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Old 25-06-2015, 09:53 AM   #1
Alain
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Default My '58 Lowlight Ghia

Well, those of you that followed my Beetle build thread will know that I like things to be 'perfect', shiny and nice. This Ghia is the complete opposite, but it still pulls on my heart strings and has done as long as I've known it.

It was imported from Cali by a good friend in 2008. He did all the work it needed to get it on the road and nothing else. I.E. It still looks and smells like it should be in a field, despite being sound as a pound.

Here's a few shots of it over the past few years:

The day it arrived:





The chassis needed some work so the body / pan were split:





And the chassis got a full overhaul:



Note: it's now running a 4" beam with shock towers....

Body went back on:



And pretty much how it is now:





When I picked it up (last July), I jumped in it and drove it 250 miles of the 256 mile journey home before it conked out... It was a roasting hot day and it has spluttered a few times over the past hour or so. Actually it cut out three or four times and I'd have to give it five minutes before it would start again.

My thoughts were that it was fuel starvation / lock, but fuel was coming through. I think it was a duff coil. Anyway, after a few stops and plenty of cranking to get it going each time the starter motor stopped turning over. I wasn't sure if the battery was dying or the starter motor had packed up (It's a 6v starter but the car is running on 12v).

Anyway, got the AA dude out, we got it up and running and I drove the last few miles to the storage garage, where I then left it until yesterday. It's now on my driveway at home.

The plan was to do another full resto on it, but the reality is that if I start doing that I'll never get to drive the car (it'll take me at least 10 years to do). Combine that with having just moved house, it would all just be too much.

So now the plan is to do a few bits to make it 100% drivable /usable again (after having been laid up) and to use it and enjoy it.

As such, the current plans are:

- New O/S rear hub seal
- New rear brake shoes
- Transmission oil change
- Drop the engine and give it a good service / sort out the tinware
- New starter motor
- Fit an OG lowlight air filter
- New R9 fuel lines
- Replace the exhaust with a stock style stainless one

Hopefully I'm going to get that done over the weekend, but let's see how far I get!

I'd also like to replace all of the window / door seals to make it water-tight.

I'd like a 30hp motor for it, but might end up putting the 1300 from the bug in it and putting something bigger in that. I also need a set of door locks... The shopping list could go on forever though
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Old 25-06-2015, 12:29 PM   #2
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Really like that, good luck with the works
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Old 25-06-2015, 11:36 PM   #3
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Man I love the ghia n wished I had one got some gd ideas for one
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Old 26-06-2015, 12:12 AM   #4
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Such a beautiful machine!
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Old 28-06-2015, 11:16 AM   #5
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I had a pretty productive day yesterday, helped by the sunny weather.

Actually, I made a little headway on Friday night by getting the arse end on axle stands, draining the gearbox and engine oils, before dropping the engine. I needed to drain the gearbox oil to replace the rear hub seal (although I wanted to change it anyway) and the engine oil for basic servicing.



Dropping the engine gave me much better access for changing the starter motor, including the bush in the bell housing, which upon removing made it clear why the starter had stopped working. I suspect the oval shape of it meant that the bearings / bushes inside had got overly worn:



With the new bush and starter motor fitted that was the first job done.

Following on from that I pulled the exhaust off the engine, which required more of the nuts to be chiseled off than not, and replaced it with the stainless one that was on the Beetle (which is getting a vintage speed unit).

I then set about replacing the o/s rear hub seal which had been leaking like a sieve:



Again, fairly clear to see why when I removed the cover:



New seals in place, a good clean up and new brake shoes:



Before putting the wheels back on and the engine back in I replaced the throttle cable, as well as the fuel lines with new R9 rated hoses from M7, and refilled the gearbox with oil.

The engine then went back in (and services), the wheels went back on, the hub nuts were torqued up and the car was test started. After a year of sitting doing nothing, the 1500sp motor fired right up. A light puff of white smoke, but it was soon purring like a fairly angry kitten.

I gave it a very quick spin round the block so that I could re-check the hub nuts and make sure everything was OK, but I have two issues left to sort...

1. The fuel pump (which seems to be the bane of my life with aircooled cars) needs to be replaced. Although it pumps just fine, the inlet barb has been partially snapped off and some point and is too short for my liking. I'm not happy that the hose will stay in place.

2. The alternator (despite being low milage) seems to have worn bearings. If I fit a belt to the correct tension, the downward force and the front makes the fan foul the shroud. It is also making an unhealthy noise. With the belt slackened off a shim (marginally too loose for fast speed driving) the fan no longer fouls but the noise is still there.

I'm tempted to replace the front bearing on it, at the cost of a fiver, to see if that resolves it, but if both need replacing (which I suspect they will), I'll probably opt fro a replacement unit.
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Old 28-06-2015, 06:10 PM   #6
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Dude that's a cracker!! Would love a lowlite but will have to mate do with me notch!!
Keep up the good work
Cheers wilf
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Old 28-06-2015, 07:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gingerporsche View Post
Dude that's a cracker!! Would love a lowlite but will have to mate do with me notch!!
Keep up the good work
Cheers wilf
Cheers man.

I managed to sort both remaining issues this morning with relative ease.

Problem 1. I recently replaced the mechanical pump on the bug with an electric unit, so had removed the very new pump from that, which was now sat on the shelf. I hate new repro pumps and even though this one is the best quality one VW Heritage sells, it still pumps out a much greater fuel pressure than is ideal (6-7 PSI rather than 1.5-2.0). Never the less, I deemed it better than the leak prone one that was fitted to the ghia.

The only hurdle was the push rod length fitted to the ghia, which was 108mm rather than the 100mm I needed. Some careful measurement and cutting later and I had a good 100mm rod.

I've also ordered a Filter King to regulate and filter the fuel.

Problem 2. This turned out to be much easier than expected. The alternator strap was quite positioned correctly and therefore not holding the alternator in position very well. As such the whole alternator was being tilted when under the pressure of the fan belt tension. a couple of mm was enough to make the fan foul the shroud.

With those issues fixed, we hopped it in and went for a cruise, covering about 50 miles in total. We swung by the local-ish meet (Vdub Social Club out towards Abingdon) but weren't there too long as we need to get home. Nice to see this turd parked along side some other shiny cars.

Naturally it causes quite a stir with old and young alike. I like to take 10 to talk to those that show an interest though.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:59 AM   #8
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As yesterday was glorious weather, I decided to drive the Ghia to work, dropping the Mrs off at her work on the way. A very nice was to start the day.



After work, I went to pick her up, traffic was pretty bad through town so lots of stop-start, slow moving but it appeared to cope just fine. After I picked her up we decided to go the scenic route home to avoid the traffic and enjoy the drive.

All was going swimmingly, until about 10 miles in to the drive, entirely out the blue I come round a tight corner, shift down, go to accelerate and get a bag of spanners.

No oil pressure warning light or anything, just a lot of rattling.

At first I thought it was either the clutch misbehaving or the gearbox hadn't properly selected the gear, so I coasted along for about 50m, reselecting the gear but with nothing resolved it. Engine off, decklid up, nothing to see but the engine is seized solid.

I'm suspecting it's a bearing that's dropped but I won't know until it's out and apart.

Anyway - a few hours and a couple of beer in the village pub later and the right AA truck was here.



Ce la vie...


I have a few options and I'm not sure which to go with.

1. I pull the 1300sp from the Bug and put that in the Ghia, at the cost of having to put something tasty in the bug. Obvious winner but I could do with spending cash on the house rather than both cars.

2. I pull the 1500sp from the Ghia and rebuild it, keeping it stock. Dependant on what we find inside it...

3. I pull the 1500sp and rebuild it a little larger - again condition dependant.

4. I source an original 30hp motor for it, at the risk of it being a duff and needing rebuilding anyway.
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Old 01-07-2015, 08:53 PM   #9
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Sorry to hear this! Would you rather strip the engine this weekend than knock the wall down?!

I have rearranged a meeting and booked the afternoon off so just counting on Jen not being delayed now!
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Old 01-07-2015, 09:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Sorry to hear this! Would you rather strip the engine this weekend than knock the wall down?!

I have rearranged a meeting and booked the afternoon off so just counting on Jen not being delayed now!
Nah, I don't think so but maybe we could pull it out and get it on the stand on Sunday...
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