Monday 10 April 2017

New BBT rear valance

I am slowly acquiring top quality reproduction panels as and when they happen to be on sale. This week I got an accurate rear valence manufactured by BBT, who are based in Belgium:

Really impressed by this panel in every way and the finish is simply excellent. When compared against my original valance I was able to see just how bent and knackered the old one was:

The photo doesn't show the full extent of the damage, but replacing it is definitely the best course of action. Even if I possessed half decent panel beating skills it would take a substantial amount of time to get this back to anywhere near straight - and that's before any fabrication work to repair the inner reinforcement section behind the tail pipes.

Couldn't resist a quick dry fit on the car:

Looks great but the fit is slight off in places, but I think this will be corrected when I have straightened out the rear bumper hangers. In summary, I am very happy with this panel!

Wednesday 5 April 2017

Repairing the original accelerator pedal

It would have been quick and convenient to simply replace the old accelerator pedal with a remanufacted one. However, I am keen to keep all of the tactile control services original as I believe they embody the historical ‘soul’ of the car. When I am eventually driving the car again I want the satisfaction of knowing that I am pressing on the same pedals that were operated by all of Gretchen’s former owners  since the day she left the VW dealership.

The accelerator pedal was in a bit of a sorry state, with the bottom section having been hacked off by a previous owner (after it started to rot away I am guessing). A door hinge was instead bolted on and welded to the floor in a ramshackle fashion. It was unsightly and not at all smooth to operate. Occasionally when driving the pedal would jam solid if depressed too far. Not particularly good or safe!

I took the later ‘roller ball’ donor pedal that I recently scored for a fiver at Dubfreeze and compared it against my original and decided how best to join the two together:

After careful measuring I cut the required bottom section off of the donor pedal:

Marked up a corresponding cut line on my original pedal and trimmed down accordingly:

Got the two pieces and aligned them on a flat sturdy piece of copper backer:

After tacking the sections in place from behind I unclamped and double checked everything was correctly aligned before fully welding from the front side. Had to crank up the amps on the welder to ensure good penetration as the steel is quite thick:

After linishing back I reached for my new magic toy, a 5" Random Orbit Sander:

I am so impressed with the way that this thing finishes the metal. It really helps smooth out and blend the repaired area given an almost invisible finish (assuming that prior care has been taken with panel alignment etc):

After a lick of zinc primer I measured out the correct location for the 6mm hole. I don’t think this serves any particular purpose, but who am I to argue with the wisdom of VW:

All finished and looking like a functional whole once again: