Skip to main content

@barncobob posted:

i am a perfectionist at keeping the wife happy:} everything else is alot easier to deal with

Right around the time that saying came out my son was around 4 y.o. and was being baby sat by a friend and his wife.  In the course of the day his wife was asking him to do stuff and he was not cooperating, my son at 4 says to him :" Bob you should do it," he looks him straight in the eye and says "Happy wife, happy life" Bob just about fell over from laughter, then went to please his wife. ... We still laugh at that comment to this day.  

@edsnova posted:

Thank you once again for the entertaining update, Mr. Galat. You are the one and only The Man.

Truer words have never been spoken. Stan blazes the way.

Negative. I believe the term you are looking for, Mike is "cautionary tale".

Anybody can get it right if they get it 5 (or more) runs at it. I'm just a guy who's lost all perspective, and doesn't know when to quit.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Mitch-- Regarding buying and crying and the optimal number for each activity: one seems like a pretty good number (in the hypothetical abstract). It's good advice don't you think? If only I was capable of heeding it.

You do know the definition of "hardhead", right? In Miriam-Webster's there's a picture of a silverback ape under that heading.

"Don't be like Stupid Stan."

Last edited by Stan Galat


@Stan Galat posted:


...You do know the definition of "hardhead", right? In Miriam-Webster's there's a picture of a silverback ape under that heading.

"Don't be like Stupid Stan."...


Stan, I don't think what you do is 'stupid' at all.

You're a builder. You build stuff. You like building stuff.

Houses. Garages. Motorized bicycle hoists. (No one builds a motorized bicycle hoist unless they like building stuff.)

I think you like the building as much as the driving, maybe more.

Some people like solving a Rubix cube. The joy is in the doing. When the puzzle's solved, there's elation, but some disappointment, too. We're done here. What's next?

It's the achieve of, the mastery of the thing. (footnote 1)

One thing I've learned here is that we all get something a little different back from these cars. Me? I'm no mechanic. The less I wrench, the better a world this is. I can wreak more havoc with a screwdriver than most people can with high explosives.

I like a motor that just keeps running. It doesn't need to make more horsepressure than Fred's motor. If it just keeps running.

If the car can get me through some vineyard country and let me taste the air as I go and feel the terroir rise and fall under my wheels, that's payback enough. I'm good being me. You need only to be you.

There's no right and wrong here. No better or worse.

There is no stupid.



Stan is here to help us, because he is "that guy". He takes the bullet for all(some?) of us.

Don't pay attention to what the Silverback Ape is doing. Stan is sometimes a contradiction. So am I. Sometimes we try things against our own sage advice. Sometimes they work, mostly not.

But definitely LISTEN to what the Silverback Ape says. He speaks the truth.

I know pretty well who I am, and who I'm not. Mitch (of course) has my particular psychosis pretty well pegged, from his observation regarding what I advise and what I do, to his realization that I enjoy working on this car almost as much as I enjoy driving it (and maybe more). I love the VW Type 1 because it can be almost any one thing a man chooses, but not several things at once. Both Mitch and Jim Ignacio are very good at just choosing a configuration with the broadest bandwidth, and accepting the limitations. They then (wisely) adapt themselves to accept what they have.

Although I see the great value in the "zen" of that, I'm just not that guy. I'll never be able to fully leave well enough alone, and I'm OK with that. I'm happy in my own skin.

I do like to build. But even more, I like to solve problems (whether actual or perceived). This makes me a lousy leader, or a fantastic one, depending on the situation. I'm a fixer of things, and always default to the belief that there is nearly always a way to bring the mountain to Muhammad, if one applies enough effort. Sometimes this belief works greatly to my advantage, sometimes it does not-- but while most people find dead-ends to be frustrating defeats, I just look at them as one more solution for a problem other than the one I'm trying to solve at the moment. Even outright failure is just one more answer ("let's not do that again").

The air-cooled flat 4 is one of the most modular mechanical devices ever conceived and manufactured. It can be configured to be anything from a 1200 cc pea-shooter to a 3L, turbocharged drag motor-- all with the same basic architecture. What it isn't is super-flexible at being several things at once. For me, the white whale has been in choosing which set of limitations will best fit the particular application. What do I want this car to be? What am I willing to give up to get it there? Once the parameters are identified, then taking the thing to it's logical conclusion is just a matter of applying time and money.

I've never been displeased with any iteration of this car, but my expectations of it have evolved and crystallized to bring me to a moment where I took a couple of steps back so that I could head down a road that was slightly (but significantly) different. So far, I like it a lot.

I believe the engine we are building will be the icing on the cake. I can tell you this, before diving into the details-- I have enjoyed the process immensely, and my enjoyment of it is firmly rooted in finding somebody as inquisitive, detail oriented, and honest as I hope to be.

I cannot recommend @Vintage Volks highly enough.  

Last edited by Stan Galat

I tried with some success, and some failure, at making my Spyder a great all-around sports car. Track use, autocross, cruiser, intertstate-traveller, and mountain-road-topless-fair-weather zipper. I've come to realize that is an impossible task to do it ALL WELL. The last one is my favorite use of the car.

I have finally accepted the fact that it can't do it all. I may re-gear the trans to make it a little shorter and closer for twisty and hilly work. Right now it's a decent compromise.

That's why I bought a Cayman. Different cars for different uses. Instead of a homemade Swiss Army knife I have 2 different knives now.

Parallel paths Stan. You helped me come to this conclusion. Thanks man.

Getting back to the engine (and the madness)...

As I said in the opening monologue, I’m using Panchitos with Dan Ruddock’s beehive spring kit. The plan was to use a CB2292 and 1.4 rocker arms, as this is the combination that got 180 hp for Anand’s 2332 (Pat was recommending the 2292 with 1.25 rockers). Everybody always says, “the power is in the heads”, but the truth is that the heads and the cam are a married couple-- one is only made complete with the other. Cam selection is very, very important.

The Dan Ruddock beehive springs will allow .550” of lift before coil bind with a “standard” installation (1.7” installed spring height), and a standard installation has the right seat and nose pressure (the amount of force exerted on the valve-train when fully closed and fully open). The idea is to run lower spring pressures, while still controlling the valves-- so that there is less friction at the cam/lifter junction, and less wear and tear on everything else in the valvetrain. I’m using CB’s lightweight lifters,’s heavy-duty pushrods, and modified stock helical cut cam gears (which require a low spring pressure). 

The CB 2292 has .378” of lift at the cam. Doing the math (and CB has the math, right on their specs for the cam), using 1.4 rockers works out to .529” of lift at the valve, which is well within the range of the beehives. I put all this stuff together having done all the calculations, and sent it out to Jason. I was a genius!

… except when Jason mocked up the valvetrain, we came up with .557” of lift at the valve-- too much lift for the beehives. Huh?


Well, it turns out that all of the economical “1.4” rocker arms actually measure out to 1.45:1 or greater. Mine figured out to north of 1.47:1. Pauter (of course) makes a true 1.4:1 rocker arm assembly, but they cost $650, and are good to about 10,000 RPM, which seems like a bit of overkill for an engine that won’t see over 7000 RPM.

Panchitos are done flowing at about .500” of valve lift. They only flow 4 cfm more at .600” than they do at .500”, so there isn’t much point in lifting past .500” anyhow. The thing is: if I lift to .530” or so, the valve actually spends quite a bit more time above .500” (where it flows the best) as the valve opens and closes. In my mind, I really wanted as much “dwell” as I could get at around .500” of valve-lift.

Cams are super cool. When we look at the specs, all we can see is the total lif and the total duration. We can’t see the shape of the lobe. Some cams lft really fast and have a very long dwell at maximum lift (which makes more power), but these cams are noisy and super-hard on the valvetrain. Other cams lobes look like a splitting wedge-- very pointy, with slower ramps, but way less time at maximum lift. The result is that cams with nearly identical specs can be different enough for one to be preferred over the other. The 2292 is very like an Engle FK10, which is very similar to a Web 86c.

It’d be neat if you could use whatever cam you wanted with whatever lifters you wanted, but the metals often don’t play well together. CBs lifters are super-lightweight, which is the theme of this entire endeavor, so using a cam ground on an EP-12 blanks (like CBs are) was kind’ve baked in the cake.

So I was stuck. But, I had an ace up my sleeve! In anticipation of needing them someday, a while back I had bought the last set of CB’s “1.3” rocker arms I could find (they are a discontinued item). If the “1.4” rockers measured 1.47:1, I hoped that the “1.3” rockers would measure 1.35 or so. I wanted at least .500” of valve lift. I sent them out to Jason.

He put them in and measured them up. We had .489” of lift, which is about 1.29: 1 . I should have been happy. I wasn’t. I really wanted the valves to lift where they would have with true 1.4:1 rocker arms. I really didn’t want to buy Pauters.

I put the query out on TheSamba, fully expecting a bunch of unhelpful and non-related responses. Instead, I got a lot of good information. and found that “1.25” rockers often lift up to nearly 1.4:1. I briefly considered this option, but decided I really didn’t want to end up with 4 sets of rocker arms and none I could use. I also got a response from Dan Ruddock.

Dan knew this was a problem with his springs, and he had a solution. He’d contacted Web Cam, and had found a grind (the 252), which was not in the catalog. This cam has .366” of lift at the cam, and 260° duration (at .050”). He had the cam customized with more duration-- either at 266° or 272° with the same lift, and had it ground on an EP-12 blank (because he knows those lifters are the bomb). The CB 2292 cam has 270°, which is really aggressive. The Web cam has nice easy ramps, and a “snub nose” for a lot of dwell at full lift. A bit less aggressive, with easy ramps and a lot of dwell-- it sounded really, really good. 

The valve lift figures out to .538” with the “1.4” rockers (that measure 1.47:1), which keeps me well under .550”. Web cams are legendary for making power, and being easy on the valve-train. I chose the 266° duration cam. I didn’t want to deviate from the recipe, but I ordered the cam and it’s at Jason’s shop.

When one colors outside the lines, it gets weird pretty quickly. Stay tuned for the next exciting episode of "Stan's Lawn Mower Engine".

This is a step towards sanity, remember?


Images (1)
  • IMG_20200504_233947
Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan, very cool. FYI, Pauter rockers are the bomb. All the cool kids have them(old school roller-bearing 1.5s in mine). I'm surprised you didn't just order them. They did change them back to plain bearings, but still charge a lot for them, so I understand not getting them.

But either way, Webcam does make a good camshaft, so you're covered. It sounds like a very viable and well-laid plan.

Thanks for including all of us on this journey, or should I say "Odyssey"?

You had me at beehives, Stan.  I love this stuff, this kind of detailed thinking and building, seeing the way you and your builder are sweating the details. Magnificent!

I love the way springs behave. How, say a different number of coils over the same distance at the same spring rate changes everything. I got into it through race bike suspension set up, not valve trains, but things can get really crazy really quick.

I'm also glad I decided to go Suby before this post was up.  It's like Stan is standing just down a side alley saying to me, "Hey, kid, come here. I got some candy for ya."

You had me at beehives, Stan.  I love this stuff, this kind of detailed thinking and building, seeing the way you and your builder are sweating the details. Magnificent!

I love the way springs behave. How, say a different number of coils over the same distance at the same spring rate changes everything. I got into it through race bike suspension set up, not valve trains, but things can get really crazy really quick.

I'm also glad I decided to go Suby before this post was up.  It's like Stan is standing just down a side alley saying to me, "Hey, kid, come here. I got some candy for ya."

Thanks (I think), Michael. It's apparent that God made (at least) 2 of us. It's the small things like these springs that get me all worked up.

A standard "HD dual" valve-spring for a VW has about a 1.54" install height. The springs have 5 coils and an interference fit to keep harmonic vibrations under control. That friction increases oil temperature.

The beehives are installed at 1.7", with a funky looking retainer set-up that brings the spring almost all the way out the the lash-cap. They wires are oval-shaped, with 6 coils per spring. This means that each coil moves less with each compression. There are no inner springs, so there is no friction. The nose pressure is about the same as the standard HD dual springs (295 lbs), but the seat pressure is lower (about 110 lbs).

The part of the spring that moves the most (the top) is lighter than the duals, so it's easier to keep under control. There are two reasons to love the idea of these things: the reduction in friction, and the reduction in valve-train weight. The benefit of the first is obvious, but it's that second part I'm really excited about, as it's kind of a new way of thinking for me. This will be my first engine with smaller (40 mm) intakes, lighter lifters, light retainers (12.5 grams), and aluminum push-rods. I'm really hoping to be able to spin this out to 7000 RPM, as the cam will still be making power up there.

It's a big engine to spool up that far, but that's why we're doing what we are with the bottom end. But that's a story for another night. 

Last edited by Stan Galat

I've not really followed this thread that seriously - just jumped in and out whenever I saw a post I thought I could understand.  Technical stuff like this is way about my pay grade (but I'm retired, so I guess that analogy does not fit anymore).

Anyway, whatever Stan is doing there looks interesting as all get out, and I am fascinated with the level of detail that this entails.  I believe it's a healthy thing for Stan to be doing these days.  :-)

On a side note, whenever I see the word Panchito, I get a craving for chips and dip, or a week in Mexico.


It's been a couple of months since my last post on this project, and it'd be easy to get lost in the weeds regarding what'd been happening this summer. As with most of us, 2020 has produced more than it's share of frustration and setback-- but it's all part of the journey and part of the "fun" (I keep telling myself).

I've been motoring around in the Speedster with the 2110. It's an OK motor-- Cima/Mahle pistons/cylinders, an SLR "120-ish" cam, and some heads AJ Sims did for me 20 years ago. It was a fresh rebuild, and broke in nicely. I've been fighting an older set of 40s for most of the summer, and finally gave up and put on a set of 45s with a fresh rebuild. With these carbs, the engine idles down to 600 RPM (should I want to) without a fart, spit, or sneeze. I believe I've got a twisted throttle shaft in the 40s, but that's a project for a winter day, not for right now.

On March 20, at the front end of the COVID shutdown, I boxed up the twin-plug heads and sent them via USPS to Denmark to have Torben Alstrup rework them. During the great fire of '18, they ingested some molten aluminum from the misfire problem chronicled elsewhere. That was not the only issue-- the same erratic spark had caused enough detonation/pre-ignition that the combustion chambers needed work. The heads have what appears to be a DRD port. Lots of guys liked them because they flow well on the bench, but the I/R ratio is not good (too much exhaust flow for the intake). Torben knows exactly what to do, and had the time to do it.

Anyway, the heads were guaranteed to get there in 6 days, and the cost was about $200, which was less than half of UPS. I boxed them up in the mother of all boxes, bought all the insurance USPS would sell me ($650), and sent them on their way.

USPS offers "tracking", which is a joke. I watched them go to St. Louis that night, sit there for a week, then go to Chicago (we're halfway between the cities). At that point, they fell off the face of the earth. I inquired (in person) at the 2-week, 1-month, and 2-month marks. The postmaster recommended filing a claim, which I did on June 20 (3 months to the day after I sent them).

I heard nothing for 5 more weeks. On August 1, they showed up on my doorstep. My wife went to the post office to get the cost of shipping back (she's very good at getting refunds, I'm not). They now had good tracking (the kind you get every time you send something FedEx or UPS). The box sat stateside until July 23-- at which point, somebody put it on a plane for Denmark. It arrived in Danish customs, cleared, and sat in Copenhagen for 2 more weeks. The box processed through Copenhagen, "attempted delivery", and processed back to the US as "not picked up" all within a span of less than 10 minutes. I got it about a week later.

Apparently, some EU countries are just sending stuff back to the US because they don't like our COVID response (even though the package could not possibly have live US virus after a 2-week quarantine after Danish customs). Regardless-- the heads are back home after a 4 month tour of the post-apocalyptic landscape that is "the new normal" (I've got a dozen such stories in my business). The heads still need reworked, but I'm not super excited about $1000+ in shipping two ways. and hoping for the best. I need to figure this one out before moving forward. Failing to plan is planning to fail.

Progress on the longblock has been similar, but Jason from VintageVolks is doing a killer job for me. It's just been very slow, mostly because of me. I'll have more details as soon as I've got more to tell, but I'm quite grateful to be as deep into spares as I am-- I'm not sure what I'd do if I were just waiting.

Last edited by Stan Galat
Post Content
Link copied to your clipboard.