Monday, 7 June 2010

The chassis teardown ends!

Armed with a shiny new 26mm socket I set about dismantling the last few parts of the chassis. I am pleased to say everything went smoothly this week and I sustained virtually no cuts or abrasions!

First of all I decided to unbolt the starter motor from the transmission casing:

Then I detached the rear shock absorbers, which is achieved by undoing a few nuts and bolts….

And they are off (but looking incredibly warn and filthy)! .....

Next I detached the clutch cable by removing the wing-nut that I have circle in the image below:

Just behind the transmission (underneath where the rear seat once sat) is a small inspection hatch which is held in place by a single cross headed screw:

This gave me access to the coupler that hooks the shift rod to the transmission. The square headed bolt that I have circled below just needed to be loosened to allow the shift rod to detach:

The axle tubes are held in place by three bolts. Please note that in the picture below only two of the bolts are visible and the third is obscured by the axle tube itself. It is behind there though, I promise!

I used my new 26mm socket combined with the breaker bar to take out the rear transmission nuts. Below you can see the left hand side one coming out and the right hand side one I have circled:

To release the handbrake cables from the rear brake drums I had to remove a cluster of nuts located on top of the handbrake, which I have circled below. In case you are wandering, I am pretty sure these improvised spacers (aka: unaesthetic stack of miss-matched nuts), which effectively increase the tension on the cables, are not standard VW issue:

Once the ends of the cables are loose they can be drawn out of the tubes at the rear of the car:

My next task was to remove the rear wheels and prop the chassis up on axle stands. Using my trusty trolley jack and a small piece of wood, I supported the weight of the transmission before attempting to pull it free:

All that remained was the removal two more smaller nuts that held the end of the transmission casing to the chassis. This is where the left hand side one was hiding:

.....and the right hand side:

After a small tug the transmission was free:

At this point the only other thing I could remove from the chassis was the pedal cluster. So I did. This cover plate is on the opposite side of the central tunnel to the pedals:

With the cover removed you can see the operating lever which the accelerator cable hooks onto. The lever was easily removed by taking off the spit pin (top red arrow in picture below) and the circlip (indicated by the bottom red arrow):

The lever then just pulls loose leaving just the end of the accelerator rod protruding from the tunnel:

Once the accelerator rod was drawn out from the other (driver's) side, the pedals were free to be lifted out. Using a small screwdriver I coaxed loose the 'guide-tube-backing-plate-thingy' and pulled it out of the tunnel:

And so at the end of the day this is what was left of my bride n' joy.......

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The chassis teardown begins!

I have just had a very productive bank holiday Monday and managed to strip a lot of components off the chassis. The first job I tackled was the brake lines. You can see below where they attach to the master cylinder:

And here is the junction where they connect at the rear of the car:

After dismantling:

For the first time during this project I was 100% confident that the components that make up the brake system would come apart without any drama. This is because I replaced all of the brake lines and master cylinder with new ones about 8 years ago and liberally applied copper grease to all of the threads at the time. It made everything so much easier and I gave myself a pat on the back for thinking ahead.

Before I could remove the master cylinder I needed to detach the push-rod that connects to the brake pedal. This was simply a case of removing a circlip and sliding out the pin:

I was then able to pull out the push rod and remove the master cylinder:

I then turned my attention to front beam which connects to the chassis by 4 bolts which are clearly visible in the image below:

I drenched the bolts in lots of penetrating fluid and then jacked the front up slightly to take the strain off of the bolts as I began to remove them: 

Once they had all been taken out, the front beam (with the wheels still attached) came free easily:

.....then I decided to take the wheels off (I have no idea why I did it this way round, I just did!) and this is what I was left with:

Next weekend I shall hopefully find the time to work on the rear section of the chassis and will be removing the transmission.
Note to self: I will need to purchase a 26mm socket for unscrewing the two huge bolts that secure the transmission onto the frame.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Seperated after 45 years together!

Significant headway was made this weekend as the shell was finally removed from the chassis! The night before I was incredibly restless and this was followed in the morning by sweaty palms and butterflies relentlessly dive-bombing my stomach – I guess I was just a little anxious! Oh, I would just like to say a big thank you to my wonderful assistant, Dangerman, who came down to the garage and helped me out for the afternoon (and whose poor yet infectious humour kept me going when things got tense!).

The first task was to reorganise my garage and finish the assembly of the giant saw horses. The picture below shows just how snug the fit is at the back of the garage

Confident that all the pre-flight checks had been done and the front wheels chocked on both sides with wooden wedges, I began jacking up the rear of the car. This had to be done in stages adding pieces of wood at various intervals to effectively ‘shim up’ my little trolley jack. This process was not exactly safe and I kept a good distance from the car at all times. Having a second person around at this point was very reassuring (thanks again Dangerman) and ensures that the car can be monitored from different perspectives for anything precarious!

With another piece of wood added to the top of the jack (gulp!) I was able to achieve the necessary 3 ft clearance under the rear valance to slide the saw horse underneath.

The theory was then to lower the jack and let the combined weight of the chassis and transmission pull itself free of the shell. I lowered the jack with great anticipation and ...nothing happened apart from a slight bit of flexing! I pumped the jack back up to support the weight of the chassis and after probing around the key areas of the car I identified another small patch that had been welded to an area that was previously hidden from view. No problem – a quick bit of cutting later and I was confident that nothing else would hold me back. With a confident smile I lowered the jack again and still NOTHING! I was perplexed – there was nothing visibly stopping the car separating and I hypothesized that the whole thing just need a short sharp jolt to break the 45 year old bond. What happened next was probably the most regrettable decision that I have taken thus far! I pumped up the jack as high as it would go and dropped it quick to shock the car. The only thing this achieved was to stress the body work. In the short video below you can see how the moment of impact caused massive flexing….


Oooouch! Anyway, after a lot of swearing and searching through an ocean of rusty metal flakes with a flat head screwdriver I uncovered the distinct outline of an equally rusty bolt below where the rear seat once sat (which I have circled in the photo's below).

I checked the other side of the car and found the same thing. My heart sank – if only I had found those bloody bolts before resorting to violently abusing my poor car!

With the nuts removed the car came apart without any drama. The video below captures the delightful moment(s) of separation…


Getting the front of the car up onto the saw horse was a lot more straight forward as me and Dangerman were able to lift the shell up between the two of us. I think we were both surprised at just how deceptively light the shell actually is!

Then it was just a case of rolling the chassis out from underneath....

Finally after months of planning and tinkering the rolling chassis was free!

Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Fiddly (adjective): Difficult to do, handle, or use, usually because intricate work with the hands or small objects are involved

Well, since my last post I have been intermittently busy working on the bug. The reason I haven’t blogged for a while is because all of the jobs have been rather small and awkward, so I thought I would wait until I had made significant visual headway before summarising my progress.

I seem to be using the reciprocating saw more than the ratchet at the moment in order to remove the old corroded botched patches that have been haphazardly holding the car together for decades. Spot the difference in the images below:

Now you see it...

...and now you dont! Another messy chunk of rotten bug removed.

Because the car now contains less material, coupled with the fact that I am frequently discovering more corroded metal lying in wait beneath the suspicious layers of underseal, there is now less overall structural stability. Feeling slightly uneasy about the situation I decided to take vital precautions!

Using a couple of lengths of angle iron I made some temporary cross braces for the bottom of the doors to stop the shell warping and spreading as the support from those old heater channels diminishes.

It was just a simple case of drilling a couple of holes in the door posts (high enough up so that the metal was still sound)……

……Then using some self tapping screws to secure the angle iron in place.

The exciting news is that the shell is now finally ready to be lifted off the pan. Ooh, the anticipation! It is kind of funny that from what I have read in various manuals, a confident individual should be able to do this whole task in an afternoon! The reality is that this is not the case for a 45 year old car! 9 times out of 10 the old stubborn bolts just don’t want to budge, so the only solution is to douse them with WD40 and use the breaker bar for maximum leverage. The brief seconds of celebration that I feel when they finally start to turn is usually quashed by a disconcerting crunching sound. The bolt then spins freely indicating that the captive nut inside the car has broken free due to my arch enemy ...corrosion! Bugger, I sigh to myself - time to get the reciprocating saw out again!

Anyways, tune in next week for more cuts, bruising and musing!