Restoration Wednesday – Exhaust Leaks, Speedo Gear Seals, Driving the 914 1.8

posted in: Restoration Wednesday | 4

18 hours in two days. That’s how long I spent in the garage last weekend. That Friday before I finally got the car running, for good. I was so excited I woke up Saturday morning at 6 am and started working in my pajamas. I stopped at 3:45 pm in time to go out to a school fundraiser. Then Sunday morning right back at it from 6:30 am to about 3ish. I could have woke at 4 am but thought I’d be better with some sort of sleep. The car runs, drives and stops well but it is not without its faults.

When does a Porsche sound like a VW? When it’s a 914. When does it sound like a beat up VW Bug on the way home from a Grateful Dead lap of America? When four out of eight exhaust nuts or studs are missing. I thought it was a simple hole in the muffler making the racket. Jim Beam was I in for a treat. I pulled the passenger side heat exchanger hanging by one nut, cut the exchanger part off because it was banging around and rusted beyond use. Then blanched the copper exhaust gaskets, sanded them flat and reinstalled with new exhaust stud and nuts.

The driver side was more of the same but one stud cavity is stripped and needs to be retapped. That’s beyond my tool chest right now so it is held on fairly tight by three of four mounts. The muffler with the hole was replaced with a Bursch exhaust that I had from another parts car. All exhaust inlets were filed flat to make a better seal. After adjusting the valves and setting the timing to 7.5 degrees BTDC at 850 rpm the car sounded pretty good. Except the decel valve is missing and the backfire is slightly annoying to kinda cool sounding depending on your mood.

One of the many projects was stopping a leak from the speedometer angle gear drive. I changed the tranny fluid at which time I tried to tackle the two seals in the drive. Here’s a reference link to gear drive seal replacement on 914 World. You would think it would be easy enough but the seal (not o-ring) was set in place so tightly I thought it was glued. I spent nearly 30 minutes pulling at it with pliers, carefully trying to use a X-Acto blade to carve it out, spit and yelled. It finally came loose. After resealing the assembly it doesn’t drip but still remains a bit wet. 914 Rubber offers a double seal solution but I’m satisfied for now.

If all this work doesn’t seem to add up to days worth of labor, you’re right it wasn’t. I also cut the wiring harness from tail lights to firewall to replace the burnt ground wire and re-wrapped. Tracked down disconnected brake light wiring behind the pedal cluster to cut wires at the fuse panel and reconnected. Figured out why the wipers weren’t working. Added a headlight, headlight surrounds to both lights, wired up the front turn signals, wired the side marker lights with new gaskets, pulled apart one tail light and cleaned all contacts and grounds, put in different seats, new door cards, blah, blah, yadda, yadda.

To say I’m excited is an understatement. A 914 was supposed to be my first car when I turned 16. Aside from the highly modified V8 green beast 914 I owned briefly, I’ve never driven or owned a true 914. When I bought this car, it didn’t run, had no fuses in the fuse panel and had the fuel pump hard wired through the back window to the panel. Headlights were hard wired too. But of course there was no battery to test anything. I bought it, well, I bought it because it was originally Olympic Blue and it had potential. The bumpers are off and will be repainted and back on soon.


4 Responses

  1. Mike Graf

    Congrats on the fruits of your labor… I appreciate a person who can stick to it, and troubleshoot until they find a fix… especially someone doing it out of their own garage without all the fancy tools… you inspire all of us! Enjoy the ride, you earned it…

  2. Groosh

    Thanks Mike! The wiring issues continue but at least the main systems work for safety. I spent another six hours today trying to find out why there is still a short when the car is off but the right turn signal triggers the headlights to go up and down. Why the horn doesn’t work and why the fog lights disappeared including the switch. One step at a time…

  3. Paul

    Hi Paul, thanks for another interesting post. I don’t envy the mountain of irritating problems you have/had. Well done for your fine persistence where others would have thrown the towel. Look forward to reading progress.. Cheers, Paul.

    • Groosh

      Thanks Paul. Now that I am finally over the hump with a running car, I can address suspension needs and more cosmetics. It’s a good feeling.

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