April 2022

Issue link: https://digital.nexsitepublishing.com/i/1466236

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35 Spiel – April 2022 rubberized undercoating applied by the body shop with fresh Wurth High Build Underseal. After inspiration from some detailed period photos of 914s on the Karmann assembly line and others of the underside of pristine survivor 914s on Bring a Trailer, the urge to make the underside look like how it would have come from the factory if painted red took hold. I had to keep reminding myself that the mission here was to get the car ready for a new engine and start breaking it in as soon as I could get it in the car. The wheel alignment was perfect, so I wanted to avoid removing the rear trailing arms if the bushings looked good and avoid having to do an expensive four-wheel alignment. There was also that huge risk of opening a can of worms by removing the brackets from the rear suspension console and breaking off the bolts or captive nuts, which is a common theme I read about online. I did want to swap out the sketchy 5-bolt Fuchs, conversion- drilled 4-bolt rear wheel hubs that were the only choice 30 years ago and replace them with recently developed, properly reinforced 5-lug hubs, which would also require installing new rear wheel bearings. That opened up the opportunity for a thorough strip-to- bare-metal and repaint of the naked rear trailing arms while still mounted on the car. I also wanted to upgrade the rear springs from the base-model 1.8 liter, 8.5 mm thick, 80 lb. spring-rate to the sport 2.0 liter, 11 mm thick, 100 lb. spring-rate ones, which I had sitting in my used parts stash from a junk yard harvest years ago. Installing new Bilstein shocks in the front and rear was another one of my goals. Last was installing a set of factory-option front and rear sway bars. The combination of all the upgrades will totally change the handling of the car. Combined with the torque and horsepower upgrades I'm having Jack Morris make to the engine, it should really make for a nimble and fun-to-drive 914. Stripping undercoating and paint off the bottom of a car is about as dirty and unglamorous of a task as I could imagine. I called it "working in a coal mine" because, at the end of each day, I emerged from the underside of the car looking like those old photographs

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