Did you hear that?
Everything was going pretty well with the engine refresh until the guys heard a ‘pop’ sound from the engine bay… doh!!!! I guess they have developed an experienced mechanical noise hearing ability. To them, it sounded as if another Helicoil insert might have given way. Although they had checked all the remaining Helicoil inserts, unfortunately, there is no real way of actually testing. To be sure that’s what it was, the engine needs to come out again!
The guys at Resto Classics had previously refitted the heads and correctly torqued everything up to factory specs to make sure everything was OK. I guess the real world engine vibration in actual use must have loosened one that was on the way out or just very borderline? It goes to show they are not the most reliable long term solution!
Engine refresh decision time
At least it happened whilst it was with them at the workshop, rather than on a road trip. That would have been a real pain! After a bit of a discussion, it seemed that the best/safest long term solution was to replace any and all Helicoils that had been previously used on the engine case. Carefully drill them all out and fit Time-sert solid bushing inserts. A full belt and braces solution. Resto Classics recommended them as being a more fool-proof ‘permanent’ fix. Helicoils are a cheaper fixing that they don’t normally use. From experience, cheaper is rarely often better!
Back where it belongs
So after drilling everything out, and retrofitting Time-sert solid bushing inserts throughout the engine block, time to get the engine back together and back in the bus again. After all the work and cleaning, it was good to see it looking factory fresh once again!
One more thing…
On the road trip to Scotland, I had thought that the exhaust was sounding a little bit louder and more throaty than normal? Turns out it was rusted through in places which would explain that. Looks like that will need replacing too then! I had heard good things about a Stainless Steel Single Quiet Pack exhaust system from Just Kampers. It seemed like a pretty high-quality product, with both a 304 stainless steel silencer and manifold covered by a lifetime warranty, which is nice! Great looks, enhanced performance and quieter exhaust note.
The stainless exhaust system from Just Kampers turned out to be a great buy. Looks good, no issues fitting and sounds great! The 304 stainless steel silencer and manifold should last a good few years too. I knew the previous Bugpack exhaust was on the way out, so good to get this sorted.
Time for an engine test run
With all this engine refresh work sorted, plus a new exhaust fitted, it was time for a bit of a test run. Happy to say it all felt good. Much smoother and noticeably quieter too! Looking forward to putting some more miles on it soon!
Robust vintage engineering
In a way, it goes to show the robustness of the simple air-cooled engine. The heads may well have been a bit loose on the road trip to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. The exhaust probably blowing a bit too. Yet it still proved to be reliable for the 1,800+ miles without issue!
Looking forward to the next road trip now that everything mechanically is back as it should be for the time being…