Along with the general other poor maintenance and total lack of engine cleanliness below deck, the oil pump plate ended up being a bit of a pain in the ass to remove. You can tell how filthy it was (above), but a lot of that is corrosion. I eventually managed to get it removed without damaging the metal. The gaskets had degraded and oddly, there was no oil leaning from the pump area.
The pump, while dirty, didn’t really seem to have a lot of wear on it. The teeth seem solid, and as I disassembled it I didn’t see any major degradation on the pump itself from all the filthy heavy sludge oil that had been pumped through it for so long.
Once it was removed it was obviously it was obvious it was an original VW part, and quite possibly the one the car was built with back in 1973. I did have to use the special tool to get it out, those degraded and very old gaskets proving difficult to pull it through. But once out, I started to work on cracking the case.
On the whole it proved rather difficult. I mean, the case splitting tool helped start it at the pump side, but getting it to open along the top and rear was a real pain in the ass. Ultimately it took about an hour for the tension (and whatever else may have been holding it together) to finally release a bit and open up at the flywheel side. Once that opened, it was easy enough to pry it slowly in half.
I was amazed that the main crankshaft oil seal was an original VW part and not an aftermarket seal. This leads me to believe that the engine never was rebuilt, or if it was, it had been done a very long time ago when parts were still being produced by VW and not aftermarket manufacture.
It was actually a pleasure to finally get to see the crankshaft and the cam. And quite frankly, while I think the heads and pistons and cylinders were in need of rebuild, the short block itself, other than the oil leaks, appeared to be in good shape. I mean, at least compared to everything I read about how to read signs of wear.
There was no metal debris in the oil and there never had been any. Yeah, the oil was awful and sludge black when I bought it, but the repeated oil changes and Sea Foam I’d run through and broken up a lot of the deposits. Everything moved smoothly. thought it is even obvious from the picture above, as well as others, that the oil sump area was just chock full of black deposits that probably would never have easily cleaned out.
Now once I had the lifters, cam, and crank out, I had a rather scary moment when I noticed what appeared to be a crack in the case at the flywheel side of Cylinder 1 at the rear. I had not used any thing back there to pry open the case, and even if I had done so, I would have had to have scraped it along and odd path to make that mark. I really figured this was a crack and the case was a goner.
I ended up starting the initial case cleaning prep, soaking the sides and interior oil areas in a mineral spirit bath over night. I would have 1 half of the case soaking in one bin while I was pouring spirits and brushing the other half in another bin. I repeated this multiple times until I felt like I could actually hold the case without the decades of crud dripping out onto me or my hands.
I can’t lie. It was am amazing feeling to have the case start cleaning up and all of the years of caked on crud and debris both outside and inside falling away. I felt like I’d done more on the car that I’ve done in a whole year, which of course made no sense. But it was a literal moment of acknowledging I’d gotten this far along with losing my engine rebuild virginity and hadn’t messed anything up yet.