Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mediocre at best

The pan and subframe arrived last night.  I looked it over quickly - wrote the check and closed the garage door.  This morning, I opened the garage and took a longer look at it.

First thing I noticed is that the paint is very inconsistently applied.  There was some discussion over the last week or so about how the paint was hard to work with and the results weren't perfect.  I didn't anticipate just how 'not perfect' it would be.  Some areas are smooth and have a slight shine while others are rough and have a flat appearance.

It's far from perfect - I know that KBS lays down well because it's been used on prior projects.  I don't have another $700 to spend to sandblast it and repaint it so I'm just going to leave it alone and move forward.  Disappointing.
The left side of the kick panel retained the proper early pressing with metal tube.  They were able to clean up and retain the original bracket - although it's not welded to the floor quite as well as I expected - it's not going anywhere.
 The right side of the kick panel was completely replaced by a later version - made obvious by the lack of the metal tube to guide the wire for the flap (they use a plastic tube that fits into the clips) and the capture nut for the relay at the top near the top of the bracket (which was also retained).

I have yet to test fit the back seat bottom to the two brackets - that'll get done tomorrow.
We discussed removing the nails from the original seal - none of which were removed.
Removing the dents in the front panel was also discussed - but it was not done.  In fact, I think a dent was added to this part.  I will have to bend it back into place so that I can mount the front panel over the pedal assembly.
The small parts are very inconsistently painted - They were sandblasted and should have been easy to clean and paint but the result is poor at best.  Rough to the touch, not smooth, and there are (somehow) paint runs in a few places.
The reinforcement piece is NOS and the finish isn't great.  It's on the bottom of the car and won't be seen - so I'm just going to move forward.  If I weren't already horribly disappointed with this car and the hobby - I'd fix it.  But I simply want to put the car back together because I'm tired of looking at the pieces strewn about the garage.
The master cylinder skid plate feels like leather - not sure how that was accomplished but here it is.
The subframe looks okay - but the kafer brace bars are missing.  I know we talked about it and photos of what I wanted were sent but it didn't happen.
It's doubtful that I'll need to install those additional bracing pieces but I guess I'll know after a couple of drives once it's all back together.
I spent 45 minutes cleaning out the tunnel - masked it and used a cavity coater inside.
The plan for today was to get the cavity coater in the tunnel and replace the shift rod and bushing - but this new bushing that broke before being installed delayed the shift rod installation until at least tomorrow.

A local parts store is going to have one tomorrow so I'll try to get it done once I pick it up.
 I moved the subframe around a little and heard some rattling inside.  I quickly realized that some of the pieces that were cut off of the subframe wound up inside the subframe.  There's one piece that won't come out - I may epoxy it into place so it doesn't rattle around because I cannot get it out.
This is the pile of stuff that I was able to fish out of the subframe.  Seems like a rather simple thing that should have been checked before being closed up - but maybe I'm expecting too much.

The job seems to have been rushed - which is kind of hard to believe given that it's over 6 weeks late and half of the work requested on the subframe wasn't done.

I could have rejected the work when I realized that it wasn't right - but my desire for perfect is overridden by my desire to just get this car back together.  The whole thing has been an exercise in masochism that - quite honestly - I should have avoided altogether.  I'm over the whole experience - not just because I accepted work that should have been rejected but because it's the level of work that's consistently delivered and I'd simply be rejecting 90% of the work that's been farmed out.

Tomorrow - I'm heading back out to the sandblasting shop to see what the IRS trailing arms look like and decide what to do with the pieces so that I can continue moving forward.  Once they're done - I will only be waiting on the spring plates.

Monday, September 24, 2018

It's hard to understand the inner workings of an idiot

Photo from the body shop today when I asked about progress/status.

The rear subframe is painted, the small parts are painted.  This part is done and pretty much ready to go.

The missing braces are pretty fucking annoying but I just have to move on.
The bottom of the pan has presented some 'challenges', yeah?  The top coat bubbled quite a bit.  After contacting the tech support for KBS - they said that the top coat was applied too thick and too soon between coats.

I had to order another can of paint - the body shop will sand it down and repaint it.

The dent at the top of the center section is rather annoying because we agreed that they would all be removed.  There are some discussion points to have about the result of the communicated work vs. the delivered result.
The shit result appears to be localized on the center section of the pan.

The top side looks better - which is kind of ironic since it'll be covered with insulation and carpet.

The estimated delivery date of this stuff is Wednesday...then I have to muster up the desire to put all of this shit back together before the snow falls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

How to divest in twenty easy steps

I went to the final local show of the season on Sunday.  I arrived very early to the swap - as evidenced by the near empty parking lot that would be later filled with over 160 vehicles.  It was an interesting show and I got to hang out with some old friends.

My little Type 3 swap space was far busier than I thought it would be and I sold a lot of little stuff and made some contacts for future sales of larger parts or things I didn't bring to the show.

The goal is to sell everything that's not directly going on the car - so a lot of the NOS stuff I bought and have held onto over the years is all hopefully going to someone else's car.  I'm over the experience of it.

I ran into the body guy at the show and he said that he'd be painting the pan and subframe over the next couple of days.
Late yesterday, I received this photo of the IRS conversion and test fit of the transmission.  Everything fits so far.

A keen eye will notice that the kafer/brace bars that I wanted are not present.  I thought about bringing it up but then also realized that it'd just set the whole thing back another three months and probably add a few hundred dollars to the total.  It's already taken too long and pointing this up now will simply delay my already fucked timeline and I certainly don't want to spend any more money on this project.  If it turns out to be a big deal - I'll find a local welder to do the work and re-paint it myself.  So far, however, my thought on this is 'meh - fuck it'.
I guess this serves as photographic proof that the pan and the subframe are getting some progress is being made.

The engine has been 'near finished' for two weeks - no idea what the status is at this point.  Jim's on vacation for a week so I imagine I'll find out after that at some point.  I don't ask him because I don't need it right now and it'd just get in the way if it were in the garage.

I posted up a small list of parts for sale on a FB group.  I have a bunch of other stuff that I really should list - but that'll go to another group first.  Even in grip of apathy, I prefer to sell parts to those who try to preserve the cars in their original condition.

Seems like the harder I try - the greater my regret for having made the effort.  I'm no longer in a hurry - don't have a deadline.  I am not excited by the prospect of looking for parts, finding parts or having the parts - I am excited about selling parts and watching the boxes of stuff go to someone else.

I never really knew the feeling of 'self loathing' until I got back into this hobby - and now, several years later, it's become my voice of reason.  The voice telling me that it's time to divest the collection of parts and try to enjoy the car I'm building...and I'm listening.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Trudging sucks. Giving up sucks.

While I was going through my parts, I opened the box for what I thought was a 67 only Type 3 wiper motor - discovered that it was a Type 34 12 volt wiper motor - so it was posted up and sold within a couple of hours.  As much as I loathe Facebook and the groups - they're good for selling parts.  While I'm on this box - I've recently bailed out of over half of the VW groups I belonged to - too much drama and nonsense.  I am burning out on Facebook overall - it's become a platform for people to either brag about a life they're not really living or complain about things that don't matter.

It's been a trying few days...the gauge bracket is painted but my mediocre Dremel work wasn't fully  covered up by the I'm hoping that the gauges will cover most of it up once they're installed.  I haven't yet reached a point of installing the gauges because of some of this...
The second set of trailing arms that I bought showed up yesterday.  At first glance they looked pretty good - then I got a little closer and realized that the bump stop mount was rusted away on one of them.  I paid a premium for these so they'd be inspected, cleaned and painted (even if only poorly rattle canned).  I'm not at all concerned about the paint because it's getting stripped off but the rusted out bump stop isn't acceptable.
This is a photo of it when I straightened it out - most of it is gone.  I called Chirco (the place I bought it from) and they asked for pictures and told me that they'd send a replacement tomorrow.  The response is exactly what I should expect as a customer - but it's not what I thought would happen based on my numerous issues with other vendors and parts.  Now I just have to wait and see if they actually do it.
The Swayaway parts were picked up this morning from Jim's house.  One has what looks like a rust spot on it at the weld and a REALLY poor zinc plating.  I'm not super concerned about the rust spot or the zinc plating because I planned to strip it and paint it with KBS.

CB Performance states that the spring plates are cadmium plated while Swayaway's site states that they're zinc plated.  I highly doubt they're cadmium plated.
The other spring plate, however, has a really terrible finish on the back side.  I briefly thought about just leaving it alone since it's on the back but then I started to question the quality of the work if it looks like this and was boxed up to sell.

I called CB Performance - who forwarded my issue to Swayaway.  About an hour later, Swayaway called me to say that they're sending a new set that they've inspected.  They seemed a little horrified that this made it to a customer.  In spite of that reaction, it doesn't say much about their quality control and inspection process if this made it to the hands of a customer.

The Jaycee retainers look super nice and the Swayaway torsion bars look great - so I'm 2/3 of the way word from the shop about the pan or subframe.  That means that they have made very little in the way of progress.  Jim is about done with the engine so I'm expecting that he's going to want to drop it off in the next day or two to get it out of his garage.  It'll come here and sit in the garage while I wait for the subframe and pan to get finished.

EDIT: The engine lost oil pressure - the oil pump was pulled and inspected and determined to have an excessive amount of lash in the gears.  It has been replaced and seems to be working fine now.  Jim's going to test it out again tomorrow to make sure the pressure is good and there's nothing else contributing to the issue.

The shop says they have the pan and subframe back from sandblasting.  The subframe needs to be checked to ensure that it's got proper clearance for the CVs at the trans mount horns but we've hit a scheduling snag. The last time the pan/subframe needed to be fit into a paint schedule, the whole thing got pushed back by 3 weeks.  I'm real tempted to just rent a truck, pay for what they've done and bring it home. In the time this stuff has been up at the shop - I've had an engine rebuilt, a transmission rebuilt, two rounds of IRS parts shipped to me, two fuel pumps sourced & rebuilt and I sourced a bunch of other stuff that required research before purchasing.

I found more stuff to add to the pile for the swap on Sunday - hopeful that I'll sell a bunch of it but not holding my breath.  I spent most of the morning today going through the garage and organizing things in preparation for storage vs. work.

The momentum that I had going into this is long gone - the motivation to get it done has transitioned to "getting it done so I don't have to look at a garage full of random parts strewn about" - my desire to drive the car is waning fast.  I've enjoyed the learning process but that's where it ends - the rest of it has been pure frustration and disappointment.

The repeated part quality issues, the delays, the cost and the toll this has taken on me mentally just doesn't seem worth it.  I've decided to focus my efforts on other things and this car will take a backseat to nearly everything else.  The budget I set is charbroiled to the point of not being recognizable any longer - a lot of which is due to paying for parts that wind up being crap and then having to fix them or buy them again.  This hobby has a lot better access to parts in faraway places since the internet came about but most of those parts aren't worth buying because of quality issues.  Pre-internet - the parts were harder to find but they were in a LOT better condition.

Once this phase of the car is done - it'll be a while before I spend any more money on it - this car, and the experiences that have formed as a result of the work I've done, will likely be the exact reason I leave the hobby for the last time in the not too distant future.

Maybe I should have named this car "Linda"...

I'm a masochist - but I've had enough.

Friday, September 7, 2018

“For a while" is a phrase whose length can't be measured by the person who's waiting

The latest is that the pan and subframe work is done - they're waiting for sandblasting and paint.  The 'new' estimate is the end of NEXT week.  So if there was even a glimmer of hope that I'd be able to get this car back on 4 tires before the show on the 15th, it's now extinguished for certain.  Nearly everything that remains is due at the end of next week.
I'm at a near standstill while I wait for things to be completed - the gauge wiring and mount will be completed on Monday.  I've modified the absolute shit out of the gauge panel to get it to work where the stock radio is normally fitted.  I had to remove material at the edges on the mounting flange to clear the screw that holds the vent lever assembly.  This is going to get sanded down to bare metal and repainted on Monday.  After a week or so of sitting/drying, I'll mount it up on the dash with the gauges installed and the wires mounted.  I'm working on this as slowly as possible but this task will conclude well before it's required.  Not a bad result - considering all I have is a Dremel and the rock steady hands of a guy who always loses at Operation.

It'll be quiet here for a few days/week - while I wait out the arrival of the rest of the parts I need to do some real work on this car.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

You need a little bit of insanity to do great things

I went over to Jim's on Tuesday to deliver some new crush washers for the oil sender because he is chasing a slight leak on/near the oil cooler.  While I was there - he discovered that it's not actually the oil sender banjo bolt that's leaking but the oil cooler seals or the oil cooler.  He's got to take the left side apart to resolve the oil leak.  The engine needs a little bit of carburetor tuning to smooth out the idle and running but it sounds good otherwise - the engine itself sounds so much better - not like a lawnmower with a coffee can of bolts sitting on top.  I imagine it'll be next week before the engine is done and ready to go...I suspect that the oil cooler is to blame.

In addition to the engine update - I went ahead and ordered the SwayAway parts - they will arrive in about a week.  I'm on the fence about if I'm going to paint the trailing arms or powder coat them.  I still have to figure out what I'm doing with the axles - I can paint them or powder coat them.  I'd prefer to paint them but the humidity levels here are way too high for painting (75%+) so I can either wait a week or more to pain or I can drop them off for powder coat and wait a week or more for the parts to come back.

I bought a Facet electric fuel pump from NAPA but it's missing pieces and has some odd corrosion on the pump so I returned it and bought a replacement via eBay.  The Facet pump is much larger and heavier than the Mr. Gasket pump (and more expensive) but I'm going to give it a go - pairing it up with the Malpassi Filter King that I bought several months ago.

ISP responded and agreed to take the sender tree adapter back without applying the restock fee - so it's going back.  I'll replace it with two separate sender adapters mounted in-line between the oil filter and the engine block - assuming I can find a good place with a little extra space for the adapters.

The transmission arrived today.  A careful glance will reveal that it's missing the bracket for the bowden tube.  I called them up within 20 minutes of receiving the box to inquire about it.  After an apology for the omission, I was told they'd be sending one in the mail.

The pan and subframe are in unknown state (no reply from the shop working on them) and the second set of trailing arms will arrive next week.  Early on, I sort of predicted that everything would show up at the last minute - but I'm not sure I expected it to be at the absolute last minute in reference to my self-imposed deadline.  With each passing day - that deadline moves from 'stressful' to 'hilarious' because I acquiesce to the idea that pushing harder to make it happen becomes slightly more ridiculous.

There's a laundry list of things that need to happen and a shorter list of a handful of things that need to be ordered once the engine is installed.  I'd need a week after everything is installed to make it.  So my new/more realistic deadline is the end of the month - and, to be fair, that might be pushing the realm of what's possible.  I'm far too dependent on others with zero repercussions for being late to be able to actually stick a deadline.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Your best teacher is your last mistake

The gauges I ordered showed up yesterday - I mounted them in the bracket to see how they'll look.  I have angle rings for them but they're not installed in this picture.

I'm not keen on the silver bezels - I'm thinking about painting them black to tone it down a bit.  By the time I get around to the installation of the gauges and wiring and everything else - I just say 'good enough' and leave them alone.

I will also have to figure out a solution for the cylinder head temperature sender since I don't currently have a tapped hole for it.  I thought about it earlier on in the process but didn't think I'd find a gauge so getting that done got back-burnered to the point of nonexistence...

The comically huge thing on the left is the oil pressure sender that I am working on a location for mounting.
The sender adapter tree thing that I bought from ISP West is not going to work because it's not deep enough for the oil temperature sender.  I will be returning this thing once I've confirmed that they're not going to ding me for 20% restocking fee.

So, I'm going to do what I thought I should have done in the first place and purchase two more inline AN fittings with ports for senders.  I tested the oil temperature sender in the one that I have and it fits great.

I need to spend more time listening to that inner voice of mine - it's always right and I'm tired of being wrong while I try to save money or time.  When I'm wrong - I just wind up taking longer and spending more money.

A test fitting of the gauge cluster indicated that a little trimming was required to get it to fit correctly.  I trimmed it a bit and it appeared that it'd need a substantial amount of additional trimming - so I flipped it around and it fit as is.  At this point, I decided to trim the openings to allow the gauge rings to be used and then I installed the gauges and then I held it up to the dash - it fits and the gauges don't stick out awkwardly.  It needs a little bit of detail work before being painted but it's close.

Speaking of dealing with, again, making a terrible decision - I spent the majority of the day cleaning the stock dual spring plates, torsion bars, and trailing arms.  The spring plates are in decent condition but I'm not quite sure how I'll get paint on the inside edges of the two plates.  The torsion bars need to be stripped and repainted/powder coated.  The axles are clean but, again, need to be powder coated.  I'm wishing I'd just spent the money to get the Sway Away parts because I've wasted a whole day only to decide that I don't really want to use most of this worn out, rusty original shit.

Cleaning the trailing arms revealed that there are several points of damage that require repair before they can be used - as a back up - I ordered another set last Friday.  After a bit of conversation - I was assured that they'll show up in much better condition than the first set.

I'm currently considering tossing this stock shit in a bin and ordering up the SwayAway stuff.  Using the stock parts at this point means that I'll wind up spending another $500 just to get it right when I can spend $600 to buy new parts.  I'll clean up the stock stuff and save the extra set of trailing arms for a future narrowed rear end if I decide that the stock wheels are too thin.

According to Jim, he's going to be done with the engine on Tuesday...then I will get the exhaust welded at the collector...once it's in the car, I'll figure out the oil filter and cooler locations - then buy the hose/fittings and finish that part before wrapping the header.

The transmission delivery update is Thursday - then I'll to figure out the pan, subframe and rear suspension shit...there's zero chance I'll be done before the 15th.