It had already been 5 months since I had brought it home. I didn't have a steadfast completion date in mind but I was really hoping to be able to drive it by the end of fall. To do that, I needed to get in gear and make some more progress.
The goal was to have a running, driving, turning, and stopping car that wouldn't spontaneously start on fire. This meant that all of the major systems needed to be gone through. With a car that hasn't run for so long, I wasn't on board with just putting a battery in it and seeing what it'll do. I wanted to make sure that when I turned the key, there would be no surprises. One of the first steps to do that was taking it all apart.
Par for the course in this project is complete disassembly, inspection, and reassembly with new seals, fluids, etc. No drastic changes at this point, I just want to drive it. I pulled the engine all the way down to the short block, enough that I could inspect the camshaft for wear and clean the whole thing but not split the case, we'll call that par +1. Fortunately the cam looked good, lifters all looked great, and it came apart as it should.
There was a lot of cleaning, really that has been the most time consuming part of this build. Everything has been coated in a mixture of dirt, dust, oil, grease, and mouse feces. Parts of this car, namely under the fresh air duct at the cowl, looked like a mouse diarrhea factory. Other parts, like the carbs, just got a light sprinkling of mouse urine.
Anyone who owns a classic Porsche will tell you that Fuchs are a staple in the community. I love the style and lines of those wheels on 911's and 914's alike, I don't love the price tag that typically comes with a set. There are fake Fuchs out there, where the casting is built using the real thing, but then the wheels are cast instead of forged. These have the look, but tend to lack the strength as many have found out the hard way. Then there's homage Fuchs, wheels that are modeled after the real thing but are designed from day 1 with casting in mind. One fine day I stumbled upon a set of wheels that fall into the second category, paired with a 5-lug swap for a 914. I was sold even if it meant pushing back other project purchases.
Cleaning, stripping, cleaning, stripping more, cleaning, masking, cleaning, painting, cleaning, polishing, and some cleaning.
The front 5-lug hubs that came with the wheels turned out to be for a late model 914 with different offset. This meant they couldn't be used unless I swapped out the suspension as well. I opted to buy a new set of front rotors and have them drilled. The rears were pretty painless, I pulled both rear control arms and replaced the wheel bearings, control arm bushings, and just assembled the 5-lug hubs in place of the 4 lug hubs.
Originally, this car had plastic fuel lines that ran down the center tunnel. On these older cars, it's common for these to rupture, resulting in more than a few 914 barbecues. My lines were old, my tank was full of gunk, and all of it spritzed with mouse pee. A full overhaul was needed. I pulled the tank and sent it to gastankrenu who stripped it, patched a couple holes, and coated it inside and out. The resulting tank was better than new, and has a lifetime warranty. Can't beat it. I also ordered up a new fuel pump, fuel filters, and all new lines. Not taking chances here, I want my fuel system to be 100%
More of the same for the brakes. I don't want them to suddenly go away when I need them so this meant going through the whole system. Master cylinder was removed, disassembled and inspected. The bore was good so I was able to use a genuine ATE rebuild kit to piece it all back together. Hard lines were inspected, none needing replacement. Soft lines are replaced with stainless braided lines. Calipers were all disassembled and rebuilt as well.
The old cylinder heads turned out to be junk. Luckily my friend who supplied much of the interior had a set ready to go.
The car originally sold as a 1.7, the advertisement stated that the car was built out to a 2.0 by the previous owners relative. Turns out it was built up a bit, but it was actually a 1.9. In my rebuild I was able to reuse the cylinders and pistons, I purchased new rings and did a light cylinder hone just to get the plateau finish for the rings. After measuring the deck height, stroke, combustion chamber volume, and piston/cylinder diameters it looks like I'll have a 1911 with a 8.5/1 compression ratio. Time to start bolting things together.
I'm looking out the window now, it's late November and snow is in the forecast. It's safe to say I will not be driving the car this fall. Expect the best but plan for the worst. The new goal is February 2017, 1 year after buying the car. With what I've accomplished so far, I think it's attainable. Look for more updates to this article in the future and thanks for reading!