Thursday, October 23, 2014

Older and wiser voices can help you find the right path, if you are only willing to listen.

After repeatedly bashing my head into the wall of my own failures, I decided to contact Jim, the guy who rebuilt my 1500S engine and ask for help.  I was seriously stumped as to where to go or what to do next.  I knew the 'fix' was going to be something simple that I'd overlooked in my haste to get the car put back together under a constricted timeline.  Between my dissatisfaction with my certification progress and the constant wall of 'issues', it wasn't in the cards for this car to do anything but continue collecting dust for the rest of the year.

Fortunately, part of that changed today when Jim arrived...we did a 'once over' and I explained everything that led up to this point.  Every part that's been changed, every adjustment, every obstacle.

Remember that part about how I knew it would be something simple?  When I pulled the distributor and replaced it with an adjusted NOS ZV/JCU 4R3 distributor, I apparently didn't seat the drive lug into the shaft on the engine.

Rookie mistake #1.  Yes, there are more.

So now, the car would fire but not of the chokes showed that they needed adjustment.  The weather is cold enough that the carbs need them now.  So they were adjusted.  Again.

Rookie mistake #2.  I'll continue.

Car starts but the carbs are out of adjustment so it is kind of pissed off until it warms up a little.  It's going to need some additional adjustment to get them just right.  I may 'hire' Jim to come back and do that since I know jack shit about carburetor adjustment and will probably find a way to set myself on fire while attempting to do it.

While we were discussing the distributor issue, I mentioned the brakes...he takes a look and can't find any leaks anywhere.  Pedal test and his assessment is that the plunger rod is too tight-preventing the master cylinder from allowing enough fluid in to sustain pressure.  In the interest of not wasting his time, I tell him that I'll adjust it later (I did) and let him know how it turns out.  The brakes will need to be bled again but they should be good after theory.  This will have to wait for another day because I don't have time to do it tonight.  But-I am motivated to try it and see if I can get a proper pedal out of it.

I tested out the 12 volt light bulbs once I got things cleaned up a bit and it turns out that everything functions exactly as I hoped it would and I retained all of the functions as they were on the 6 volt set up, while using one less wire in the process.

I still need to address the tachometer issue and figure out why the speedometer won't sit right in the dash (I think the tangs are too short) but that's a simple fix for a later day.

As a wrap up to the night, I installed the rear seat from the 65S (Icarus) since it was in substantially better condition than the one that was in the car (the seat bottom was sticky and whatever it was refused to be removed by any means).

I spent far more than I'd hoped and it took a lot longer than it should have because I tried to fit the fix into an impossible time line...lesson learned.

I didn't get to drive the car because it's not quite right and the brakes are still not up to the task of stopping the car...I'm hoping that I can do that at least once before it snows.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Obstacles are things a person sees when he takes his eyes off his goal

Minor update today.  I swapped the distributor with a NOS ZV JCU 4R3 with properly adjusted points.  The ignition wires are new, spark plugs are gapped properly, timing is set properly.  Battery is fully charged, fuel is flowing to the carburetors.

Car won't start.

I'm rather frustrated with this car.

So now I'm going to have to start from scratch:  Change the rotor, attempt to start, change the condenser, attempt to start, check the plugs and timing, attempt to start, check the wires, attempt to start, ad nauseum.  Eventually, I'll get it to start but I know it's going to be time consuming. 

In other news: I found most of the parts I need to begin to the process of changing out all of the brake lines/parts.  I should have the last pieces in the next week or two...then I just have to figure out when to make it happen.

The little movie in my head plays a race between two apathetic turtles in a foot race: one is named "the car runs!", the other is named "the car stops".  Neither one is terribly interested in running the race or crossing the finish line so they just stand there and look at one another.

It might be over for the year unless I can find some time in the next couple of weeks.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

“It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.”

I queried a couple of other VW people to see if there is a consensus about what I should do next with this car given the issue of the brake system failing to maintain a pedal.

As suspected, the consensus-and my decision-is that I will pull all of the brake lines and replace them with new parts.  Hard lines and soft lines will all be replaced.  Otherwise, I will spend days/weeks/months chasing problems like the monkey around the Mulberry bush.  To that end, I placed a few orders last night/today to ensure that I have all of the pieces I need to replace the entire braking system.  I found the proper front and rear pan grommets for the main line from front to rear today.

All that remains is finding the location where 'desire' and 'time' intersect.

Friday, October 3, 2014

“Never confuse movement with action.”

I've always heard that you have to take the good with the bad and just roll with it.

JB came over and we jumped right into the open issues.  After some thought the past few days, I decided to pull the Mexican VW rubber coupler from the steering system and replace it with one of the newer square Febi rag joints.  CB Performance used to sell the Mexican VW rag joint couplers (I bought two) and then they disappeared from their offering.  They appeared to be a quality part so I didn't readily understand why they were discontinued.  The Mexican VW rag joints are defective and the mounting holes don't line up properly-in addition, they warp themselves-creating the irritating gap.  Turns out that the the gap in the steering wheel and the angle issues at the coupler are largely gone now that JB replaced the Mexican VW part with the Febi part.  Problem solved.  Easy win.

While JB worked on the coupler issue, I rewired the headlights with the new bulb holders and replaced the bulbs. (broken one on the left/newer design, sturdy one on the right/old design)  Easy win.

In addition, I pulled the wiper system and replaced the grommets with the correct size-they went right back in and everything looks just as it should.  I replaced the ashtray, glove box and cable controls and knobs.  Another easy win.

Pulled the side marker lights to fix what appeared to be bad bulb contacts.  I discovered crunchy seals that basically shattered into a dozen pieces when I pulled them off the car.  Replaced them with NOS seals and fixed the bulb contact issue.  The photo shows one of what remains of one seal.   Another easy win.

Next on the list was the brakes.  Took a stab at them as they couldn't be avoided much longer...I pulled the pedal cluster and then pulled the old master cylinder and replaced it with the one that was in the car when it arrived in Illinois.  JB and I bled the brakes.  Lots of air, no leaks.  Firm pedal 1/2 way which is good enough for a test drive.  But once again, 20 minutes later, the pedal went to the floor.  No leaks, everything is tight...reservoir level doesn't change.  Bled the brakes two more times and now have 1/4 pedal.  Not great but not a total failure...far from acceptable though.  We didn't swap the front discs as there wasn't going to be enough time with all of the other things to get done.  That decision turned out to be a good one...

Next we installed the fuel tank and put 2 gallons of fuel in the tank.  No leaks.

Then I tried to start the car.  Nothing.  Cranked it a few times.  Smelled what seemed to be burned wire.  The two wires to the tach were super warm...I REALLY hope I didn't fry the tach.  JB pulled the tach wires and we tried again.  Nothing.

Tested for spark at the wires and found nothing.  So I pulled a few plug wires at the distributor and found that they were not completely inserted into the cap.  Swapped the wires with new Bosch wires anyway.  Nothing.  We have fuel and air but seemed to be missing spark.

I pulled the distributor cap to check the rotor and discovered a burnt smell and noticed that the points had fried themselves to a black plastic blob (wire sheathing).  Swapped the points with new parts but ran out of time before adjusting them to the car went back into the corner until I can find time to work on it again.

I'm probably going to put a different ZV JCU 4R3 distributor in the car since this one probably has a fried condenser as well.  They're kind of difficult to work on while they're in the car.

Just for the hell of it, I have a Bosch 12 volt coil on its way in to swap out with the one that's in the car.  I don't know if it's fried but I'd like to have a back up in any case.

Solved a few problems and found a few more to take their place.

The car was pushed back to its side of the garage while I work out what I'm going to do next.  If history is any indication, swapping the distributor to correct the points issue is only going to bring another challenge.

I don't know when I'm going to have time to work on it again so it may be a while before anything notable happens.  I've never had a car fight so hard to stay in the garage.