Friday, August 7, 2009

Always Get a Second Opinion


I decide to put on the last of the parts from the “birthday order”. I cleaned up the gear shift lever and reinstalled the shaft too. Everything fit great! Small surprise though. I realized that the coupler to the transmission has an unthreaded side. No big deal as I’ll just reorder another one…..$11.00 no problem. I moved on to install the emergency brake cable…..done. I then insert the clutch cable with no problems. I’m thrilled and ready to call it a day. Then I decide to move the clutch cable back and forth and I hear a crusty-scratchy noise. There was sand from the blasting in the conduit tube. Being the perfectionist, I am resolved that I cannot have this noise every time I push the clutch in. Not in my car! I attach a small amount of cheesecloth with duct tape and pull the cable back out………then………CRAP! The damn thing is stuck half way. Of all the stupid, jackass, idiotic, thumb up the butt things to do. The caveman in me grunts and says, “pull harder”. This is the moment that I which I had gone over to Steve’s house to get a second opinion before I pulled the cheesecloth through. It is absolutely stuck and there is no way of backing this thing out. Now I’m so angry and I’m searching desperately to find something to throw and everything in reach is already restored. I just head into the house and create every compound curse word I can think of while Right Brain looks at me not sure if she should run or console me. One look from me and she walked into the next room.

Now I’m stuck with a terrible dilemma. How do you get this stupid cable out of the tunnel conduit? The last thing I want to do is tear open this tunnel. I might try a come along which will really yank it out and most likely destroy the tube. But if I can’t get it out I’ll have to install a new tube anyway. Must think long time.

Time to put the project on hold. This hurts as I’m so excited and so anxious to finish this and drive. Right Brain and I have decided to change our lives and behaviors. We are striving to be debt free in 6 months. Part of my sacrifice is that I won’t invest any more cash until we are debt free except for the house. It’s tough but it’s prudent during tough economic times. Of course there’s always Christmas Money :-)

Shiny Tranny


Ok….the MBA is vetty vetty laborious.
Now that it’s summer time I’ve jumped back into the Bug. I cleaned up the transaxle spending most of my time just trying to get the aluminum to shine. I scraped what looked like Tammy Fae Baker make-up off with a screwdriver and 4-in-1 tool. Then I brought my corded drill with a metal brush on the end to it to get it all shiny. Steve next door brought over the “purple power” and I borrowed his pressure washer to give a real good clean. It worked great for the oily bell from the leaky seal but it didn’t do much for the outside. That took me by surprise. I took off the old nasty axle boots and wiped down and brushed up the axles too. Steve came over and helped me mount the transmission. To my complete astonishment, my wife participated! She came out to guide the nose cone through the chassis……what a dame…..nice stems too. I also replaced the front 4 bolts with 10.9 bolts. SMART MOVE. The difference was night and day. I can’t imagine driving along and watching the front end drop to the ground. I shudder as I type.

Now that I got the transmission back on I realized that I’m missing the rubber gasket that goes there. Crap. That’s ok. I ordered a bunch of parts from birthday money I had stashed. Bought chassis parts mostly. Once they came in I replaced the bearings and seals in the rear axles, and fixed that boot. I had the “moment” though. I had a rough day and decided to work on the car to cheer me up. Bad choice. As Steve and I readjusted the transaxle to put the nose to chassis boot on I ripped one of the new axle boots. Steve laughed of course as I proceeded to physically abuse my garbage can with a push broom. I couldn’t help but get medieval venting my frustrations……..I called it a day.

Now I’m ready to get back in the game. Another long Saturday and I could have the chassis done except for the brakes. I’m saving that since I’m going with the front disc brake conversion. I think it’s a small investment to protect this car. Everyone love driving but I sure love being able to stop. I need to go back to my buddy Pete’s shop and sandblast some more. I’m getting ready to reinstall the pedal assembly and other do dads on the chassis. Feels better going downhill as I’m now assembling things.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Front Beam


Another year is here. Christmas has come and gone faster than the year before as always. However, we made it through the annual saga. Our vacation was cancelled due to Nick’s viral throat infection. When we took him to the doctor we were crossing our fingers and hoping that he had strep. I know that sounds morbid and twisted but there is truly logic behind this. Because of the modern marvel of antibiotics a child can be cured within 24 hours of an illness. If the illness is viral it can take anywhere from 3 days to 10 days. We knew if his illness was viral we’d have to cancel the trip. His immune system just couldn’t take the stimulation overload and overexcitement from Wally World.

The good fortune from this was that I was able to focus on the bug a bit. Jon came over again since he had some time off. We thumb ducked a bit pushing some parts around trying to find some things to do on the oval. I hadn’t planned on working on it so I never ordered any parts. We pulled the engine apart to get a better look at what we had to work with. It’s in pretty good shape but it looks like the left cylinder head needs a little attention. There is a list of parts that I need before I can get it started so money will continue to be the limiting factor. Overall it looked pretty good and just a bit dusty. The best thing about Jon coming over and putzing around was that I got the inspiration that I was looking for. I have felt bad that I haven’t put any time into the car since I started the MBA program. I went to bed looking forward to the next day so that I could clean up the front beam and get it back on the floor pan.

The next day I cleaned the rockers and the valve covers. I shot from WD40 in the ending and plugged up the holes with paper towels so that the engine stays lubed. Then I started cleaning the front beam with a wire brush and engine cleaner. It took a fair amount of time but it came out looking great. I painted it with the rust converter, etching primer, and black paint and it looks amazing. I lubed the tie rod ends and hung my hat for the day. I’m in a pickle though. I’m tempted to use the same 4 bolts that I have for the front beam to attach to the frame head but they are a bit rusty. I’m going to try the hardware store to see if they have new ones. If not then I’ll just scrub them and use them anyway. I think getting the front beam back on is a big milestone as well.

My next step is to order a bunch of parts that are needed for the front beam, the rear transaxle and the floor pan in general. I’m saving the brakes for last on the floor pan initiative because they are damn expensive. The front disc brake conversion is going to cost me about $560 alone! This way I’ll have some parts to get going on the project for awhile. Once I get the front beam and rear transaxle done I’ll get the engine up and running so I can attach it and start running it. I think it will keep me motivated.

Crap….forgot to take pictures. Better go do that.