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Old 27-10-2008, 01:52 AM   #1
bronze
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Default Girlfriends '68 T1 rat gets some love

Just joined VZi this week and gotta get a blog up about the work I've been doing to my ladys' 68 rat. First - lets show you how it used to look, 2-3 years ago.......



Had a day out beetling around some nice spots in Essex - its not all Romford and bags of chips you know. This is North Fambridge.



And this was taken outside a village mechanics workshop that had been empty for maybe 5 years? Its a housing estate now....







Why you should never buy a car from a photo - especially if it's black and white



We'd had the car for around 2 years at this point - '68 build chassis on '69 plates, 1500 stock (maybe) twinport engine. she rang me one day to say that the really shitty looking matt black beetle she kept seeing at work was for sale and could we look at it? The previous owner lived in Hackney, London and told us a story that related to how each of the many dents on the car had happened, and we were sold. 300. The paint was bad even then (out of spraycans), and it was rolling on red stock steel rims not the empi 8s - but under someones poor idea of how to rat up a beetle was a real good solid car that had been in use daily for what looked like donkeys years from the taxdisks.

We used it, loved it, I repaired it when it needed it.

Then about 2 years ago some numpty crashed into the back of me while I was sat still at a roundabout. Back end was repaired, engine came out, and then the car sat on our drive. Til now.



Apologies to anyone who maybe viewed these pics on mech tech forum - I'd just started playing around with the site and kinda didn't know what I was doing.
Don't know why the quality of this photo is so bad - think maybe I shuddered as I took it? This is last sunday at 9am. Car hasn't been touched for 2 years until the previous weekend when I got my tools out finally and got my beetle head back on. I'd replaced the front beam for a much better one the sunday before (balljoint rubbers had perished) and discovered fairly extensive rot in the spare wheel carrier and tips of the front inner wings, plus along the bottoms of both front inner wings. Really not bad for a car that had sat uncovered on a gravel drive for 2 years.



20 minutes later. Front - gone. My girlfriend was asleep in bed at this point so imagine her surprise when she awoke at 11am to find this photo text waiting on her phone. Ok, she knew what I was doing with her car, but maybe not the full extent eh?



Luckily though, we had already reached this stage by 11am, so I could text her back immediately and sooth her worried brow. Textually. Or something. This all went on in my friends workshop - if you're wondering he banger races Mk2 Granadas. But I guess banger racers aren't all bad.....
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Old 27-10-2008, 02:07 AM   #2
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Looks like it has a lot of potential, keep us posted.
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Old 27-10-2008, 02:13 AM   #3
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On to the inner wing repairs.















All this took from 9am til 3pmish last sunday. I have a week off work at this point and want to make some good progress. Not the prettiest welding I've ever been involved with, but some of the fastest. And the car is a veritable rat. Capital R. Someone from spooky vw club once asked my girlfriend if it actually worked, and that was when it was a daily driver. People would constantly ask me if it was a breaker or would I sell the wheels when it was parked (and driven to daily) outside my workplace. The discussion at the moment is whether or not to paint it once the work is finished. I'm of the camp that it stays as is, but as my girlfriend is the owner she gets final say....
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Old 27-10-2008, 02:40 AM   #4
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While the engine is out (heat exchangers being replaced, general tidy up) I rubbed down and put some paint on the engine bay. After the accident we fashioned a removable rear valance as it could come in handy. It now slots into place and bolts up.



Among the loads of things bought but not fitted after the accident were these dress up shields for the engine bay. Got to say, the were a pig to make fit (big boys toys) and I had to cut them down and drill bolt holes so I could use long studding through the rear wing mountings so they didn't rattle about and fall on the engine.



Note the very new yellow gaitor



After painting and fitting the new heat exchangers (drill holes in them to make the return springs fit - thanks again aftermarket spares) I thought I was ready to stick the lump back in this week. I've replaced the rear brakes this week too as there was oil leaking out of the N/S/R shaft bearing oil seal all into the drum, but when I refilled the gearbox oil (two 17mm nuts welded together on a 17mm bolt makes a good drain plug) I noticed the O/S/R CV gaitor was weeping. Dammit. So had to drain gearbox yet again and replace the gaitor. At least it was so much easier than when I did the one on the N/S/R a few years previously with the engine still in the car.
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Old 27-10-2008, 03:00 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bronze View Post
Apologies to anyone who maybe viewed these pics on mech tech forum - I'd just started playing around with the site and kinda didn't know what I was doing.
Loving the thread man
No need to apologise, just thought it would be in your best interest
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Old 27-10-2008, 03:01 AM   #6
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I've been waiting to finish rebuilding the brakes before I put the engine in, but got a bit stuck with converting to disk brakes. I did a deal for a pair of excellent used (?) complete disk type hubs, which I swapped with a nice splitty owner for a set of tyres I had. They bolted up just fine to the torsion arms on my newly fitted beam, but just wouldn't accept the track rod ends. After a lot of messing around I realised that the metal collars that the rod ends fit into were tapered upsidedown to what I had on the car. Couldn't see a way around it short of pressing the collars out, but have no press handy and I'm on a budget of make it myself or don't do it at all. So then, a bit mashed, I googled vw forums and found THIS fantastic site. Can't put the laptop down now. Been on the tech forums a lot this weekend and got some great help from people - so thanks to anyone who may have already seen some of these photos there. Anyway, some boys hooked me up and now I know where I was going wrong.



This is one end of the beam with drum & conventional track rod fitting.



And this is the disk type jobbie fitted to the other end, with the trackrod end spun out to make the rod reach the underside of the steering arm. This, I am told is what you do when your front end is radically lowered. Tried this on the spare original lowered beam as I've already swapped the hubs between drum and disk on the car twice this week. Now I know it can work I'll get them fitted back on the car, hopefully in the morning, assuming I don't stay up all night smoking and playing with this new fangled interwebsite thingy.....
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Old 27-10-2008, 03:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Loving the thread man
Alex
Cheers dude, I'm quite pleased with it all myself. First efforts and all that.....
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Old 27-10-2008, 03:41 AM   #8
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good stuff and a well laid out thread id like to add!!!
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Old 27-10-2008, 09:12 AM   #9
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dude this is bloody quick wprk!
i like the frobnt end you put on, the lines look pretty darn close.
what's the framehead like? any patches?
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Old 27-10-2008, 11:51 PM   #10
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Thanks for the encouraging words guys - it does help to keep me at it, especially after the shit time I've had of it today. I know I've only been at this in earnest just over a week, but it feels like I'm not making fast enough progress.



So this was the scene @ bronze HQ 8am today. Wanted to get my disks fitted, full system bled, and I saw no reason that I couldn't get the engine fitted too. Or at least get the remaining heat exchanger fitted. Must remember to take that stupid pink nerf bar off. Must have hit my head on it 5 times today.



Had a final check on the N/S/R to ensure no oil leaks through that hub seal I'd replaced and was dry as you like. Fitted up my replacement shoes, springs and whatnot. No problems.



In a random moment, one of my chickens came over for a look.I'm not Dr Doolittle or anything but I think she'd noticed that my dog wasn't helping (she normally tries) and wanted to offer assistance.



After standing under the gearbox and 'buck bucking' at me for a bit she went to explore my camper. I don't know why. Maybe she remembered coming back from Cornwall this summer in the T25 and was ready for another roadtrip? It was one way for her, we just bought her back with us, didn't have her when we left home. Like I said - I'm not Dr Doolittle....

So on to the front hubs. Got the N/S/F one on quicktime, coppergreased up the thread for the track rod end I'd loosened to fit under the steering arm and it went in snug. Track rod sits pretty close to the bit (I'm so not tech) where your front beam bolts up, but doesn't foul or rub on it. Steering turns smoothly, happy days.

It started to rain hailstones at this point. Maybe a precursor to the struggle I was about to have with the O/S hub?

Got the drum hub off, no problem. Not really a surprise as it's been off and on the car maybe 4 times this week, so if I whistle it practically takes itself off. Now - when I fitted the disk on this side on my spare beam it was fairly easy. I hooked the trackrod end into the steering arm, pushed the bottom ball joint in and then lifted the upper torsion arm to slot in the top ball joint. Not so on the beam fitted to the car. Even with the trackrod spun out to greater length I couldn't hook in the top balljoint with the rod and bottom joint fitted. It wasn't even close. I sodded around for an hour or so, jacking up the lower torsion arm to give me less gap, altering the length of the trackrod, all no bloody good. I did split both the rubber on the upper balljoint and tear the rubbers on both ends of trackrod though. Good job!



So, after a bit of thought, I reasoned that perhaps the problem lay with the height of the suspension. On my previous beam the two adjusting plates in this photo were set so that only two teeth were exposed at the top of the plate. The car sat low at the front, as it came when my girlfriend first bought it. On my replacement beam the adjusters are set with loads of exposed teeth, and the car sits standard ride height. I think I've worked out that the disk hubs have been fitted with bump stop bushes (the collars I couldn't get my track rods into) so it stands to reason that they came off a lowered type 1. So, I decided to lower the ride height.

Have you gotta be some kind of superman to get these plates pulled up or what?

As it was starting to get dark I had managed to get the plates to a position where 3 teeth are exposed on each adjuster. So I went back to the trackrod. It still wouldn't fit. Eventually, by torchlight, I got the trackrod to reach - by removing the trolley jack so the car had it's own weight, and fitting the trackrod ends with the wheel on the car and the petrol tank removed. Has anyone else been here? Am I missing something obvious? I know I am missing 2 trackrod end rubbers and an upper ball joint now, and I only changed the damn beam 'cause the rubbers had perished!

Back to work on Wednesday unfortunately, so I'll have to grind to a halt for a bit. I still have tomorrow.......
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