Monday, March 7, 2022

"You are free and that is why you are lost."

First things first: I have zero idea what happened to the month of February.  It was cold, we tore some shit up in the house and nothing happened in the garage (or with the Volkswagen).

Projects in the house that were initially intended to be contained to specific rooms have essentially crept into several other we're doing a lot more early on than we planned.  It's eating up a lot of time/money but I guess the bright side is that we should be done sooner?  

I pulled open the South wall in the Volkswagen garage to figure out some dryer vent issues - and I found a giant mouse piss scented tunnel system in what was left of the insulation. Spent the better part of three hours tearing that all out and fixing the dryer vent so that it'd exhaust properly.  It's a temporary fix but I did rid the garage of a rather large mouse nest and some stench.  There's a dumpster coming where the nasty wood and the mouse shit insulation will be disposed of.  I've already purchased new LED lighting and plan on replacing the thin wood paneling with drywall and proper insulation. I have to relocate the attic hatch because it's currently located exactly where the garage door opener will be mounted.  Attic insulation, fix the lighting up there and it should be a much nicer place.  These are tentative Summer projects - as long as the rest of the shit we have torn up goes back together in a respectable amount of time.  That garage will get a lot of love.  And, hopefully, so will the car.  This is also the year I plan to fire up the welder and figure it out.  Seat belts for the back seat, brackets for the rear brake lines...loads of practice!  I've got lots of random metal to start with.

I was given a recommendation for a body shop that's semi-local so I plan to go check that out as well.  I'd really like to get this car painted.  

First things first - clean up the garage and get the car running.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

"Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed"

 I'm a week late on my 4-week update, so here we go.

The car was moved via flatbed tow truck from the old house to the new house without much fanfare.  The driver was familiar with these cars and knew we had to turn it around in the garage to get it on the truck - there's really nothing to grab on the back end to haul it up on the bed.

30 minutes later, the car was in the new garage with a little help from the tow truck driver and my plumber to push it into the garage where it now sits.
The first couple of weeks with the car in the new house have been uneventful - I haven't had time to do anything with the car - other than walk around it.  I did replace most of the previous owner's rickety shelving with properly mounted shelving.  It's tight in there now but will open up quite a bit once I have more time to dedicate to organizing the garage.  There's a lot to get rid of in the coming weeks.

For the first month - I've replaced two garage door openers, replaced 7 exterior locksets, removed the coax cable in the house, started installing ethernet cable, torn down LOTS of cobbled together shelving, removed several old fluorescent light fixtures, and replaced them with LED light fixtures, replaced five ceiling fans, replaced the kitchen sink faucet, installed a Nest doorbell, replaced the doorbell chime (which is no longer working due to old wires in the walls).  We had an electrician replace incorrectly installed 3-way switches, fix ceiling fan boxes (not wired correctly), install lights in the living room, and install hard-wired and interconnected smoke/CO detectors.  The plumber removed the RO water filter under the kitchen sink and replaced the water heater.  He's due to return to remove the water softener (not in use) and a bunch of gas line that isn't in use.  I'm about nine projects deep right now with an estimated completion date sometime out in late February.

When I do get back to working on the car - it'll be nice to have a place where I can dig into it without anything else getting in the way or having it be in the way.  Both of the daily drivers fit in the other garage - the first house we've owned where all of the cars (and our stuff) fit in the garage.  It's been a nice change.

It'll be quiet around here, minus the random updates, for a while.  I will have this car running/driving this year.

Monday, December 20, 2021

"Freedom itself demands discomfort."

I guess it's time for a 30-day update, lest I forget what has happened over the last 4 weeks.

The house buying/selling process has been tedious, to say the least.  The buying part was dragged out for several weeks because the seller is going through a divorce with some additional drama attached.  She's apparently incapable of making decisions quickly so 7 decisions that should have taken her a day or two at most - took three weeks.  We're now just waiting for the clock to tick down to the end of the year when the closing date approaches and we can move forward.

The selling process was much faster - fixed a few things, forced ourselves to finish a couple of small projects, rented a truck and filled a 10x15 storage space with stuff mostly from the garage and basement.  A little drywall patch here, some paint touch up there...and we listed the house a week later than we wanted but it went up.  And 20 minutes later, we had our first showing scheduled.  Between Thursday and Sunday, there were 16 showings and an open house.  We're closing on this house on the 14th so we've technically got 2 weeks to get our shit together and move out.

Needless to say, I haven't done anything with the car in spite of the rather mild weather this Winter. I'm hoping this pattern holds at least until we're moved - then it can snow all it wants.  But we'll likely experience our first blizzard the day we're supposed to move.

Two weeks of holding pattern, Christmas, NYE, NYD and then a move - a lot going on.  When the dust settles a little, I'll get back to the car.  I'd guess by February I'll be back to doing something with the car.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

“I was not proud of what I had learned but I never doubted that it was worth knowing.”

 I started working on getting the Bluetooth distributor installed today but I did not finish it.  I need to get the proper advance curve into the distributor, reset the carburetors and then I should be good to go.  

In other news - there's a 50/50 chance we're moving in January - and the process of buying a house is super fucking tedious and time-consuming.  Inspections, offers, counter-offers, requests for information, waiting for other people to make decisions.  We might know something by Thursday - whether the seller tells us to fuck off or tries to lowball us on the requested repairs - we will have news.

The car was going to go into storage for 5 months but this house buying process has put a halt to that because it won't be necessary if the house purchase goes through.  I haven't worked on the car all that much because most of my free time has been consumed by getting the current house ready to be sold.  Soon it'll be cold enough that I won't care what condition the car is in and I'll just stop working on it until Spring - regardless of where we live.

It's going to be quiet around this blog for a while as the pieces slowly find their place.

Friday, October 29, 2021

“Let us celebrate the stupidity of our endurance.”

I know, I know...what the fuck?  It's been raining quite a lot lately and that's slowed my progress on tuning the carbs.

To dig my heels in at a really weird time and place and opt to step it up a notch and go with a Bluetooth-enabled distributor.  What a weird thing to add now...well, yeah, indeed.  Welcome to how I got to this place.

So, I'm going to install this thing and see if the app can tell me anything new.  

The plan to enlarge the garage has hit a rather large obstacle for now.  We're either going to do it at a later date, not do it and pay for storage for the VW or move to a different house with a proper garage.  Those are the three options on the table.  For now, the car will go into storage over the Winter.

I should have some time to work on this tomorrow - I'm looking forward to seeing what happens...

Thursday, October 21, 2021

“My money is in the hands of strangers.”

 A little tweak here and there and the car's slightly rich and the idle is lumpy but it runs fine.  I drove the car around the neighborhood a bit while dinner was in the oven.  The steering box needs to be adjusted to eliminate play in the middle but it's otherwise good to go.

I'm going to have to play with the tuning of the carburetors to get them dialed in better to drop the idle and get them leaned out a bit more.  Once I'm closer, I'll hook up the wideband and see what's got to be tweaked.

Headlights need to be adjusted and the ground for the dash lights needs some attention - they flicker.

Timing is decent - the temps dropped 20°F in the last two days.  I might have it close by the time it has to be put away for the Winter.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

“It is only in our decisions that we are important.”

I bought gasket material, made the gasket and stopped that leak.  The coil arrived on Friday and I put it in the car.  I finally found my multimeter - with dead batteries.  You'd think that in a house that has a ton of toys and remotes and gadgets everywhere that I'd have two extra AAA batteries but you'd be wrong.  Once I got fresh batteries - I tested the coil's fine.  Yeah, fucking noob error on my part - not testing the coil before I bought another one.  Not testing the coil before pretending to know what the fucking problem is with the car.  I've become so impatient with the car and getting it running that I just buy a replacement part right off the bat and that's an expensive way to get a car running.

Nevertheless, I installed a new oil filter and fresh oil, hooked the battery back up and the car fired right up.  The fuel pressure was a tad over 3psi - which is strange because I could have sworn that it was under 3psi last time.  I spent some time getting the fuel pressure right and then tried to sync the carbs.  The exhaust was smoking a bit, the engine was vibrating a lot and the idle was super high.  I got them synced, turned the idle down to 1,000 rpm, and set about getting LBI out of the carbs.  I managed to get the exhaust to stop smoking completely and almost got LBI sorted out but now the idle isn't consistent so I may be dealing with a combination of idle mixture, jets, and timing.  All in, I spent about 2 hours working on the car today - after doing yard work for the better part of the morning hours.  I was tired before I started working on the car.

Tomorrow is a busy day so I am unlikely to get any time to work on the car, so Monday after work is the day to get this thing sorted.  The next two weeks are decent with weather so I may still pull this one out of my hat. I just need to get the idle sorted well enough that I can drive the car and hook it up to the wideband and figure out the rest of it.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

“Healthy is a heart that still feels pain. Once we’re numb to it all, it’s over.”

 Oil has been drained, plugs replaced, carbs installed and silicone gaskets installed on the oil strainer.  I need to get gasket material so I can make a new oil filler pipe gasket and a new oil filter.  The immediate goal is to stop the oil leaks - change the oil and see if I can get the damn car to fire up again.

I decided to skip the thermocouple for the CHT this time around because I will most likely have to pull the top tin to get it installed.  I don't have the patience for that shit right now. 
The coil is scheduled to arrive on Saturday and I'm hoping to have everything else ready for its installation so that I can drop it in and fire up the car.  Once it's running, the tuning begins as long as the snow isn't falling.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

"The burned hand teaches best. After that, advice about fire goes to the heart."

Jim came by and we checked and double-checked the carb settings - no joy.  The engine simply didn't start.

The fuel pressure regulator was set and it's currently just over 2.5psi. It may/may not need additional adjustment but it's not that big of a hassle.  First hurdle is to get it running again.

After going through every possible scenario, we decided to pull the plugs and see what's going on - all four are black and wet.  We quickly surmised that there is no spark - and then I remembered that I'd just swapped the coil.  Bosch blue coils are notoriously mediocre in quality control and this one is likely bad.  I haven't tested it out of the car but it (and the fuel pressure regulator) are the only things that have changed and the coil being bad would explain why this engine went from running like shit to not running at all.  Another coil will be swapped in, plugs replaced and I'll try again.  The one 'up' side is that I can install the thermocouple for the CHT and then I'll get to see how well that works.

We both have other things to do today so this is where we left off - everything is torn apart - waiting on a coil and plugs.  I disconnected the battery since there's no need for it and it reduces the odds that I'll zap myself on the coil screwing around with the carburetor.

Seems like everything is a learning experience now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

"There is no happiness if the things we believe in are different from the things we do"

The exhaust is back in the car although the heat shield is now rubbing the body in a new place.

I've decided that this exhaust is going to need to be fully welded and flanged - I have a couple of the slip fittings that aren't fitting as snugly as I'd like - so flanges are the way to go.

For now, though, I'll stick with what I've got and focus on getting the car running correctly.

I got the fuel pressure gauge installed - it's registering at just over 3psi - just a hair too strong. The fuel pressure regulator arrived and was hastily installed to test for leaks.  The car now doesn't start because the carburetors need to be reset (again).

Once I get the car running and the carburetors in sync - then I'll start fumbling my way through the wideband tuning...if I get to that before it starts snowing.

Tuesday, September 28, 2021

“If a victory is told in detail, one can no longer distinguish it from a defeat.”

I dropped the two pieces off at the welder this morning before work.  We had a brief chat about what needed to be done and I told him that it was for a wideband bung and he seemed to get it.  For the record, I did not specifically call out that I wanted him to drill the hole in the elbow and weld on the bung.  And, being the literal guy he is, no hole was drilled and the bung was welded on.  I picked it up after work from his house via his wife.  I laughed when I noticed it.
The tack welds on the two pipes at the collector were welded all the way around and eliminate two exhaust leaks.
Welds from CSP
Welder closed it up all the way around - had I known this - I would have dropped off the other three pieces off as well.
I looked it over - and just decided to dive in and go for it.  I held the muffler in place with my body and ran a 1/2" drill bit in my tiny Amazon purchased drill press until it stopped.  Then I opened up the little box of random bits with the Dremel and ran several until I figured out what worked.  And then I did that for 20 minutes and I was able to get the sensor threaded into the hole.  End of story.

That was it for today.  Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, September 27, 2021

“Smooth and smiling faces everywhere, but ruin in their eyes.”

I drove an hour to the last VW show this year - there was a pretty good turnout overall and there were two Squarebacks on display along with a super original 1973 Fastback.

I spent a couple of hours hanging out with some friends in the swap area and walked around to check out the cars.

On my way home today - I got a call from the welder who said that if I dropped my exhaust off at his house tommorrow morning - he'd get it done tomorrow.  First thing I did with the car when I got home was remove the muffler and the collector.

First round will have the bung welded into the muffler elbow and close up the tack welds on the collector for 1 & 4.  Once I figure out where to source the flanges - I'll have 2 & 3 pipes welded to the collector and eliminate all of the air holes/gaps.  Can't help but over-engineer the things that go on this car for some reason.
The Weber fuel pressure regulator arrived today and the shape of the top looked familiar - turns out it's made by Malpassi and is the same 'top' as what they use on the Filter King.

Not sure if I'm going to use this or wait for the Malpasssi Filter King to arrive - kind of depends on a few other things.
Fuel pressure gauge arrived - nipples for the T are arriving tomorrow then (assuming the gauge is accurate) I'll know the fuel pressure and can use this to get it down to the right spot.

While working on the car last Saturday, I found a wet coil but there wasn't anything I could do about it at the time.  Yesterday, I released the clamp and found a crease on the side leaking oil.  I have no idea how that happened but it has since been replaced.

I should have this car ready to go the day it snows like a motherfucker.

Friday, September 24, 2021

“Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why.”

Over the last week, I've screwed around with the hood lock/release trying to get it adjusted well enough to work.  The early hood lock has two pivot points and is, historically, a giant pain in the ass to adjust properly if it's ever messed with/removed.  Well, I fucked up a while back and removed it and it hasn't worked correctly since I took it out.  I've left the spare tire tray out of the car and become some level of proficient at releasing the hood from under the car without a jack.

I have a really nice later version of the hood latch - it's got one pivot point and the later versions are much easier to adjust and get working.  I removed the original and dropped the newer one into place and got two of the three mount bolts in before I noticed that the screw that secures the hood pull wire is obscured under the top plate.  I didn't want to cut the car, so I pulled it back out and screwed around with the original lock until I could get it to work.  Took about an hour but I finally got it.

I swapped out the fuel pump to another style - it wasn't as easy to install and took some fiddling to get it installed but it's in there and working.  I started the car and as I was backing out of the garage, it started pouring rain - so I pulled back into the garage.

I decided to have a look under the car and have come to the conclusion that I'm not 100% happy with the routing of the brake lines.  They'll do for now but I'm definitely going to get different hoses made and route them around the inside of the shocks - the lines will be at least an inch shorter and it'll be further away from the spring plate.   I don't know what I was thinking with this routing. Iterative improvements and all that...

Tomorrow - I will reset the carburetors, sync them and see if I can get LBI with the new fuel pump.

Next week, I'll be getting a fuel pressure regulator that'll be set to right around 2.5 GPM - I think a slightly lower fuel pressure will work better - Weber carburetors like lower pressure.  And, because I sometimes like to 'learn' the hard way-I bought a replacement Malpassi Filter King because the previous one sat in a drawer for over three years and after deciding I didn't need it - I sold it a few months back.  Experience and knowledge aren't the same thing.

Found new LED bulbs for the side markers - now all of the external lights are LED and they're nice and bright with great color.  I'm very happy with the lighting.

Let's see what happens tomorrow...