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.