Having looked at the various reconditioned engines that were for sale I found prices ranging from £1200 to £2500.
At the same time as researching the market for replacement engines I’d also been compiling a list of which new parts I’d need in order to rebuild mine. As the parts list came to almost £1000 I couldn’t see how a company could manage to sell a new engine for £1200 without cutting corners on quality and parts. One thing I didn’t want to do was ‘Buy cheap, Buy twice’.
Another avenue that was now open to me, was to ditch the air-cooled option completely and fit a much more modern engine from something like a Golf or a Subaru. This option had many positives, not least a much better fuel consumption figure and, in theory, it would be more reliable.
Newer engines definately have the edge when it comes to fuel economy but the claims of more reliability should actually be directed to my old original air-cooled engine, it has, after all been working perfectly well for the last 40 years. In addition these old engines are so basic and easy to work on that even if you broke down in deepest darkest Africa or the unchartered jungles of Peru you’d be able to fix it with a few hand tools and a bit of bodging. That’s not something you can do with a modern engine with all their sensors and computers.
In the end I decided that it was better to have this one rebuilt professionally as it is the original engine and has been in the van from when it was new 40 years ago in Australia.
So, decision made, I carried on stripping my engine until it looked like this.
and then I took all the pieces to Cambridge Rebores Ltd in Burwell Cambridgeshire and let them work their magic.
For my £2400.00 they lapped, polished and balanced the crankshaft, refaced the Flywheel, fitted new pistons and barrels. Replaced both cylinder heads and resleeved the valve guides and honed the valves seats to accept bigger valves. Fitted and honed the small end bushes and replaced Big end, Main, Small end and Camshaft bearings. Fitted a new Camshaft, Cam gear, Cam followers and rocker adjuster nuts. They also fitted new push rod tubes and seals and new Oil pump, Oil filter, Oil cooler and Oil strainer. I also have new seals and gaskets throughout including the front and rear oil seal, sump plug and fuel pump spacer. All of this was after they had thoroughly cleaned and degreased the engine first.
They were a very professional company to deal with and they only had the engine for about three weeks in total. I had a good look around the workshop while I was there and mine was by far the littlest engine they had in at the time. Most of their work seemed to be for lorries and buses.
I wasn’t idle while the engine was being done, I used the time to strip and clean all the engine tin which fits around the engine in the van and then painted it a fetching shade of red.
Once the main engine came back i fitted all the ancilliary pieces and it ended up looking like this.
Lovely and shiny.
So far, touch wood, it’s been running perfectly for over 5000 miles.