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Thread: Benny and the jets - a coming of age tale about a '77S rebuild

  1. #1
    Senior Member obscene's Avatar
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    Benny and the jets - a coming of age tale about a '77S rebuild

    Hi everyone,

    I'm new to the registry and previously introduced myself in the regional section but wanted to continue sharing my 'early inspired' mid-year rebuild with the larger audience. My name is Ben, and like many others, my 911 story could be described as champagne taste on a beer budget. After a two year search I was finally able to bring home my very own 911, a '77S coupe, in May of 2014. A mid-year car with narrow hips and a healthy engine was the perfect mix of early styling and affordability for me. My favorite way to describe the car's condition was that it had all the right things wrong with it. In other words, all of its issues were fixes that I could perform myself with normal tools in my own garage.







    So over the past year and a half I've been busy bringing this car back to life and slowly incorporating more of my style into it. Anything racecar inspired is always a win with me. Jobs like replacing all the brakes lines, rebuilding the calipers, valve adjustments, cleaning up the engine bay, and even rebuilding the Weber carburetors have been such a pleasure (especially compared to the old VWs I'm used to).













    The fun quickly halted though as during a beautiful early morning cruise to mother's day brunch my car came face to hip with a deer on the highway.



    Fortunately the front end of a 911 is nice and low which resulted in us merely clipping the legs of the deer. The result being that we (and the car) were spared any serious injury. Thus enters the car's current phase of longhood conversion in process.





    and a quick test spray to see if I'm ready to commit to signal orange:



    That's where we're at for now. A large order of goodies is on the way from TRE in California. I have some excepts from the last year or so that I'll post below before continuing with current affairs. Thanks for reading!

    -Ben

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    Senior Member obscene's Avatar
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    Chapter One - March 2015

    Yesterday I finally mustered up the courage to dive into the carburetor rebuild for my '77 911 that I've been procrastinating on. Like many, I'm not sure where my fear of tinkering on carburetors comes from. Theoretically they are amazingly simple devices, but via the wonders of physics perform what in my mind still seems like black magic. So many screws... So many adjustments... So many little brass pieces to lose or break or put in backwards...

    Anyway, it wasn't as bad as I thought.

    Whether by chance or on purpose, Weber cleverly designed all the fiddly bits to have a sort of logic about them. The way the jets are shaped or how a screw is sized gives each item a feeling of "It goes here because it doesn't fit anywhere else". I had taken many reference pictures before hand, but found myself only having to reference them once, and only for the complicated reassembly of the spring tensioned accelerator pump. I also kept the second carb fully assembled while working on the first in case I needed it as live reference. I've only completed the first one so far, but I'm really pleased with the results. It's too early to pat myself on the back, as they still need to go back in the car and be adjusted, but so far so good...














  3. #3
    Senior Member obscene's Avatar
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    Chapter Two - March 2015

    Previously on AMC's the walking dead -




    When we last left off, I had just completed the cleaning and rebuild of my first carburetor. Motivated by an overwhelming sense of smugness, I didn't shave once all week and entered nearly every problem solving situation feeling methodical as ****. Need to pack lunch? - let's break the contents one by one and assemble a great meal. Full inbox? - read and organize them into daily tasks. Stressed out wife? - identify the individual stressors and escape quickly to the garage.

    That brings us to part two in the carburetor rebuild project. Over the weekend my goal was to finish the second carb, similarly clean and replace gaskets for the intake manifolds, and possibly start re-assembly. Progress with the second carb moved significantly faster than the first, since I was now fairly familiar with all the parts and their assembly.





    Progress stalled, however, when my attention shifted to the intake manifolds. For those without little girl hands, removing the awkwardly located nuts would be a challenge, and I would highly recommend a set of crow's feet wrenches. For me the nuts came off relatively easy, but coaxing the manifolds off their mounting bolts was much trickier. Gentle persuasion came to the rescue, and it was clear that they had not been touched in a very long time.





    While you're in there...

    Something I've never been a fan (pun intended) of on my 911 was the previous owners mass application of red paint to the engine components. It was now or never to make the change so I eagerly unbolted the fan shroud and fan housing.







    And that's where we're left after a long Saturday devoted solely to the 911. The individual components have been stripped down and are currently receiving a refreshing and some new paint. Up next is re-assembly and the initial carburetor mixture tuning!


  4. #4
    Senior Member super9064's Avatar
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    Love the VW pickup
    Rob Abbott

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    Senior Member StephenAcworth's Avatar
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    Great story so far... apart from the deer, that is! Welcome and I look forward to learning more...
    1966 911 Coupe - Slate Grey - 304598 - still in restoration!

    Member #1616

  6. #6
    Senior Member obscene's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by super9064 View Post
    Love the VW pickup
    Thanks! VW rabbits will always have a special place with me. All of my knowledge and (limited) skills were gained on my first major project, a 1980 rabbit.



    For better or worse though, both cars have been sold to allow more time/space/money for the 911.

    Quote Originally Posted by StephenAcworth View Post
    Great story so far... apart from the deer, that is! Welcome and I look forward to learning more...
    Thanks! Early 911's have always been my dream car so wrenching away on the car is a pleasure. The accident was unfortunate, but at the same time it's allowing me the opportunity to rebuild the car exactly how I want it.

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    Chapter Three - Whatever floats your boat

    It was somewhere amid the hail of sparks gently caressing my face Sunday morning that I became acutely aware of the fact that I never pull out the angle grinder after something's gone right.

    Lesson #1: Even the lightest of hammer taps will inevitably degrade the initial threading pitch of the alternator.

    Lesson #2: Taking a cutting disk to your Porsche for the first time is exhilarating in so many ways.

    But first, allow me to back up and start from the beginning. Yesterday began the eagerly anticipated re-assembly of my engine bay. After pulling the carbs for a rebuild, I bit on the "while you're in there" bug and went after some components that were in dire need of a refresh and attitude adjustment. I stripped the paint from these pieces and re-painted in a variety of finishes that, in my opinion, better suit the car and better suit my tastes.

    The offending color scheme:



    And a quick test fit of the finished product:





    I only ended up painting the fan, housing, fan shroud, and rain hats but the difference is night and day for me. As a bonus, my fan strap turned out to be a Rennline aluminum one that was previously installed upside down!

    I had a quick scare bolting the fan back in place, but luckily the threads cleaned up without calling the grinder back in.





    After a quick break to conceptualize, I set about task #2 for the day - fitting the MSD units to the relay panel. The units were previously mounted to the firewall with wires hanging everywhere. I can't exactly shave the bay like a MK1 Volkswagen, but I can try to clean things up a little better.



    Before:



    Mock up:



    With the MSD mocked in place and daylight fading, I jumped ahead to stretch task #3 - turning the key!

    Well the key turned, the fuel pump pumped, and the right carb transformed from a freshly cleaned horsepower vortex to a beautiful fountain of gasoline. "oh **** oh **** oh ****!" I whimpered while dashing back to the front of the car to turn the key off. It wasn't clear at first, but something from the back of my mind slowly crept to the front..

    Remember that float with a kink in it? It'd be fine right? Wrong. The introduction of fuel lead to the float being stuck and consequently the needle valve staying open. Rats! Shoot! Gosh darn it! I have a new float ordered that will hopefully be here by the end of the week.

    Womp womp


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    Chapter Four - April 2015

    One under-rated characteristic of any sports car is the action of the gas pedal. Don't touch it, and the engine hums along at idle. Press it to the floor, and maximum loudness fills the neighborhood. The Porsche 911 is no different in this scenario except for it's use of several adjustable rods of varying length to translate pedal movement to throttle plates. My rods were out of adjustment resulting in only medium loudness when pedal hits metal. Upon further inspection, a familiar problem was discovered. My rod was too short.

    Amusingly, both issues play out the same way - with a drive out to Home Depot!

    I guess I shouldn't have been surprised when Home Depot didn't have metric threaded rod. What they did have, however, was a nice 50mm long M5 bolt. Solution, cut the bolt head off and weld the resulting rod to my rod.





    The weld was easy enough so I cleaned up the extra material and chased the threads to ditch the splatter. The new rod was too long, as planned, so I lined it up in the engine bay and cut to size.

    With that victory, and skies darkening, I cautiously backed the car out of the driveway and sped off for a test drive.

    Hiss hiss pop spit cough pop! So much for those initial carb settings... Then it started raining. An appropriate finish to a roller coaster garage session.



    Yesterday:

    Finally! A nice warm afternoon to try tuning these carbs a little better. I picked up a tip mid-week that it's easier to hear the engine response when you set the idle to 1200 instead of 1100. It seems small, but it really did help. First things first, I wanted to check on my spark plugs.



    Last summer I opened the gap significantly following some advice for 911s running an MSD ignition. The factory gap is .28 and MSD bros recommend opening up to .45. While the change initially helped reduce my decel popping, it also made the car very hard to start when cold.. almost like the gap would be too big and foul the plugs until heat would improve the ignition quality. Who knows..

    What I do know is that yesterday I reduced the gap down to .35 and the engine seemed much more eager to start and much more responsive to throttle input.

    A few rounds of righty-tighty lefty-loosey with the mixture screws later, and things are really sounding good. The flat 6 is making beautiful noises, and things are actually looking good for a long drive this weekend.

    Then a quick press of the brake pedal reminded me that during the previous day's test drive the brakes felt like ****.





    Looks like we're taking the rabbit this weekend.

  9. #9
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    Nice work, and I like the photography, keep posting your progress.
    Regards,
    Mike

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    Chapter Five - April 2015

    In my head I always imagined brake calipers to be these mysterious devices that magically transform hydraulic pressure into life saving stopping power. Perhaps it's because I've never taken the time to dissect the innards of one, or that I've just never needed to worry about 60-0 times, but brakes have always just been a 'yup the car stops' affair. It's probably good then that my first caliper rebuild occurred on the rear caliper of a 40 year old car. No electronic pad wear detectors, no complex ABS system, no traction control sensors... just a metal tube carrying fluid into a holding carrier with two pistons.

    Fluid comes in. Pistons push out. Car slows down.

    I love old cars.

    The first order of business is wedging yourself into the quarter panel and blindly hunting for the 19mm bolts that secure the caliper to the trailing arm. These bolts are arranged in just a tight enough configuration to allow your thinnest wrench an 1/8th of a rotation. Conveniently, an 1/8th of a rotation is also just enough to slam your hand into the brake rotor and cut your delicate little girl skin.



    With the calipers freed from the car, it's a familiar routine of cleaning and dis-assembly. Removing the old piston seals is like disarming a bomb since one slip of the screwdriver could damage the caliper and result in even more leaks.



    With both calipers successfully broken down, I ordered parts and went away on a quick business trip.





    Fast forward to this past weekend, and we're back in action. The piston rebuild kits and new brake pads arrived and could easily be the cheapest Porsche purchase of all time. True story: I was worried I had ordered the wrong parts after seeing the invoice.



    Dirty car is dirty. Note to self: Don't ever buy another black car.

    The calipers went back together in minutes, and I was afraid to get brake fluid on the camera so unfortunately no pictures there. This, however, brings us to re-installation of the calipers and brake bleeding.



    And now, my gift to you: Normally brake bleeding is a husband's worst nightmare. It's the one time you need to go back inside, get her attention, and coax her into the garage for help. "I just need you to press the brake pedal a few times" you promise... An hour later the brakes are still mushy, her leg hurts, and you're ready to just drive slow and use the hand brake to stop.

    No more. Enter the Motive power bleeder. I've tried all kinds of different brake bleeding methods before, from the standard press and hold to pulling the fluid from a mity vac. The Motive power bleeder murderizes them all. There are a couple of ways to use it, but I stick with this:



    1. Fill the reservoir with fluid and screw on the power bleeder.
    2. Pump that bad boy up to around 10psi.
    3. Go around to the caliper and crack open the bleeder valve.
    4. When the bubbles stop, close the bleeder valve.
    5. Unscrew the power bleeder and top off the brake fluid.
    6. Repeat for each corner.

    With this method, I have the whole system bled in 15 minutes with no help or mess. Praise Jah.

    Step 7 is to go for a test drive and take sunflare pictures for instagram.


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