Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rust, um... removal! from Big Blue....

There are 3 major spots where Big Blue has rust trouble.

1. Under the windshield rubber
2. The battery box area
3. The rain gutter above the passenger side door

I decided to try to get rid of the rust on the rain gutter by grinding it off, priming it, and then using some matching blue touch up paint that I had ordered a while back. The thing about it is that where the fiberglass top met with the rain gutter, there wasn't enough room for twigs and leaves to wash out. I guess that over the years, this collected rain water where it just sat, rather than running out. You should have seen some of the crap that came out. Here was the worst of the rust:

So as I got into it, I quickly realized that the rust went all the way through the gutter:

And it wasn't long until I determined to just cut the piece out...

A little further back and the metal was fine underneath...

So after all that, I primed it...

and then hit it with blue paint from a rattle can that I ordered from Express Paint. I was shocked at how close it was to the original color...

Touch up paint added!

Here is the missing rain gutter area.

In the end, I was really happy with the results (other than losing a little metal). In the world of dreams, I will have this fixed when the body gets to a spot to take it in to have the whole thing gone over and painted. For now it looks just fine (and, hopefully, I have stopped the rust for a while).

You can barely see the change in shade in the left side of this picture...

The final rust... removal...

Mike asked (in the comment section) about the paint from Express Paint, so I want to post the receipt here:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

68? 69? on the 101 south of San Rafael...

I had to race to catch this guy...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Random VWs at the Alameda antique show...

We were at the Alameda antique show a few weeks back and walked out to see 2 Ghia convertibles in the parking lot. Both were very nice, although the black '63 was perfect. Good to see people using them as drivers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

1969-'76 PORSCHE 914 article from Hemmings Motor News.

This article originally appeared in the NOVEMBER 1, 2007 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

Few automobile enthusiasts are as passionate about their favorite brand as are Porsche lovers. Knowing this, you'd think that anything to come out of Stuttgart-Zuffenhausen would be absolutely beloved; despite bringing hard-won racing technology to the street and adding greatly to the company's financial bottom line, this automaker's first mass-produced mid-engine sports car never garnered popular acclaim, instead fostering a small and rabidly enthusiastic fan base. Misunderstood both then and now, that car is the Porsche 914.

With 911 prices on the rise through the 1960s, Porsche management wanted to recreate the magic of the inexpensive and simple open-air 356 Speedster of the 1950s in an up-to-date package. At the end of the decade, Porsches were distributed alongside the cars of Volkswagen's newly reintroduced Audi division in the United States. Longstanding engineering and marketing ties between VW and Porsche offered the small sports car manufacturer the opportunity to source low-cost, volume-built parts to develop an inexpensive new two-seat, four- or six-cylinder-powered model, supplanting the expensive four-cylinder 911 variant, the 912, that wouldn't have been possible working alone. Volkswagen, aware that their Karosserie Karmann-built Karmann Ghia was aging, also wanted a sporting model, so the companies deemed collaborating useful.

While the initial plan called for marketing versions powered by the VW 411-sourced, air-cooled, flat four-cylinder as Volkswagens and those powered by the 911's flat-six as Porsches, four-cylinder variants in all markets aside from America would be badged VW-Porsche 914s; in the U.S., all 914s were badged Porsches, regardless of powerplant. The central positioning of those boxer engines, with their five-speed gearboxes mounted to the back, allowed Porsche engineers to create two luggage compartments, with the rear space also designed to hold the Targa-style removable fiberglass roof panel. An impressive 16 cubic feet of luggage space was available, and in early cars, the passenger's seat was fixed in place, with a movable footrest adding comfort.

The 914's aerodynamically efficient body design, with its hidden headlamps and careful detailing, allowed the 1,980-2,070-pound cars to reach top speeds ranging from 110 to 123 mph, depending on engine. Handling was the 914's strong suit, with the mid-engine layout's inherent balance and, with a full tank of gas up front, perfect 50/50 weight distribution. Roadholding was ensured by the car's independent front and rear suspensions, which incorporated MacPherson struts, lower wishbones and longitudinal torsion bars in front and coil springs and semi-trailing arms in back. Four-wheel disc brakes were standard, and steering and hub components came from either VW or Porsche, depending on engine choice.

Porsche and Volkswagen were both at capacity production, so Karmann built and trimmed all four-cylinder 914s in its Osnabrück plant, with finishing of 914-6s at Porsche's Zuffenhausen factory. In the first two years of production, the $3,595 four-cylinder 914s used electronically fuel-injected 80hp, 1.7-liter engines, while the $5,999 six-cylinder 914s used the 911T's twin Weber-carbureted, 110hp 2.0-liter engines. The 914-6 was discontinued after 1972, but the base four-cylinder 914 was joined by an optional 95hp, 2.0-liter engine in 1973, being supplanted by the VW 412's 76hp, 1.8-liter in 1974. All told, almost 120,000 914 variants were built before the 924 was introduced for 1977.

This article originally appeared in the NOVEMBER 1, 2007 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Big Blue Update

I have been reluctant to do a Big Blue update since everything is in the middle and nothing seems to be done. But here is some work from last weekend...

Finished priming the floor. I am hoping I got all the rust...

They never had a grommet where the power for the refrigerator came through the floor, so I made the hole a little more round and added this to protect the wires...

Then, I moved on to cut the flooring using the old floor as a guide...

And it fit right into place.

Here is the power coming through the subfloor (this is behind the passenger seat).

I screwed the floor up from the bottom. Originally, it was done from the inside down. I'm thinking this will allow me to remove the floor without trashing it if I need to in the future. I used shorter galvanized screws that barely come through the wood and will be covered by the carpet. Each screw was coated in silicone when it went in to seal it from road dirt and water...

The flooring came from Ikea. It's a weaved straw sort of thing. It comes in foot squares and connects with little plastic edges.

We abandoned the checker pattern, deciding that it looks too 1950s...

So in goes the floor. I started in the corner closest to the door to get make sure any cut pieces would be in the back.

And I started gluing it down. I only glued 2 sections because I'm not too convinced the glue will work. This is where I left the project, with the glue drying.

This gives you an idea how it will start to look. I really like it and hope it has a sort-of hippie at the beach feel to it...

My goal is to get the floor down and the chair back in before our January 30th campout. This coming weekend will be dedicated to that goal.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Some new images of a California Road Runner Camper

Martin was kind enough to send through some photos of his California Road Runner Camper. I updated the original post, to keep it all in one spot. Check it out though, our buses are almost identical.

Link here:

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Subject: they're frickin everywhere

A buddy of mine traveling in Pai, Thailand, sent these via email saying that they are everywhere there. Just shows you that some people still use them for things other than collecting and camping...

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1961-65 VOLKSWAGEN SEDAN AND SUNROOF SEDAN from Hemmings Motor News.

This article originally appeared in the JULY 1, 2007 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

The Ford Model T held the record for being the most produced vehicle in automotive history until 1972; this inexpensive, simple "people's car" was the first taste of motoring for millions of Americans. The Volkswagen Sedan followed in the Model T's tire tracks and was embraced by America and the world, eventually surpassing the T's popularity through an astounding seven decades of production. Although Toyota's Corolla has recently taken the most-produced crown, the charismatic Volkswagen remains number one for legions of devoted fans. With reasonable prices and excellent parts availability, the classic VW "1200" Sedan and Sunroof Sedan make practical collectibles that you can drive every day.

Despite its general design dating back to the late 1930s, the Volkswagens of 1961 looked much the same as they always had, although a major change rested under their clamshell rear engine cover. The long-lived 36hp, 1,192cc air-cooled flat-four engine was altered with a higher (7.0:1, from 6.6) compression ratio, an automatic choke-equipped Solex one-barrel downdraft carburetor and a new air cleaner; the result was a 4hp increase. The exclusive four-speed manual gearbox was redesigned with a one-piece (versus the previous split) case, and a redesigned luggage compartment and new 10.6-gallon gas tank offered 65 percent more under-hood storage. Cosmetic changes included color-keyed running boards and fender beading, and a standard driver's external mirror and ashtray.

The practice of driving until the engine sputtered, then activating the reserve tap, was made redundant with the introduction of 1962's in-dash mechanical fuel gauge. Larger taillamps and three seatbelt mounting points for front seat occupants improved safety, while sliding doors for floor heat vents, counterbalanced luggage compartment springs and a spare tire air-pressurized windshield washer reservoir were other changes.

Volkswagen continued making subtle improvements on the Sedan and Sunroof Sedan in 1963, when a "fresh air" heating system drew external air, instead of that from the engine compartment, to warm the car through front and newly adjustable rear heating vents. The fan shroud of 1963 was exclusive to this year, while the sliding vinyl sunroof made its last appearance.

A crank-to-open steel sunroof was the highlight of the 1964 Sunroof Sedan, while both variants received a new Solex carburetor and air cleaner, larger front indicators and a wider license plate lamp. In a move echoing the Model T, the VW Sedan's selling price of $1,595 dropped to $1,563 for 1965, a year of important body changes; larger windows on all sides improved driver vision, under-carpet insulation quieted the ride and redesigned seats offered more rear passenger knee room, while the rear seatback folded flat for more luggage space. Engine, suspension and electrical changes would be on the horizon for Volkswagens in the late 1960s, when the charmingly simple vehicles would lose some of their simplicity due to government safety and emissions regulations.

While Volkswagens were famous for their airtight construction, they do have a propensity towards rust; inspect the metal around the battery tray, the tops of the rear shock towers and the spare tire well, and the seams behind the front wheels. Sunroof Sedans, like our beautiful Turquoise Green 1962 Deluxe feature car, restored and owned by Tom Mohr of Clovis, California, are more prone to floorpan corrosion from interior moisture. Correct upholstery and carpeting are still available and are relatively inexpensive.

Connie Holcomb, owner of Connie's Repair Service in Watertown, Wisconsin, has been a VW technician since 1961, and he cautions not to use engine oil heavier than 30 or 10W-30 weight, as the increased friction raises operating temperatures. He also suggests ensuring the cylinders have more than 100 pounds of compression, as well as wiggling the crankshaft pulley to note any end play, which likely indicates main bearing wear that necessitates a rebuild. The VW transaxle combines the four-speed gearbox and differential, and although grinding noises during shifting indicate worn synchronizers, they're durable units that can be rebuilt. The four-wheel drum brakes are adequate for these cars' sub-2,000-pound curb weight, and quality replacement parts ensure good braking performance. Worn front suspension components are exposed via play that happens while shaking the top of each front tire.

A large and dedicated group of air-cooled Volkswagen hobbyists and specialist mechanics have found ways to make these now 40-plus year old VWs more compatible with today's traffic; while their stock top cruising speed of 72 mph could make them impediments on the interstate, more power is available in the form of tuning or straight-out larger-displacement engine swaps, while front disc brake conversions add a further margin of safety. For the price of a five-year-old Corolla, you could be driving the most beloved of all people's cars--the one-and-only Volkswagen.

Engine Specifications
1961-1965 Volkswagen
Sedan/Sunroof Sedan

Type: Flat-four, magnesium crankcase, iron cylinders, aluminum pistons
Displacement: 72.74 cubic inches
Bore x stroke: 3.03 x 2.52 inches
Compression ratio: 7.0:1
Horsepower @ rpm: 40 @ 3,900
Torque @ rpm: 61-lbs.ft @ 2,000
Fuel delivery: Solex 28 PICT 1 one-barrel carburetor

Volkswagen Sedan variants: U.S. Sales
1961: 148,114
1962: 174,960
1963: 209,747
1964: 251,806
1965: 288,583

Club Scene
Vintage Volkswagen Club of America
P.O. Box 1016
Springdale, Arizona 72765
Dues: $28/year; Membership: 809

Online resource with owner forums, classifieds and technical information

What to Pay
1961-'65 Volkswagen Sedan/Sunroof Sedan
Low Average High
$3,000 $5,000 $10,000

Parts Prices
Battery tray floor replacement section - $15
Brake master cylinder - $24
Carpet kit, front, oatmeal color - $90
Clutch disc, OEM Sachs - $33
Coil, 6-volt Bosch - $29
Door seal, Brazilian/German made - $7/$40
Engine, 40hp remanufactured, 1961-64 - $1,200
Front fender - $69.95
Gearshift boot, black rubber - $6
Headliner, perforated vinyl, 1964-65 - $74
Hood emblem, VW - $20
Muffler, 1963-65 - $80
Piston ring set, German ATE - $38.95
Seat cover set - $160
Shock absorber set, front - $43
Sunroof repair kit (rollers and rivets), 1961-1963 - $17.50
Valve cover gasket, 2-piece - $3.95
Wheel bearing, rear axle - $100

This article originally appeared in the JULY 1, 2007 issue of Hemmings Motor News.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Vagabond Blogger

This expat is almost as obsessed with documenting VWs as I have become. While not strictly about VWs, the blog does spend the majority of the time in the VW world.

Blog is here:

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