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Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: Dade County, FL.
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How to tell what motor you got.

Someone from the list asked me this question, thought others might like to add any ommisions/comments/mistakes.....

"I have read some of your posts at Pelican Parts regarding 914s. I have a question that I think you may be able to answer. I am searching for an inexpensive 914, and am not concerned with a matching #s car, however I do not want to be a sucker and unknowingly buy a 914 with a vw engine. From what I understand it is possible for a bus 2.0 to be fitted into a 914 and I would assume that a Type IV 1.7 or 1.8 could also be fitted. I have driven two different 914s on test drives, one was a 1.7 and the other was a 2.0. Both cars seemed about the same to me, however I only drove them for a few miles. My point of this story is that it is possible that I could drive a vw powered 914 and not "feel" the difference. So, my question is then, how can I visualy distinguish a true 914 engine from a transplanted vw engine? As an example there is a 1970 914 for sale in Washington with a 2.0 4 cylinder. Obviously this is not the original engine, could it be a bus 2.0?If you can answer my question, I would be greatful.
Thank You,"

The type-IV motor in the bus, 914, and Type-IV sedan are all interchangeable with minor modification. The key things to look at are the engine #, indications of the modifications necessary to swap things, and some of the features unique to the different motors

External cues:

The first letter in the engine number for a 914 1.7L engine is
70-71 “W”
72-73 “EA” for the 49 state motor
72-73 “EB” for the lower compression Calif. Motor
for the 1.8L motor
74-75 “EC”
for the 2.0L motor
73-74 “GA”
75-76 “GC” lower horsepower, lower compression, has the air injection ports for the air pump emissions system
The Porsche 912e also has this motor

The “AN” is a euro 1.8L that had a carb and the “GB” is a Euro 2.0L with higher compression

All this engine number stuff only tells you about the block, and really doesn’t help. This is because the crank, pistons and cylinders, the heads, and the fuel injections can be swapped between motors.

So on to the other external hints:

The 1.7L D-Jet and the 1.8L L-jet for the 914 and the other cars looks very similar.
The 2.0L 914 D-Jet is unique, the bus 2.0L uses a 1.8L looking L-jet, and the 912e uses a mixture of the 914 2.0L D-jet intake and the 1.8L L-jet sensors.
Again, all the systems fit on all the other engines so this isn’t a great indicator either.

The 1.7L and 1.8L 914 heads, and the 2.0L bus heads look the same, when looking through the spark plug holes you’ll notice that on spark plug is farther from the tinware than the other. The spark plug wire boots are even different lengths to compensate for this. Also there are four studs coming from the intake ports of the head that bolt onto the intake tubes.

The 914 and 912e 2.0L heads look different. When looking through the tinware you will see that the plugs are lower (closer to the intake ports) and are equal distant from the tinware holes. All four spark plug boots should be the same, but often people buy the more common 1.7-1.8L wire sets, which work fine. These heads also only have 3 studs holding the intake tubes to the head.

The part numbers of the heads is cast in the rocker arm area, not an easy place to look. You can find the numbers on the Pelican BBS, I don’t have my book with that info anymore.

The bus motors I’ve seen are the later hydraulic lifter type, and these use a different oil filler and dipstick than the 914. The filler is a bent 12” +/- tube that bolts onto the block at the bottom near the oil pump. The tube goes up through the tinware in front of the fan. The dipstick comes up in a similar way. There is no dipstick on the top of the motor. Later bus motors (80-83) have this but don’t have a second oil filler (like the earlier Type-IV motor 914, bus etc) the top of the block is complete cast closed. These later buses also have heads with a incompatible exhaust port which won’t allow 914 or earlier exhausts to bolt up.

What's all this mean?

Basically there is no easy way to tell the 1.7L,1.8L and 2.0L motors apart. If they have been modified to fit a 914 from a bus or Type-IV it would be really hard to tell.

In a 914/912e motor all that can easily be confirmed is that the heads are 914/912e 2.0L heads, but the good news is that these heads are the reason for most of the 2.0L’s power. Also these heads are so rare it would be unlikely that someone would put them on a 1.8L or a 2.0L bus motor, but it is possible.

Driving… well, in order of “seat of the pants feel” my experience has been.

1. A friend’s properly running 1.8L F.I (I still think he did something else to the car
2. My properly running 2.0L (after a lot of work on the F.I. )
3. A friend’s 1.8L with duel 44’s
4. My 1.7L with low compression in one cylinder but proper F.I.
5. My mothers automatic Mini Cooper
6. My mothers 1990 Buick Reatta
7. My sisters automatic Jeep
8. My 2.0L 914 when I first got it running with the wrong CHT sensor, a screwed up MPS, leaking 1.7L injectors, a rust filled fuel pump and tank.
9. The Reatta after the trans blew and started slipping.

Just be glad we don’t like 911’s 2.0,2.2,2.4,2.7,2.8,3.0na,3.0turbo,3.3turbo,3.2,3. 6, yada yada yada.

This info is to the best of my knowledge and the following books

Tom Wilson’s “How to rebuild the air-cooled VW”
Clymers 914 914/6
Haynes 914 book
Porsche “914 Technical Specifications”
Porsche “Workshop Manual 912e” supplement

Old 03-24-2004, 07:40 PM
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