A short while ago (late 2013), after starting up the bus to check everything was OK, I noticed water pouring from the underside of the engine area.
On closer inspection there was a small crack to one of the cylinder heads. In fact I’d noticed something a couple of years ago but it didn’t seem to leak any water – so, of course, I did nothing about it :(. See picture:
I’d been dithering over replacing either the heads or the whole engine since I first noticed the small mark that turned out to be a crack. I got a couple of quotes for replacing the heads as well as swapping the engine over. Both were way too high and that was without the cost of the main parts – so I decided to do it myself.
The vehicle was now in a state where it couldn’t be driven very far so this would have added to the overall costs if I’d had to get a lift or a tow.
I embarked on finding the best replacement/rebuild that I could and eventually managed to get in touch with Marco Mansi (see http://www.marcomansiperformance.com) - in my eyes, and from what a lot of others say, a highly regarded, high quality rebuider of VW waterboxer engines. Every one else says how awkward they are to work on – Marco puts them in Beetles and races them!
After a few conversations and a timely slot in his calendar, he was kind enough to rebuild me an engine and to deliver the rebuilt engine to my lock-up. Here it is when it first arrived:
I’d managed to get the old engine out of the bus on my own (no small feat when you’ve never done it before).
Since then I’ve been building up the rebuilt engine with new pipework, new water pump and new clutch (as well as a host of other bits and pieces and cleaned up parts that haven’t been replaced). The newly built engine is now ready to go back in the bus – wish me luck!