirt in there, a squirt on that, and drop her in.

Squirt in there?

Si, senor.

Okay, mind what you're doing this over, so you don't get a bunch of oil everywhere else, but it's fine.

There we go. See, it's way harder to compress, but actually, it compressed in.

Eight seem to work pretty good last time.

Boom, we're closer to running, huh. Oh yeah, start, oh okay, one second. I think I think we might need to something. It's not starting. Dad, it's stopped recording because your storage is full.

Ah, son of a gun. Well, hopefully, hopefully we got enough decent video on decent audio. It's been a while since any video but anyway, that's that done. We can get onto the fun of doing this. First things first, we've got to put this to the side so we can prep for one side anyway, three, and number four, you're hungry for dinner. It's 5:45. You want to get some dinner first?

Yeah, fine.

Okay, we've had some dinner, got some memory cleared off the phone. You got number three. Yeah, oh, you think you're fancy going to steal my chair, huh? That drops down too if you want. First things first, we need to take all these things outside, spray them down with brake cleaner so that they are all nice and clean. I'm going to blow this table off as well. Oh yeah, the wrist pin is in there too. Yep, that's useful if you want to have a wrist.

Or only if you want it to connect to the connection, right.

I mean, that's kind of helpful too. All right, Nate, here is your instructions. So, what do you got to do first?

Probably bottom.

Yep. Which part of the bottom?

The right, or the middle bottom.

Yep. What do we do with that?

It goes in the middle and the bottom and make sure that the colors are not overlapped.

They're butted together, not overlapped.

Yeah, not overlapped like the other one was.

Yeah, we did find that one oil scraper ring was overlapped.

Yeah, so now this one goes the bottom side?

So it's going to go underneath that scraper. So try and get that one positioned in, underneath the groove. There you go. Oh, there you go. What are you doing now?

The top ring.

All right, now you got the pliers. Remember, you make sure that remember there's a middle ring, and there's a top ring, and there's a bottom, and there's a top.

The groove is on the top, and the indent goes on the bottom. Yep, I remember. So this one goes on the bottom then, huh.

Work smarter, not harder. Is that the bottom one?

Yep, bottom one, okay, and boom, bottom.

All right, good, good.

Now the top one. Boom, now I'm guessing that we're going to need this.

Need some oil.

Oh yeah, oil, huh.

And you need to set all your ring gaps.

Oh yeah, huh, like those ring gaps.

Yep, now looking at the top of your piston, remember, this is always going to point to your flywheel. And since this is the number three, your intake ring is the top ring, so this is the intake compression ring. It's going to point there. Your lower ring is going to point there, and then you've got to set up your oil ring as well. Your oil ring is probably already near the top.

Just get it set top and center?

Yep should be right there in the middle. Yeah.

And then what about the bottom two?

The bottom two, we're going to put one bottom one over this way, basically just below that ringing skirt right there, and the other one, you're going to go just below that ring skirt there.

Does it matter which one or no?

Just take your pick.

That one just about there.

It's close enough. Yep, all right, so those ones, the hard ones to move, and those guys are the easy ones. Your oil ring still at the top, so that one's going to go there, and this one because your intake comes right here. So all those intake gases, you want to be over here, and this thing, you want opposite side of that. Make sure everything is set up there. Actually, first things first, let's make sure we have this thing set like we're going to go in the engine. So we're going to come in like that. So we like that if you want to do it like that. So you're looking at it like that. So it's going to go in the cylinder like that. Now we got to oil it up.

Wait, so pointing that way.? Oh, well then it would have to go opposite ways.

It's going to go from here to right there. It's right there, trust me. May not be a professional engine builder, but on occasion, I've done this before. Move that up a little bit, grab these guys, make sure these are lubed up.

Nice and clean too.

Yep, grab a handy set of these guys, come around like so, and just grab onto that thing tightly, and then we go in right there. Oh, hold on, let me get my wrist pin lined up properly like that. Don't you go no more, then that's grab the orange dead blow hammer, tap tap tap quickly, quickly. Tap, quick Taps.

All right, apparently not that quick.

Apparently, these things are not the best compressors. Try again, right.

I may have to customize these guys a little bit. Yeah, that's why I like quality ring compressors, and these just ain't necessarily them. Rebend them. It'll try this.

Oh yeah, that looks way better.

Come on. All right, no want to go. So cases like that, no, we have that really hard edge right there. A lot of times, it's easier to come in against the bottom. It's got that rounded edge, and realistically, it's fine. It's just harder to think like that. So if it's going in that way, we need our air point a pointing that way.

All just think about it. That's the flat edge. It needs to be opposite of the flat edge because that is the middle. That's that way and how just compress it right.

All right, now seven, one more try.

Just one more try, one more try. Get your fingers out of the way. Otherwise, my attention all right, tap tap go the center I hit it. All right, oh there, there we go. There we go. Now we're in it to window.

So that mark is where the arrow is supposed to be pointing, right.

Um, apparently.

Yeah, looks like it.

All right, now we got to do a couple things. It's going to be easier to put the wrist pin in this way on this side. So we got to put a clip, wrist pin clip in on this side. Needle nose pliers.

It really matter which way it's really in or does it?j

Jst as long as it goes in that groove. So now you take your screwdriver.

Oh, is it in?

No, not top.

That's why you take your screwdriver and you grab one of the hooks, and you just spin it around. Grab the hook from the inside and spin it around. There you go. Now try the other side. There you go. Now you know it's in the groove.

Cuz the last thing that we want is that not to be in and pop out.

Yep, true. All right, now the sealant. The Aviation sealant is the stuff I like to use. Some people use yamabond or there's a couple other different type of sealants, but this is closest to what Volkswagen used, and I find this stuff, it actually never really dries ever. It just remains tar indefinitely forever, forever, as they used to say in the sandlot every time I watch it. Anyway, you see what I'm doing there. Just do a nice, nice even bead. As soon as it, as soon as it starts not running down into a puddle, get some. See how it kind of sits into a puddle? Yeah, all right. Where's your wrist pin? All right, it's going to come in from this side, put your wrist pin in. Oh yeah, okay, hold on. Let's give a little, little oils on the holes, the holes and on that. Smear around with your fingers and slide that in. Watch where you're putting your fingers though. You got to be very mindful of where you're putting things. Here we go. Go. Now we're going to pick that up. It's heavy. You're going to turn it around, set it over the top. All right, now I'll grab this if you want to get that wrist pin set. Drop it down a little bit more and, othere you go.

There you go. Yeah, as far as possible.

All right, can you get in there?

You should be able to.

All right, and grab your screwdriver. Try to spin it one way and spin it the other.

Looks like it's in.

Okay, all right, that one.

Piston number three in cylinder, boom.

Number three, it's done, buddy.

Does it spin? Sure looks like it, huh.

Affirmative, buddy.

Nice light coat of oil I can see on those cylinder walls when we're running them up and down, so that's beautiful.

Boom, now just need to do that three more times.

Yep, all right, let's do this side, number uh four.

All right, really important right here. Before you do anything else, put in your deflect tin.

This side right?

Yeah, all right, and that tin fits very, very tightly over these guys, and we're got a good seat there, got a good seat there. Now we were talking to Kyle last night or I was texting Kyle last night after I CC those heads, told him how we were going. He's like, no, we got to bump that compression ratio off, and I, I agree. It's 6.4 to 1 is a little bit too low. So Kyle is going to be nice enough to give us a set of his heads that he had machined a while back, uh, that he couldn't end up using for some reason, but they have 48cc combustion chambers, and with the 48cc combustion chambers, we're going to end up with 7.9 to1 compression ratio, which is far better for performance.

Than 6.7 and 6.4.

But in the meantime, give me ahead, it's up because we are going to temporarily bolt them on to keep everything in place.

And also because it look cool too.

Yeah, it looks cool, but mostly because that'll keep everything that in place on this side. Boom, yep.

It's like a brand new top end, other than push rods.

That's pretty much exactly what it is.

Push rods, rocker covers, and probably rocker.

All right, 7:15, think we can get the other side done?

Yeah, probably. All right, it's just 45 minutes, just two cylinders. It's not like we're building a V8 or something.

All right, dude, that's uh, this side then. Yeah, all right, let's spin her around and.

Look at that. For my first time ever, it's an I2.

Nathan, you got almost got an engine here, buddy. Almost got a long block. I mean, yeah, the heads are just temporarily on here, just holding a cylinder in place so we can get some cylinder heads with some smaller combustion chambers.

Yeah, which is going to be very useful for actually trying to move the giant 30,

Possibly 33in tall tires. Yeah, yeah, that extra power that we're going to get from a bump in compression ratio up to about 7.9 to one.

It's going to be way better.

That'll be helpful. That'll be helpful, and again, it's below 8 to one, so it's not going to be too hot. That should be a really, really good set of heads for this. Thank you, Kyle. I think Kyle's actually got another rocker assembly for you too because one of yours has two broken stands, so we need those better heads from Kyle, awesome, one more rocker assembly from Kyle, awesome.

On that note, life's full of good people.

If you can't find one,

be one.

Later, guys.

overall rating:
my rating: log in to rate