Monday, December 15, 2014

Last weekend, Big Woody brought home a new toy - a 1969 Chevelle.

It is "street legal."  The license plate is mounted to the parachute bracket!

It makes a very streetable 1660hp at the crank.  Just a regular ol' daily driver.

Runs on regular ol' race gas.  

I hope he got a good deal on this junker, the tires don't even have any tread left! 

In Jetta news, I received the fuel cell parts I sent away for powdercoat.  I wanted these to be sandblasted and primered, but they came back satin black.  The color isn't a close enough match to everything else, so I will have to re-spray them.

Fuel cell cradle.

New tools!  I bought a Wray Schelin shrinking disc (with instructional DVD), an 18" ruler, and a new chalk line to replace the one I took to work.

I need to get moving on my roof project, so I built a wood frame to hold the donor roof while I remove the supports from the skin.  I used 1/4' plywood, furring strips, and 2x4s to build a frame that matches the shape of my existing roof.

I stripped all of the paint from the donor roof to evaluate the damage.  I know it was dented, but didn't know how bad.

It is pretty bad!  This was a Trek edition Jetta, which came with a roof rack, and apparently they used it pretty frequently. They also dropped heavy things on the roof quite often.

I flipped the roof over onto my new frame so I could strip the underside.

After stripping all of the sound deadening and carefully removing the crossmembers, I was able to clean the bottom of the skin.

With everything removed from the bottom, I started to work out the dents in the top.  I also had to weld the antenna hole, since I will not be using a roof-mounted antenna.  Woody is doing a little welding on Big Woody's '64 Chevy frame in the background.

After marking up the surface with bluing and sanding it to mark the high spots, the whole rear area was filled with tiny dents. 

I worked it until it was a little more straight, then cut out a filler piece for the antenna hole.  I cut a tight-fitting piece of 22ga steel to match the factory skin thickness.

I TIG welded it in place.  It went really well, except for one corner where I blew through.  The extra heat definitely caused some problems, but oh well.

I fired up the shrinking disc on my new Makita 9" grinder.  This is just a smooth stainless steel disc.  The theory is that it rubs on all of the high spots, which heat up and shrink down until they're level.  It has been used successfully for decades, and it was cheap enough that I decided to give it a try.

I could see progress being made, but it's not there yet.  This is only one of ~40 bad spots on this roof, so it may not be worth the time to straighten it out.  But this is good practice using these metal shaping techniques. 

And then the cap popped off of my Dykem bluing jar and spilled everywhere.  I decided to call it quits after I cleaned this mess up, I'll get back to the roof next time!

Earlier this weekend, I helped my buddy Dave remove the engine in his old '82 Ford.  This is the same engine we installed about 3 years ago, outside in the freezing cold with no tools.  This time it was a little warmer, we were inside with lights, and had a decent selection of tools!

Dave removed the bolts on the exhaust with this funny looking wrench.

The engine bays are spacious in these old trucks!

Ironically, the hood hinges require the same size wrench as the exhaust, wiring, and power steering lines.

Success!  Hopefully the Craigslist clown doesn't back out and this thing sells next weekend.

Here is a little flashback to the day we installed this motor.  These photos are dated 11/28/2010, which pre-date this blog.   It was about 2 degrees above zero, and the only tools we used were an adjustable wrench, 8' long 2x6 (shown here), and a 1970s tow truck.  We're getting soft.

Monday, December 1, 2014

I finished shaving the unused holes in my radiator support.  Next, I'm going to re-shape the rear section.  This is what it looks like now - there are a bunch of unused clips and dents.  Some of them are for structural support, and some of them are to add clearance for parts that I've deleted.

The ends also have a really big gap where they meet the frame rail.  It doesn't need to be a tight fit, but I'm going to re-shape this area so it fits a little closer to the body and looks a little better.

Here is the plan for the shape.  I plan on squaring it off with straight, clean lines instead of the lumpy factory edge.

Here are some closer pictures of the missing holes.  I deleted all of the hood release cable holes, I'm going to have to fabricate something I can reach through the grille.

The bluing is to check for low spots.  The piece is so wrinkly and dented from the factory, I have a lot of hammering and puttying to do!  These underhood stampings just don't meet the same quality standards as exterior (visible) body panel stampings.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

I decided to use an interior shop called Love's Trim.  He's a VW specialist and does excellent work, much better than any of the local shops I've checked out.  The only wrinkle in this plan - he's located in Georgia!  This weekend I made arrangements to meet a guy named Jack in Hagerstown, Maryland on his route from CT to GA.  He was making the trip for his interior, so I gave him some cash to haul my stuff as well!

I was so glad to get this stuff out of my way.  I had un-boxed most of the interior over the last few weeks in preparation, and I didn't even have room to work!

I borrowed a friend's motorcycle trailer to keep everything dry on the trip down.

I wasn't sure what to expect, but managed to achieve 10.5 MPG all the way down and back.

Fro rode along.  We left at 7:30pm on Black Friday.

We met Jack in a Walmart parking lot at about 1:15am.  Not sketchy at all.

Jack was rocking a MK4 Golf pulling a Uhaul trailer.  The photo is a little dark, but this thing was PACKED.  He had 8 interiors in there!

Back to work.  I'm walking the line between "detail oriented" and "clinically insane" on this fan shroud.  I decided to add a few strips on the bottom of the flat area, and of course I couldn't leave the corners sharp!


Drilled and clamped with Clecos:

Plug welded through the 1/8" Cleco holes:


I have to add a clearance radius around the radiator inlet and outlet hoses, but I need to get a new radiator first.  I'm not going to re-use this one, it's pretty old and has evidence of leakage.

I started shaving the radiator support.  I'm going to use the original steel "North American" spec rad support, which has a lot of extra holes.

20ga steel filler:


Ground.  I'm about halfway done filling the holes, then I'm going to re-shape the top section.