Sam & Nate tear down the seized up engine on Nate's 1972 Baja Bug. What they find is not good news.


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Watch as Sam & Nate tear down the engine in this 1972 Baja Bug

Work on Nathan's 1972 Baja Bug build continues with tearing down the seized up engine. Time hasn't been kind to the engine, especially with it being open to the elements as the carburetor, spark plugs and valve covers had been removed. Sam and Nate started out hopeful that the engine would eventually "free up" once the cylinder heads and cylinders were pulled off. The more they removed though, the more they found that the engine would need to be completely disassembled

Video Transcript

We're going to start tearing this engine down to a certain point to see if we can ever get this crank to spin freely, which probably means we're going to have to take it all the way down to the case, and by we, I mean he. I'm going to make him do as much of this as possible.

Have at it, dude. There's tools and whatnots, grab what you need. I'll be back.

What are you doing?

Taking this off.

Nope, not right now. This all has to come off. You got a bolt there, a bolt there, a bolt there, a bolt there. You got the ground wire for the oil dipstick.

Grab a hold of the left side, grab a hold of the right side, lift it up and off. There you go.

We don't have fan trout thermostat to worry about so there. Straight up, straight up because look at the back, look what you got there.

Uh, I'd say maybe got a vacuum and clean up all the stuff everywhere. I only got one, got a little one over there, but whatever.

So you get your two bolts there and your two bolts there. Got one bolt right there.

Oh, that looks like a 12.

They're all 13. Last time I checked it's still a Volkswagen. They're all 13s.

That's true. 13 engine stuff 10 and 13s.

All right, should be able to pop it up. There you go.

It popped up.

Probably go on the other side cuz you have the generator stand and rubber mount sometimes helps.

That one's kind of still stuck.

You got some washers, get them so they don't fall in the intake manifold just good practice. Yeah, all right, so from there got it. You got it. There you go. This keep the clamps although you lost the screw. Yeah, the good clamps. Where did the screw go? The boots are trash but these clamps.

Oh yeah that works. Make sure that there's no sand in here. Now, what's next?

Pull off this distributor clamp, those four there for the actually before let's do this one here. Not certain if I have an oil filler here at home or not.

This one and that one is holding that one it's actually that one there we go.

You guys got to see this look inside. Yeah, even if I had got these things, this engine was spinning freely, which yeah it's not.

This side looks like it's a bit better.

A little bit better.

Still a whole T of junk in there.

What do you think Nate?

I think I don't know.

You think you don't know.

I think it's not running.

I don't think it's turning over yet.

Yeah, I don't think it's turning over until we're getting all the way down to like as far as possible.

Hopefully, as soon as we get down to the pistons and cylinders coming off yeah hopefully then it'll work. Don't worry about the clamp cuz if it don't work by that point then it's definitely all coming apart. Hammer Time.

Look at all that just flying out of there like a sprinkler looks like getting maybe rotate it stand back cuz that's a seems to always get in my eyes.

Some down in the distributor bar. Ah darn it we lost our mic.

You know what to get this guy off too so we can get that breast plate off. Also might as well pull off the pressure plate.

The car is going to be orange. What's your accent color going to be?

Well like accent like the color of the engine stuff? I mean I think that fan shroud should be maybe silver or something.

You think silver and orange for your accents so orange with silver accents orange silver and black.

I think might look good orange silver and black. Well I don't know still have a while to think about this. But actually is there go too it was turning for a while and then it just.

Sometimes especially on stubborn bolts you got to work smarter not harder and impact driver makes things go so much quicker.

Break it out?

But if you have a bolt that gets stuck instead of fighting it one way, turn it back in and then try. There you go like that. So again, you might want to do things the old fashion way, but sometimes the new way is so much easier.

Yay or nay?

It's not going out. Just hit it until it starts working?

One, two, three, 'cuz that one didn't have one.

I want to get a look inside here. Oh, good gracious. There just so much carbon in there you can't even see anything. I mean, the gears are coated in an oil-like substance.

It looks like I need the vacuum again.

All right, 13, 13, 13.

All right, from here..

It's almost down to like the um um that you have at work. Is there corn in there like corn?

Yeah, that's corn seed, popcorn seed.

Yeah, anybody want some popcorn, 30-year-old popcorn?

Hey, look at that, got it a little bit or we should probably start tearing down some more.

So should be 17, 17, 17, 17 I think.

That's not right, I thought it's all supposed to be like 13, right?

Those might be 15s too, I know, double check, 15. Yeah, like 15, this time be smart and use the power, use the power.

The power.

Actually let's do this so we're not dropping everything down. Don't, yeah, this is your engine, you do it. Yeah, I know, you clean your engine, why am I cleaning your engine?

Uh, 'cuz you had the screwdriver.

Yeah, well, now you have the screw, you clean.

Yeah, nastiness of the nastiness, nastiest nastiness of engine.

Yeah, I'm not betting that this is going to budge one day. There we go, is that all four?

Mhm, the ones that you didn't.

All right, uh, from there just yank that thing off. Oh, is that water? That pretty darn nasty up there. This cylinder isn't rusted at least as far as I can tell. That one's absolutely horrible, though.

Well, that one probably at the top and that one's probably oh goodness gracious yeah.

That one's horrible. This one looks better, but that wouldn't spun over. Yeah, I don't want to touch my bare hands, actually now it turn over, right, probably not. What even is all of that? What the what is that hanging from the top?

It's just a whole lot of scale and rust and dust.

Oh yeah, she'll run.

So lot of the stuff is not even except for block maybe if that turn down.

Right, wow, hey, it sounds like there might be oil in there.

It sounds like there might be water in here. Oh, that's that's water. Yeah, well we should probably get the thing and drain it too, but let's get this head off.

Get all the water out of it.

Get the hammer started beating.

Boom, now do it spin?

Nope, no still not, all right. Well, there we go.

Hey it turned a little bit, it turned, yay, okay, okay now now let's see if it runs.

Alright, put all that together. Yeah, everything's so rusted, this apart, but yeah.

It's moving. Yeah, like the first time in like 30 years.

Not that much, but from here, we can pull off all the wrist pins and cylinders

And yank them out out and then dump out all the water.

Then dump out the water.

And this might be able to come up now.

Um, just frozen in place. I guess you start pulling all these clips here on the pistons and so on, using those pliers.

So pull in and out?

Just like that. Toss it, same on that side there. Whoa.

Yeah, I think that came out. Okay time for an oil change.

Trying for a water to change at this point.

Or water removal, not really change, not going to put new water in it.

Everyone's clear. Watch out.

Uh-oh, I'm scared.

Drain plugs out, but there ain't nothing coming out. There are six 10 mm screws around the outside perimeter or 10 mm cap nuts. Pull those off.

Doesn't appear to be an 11 or 10. It looks like a 12.

Hey, yeah, look at that.

Are you sure? 'Cuz those look like tens to me, Nathan.

There you go.

Those rock rusted solid. Yeah, this guy's coming apart. Yeah, alright, that's it. Nice, yeah, that looks all nice.

Yeah, it looks nice. Water, oh, that does not look very nice.

That is just 100% sludge, and that's what happens when you don't change your oil, people.

Change your oil.

Change your oil. Do your car's engine a favor. Do yourself a favor. Save yourself some money. Yeah, 'cuz these pistons aren't actually in bad shape since the cylinders themselves, other than being rusted, weren't scored. There were no marks. Alright, let's uh, see if we can't get these wrist pins out with these rods being so locked up it ain't funny.

Yep, looks like it's coming out. Oh yeah, that looks a little bit rusty.

The problem is this rod is frozen. Might be able to take guy out. I don't know.

At this point, there's like no point of even using any part of this engine, and we could have just..

Other than a case.

Bought a case.

Got money for a new case, Buddy?


It's a 211 101 102 Echo AS41, so this is actually the good material for an engine case.

At this point, as long as you got the case.


Well, I got it to spin one full rotation, but these rods, oh, that one's kind of free, this one is locked solid. Not solid, but it's pretty darn tight.

I mean, you're moving the entire engine.

If I wanted to get really crazy, I could pull the connecting rods. I can unbolt those right here, inspect the journals, replace the bearings, but I don't want to take a chance in destroying this good case by just even trying to get this thing running the way it is. We're just going to continue tearing it down. Uh, at this point, getting this guy off is going to be our biggest uh pro until we get this guy off. I can't pull these two bolts on the breastplate, which then holds the two case halves together, so until I can get this crank pulley off, not really much can't split the case.

Pull up. Yes, we can. Alright, Nate, you got two more screws keeping your little bit square is the most important there. Alright, you put yourself even.

Alright, of um, I mean, honestly, though, not too complicated, like we are already down to like the case, and it's not like anything super. Is that metal or plastic? It looks plastic, but I think it's metal.

That's metal, that's plastic.

Alright, nope, that's trash, no advance working in that one.

Are we going to pull up the studs for what studs?

Yeah, I guess we could, but that's a pain in the butt.

You might put two down right and then so then when you pull both.

Alright, so those are 15, 15, and 15. If you want to get the power, you probably put 15 mm on the power and start unthreading it.

When are you going to stop trying to use wrenches? I just use power tools that God gave us. Use your cabesa, good grief, Charlie Brown, I don't think I've ever seen a clutch fully disassemble like that. See what I mean? That entire clutch was just not an entire clutch. Alright, so now we've got that taken care of. You got 13, 13, 13, 13. One, two, three, four.

That looks like it's been sitting there for a while.

That's got some oil in it amazingly enough. You got 13, 13s. Just find all the 13s and get them all removed.

Just remove all these 13s.

Alright, we got these big dogs.

Yeah, the huge ones. Uh, 15, I'm guessing, or 19. Go gosh, that's big. More like 18. Yeah, maybe 17s. Yeah, that's better.

Alright, now we've got to try and get our oil pump out, not trying to hit the only the pump.

There we go. Sure going to be fun to rebuild this engine, huh? But hopefully in a fun way and not a bad way. What's that?

That smells like burnt oil. From here it is time to clear the case. Something I can beat. Alright, there on its back, otherwise, that crank's going to fall. There we go, like that. Pull off your case half, buddy.

Let's take the gander, see what we got. This thing smells toasty. There are some markings right. Yeah, this thing was fried before she got put away, but yeah, these rods are just locked in place. If you want to grab the 15, straight pulling those rods apart All those lifters are all stuck in their bores. Cam plug is stuck in its bore.

There was no way that this engine was going to run. Every single lifter was seized in the bores. The distributor drive gear, I had to get a hammer and punch, and I just basically hammered on the gear itself to get it free of the case. This thing was just absolutely toasted inside, and actually, now it doesn't smell like it anymore, but you could smell that the oil was burnt based on the seals on the two main studs, two middle main studs anyway. Those two seals on either side, the bottom one especially, was just burnt. It was solid, whereas everything, everything else, these were all soft when they came out. This one was burnt. This one was rock hard burnt. So I'm guessing that, despite the main bearings actually feeling or the surfaces not being scorched, this thing just seized up. I did measure the bearings on our crank, and I measured the journal on the crankshaft. The case has been machined once. It's 50,000 over or half a millimeter over rather, and they did cut down the main bearing, uh, the rear main, the saddle, so this is 21mm instead of the factory 22, and it's 65.5mm. So this has been machined once, and the thrust was cut down as well.

You tired, buddy?

A little bit.

Yeah, long day of work.

That being said, this is still a once-machined as41 magnesium German case. So I'm going to take this down to the machine shop, have them go through and inspect it, and see if it's uh, rebuildable or see if they can actually clean up the machine work. Probably have to go over to 1 mil over stock, which is a little bit more than I'd like, but as long as the saddle's good, we could make something out of it. Is it going to be something that I want to drop a whole bunch of money into? No, um, at this point, we might just do like a thick wall 92s and go with a 1835, which is probably going to be a better-spent set of resources on this particular engine, just because it's going to be, This is going to be the second time this case has been machined, so once we find out from the machine shop how good or bad this case is, we'll make our determination then if we want to go through and spend the time and money to actually have this thing clearanced and uh go with a bigger crank 2180. So if we can do it in this case, awesome.

And with that, life's full of good people. If you can't find one..

be one.

Later, guys.

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