Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Bugs and Babies.....oh my.


I’ve taken off some time not only from this project but also the memoir. Things have been just too entirely busy and demanding. At time I begin to feel that my schedule is the dog and I’ve become the tail. Since my most memorable, frustrating, and fearful part of this restoration I’ve made some substantial progress. I have to think back because I’ve snuck in a few moments with the Oval.

Starting with the clutch cable fiasco. Now that it was out, I flushed it with Purple Power and hot water. I used a small funnel and a hose and pushed all the nasty crap out of it. Then we blew compressed air through it and it couldn’t be better.

Now I’ve taken some time off from the car. Not for any other reason but to free my family from debt. It took about 7 months of strict behavioral changes, selling of personal items, and careful planning. Fortunately, selling the Bug was not part of the conversation. As if….. I made the commitment with my bride to not spend a dime on the car until we were debt free. However, when we were, it would be FULL STEAM.

So I placed my first substantial order to get things going. I started a new position in the company I work for which has monopolized virtually every moment of my time 7 days a week for the first 45 days. It was becoming ridiculous. I actually had the parts at the house for over 2 weeks before I even touched anything. I mean, come on, to sit anxiously pining away for a car that you know you are not going to work on is like a fat kid pressing your face against the glass of a bakery that is closed for a VIP party.

I asked my friend Jon over since we hadn’t seen each other in awhile nor talked due to the holidays and the new job. Besides it was time that we commiserate on the current economic and political state of affairs. I asked Steve if he wanted to come over to scratch and fart too. The Saturday that I had been waiting for had finally come with a grateful surprise. Jon, Steve, Steve’s dad Tom, and Dave, all came over to help me put on the parts that I had brought it. I couldn’t believe it!!! Everyone wanted to help get this project moving forward. I suppose it was because they were tired of hearing my pathetic story or because they were hoping to see more progression. Either way it was phenomenal. Here’s the recap on what we did.

I decided to update the front brakes to disc brakes. I decided to drop the $500 because it would be a better insurance policy than anything I could by. All that time and energy could be wasted if I can’t stop and crash into some SUV. That’s how I got here in the first place! Those were installed with relative ease. We installed the shocks which wasn’t too bad, but required a little persuasion with the bushing’s on the front beam. They had rusted on there unknowingly. Dave cut them off with a Dremel and the shocks went on no sweat. We sandblasted a few parts like the rear brake back plate, the pedal assembly, and wheel drums. I finished up the wheel bearings in the rear, assembled the rear shoe brakes (of course after I switched the back brake plates that I put on backwards – right on the left and left on the right…duh). Got the clutch cable and pedal assembly attached. Heater cables and knob assembled. Gear shift and knob functioning correctly. Brand new brake lines bent and assembled. And last, the transmission connected to the gear shaft.

Jon said, “Let’s go get the wheels”. I paused and thought to myself skeptically, that surely he’s joking and we wouldn’t do that yet. But we could!! So we did!! Damn, it’s actually looking like a car now. It’s so gratifying to actually feel like I’m making progress. Except for restoring the brake fluid reservoir and blasting the wheel rims, this chassis is DONE. I was going to order a new reservoir, but they said they just end up leaking. That is VERY BAD. Holy crap. If I hadn’t talked to Wolfsburg West, I would never have known that. That’s just why you don’t by off e-baby, or just some reseller. It pays to buy from a resource. They may charge a bit more but it’s so worth the extra cash.

I’m going to put the MBA on hold. We have a baby girl on the way (yahoo!) and my new job is very demanding. Finishing this car is a high priority for me so come April 25th I’ll be free to charge forward on this at full steam. Right now, I’m only catching a couple of hours here and there when a new part comes in. The baby is due around 7/30/10 so I better haul ass!

Now comes the next phase strategy. Do I move to the body or the engine? Perhaps, both? I think that I could get the engine going in 2 weekends. One to finish disassembling and partial reassemble. A second weekend would be to finish the reassembly and start and fine tune. I better get the body moving forward at least to sandblast (just the lower portion) and primer so I can take my time with the body rebuild and welding. Next stop……sand blasting.

The Big Black Booger


Well it’s a glooorious day! It’s Halloween night and I mention to Dave (bus man helped Steve next door) how I’ve screwed the pooch on the clutch cable fiasco. I described my misery and how I’m unmotivated by the whole thing. He describes an idea of some kind of fence puller. I’m not entirely sure where he’s comin’ from so I just let him run with the idea. He offers to come over in the morning, so I figure, “what the hell?”

Dave comes over with this old piece of crap that looks like a Viking tool that he found in an old shed somewhere. He hooks this apparatus up to the front of the car and I start to gain anxiety. What if it pulls the conduit apart? What if I bend the front beam? HOLY CRAP! I better tell him to stop! Just then, we give it a tug and that son of a bitch cable just came right out like a thick black booger. I jumped for joy and spun around like the idiot I felt like. This tool is designed to stretch fence wire around farms. I don’t think it could have been any better. It was like four monkeys were swatted off my back. I was a new man and ready to charge forward. Finally……I can get moving on this project again. Dave……..you da’ man.