Sunday, September 29, 2019

"The best work is not what is most difficult for you; it is what you do best"

 I sat with my head in the wheel well for a solid fifteen minutes - just looking over the landscape under the car.  I took in what it'll take to get the parking brake seated in the tube (bend the tube up a few degrees - hopefully without splitting it), checked out the "T" mount for the split to the rear brakes (it should be relocated about 1/2" to the right to center it on the hole), looked at the routing for the parking brake cable (a little more work to do on this piece) and, finally, I reviewed the route the braided brake lines will take when they're installed.
Initially, I tried to install the brake line on the rear caliper using the banjo end but that wound up having the brake line go in a direction that wasn't ideal - so I flipped it around and used the other end.  With a slight tweak, I was able to find what looks to be the right route for the brake line.  Because of the route of the brake line - I might be able to run one hose vs. two in the Swing Axle set up.  The stock bracket location on the IRS trailing arm will be either removed or relocated - depending on geometry of how it all comes together.
A closer image of the routing of the brake hose from the rear caliper.  This trailing arm will be used as the 'guinea pig' to get everything fit properly before any permanent modifications are made.

I will have to get new parking brake cables made for the IRS rear end - the Swing Axle cables are too short.
Next up on the list: Installing the Wolfsburg West vent window trim felt for the window.

The first thing I did was break the already severely cracked finger cup in the driver's side door.  It was only a matter of time - sucks to break a hard to find part though.
 Then the spring for the window regulator fell out while I was maneuvering it to get the window track loose.  I also found that two of the spot welds on the regulator have cracked off - making the regulator arm more flimsy than it should be. I'll have to swap the regulator out or weld up the one in the car - neither of which are all that difficult.  Just one more thing to add to the list.
Once I got it all loose, I was able to remove the shitty felt piece and install the Wolfsburg West felt that I bought about a year ago.  I didn't glue it in place - just slid it in and put it all back together.  The fucking window works now!  It flexes a lot when rolling it up and down (because of the broken window regulator) but it's significantly better.  I was also able to better align the window track so that the scrapers fit slightly better.

I bought Mario's updated outer scraper rubber but I'm going to hang on to that for a while before installing it.
Another thing being explored:  Installing front seat retractable seat belts.  Once I'm able to successfully tackle this - I'll work on them for the back seat.

Seems rather insane to 'start' something new when I've already got so much going on - I need to suss out everything that has to do with the pan so that I only have to pull it apart for modifications and repaint ONCE.  That's the goal, anyway.

My theoretical steps as of now:

1. Figure out seat belt mount locations, figure out rear disc brake lines and parking brake cable (routing and cables), determine oil filter mount (make bracket and test fit), find oil cooler mount/location, have hoses made and test fit.  Determine modifications necessary for trailing arms.
2. Pull engine, transmission - send transmission out for new case.
3. Install new oil filter/cooler hoses on engine side (easier to do with engine out).
4. Fix floor pan (align holes with body), weld seat belt mount locations, fix right side rear seat kick panel (early style), relocate rear brake T mount, install brake line through body (front to rear)
5. Make modifications to trailing arms.  Fix paint and plating and reinstall.
6. Put it all back together.

Looks simple enough anyway.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

"The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our life, the clearer we should see through it."

I dug out one of the parking brake cables to see if it would fit in the tube on the pan and clear the inner mount for the trailing arm...and the answer is: No. No, it doesn't clear the trailing arm mount.

This will get added to the list of things to fix on the pan before it gets painted again and the body is more permanently mounted to the pan.

It's not ideal but it's not really a large problem.

In preparation for the next phase, I dug out the parts and organized it so I can get a look at what I've got and see if I can figure out how it all goes together.
I found the two spacers that I bought from CSP over a year ago - I'd completely forgotten that I bought them.  A nice surprise.

I'll see if I can figure out where to mount the oil cooler and get the lines figured out...that'll allow me to keep moving forward with the rear end.

The faster I get this figured out, the faster I can take it apart and fix the janky shit.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

The best road to progress is freedom's road.

First thing on the agenda for the day today - install the front beam.  After a false start - I was able to figure out what to build using what I had laying around to support the front beam so I could get it secured to the car.
One thing to work out - the geometry of the parking brake cable.  The early pan has them exit at an angle that's not really compatible with the IRS inner mount.  This is going to require some tweaking to make it work.
On the off chance that they'd fit together - I bolted up the engine and transmission before attempting to install them in the car.

The crack in the transmission housing did not affect them so I continued with the installation process.

Once I'm done with the mock up - I'll pull the transmission out and send it off for a new case.
This is the first time this engine has been installed in the car.  It's not going to be run this 'go round' but I'm hoping that I can get it fired up once I work out the things that need to be fixed on the floor and sub frame assembly.

That list includes locating and mounting the oil cooler, running the oil lines, thermostat and oil filter. 
With the exhaust mounted and the temporary oil cooler lines - there's a clear path toward how to run the lines.  I think the filter bracket is going to be closer to the rear wheel than initially expected.  In about a week, I should be able to figure that out and make a decision.
I'll run a test set of hoses to make sure I like how they fit (rubber/dry fit only) before I order up the assembled hoses.  Mounting the adapter is going to be the toughest part because there are so few places to bolt things to near the engine.
This is how I left things - the rear suspension is installed but not complete.  I need to clean up the bearing surfaces, pack the CVs and assemble the rear end.  For now, it's easier if there's nothing mounted because it leaves enough space to maneuver  around and work out the oil lines/cooler location.  Once that's worked out, I'll continue with the rear suspension.
CSP exhaust installed sans heat shield (I couldn't get it to go in with the heat shield) - fit is pretty good.  Once this is ready for the road - I'll have the tack welds on the collector closed up all the way around to eliminate the exhaust leaks that will happen if left alone.

Next week will hopefully help identify where to mount the oil filter and oil cooler.  Once that's done I can work on figuring out the rear axle situation.

The pace of my progress is ironic because I'm going take this all apart to fix everything that's not right.

Maybe this time next year I'll be able to drive this car.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

The actual solution is very simple.

I made some progress today - for the first time.  It took 4 hours to get the body stable and get the body cart out from under the body.

The pan is bolted to the body at the rear 8 bolt holes and the front four.  None of the side bolt holes are attached but that's of no consequence here.  I'm not going to drive the car in this condition...I just need to keep the two together until I take it apart to modify the holes to get the entire floor secured properly.  The mismatched rear seat kick panel situation needs to be rectified along with welding in the correct location for seat belt brackets-two things that are going to get done with the 'fix' for the floor pan holes.

I'm going to try to get the front end back on tires tomorrow to stabilize the body and get parts off of the table.  Getting the rear end on and on tires is going to be a far larger challenge.  But that's for later.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Fourteen months of stasis

It's been 14 months since this car was pulled off of its wheels and put on this cart.  The only thing that's changed in that time is that I now have all of the major components required to put it back together.

Two days ago, I went out to the garage to see if I could get something done on the car in three hours.  I set a low bar as far as expectations go - and somehow managed to trip over it on the way back into the house a few hours later.  I pulled everything out - organized it by how/when it'll be installed on the car and put it all back into the cabinet.

I pulled the non - VW shit out of the inside of the car, removed the two center braces on the cart so that I could get under the car and laid on the floor to have a look.  The work that is needed to get this thing to go back together crept back into my reality.  I'm going to temporarily bolt the pan to the body, get the suspension back on the car - fit the engine and transmission (that I have YET to send out to be fixed) and figure out the oil cooler lines, add some brackets, sort out the parking brake lines and brake hoses.  Then, take it all apart once I've figured out where it's all going to go so I can repaint the suspension bits again before putting it all back together.  I'll be happy when I get this thing on tires - because I know I have a set group of tasks to execute to keep this tire fire of a project moving forward.

I am not at all looking forward to this next step because I know have to take this shit all apart again to fix something that wasn't done right the first time.  I fucking hate relying on other people to even accomplish what I'd consider mediocre.  I'm a magnet for mediocre.