Thursday, September 16, 2021

“One always has exaggerated ideas about what one doesn't know.”

After spending way too much time last night pondering all manner of stupid options to get another concave washer quickly to stay on track - I decided to say 'fuck it' and go to sleep instead.  In the morning, I did some digging with specific reference to the EMPI race axles (no inner stops - so they 'float' between the two CVs) - I learned that I don't need the concave washers at all.  Turns out, giving up for the night was the right call.

"Experience" is the enemy of sanity sometimes.

During some downtime at work today - I called the hose shop to see what kind of nonsense I'd be unraveling on Saturday.  Not only did they find my order this time around but they said that the brake hoses will be ready tomorrow.  Instead of wasting a Saturday morning, I'm going to head over there after work and hope they got it right this time.

When I got home from work today - I pulled the axle that was installed yesterday, removed the two concave washers, cleaned both axles and installed both of them on the car.  What a super messy/shitty job... I stopped short of installing the bolt locks and the super small clips.

I was going to install the rear seat belts now that I have a solid plan for getting them (lap belts) secured but realized that I no longer have them - so I ordered a set for the back seat.  It's just money, right?

I hope to be installing brake hoses tomorrow after work, doing a quick 'garage' alignment and take the car out for a quick spin 'round the hood.  I have to figure out how to keep the kid in the car so I might install one of the old 3 point belts in the back until the lap belts show up.  I'm not going to drive further than I'm willing to push the car back so we won't be going too far.  And it's running rich so it may not run all that well anyway.  I've really got to get better at carb tuning...oh, yeah.  I bought a wideband!

Once I'm convinced that the car is in good enough condition - I'll put the bolt locks and all of those tiny clips on the CVs and start the process of going through the car with a fine-toothed comb in preparation for a longer drive.

Might have a solution for the wideband bung as well...progress is elusive but I'm gaining ground.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"One must imagine Sisyphus happy"

Not much to report - one of the two axles is installed so far.  I somehow lost one of the concave washers for the other side so I had to stop.  I did a lot of cleaning up and have not found it.  It'll be a one week delay if I don't find it because I'll have to order one.  

Maybe the brake hoses will be done by then, eh?

Not much else has happened - I took a few days off of working on the car while I waited for parts.

I'm guessing I've got about two or three weeks left before the weather turns against me.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

"I'm not quite sure what level of reality I'm supposed to be operating on."

Getting up to date: Parking brake installed and adjusted, interior panels are installed, rear seat back installed, driver's seat installed, interior vacuumed out.  Once the brakes are bled - hopefully, it's still warm enough out to put the tatters of the floor mat in the sun so I can put it in the car.  If I do that and skip the 'in the sun' bit - the mat will explode into several pieces and I'll have to toss it in the trash.  Either way, it's coming off of the shelf it's been sitting on for the last several months.

I stared long and hard at the seat belt situation - there are a few ideas swimming around in my head - the front seats are going to be the hardest to resolve because the shoulder mount is too low on the B pillar for the system to work smoothly - I may have to figure out some sort of interim solution until I figure out the future of this car.

I received the secondary order of parts today - spent some time trying to figure out the best place for the bung on the muffler for the wideband - I'll likely remove the muffler and drop it off at a shop for that work to be done.  I may clean up the torsion cover and see if they can weld some covers on and then I'll paint them.

There's something weird going on with the transmission - it'll shift into 1-2 just fine but 3-4 are hard to engage - I'll try adjusting them once the car is able to be mobile.  I'm fingers crossed hoping that the trans builder used the correct hockey stick...this is what happens when the wrong hockey stick is installed.  I hope it just needs some adjustment because I am NOT down with pulling the engine and trans to swap hockey sticks...again.  Same builder did this on the Swing Axle trans they built and I specifically called it out when they built this one (and I sent the correct hockey stick to them).  Time will tell but I hope like hell that I don't have to take all of this shit apart again.

Speaking of time - the 2nd set of axles are due to arrive on Tuesday - fingers crossed I'll have a chance to get them assembled and installed by the weekend...although that may not matter because...

...first thing this morning I drove 30 minutes over to the shop that I chose to make my brake hoses and asked about my order.  The initial response was that I'd have to call the same two people who have been left two voicemails and, as of yet, have not replied to me in any way whatsoever...and there was no way to ask them today because they don't work on Saturday.  I asked if there is a "will call" order shelf and, as if a light bulb went on over his head, the counter guy told me that he'd check it.  And he found my order on the shelf in a sealed box.  He opened the box so we could see what's inside: the hoses appeared correctly made and the correct length - my hopes were rising for functional brakes today.  Then I looked at the female fitting and discovered an inverted flare fitting.  Wrong fitting - they're supposed to be ISO DIN bubble flare.  The male end was correct - the female end was not.  Guy at the counter assured me that they'd expedite the order for the fittings and get them done by next weekend.  The brake hoses will be the dead last thing I install on this car before I can drive it.

In the meantime - I'm going to do a cursory alignment on the front end, fix the hood release (it's stuck shut right now), figure out rear seat belts and make a decision about how to resolve the front seat belts.  At the rate things are going - it'll be done before I get those brake hoses.

I may go through the parts stash and start selling off stuff I'm not going to use if I've got more time between getting the car ready and receipt of those brake hoses.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

“You don't have to stay anywhere forever.”

A few things arrived today - shocks and the LM-2.  Upon opening the wideband - I realized that I'd need a longer cable and a stainless bung for the exhaust.  I ordered both on Amazon and they'll show up on Saturday.  Not that I'll be ready to fire up the wideband over the weekend but having the supplies on hand is a step in the right direction.

The wideband is going to be quite the rabbit hole...
Got the kid involved in the process of installing the shocks.  I wound up having to modify the bushings on the shocks to get them installed but they're now on the car.  I will probably pull them off the car to stiffen them up - but for now, they're on the car.
Both calipers and parking brake cables are installed and I should be able to get them adjusted/functional tomorrow.

I called the hose shop - I talked to two people and they had no clue when the brake hoses would be complete or where my order was in their system, so I'll probably have to drive over there Saturday morning to figure out what the fuck is going on.  And then take my shit to another shop to get them made.

Nearly a week after I ordered them - the axles are showing up as 'in transit' - which means they'll probably show up mid-late next week.  Everything adds a week...I've still got some interior bits to install so I can fill up my 'spare' time doing that while I wait for the cable for the wideband and the brake hoses.

Monday, September 6, 2021

"The hidden harmony is better than the obvious."

Today's progress:  I turned the car into what appears to be a complete car.  Right side fender, tail lamp, and the hatch panel cover (after hours of careful gluing together) - all installed. I tested the lights (everything works like it should) and torqued the rear axle nuts down to spec and installed the cotter pins.

The right-side caliper and the right-side parking brake remain to be installed but there's not a huge rush since I'm waiting for brake hoses and axles.  Tomorrow can be the parking brake day and if I've got the patience, I'll get to the interior. There are a few other bits to get done in the meantime (like figure out the seatbelts!) but it's coming together.

Started the car and ran it for a few minutes - the engine timing is off slightly and it's running super-rich - I suspect that once I find a good AFR, I can get the engine running right - easier to do when the car is running/driving.  Once the car is mobile - a lot of things will get easier.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

“It is possible that longing for something is better than actually having it. I’ve heard it said that satisfaction is the death of desire.”

Pulled out the rear cargo door panel out of storage and discovered that the vinyl is pulling off of the board.  The board is broken but I decided to push forward and glue the vinyl back down so I can put it back in the car.  It'll work until I'm ready to dive into a complete restoration.  It's one less part on a shelf and one more part on the car - that's a win in my book.
Right side door is completely put back together, the inner rear fender area is cleaned and painted and ready for the fender to be re-installed.

I'm hoping to get the right rear fender back on the car tomorrow (along with the rear bumper) and the exhaust support brackets.  If I can get the right rear fender on the car - the interior panels can go back in the car.  Lots can happen once the interior panels are back in the car.

Shocks are coming, brake lines should be done soon and I'll know what's up with the axles by Tuesday.  I think that's all I'm waiting on to get this show on the road, so to speak.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

"Your patience will be both appreciated and rewarded"

Progress today included tearing apart and rebuilding the driver's side door - the window regulator support has four tiny spot welds - two of them have popped off and they're no longer supporting the arm.  I took the door apart, cleaned everything and dug out the two sets of window regulators I squirreled away some years ago.  After I spent nearly 90 minutes cleaning them up - I discovered that of the two left-side pieces - one was on the verge of self-destruction (the aluminum press fit spring holder/pivot was pulling out of the spring steel bracket) and the other one was broken in the exact same place as the original regulator.  I thought about pulling out the welder but decided against it in the hope that I could simply make progress elsewhere.  So I put the door back together and moved on to something else.  The window works okay - it doesn't bind - but I know it's not 100%.  I'll have to save this for another day.

The other progress includes - the left side fender is back on the car - the left side parking brake cable is installed, I've ordered Koni Red shocks for the rear and the clutch is adjusted.  I prepped the right side of the car for under fender paint and started working on the passenger's side door.  But that's where I stopped.  I then took a VW break and installed the new horns in the Volvo (success!) and broke the headlamp washer door in the process - they're made from the world's cheapest plastic because they break VERY easily.  I knew I should have bought both of them two years ago...oh well, one step closer, I suppose.  I'll have to get the little door thing on order with Volvo on Tuesday since the part number on the part seems to have been superseded and the new part number is a closely held secret.

I'll wrap up the inner fender paint and the passenger's side door over the next couple of days - along with the right side fender going back on the car (and perhaps the bumper!).  Once I can get the parking brakes are worked out, the floor mat can go back into the car (the rear half).  When the brakes are successfully bled, the front floor mat piece can go in the car as well.  Then the seats and holy shit, it'll look like a car again.  Just in time for snow, probably.

That reminds me...I wonder where those axles are that I ordered from Sway A Way several weeks (actually, a couple of months) ago...they were on backorder but I figured they'd show up by now.  Axles and CVs are something I definitely don't want to do twice.  If the back order isn't filled soon - I'll probably have to order EMPI axles and hope they don't suck.

Friday, September 3, 2021

"All that exists is what's ahead"

I learned a couple of things today.  

First thing: The Type 1 torsion cover plates don't actually fit like I thought they would.  They're too shallow - which I figured out while attempting to tighten them to the subframe. Yeah, so. good thing I just bought a new set AND a replacement original set in case the repops were garbage (they're not).  I wound up using the Type 3 Swing Axle torsion covers that I kept in case I needed them.  Parts hoarding pays off for once.  The lack of a cover on the end is a long term issue I need to resolve.  I have a rusty set that I can use for welding practice to add a cover. The set that's on the car, for now, I'm going to leave alone because...

I'm pretty sure the rear end of the car is too stiff but I'll wait until it's back together and taken out for a test drive before I decide that I don't like it enough to tear it all apart and re-index.

Second thing: I get a hell of a lot more done when I force myself to find a solution vs. buying one.  When I was young and broke all the time - I didn't have the money to keep buying parts - I just figured out a way to fix the problem.  Sure, I was living in Southern California and VW shops were everywhere but I still didn't buy a lot of parts to solve a problem.  I've been working toward doing that now WITH a parts hoard and it seems to be paying off.  The last few times I've bought a part to solve a problem, it didn't...and a part I already had on hand wound up being the solution.

I have the target of getting a lot done over the long weekend since I'm not going anywhere.  Time will tell how well my mental motivation works with my physical time management.

Tuesday, August 31, 2021

"When you're curious you find lots of things to do"

These are not yet painted - lots of little 'other' things came up and I have not made any progress in a few days.  When I break open that can of expensive paint - I want to make sure I use the whole thing - and it covers a lot of area so there's a lot of space to prep as a result.

I had to take the day off of work today to watch little dude - one of his classmates tested postive for COVID - thus he's out for 14 days even though they were wearing masks.

While I was out running errands - I got the call that the wheels and mirror covers for the Volvo were ready to pick up so I popped over and picked them up.  The mirror covers went on in about 15 minutes after watching a YouTube video - the wheels have to wait for a day where I can drop the car off.

A few days ago, I ordered a repop set of covers (arriving tomorrow) but I'm half expecting them to *not* fit properly.  Tried to negotiate an expensive local set down to a reasonable price but the seller would rather hang on to them so I passed.  Found a set in California that *might* be a good replacement - I have to wait for those to arrive (next week).  I feel like I'd be a lot further down this road if I didn't have to wait a week every time I needed a part.  Such is life in the Midwest.

I almost finished the hinge cover and light installation - the hinge cover is clean and back in the car but the light doesn't work. After jacking around with it for a while, I took it out and spent 20 minutes cleaning the light (clean version here) - it's the original (dated 11/63) and was very oxidized.  I used a metal polish and then DeoxIt to clean any residue out.  I didn't get to test it before it was time to call it quits.  I also found a light in my cabinet that I traded for a while back that doesn't fit the light cover - it's probably going to wind up on TheSamba classifieds.  I don't need to hang on to stuff I can't use.

And then there's wiring the accessory gauges, replace the broken window regulator, clean the inside of the doors, do the painting, getting the doors back together, etc.

Sunday, August 29, 2021

“The ego focuses on petty things.”

First thing this morning - I drove 30 minutes to drop off the brake hose contraption so the hose shop could order the necessary fittings to make the hoses.  There's a small chance they'll be done by Wednesday - but I'm expecting it to take a week.

Ran a few errands, did some things and then...I spent nearly an hour cleaning out the cabinet and putting everything back before I got to the rear end of the car.  

And, well, then I got distracted with swapping the horns in the Volvo - but that didn't happen because I had to buy two wire harnesses on eBay so I don't have to cut the original harness - and the stuff I took out of the Volvo went right back in once I'd ordered the required parts.  That was about 30 minutes in total.

Eventually, I got back to the car - the left side (shown) went back together very quickly - less than ten minutes.  The right side took nearly an hour and I sheared off a bit of the powdercoating on the subframe.  I can't really explain why because the FIRST side should take all of the time while it's being figured out but that's not what happened.  I swapped out the typically noisy red urethane bushings for the yellow Saco version - again, first one goes on easy - the second one took 5x as long.  It was also in the upper 90°F temps today with a heaping serving of humidity so being in the garage wasn't pleasant.  I powered through because this car needs to go back together.

I attempted to clean the covers that I got from Jim but they're very pitted so I may not wind up using them.  I'm going to paint them tomorrow and see how they turn out before I decide.

Ended the day by banging out the dents on the left side fender (bottom was creased in) and cleaning the inner fender area on the right side in preparation for paint.  Once that paint is on and dry - both fenders and the rear bumper go back on the car.

Maybe next weekend I can put the car on the ground.

Friday, August 27, 2021

“Responsibility is proportionate to opportunity.”

90 minutes today:  Spent about 15 minutes cleaning up from previous work, started the swap of the bushings on the trailing arms and cleaned up the used torsion covers - then I discovered something leaking in the cabinet - a completely wet shelf and wrinkled spray cans.  So I took everything off the shelf and cleaned up the liquid - which wound up being phosphoric acid that was leaking out of its plastic container.  It can be seen in this picture in the orange bucket.  

I cleaned off the shelf with baking soda and water, then Dawn - wiped down the inside of the cabinet (two cans of wasp killer had expelled their contents as a result of the acid eating the bottom of the cans) and cleaned the rest of the cans and let them sit in a shallow pan of baking soda in water.  The shelf in the photo was in good shape - just a little dirty - now a large part of it is missing paint so I've got to address this at some point as well.

It's all currently drying on the floor of the garage.  I didn't get as much done as I'd hoped...tomorrow is another day.

I'm going to drop off the brake line at the hose shop, run some errands and hope to get back to getting the trailing arms on the car.  Plenty to do - just not a whole lot of time. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

“I’m an early bird and a night owl. So, I’m wise and have worms.”

 I had about 90 minutes today - I took a step back and figured out the rear brake lines (or so I think).  I put the right side trailing arm on the car and dug out some old brake lines as test pieces - and taped them together where they create one template piece.

There's a hydraulic hose shop not far from where I work and they can get the M10x1 bubble flare ends.  Probably a one week turnaround before I can pick them up.  I have to figure out a way to support the brake hose right about where my fingers are in the picture but it'll eliminate an additional connection.

Next opportunity I have a couple of hours - I'll get the rear end installed and get the car back on four tires - the brake lines will happen soon enough.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

"Sunk costs and all that..."

Not a lot of time today (or the last couple of days) to work on the car.  I spent about an hour or a little more today putting the engine back together - the pulley shroud, the clamps, the muffler, the modified heat shield, the oil fill boot, yada, yada, yada...the engine is good to go.

The outer bushings arrived yesterday and, while they're tighter than I would prefer, I think they'll work out okay.

I found a local shop that can fab the needed brake lines for the rear end - now I need to find the time to get over to them before they close.  Potentially during the week next week.

I should be able to get to the rear suspension soon...then move to the interior and get the doors rebuilt and put back together.  Soon enough, I hope, the random piles of parts in the garage will be back in the car.

Progress has been slow this week but I'm hoping to make more progress by the end of the week.