Monday, May 29, 2017

Forward motion (at least on paper)!

After suffering the setbacks of the past few days, I reached out to a VW expert to discuss the issues I've experienced with the engine...he suggested that the distributor drive gear is off by one or two teeth (which was one of my suspicions) and that it needs to be reset.  Great - progress!

Except I don't have the tool to do it.  So I ordered one.  It'll be here in a few days - which is decent timing because I'm going to Chicago for work for a couple of days.

I sold a bunch of parts and bought a programmable distributor which eliminates the points and condenser can.  It's modernization for the sake of reliability.  I will also probably sell off two of the three ZV/JCU 4R3 distributors that I have since I am no longer in love with them after this whole episode.  There's good reason they were only used for one year, I suppose.

In any event, I should be able to move the distributor drive gear, fix the timing and be able to drive the car by next weekend.  In a couple of weeks, I can swap out the distributor for the programmable one and gain a slight improvement in form and function.  It'll allow me to test out the distributor so that I can determine if I want one on my bigger engine.

Doesn't seem like much but I feel like I've made some progress - on paper - for now.

By the time I get back, I should have a few boxes of parts at the house - including the parking brake cables.  I'm looking forward to finishing up those brakes so I can move on to other things.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

One step forward, three steps back...

 Got the car running well enough to take it out for a short drive.  My son was super excited and buckled himself into his car seat - eagerly awaiting the trip.

We drove around for about 20 minutes through back roads in our subdivision before returning home.
I snapped this picture after the drive - I think the car looks pretty good for being over 50 years old.

I don't yet have parking brakes so the wheel chock is for extra safety beyond parking it in gear.

Still not content with the idle or the lack of power, I did some work on the car today - changed the oil, plugs and replaced the rotor in the distributor.  Car runs roughly but not right.  I also can't get the timing right with a light - I'm now wondering if the distributor drive gear is installed wrong.  Not sure how to make sure the engine is at #1 when the rotor is pointing to the notch or if it's 180ยบ out.  That could be the issue...I've also got a new coil coming tomorrow - two of the three I have got very hot after a short period of time of use.  That's usually a bad sign.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

in a turtle race, a snail's pace ain't bad...

Here's the skinny on all that's happened in the last ten days:

I sent the parking brake cable back to be shortened and have a mate made up.  The guy who is in charge was on vacation and only came back today.  He will ship it out Friday and it'll arrive late next week.  I'll be out of town for a couple of days so no big deal.  Haven't really driven the car much since I don't have a parking/emergency brake but I might take it on an early drive this weekend just to get a feel for everything else.  I'd like to know if the thermostat flap/rods are working correctly.  I bought an IR thermometer to check it out once the initial drive is done.  I've also got to grow a pair and install the tach in the dash.  The last install attempt having gone wrong has me a bit spooked - even though I think I know what I did incorrectly.  It's an expensive part that I don't want to fry.

Almost finished the parts identification/'s 98% done.  I still have to identify parts in totes and then establish where the totes will stay so I can pull parts as needed.  That's minor and I can work on that during the week - should be done by month's end.  The list is almost a thousand lines in length but I have a pretty damn good idea of what I've got and where it's located.  Much better situation than what I had previously!  I'm looking forward to having it done and knowing what I've got (a lot) and what I can get rid of (a little).  I sold one of my NOS ZV/JCU 4R3 distributors so I'm down to 3 or 4 now.  I should really get down to two and call it done.

Worked on getting the rest of the hardware sorted and cleaned - I'm almost done with this but I got sick so I've just focused on getting better while not missing any work.  Once I'm up to it, I'll continue to organize and clean the hardware - then send it off to be refinshed.  I'm getting it clean via the vinegar soak which works quite well but requires a cleaning after drying the vibratory basket is getting used again.

A side project is the spec of a 1904 stroker for my car - nearly twice the hp, 3x the torque.  I'm not sure what I'm going to do with the 1500 S engine I've got now.  It's hard to believe I'll go back to a 54hp engine once I drop a 90+hp engine in the car.  Either way, the transmission will get rebuilt - it's 50 years old and probably ready to be rebuilt.  I have an inside line on a NOS universal engine case that shouldn't need to be clearanced for the crank or rods but I've shelved the idea of buying it until I'm a bit closer to going for the full build.  It would be nice to get through some of my extra engine tin and such...this will be for a later date.  I've got plenty to do to keep me busy until this the whole restoration process.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The good news is that I'm still able to learn

 I called up the cable shop to discuss what I'd found and chat a bit about 'what's next', and during the discussion, realized that I hadn't installed the caliper end of the cable housing properly.  Right after the call ended, I went out to the garage and fixed my problem.  The cable is now firmly seated and doesn't move around at all - which is what I wanted.  The lower end of the cable housing loop is now slightly tighter and above the lower rear shock bolt - another win.

But since this cable is about an inch too long, it's going to go back to be reduced in length and have a mate made before they both come back for installation.

Overall, it's been a pretty simple experience.
 The length of the 'overage' increased slightly due to the seating of the cable in the caliper in back.

While I wait for the cables to return - I'll check on the thermostat/flaps operation, check the timing and dwell and carburetor operation so that the only thing left is installation of the cables.

In a couple of weeks, I should have this thing fully functional and ready to drive.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

It's about fucking time...

I've been filling in the voids of activity with the inventory and organization of my parts.  I'm about 90% complete on the identification and tagging of parts and 80% complete on the inventory part.

As frequently happens, I discovered that I had a lot of parts I didn't need and also had parts in multiple places due to when/where they were purchased...which led to more parts being purchased than really necessary.  I've already started the process of either selling or giving away parts I don't need.  It's been rather productive overall.
After about a month of 'back and forth', I received the custom fabricated parking brake cable today.  The goal was to eliminate the adapters and replace them with something more robust.

This picture shows the custom cable on the top and the stock cable with the adapter from CSP.  The nice thing about the custom cable is that the male part is longer - more of it fits into the tube on the pan.  In addition, it's closer to the ID of the pan piece so it fits more snugly and doesn't wobble around.
 This picture shows, again, the custom cable on the top and the stock cable with the adapter on the bottom.

I thought this one would be trickier to replace but, it turns out, I don't know much about fabricating cables.  Not only is it possible to replace this end and get a good fit on the caliper but the rubber accordion piece was replaced by something more elegant.  I suspect that I can install this in such a way that it'll be more securely held to the caliper with another e-clip and slightly different adjustment.  The angled bit on the stock cable was a slight help in directing the cable under the rear axle - not sure if that is possible with the replacement (if another one is fabbed up)
 Here's another look at the stock cable with the adapter and the rubber accordion bit attached.
 An end view of the two cables - custom on the left, adapted stock cable on the right.
 Swaged end piece that fits the caliper without wondering if the set screws (from the kit) will hold long-term.

 I took this picture before I'd adjusted the cable - so I'm holding the cable in place to get an idea of how it'll fit once adjusted - which is what happened next...
...but it's about an inch too long.  This is the cable installed, snugged and ready for use.  It works but it's got little to no adjustment left.  I'm going to call the company tomorrow - I think the swaged end at the caliper can be cut, the cable length reduced and then swage a new end.

I've got a nice stash of parts coming from Germany in the next month or two but I'll save the pictures for their arrival...

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Precursor to progress

I did a bit more cleaning today and came across the brake lines I thought were lost - the movers wrapped them up with the door panels.  One mystery solved!

I spent a lot of time today getting parts logically organized in the cabinets - I'm getting more parts into a smaller area with greater organization.  I should be able to start recording the locations next week.

Speaking of next week, I'll be receiving the 'test' cable from the cable shop next week (it's shipping on Monday), along with parts I ordered from West Coast Metric and ISP.

I didn't get any time to get the car out of the garage and turn it over - it was raining most of the day so I spent the extra time organizing the cabinets.  I'll be out of town at a VW show on Saturday so early next week seems to be when I'll get back to the car.  The next couple of weeks will be active with regard to the car...hopefully, I can wrap some things up!
Put my new cleaner to work today - the bottom one was the first pass at cleaning.  The top one is the 'before'.

I think the cleaner did a nice job.

I pulled the other door panels out and cleaned them off as well.  Turns out, I have two passenger side door panel sets and one driver's side door panel set.  Three sets of rear cargo area side panels, one hatch panel (broken) and the little strip off of a back seat.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity.

No pictures and very little progress...although I did receive a phone call today from the cable shop indicating that they needed a few more pieces of information to build one cable that they will then ship and I will test fit to the car.  There are far more variables than I considered in the dimensions/requirements of constructing custom cables...and given my track record with measuring the brake lines, I want to test one out before they make a set.  I will most likely get two complete sets just to ensure that I'll never need them again.  I'm hoping to have the first cable by the middle of next week.  I would really like to wrap this up so I can move on to the next phase.

Since I've spent so much time under the car recently - I realized that I might be able to get away with buying the ISP quarter pans and replacing the rear quarters - the front halves don't look too bad.  That would be pretty fucking awesome because it would save me both a ton of money but also a ton of time.  One day when the car is in a permanent home, I'll pull it apart and have a good close look at it and decide where to go from there.  I've got the Klassic Fab pans already but I think I'd prefer to have less work and less cost.  I'm sure the money is getting spent in other areas...

In the parts area - I'm nearly finished with the bag and tag project.  I've come up on 900 lines of parts so far.  I'll probably crack 1000 before I'm finished.  The process now is to organize and indicate the location of the parts to get a feel for what's here.  The hardware is slowly getting organized during conference calls when I can multitask.  At some point, I'll pop it all in a box and ship it off to be reconditioned.  I may try my hand at the 'at home' zinc coating system that I bought half a decade ago and have yet to use.

I got a hint of some NOS parts and while I was able to pass on 95% of them, I did cave in and reserve a few of the more interesting parts:

The early winder handle (65 and earlier) on the right is the one I've reserved.  The 66 only knob is super nice as well but I'm trying to stay focused.  I've got a set of the 66 only knobs because they're much more sturdy.
 Pretty high up the list of parts I never expected to find NOS are these little hinge cover pieces.  There's a reproduction part available - while they're considered to be better than nothing, they are not durable at all.  I've still got a set of the reproduction pieces but had no plans of using them.

I've reserved 12 of these once they're available.
 62 or 63 and earlier seat knobs.  Technically not correct for my car but the early knobs are made so much better than the later knobs - they're thicker plastic and don't tend to crack as easily.  I reserved a pair - just in case.
I also picked up one of these - the oddball.  I want the lens but not the base.  The base is going to a friend who's restoring a late T34.