Wednesday, December 30, 2020

"I don't wanna say that I'm lost 'cause it gets worse then it gets better"


After making 8 versions of this bracket - I think I have the winner!  Oddly enough, making the bracket is less than half the cost of one of these hoses so it was worth it in the long run.

Chatted with the engine builder yesterday - he needs another two weeks before he will be ready.  That'll buy me enough time to finish dicking around with random stuff and have everything ready for him when he comes by to pick it up.

One down, several to go...

Saturday, December 26, 2020

"Progress is man's ability to complicate simplicity"

Not a whole lot going on lately - I received the updated bracket and in true form - it's just long enough to make one of the hoses too short.  So the options here are to either make the bracket shorter and use the existing hoses or get new hoses made at a nearby shop.  The revised brackets are the cheaper option and I've dumped plenty of money into this car already so I'll be ordering those soon.

The weather got real cold and the garage is pretty much the same temperature as the outdoors so I haven't done much other than clean the garage.  I'm hoping that next week I can drop it off at the engine dude's house to be pulled apart/cleaned and put back together.  By the end of January, I should have the engine back and the hoses figured out (finally).  It'll be a runner and that's a good little bit of progress.  That leaves me with the task of installing the time-sert and getting the rear suspension back together so I can get the car back on tires.

The updated parking brake cables arrived as well - they appear to be the correct length - I'll know more once I  get the parking brake completely installed (which kind of requires the rear end to be done and the rear calipers installed).  Hard to get a lot done when it's this cold and the garage is not insulated.  The weather has been really fucking weird this year (55°F one day and 12°F the next day) but I'll take advantage of any opportunities that come along to get something done.

I honestly don't know how much longer I can drag this out...

Saturday, December 12, 2020

“You will do foolish things, but do them with enthusiasm.”


Received the second hose and it fits - for the most part - I revised the bracket design to make it 12mm longer for a better fit.  In a week, I'll get the revised brackets and, fingers crossed, they'll be a perfect fit!

House projects are winding down (finally) so I should have a little more time to get this car dialed in so I can drive it next Spring.

The front apron arrived on Friday - packed in two taped together Home Depot boxes that were very beat up.  Not the best packing job but it was fine.

Today I dug out the wire wheel for the grinder and stripped all of the paint off of the outside of the shell to see what was underneath.  I found a very thin layer of bondo and somewhere around five layers of paint in various shades of auto parts store rattle can.
Above the license bump - which had no bondo on it - are two holes.  No idea why they're there but they're poorly filled/covered up.  There was a decent amount of surface rust under the bondo so it's a good thing it got stripped down.
This is the worst part of the apron (so far) - it's the lower middle.  Loads of small bumps - sort of like my face back when I was in high school.  Truth be told - this looks worse in the picture than it is in reality - partially due to the not quite perfect stripping job I did on it.

I suspect this is why the bondo was applied because there aren't any other real noticeable issues elsewhere on the piece.

I may have gotten ahead of myself by stating that I could take this off of my list...I'm going to keep looking for a better piece.

Monday, December 7, 2020

"Let it come and let it be"

A bit of progress today...I made several revisions to the existing bracket to hold the Jaycee oil filter bracket because it has larger diameter mount holes and the bracket has been 'beefed up' through a small adjustment.  This time around - I had them cut out of 1.5mm thick plate steel - so instead of getting one bracket for $45, I got eight test pieces for less than $30.
Of the brackets modified - this one is the closest to correct.  The holes for the exhaust studs are perfect, the hole spacing for the filter bracket is perfect...the bracket, however, is about 12mm too short, which causes a problem for the hoses coming from the engine.  I'm waiting for the last hose to be shipped to me and then I can confirm my modification (make it 15mm longer and adjust the location of the mount holes).  Once that's confirmed, I'll have a couple made in aluminum.  If I get a wild hair up my ass I might have one made in titanium for the hell of it...

I got in touch with the cable manufacturer - they shipped the cables two weeks my old address in another state.  The cable shop is going to make another set and ship them to the correct address so I should have those before Christmas.

Did some recon while at work today - there's only ONE fucking hydraulic hose shop in the area that can make brake hoses and get them certified - it's in Chicago.  I'm going to have to figure out how to get out there to get the brake hoses made up so I can stop by while I'm there for work as well.

The more I think about all of the modifications I'm making - the more I think it makes sense to go back to an electric fuel pump.  I kept the bracket from the previous installation so I'm going to put it back to work with a new fuel pump that I've had moving house for the last year or so...should be a simple modification to incorporate.  I like the modern touch of an electric fuel pump combined with the reduced pile of hose in the engine bay.  The safety relay is going to show up this week.

I also have a new wire harness from ISP West - the wiring on the car is getting really brittle but it's far too cold to be screwing around with wiring so it might have to wait until next year.

What appears to be a super straight, rust-free Mickey Mouse front apron found me a couple of weeks ago.  After a bit of 'back and forth' with the seller, we agreed on a price and I sent him a UPS label. I should be seeing that show up in the next week or so.  It's got the later license plate bump and the later divider but the MM lower front. An odd combination that couldn't be better suited for what I'm doing!  It's nice to wipe this off the list - it's the last body part I needed for this car.  Maybe I can sell the pieces I remove from the car and recover some of my investment.

Saturday, December 5, 2020

Leaves blow in, a little time passes

Gene Berg welded and balanced fan to replace the stock unit arrived today...they told me that they don't weld the fins because the crank mounted fan doesn't spin fast enough to warrant the work/weight.  Makes sense - my engine isn't a high rev unit.
Bought a new wire harness just in case I get a wild hair up my ass and decide to replace the wiring in the car while I wait for the engine to be rebuilt.  I've got some wiring issues to work out - namely cracked/broken wires.  Seems like it might be more fun to just replace the whole thing.

Still waiting on the last hose I ordered, the parking brake cables and the nerve to do a time sert on the right side rear subframe.

Sunday, November 29, 2020

“I realize today that nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself.”


The JayCee filter bracket arrived today - comparing it to the FastFab piece that's virtually identical, this one is of significantly higher quality.  The finish is better, the machining is much more precise and there are absolutely no burrs or sharp edges.

I pulled the oil filter thermostat from the bracket, opened up and assembled the drill press I bought several months ago and drilled two holes in the top section to mount the JayCee unit (shown to the left).  I don't have the right clamps for the drill press so the two holes are not even but the general premise is that with a very slight modification, I can use this bracket to mount an oil filter.  I was able to re-use one of the existing hoses - I measured and ordered the second hose.  I'm going to work on getting this part right before I distract myself with the oil cooler.  I ordered up some modified versions of this bracket to test out as well as button head bolts to get a little more space between the bracket and the tin.  And I ordered a welded fan from Gene Berg.  Once everything arrives I've got enough to keep me busy for a while without the engine.  

Need to follow up with the parking cable dude to see what's going on with him - I thought I'd have them by now.

The engine builder has a few delays in his schedule - I will deliver the engine right around Christmas and it'll be done by the end of January.  Plenty of time to get other stuff done as long as I don't get frozen out of the garage.  Plenty of time to figure out some of my wiring issues.  I'll keep moving forward as long as I can.

Saturday, November 28, 2020

“He who jumps into the void owes no explanation to those who stand and watch.”


Today involved installing the master cylinder guard piece on the pan, cleaning up a few random things and then removing the engine to get to the breather stand.

Close up view of what I saw when looking down the now open top end of the engine. - there's a bunch or weird shit in there - I think it's powercoated paint flakes/chunks that have come off of the breather tower.  Whatever it is, it doesn't belong in the engine.

Here's where the day ended - engine out, alternator, pully, & fan removed.

It seems like every step I take forward it met with a strong amount of resistance.  I have to keep moving forward, find new paths to success and try to find a reason to persevere.  Some days, it's really fucking hard to keep going when all I experience is abject failure.

The engine is going back to the builder to be torn down, cleaned and put back together.

I don't have a timeline and I'm not terribly concerned about it at this point.  I've got enough other stuff to keep me busy while I wait for this to come back.  I'm going to focus on getting the rest of the car on 4 tires with everything functional.  Now that my main goal is gone - who knows how long the rest of this will take.

Friday, November 27, 2020

“But the truth was for me, making the wrong choice had become an art.”


This one has me at a loss...I was installing small things on the engine - preparing to start it up in a few days and made it to the breather tower.  The top was a tad bit loose so I grabbed the tool to tighten it up a little bit.  Upon starting - I heard/felt that 'grinding sand' thing and stopped.  I put my finger in the hole and pulled out a finger covered in very fine sandblasting sand.  So, this part was sandblasted, powder coated and not cleaned prior to installation.  I've had this engine for 2 years since it was rebuilt and I have not run it at all.  The builder is local and we're going to have a conversation about 'what happens next' since I cannot, in good faith, run this engine knowing there's sand in the breather tower.  I don't know where else it may have traveled.  I am beyond aggravated at this point.
Ironically, I figured out how to run the hoses to the oil cooler and almost ordered them today.  I'm taking a tiny bit of satisfaction in having not ordered them.

I don't know what's next...other than not starting the engine.

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

“I am a clown...and I collect moments.”

Well, the goal of getting the car fired up before the snow fell was missed...although the way the weather's been lately - it might change drastically and give me  another chance.

The second set of hoses that I ordered arrived today and I was eager to get them on the car and revel in my success.
The fit and finish is excellent on the hoses - but my ability to measure correctly AND properly route the hoses fell short.  I didn't pay attention to the 'in' and 'out' of the cooler and that led to crossed lines that I don't want.  I have an idea or two about how to fix that but I'm waiting on another fitting before I can call it a success or failure.

I'm close - so close, in fact, that I may just run the engine in this configuration until I can determine the best route for the new hoses. 
This is the part that I am not particularly excited about and will switch once the recently ordered fitting arrives.   I will move the input to the right side and the output to the left side (it doesn't matter which side is which on the cooler) to untangle the lines and make it easier to run clean lines.

It was a mistake - but not a complete failure - and I've been able to utilize what I bought and make it better.

I'll find success soon enough if I can focus and be patient.

Friday, November 20, 2020

"The will to conquer is the first condition of victory."

Had a few minor setbacks over the last week.  I ordered Setrab fittings and the place I ordered from was out of stock.   I wound up figuring out a better/less expensive solution - those fittings came in today and I dry fit them.  I ordered the last two hoses yesterday - if past experience proves accurate - they should be here Tuesday.  I think I found the best layout - reducing the number of connections and creating the straightest, shortest run.
Today - I ran four new wires to the dash - one each for the oil pressure, oil temperature, tach signal and cylinder heat temperature.  Since I'm not installing the heat system (no heater boxes), I ran the wires through the center heat tube to conceal them - this allowed me to run them from the dash to under the rear seat.
And this is where I learned that the maximum number of additional wires that can be stuffed into a stock grommet with the positive lead to the battery is six.  Two for the hard start relay (to take voltage off the ignition switch) and the four that run to the back of the car.

I should be able to knock a lot of little stuff off of the list of things to do before I have to face the task of drilling out the threads on the subframe.

Thursday, November 12, 2020

"Just keep swimming..."


The second hose arrived today - quick fit has proven out that I've likely figured out how to measure the hoses correctly.

I also received a Fast Fab oil filter housing that I completely forgot that I'd ordered.  The thought was that I could plug that into this location and see if I can use these hoses to make the connections and get the engine ready to fire up but the mount holes are M8 and the bracket has M6 holes.  I'm not 100% sure about the oil cooler yet so I haven't committed to removing the bracket and enlarging the mount holes.  As far as the oil cooler is concerned - I'm in no rush to get it installed because it's highly unlikely that I'll need it for a while.  I'm a few electrical connections and an exhaust away from being able to turn the key and fire up the engine so that's my main focus...get it running.

I ordered the new parking brake cables and should see those at the end of next week.  I ordered new brackets to hold the parking brake cables on the IRS trailing arms and a few other miscellaneous VW specific parts while I was paying for shipping.  A few new fittings to get from the thermostat to the oil cooler are also on order...I was hoping to have this all together for this weekend but I don't have enough information to be able to do that but I should be in great shape for mid - next week.

The starter stud was installed but I will have to swap it out at some point because it's on the edge of being too short - the aftermarket starter has a thicker mounting flange that I didn't account for when I ordered the new stud.  I'll order new studs with the next round of hardware now that I've found a local supplier that has what I need in stock.

I'm very close to being able to get the engine going in the car - the weather just needs to hold out for another week or so.

UPDATE: I returned the FastFab oil filter mount.  There were some quality issues that I wasn't okay with, the piece was extremely heavy, the passages were small and they don't come with fittings.  The Jaycee version of this piece looks to be better made and comes with fittings.  I listed and quickly sold the random AN -8 fittings that I bought two years ago - thinking I'd make my own hoses.  

I worked out a decent way of getting the hoses from the thermostat to the oil cooler by using fittings.  Given the relatively expensive nature of stainless hoses, I'm waiting until I have the fittings to figure out if I like the way it'll fit together, check it again for hose length and then I'll order the hoses.  Maybe next weekend is the money shot...lots of parts coming in for what seems like it'll be the 'last push' to get this car running.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

“Do not let all the mundane concatenations in this world be for naught"


Pedal assembly installed - needs a little tweaking to be perfect.  One more thing to take off the list.
The stainless braided hose with fire sleeve I bought after taking a chance and ordering it - hoping I'd measured correctly.  Good news is that I know how to use a tape measure and the hose fit.

So, I took a chance and ordered up the second hose - when that one comes in, and if I'm victorious again, I'll work out the last two hoses and keep moving forward. 

The goal here is to get a couple of things done each day - so far, I'm on track.

Sunday, November 8, 2020

"You wake up every day and you solve it again.”

Looks like I'm nearly back in business, yeah?  Well, the truth is much less 'real' - the right rear trailing arm is not installed, yet.  I built the trailing arms for both sides, installed the left side and as I was installing the right side, two of the bolts for the cover plate went on just fine until about halfway and then I felt a 'pop' and half the threads and the bolt came out of the hole.
Here are the offending bolts - so close.  I ordered a time-sert kit so I can, hopefully, fix the trashed threads and continue working on getting the car back together.  I have a pedal stop to get painted tomorrow and then I can install the pedal assembly.  I'll move on to the gauges and dash bits soon.  I'm going to keep moving forward on other things until I can resolve the stripped threads.

I have some wiring to connect and an oil change to complete - put gear oil in the transmission, get oil filter lines, etc.  Still marching forward.

The company that made the parking brake cables has been contacted about making up a set for IRS - I should be able to get a trial piece to check for fit in the next two weeks.  Parking brakes would be a big next step.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

Moderate steps in the right direction

One more time I spent more effort and time on something that should have been simple.  Should have been easy. Should have been the shortest part of what I had to get done. 

But it wasn't - I spent 30 minutes trying to get the rear transmission mounts to fit without modifying them in any way.  It took some figuring out but I did prevail.

Transmission & clutch installed!
The last piece of this puzzle - I got the engine installed as well.  I have a couple of things to work out but it's going pretty well.

One change I decided to make - temporarily eliminate the oil cooler - I'm going to install a remote oil filter but I am not going to screw around with the oil cooler.  Once I get through the bulk of the other things and I have some time left, I'll circle back on the oil cooler...the short term target is to get the car running, test fit some random shit and then next Spring, I'll clean it up.  This test fit process will help determine the future of some of the things I'm planning.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

This problem will take care of itself


In my haste to get the pan mounted, the seal got screwed up and I wasn't able to get the upper bolts for the front beam installed.  I had to remove the bolts to the pan, pull it up, reseat the seal and mount it back to the body while making sure the front beam mounts lined up.

The weather has been good the last week or so and I had some spare time so I got back on getting the car back together while I can.

I quickly recalled tonight that I really fucking hate the shift coupler cover - it took longer to sort of get it installed than it did to install the transmission and subframe.  Dumbest fucking design's not water tight, the seal (even when installed properly) is mediocre at best.  I decided to be okay with the way this came together and move on.  When I've got more time and patience, I'll circle back and fix this clusterfuck.

Got the riv-nuts installed for the oil cooler - studs are ordered and should arrive soon.  For now, it's mounted in a way that'll allow me to proceed.
The entire front end is installed, brakes, front beam, brake line, steering box, etc.  A few tweaks and it'll be properly dialed in...I can quickly finish this up and get the front end on tires and on the ground.

The plan for the rear end is to send the spring plates out for replating - I'll use the first set that I fucked up for fit and make sure there aren't any other obstacles.  I really want to get the engine installed and started up before the frost hits long-term.  There's a chance I might be able to make that happen.  One step at a time.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

"It is through humility that hope enters in"

One picture per post going forward - I'll try to make them good.

Today - I got the seal adhered to the pan and then got all of that stuck to the body.  The left front curve of the body/pan somehow shifted the seal partially out of place during the installation - the rest of it went in as expected.

I've tried to stay focused on getting this 4 wheeled boat (as in it's just costing me money) put back together and mobile so I'm not going to fuck with trying to get the seal perfect.

I'll focus on dry fitting things in the back - ordering what needs to be bought and send out things for work - then swap over to getting the front end dialed in since I have all of those parts and it's a matter of putting it back together while I wait for the other shit to happen.

Once I finished the subframe and transmission install - I spent a few minutes staring at it all - trying to figure out if I could fast track the engine installation and fire it up but there's no clear path to getting that done without screwing up a bunch of other things and I've cut enough corners already.  I'll stay the course and see what I can get done.

"There always comes a time when one must choose between contemplation and action"

Let's get one thing out there - the new Blogger layout blows chunks.  I can go on for 20 minutes about all of the things that I don't like about it - and maybe, just maybe, some of it is me 'growing old' and not adapting to new technology but holy shit is it way too fucking hard to get pictures to post in a specific order...used to be as simple as 'click on the pictures in the order you want them to appear' - that shit was too easy and now it doesn't work.
I had a nice deck of pictures for this post but I've fucked around with this post for a solid ten minutes and I'm over it.

Back to the subject at hand: I got the pan holes painted and today - expecting an absolute hassle, I was able to get the main brake line installed in what felt like 5 minutes.  The front lines are installed and I need to fiddle with the rears a bit - the brackets on the trailing arms and the pan don't align (one is swing axle, one is IRS) so I need to figure out what I'm going to do there.  The goal is to get the pan back in the car tomorrow and then fuck around with the other 50 things that need to be done to get it running.  I mean, at this point, I'd be happy to get it back on tires.  I should be able to get the pan back on tomorrow - barring any other weird shit from getting in the way.  It's the last warm weekend before Fall storms in and kills off any work that requires above 60°F temps.  Overall, the condition isn't up to my standards but I've had to get over that to get this car back together.  It's about getting it back together so it can sit all Winter in the garage.  I would like to drive it before snow falls but there's a lot to do to get to that point so I'm not getting my hopes up.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

“All that is transitory is but a metaphor.”

Got my shit together enough to get the pan outside, cleaned off and a coat of paint on the area that I hogged out around the holes.

I haven't done the underside yet but the plan is to let this dry for a couple of days then flip it over and do the underside.  Once that's done, I'll mock it up and see if I can get this thing mated back to the body.  

Still fighting with the expanding list of things to get done on the house so this is going slower than slow, in fact, that if I were actively trying to make it take longer, it wouldn't take this long.

The goal here is simple: get the car back together and functional as quickly as possible.

Saturday, September 12, 2020

“The absurd is lucid reason noting its limits.”

With a minor delay - the newly housed transmission has returned.  I don't have the slightest fucking clue when I'll have the time/energy to put the car back together.  I do know that I'm running out of time if I need to do any painting to the pan - the weather is cooling rapidly and paint days will be gone soon.
This is a wide angle shot of my garage at the moment - a collection of the way too long list of things I have to do in the near future.  The bathroom project continues on and remnants of that creep into every void in the house, taking up space and reminding me that it's not done yet.

The transmission is currently sitting on a shelf that's normally used to store the two saws that are out of frame - intermittently used to cut framing, trim pieces, PVC pipe for the bathroom projects.

It goes without saying that I've got far too many things to get done and not nearly enough time to get it all done.  This mess will reach a peak soon and I'll spend several hours putting all of this shit back where it belongs - only to be pulled out again next weekend when I try to get something done on my ever-growing list of shit to do.

The one real realization I've had lately - there'd be a lot less shit on the floor if the car was put back together.  I was originally hoping for restoration but I've lowered my expectations to getting the car back together and running.  I need to find the time/energy to get something done and soon...

Thursday, July 30, 2020

"Strength does not come from physical capacity. It comes from an indomitable will."

The latest version of the filter bracket arrived today - and after a very minor modification, it's a good fit.
There's a good balance of space between the exhaust pipe and the thermostat end.  The exhaust pipe will be wrapped to reduce thermal influence with the thermostat.  I'll have to test it out for a while to know if it's successful but I think this is a good place to start.

If I have to modify this - the filter will have to go 'up' to increase the space between the pipe and the thermostat - which means a new bracket design - so I'm hoping that's not necessary!
 I'm using a super thin button head screw but it's rubbing on the engine tin - I figure I'll drill two holes in the engine tin, use a spacer of some sort between the bracket and the tin and mount the filter housing through the tin.  This will prevent the tin from rattling and rubbing against the bracket and it'll make it easier to remove the oil filter bracket if I need to do that.
There's a good amount of space between the exhaust and the filter -and the filter hangs in a good place relative to the bottom of the engine, valve cover and tire on the car.  It's a good first pass and I'm hopeful that it'll work long-term.

I've had discussion of maybe tearing the car apart to get it painted but I'm still on the fence about that right now.  It'd solve the problem of 'what do to with the car' while the garage expansion is going on...but it's an expensive solution.  Time will tell.
The transmission is underway - new rhino case - should be on its way back next week or so.  I like having a very knowledgeable dude working on my stuff - it's going to be nice to see it when it comes back!

In any event - it's nice to finally have a 'win' with this car - it's long overdue.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

"I have often marveled at the thin line which separates success from failure."

So I found this thing wadded up in a bin today...I laid it out to check out its condition - it's slightly flat but whole (minus one ripped area) and original.  There's some overspray from when the car was repainted back in the 80's.

I remembered back a few years when I was reading about how some random dude cleaned old rubber with Goop hand cleaner - the cheap stuff you find at the hardware store on the bottom shelf - it's about $3 for a tub and it cleans hands very well - no matter what's on them - they're clean when you're done.
For shits and grins (and so I could say I 'did something' with the car today), I wiped some on the small corner of the pan seal that ripped - figuring that if I screwed something up, it'd only be a corner piece and not the whole thing.  If you think about it for a minute - you'll quickly realize that my logic makes zero sense.

This was the first pass - I cleaned the corner piece and then mated it up to the tear...not bad!  The rubber is soft and clean.  All of the dirt, adhesive and weird crap came right off with very little effort.
Here are those two pieces mated up again once I cleaned the other piece.

Not bad!

I may use this when I mate the body and pan with an adhesive - who knows how long it'll be there before I split them again to restore the car (maybe two years from now, maybe never).

So, yeah...I accomplished something small today - but it may have saved me a ton of time later.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

"Fortune always favors the brave, and never helps a man who does not help himself."

Got the pan out with very little fanfare and got to work on it.  One immediate distraction was the rear brake line to the "T".  I fiddled around with it for a bit trying to decide if I was going to relocate the mount (I've decided to leave it the fuck alone) and then I tried to figure out how to get a new line both into the two holes and not mangle the shit out of it in the process (I failed at this part).  Once I felt like I'd had enough, I moved on to the real reason I took this apart.
My paint pen markings were, for the most part, spot on and I only had to put the pan back once to validate fit.  I got all but three of the pan bolts into the pan with the pan washer/U boat things.  Both sides at the front are going to require some sort of modification to the washers to get them to work.  I haven't worked out which modification I'm going to try first.

I stared at the rear seat kick panel good and hard - debating about whether I should remove the mismatched one and put the new one in...and then I got a fucking grip and realized that chasing that rabbit would inexplicably add another year to getting this car running and I let that nonsense go.  It just fucking bothers me that I'm putting all of this effort into this car and it's not going to be complete or correct.  My expectations are my own worst enemy.

I might get back to this tomorrow - if not, I'll carry on next weekend.  I'd like to get the pan done and check it off the list.