Saturday, November 30, 2013

Tuning, Lifting, Bleeding and Busting!

That is how my weekend has gone. I had a long weekend and was able to spend a lot of it in the shop. Friday when all the nuts were out trying to get a good deal on stuff I was able to get Lulu's muffler installed and then I tuned her up. It took more time than I was planning. I couldn't get it to idle which in turn made it hard to check the dwell and timing. From what I could tell, the dwell was right on and the timing looked good so I turned my attention to the carburetor. I adjusted that thing from on one extreme to the other and I couldn't get it to idle. In fact my adjustments had no effect at all on the way the engine ran. I checked for vacuum leaks, checked the fuel pressure, and I even checked to make sure I was getting spark on all 4 cylinders. It then dawned on me that when I pulled the carb off the engine the fuel inside smelled varnished. It surprised me because it had only been a couple months. I had cleaned out the fuel bowl with carb cleaner when I re-installed it on the engine and figured that it would be good. Anyways, after much frustration I made myself a turkey sandwich and that is when the light bulb came on in my head. I ran back out and pulled the idle jet from the carb. It had some green slime on it and it was plugging the jet. I cleaned it out and blew some compressed air through it. I then pulled the power jet and it had the same stuff. I cleaned that one also and re-installed them. I adjusted the carb back to the default settings for start up which is 2 1/2 turns on the bypass and mixture screws and fired it up. I then proceeded to fine tune it and it now runs like a top. It's amazing how things work like they are suppose to when they aren't full of green gunk. THANK YOU OBAMA for this awesome ethanol fuel that you have forced us to use!

This picture is of the bug right after I installed the muffler and got it running good. You can see that since I installed the engine the back end is sagging. I set out to fix that this weekend also by re-indexing the spring plates to lift the rear end.
 I started out by measuring the bumper from where it was sitting. It measured 19 1/2 inches.
 I then put a jack underneath it and raised it to the height I wanted it to end up being.
 That measurement was 21 1/2 inches so I needed to lift it about 2 inches.
I then used my fancy chart I found and calculated the amount I needed to adjust the spring plates.
If your going to raise or lower your bug this is how you do it. Start off by removing the 3 bolts that attach your swing arm to your spring plate.
 You then need to remove your shocks. I was pleasantly surprised that these shocks are in great shape. I am going to reuse them for now.
 Now, remove the 4 bolts that hold the torsion cap on. Spray them with penetrating oil and let them soak if it's rusty. If you break one of these bolts it is possible to drill it out. Not fun but possible.
 Pull the cover away. I then took a pry bar and pried out the spring plate. Be careful at this point because it can injure you if your hand is in the wrong spot. Once you have it off the stop it will spring down to about this position.
I took a paint pen and marked where the spring plate originally sat in case I needed to put it back there when I was adjusting it. Here you can see that mark.
 I then did my adjustments. You can see how it now sits at more of an angle. I will say at this point that IF you are lowering your bug it will be really easy to get your spring plate back on the stop because you will be adjusting it in the opposite direction that I adjusted this one. It therefore makes it a lot closer to the stop. I have decided that I like re-indexing the rear when lowering a car a lot better then I like doing it to raise a car.
 This is why. As I was raising the spring plate to get it back onto the stop the first time it started lifting the car off the jack stands. I don't really like lifting a car off jack stands when that is all that is holding it up there. At this point Dixie had come home so I had her sit on the bumper of the car. I then started jacking it again and it lifted the car again. Hmm, by this time Dixie lost interest and went into the house. My neighbor came over to BS and so I had him sit on the bumper. I figured with him weighing more than my wife it would work. It didn't. I had the same result. Oh well, I had to get creative at this point so that is why you see the chain going from the shock mount down to the bottom of the jack. It worked great. The higher I raised the jack the more pressure it put on the chain and it kept the car securely on the jack stands. Success!!!!
 I just got the plate on the lower stop in this picture. I wish I had some pictures of Dixie and my neighbor trying to put weight on the car but I was too busy trying to keep the car from falling to the ground.
It is a good idea to get the bolts started in the cover like pictured here. If you don't you will fight getting the bolt holes to line up. Some people buy longer bolts to make this easier. I just removed the washers and I was able to get the bolts to work. Once everything was tightened and put back together I removed one bolt at a time and installed the washers.

 Everything is bolted back together. I had my fingers crossed that my calculations would work and I wouldn't have to do this again.
 I changed my rear hub also. The one on the car had 2 stripped holes for the lug nuts.
 In order to use the shocks I had and to gain some extra clearance I decided to relocate the lower shock holes. Here is where the stock holes are located. (If you keep reading until the end this is the thing that made me bleed and gave me the fat lip.)
I moved the holes up. I will cut off the lower part of the mount and that will give me another inch of clearance.
 I made some custom spacers and I had to buy longer bolts to mount the shock. The spacers take up the extra space that was caused by moving the shock up. It works great.
 The shock is bolted up and is ready to be trimmed. I will do that when I get some time.
 I then decided to adjust the clutch because I had no free play in the pedal. Here is where the bleeding and busting enter the picture. The wing nut and threads on the clutch cable were seized up. I used Kroil on it, wire brushed the threads, Kroiled it some more and then got my big channel locks out. I was trying to bust the wing nut loose and ended up smashing my mouth into the shock mount. I yelled, threw some things and spit some blood. I took a walk, looked at my fat lip and decided to give it another try. This time I busted the clutch cable and that is when I decided to call it a day. This is how it ended. I pushed it out of the garage and added a clutch cable on my to buy list. I guess it is good that it happened in my garage and not on the road.  On a positive note, the ride height is now perfect. I love the way it sits and hopefully, someday, I will actually be able to drive this thing.
It is sitting high now. I love it. It sure is easier to get into then my other bug.
 The best part of my day was when Ellie came out to help me. If you look real close you can see her holding 2 dolls. 1 is Sophia and the other one is Woody form toy story. Ellie said prince Phillip (AKA Woody) was there to help me fix the car. I loved the company especially after the problems I had just encountered.
So that is it for this week. I didn't make my goal of driving Lulu down the street today. I really hate not making my goals. I guess it is going to be a goal for the future. I need to go buy a clutch cable. If you want to know how to change a clutch cable in a bug check back. That should be the next post coming. Until then, keep the shiny side up!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Happy Holidays!

Well, I guess I can get into the holiday spirit now that Thanksgiving is over with. I had a great Thanksgiving day with my family and I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving also. Hopefully you were able to think of the things that you are grateful for in your life. I figured I would get the Christmas season started off right with this cool picture that I found on There is awesome hot rod artwork on that website.Check it out!
I hope everyone has a great holiday season this year and remembers to take time to think about the real meaning of Christmas.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

I will post my usual photo for Thanksgiving. This one has always cracked me up.

I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! This is the all time best holiday of the year. Good food, spend time with family and no worries or stress about presents or anything else. Enjoy it while it lasts. It drives me nuts that people let Christmas sales overrun the all time best holiday of the year. Be safe and responsible.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

It Runs!

I had a Saturday full of working on bugs. I got up early in the morning and did a tune up on Ed. (The white bug). It started running bad so I adjusted the valves, points and the timing. It runs like a top now. I then pushed Lulu (the blue bug) in the garage in hopes of getting the engine in and running. Here they are in the garage ready to be worked on.
 I didn't have any help so I dug out my engine hoist to get the engine off the stand. I guess I am getting old. If I can use a lift/hoist/crane/jack etc, I will. Anyways, here is the engine getting lowered down to the floor.
 I then lifted up the bug and pushed the engine under the car. At this point I grunted, groaned, and made some weird noises as I lifted the engine onto the jack.
 This is where I was when I remembered that the rear transmission mounts were bad. I had planned on replacing them but had forgotten all about it until then. So, I was off to Bob's VW to buy some mounts. I also picked up a brake hub that I needed and 2 lug nuts. I now have everything I need to get Lulu on the road except for a front windshield. I have a buddy that is going to install that for me when I can drive the bug into work. Here are the new trans mounts installed and now I was ready to get the engine installed.
This was just before I put the jack under it. I guess my pictures got mixed up but you get the idea.
 It was a tight fit on this bug. The custom alternator pulley cover got in the way when I was raising the engine but with a little wiggling it went past the engine compartment seal..
 I maxed out on the jack and still had about 2 inches I needed to raise it. I grabbed my other jack and lowered the bug to get the engine in. It worked out really good. I installed the 3 nuts and 1 bolt that hold the engine in and it was officially installed into Lulu.
I hooked up all the wiring and installed a big new fuel filter to catch any crap that may be in the tank. This is the first car I have got running after sitting for a long period of time that I didn't completely clean out the fuel tank and lines. I started draining the tank of fuel and I realized that the fuel didn't smell bad. It even looked good so I decided to run a big filter and take a chance with it. I guess I will find out if this was a mistake or not in a week or two. So, this is all the pictures I have but I did get it off the jack stands and I fired it up. I only have a header on it right now with no muffler so it was really loud. I drove it forward and put it in reverse and the trans seems OK. I need to adjust the clutch and tune up the engine but I think it will work out good. My oil light is inop and I will need to fix that. The wiring on this bug is not as nice as my other bug. It looks like a rats nest so I am expecting to have some gremlins to work out as time goes by. That's OK though, I am getting to not hate electrical problems anymore. They are a challenge and I like that. That is where I ended my day. I need to re-index the rear suspension and get an alignment and it should be roadworthy. Oh ya and get the muffler installed before the neighbors call the cops on me.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Saturday in the shop

I spent the day working in the shop. It was a good day to be in there because it was rainy and cold outside. I started out fixing some rear brakes on a dodge neon. It was also time to change the oil on Dixie's van so I had Isaac do that for me. He is a good helper in the garage and always likes being out there. Here he is adding the oil to the van. I'm not sure about his choice of shoes but you know kids nowadays. Ha Ha.

 I ran the metal fuel line for the bugs engine. It is mostly metal from the fuel pump to the front tin. I added some bigger fuel line over metal line so it won't vibrate and wear a hole in it. The last thing I want is fuel squirting around in the engine compartment.
 I ran all new rubber fuel lines. The old ones were hard and brittle.
I also added some safety wire to the fuel inlet line of the carburetor. You should always do this if you have an air cooled VW. This is a well known problem on the carbs. The brass inlet actually can vibrate out of the carb and then you are pumping fuel all over your engine until the fuel bowl is drained of fuel. Many VW fires have been caused because of this. You can also drill and tap your carb and then install a threaded nipple but I find it much easier to just throw some safety wire on it and call it a day.
 We installed the exhaust and the engine is now officially ready to be put in  the bug. I was hoping to install it today but I ran out of energy and motivation. I also didn't want to scrape my windows on Monday so I opted to keep my other bug in the garage for a couple days. Here are the before and after photos.


Isaac is excited to get the engine installed. This is his look of annoyance because I told him I didn't want to push Lulu into the garage to install the engine.
We are hoping to get it installed this week before Saturday. If that happens, we can work on getting the rear suspension raised and the rear wheel bearings packed. It will then be on the road. Woo Hoo. We can't wait for that. We might be able to make it before Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 14, 2013


My friend came over on Sunday and I was showing him the shop and then I was showing him my old international truck. The truck has some granola/hippie stickers in the back windows. I have always liked the one with a skeleton in an old blue truck. I actually planned on keeping that one and getting rid of the rest. I took the time to look at it closely and cracked up when I actually read it. Here it is on the window. The bottom one has got to go but I am definitely keeping the top one.
So here is a close up view of the sticker. Ha Ha. It fits me perfectly. It's actually a grateful dead sticker. I am not into the grateful dead but I do like the sticker.
Someday I will get this truck running and I am sure I will enjoy the ride every time I drive it!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Engine is 90% complete.

I am pretty sure I can get the engine installed in Lulu this week. I have been working on getting it all back together and ready to be installed and I think it is just about there. I have a couple more things to powder coat and it will be ready. I think it would of been ready last night and installed today but I ran into a couple snags. I was planning on running the fuel injected exhaust system on it because I have a brand new muffler for a fuel injected engine and it sits really high up so I would have more ground clearance. Last night as I was getting the exhaust ready to install onto the engine I found out that the drivers side heat exchanger was rusted out. I determined it was too bad to weld and was too bad to drive safely. I have 2 sets of older heat exchangers so I decided to use the best set on this engine. It will probably be for the best because I can now use the heat risers so my carb will not ice up in the winter. I will need to fabricate a bracket to get the older heat exchangers to work with my newer heater cables but that shouldn't be too bad. Here are the before and after photos of the engine. This picture is just after I pulled the engine from the baja and removed the exhaust. The weather really took it's toll on the 2 years it was in the baja.
 Here it is now after we spruced it up and assembled it so it is ready to get installed. Hopefully it stays looking this good now that we will have a full hood to cover it up.
 I think it looks pretty good. I hope it will run as good as it looks.
 I adjusted the valves today while it was up on the stand. It is much easier to do it here before it's installed in the car. I decided I need to powder coat the valve covers and the header I am going to run on it and then it will be ready to be put into the cart.
This project is taking longer than I wanted it to but hopefully it will be worth the extra time I have been taking. Hopefully in the next couple of weeks it will be on the road. Check back and see if it happens before Thanksgiving comes.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Getting the engine ready to install.

I have everything to put the engine back together for Lulu my class 11 bug. I needed to clean up the engine so on Friday I pushed it out and sprayed some degreaser on it.
 I fired up my pressure washer that a buddy gave me and sprayed it off. It worked great. I can see this pressure washer being very handy in the future.
 I even sprayed off the oil stain that Ed had left on the driveway. It was a beautiful sunny day so I let the engine dry off outside and then I went and did some yard work.
 Lulu has a later style transmission so I had to remove the ring you see here from the pressure plate. I had this engine installed in an earlier style transmission. To remove the ring you have to remove the pressure plate and remove the slip ring and the metal ring. If you are unsure if you have an early or late transmission, just look for the guide that is bolted over the drive spindle. If you have one, it is a later model. If you don't, it's an earlier one.
Saturday I spent most of the day cleaning up the garage so I could actually walk around in there. I did have some time to install some tins on the engine and mock up the intake manifold as you can see here. It's staring to come together and is looking pretty good I think.
 I spent some time polishing a few aluminum pieces that will be on the engine. My buffer made quick work out of this.
 I am almost ready to install the alternator into the dog house and then I can put that on. Here it is all powder coated and ready to be installed.
 I did some rearranging in the garage while I cleaned it. Lulu ended up getting pushed out and Ed got his spot back in the garage. I had some spare time to cover my air conditioner and even fertilize the grass on Saturday.It was perfect timing because............

This is what we woke up to! It snowed throughout the morning. It was great for the fertilizer I just put down and Ed was happy to be in the garage. It looks like I didn't make my goal of getting Lulu running before the first snow fall but I am getting close.
You have really got to love Utah! Yesterday it was 70 degrees and I did yard work in a t-shirt and today it is snowing and barely 40 degrees. Ha Ha, I do love it though. Until the next post, enjoy your drive no matter what kind of weather comes your way.