Thursday, October 31, 2013

I wasn't happy with the muffler mounts I made last week, so I re-made them from a piece of 3/16" thick solid 304 stainless steel.

I don't have a mill... but I have a lathe!

After some finishing work:

Here is a closer view of the old mounts, which shows why I wasn't too happy with them.  Not only were my tack welds and gaps unacceptable, but I decided that the material I used (22ga stainless) was a little too thin for the stresses this hanger will see.

Much better.

The rest of the exhaust is creeping rearward.  I started cutting and fitting the bent and straight sections.  I have been saying this for 3 months now... but I might actually be able to weld the exhaust this weekend!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I'm still working on my exhaust.  I got the front half all fitted and tacked together. 

Friday night I went to visit my buddies Dave and Ian at their shop.  There were a few sweet vans in their shop!

We got a fire going; it was so cold in Pittsburgh this weekend.

I made muffler hangers for the Vibrant muffler I'm using.

This is really a terrible picture.  I think my photography skills are getting worse.  If you use your imagination, you can see that this is a folded up piece of 22ga stainless with one TIG fusion welded seam.

I'm happy with the design of this hanger, but I butchered it trying to tack weld it to the muffler.  I might redo this one.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

I'm still working on the exhaust. 

I tacked up a V-band flange that will connect the two sections of the exhaust.  I'm starting to get a little more confident tack welding with the TIG.

Here is the joint and hanger all tacked up.  This is just below the rear seat.

I fabbed up a few more fixtures to hold the catalytic converter in place while I fit the tubing around it.

Fixtures everywhere!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I made a few temporary exhaust brackets to hold everything up while I'm working on a new exhaust.  It's hard to hold everything while fitting and welding the pieces, so these are like temporary hands. 

I spent this weekend making a new exhaust hanger.  The factory piece was bent, I think it happened while the shell was being media blasted.

I bent up a section of 3/4" x .065" wall DOM steel tubing.

Then I tack welded it to a piece of scrap steel so I could hold it in my lathe at various positions.  This will all make sense in a minute.

Center drilled:

1/2" dilled through one wall.

Hole sawed through the center:

Nice tight fit!

After I had the center piece TIG welded, I cut it off of my jig and tapped in two steel caps.

After a few more welds and some grinding, this is the result!  The rubber hangers will hook onto the stainless steel piece I made a few weeks ago, which will be welded to the exhaust tubing.

I also whipped up a snow mobile stand this weekend.  There was an engine stand and a snow mobile in my way... so I combined the two and moved them out of my way!

Some scrap aluminum plate and old VW suspension bolts:

It even cradles the track so I can wheel it around the shop while the suspension is removed!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

I went to H2O International in Ocean City, Maryland last weekend.  I didn't make any plans to go since my car isn't done and most of my friends were busy, but a last-minute opportunity popped up.  I ended up towing my friend Jason's 1964 Lincoln Continental convertible to the show.  Four VW guys, in a Chevy, towing a Lincoln to a VW show.  Makes sense, right?

Wednesday night was the first time I saw the car in person.  They were putting the finishing touches on the front bumper as I arrived.

We got it loaded up at about midnight on Wednesday so we were ready to pull out Thursday morning.


Here are some highlights from the show.

This E36 was NOT on airride.

I heard that this car existed and was making its debut at H2O, so I tracked it down in the corner of a random garage.  Maybe it was just a chance encounter, but I like to think I can smell nice MK3s and track them down like a bloodhound.

Longitudinal mounted twin-turbo VR6; Audi trans; BMW rear suspension and drivetrain; BMW front knuckles with BMW 2002 balljoints and stock MK3 control arms.  Add in a beautiful shaved bay and one of the cleanest cages I have seen, and this thing was just plain amazing.  It hasn't driven yet since they just finished it the day before, but the craftsmanship on another level.  This is one of the highest quality cars I have seen.

This was nice and simple.

Honda K20 swapped Caddy

VW brought a new concept car, and I was blown away by the fit and finish.  The quality of the work was simply amazing - custom stamped steel, custom molded plastics, perfect gaps... both the quantity and quality of the one-off parts were inspiring.

There seemed to be a lot more non-VWs in town for H2O this year.  This has been a trend for the past few years, but it seems to be increasing.  A lot of them were very nice!

All loaded up and ready to head home.

Back to work.  I machined a batch of exhaust hangers.  The car-side parts are steel and will be painted, the exhaust-side parts are 304 stainless and will remain bare.