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Mark Hawkins
  • Oakland, CA
  • United States
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Describe your bus/van (if you do not have one, describe your dream bus/van)
1970 Westy Tintop which is under construction.

Comment Wall (3 comments)

At 12:52pm on July 21, 2011, Doug Samba said…

Hi Mark,

Thanks for the tip about the Belmont machine shop.  I have a new 78mm crank and a 1600 core motor I want to put it in.  How is your build going?  Did you need to clearance for your stroker crank?  I bought my rebuilt calipers at Lee Auto here in Alameda.  The 71 calipers are getting harder to find, if you do a conversion I  would go with the later model bay window bus setup.

At 1:17pm on July 22, 2011, Mark Hawkins said…

Hi Doug! I think your suggestion about the brake upgrade is a good one. Unfortunately, I already bought an old used set of 1971 brakes including a brake booster, master cylinder, spindles, rotors, hubs, calipers etc... Basically everything that mounts to the beam. I believe the 73 & later busses had larger rotors, better calipers and brake booster and are much easier to find replacement parts. Everything I bought needs to be rebuilt plus I would have to change out my wheels and rear brakes to have everything match and work with 5x112 wheel spacing. I'm beginning to think it would be better to just go with a modern aftermarket setup with 5x210 spacing. 

As for my build, it is stalled. I ported and polished my new 044 heads for the first time. I took too much material out of the combustion chambers making them not suitable for a 90.5 bore. The heads can be salvaged but only if machined out to work with 94mm cylinders. My case can't be bored out for 94mm because of the stud spacing. So, I need to buy another set of heads. 94mm is not a good option for a bus anyhow as they will run too hot. I'll be saving these heads for a future project. Probably a Ghia when the time comes. This was a very expensive & time consuming project with me working on these heads. I can get it right the next time or I can just spend more and get heads that are already ported and polished. This was so disappointing. I probably have 100 hours of work into those heads and spent a fortune on tools. An expensive lesson but I leaned it very well. Do you plan on building your own engine or having it built by a pro? Either way, if you want to have a stroker built, go to Ken for either having him machine your parts for you or having him do the complete build as well. A word of advice, if you want to get the parts machined and then build it yourself, you'll need to have a lot of patience with Ken. He's very busy and getting parts prepped for you to build will get the least CONT

At 1:29pm on July 22, 2011, Mark Hawkins said…

priority from him. I have literally spent months waiting for him to get to differenst steps of machining in between parts I've been working on. Ken's priority is building engines which is how he makes his money. He has a lot of overhead to cover every month so I totally understand he needs to focus on paying his rent and bills every month. You will not find a better built engine than an engine Ken has built. I on the other hand, want to learn to build engines myself so patience is key. You will learn a lot from Ken along the way if you are inquisitive and organized in what you need/want to know. Every time I've been to his shop, I usually have 5-10 questions already written out ahead of time so I don't miss anything. The heads I messed up are my own fault. I'll never screw up another head as a result. Your case will need clearance to fit a 78mm crank. There is no way around it but ken will machine it for you to perfection. You will want to get it machined for full flow as well as having opened up for the 90.5 cylinders. The builder at Buggy House does not build  or machine cases for strokers. Sean at Buggy House referred me to Ken for this. Ken also does dynamic balancing which you will want to do as well. BH does not offer this service. You can reach Ken at (650)622-9785. Tell him you were referred by Mark Hawkins, that's me. I recommend you go talk to him in person as he's hard to reach by phone. 


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