Wednesday, May 31, 2017

A Good Shop, Part 4


Today was my birthday and I was allowed some freedom to do what I wanted with my time.  I started off with a stop at Denver Balancing to drop off the Nautilus' engine internals...for balancing.  Again.  This version of the engine will use a 15lb lightened flywheel.  The new Sachs pressure plate will be balanced to this slightly lightened flywheel, along with everything else that rotates or is otherwise flung around by the crank.  Other new key components are a set of Kolbenschmidt 85.5 pistons.  This version of the engine will also use a 74mm crank for a net displacement of 1700cc's.  It will also use dual port heads.  That's right--this will be a mild performance engine and there's no reason to choke it with single port heads.  I'll have the engine internals back next Tuesday evening and the new heads will arrive on Wednesday.  I'll re-start the engine build the following weekend, just in time for the car to be delivered back from the body shop.  My timing is never very good and once again the garage will be short on space with all the projects in simultaneous flight.

Engine configuration aside, I've definitely forsaken the path of originality with some other recent modifications to the craft.  The sunroof addition is definitely going against the standards for an M343 model designation as represented on the craft's VIN tag.  The sunroof still looks the part and I think it will be a wonderful feature.  To verify the sliding steel panel's fit and finish, I drove over to the body shop today and spent a couple of hours installing it.  I got it pretty close to perfection during the test fit and can probably do even better during the final fitting.



Fitting the sliding steel roof section was a fairly straightforward affair.  No nicks, dents, scrapes or scratches.  I had previously cleaned all parts and put things together dry.  During the final assembly, I'll use white lithium grease or Vaseline for the cables--or maybe a Teflon dry lubricant from Dupont.  More research is needed, but these are used most commonly.  The other thing that will be done is the installation of perimeter seals around the outer edge of the sliding steel panel.  The stuff I have is grey and is pretty good, but it's too short and I need more of it.  I think I got it from Wolfburg West, but whatever I use will have to be glued into place, two-thirds around the front and side sunroof opening, and the remaining third around that back edge of the sliding steel panel itself.
 
The picture to the left is of the cable drive gear housing mounted to the underside center rear of the roof.  Attached to the drive gear is the emergency crank handle which I used during the sliding steel roof section installation.  I wanted to make sure the cables weren't binding and the outer roof section didn't get scratched, so running it all manually by hand seemed to make the most sense.  There is no electric roof motor or drive shaft installed.  It all worked well.
 
Also note in the picture that the bottom of the roof was painted L514 Emerald Green.  The same is true of the sliding steel roof section.  Originally, none of this would have been very well painted and might even show signs of surface rust.  I wanted metal protection and a dark surface for the perforations in
the headliner to contrast with, so I chose the body color as the finish.  Much of the underside of the roof will be covered with a modern sound deadener, so in the end it won't really matter that much. 
 
One interesting piece of Karmann factory originality was that the roof color was written in very large letters on the underside of the sliding steel roof section, usually in a contrasting grease pencil, much
as the body color was originally written in the left headlamp bowl on both the Type 14 and Type 34 cars.  I might do this in yellow or white grease pencil for both the roof and body before final assembly.

Another interesting point of authenticity is the roof number '519' stamped into the cable drive mounting area on the main roof, as well as into the rubber bumper bracket on the tail of the sliding roof section.  These numbers would have originally matched, as they do on my car.  This is due to the fact that the roof opening shape matches the sliding roof section, as well as the curvature of the roof itself.

I left the sliding steel roof section installed into the car so the final paint cut and buff could be done with the sliding steel roof section in place.  Unfortunately, I also found some problems that need to be resolved.  I managed to fill one side of an 8.5' X 11" sheet of paper with my notes and received no arguments from the shop manager when I presented the for review.  All of it is fixable and should all be sorted by June 10th.  I made some progress today!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Good Shop, Part 3

More pictures from Al arrived this morning.  Phil and the guys from A Good Shop on Commerce City have moved forward and paint has been applied!  Things are really progressing and getting close to completion.  Delivery is scheduled for May 25th, but it might slip a day or two.  A delivery by next Saturday would be fine by me.

What's astounding is the work they've done in my absolute absence.  As usual, I've been thrashed at work and have had two on call rotations while this car has been in the shop.  I've also been battling a severe cold at at times not much use to anyone, frankly.  Even though Commerce City isn't all that far away, life's complexities make Commerce City seem like a continent away.  A big challenge to make it there by closing time.

One thing that's pretty obvious in the picture to the left is that the hood remains separate from the vehicle.  I didn't go for details on this when I spoke with Al earlier, but it still causes me a little anxiety, to be honest.  I actually see the hood resting horizontally on a rack in the background of the picture above, so I know where it is--but not how well it's going.  Also, the sliding steel roof is missing from the picture.
The suspense is killing me, but I don't want to seem too pushy.  I think all my questions and concerns will be addressed soon enough.

Though the shop didn't mention it previously, I know there was at least one challenge they faced when fitting the sunroof clip.  Below is a picture that illustrates this challenge. 
It looks like the 'A' pillar had to be tweaked a little to make things line up.  In studying the picture above, it looks like they've addressed the paint in this area, too.

Mentioned in a previous post are the rubber retainer strip/trim pieces were provided to the shop to help with the alignment of the roof, particularly at the top of the 'A' pillar to roofline weld.  I hope there isn't too much tweaking of the side windows to make things fit.  I mean--beyond the normal adjustments.  I might have brought on a bunch of adventure I didn't reckon upon.  We'll see...

Friday, May 12, 2017

A Good Shop, Part 2

I received these pictures from Al over at A Good Shop this afternoon to my phone and I couldn't wait to get them over to my PC for better viewing.  I'm scheduled to be at his shop in Commerce City at 10:00AM tomorrow morning and I can't wait to see the work in person.

They didn't much disturb the 'A' and 'C' pillar paint, as can be seen in the picture to the right.  I'm going to bring along the 'A' pillar aluminum covers and the top and 'A' pillar rubber retainer strips just to make sure it all still fits, but it's looking really, really promising.  The rear weep holes are there and Al assures

me that the 'A' pillar front drains were done to my specifications.  I can't believe it...my car finally has the sliding steel roof I've always wanted.  An electric sunroof!  I'm so delighted I nearly forgot about the hood.  Honestly...I just about don't care.  Just about.  Will follow up tomorrow with Ken, the body man actually doing the work.  I hope I have nothing but praises for everything after I visit the shop tomorrow.  I will definitely get some more pictures and find out if the overhead interior light wiring can still be routed through the 'A' pillar, or if I'll have to add it to the sunroof motor wiring loom that will be run up the left 'C' pillar.  Either way, it won't be a problem because I already need to do something for the tachometer, backup lights, oil temp and pressure gauge wiring and can just add it all to a new loom.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

A Good Shop, Part 1

I took a day off on April 26th to have the yearly physical, and to decompress.  It's been a challenging year at work and I really needed some mid-week downtime.  Too bad I didn't get it.  I had no sooner made my plans, and then life got in the way and significantly added to the day's docket.  One of the many big things that happened that day was a call from the body shop.  My new body man, Al--owner of 'A Good Shop'--told me that this was my chance to squeeze in ahead of some other projects, if I could suddenly get my car down to his Commerce City location.  I called the towing company, and then spent about 45 minutes in the garage pulling stuff out of the way so the craft could be moved.  By myself.  Heavy stuff.  Cussing up a storm.

Winded and sweaty, the next order of business was taking parts off the Nautilus to prevent their damage, theft or over spray.  I scoured the fore and aft bays and bilge of all tools, parts and garbage amidships.  I had already installed much of the wiring, but couldn't see a point leaving it all in there to be over sprayed.  I had just started removing the wiring when the tow truck arrived.  It was a flat bed arrangement and as luck would have it, I had turned the Nautilus around some months earlier, so this prevented damage to the nose of the craft as it was tugged into place.  There's body clearance for tow cables around the rear axles, but very little to no clearance between the body and the front beam.  I plan to address this in the near future, by the way, because there's nothing more infuriating than body damage inflicted by a tow.  In this case, the craft was delivered to the body shop at a reasonable price and 'event free'.  I arrived about an hour later with the sun roof clip and guide rail parts, which I believe should be enough to get the sun deck alignment done correctly.

Before I knew it, it was noon--half a day gone, with a little over an hour to remove the wiring and drive the 15 traffic laden miles to the Doctor's office...fortunately, I had remembered my welding gloves, which prevented the many potential nicks and tears to my forearms and hands.  I teased the three new harnesses from the craft, fully realizing the steps backward I was taking.  It was thirsty work with no shade, but we thankfully had a cool day on tap.  Wiring out and in the back of the 4Runner, I fished the wiring grommets from the various holes and galleries to fully complete the tear down.  25 minutes, total--which wasn't bad.  I remember at the time thinking that I should be taking pictures...but didn't.  Some guys from the shop drifted out to take a look at the unusual Volkswagen and to gauge my progress--and maybe even assess my sanity, with me mumbling, huffing and bobbing about the craft.  One fellow tossed the comment, "Looks a little like a boat", to which I could only offer sardonic laughter and hearty agreement.

Out of time and good progress made, I couldn't afford even a minute to stop and chat with the shop foreman, Phil, so deferred the offer of a coffee and a shop tour, driving off with nothing more than a few parts in one hand and much more optimism for the future of the refit in the other.