Mike Stirewalt wrote:

> .....would someone like Langford or Jeff or anyone who knows
> their VW Type 1 please straighten up this question for the sake of anyone
> wondering how best to maintain the engine during periods of flying
> inactivity?

Mark Langford

I wouldn't swear that the VW cam is submerged in oil, and given that the engine only holds something like 2.7 quarts of oil, and I'm not sure how much or even if the lowest lobes are in the oil when the engine is stopped and level. The oil pump intake from the sump is about 1.5" from the bottom of the sump, so it's getting oil at the the lower part of the pump, at least.

Next time I'm at the airport I'll check a VW case against the marks on the dipstick to see where the oil level normally is. I do have a cutaway drawing from a 1969 VW Beetle manual that gives me the impression that the cam is probably not even partially submerged in oil, so turning the engine over isn't going to help lube the lobes....just the bearing shells....for whatever that's worth.

I was telling somebody else today though that it's not oil draining from the bearings or anywhere else that worries me....it's the cylinder walls rusting, especially in a humid outside environment like an airplane lives in. Valve guides don't worry me at all...they are barely lubed at all, and are not going to corrode like the steel cylinders will. The rest of the engine can probably sit for 50 years without a problem, assuming the cam is submerged. At least one or two cylinders will be open to the atmosphere though, through an open intake or exhaust valve, and they will develop condensate and rust. About all you can do for them is spray something like Corrosion-X (or some other brew that's made specifically for the purpose) directly into the cylinder and hope for vapor protection. Moving the crank a few degrees will keep the rings from sticking, but that's not a big issue either. I guess if you wanted to be fanatical about cylinders, you'd pull the rocker shafts off to close all the valves, and fill the cylinders with oil. I were going to "pickle" one for thirty years, that's what I'd do, and add enough oil to the crankcase to submerge the cam. Unfortunately, we don't usually plan to neglect an engine....it just happens.

As for the oil pump, it's worth noting for taildraggers flying behind VW engines that after a total rebuild, it takes forever to get the oil pump primed and oil flowing in the engine, because the pump is up out of the oil, and it's not very good at sucking air! I've learned to set the tail under a saw horse to get the nose down and crank the engine over with no plugs in it until I get oil pressure, and sometimes I've also had to fill the dang pump with oil from above (through the oil pressure sensor port) to make it happen.

Mark Langford


When I purchased my assembled 2180 VW from Great Plains many years ago,
Steve Bennett recommended that I turn the crank 30 revolutions each month

that the engine was not being run.  Before I installed the engine I had a

nyla-flow tube on the top oil gallery in place of the oil cooler
After 3 revolutions I could see large bubbles coming through the tube,
progressively smaller bubbles as I continued hand cranking.  Some engines

spray oil on the bottom of the pistons for cooling.  The VW does not do
spay system.  All bearing parts on the VW get positive lubrication from
oil gallery with exception of the piston rings and valve guides; these
get either splashed from the crank or dribbles from the wrist pins for
rings and dribbles from the rocker arm tappets on the valves.
Was Steve Bennett providing me the correct recommendation?

For what it may be worth, I understand that so-called aircraft engines
the cam shaft above the  crank, and thus do not lay in the crank case oil

pool when the engine is not running.  VW engines have the cam shaft below

the crank and lay in the crank case oil pool when the engine is not
The VW oil pump gears are always immersed in the oil in the crank case.

Sid Wood
Tri-gear KR-2 N6242
California, MD, USA

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