Tuesday, September 28, 2021

“If a victory is told in detail, one can no longer distinguish it from a defeat.”

I dropped the two pieces off at the welder this morning before work.  We had a brief chat about what needed to be done and I told him that it was for a wideband bung and he seemed to get it.  For the record, I did not specifically call out that I wanted him to drill the hole in the elbow and weld on the bung.  And, being the literal guy he is, no hole was drilled and the bung was welded on.  I picked it up after work from his house via his wife.  I laughed when I noticed it.
The tack welds on the two pipes at the collector were welded all the way around and eliminate two exhaust leaks.
Welds from CSP
Welder closed it up all the way around - had I known this - I would have dropped off the other three pieces off as well.
I looked it over - and just decided to dive in and go for it.  I held the muffler in place with my body and ran a 1/2" drill bit in my tiny Amazon purchased drill press until it stopped.  Then I opened up the little box of random bits with the Dremel and ran several until I figured out what worked.  And then I did that for 20 minutes and I was able to get the sensor threaded into the hole.  End of story.

That was it for today.  Tomorrow is another day!

Monday, September 27, 2021

“Smooth and smiling faces everywhere, but ruin in their eyes.”

I drove an hour to the last VW show this year - there was a pretty good turnout overall and there were two Squarebacks on display along with a super original 1973 Fastback.

I spent a couple of hours hanging out with some friends in the swap area and walked around to check out the cars.

On my way home today - I got a call from the welder who said that if I dropped my exhaust off at his house tommorrow morning - he'd get it done tomorrow.  First thing I did with the car when I got home was remove the muffler and the collector.

First round will have the bung welded into the muffler elbow and close up the tack welds on the collector for 1 & 4.  Once I figure out where to source the flanges - I'll have 2 & 3 pipes welded to the collector and eliminate all of the air holes/gaps.  Can't help but over-engineer the things that go on this car for some reason.
The Weber fuel pressure regulator arrived today and the shape of the top looked familiar - turns out it's made by Malpassi and is the same 'top' as what they use on the Filter King.

Not sure if I'm going to use this or wait for the Malpasssi Filter King to arrive - kind of depends on a few other things.
Fuel pressure gauge arrived - nipples for the T are arriving tomorrow then (assuming the gauge is accurate) I'll know the fuel pressure and can use this to get it down to the right spot.

While working on the car last Saturday, I found a wet coil but there wasn't anything I could do about it at the time.  Yesterday, I released the clamp and found a crease on the side leaking oil.  I have no idea how that happened but it has since been replaced.

I should have this car ready to go the day it snows like a motherfucker.

Friday, September 24, 2021

“Yesterday's weirdness is tomorrow's reason why.”

Over the last week, I've screwed around with the hood lock/release trying to get it adjusted well enough to work.  The early hood lock has two pivot points and is, historically, a giant pain in the ass to adjust properly if it's ever messed with/removed.  Well, I fucked up a while back and removed it and it hasn't worked correctly since I took it out.  I've left the spare tire tray out of the car and become some level of proficient at releasing the hood from under the car without a jack.

I have a really nice later version of the hood latch - it's got one pivot point and the later versions are much easier to adjust and get working.  I removed the original and dropped the newer one into place and got two of the three mount bolts in before I noticed that the screw that secures the hood pull wire is obscured under the top plate.  I didn't want to cut the car, so I pulled it back out and screwed around with the original lock until I could get it to work.  Took about an hour but I finally got it.

I swapped out the fuel pump to another style - it wasn't as easy to install and took some fiddling to get it installed but it's in there and working.  I started the car and as I was backing out of the garage, it started pouring rain - so I pulled back into the garage.

I decided to have a look under the car and have come to the conclusion that I'm not 100% happy with the routing of the brake lines.  They'll do for now but I'm definitely going to get different hoses made and route them around the inside of the shocks - the lines will be at least an inch shorter and it'll be further away from the spring plate.   I don't know what I was thinking with this routing. Iterative improvements and all that...

Tomorrow - I will reset the carburetors, sync them and see if I can get LBI with the new fuel pump.

Next week, I'll be getting a fuel pressure regulator that'll be set to right around 2.5 GPM - I think a slightly lower fuel pressure will work better - Weber carburetors like lower pressure.  And, because I sometimes like to 'learn' the hard way-I bought a replacement Malpassi Filter King because the previous one sat in a drawer for over three years and after deciding I didn't need it - I sold it a few months back.  Experience and knowledge aren't the same thing.

Found new LED bulbs for the side markers - now all of the external lights are LED and they're nice and bright with great color.  I'm very happy with the lighting.

Let's see what happens tomorrow...

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

“I'd come to realize that all our troubles spring from our failure to use plain, clear-cut language.”

A very small update: my attempt to find Lean Best Idle and sync the carbs was not entirely successful.  After a few adjustments and tweaks - the idle remains unsteady and I wasn't able to find LBI.

I have determined that either A] The idle jets are too big and/or B] The fuel pressure is slightly too high.

The engine is running rich and despite my efforts to lean it out - still rich.  Thus the two conclusions above.  To remedy this - I have ordered a fuel pressure gauge and a fuel pressure regulator.  Once I can either reduce the fuel pressure (if it's too high) or confirm it's correct - I'll go chasing after the idle again by swapping in smaller jets.  Learning how to tune Weber carburetors is a lot like calculus - you only learn it if you need to...

Little dude was out offering moral support for about 20 minutes - he says he still likes this car and is anxiously awaiting his turn to ride in it.  That benchmark is when the seat belts come in - and maybe now waiting for the fuel pressure regulator (next week).

Everything that has to be ordered takes a week...every new issue that requires a part equals a one-week delay while we wait.  We have a few things to do while we wait.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

"Problems are not stop signs, they are guidelines"

I only had about an hour to work on the car today - I spent some of that time installing the newer plastic lower sill trim clips and the lower trim after I cleaned it up.  The plastic clips are MUCH nicer.

I used the rest of time checking the toe-in on the front end and found it's within spec.  The steering wheel isn't centered although I'm not 100% sure I put it back on correctly when I fixed the horn.  I think it'd be a good idea to pull the fuel tank and make sure the pitman arm is aligned properly before I snug down the tie rod clamps.

I haven't figured out the front seat belts quite yet but I haven't really tried yet.  The rear seat belts arrive on Thursday.  I think I'll find the motivation to get it sorted out once the rears are in hand.

I need to get back into the engine-related issues - synchronize the carburetors and set the LBI.  Sort out the welder dude so I can get the bung installed and fix some of the boogered welds.  Then I get to dive into the wideband tuning.

The last show of the season is this Sunday - I'm going to go and hang with a friend in the swap space for a few hours.  I wish my car was in a little better condition so that I could drive it but I'm just not there yet so I'll wait for next year.  Maybe by then, COVID will be less of a 'thing' and the shows can grow a little.

The weather is changing quickly - I think I'm running out of time but I think I'll make it.

Saturday, September 18, 2021

“And it's always better, isn't it, when you discover answers on your own?”

There are three things to notice here:

1. The car is not in my garage/driveway.

2. It's on the side of the road.

3. The steering wheel isn't centered.

The brake hose shop finally got the brake hoses correct - I picked them up and headed home.  Once I got home, I installed the brake hoses and started the process of bleeding the brakes.  I got them bled quickly and found a pretty good pedal after a couple rounds at each caliper.  The rear seat belt situation was figured out - and I realized that I didn't have rear seat lap belts so I ordered them.  In the meantime, I might temporarily install the non-retractable 3 point belts in the rear.  The front belts are not yet installed but I've got a means to get that done pretty quickly.

So, the picture - the rear locking bolts were installed, the wheels were put back on the car and I decided to take the car down the street.  About two blocks away, I had an odd feeling at the rear of the car and pulled over.  A quick walk around the car revealed that I'm a complete dumbass and didn't tighten the lugs on one wheel.  A call home and my wife and son brought the jack and the lug wrench - a couple of minutes later and the car was back in the garage.  I need to do some alignment fixing- to both clean up the alignment and straighten the steering wheel.

Still a few things to clean up/fix but the car runs decently but very rich and I have a few things to knock out on the project list and I'll get to a few of them tomorrow.  I'm planning on trying my hand at tuning the carbs a little better and getting the front seat belts installed.

The rabbit hole will open up once I get the wideband bung welded on the muffler and I figure out how to use the wideband and tune the carbs.

Thursday, September 16, 2021

“One always has exaggerated ideas about what one doesn't know.”

After spending way too much time last night pondering all manner of stupid options to get another concave washer quickly to stay on track - I decided to say 'fuck it' and go to sleep instead.  In the morning, I did some digging with specific reference to the EMPI race axles (no inner stops - so they 'float' between the two CVs) - I learned that I don't need the concave washers at all.  Turns out, giving up for the night was the right call.

"Experience" is the enemy of sanity sometimes.

During some downtime at work today - I called the hose shop to see what kind of nonsense I'd be unraveling on Saturday.  Not only did they find my order this time around but they said that the brake hoses will be ready tomorrow.  Instead of wasting a Saturday morning, I'm going to head over there after work and hope they got it right this time.

When I got home from work today - I pulled the axle that was installed yesterday, removed the two concave washers, cleaned both axles and installed both of them on the car.  What a super messy/shitty job... I stopped short of installing the bolt locks and the super small clips.

I was going to install the rear seat belts now that I have a solid plan for getting them (lap belts) secured but realized that I no longer have them - so I ordered a set for the back seat.  It's just money, right?

I hope to be installing brake hoses tomorrow after work, doing a quick 'garage' alignment and take the car out for a quick spin 'round the hood.  I have to figure out how to keep the kid in the car so I might install one of the old 3 point belts in the back until the lap belts show up.  I'm not going to drive further than I'm willing to push the car back so we won't be going too far.  And it's running rich so it may not run all that well anyway.  I've really got to get better at carb tuning...oh, yeah.  I bought a wideband!

Once I'm convinced that the car is in good enough condition - I'll put the bolt locks and all of those tiny clips on the CVs and start the process of going through the car with a fine-toothed comb in preparation for a longer drive.

Might have a solution for the wideband bung as well...progress is elusive but I'm gaining ground.

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

"One must imagine Sisyphus happy"

Not much to report - one of the two axles is installed so far.  I somehow lost one of the concave washers for the other side so I had to stop.  I did a lot of cleaning up and have not found it.  It'll be a one week delay if I don't find it because I'll have to order one.  

Maybe the brake hoses will be done by then, eh?

Not much else has happened - I took a few days off of working on the car while I waited for parts.

I'm guessing I've got about two or three weeks left before the weather turns against me.

Saturday, September 11, 2021

"I'm not quite sure what level of reality I'm supposed to be operating on."

Getting up to date: Parking brake installed and adjusted, interior panels are installed, rear seat back installed, driver's seat installed, interior vacuumed out.  Once the brakes are bled - hopefully, it's still warm enough out to put the tatters of the floor mat in the sun so I can put it in the car.  If I do that and skip the 'in the sun' bit - the mat will explode into several pieces and I'll have to toss it in the trash.  Either way, it's coming off of the shelf it's been sitting on for the last several months.

I stared long and hard at the seat belt situation - there are a few ideas swimming around in my head - the front seats are going to be the hardest to resolve because the shoulder mount is too low on the B pillar for the system to work smoothly - I may have to figure out some sort of interim solution until I figure out the future of this car.

I received the secondary order of parts today - spent some time trying to figure out the best place for the bung on the muffler for the wideband - I'll likely remove the muffler and drop it off at a shop for that work to be done.  I may clean up the torsion cover and see if they can weld some covers on and then I'll paint them.

There's something weird going on with the transmission - it'll shift into 1-2 just fine but 3-4 are hard to engage - I'll try adjusting them once the car is able to be mobile.  I'm fingers crossed hoping that the trans builder used the correct hockey stick...this is what happens when the wrong hockey stick is installed.  I hope it just needs some adjustment because I am NOT down with pulling the engine and trans to swap hockey sticks...again.  Same builder did this on the Swing Axle trans they built and I specifically called it out when they built this one (and I sent the correct hockey stick to them).  Time will tell but I hope like hell that I don't have to take all of this shit apart again.

Speaking of time - the 2nd set of axles are due to arrive on Tuesday - fingers crossed I'll have a chance to get them assembled and installed by the weekend...although that may not matter because...

...first thing this morning I drove 30 minutes over to the shop that I chose to make my brake hoses and asked about my order.  The initial response was that I'd have to call the same two people who have been left two voicemails and, as of yet, have not replied to me in any way whatsoever...and there was no way to ask them today because they don't work on Saturday.  I asked if there is a "will call" order shelf and, as if a light bulb went on over his head, the counter guy told me that he'd check it.  And he found my order on the shelf in a sealed box.  He opened the box so we could see what's inside: the hoses appeared correctly made and the correct length - my hopes were rising for functional brakes today.  Then I looked at the female fitting and discovered an inverted flare fitting.  Wrong fitting - they're supposed to be ISO DIN bubble flare.  The male end was correct - the female end was not.  Guy at the counter assured me that they'd expedite the order for the fittings and get them done by next weekend.  The brake hoses will be the dead last thing I install on this car before I can drive it.

In the meantime - I'm going to do a cursory alignment on the front end, fix the hood release (it's stuck shut right now), figure out rear seat belts and make a decision about how to resolve the front seat belts.  At the rate things are going - it'll be done before I get those brake hoses.

I may go through the parts stash and start selling off stuff I'm not going to use if I've got more time between getting the car ready and receipt of those brake hoses.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

“You don't have to stay anywhere forever.”

A few things arrived today - shocks and the LM-2.  Upon opening the wideband - I realized that I'd need a longer cable and a stainless bung for the exhaust.  I ordered both on Amazon and they'll show up on Saturday.  Not that I'll be ready to fire up the wideband over the weekend but having the supplies on hand is a step in the right direction.

The wideband is going to be quite the rabbit hole...
Got the kid involved in the process of installing the shocks.  I wound up having to modify the bushings on the shocks to get them installed but they're now on the car.  I will probably pull them off the car to stiffen them up - but for now, they're on the car.
Both calipers and parking brake cables are installed and I should be able to get them adjusted/functional tomorrow.

I called the hose shop - I talked to two people and they had no clue when the brake hoses would be complete or where my order was in their system, so I'll probably have to drive over there Saturday morning to figure out what the fuck is going on.  And then take my shit to another shop to get them made.

Nearly a week after I ordered them - the axles are showing up as 'in transit' - which means they'll probably show up mid-late next week.  Everything adds a week...I've still got some interior bits to install so I can fill up my 'spare' time doing that while I wait for the cable for the wideband and the brake hoses.

Monday, September 6, 2021

"The hidden harmony is better than the obvious."

Today's progress:  I turned the car into what appears to be a complete car.  Right side fender, tail lamp, and the hatch panel cover (after hours of careful gluing together) - all installed. I tested the lights (everything works like it should) and torqued the rear axle nuts down to spec and installed the cotter pins.

The right-side caliper and the right-side parking brake remain to be installed but there's not a huge rush since I'm waiting for brake hoses and axles.  Tomorrow can be the parking brake day and if I've got the patience, I'll get to the interior. There are a few other bits to get done in the meantime (like figure out the seatbelts!) but it's coming together.

Started the car and ran it for a few minutes - the engine timing is off slightly and it's running super-rich - I suspect that once I find a good AFR, I can get the engine running right - easier to do when the car is running/driving.  Once the car is mobile - a lot of things will get easier.

Sunday, September 5, 2021

“It is possible that longing for something is better than actually having it. I’ve heard it said that satisfaction is the death of desire.”

Pulled out the rear cargo door panel out of storage and discovered that the vinyl is pulling off of the board.  The board is broken but I decided to push forward and glue the vinyl back down so I can put it back in the car.  It'll work until I'm ready to dive into a complete restoration.  It's one less part on a shelf and one more part on the car - that's a win in my book.
Right side door is completely put back together, the inner rear fender area is cleaned and painted and ready for the fender to be re-installed.

I'm hoping to get the right rear fender back on the car tomorrow (along with the rear bumper) and the exhaust support brackets.  If I can get the right rear fender on the car - the interior panels can go back in the car.  Lots can happen once the interior panels are back in the car.

Shocks are coming, brake lines should be done soon and I'll know what's up with the axles by Tuesday.  I think that's all I'm waiting on to get this show on the road, so to speak.

Saturday, September 4, 2021

"Your patience will be both appreciated and rewarded"

Progress today included tearing apart and rebuilding the driver's side door - the window regulator support has four tiny spot welds - two of them have popped off and they're no longer supporting the arm.  I took the door apart, cleaned everything and dug out the two sets of window regulators I squirreled away some years ago.  After I spent nearly 90 minutes cleaning them up - I discovered that of the two left-side pieces - one was on the verge of self-destruction (the aluminum press fit spring holder/pivot was pulling out of the spring steel bracket) and the other one was broken in the exact same place as the original regulator.  I thought about pulling out the welder but decided against it in the hope that I could simply make progress elsewhere.  So I put the door back together and moved on to something else.  The window works okay - it doesn't bind - but I know it's not 100%.  I'll have to save this for another day.

The other progress includes - the left side fender is back on the car - the left side parking brake cable is installed, I've ordered Koni Red shocks for the rear and the clutch is adjusted.  I prepped the right side of the car for under fender paint and started working on the passenger's side door.  But that's where I stopped.  I then took a VW break and installed the new horns in the Volvo (success!) and broke the headlamp washer door in the process - they're made from the world's cheapest plastic because they break VERY easily.  I knew I should have bought both of them two years ago...oh well, one step closer, I suppose.  I'll have to get the little door thing on order with Volvo on Tuesday since the part number on the part seems to have been superseded and the new part number is a closely held secret.

I'll wrap up the inner fender paint and the passenger's side door over the next couple of days - along with the right side fender going back on the car (and perhaps the bumper!).  Once I can get the parking brakes are worked out, the floor mat can go back into the car (the rear half).  When the brakes are successfully bled, the front floor mat piece can go in the car as well.  Then the seats and holy shit, it'll look like a car again.  Just in time for snow, probably.

That reminds me...I wonder where those axles are that I ordered from Sway A Way several weeks (actually, a couple of months) ago...they were on backorder but I figured they'd show up by now.  Axles and CVs are something I definitely don't want to do twice.  If the back order isn't filled soon - I'll probably have to order EMPI axles and hope they don't suck.

Friday, September 3, 2021

"All that exists is what's ahead"

I learned a couple of things today.  

First thing: The Type 1 torsion cover plates don't actually fit like I thought they would.  They're too shallow - which I figured out while attempting to tighten them to the subframe. Yeah, so. good thing I just bought a new set AND a replacement original set in case the repops were garbage (they're not).  I wound up using the Type 3 Swing Axle torsion covers that I kept in case I needed them.  Parts hoarding pays off for once.  The lack of a cover on the end is a long term issue I need to resolve.  I have a rusty set that I can use for welding practice to add a cover. The set that's on the car, for now, I'm going to leave alone because...

I'm pretty sure the rear end of the car is too stiff but I'll wait until it's back together and taken out for a test drive before I decide that I don't like it enough to tear it all apart and re-index.

Second thing: I get a hell of a lot more done when I force myself to find a solution vs. buying one.  When I was young and broke all the time - I didn't have the money to keep buying parts - I just figured out a way to fix the problem.  Sure, I was living in Southern California and VW shops were everywhere but I still didn't buy a lot of parts to solve a problem.  I've been working toward doing that now WITH a parts hoard and it seems to be paying off.  The last few times I've bought a part to solve a problem, it didn't...and a part I already had on hand wound up being the solution.

I have the target of getting a lot done over the long weekend since I'm not going anywhere.  Time will tell how well my mental motivation works with my physical time management.