June 2016

I’ve been upgrading my workshop with an arc welder and a TIG torch. (also known as heliarc)
I am not getting the results I want from the TIG yet, need to figure that out.
I also have a small sandblasting cabinet and a few other odds and ends.
The finish welding for the engine cradle and suspension parts isn’t done, but has progressed a lot.
Everything went on hold for our summer vacation, and is slowly resuming.
Everything takes longer than it should!

Cruising through Palos Verdes

I’m fine, just haven’t posted anything. I went to a few Corvair events – SCC had a cruise down around Palos Verdes . That was fun. We got rain at the very end, which was inconvenient. We finished at the Korean Friendship Bell for photos. I left the car running, as we were only going to be there for a moment.
The moment dragged on, and as I was almost back to the car, it erupted in water and steam.
It was chilly and raining, and I hadn’t turned on the radiator fan. (No, it is not thermostatic.)
Temperature and pressure rose, and one of the PVC-to-steel fittings blew out and dumped the cooling system.
Ok, shut the motor off and had a look – a threaded steel pipe stub had come out of the PVC fitting it was screwed into.
As things cooled down a bit, I found that the pvc had returned to shape and I could simply screw the steel pipe back into it.
One of the club members found a water faucet with hose behind a nearby building. I thanked them, and they all left. I was able to drive over there and refill the cooling system, then head home. In the city, I get plenty of rain through the mesh top. Anyway, found shelter, got the wipers reconnected, and drove home.

2014 Capital City Spring Fling

The Corvair club near Sacramento has an event every spring. It seemed like a fun event and I decided to go.

Partly for this event, and also because I had been thinking of the Convention in Tacoma, I had decided that I needed a bit of rain resistance.
To start, a non-mesh top should help in wet weather.
Joann’s has regular sales, and I got a big chunk of outdoor vinyl. They were out of black, but they had some gray that matches the primer very nicely. A lady at our church was willing to do the sewing, so I gave her the vinyl and the existing mesh top as a pattern.

While she was working on the top, I fabbed up some rear quarter windows (1/8″ clear plastic) for the car and mounted them in. Very light, and fit fairly well. Also got the wiper motor working and a switch hung in temporarily.

The church lady had some challenges getting the vinyl sewn, and some of the stitching wasn’t perfectly straight. Also, I had asked that it be a bit larger on the sides, and she obliged. My estimate wasn’t too good, and it kind of flaps down over the sides a bit far. Dang. Well, it’s still ok.

Overall, it’s … wait for it … “good enough”.
That’s the mantra for this car.

Anyway, at the very last minute I was installing the snaps in the fabric and got it installed on the Toy.
The weather promised rain enroute, and I’d really decided to go and had sent in my registration fee.

I got the car together late Friday, and decided to catch a nap then drive through the night.
I found out the vinyl top was horribly noisy, because the front edge caught air coming off the windshield. It billowed up, howled like a banchee at anything over 40 mph, and would funnel any rain on the windshield into the inside of the vinyl and onto me.

I kept the vinyl in place up to Gorman, then stopped at the gas station there. Vinyl top off, mesh top on.
Turns out that, at speed, the mesh works just fine!

So, the rest of the weekend I kept the mesh top in place. In Sacramento, we had no rain after early morning. I had some rain coming home, but kept moving and everything worked fine.

Oddly, the only time I got much water through the door window opening was going down the Grapevine toward Bakersfield. The wind was quartering and I was getting raindrops in my eyes for a bit.

The car ran fine, and hwy 99 is somewhat scenic. It was a good trip.

Recovery – followup

When I got the Toy back, I didn’t recognize the coolant leak right away. I actually drove it a couple of miles with no coolant at all!

When I finally recognized the problem, I had it transported to my friend’s place in San Dimas.

After I fixed the leak, the motor didn’t sound very happy. Also, the coolant seemed to be bubbling and fizzing. These symptoms suggested a damaged motor – possibly bearing damage and head gasket or maybe even cracked head.

I called my insurance and filed a claim. They sent an adjustor, who was very helpful. But he wanted an independent evaluation of the motor’s health. So, I arranged for a mobile mechanic to come and check it out.

The mobile mechanic arrived, and immediately recognized the motor. This was an excellent start. He listened to it run, and checked the coolant for combustion gases. The diagnosis: The noise was a noisy lifter and there was no indication of combustion gases in the coolant.

I had mixed feelings, of course. If they had payed for a the cost of a motor replacement, that would have gone toward the next swap – my supercharged motor waiting in the wings. But now I don’t have to do the swap right away, and can keep having fun until I’m ready to do the swap.

The mechanic suggested clean oil and maybe an additive to quiet the lifter. I did change the oil, and it did quiet down nicely.

The insurance paid me for the towing/impound, the mechanic’s fee, money for the cleanup I did myself, money for the damaged ignition switch and stereo, and even for the cooling system repair, since it all happened when the car was stolen. I’m happy.


The Toy – Stolen, recovered

Last week, the Toy was stolen while parked in West Covina. I drove it to the EDD office there, to visit the Experience Unlimited office.
When I came out at 4:30, it was gone. My wife came and got me. We went to the police station and filed a report.
By 9:30 that evening, the car had been recovered. Part of the cooling system had failed, and it overheated. The car was abandoned on the freeway median.
Primary damage: possible bad head gasket (looks like combustion gasses in coolant) and an engine noise. Looks like this engine is done for. Time to get moving on the next phase of the project. The car was insured, so the adjustor must see it and I’ll see what kind of settlement I can get.
More later…

Susan’s new NewBeetle

After I killed the other, we found this one.

From Susan’s New Beetle, posted by Jay Maechtlen on 4/05/2011 (2 items)

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(Susan’s New Beetle)