[Vwdiesel] Misc '79 Rabbit questions

LBaird119 at aol.com LBaird119 at aol.com
Sat Nov 11 20:44:00 EST 2006

In a message dated 11/11/2006 12:28:36 AM Pacific Standard Time, 
tonyandlillie1 at earthlink.net writes:

> How do I measure the piston protrusion? I don't have a machine shop, just 
> the tools to do nearly everything else.

  Four basic ways I can think of, most spendy to cheapest:
Test indicator
Depth gauge
Lay something flat across the piston and measure the gap 
between it and the block, with stacked feeler gauges.

> If I were contemplating, I'd do a 1.6 at the least. As I am not set up for 
> engine work (This is why I like the Audi's I work on) I do not intend to 
> tear into the bottom end. I am doing the guide seals, though. I'd love to 
> have the head rebuilt, but my income has gone from $2100 (when I bought the 
> parts) to $650 (now, different priorities), so I'm a bit unable to do 
> everything. I can deal with blowby, etc a bit. I can't deal with a blown 
> headgasket or hose on a 2000 mile trip somewhere!!!

  If you get to the right person you can do head work fairly 
cheaply.  :-)  Guides are easy to remove and replace yourself 
with nothing more than a hammer and a drift.  Use the right 
drift and you usually don't even need the correct reamer, which is 
still cheap.  Toughest part is the vavle compressor tool.  I made one 
that works well with the cast, NA intake to lever against.  Otherwise 
I'm able to borrow a "correct" one.  It's not too spendy to have the 
intakes and all the seats ground.  Then you have to shorten stems 
to get back to the right shim range.  
  I was able to give a hand at a local machine shop one day and he 
said if I did that, I could use the valve grinder in exchange. It was just 
some help moving a couple things and.... grinding some valves for a 
customer while he balanced a crank or such.  Now a shop up the 
street has an old valve grinder and I get to use it for "beer money" to 
grind my valves, seats and shorten stems squarely.  I've done it with 
a regular bench grinder too.  You gotta work the system!  :-)

> The car will go on a trailer to the local (old school) VW tech, so he can do 
> all the timing and valve adjustment for me. Unless one of you wants to make 
> a bit extra money. ;-) On that subject, is there a good place to get the 
> valve adj tool and shims for reasonable? How often do most of you do yours?

  Owner's manual actually tells the "correct" interval of either 
15K or 30 K miles.  Seems like I probably go about 20 ish as 
I do a lot of short runs.  Wife just came home from KS or she 
could've been some help.  Been a while but she's seen me set 
timing and valves a few times. :-)  (Like she'd have had time for 
a house call... or would've wanted to admit she knows anything 
about cars either!)

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