Thursday, November 20, 2014

Momentary Mothballs

The oil has finished draining; now to clean and make everything tidy down here.

Possibly mothballs are always meant to be momentary, relatively speaking and if you have actual moths, but in this case storage of my Porsche for the winter is implied. Nevertheless, this present, temporary storage is even more of a stopgap, because it is to last only until some remodeling of the premises is completed, and so the Porsche is tucked into that corner so that it not be in the way, and to protect it from getting bumped or damaged while that work is going on.

Consequently, I drained the engine oil when hot, removed the battery and put it on an automatic maintainer that keeps the voltage topped up, the gas is dosed with Stabil™, and I checked over everything else in a cursory way, and put it under a cover and up on dollies. It will remain this way until Christmas, at the latest I hope, before I get myself into trouble again trying to 'fix' things on the car.

A red dolly goes under each wheel.
Much of what I want to do is light bodywork, mainly painting in the engine room, and touching up of stone chips on the lower portion of the car, and on the front. But, if I get literally serious, it could turn into a major production if I decide to change the possibly cracked CIS airbox, and look into the problem I have with the number two cylinder fouling its spark plug. In this case I hope that taking off the cylinder head from that side of the engine isn't involved, as I will certainly get into all kinds of grief with a project of that scope.

A leakdown test is called for to learn what is going on in the engine, and hopefully it will simply indicate that the fuel distributor needs cleaning, rather than the presence of a mechanical problem in the engine, or something like a leaking valve oil seal. I may have to buy a leakdown tester and learn how to use it, though. Possibly I should borrow one from a person who knows how to interpret the test results before I begin to panic too much, because I do suspect an oil leak, although not past the rings. Or, I could put in a hotter plug to help burn away the crud in that cylinder and forget about it for the time being.

I tipped the front up and down to drain out every last drop of oil. 
It dripped for 4.5 days.
I said above that I drained the oil, but I didn't mention filling with new oil. There is some discussion on this topic with credentialed 'experts' on both sides of the issue. Old Porsche engines typically leak some oil since there are many, many places where oil can seep out of them. Some say that if your air-cooled Porsche isn't leaking oil, you are out of oil. One sure-fire way to prevent oil from leaking over the winter storage period is to not have any oil in the engine. It can't leak then, and your garage floor will remain nice and neat. However, there is some residual dirty oil in the engine if you take this route. The quantity of that oil is very small, and there are contaminants in it, but if the oil has been changed every 5,000 kms the amount of these contaminants is too small to worry about. At least that's my view. Also, my workshop is heated and dry, so no condensation will develop in the engine.

Those dollies are quite useful things. However, the ones you see in my pictures are not the most premium examples to be found. When I first put my car onto these dollies I could not move it at all. The main point of the dollies is that you should be able to move the car around - sideways, on a diagonal, etc. - in order to place it in a location that it could not be driven into for any reason. I had to take the car off of the dollies, then completely disassemble the rollers and bearings, where I found that the things were manufactured with no lubricant of any kind in them. The axles are simple rod-through-a-tube affairs and they were totally dry. The ball bearings in the swivel part of the casters were assembled with no lubricant whatever. Ridiculous. When you buy these devices you have to assemble them, but I didn't take every component apart when I did this (why would I ?), so I had to undo my work to discover the reason that I couldn't roll the car. Simple, no grease, or even oil inside. None. How were they supposed to work?

Lot's of space with the car tucked into the corner, in disguise.

I buttered everything liberally with a good grease, reassembled the whole business, and put the car back onto the newly greasy dollies and, amazingly, I could roll the car around the way I should have been able to do in the first place. The brand name =  ATD, model # ATD-7466, made in China. I don't blame the Chinese, unless there was some deceit involved; rather I blame the money grubbing sellers of the product who asked to cut costs to the bone (perhaps eliminating lubricant), thereby foisting a nonfunctional gadget onto the buyer, me, who was then stuck with rectifying the defect. Ridiculous.

Actually, dropping the engine to tend to that problem I mentioned in one cylinder, and also the air box, might be a useful idea, because my clutch release fork is suspect, too, so it all would have to come out, regardless. Then again, the car will run if none of these are addressed, but I'd simply be postponing the inevitable. Maybe I'll begin with adjusting the cold start hand throttle lever between the seats. It should cause 3,800 rpm when pulled all the way up, but mine goes way over that, so my starting mixture isn't accurate and I might not have air leaks in the air box after all when the engine occasionally backfires on start-up. Luckily I have a pop-off valve installed. Anyway, the simplest scenario is my wish. Not too unique there.

Maybe this post will be continued as work on the car resumes at a later date; stay tuned.

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