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.