View Full Version : Hello from Austin, Texas

Mike Mandaville
15-09-2005, 11:05 PM
Hello from Austin, Texas. My name is Mike Mandaville, and I just bought a 1983 diesel Volkswagen caddy about a month ago, although here in the US, we of course call it a pickup. My reason for buying this truck is that a few months ago, I ran across the information that it is possible to run a diesel vehicle on recycled cooking oil. After asking about the history of this practice, I was informed that a fellow named Louis Wichinsky appeared on television back in the eighties, and talked about how he ran his diesel car on used cooking oil. With my memory thereby refreshed, I was then able to remember seeing Wichinsky on television.

My truck is not in running condition, and since my mowing season will be ending next month, I won't be able to get it running until next year. In the meantime, though, I have been building a hoist out of wood to remove the engine, in order to make it easier for me to take the engine apart, and inspect it.

Well, I guess that's about it for now.

Darth Garry
16-09-2005, 01:57 AM
You don't need to hoist the engine out of the car to inspect it. You can have the head off the 1.6 diesel in a half hour, and do an in frame rebuild if you want without ever pulling the engine and transaxle out of her. You might not even have to do that. If the engine is in unknown condition, try to get it running and then feel it out from there.


Iowa Caddy
16-09-2005, 04:59 AM
Mike -- there's quite a few threads/posts on here re: cooking oil. Try the forum [search] function -- searching for veggie or SVO or WVO and you should get a few hits. Some of the threads here link to other sites specializing in waste-oil conversions -- plenty of sites out there.

If you decide not to work on the engine in-frame as DG suggests, be aware that instead of hoisting the engine out the top, it's much easier to use your home-built hoist to lower the engine to the floor/ground, and then lift the Caddy from over it. The wooden engine lift can be as simple as a couple of 2 x 4's over the top of the fenders with a piece of all-thread to lower the engine. (If you're in love with the top's of your fenders, use 1x stock to space up from the inner fender liner.)

BTW -- welcome to the forum. ;)

Mike Mandaville
16-09-2005, 11:42 PM
Hello again, fellows. I understand that it would be possible for me to inspect the engine while it is still in the truck, but I think that I will have an easier time of it once the engine is out. The head was already off of the engine when I bought the truck, and in the bed. I also understand that it is possible to rebuild an engine while it is still in the vehicle, if the rebuilder has a suitable boring machine. Unfortunately, I do not have such a machine. Right now, the engine is in unknown condition, although I was told that the engine overheated, and the head warped. I intend to inspect the head myself, though, rather than to take the seller's word for it. If the seller is right, though, then I guess that I will be needing another head, since according to the manual, the head cannot be resurfaced.

Again, I'm working from a manual which I got at Half Price Books for five dollars, and, according to the manual, the engine should be lowered rather than lifted. This is why I have already put the front wheels up on ramps, and why I have parked the truck where I will be able to dig a pit under the engine well, if I need to, to roll the engine out from under the truck. Iowa, I would be curious to know if you have actually used a hoist such as the one which you have described. I have read about the method, but have not yet met anyone who actually used it. I myself would be very reluctant to hang several hundred pounds from a couple of two-by-fours. I would be afraid that the wood might snap.

Iowa Caddy
17-09-2005, 05:42 AM
"Iowa, I would be curious to know if you have actually used a hoist such as the one which you have described." Literally dozens of times -- except using a left-over metal crossbar from an old clamp-on rooftop carrier that is even more flimsy than a pair of 2 X 4's. I've since splurged on a cherry-picker, but end up still using the crossbar for the engine and use the 'picker to lift/roll the chassis. Everytime I use it (the crossbar), I tell myself I need to make something more trick, but never get a "round tuit". We're only talking about maybe 500# for the complete engine/transaxle. If you select a pair of 2 X 4's without obvious splits/excessive knots, you'll be fine. (Up-grade to #1 Doug Fir if you can't find good stud-grade wood.) Orient them vertically, of course. Nail/screw and/or glue together with 3/8 or 1/2 inch ply spacers at each end and near the middle -- run all-thread through the slot, with a drilled block on top. The slot allows you to move the all-thread side-to-side for best balance point, so be foreward thinking where you attach the center spacer (or 2??). Don't forget a coupla' well-lubed washers to act as free-running thrust washers at bottom of the all-thread. Make sure the ends (double-nut/lock-nuts/welded/staked/whatever) are secure so that you don't inadvertantly un-nut it and drop the lump to the floor.

If you want to get fancy, custom horizontal blocks near each end to sit in the fender/inner recess where the hood sits, with ply gussets to hold the 2 X 4's vertically. If you're lucky, get a double- or triple-pitch Acme-thread rod from an old bumper jack/scissors jack at the boneyard -- instead of the all-thread -- for faster lowering/raising, and with less thread friction. Use drill motor instead of wrench if you're in a hurry.

I've got a pic somewhere of a similar 2 x 4 set-up -- I could try to find it if you need more ideas/encouragement? But you sound resourceful and able to improvise pretty well.

I've never dug a pit, usually doing it on concrete. If you don't have a 'picker, it's easier to slide the engine out from under, rather than moving the chassis -- which you'd have to do with the engine in a pit. Drop the lump onto a piece of ply wrapped in poly/visqueene/blue tarp for easier sliding. You DO have to raise the chassis quite a ways to clear the engine -- usually a little bit more than "jack-stand height". Tipping the engine over helps with clearance -- especially if you remove the manifold(s), which of course is easier to do AFTER you've lowered the engine to get easier access to attachment bolts (half of which will be rusted/broken ;) ). Whoops -- just remembered the head is already off. Definitely won't need a pit to remove lump. Lots more wiggle-room when feeding the engine back in if you leave the mani's off.

I hope your "Half-Price" manual is a Bentley (or at least a Haynes) -- the Chilton and Clymer are awfully basic and skip a bunch of stuff.

Remember there's plenty of guys on here with lots of VW diesel experience/info (not me) who will be glad to help you over and out of problems you run into. Keep us posted on your project(s).

20-09-2005, 01:54 PM
Rent Equip on Burnet rents hoists, I rented the breakdown unit because the others required a hitch to tow them home. This worked great and the cost was about $60 a day. It only took a day but I had done all the prep the day before and just had to drop the two side engine mounts. The best thing about getting the engine out is the opportunity to clean and redo your wiring harness. I would also take the brake booster out and check your brake system, I found mine was full of brake fluid and I had to replace it. Austin Vee Dub is an excellent source for parts, god knows I wander the yard almost once a week. Their are only 3 pick ups in the whole yard but literally hundreds of A-1 chassis you can get parts from.

21-09-2005, 04:47 PM
Hello from Austin, Texas. My name is Mike Mandaville,

Hey Mike,
David here from OKC, OK... Nice to have a fellow down the street... :D

Good luck on your build...

Mike Mandaville
22-09-2005, 12:49 AM
Hello again, fellows.

Sorry for my slow response. I just started a couple of new mowing customers. Iowa, thanks for the details regarding the hoist. Actually, I would have buildt something similar, except that with such a hoist, it would be possible for me to move my truck into the garage, which means that it would then be necessary for me to clean the garage. What I am building instead is a tripod out of three twelve-foot four-by-fours. I will be lashing the timbers at the top with a rope, and then draping a chain from the rope to support a come-along.

The manual which I am working from is a Chilton's. I do plan on purchasing a Bentley in the near future, though. I found out from the Volkswagen diesel forum that the Bentley is the best, and your recommendation is further evidence that I need to go ahead and get the Bentley.

Rvitko, it is good to know that there is another Austinite who is on board. I bought my truck at Austin Vee Dub, and I agree that they are an excellent resource. I used to live a couple of blocks from Burnet Road. I'm out in Bee Cave now.

Hello, David. Oklahoma is OK. I am an amateur musician, and I have been strongly influenced by your Leon Russell.

23-09-2005, 08:06 PM
Hello, David. Oklahoma is OK. I am an amateur musician, and I have been strongly influenced by your Leon Russell.

Hmmm, I am not familiar, but when I am home I will do a search (no Google allowed at work :screwy: ).

The bentley is the shizzle, while the Chilton IMHO is a better paper weight...

23-09-2005, 09:22 PM
Hello from Austin, Texas. My name is Mike Mandaville

Jesus Mike, aren't you guys getting ready for big problems??

I hope your caddy is on some blocks, well out of Rita's way!!!!

Iowa Caddy
23-09-2005, 09:42 PM
Jesus Mike, aren't you guys getting ready for big problems??

P4ulo -- Mike may have a different take on it, but Austin is about 250 miles inland from latest predicted landfall of Rita so will probably only have Cat 1 winds at most. If Rita stalls out over land, he may get 10-20" of rain, but since Austin is at 550 ft elevation he probably won't have to be too worried about the storm surge. :D

Mike Mandaville
26-09-2005, 08:36 PM
I was hoping that the hurricane would bring me some rain to help with my mowing business, but no such luck. It's been very crowded around here though, as you might imagine, because of the millions of people who fled Houston, including hundreds of thousands of those who left New Orleans earlier. We've been safe and sound here, though, thank God.