Thursday, December 29, 2016

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Relocation and rest

RELOCATION:  It's been almost a week since we moved to Georgia from Illinois - Nigel is tucked away in the garage of a house we're renting for a few months while we acquaint ourselves with the area.  We left just in time to miss the first big snowstorm and subzero temperatures.

Jim, the engine builder, came by a week or so before we left to do more tuning on the engine -it's better but it still doesn't run right when it's cold.  I'll have to get to that at some point in the future.

REST:  As is the case with both temporary housing and a big move, I won't be doing much with the car (or have much to write about) for a few months or more.  I may go through my parts and sell off a few more things but it's highly unlikely that I'll acquire anything new.

The front divider panel and the two 3 bolt pulley shrouds are the last parts to show up for the year.

I probably won't make it out to the big shows in California this year because it's right around the time we will be moving into our 'real' house.  2017 is going to be a weird year.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

One more thing...

Probably what will be my last purchase for 2016: NOS rear reflector housing seals for Type 3.  These would have been perfect for Ferris but now they're just part of my collection.
 The elusive left side piece - factory fresh
Still covered in factory wax

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

It's the simple things

The NOS reflectors arrived yesterday and I was pleasantly surprised to find that they're not the more common Hella reflectors but the significantly more rare SWF reflectors!

They are in super nice condition with only a few very very minor scratches that will polish out.

I was having a tough time getting a proper photo of the SWF logo in the center of the reflector.  I might have to break out the 'real' camera to get the logo.

These are super nice and have more than justly qualified my decision to spend the money on them.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

More NOS goodies

 Four 3 bolt pulley shroud tops - I've now got 5 of these total.  Safe to say I'm done buying these (I bought all I could find anyway).
NOS main wire harness for the Type 3 before 1965.  Nice new wires with pliable jackets.

In addition to these parts, I also received the NOS front half of the fan shroud - it's in perfect condition.  I didn't get a photo of it...yet.

I've been busy going through parts and packing them up for the relocation.

Saturday, November 5, 2016


I've tried and failed three times to contact the shop where I bought the alternator to get a replacement.  I'm going to have to put the generator back into the car just to address the other issues for now.  I'll deal with the $300 boat anchor later...another seller that I cannot trust.  I'm still on the fence about getting a rewound generator for the smaller fan shroud or trying to find a replacement alternator.  I would like to have more output than 30A because of the lights I'm planning for the car but now just isn't the time...too many other things going on that demand my attention.  I'll get to it soon enough.

A bit of good news:  I'm getting a third rebuilt steering box back from the pile of five that I sent to Oklahoma.  It'll be the last - I originally thought I might wind up with as many as five units back but the internal parts were in terrible shape and both rebuilt units were poorly rebuilt.  Not enough parts to build five units but enough to build three...that's plenty for one car.

The other parts I've ordered for the future restoration of Nigel are all inbound - then there will be a period of stasis where nothing happens and no parts are purchased.

Hopefully, the period of silence will be ended with a series of nice leaps forward in progress.

Time will tell.

Saturday, October 29, 2016


We're having an unseasonably warm day today so I pushed the car out into the driveway so I could install the battery.  The new battery went dead overnight a while back - this means that either the alternator is bad or the battery is bad.  I'm not sure which one it is at this point but I'm seriously considering pulling the alternator out of the car and hooking the generator/voltage regulator back up to eliminate it as the culprit.

Once the car was in the driveway, I hooked up the battery and started the car.  The idle is very lumpy and it doesn't sound right.  I let the car warm up for about three minutes and right when I thought it was going to settle - it died.  And it would not restart.  The car sat for seven minutes before I tried to start it again...and failed.  The car would not start.  The battery went from 12.6 volts to 12.0 volts in that time.

I pulled both the alternator and the battery and dropped them off at Autozone for testing.  The battery was charged and tested good.  The alternator, however, failed the tests so I've sent an email to Anibal Chico to see about getting a replacement since it's less than a month in my possession.  I might just swap the generator back into the car...this is one excellent reason to make 'upgrades' reversible!  The generator is definitely 'low tech' but it was pretty reliable.  Hard to argue effectiveness sometimes.  There are so many holes in my lips that there isn't much left for the next hook...I've got to stop taking the bait.

I was able, however, to fix the non-functional right rear turn indicator - the contact on the back was loose.  Minor victory.  Very minor victory...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

For reasons I've yet to understand...

Managed to get my hands on a few NOS bits to round out what'll likely wind up being the end of my purchases for the year...for reasons that will be revealed later.

NOS 3 bolt pulley shroud tops, NOS front half of a 6 volt fan shroud (because you can't see the rear piece, who gives a shit what it looks like?), NOS thermostat spring and NOS Grommet bracket for the thermostat flaps rod.

There's also a NOS 200mm 109 tooth flywheel, NOS period correct wire harness, rear seat kick panel flaps and a couple of other minor parts...and that'll likely be the end of the updates until the next event is revealed.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

"For fast acting relief, try slowing down."

Got the carbs tuned and tweaked.  The idle is lower (maybe too low now) and the car drives well.  I took it out Thursday night after making some adjustments and it tracks pretty straight now.  I was going to drive it yesterday but found a dead battery (again).  I've also got a ground issue in the dash with the right side bulb that illuminates for turn indicators - I may explore using a different gauge cluster back plate - the one that's in the car has several tired connections.

The right rear turn lamp doesn't work (it's the only outer bulb that doesn't work) and the battery goes dead if I leave it connected for more than a day.  The only change made is the installation of the alternator.  I've checked the installation against the documents found online and those that came with the alternator (they're the same documents) and it's all connected the same way.

The battery is being charged and, for now, I'm going to disconnect it when the car is stationary.  Somewhere, though, there's a problem that needs to be resolved...once I figure out what the problem actually is...

No new leaks on the left rear wheel - a good thing given that I've probably got only days/weeks left in the driving season for this car before it's tucked away in the garage for the Winter.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

What is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly

I got a lot done today...but I didn't take a lot of pictures.  Actually, this is the only picture I took.

Old tie rod ends on the left, new tie rod ends on the right...exciting stuff.  The new tie rod ends are OCAP and made in Italy.  They're much more firm/smooth than the ends I removed from the car.

I replaced the steering box, all four tie rods and fixed a couple of other minor issues along the way.  Steering damper was checked again and seems to be fine.  I may, however, replace the front shocks because they appear to be pretty old.  That'll be something for tomorrow after I take it for a short drive to check the steering.

Once all was finished, I put the gas back in the tank and started the car.  It idles a bit high but seems to be running quite well.  The engine fired right up - a little bit of a whine from the alternator - but it otherwise sounds great.  I would like to get the idle to settle down a slight bit more once I've had a chance to drive the car a bit.  The steering situation needs to be checked and, if necessary, corrected again.  All of the parts up front are new so there should be no wandering in the front end now.

No new gear oil on the rear left wheel - so I'm left to believe that the previous issue was due to being jacked up for too long, left to sit for too long...guess I'll find out when I drive it!

I'm not 100% happy with the heim link clutch cable/arm - it's still rubbing somewhere inside the pan despite my best effort to correct it...and when adjusted for the right pedal, there's not much left in adjustment on the cable.  If it stretches I probably won't be able to adjust it.  But I'd really hate to have to pull the pedal assembly out of the car again.  I'll leave it alone until I need to change it and then swap it over to the version that uses the stock clutch cable and brass bushing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Be not afraid of going slowly, be afraid only of standing still.

VW 274c - inner bushing reamer for Type 3.

Found this tool while looking for another one in the classifieds.  There was no price so I started a conversation with the seller to see if we could meet in a good place, price wise.
I compared the posted image with the image from the tool archive on the obsolete air cooled site and found that it's complete based on the photos.
Two of the rebuilt steering boxes came back today.  The one on the left is comprised of mostly NOS parts (housing, roller, worm, bearings, shims, adjusting screw).

The unit on the right will be installed on Nigel this weekend - and the current unit will be sent off for evaluation.  I'll be replacing the tie rod ends as well - hoping to eliminate the 'play' in the steering and make the car easier to drive over longer distances.
Top view.  Hard to get clear shots of black parts on a white surface.

The only feedback I gave was to zinc plate the hardware vs. paint it.  The adjusting screws are the shorter variety - it was suggested that I have the longer screws installed and I declined.  Now that I see the remaining threads, I should have allowed the longer screws to be installed.

Still moving inch at a time...but I think October is going to be a productive month.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

In the rough

Today was fairly productive in the 'get the car back to functioning status' theme.

All of the alternator wiring was completed, the heat exchangers, exhaust (previously installed early model), clutch, etc. were installed and adjusted.  I didn't get the time to start on the leaking wheel cylinder yet...the front end is untouched although the new tie rod ends arrived a couple of days ago.  I got word that the steering boxes are nearing completion and will be ready for next weekend's planned installation.  I'm close!  I've got to drive this car soon...

The 'made in Spain' muffler had no internal baffles so I'm returning it.

I rolled Ferris out into the driveway so I had enough room to move around Nigel.  Near the end of my work, a couple walked up the driveway to check out Ferris and they noticed Nigel in the garage.  Nice folks - I talked with them for a good 15 minutes about both cars and the work that's gone into both over the years.  Something about a red car that gets people's attention.

I might get to the left wheel cylinder tomorrow but it's looking more like it'll be next weekend.  Each Saturday that I don't get the car functional means another week before I get the time to try again. 

I'll be running short on nice weather soon.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Grass grows, paint dries, leaves fall from trees

I found this oddball on eBay - a made in Spain Type 3 muffler.  It'll arrive next week and I can bolt up the later heat exchangers and muffler bits - keeping the logo early exhaust for another time.

I also ordered new - not NOS - but brand spanking new tie rod ends for the front end.  I hand tested a few of my NOS inner lefts and they're VERY loose.  I can't help but wonder if the tie rod ends on the car are loose as well and that's contributing to the wandering front end - given that I've checked the upper sway bar, the bottom torsion adjustments and all four ball joints are brand new (less than 60 miles on them).  The damper is new and, in spite of being of Chinese manufacture, seemed to be decent.  It's not leaking so I think it's still good.

So next week, I'll be swapping out the steering box with one assembled from NOS parts, new tie rod ends and then putting it all back together again.  In the rear, I'll install the rest of the wiring for the alternator and the exhaust.  Weather permitting, I'll fire the car up and go for a drive.

It's high time this car see some action.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

October is a good month to visit the dark side...

Some progress to report...the 1500S engine was tuned and sorted.  The fun task of installing the engine is nearly complete...with the exception of hooking up the alternator.  A definitely non stock alteration that's sure to improve reliability.  This is a 'smallternator' from Anibal Chico in California.

In the spirit of making changes that are reversible, I had a few challenges ahead of me.  Namely, the large connectors that connect to the voltage regulator.  I had a rough idea of what I wanted to accomplish so I found a tin coated copper bus bar on  I thought I could buy myself some time but it showed up two days later and I still didn't have a clue about how to solve my problem.  I did, however, have part of the solution.
I was looking at the newer Mexican made regulator I pulled out of the car and realized that the tabs were perfect for the bus bar so I messaged a local VW guy to see if he had any spares laying around.  I got lucky.
Popped off the German top as carefully as possible.  Ground off the two little tabs to release the two large connectors that I wanted for my 'hack'.
I clamped the two pieces together in the vice, drilled a larger hole in the two copper plates, trimmed off the back end so it would fit and mounted it to the bus bar.
Finished with the 'cover' on.
Installed in the car in place of the voltage regulator.  I've got to drill one hole for the mounting screw and slightly tweak the tabs to get the connections to fit a little better.

Overall, I think it turned out pretty nicely.

I've got a muffler/heat exchanger decision to make before the car is fired up again but that seems minor.

I did, however, notice that the left rear wheel bearing is leaking gear oil so I might have to take it apart and fix whatever is leaking before driving too far.  I'll have to at least check the brake shoes for gear oil.  I'm very tempted to swap to rear disc brakes to avoid this shit again...4 wheel disc brakes on this car is definitely overkill but I'm growing tired of fighting 50 year old technology for the sake of keeping it 'original' especially when there's little benefit.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Little pieces of progress stack up like coins so that someday, I'll get to redeem them for a result

The engine is getting moved on Monday for an overview and tuning-my current schedule isn't allowing me much in the ways of time to be able to tinker on the car.  Fortunately, I have a local source for outsourcing the job and knowing that it'll come back in expected condition.  It should be back by next weekend since there isn't a lot to do on it and I might be able to drive the car a bit before ol' man Winter comes howling along.  The tie rods are probably going to need to be replaced and since I've drained the fuel tank, now might be the time to replace them.  The inner left is good but the other three are 'old' NOS.  Pulling the seals on the new 'NOS' and repacking the grease is to be done before they're put on the car.  I need to find a way to eliminate the steering wander and I'm quickly running out of parts to replace.

One thing I noticed on the pressure plate on the engine - it's the 3 arm type.  I've never liked that type so I bought the diphragm version, which I find to be much smoother.  As with so many other things, they're no longer made in Germany.  This one is made in Brazil.
 Clutch disc is made in Korea
Throw out bearing is made in Germany.

I already had one of these but the kit was such a good deal (little over twice the price of this bearing alone) that I went for it - leaving me with a spare TO bearing.

I bought a few spare parts as well - extra clips, etc.

I still need to check out the lever action now that the engine is out of the car to ensure that the weird hang is most likely to be in the clutch pressure plate actuation but I've been wrapped up in a professional certification process so the car has not seen much of me lately.

I got a bunch of other really small and seemingly insignificant parts as well - mostly screws and hardware.  I'd post up photos but I've already put them away.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

When a 'little' equals a lot

So...this happened today.  I pulled the engine out of the car after waffling back and forth about it for weeks.  I'm going to put the 1500 S engine back together and tune it, replace the clutch and the throw out bearing and stuff the engine back into the car.
The good news is that the clutch is 200mm diameter so finding replacements should be simple.  There was a fair amount of debris inside that's now mostly gone.  There's been something not quite right about the clutch since the first day and I'd like to figure out what the issue that the engine is out, I'm going to test out the pedal action to see if it may have been the pressure plate.  If the weird 'hang' persists, then I'll swap out the heim link clutch cable with a different style to see if that improves things a bit.

While the engine is out, I'd like to explore a better way to wire up the hard start relay so that the bulk of the odd wiring is under the back seat vs. suspended in air over the starter.  There's got to be a cleaner way to wire it up.

I discovered a bit of gear oil on the inside surface of the left side wheel - I'm hoping that doesn't turn into a full blown axle rebuild.  I'd be tempted to replace the drum set up with disc if so...

Background Tune: "Good Mistake" by Mr. Little Jeans

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Focused on steering

Passively looking for steering box parts, I stumbled upon a NOS housing and two worm rollers for less than $200 I bought them - I'm on a bender to get two near NOS or completely NOS steering boxes built - the rebuilt units available are garbage and the TRW boxes are even worse.  These are going to be shipped West with some other parts in the near future to be built up.  I'm going to have two boxes built - one will go on the car and the other will be kept as a spare.  I can ship out the three or four steering boxes I've got here to be used for parts, eliminating one more box of parts that have been sitting around collecting dust.
This box of steering box plugs is packed with a small group of other parts (shims included) and enroute.  I can then eliminate this as one of the variables in the handling of the car.  Solid, NOS steering boxes should resolve my front end issues until the front beam is built.

Speaking of the front beam, I found this set of upper and lower bakelite bushings for about $60 shipped...I'm short of the lower right control arm in NOS condition and the upper bearings - then I'll have an all NOS front beam, all the way out to the spindles.

I have NOS tie rod ends (late 80's manufacture), tie rods, and ball joints.  Seems like the front beam is about done with parts sourcing.

I can soon go back to obsessing about the little parts inside the car soon.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Let's make a deal!

I was able to swoop in and buy six control arms for less than $200 shipped for all of them.  No lower right ones were available but I wouldn't feel bad about spending a bit more to get one for the NOS front beam.

I'm also buying a decent amount of hardware out of Germany - my ability to do an inventory of available parts has allowed me to focus on the completion of one car.

Still selling down excess inventory and doing some final packing for Ferris so not much has happened with Nigel...patiently waiting for the attention to shift in his direction.

Soon enough the progress will return to Nigel...

Saturday, July 30, 2016

It's been a long time, wondering why...

I spent about 90 minutes tonight working on the car...managed to get the ignition switch connected properly in the SWF column, finished the wires for the fuse box, install a new interior rear view mirror, and re-installed the pop out windows with the correct hinges.  I didn't have nearly as much trouble installing the pop outs as I expected.  I used FluidFilm and heat shrink tubing on the hinges and with a few minutes of wrangling and pulling the seal out with a plastic putty knife, they pretty much popped right into place.

Next up will be attaching the battery cables and making sure I connected everything properly.  I'd also like to make sure I've installed the new spark plugs, wires and carburetors correctly.  Tomorrow is another day so I'll just have to wait and see how it goes.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

"First you lose trust, then you get worried"

Not much has happened - it's been stupid hot/humid and the motivation has been low.  I'm in the process of selling Ferris to a buyer in California so most of my free time has recently been spent collecting parts for shipment.  Digging out parts bins I haven't looked at in months/years.  Finding shit I forgot I bought.  Putting stuff I don't need into another pile to be sold.  Listing some parts - I wound up putting ads back up on The Samba just to get through stuff I don't need/want.

I did, however, pull the Koln column out and swap in the NOS SWF column, which actuates the turn indicators just fine.  I've got an ignition switch situation to resolve but it shouldn't be tough to resolve.  Once that is finished, I'll get back to the engine and see if I can get it dialed in better.  The wiring under the dash is pretty well cleaned up now.

Once Ferris is sold, I'm pretty sure I'll be swapping the rear of Nigel over to disc brakes - I'll have one car to focus on so the swap should be rather straightforward.  It'll also eliminate a bunch of hard to find maintenance/wear parts.  My goal is to get this car down to being as simple to maintain as possible while being reliable.

Someday, I'll drive this car somewhere interesting...

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A post about parts - no progress on the car

Found an NOS reflector - a part that you might think is in abundance given the location on the car and it's proclivity for damage in a collision.  Surprisingly hard to find, actually.  I've got plenty of used/semi-damaged reflectors and now this one super nice one.
Two sets of seals for the steering box.  I have an NOS set in the cabinet and bought another set from a guy on eBay.  I'll have four sets of them and hope to get at least two boxes rebuilt since the one on Nigel is leaking after less than 200 miles of use.  I'm still working on how to properly take the old box apart so that the paint can be stripped off.
Pair of NOS rear axle nuts - $12 for the pair shipped.  A deal I probably should have, but didn't, let go.

I think this is a clear sign that I'm running out of stuff to buy for these two cars - critical max is being reached and I've got to carve some time out to actually start working on them soon.

I was out of town for most of the week so I didn't get to work on the car.  I think I'm going to pull the Koln column out of the car and replace it with the SWF column so the turn indicators will work properly.  At this point, I should probably also do the modification to the turn indicator lights in the dash (since I'll probably have half of it torn apart anyway) and, possibly, test the tach to see if I really did fry it last year by not hooking it up properly the first time around (no ground).  If it's fried, I'll send it out to be repaired.  It'd be nice to have something to fill that hole in the dash.

Not sure yet what I'm going to do about the wandering in the steering...I could replace all of the tie rod ends with new parts (some are old/NOS ends) and attempt to straighten the steering wheel at the same time, which could make it better or worse.  I'd like to get the horn fixed so I can put the steering wheel button back in and close up the interior a bit better so I can drive the car more often than once every couple of weeks.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Everything counts in large amounts

Dead giveaway that the right side carburetor had been rebuilt - black gasket!  The left one appears to have never been apart.
 The dirty bowl of the right side carburetor.  The needle/seat was also new and may be one of those that tends to stick - I wonder if that was part of the issue.
 Dirty bowl on the left carburetor.
The more I looked, the more I noticed little things that needed adjustment or replacement on this left side carburetor (the one that didn't get rebuilt).

These carbs will be left to dry out for a few months before I send them out to be rebuilt.

The set of carburetors that were on Ferris's engine were boxed up and will go out tomorrow to be rebuilt.  That poor engine from Ferris - it's damn near stripped down to a long block at this point...I've got to stop doing that if I have any chance of getting it back together.
A better picture of one of the newly rebuilt carburetors that were installed but not run yet.

I'm headed out of town stupid early on Wednesday so this is probably on hiatus until then...not to mention that I've gotten slightly distracted and started back up on trying to figure out the turn signal arm cancellation situation.  While I've got the dash torn apart, I may wire up the gauge to show only the indicated turn direction vs. both lighting up at once.  It always struck me as weird that VW decided to cut corners on something so simple and inexpensive.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Taking a step back to see the forest after staring so long at the trees

After spending a collective 6 hours tweaking, tuning and listening...I decided to pull the carburetors.

This is the left side carburetor and it appears that the top gasket is leaking.
The throttle shafts are both super loose and both leak a small amount of fuel - likely part of the reason I struggled to get the idle stable.

In this picture, there's a bit of fuel collected on the bottom of the bowl.

Upon closer inspection, I also found some of the linkage parts have considerable wear - additional things that contribute to poor running and inability to properly adjust for smooth operation.
The pair of carburetors on the left were rebuilt a few months ago.  I'd no plans of using them anytime soon - thinking that they were a spare set I could hang on to for a while.

I pulled one of the carburetors off of the engine for Ferris and those throttle shafts were loose as well...meaning that I'll be sending them out to be rebuilt.  The pair that came off of Nigel will also get rebuilt but probably not for a while due to the cost/necessity factor.
In addition to replacing the carburetors, I also replaced the ignition wires and the spark plugs - I have never looked at them and didn't know what shape they were in, if they were gapped properly, etc.

They're photographed in order: 1, 2, 3, 4.  1 & 2 look okay, 3&4 look a bit dark.  The gap on 3 was a bit on the short side.

I also bought a timing light/dwell meter with tach.  Once I get the swapped parts all put back and dialed in, I'll try to get the timing figured out, then check the valves again.

Monday, July 4, 2016

“Find what you love and let it kill you.”

I had about three hours with the car today - three hours to figure out what the everloving fuck is keeping it from functioning know, in spite of all of the effort I've expelled toward fixing shit that I find that's gone wrong.  Or parts I've broken and replaced.

Anyway...I started with the fuel sender not working.  This is a typical issue for these cars because of the ground path the sender takes and, often, how poorly the sender itself is grounded to the tank, which is supposed to be grounded to the car via the bolts that hold the tank in place.  I tested my theory by adding a ground wire from one of the bolts on the sender to the stock ground wire for the right side headlight.  It worked - an easy fix and easy first win.  I was foolishly optimistic.

The next task was to check the front end to see if I could address the wander in the steering.  I pulled the upper control arms off of the spindles and checked the tightness of the upper assembly.  The Bentley states that the top control arm assembly should be just loose enough to allow the upper assembly to fall to the bump stops on its own.  The person who put this front beam together or checked it last was a functional copy of an 800# gorilla.  It took all I could muster to get the upper assembly to move at all - both hands to get it at a 90° angle from 'mounted'.  I loosened the bolts on the right side, made the 'by the book' adjustment and put it back together.  I also checked the tie rod ends for tightness and added two cotter pins at the outer ends.  Apparently the alignment shop didn't think they were necessary.  I took notice that the inner tie rod ends did not have the nut locks in place so I took care of that as well.  And I noticed that the steering box that's supposed to be 'rebuilt' is leaking gear oil from the bottom seal.  I'm suspecting that the issue resides with the steering box.  The work that I did put the front beam closer to 'within factory spec' but didn't resolve the issue.  The wander is still present so I did not resolve this issue.

Next up (before I became aware of my previous failure) was to fix the dead bulb in the dash on the turn indicator light.  I took most of the dash apart to get the gauge cluster light out, re-seated the bulb that seemed to be loose and put it back together.  Again, like the previous failure, I was unaware of if I'd succeeded until I was ready for a test drive some 45 minutes later.  This one was also a failure.  I think the bulb contact within the cluster back is loose and that's why the bulb doesn't work - the tiny little LED bulbs are hard to seat and I may have pushed too hard on this one.  I briefly considered pulling it out and swapping it with another one but decided against pulling half of the dash apart.

Then I figured I'd try my hand at getting the turn signal cancellation to work properly - so I took the front part of the housing apart, checked part fit and attempted to put it back together.  It took a bit of concentration and manual dexterity but I succeeded in getting it all back together with the correct cancellation action - only it doesn't work.  I don't know why.  Everything that I can see shows that it should work.  The little lever comes down right when it should and the levers that 'trip' and catch to return the arm to it's neutral position function but the arm doesn't move.  So, I spent 30 minutes screwing around with for no net gain.  I have come to the conclusion that I fucking hate the Koln columns.  Everything is so much harder on them than it should be...I bet if I pull the SWF column out of the closet and swap it with the Koln column that the turn signal cancellation would work.  I'm also going to look for slightly larger LED bulbs for the cluster.  Between the two, I'll get it to work properly.

To finalize my day of failures, I did a few more small adjustments on the engine to see if I could get it to idle more smoothly.  After fifteen minutes, I jumped in the car, started it up and discovered that I'd somehow put it right back to where it was 6 months ago.  The idle is higher, the carburetors are in sync but the car's running really rich and doesn't settle back down like it should.  In addition to that, I had the misfortune of touching one of the chokes and got burned.  So, like an idiot, I checked the other one and burned myself twice.  Both chokes are at least 3x hotter than the carb bodies and I suspect that's an indicator of something.

I'm going to get a dwell meter/timing light and see if I can get this back to the right settings, pull and check the plugs, etc.  I feel like it'll be a win if I can get the engine to run right - then I can focus on the front end and get that dialed in.

Some days, I think this car is going to be great...but today I closed the garage thinking that I should exit the hobby and use the money to pour a new driveway.  I spend more time frustrated by either a lack of progress or a lack of time to get problems solved.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

“We see in order to move; we move in order to see.”

Took the car out for a brief drive after work today...Kelly hasn't driven a manual transmission car in 6 years and we wanted to see how much she remembered.  It went okay - she stalled the car only twice and the distractions of the slightly wandering steering probably didn't help on the concentration front.  I think a few more opportunities and she will have it down...

The car was slow to warm up (and I didn't wait long enough) so it died a couple of times out of the driveway.  I think the idle is a tad too low at the current adjustment so I'm going to have to bring it up a bit.  Should be a little easier since I bought an inexpensive tachometer that I can hook up at engine.  I'd guess it's right around 700 RPM right now so it could stand to go up another 100-150 RPM which would help with the warm up process.

I discovered that one of the fuses was out of the fuse box tonight.  I couldn't figure out why the left side bulbs didn't work and it turned out that the fuse was missing.  Not sure how that happened but it was an easy fix.  I also corrected the right front running light ground.

Still need to address the horn connection, wire up the wiper motor, fix the turn indicator canceling and get the left side turn indicator in the gauge to function properly.  A few little things that shouldn't be too hard to get functional again.

The steering is also super loose and I'm not 100% what is causing the issue.  The car has a newly rebuilt/tight steering box, a new 'donut' coupler, new steering damper, new tie rods, new ball joints...all of the connections and typical 'wandering steering' culprits have been checked.  I guess I could swap out the steering box but I'm not 100% sure that'll fix it.  Really odd that I can't locate the problem.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nothing to see here...move along.

The local ACVW show was a bust...there were 9 swap spaces.  No exaggeration - short of a solid ten.  I didn't take any pictures because there really wasn't anything to photograph.  It rained off and on during the two hours I stuck around chatting with Lou - he paid for a swap space hoping to offload the rest of his shit.  I found out later that he didn't sell much of anything.

I walked the swap space in less than ten minutes, walked the 'show' part in another ten minutes and spent the rest of the time shooting the shit with Lou.  I can't say I'll go back out to this show next year.  Last time I attended this show was about six years ago and it wasn't much better.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A day of progress

It's hot today - near 90°F.

After a bit of a rough start to the day, I got back into tweaking the things I fucked up a few days ago.  I took everything back to 100% stock settings and the car fired up and ran - slightly rough.  I had to adjust the idle a bit to get it to continue running.  The idle is still low.

I've got a few weird things going on with the engine...the carbs are in sync, timing is set, valves are adjusted, point gap is good, fresh oil, new 93 octane fuel...but the engine will hunt a little after it warms up.  The only thing I know that contributes to idle hunt is a bad vacuum signal.  I did the suck test on the distributor and it works properly.  The hose is brand new German Continental.  The car runs fine, accelerates without hesitation, doesn't backfire or stumble.  Just the idle hunt...I've never run into this before so it's alien territory.

Once I put about 10 miles on the car, I returned home, removed the roof rack and washed the car - I've never washed this car - so it was nice to see it come clean after sitting for nearly a year in the garage covered in dust.  The roof rack is now suspended from the ceiling in the garage.  All of the window seals are shot so I expected to find water inside the car.  The hatch seal isn't on the car and the front trunk seal is crunchy...The car didn't really leak inside like I expected so that was a pleasant surprise.

The front steering is still a bit off - the steering wheel isn't centered (alignment shop screw up) and it wanders a little too much for my taste.  There's no real delay between the wheels moving side to side and the action from the steering wheel but the car tends to wander on the road at speeds over 30 MPH.  I checked the top control arm adjustment and it's nice and ball joints, new tie rod ends, new steering damper.  It's possible that my perception of how the car should drive vs. how it actually drives are not the same.  My V60 RD has very wide tires, the car itself is wide, it weighs twice as much as the Variant and has almost six times the horsepower.

I'm going to one of the few local VW shows tomorrow - I thought about driving Nigel but I'm not quite happy with the driving mannerisms just yet, it's pretty far away and it's supposed to rain.  The rain bit wouldn't normally deter me but I never hooked up the wipers when I converted to 12 volt.  It's one of those things that I keep telling myself that I need to do then wind up doing five other things instead.  In addition to that, there are a couple of odd noises while driving that I need to figure sounds like I'm dragging a grocery bag under the car (I'm not - I checked).  I don't know what's up with that yet.  I'm thinking about taking the camera and making a video of a drive around the 'hood to see if I can capture the sounds.

Along with all of the other stuff, I sold off two of my early ignitions that I'd kept for parts - one was broken at the front, the other at the rear...working on selling off a few other pieces as well.

I tried to sell the front beam that I stripped down bare but the shipping cost is too high so no one will buy it.  I think I'm going to use it to test my painting skills (they're weak) and as a clamp to disassemble the steering boxes that I have.  It's time they come apart and I figure out how to rebuild them.  In the same vein, I scrapped three rusty heat exchangers today - I pulled a couple of spare parts off of them and put them at the curb.  Within 20 minutes they were gone.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

"Goals allow you to control the direction of change in your favor."

A while ago, I found the rear right backing plate...I recently found the rear left backing plate.  I prefer the NOS parts because the used parts I've purchased all suffered some damage that was a pain in the ass to fix.

I have late backing plates on the transmission for the 65 but those will stay on that transmission through the course of the build.  Nigel, however, is going to be as correct as my ability to find the right parts.
Original battery cable for the positive connection with the connection for the voltage regulator, starter and it has the grommet to go through the body already installed.

This part was not cheap but it looks like it was worth it!
Contact plate for a Koln ignition column.  At one point a while back, I had several of these and sold the spares thinking that I'd never need another one...until I wound up with a second Koln column which I didn't think would happen.

I bought this as a replacement part, not a spare, so it'll be put to use nearly immediately after the housing and arm are painted.
This is one of those parts that almost never comes up for sale:  NOS gasket between the 'wrap' turn indicator housing and the lens.

These will go into my stash of parts.
Used but nice condition set of blue dot knobs for the vent controls.  The outer left knob was chipped on the underside in shipping but I'm fairly confident that I can glue it back together some late night after a beer when there's nothing else going on.
Probably the last set of these cupped window cranks I'm going to buy.  They're about a 7/10 overall.  The knobs turn well, not severely damaged.  One arm has pitting on the reverse side (can't see it when installed).  In otherwise real nice condition.  I think I've got five sets of these now...probably a good time to stop.

An ignition switch for the early cars - this one is a bit of an oddball.

I thought I was going to get this and use it for parts but immediately realized that several of the parts are different and can't be interchanged with what I've currently got to fix.

I may know of someone who has a use for this so it won't go to waste.  This will probably turn into one of those 'lessons' I learn later: it's some super stupid rare ignition and I should have kept it.  I'll cross that bridge when/if I get to it.

For now, I'm going to focus on putting parts together to form a car vs. buying parts.  If I make some progress, there will be a post.  No post = no progress.