Spent the past few days at the in-laws & only got back to the project today. We left it with the engine in and the gas tank ends loosely fitted. I’d trimmed them some but not enough.
So I got into it some more with the cutters and got the thing very close to fit.
The right gas tank is very close–just a half inch or so from home. I could make it fit by taking a little more from the bottom of the “tank”–but that would expose the front of the engine cover pretty convincingly.
I trimmed the left side the same way and got the same result. Decided that yes, indeed, it was time to find another three quarters of an inch by moving the whole drivetrain forward that distance.
I pulled the engine and transmission, measured my front trans mount and got 3/4 of an inch right there. That made me decide to try to reinstall the transmission without the front mount and test-fit the engine again. (I realize I’ll have to make something to fit it up front–and I’d rather not solid-mount the transmission since I’m not drag-racing and like the relatively vibration-free feeling of a rubber-isolated engine and drive train).
I set about flipping the transmission frame mount to accomplish this. It look like just putting the trans mount on backwards should yield the needed distance.
It almost fit the wrong way without modification. I notched the last half inch of horizonatal flash on the frame horns to clearance for the gusseting on the trans mounting plate. It fit pretty well then, needing only maybe a quarter inch washer or something to stand off.
So I notched one of the rubber trans mounts for the bolt that goes into the lower part of the adaptor plate (both will have to be clearanced this way to make the new rig work; I’ll end up doing it again with brand new mounts later).
Now the cast-in mount on the nosecone hits the steel front frame mount before the rear frame mount gets anywhere near the ends of the frame horns. There’s no way even to start the bolts.
Measured my front trans mount again, more carefully this time. It’s actually half an inch thick when you account for the overlap in the way it fits.
Still, I thought: that should make some difference. Can’t understand why my cleverly-flipped front frame mount won’t come close to getting there. It looks like it’s more than a half-inch from where it needs to be, and I’ve got everything attached loose so it can slide around in the slotted holes.
Bottom line: I’m obviously going to have to perform some surgery on the car or the transmission before I can proceed.
In the front, the choice is either to cut away the steel frame mount, subtract 3/4 of an inch from it and weld it (more likely: have it welded by a pro) back . . .
Or cut off the cast-in mounting bung on the transmission nosecone and fabricate a steel bracket that can be attached with the nosecone bolts or the gear carrier section behind it. That looks like a good plan for a no-welding attempt, but: That would be a one-chance kind of thing. If it doesn’t work, I’d need to source a new nose cone.*
The frame connector, meanwhile, is very much available in the aftermarket for like $20 or $30. So if I ruin that, it’s just a matter of grinding it away and welding on a new one.
Still: The rear mount is looking like more of a headache than I had anticipated: it is beginning to look at though my 3/4-inch ideal will put the bolts for the actual rubber mounts just even with the “blade” part of the frame mount–making it impossible to fit no matter which way I flip the thing!
Maybe I’ll have to make a frame mount for the stock Subaru motor mounts and omit the VW rear trans mount entirely. Between the frame horn bolts and the clamps holding on the rear subframe there are a lot of strong bits to tie them to, theoretically.
Of course, getting the engine and transmission into place and stable so I can start to mock up such an arrangement–that could be tricky, especially with no front or rear mount on the transmission.