My Smyth-Utes build thread

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Yup, I'm building a trucklet. I also voted to call it a Jettachero, since it uses a Ford Ranger tailgate. At some point when the paint is finished, I'll have to see if I can find letters to spell that out. I was asked to be sure and do a build thread and post lots of photos, so here it is. I'll try and show as much as is reasonable.

I'm going to try and post a photo or two after each day I work, probably a couple of hours in the evening if it is during the week, and a day on Saturdays. I will be taking a few vacation days, so there will be more work done on those days of course.

If you are considering one of these and have a specific question, there are some builders forums via the Smyth Performance website. I think anyone can view them. I'll try and answer questions that are asked when I get to that part. Sometimes photos trump any explanation, so when I can get a decent shot I'll include those. And I'll be posting the photos by using the TDIClub photo forum, so if you want to see them all at once, my personal photo album would be the place to go.

Some background:

I envisioned having a car to play with, but after a couple of false starts and bad choices, I settled on turning a Jetta TDI into a trucklet since a 2-dr Golf chassis isn't appropriate (Mark just didn't do it sized for the 2-dr Golf chassis). In 2012 I bought my target car, but let it sit for way too long, which had the dual effect of accumulating more rust and old cobwebs, and helping me figure out what I really want to do. Needing a small truck to do a lot of other stuff, and being tired of scrambling to find someone that could help, I have finally decided to pull the trigger.

Now, I had the target car, but when I found they were doing a New Beetle kit, my wife, who owns a TDI NB, was quite intrigued. So I've reserved one of those kits, but she is resisting. So I've decided to go ahead to do the Jetta, hoping that when she sees I can get that done, then the NB can be done and turn out well, too.

So here it goes.

I bought the Jetta kit from Smyth, and arranged to go pick it up today. Mark was there, agreeing to allow the Saturday pickup since I am fairly local, and shipping would be just kinda silly, really, since I'm so close. He did note after stuffing the kit in the back of my Golf that it was the smallest pickup vehicle he had yet seen. I had earlier asked it it would fit in the back of a Golf and he had answered yes, so I assumed it had been done before. Well, now we know for sure, it has now been done before, and yes, it does fit. One caveat, they drop ship the tailgate to you separately. The interesting reason: if it only gets shipped once, there is only the one time that the shippers can drop, dent, bend, or otherwise screw it up. Sounds good to me. The upshot: technically it isn't the entire kit in the back of my Golf, but it is as close as you will get.

We needed some extra cardboard and a little bubble wrap to keep parts from rubbing together and causing damage. Some duct tape helped hold things. If you ever do this, don't use duct tape in the summer. The heat would cause the adhesive to stick to the parts and be a mess to clean off, which needs to be done before prep for painting. And if you do it on a glorious day like we had here in the northeast today, peel it off as soon as you possibly can after getting it home. That's the best way to take care of that potential problem. For me, the tape peeled easily off the parts, but some stuck to my tailgate where I had taped a couple of safety flags since the parts stick out the back past the bumper of the car.

***************************
Mark took a photo at his loading dock when the kit was loaded and I was ready to drive off. I asked him to send a copy to me and I'll post it here when it comes.


I'll start here first. I have an engine hoist! I bought this one from a guy on craigslist, disassembled it, drove it to the shop, and have reassembled it. Since I'll need to swap the engine, it was necessary.



Here's a photo at my house. Just got back from a drive from Wareham, MA to Concord, NH.



Then I drove it over to the shop. I have unloaded the kit parts.




And here's the target car in the shop. There isn't much room - I had to get out the passenger side. I'll probably have to use a jack to move it sideways a little when I need room on the driver's side. Come to think of it, my own garage has this much room. If I can convince my wife, I'll use that. This is a great spot in case I need a little support or help, and the lights are better. But I need to clean my own garage.




The gray spots on the hood are zinc paint I put there over rust spots. I first sanded off the rust, of course, as zinc over rust won't do anything for you.
Galvanizing depends on a good physical contact that has to be electrically sound, and rust doesn't fill the bill. I'm testing out ways to stop rust. This paint seems to work OK. It has a very high metal content, and actually sands to a shiny metal surface. It ought to make a good base for the primer.

The larger gray areas are where I tested a rustoleum product: 'Never Wet'. I don't think it is appropriate for a car surface as the top coat isn't nearly durable enough. And obviously, it will never qualify as a show car finish. The top coat is rough, like 100 or 120 grit sandpaper, and has the appearance of translucent latex. It gets softer after a rain, so it isn't immune from water osmosis. I'll end up sanding it off anyway, so no biggie. It was interesting to satisfy my curiosity. I think it will work well on one particular surface on my home's exterior.

Anyhow, that is day 1. Day 2 is Monday. Tomorrow, Sunday, I'll not be working on the car. Nor any other Sunday. I've never heard anyone claim that God repealed the Ten Commandments, so. It might also keep Murphy confused enough to leave me alone for a day or two.

Day 2 is planned to go pick up the new-to-me used engine*, and spend the rest of the day stripping out the rear (everything after the front seats) of the interior. If I get to it, I'll also remove the rear doors and trunk lid. If anyone needs rear door parts (except the door latch mechanisms both sides and the speakers which nobody wants anyway), glass, rear seats, seat belts, trunk lining stuff, let me know. I'm not thinking there will be any takers, but for most of it, offer to come get it and for a stupid low price you can have it. Otherwise it will all get recycled.

Cheers!

PH

* - I knew the Jetta needed a timing belt job, and after I did it I found the water pump impeller had separated on the old pump, and the engine smoked rather badly indicating to me that it is hurt. It will be easier and lots less trouble and lots cheaper to just replace the engine rather than rebuild the old one. The transaxle was really hard to shift, but that might just be dry from sitting and cable ends that are worn and need replacement, or bushings in the shifter that need help. We'll see. At least the clutch seems OK.
 
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turbobrick240

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 18, 2014
Location
maine
TDI
2011 vw golf tdi(gone to greener pastures), 2001 ford f250 powerstroke
Nice. Those Ute projects look like a lot of fun. Looking forward to the progress.
 

KCTDI

Veteran Member
Joined
Nov 1, 2002
Location
Kingdom City, Missouri
TDI
2014 Touareg
Mine is my daily driver and it gets used. Look on facebook.com for "Smyth Ute Tech Support " and "VW, Audi, Dodge, Subaru Builders Page"
 

jmodge

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 18, 2015
Location
Greenville, MI
TDI
2001 alh Jetta, RC2 5speed daily commuter and 2000 alh Jetta 5spd swap, 2" lift, hitch, stage 3 TDtuning w/502's backroad cruiser
A guy from GR had one at Kirks get together last year, used it for a shop parts runner. Pretty neat little rig. Good luck with that, sounds like fun
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 2 - clean out

So today I started actually working on the car. I took vacation days today and tomorrow to get the project going.

But first thing, I had an appointment to pick up a new-to-me engine because I think my Jetta has a bad one. Unfortunately, when I got there, I saw a BEW set out ready for me. Since I'm working on a 2002, and need an ALH, that didn't fly. I had a brief conversation with the owner of the yard, and told him why it wouldn't work. But he's not a VW fan, so he just didn't know. I think probably what happened is that an insurance adjuster, who also probably doesn't know much about cars and certainly nothing about VW diesels, looked at the manufacture date in the door jamb, read a late 2003 date, and wrote it up as a 2003 instead of a 2004 model year car. Sigh... all that driving for nothing. But the silver lining is that the guy has another coming in the next few days that is supposed to be a 2001 with only 90k miles on it. We'll see.

Meanwhile, I ended up getting a late start. After about 4 hours of work, I knocked off for a possible errand which didn't work out. After that I went back to the shop and labeled some connectors, checked a different junk yard part (passenger side seat belt igniter was giving an error that the resistance was too high) and yes, it makes the error go away, but I screwed up by getting the seat belt reel from a GTI. The end connector for the belt is different, and they can't be swapped. Ugh. So something else to correct later.

I also decided to run the combustion gasses in the coolant test to be really sure my engine is toast and didn't just give a dazzing oil-fog display due to accumulation in the exhaust while I was letting the poor thing sit while being ignored. So I did a most interesting thing before running the test - I read the label. Gasp! So there it was, in bright, clear, and very fine print: doesn't work on diesels. They have a different fluid. So on the way home I stopped by that same FLAPS and returned the fluid and test device where they have a loaner program (so the cost is nil for the device, but you have to buy the fluid), and I'll do that one later also. As in, after they get the diesel version of the fluid in later this week.

And the rest of the story is that I was able to get a lot of trim stuff out of the trunk, remove the trunk lid, the right side rear door, the rear seat belts, and get pretty close to being able to cut. I still have the left rear door and some trim stuff. It shouldn't take too long, but I have to move the car because that left side placement at the moment will only allow the door to open about 6 inches, and that's not enough to get to the bolts on the door hinges. Not to mention it isn't enough room for me to get in and out.

Now for the photos:

Left side of the trunk. The spare is still sitting in there, but just about everything else is gone. Needs some other debris cleaned up as well, but that's just life. There's a couple of rust spots that were hiding under that coarse "fabric" that is the trunk liner. I'll sand the rust off and paint with zinc paint, then cover it with primer at a later time, and before I cover it with aluminum panels, of course.



Right side of trunk. You'll notice there are labels on the car side of the connectors. I'm going to be using the tail light connectors, or at least the wires, and try to use the license plate light connectors, hopefully by using the lights I have already. I have the trunk cylinder (still attached to the trunk lid) and the latch and latch popper were carefully removed and available for someone else - they're in great shape, and I won't be using them in the target trucklet. Same for the fuel door popper. Well, in a photo further down I think you can see the fuel door popper hasn't been removed yet, but I'm not going to need it, so I'll pull that out tomorrow.



A larger view from the rear. The glass is still there - I'm not worried about it, and I still need to remove the bumper cover, which won't take long.



The right rear door jamb. I haven't removed the igniter hook up for the seat belt retractor, which connector you can see above the door latch striker. It's the yellow thing just peeking up about halfway between the striker and the top of the photo just inside the door opening flange.


And the front side of the right rear door opening. The trim is loose, but I'm not certain where to cut it yet, so it is going to get folded around a bit.

Pulling the plug for the door isn't too bad, but the plugs just don't want to come apart. Since my example has manual roll up windows, there is only 1 plug for the speakers and auto door lock. For electric windows there'd be another. The plug is best attacked from the door side of the connection. I ended up cracking the car side of mine, but since I don't need it anyway, it is a big meh. I didn't think about this until now, but I'm not entirely sure that having the door just unplugged won't cause difficulties. For example, what happens when I lock it up? I'll probably have to figure out which pair of wires need to be connected so that the ECU/convenience control module thinks the rear door(s) are always closed. I noticed that the rear seat belt buckles don't have wiring like the fronts do, so the computer won't cry about the rear seat belts not being latched properly, but I forgot to check the latches. Too worried about the retractor igniters and overhead curtain airbags, I guess. Maybe some research on the Smyth forums will have the answers.

You'll notice the front passenger seat belt reel hanging there. You have to remove it to be able to get to one of the bolts for the lower door hinge. Those bottom hinges bolt to the body with a bolt coming from the outside, and one coming from the inside. The upper hinge at the body has only the one bolt coming from the outside. XZN bits are the hot tip for these. Yes, this is the reel with the error I discussed above.



Well, that's about it. There's a few more details. I'm not quite sure yet what to do about the side air bag. This is the one whose igniter is way back in the corner by the lower edge of the glass and shelf. Basically the bottom of the C pillar. It runs along the C pillar, then along the upper edge of the doors to the top of the A pillar. I don't mind keeping them, but since the rear 2/3 of the bag will now be useless, I'm not sure how I'd keep it on the front part while the back part is folded up, and the igniter would be back in that as well. There just isn't a good way to mount anything and have that air bag work well, I don't think. I'll probably end up soldering resistors into the wires so that the computer won't complain constantly about it.

I set some of the trunk liner and a few trim items outside because as generous as my friend is, there isn't a lot of room inside. And I wasn't gentle in removing it. There's a lot of fasteners, and they're made to build the car quickly, and hold on to the liner and trim parts. They are NOT made for easy removal and/or replacement. In fact, the only way to get most of them out that I can see is to destroy the fastener. They are those plastic things with a barb style poker that is made to go through a hole and never come out. They work well at that, but they're silly expensive to replace after you destroy them. (Have you ever priced those stupid things? $1.50+ for a 2-cent connector???) Anyway, nobody is going to want this trim stuff, so I don't feel bad about destroying it and the one-time use fasteners.

So far I have a trunk lid, a right rear door, trunk lid cylinder that would need to be re-keyed to be useful (I'm keeping my keys, thank you), the trunk latch, the trunk popper, and the fuel door popper. These would be useful. Of these, probably the trunk latch stuff might be claimed. The left rear taillight lens is good, and the little bulb cage would be good if you need one. The right side rear lens has a couple of star cracks. I need to ensure what the color codes are for the wires so I know how to hook up the target taillights, so I'm not ready to get rid of them yet.

The rest of the stuff: trim parts, liner, trunk lid, rear doors, well, unless you drive up here to get them and send a message within the next couple of days, I can't see that these parts are in sufficient demand to want to hang on to them. So they'll kick around until it is convenient for me to scrap them.

I'm figuring I'll be able to take care of the trim on the other side, remove the left rear door, and the roof liner, and maybe be able to make the first trial cut tomorrow (day 3).

Cheers!

PH
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 3 - first rough cut

Today I started out by repositioning the car. You can see how close it was on the left to the wall, so I used the engine hoist to wrap around the trunk and just move the rear sideways. This leaves me with sufficient room and I may not need to move it again until it is ready to leave the garage.

Then I finished moving wires, marking the connectors, getting them out of the way, cutting the organizing retaining do-dads that won't come out of holes because of the barbs. I was able to loosen and remove about half of the curtain airbags on both sides, remove the oh-my-goodness handles, the courtesy lights, the radio antenna, and get all the wiring in the roof out of the way. Actually, in the roof there is only the courtesy light wires, and the radio antenna lead, the antenna going to the right side.

I removed the left rear door. It came out much easier than the right, particularly since I knew already about the bolt arrangement on the hinges, how to get to the inside bolts, and how to r&r the seatbelt reel to get to that bottom hinge bolt on the inside.

The seatbelt reels for the back are out. Since they aren't wired with an igniter for emergency retraction, they're smaller than the fronts. The friend whose shop I am using has a use for them, so he's got them now.

I haven't trimmed or cut the roof liner nor the backing. I'll wait on that. Maybe I should search for a good gray plaid to use instead. Votes?

I made the first rough cuts using a sawsall. Since it is my first time using that tool, the cuts were not bullet straight. For the roof cut, maybe a skilsaw with a metal blade would be better. My friend has one of those as well, so I'll try some practice cuts before I do the final cut, since I have the room to practice.

After cutting the roof free, we took it outside for the scrap heap. The rear window is fine and there's pigtails for the defroster. Speak now if you want it.

After getting the big chunk off, I finished removing the bumper cover and the attaching hardware, took a good look at where the final cut should be on just the cut extending across the back, and made that cut.

So now I have some trimming on each side, and some cleanup to do. You'll see in the photos - lots of debris inside like maple seeds, a little trash in the rear seat area, and the results of spiders doing their mightiest to reinforce the paint with spider silk.

There's a few places, not many but a few, on the inside where a little moisture has gained entry and caused some rust. I suspect it was rather chronic in terms of water being in those places as the inside surfaces have as strong anti-rust treatment as most of the exterior surfaces, with the exception of a heavy plastic coating on the underside of the car. I will have to clean the rust off, treat with zinc paint, then prime it. I have no interest in my trucklet rusting out too soon. This and the other cleanup will add a few hours. It needs doing before I cover it with alumninum sheets. I'll also need to locate a rivet gun that can handle 5/16" rivets. Yikes but that is large. No worries though - they are structural rivets so they need to be large in order to be sufficiently strong.

Here's the photos:
This is the rear of the car, held up by the engine hoist after we pushed it to the side.

How much extra room was made for the left side. There was just enough room to open the doors and gain access to hinge bolts and remove the rear door.


The curtain airbag igniter/inflater looks like this. I have its mirror image on the other side of the car. I managed to free up more than half, but I doubt anyone will ask for it. I'm just wondering if I should just cut it, or pull out the whole thing. Certainly I can't ship it anywhere because I don't have a shipping harness (probably just a very expensive shorting plug to keep it from blowing up in transit) and I'm not interested in going to find one. Still, if anyone wants one or both, don't hesitate to come get them. This is a very limited offer.

See? I TOLD you I can't do anything with it!!


Every other one of these powered antenna bases I've seen are the epitome of corrosion and useless electronics. This one isn't, after all I haven't done for it, and neither did the original owner(s). It still looks good with no apparent damage. Maybe there's hope for the radio.. nah. I'll get a good aftermarket head unit at some point in the near future (read: within a year or so, maybe sooner). BTW: there's a cartridge CD deck that goes in the trunk available. No cassette for it though.

So after you loosen the antenna base, you have this wire running to the right under the roof. There's a connector after about 1 foot of cable. I turned and turned and the darn thing wasn't getting loose at all. After finally getting my glasses and looking closely, those things I thought were coarse threads were really a spring. You push that black collar toward the car side of the connector then pull out the lead to the antenna. Not hard, if you stop and think instead of just spin it or yank on the connectors.

Another view of the car side of the antenna connector out under the roof.

The masking tape here is meant to line out the first trial rough cut. Hot tip: cheap masking tape just isn't worth the bother. Just. Don't.

The roof joins the scrap heap.

I did manage to do the final cut across the back.

As Captain Obvious would say, there's no going back now...

The next few days will not show nearly as much progress. I have to go back to work since I don't have unlimited vacation days. Kinda like the rest of the universe of normal people. But I'll try and get a couple of hours in after work on as many days as possible. This project won't be nearly as long as some projects can be, but you still need to keep after it as much as possible. In my case, I don't want to let it sit as the spiders might gang up and try to take over. Also, and more importantly, I assured my friend I'd be out of his shop in about a month. The way things are looking, the paint and body work might slow me down, but the major mechanical stuff is going just fine.

Cheers!

PH
 
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scotthershall

Veteran Member
Joined
Jun 16, 2003
Location
New England
TDI
2003 Jetta 5spd
I've heard of the Smyth Conversations before but for some reason never knew they had one for VWs! This is pretty neat! I'll be following along!



Good luck!
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 4

Today was really short. I didn't get a ton of things done because I simply did not have time. I should be able to do better tomorrow. And yesterday I didn't do anything at all. Life catches up to you sometimes.

And Scott, they actually started with VWs. The others they've added later. That's why the Jetta/Golf is the best selling kit (it's been around the longest and it's pretty popular for this sort of thing), but the New Beetle is catching up fast. They never had the volume of kits selling like this: the New Beetle kits are outselling all the other types combined.

I finished pulling the side curtain airbags. I was hoping they'd end before it got to the A pillar, but nope. Since the trim on the A pillar is pretty much like the others except for that top clip, I didn't try to pull it. I know, since Murphy lives at my house, if I tried to pull it that I'd mangle that clip and the trim subsequently would never go back flush the way it is supposed to. So, instead of being bothered by that, I decided it isn't a big deal since nobody's going to buy them (the side curtain air bags) from me anyway. Besides, the friend that is lending me the shop space is up for an experiment in small controlled explosions that spray out a lot of white powder. It'll be fun! So I cut the passenger side off a few inches short of the end and just tucked the cut end back under the trim. On the driver's side, I ended up cutting it about where the roof final cut is going to be and moved on.

I also marked the final cut line on the roof, and on the sides. I can cut the roof, but the sides aren't quite so well defined. I know the instructions say 11 inches above the top of the wheel well arch, but that isn't really exact. The rest (the other bracing around the rear wheel wells) can be cut free-hand for the most part. So probably tomorrow I'll trim a lot of the rest of the stuff that needs to go.

Interestingly, I was stepping on the bed and the body, in between the rear wheels is really stout. Very well braced. That hump under the rear seat and over the fuel tank - well, not so much. It is understandable that you have to have room for the tank, so there's not tons of bracing there. The structure is in the side rails and through the roof, where the side rails there are also stout. The kit has quite a bit of bracing right around there - to make up for the roof rails that I just cut out, so I think the end structure will be just great.

I also removed the rear bumper. It is rusty so it will need some serious cleanup and paint or other rustproofing.

I also realized that since the tailgate isn't here yet, I won't be able to do much but partly assemble the sides and rear wall. You need the tailgate to make sure the tail is square and then the front is square with those pieces. But you need both ends.

Tomorrow, I'll probably get going on, and hopefully finish up the rust repair on the inside - in the previous trunk area. Except for certain coating products drying, that is. There's a few more spots on some of the seams and so I'll be busy. I'm also going to be replacing the front fenders since the original owner didn't bother with the rust warranty on them. They're original - they still have the wheel arch foam sitting in there. I think I even saw a few iron termites still hiding deep in the foam. But it was dark, so maybe I was just imagining them.

I also called the yard where I'm getting my spare engine. I'll go pick it up first thing on Monday. As I said before, hopefully I won't need it, but there's always a place for a good spare engine. Who knows, maybe there will be another trucklet or two in my future, and I'll be ready to go even if it was a runaway or experienced some other form of catastrophic damage (just not collision). But that's really beyond the current scope! I just mention it because that would mean the base chassis would be really cheap.

So here's the photos: not! I really didn't take anything, but I'll do better tomorrow and insert a few here just to surprise you later.

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Actually, I might not need to move it again. We'll see. I think I have a dolly already... somewhere... and it might be strong enough. Good suggestion though. If only there was a HF close by...

Cheers!

PH
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 5

Another short day. Today I took a few photos and started getting the rust spots clear so I can treat them before the bed goes in. I also removed the front bumper cover so I could remove the right front fender. I don't have quite enough room to do the left front fender yet, so I guess I will have to move the car again after all. Maybe several times with painting. But it shouldn't be too bad. It actually rolls a little easier now that it is a couple of hundred pounds lighter.

I'm going to have to bring a vacuum cleaner to clean up dirt and debris from inside before I can do the rust treatment.

And while I'm ready to start the final trimming, I didn't have access to the saw, so I'm doing that tomorrow.

Some photos:

A demonstration of the 'benefits' of VW's inner front fender foam. Benefits if you're selling fenders, anyway. It should be obvious why I'm replacing the front fenders.



And this explains why I removed the rear bumper yesterday. This will need a bit of cleanup and rust protection, I think. Then it will be just fine for re-use.



The rear of the car sans bumper. And sans lots of the sheet metal as well...


The vertical tape has a barely visible in this photo mark that is supposed to be the final cut line for the fenders. It is about the middle of the horizontal tape. I think I might be just a bit generous until the final fitting of the bed sides.




The edge of the tape that the arrows are pointing to is the final cut line for the roof. Ready for tomorrow. Excess roof stuff is out of the way, so all I need is to go slow and be careful.


Side curtain airbags ready for experimental fun!


And a little cleaner look at the back.


I'm going to be happier after tomorrow. Unfortunately, the tailgate did not arrive today. But I still have plenty to do before I must have it, so it isn't holding me up. In fact, I can start getting all the painting ready before it becomes a show stopper, so I figure I have at least another week's work before then.

Tomorrow I'll be cutting, and prepping and painting for rust. Monday I'll pickup the spare engine and do more paint prep.

Cheers,

PH
 

BleachedBora

Vendor , w/Business number
Joined
Oct 16, 2003
Location
Gresham, Oregon
TDI
'81 DMC-12, '12 Audi TT 418 hp/383 tq, '08 GL320 CDI 275 hp/448 wtq - '81 Caddy ALH, '04 Golf BEW 2" Lift, '85 HMMWV
Cool project PH! Can't wait to see the results :)
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 6 - first installment.

Today was a pretty good day. It wasn't the most fun, but I was able to make some good progress.

I'll also make 2 posts because I have more than 10 photos.

Today I started out vacuuming the dust and sand out of the back, as much as I was able. I picked up all the fasteners I could, but I am sure I missed a few, so I'll have to go back through the vacuum bag to pick them out. Not looking forward to that.

Then I started working on the rust spots. From the photos you'll see a bunch of them. There are only a few that looked like red rust.

So, for the less experienced out there, let's talk about the A4 generation metal treatment and how rust shows up. First, VW made the steel chassis, then they put a flash coating of zinc on it. It isn't thick enough to be called galvanizing, but it is a coating of zinc. Then they put on the primer, then the color paint. The paints are pretty darned good. They last a long time, and provide a good protective coating for the car. The primer is good as well. Lots better than the spray stuff (aka "sandable primer" you get out of the rattle cans from the FLAPS) which is too porous to protect against much of anything. And the zinc flash coating. It gives the steel a fighting chance to last a while. Unfortunately, the paints aren't perfect. Sometimes water can get through via osmosis, sometimes via a micro-flaw in the paint. However it happens, it allows ions the carbon in the steel and the iron to start the oxidation process to make rust. But first, it oxidizes the zinc.

When the zinc oxidizes it does it preferentially to the iron/steel it is coating, so it becomes a sacrificial protectant. In our case, the zinc oxidizes to zinc oxide, the preferred white pigment before titanium dioxide became really popular. It also takes up a lot more room than the original zinc, so it pushes the paint up away from the surface of the metal. This weakens the paint and allows more water/oxygen in, and after the zinc is exhausted to oxide, the steel starts oxidizing. First comes Fe3O4, also known as magnetite. Magnetite is a dark grey. It would look black if it was dense enough, but it seems to prefer to stay thin. By the time more oxidation happens, some of it is turning into the red powdery rust, Fe2O3.

So the first thing you will see is small bumps or sharp points sticking up in the paint. If you sand through those, like I did today, under the paint, primer, and zinc oxide you will see dark round circles of magnetite. This is the beginning stage of rust, the steel won't be pitted, but it is halfway to red rust. Basically the red rust pushes the paint up far enough to really compromise it, and the rust goes nuts from there.

I'm trying to fix what I can, knowing that anything I do now can only help in the future, even if I know I can't hold off the inevitable forever.

So I spent most of my time working on the rust spots. When I got really bored, I got the sawsall out and trimmed off around the rear wheel wells. These I trimmed closer to final height, and got rid of most all the excess metal that needs to come off anyway. I didn't try to go to final height, feeling like it would be a good idea to wait until I get the truck bed there so I can take some final measurements. And since the tailgate hasn't yet arrived, that might be a little while longer. We'll see. Maybe I can get the final trim done without waiting for the tailgate.

I also did do the final trim on the roof. Nice structure on the roof rails. I have a couple of shots of that.

I had tried to pull out the fuel door, but the attached shroud was tighter than the tank cap, so I left it until today. Today I unscrewed the cap, put a paper towel in the filler pipe, and pulled off the fuel door. I then replaced the tank cap after pulling out the paper towel. I also found that there is a ventectomy in the near future for this car. I guess the former owner never heard of TDI Club.

And the rust in a few places is deeper than I wished. (Well you wish for none, but...) So since I ran out of sandpaper (I didn't bring much - less than 1 sheet) and it was getting dark and I was tired, I decided it would be much better if I let those really ugly spots soak under some gelled phosphoric acid and loosen up. I'll get them on Monday. (Phospohoric acid is the stuff that separates rust in the "naval jelly" preparations you buy at your favorite FLAPS. It is a great grease cutter, and so you MUST wear gloves and be careful with it because it WILL cause skin and other damage to your body if you aren't careful.)

And that's about it for today. while I was at the shop, another guy came by (a mutual friend of the shop owner as well as myself) and I found out he has an old Jeep that he has stuffed an AHU engine into. He loves it.

Now, on to the photos with editorial comment, as usual!

Rear wheel well after trimming. The height isn't quite to final, but it is pretty close. And the extra metal inside is cleaned up. I don't think there is much more to cut on the wheel wells, and that's all that is left for the cutting operation.



Here I'm trying to show the dark circles of magnetite that show up after you sand off the primer. You sand, of course, where the paint is no longer flat and smooth.


Another shot of revealed rust (Fe3O4).


This is the mangled top fastener on the trim cover for the C pillar. It is the same setup as that on the A pillar. I mangled this one, and if I tried to pull the A pillar, I'd mangle that one as well, and I'm keeping those, so. This is why I ended up cutting the side curtain air bags instead of extracting them complete. I can't legally ship them anyway, so there's no great loss of opportunity.


This is the pile of dirt and sand (wet, of course) that was behind the front fender wheel well liner. You know, the place where all the dirt coming off the windscreen and falling by the windshield wipers washes and collects because VW didn't allow for a drain. Yes, german engineering. Who says they don't screw pooches on occasion??

I'm using paper towels to hold the naval jelly onto the rust spots while they soak until Monday.

The spare tire area had a lot of rust spots, but none of them were red dust (Fe2O3).
This is the spots with 1 coating of zinc paint. It looks like gray primer, but it isn't. The primer will come later, but the first thing I'm putting on is some zinc paint because while I could actually plate zinc on there, I don't have the time or patience it would take to do it on all the spots.


This car has some of the most disgusting habits. I really have my work cut out for me...
 

Powder Hound

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Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 6, Part 2.

More photos!

Car side view of the fuel door.



The roof has been trimmed to final. I am probably off by a millimeter or so either way in some places, but it will sand off reasonably quickly.


The other side. I haven't trimmed the overhead backing to final length, and it turns out I made a mistake and sliced through it - about 4 inches worth. I guess I won't be making any photos of the interior roof until I find the perfect gray or blue plaid.



You get a nice view of the side roof rail structure. And in the corner of the partial cut, you can see 3 layers of metal there. Pretty good rollover protection in these chassis.


Another view of the roof rails.


A minor curiosity: If you look closely in the cut, you'll see filings that have become magnetized via the cutting action.


And that's all for now!

Cheers,

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
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Day 7 Another short one.

Today I went and picked up my spare engine. At this point, not knowing whether I need it or not, it seemed like a questionable use of my time. It was a total of about 4 hours of driving, and an hour of trying to get a price (the owner wasn't answering his phone, and the people at the yard weren't going to do anything without his approval) and about 2 hours loading and unloading.

In the end, I bought an engine:



As well as the exhaust that was on that car. It was interesting because I was told at the yard that they aren't supposed to sell catalysts off wrecked cars. I replied that the aftermarket catalysts are junk and go bad after a very short period of time (weeks? Less?) and even a used VW catalyst is much much better than a new aftermarket. But they sold it to me anyway, so I'm good. Not that it matters a whole lot, since for the ALH there are no O2 sensors to give away any secrets such as the catalyst being completely poisoned. But it is also true, that for the first 60k or so of my 4-dr which I bought new, the exhaust smelled like a burnt candle, so it was obvious it was working.

But that is a different drama.

I was going to buy the passenger side seat belt retractor as well, but not having any way to test it, I wasn't willing to risk $50 bucks, which is what they were going to charge even if I pulled it myself. I said I'd risk $20, because there was no way I was going to drive for 4 hours to reclaim the money for it if the igniter didn't pan out. This was in reply to the retort that the owner would stand behind the part. Yes, that is good, and I believe it, but redeeming the part would be incredibly inconvenient. So I think I'll look into switching the belts with the bad one in the Jetta, and the good one I already bought but did not install because it came from a 2-dr (a GTI in a local yard). Go look at the difference sometime. (Hint: look at the end of the belt and how it attaches to the car.) If I just swap the belts, I'll be good to go. It will be interesting to figure out how to do that, since when you pull it out of a car, it will refuse to unroll the belt. Hmm... have to think about that for a few minutes.

Anyway, with some help loading and unloading, I have the hardware here as you can see above. In fact, even though it doesn't show, the intake manifold and EGR cooler with related plumbing was included; I had to remove them so that the engine would fit through my hatch. The engine came complete with alternator, a/c compressor, PS pump, injection pump, turbocharger, and the intake stuff I mentioned. It also has the engine mount bracket still bolted up. Nice, and that complete package made the price for a 90k mile engine worthwhile. I would be really happy if I needed a complete package, but my pleasure is muted for now. Still have a couple of tests to run on the original unit in the trucklet before I give up on it. As for accessories, some day I might use the starter, clutch (yeah, forgot to mention it came with the clutch), alternator, PS pump. I don't know about the a/c compressor, but you never know. And the turbocharger will probably go in with the engine if it gets used. But it will definitely need a new oil dipstick tube. What's on there is some kind of rubber hose abortion that should never have gone on the car. Well, maybe that's harsh. As long as it is the correct length, doesn't leak all over, I suppose it does the job.

One interesting facet for the future that my unloading help pointed out: with a truck, loading and unloading the engine would be a snap. Indeed. There are some things for which a truck is ideal, and this is one of them. Next time for sure.

Then, with a few hours left in the day, I figured I'd get the last few rust spots treated and be ready to go tomorrow. Alas, in my haste to get the engine unloaded, I did not bring new supplies. So I'm still out of sandpaper and need to bring more of that and a few other things. Running a little low on blood sugar and feeling that I had missed nearly all of a glorious day dodging traffic heavy with tour buses full of leaf watching tourists, I decided to hit it hard tomorrow and go home for some aerobic bicycling which I have been slacking off on lately.

It was a good ride. I'll sleep well tonight, and be ready for tomorrow.

It is going to get a bit boring for the next week, at least until the tailgate arrives. I also need to locate a super-duper rivet gun. It would appear that the $20 special at the local home improvement store won't even come close when you are trying to set a 3/16" rivet. The friend that is helping with shop space ordered one, so that won't be a problem by the end of the week, I think. In the meantime, I should be able to buy some small nuts and bolts to use for trial fitting. Other than that, I will be doing paint prep.

So you've been warned. I'm basically apologizing in advance if you aren't so sanguine about seeing basic body work instead of watching a truck grow out of a chopped up Jetta. Rest assured, I feel the same way but the rust cannot be ignored. And there's the fact that the tailgate isn't here. I'm sure everyone is tired of me saying that, so I'll knock that off and be ready to celebrate when it shows up. As long as it hasn't been damaged in transit. Yes. That will work.

Actually, I'll try and make the posts not completely blase, but there is only so much you can do.

Cheers!

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 8. Painting rust spots with zinc, and part 1 of the seatbelt repair.

Today I spent several hours doing the final clean of the rust spots that are in the area under the future bed of the trucklet. I was able to get them all covered in zinc paint.

These are some of the rust spots. Along the rear door seam, on the sill, and along the area that was under the rear seat. Funny that the passenger side rear door seam had no trouble. Dunno why. Anyway, the interior rust spots are as done as I can make them. They'll get a coating of black POR and then a coating of a black coating in a squirty can. Except the spray nozzle keeps clogging, so I'll probably just drain the can and use a brush. Should be fun trying to empty the can without it spraying all over the place.


My friend decided he wanted a pneumatic rivet gun, as well as the Big Daddy rivet gun that is manual. As I previously noted, the $20 home improvement special probably won't do it. Well, it turns out that it probably can if you have massive hands and hand strength to make Popeye envious. I'm interested in trying out the pneumatic unit. Looks like fun!

So he ordered them yesterday, and today they are here. I had no idea he was so excited in getting them going, so we started the trial fitting. As is understandable, drilling the aluminum is easy, the steel of the car's seams you will rivet through is hard. Particularly when you're using a used drill bit. I did 3 on each side, it is enough for a quick trial. I was excited too, and forgot to put zinc paint in the holes through the steel. I probably wouldn't have removed them as they seem to be correct, but I'll have to now just to make sure the steel is protected.

The way the kit is set up, the holes for bolts and rivets you need to drill are marked with tiny holes they call "piercings". The tiny hole makes for a good guide for drilling. The one catch is that there are no piercings nor holes for the bolts to the B pillar brace that are needed in the front wall. That is, there are holes in the B pillar brace, but not in the front wall sides. OK, that is a little detail they left out.

The exact way it is supposed to line up isn't detailed in the manual either. I guess we're supposed to figure it out just because. OK, so why don't they say to line up certain edges then figure out where to drill the holes? I'm not sure - I guess they don't drill the front wall because there is some leeway in how it all should line up. Anyway, after writing this up I'll go search for all the videos that I can find and see if I can figure it out.

So I have that to research tonight.

Also, the rivets are 100% aluminum. Interesting. The most common rivets you find have an aluminum sleeve and the center anvil is steel. With these, the all aluminum rivet is longer than most, and you won't have to worry about the rivet center rusting. I guess that's the reasoning. I haven't seen that explanation yet.

And they give you at least 200 rivets, so I think there's a little room for a few mistakes. But not that much room, so you still need to be careful. I don't want extra holes in my trucklet anyway.

After we figure this out, I think by Saturday I'll be close to having the basic bed assembled. There's a lot of paint prep to do as well. The rest of this week is short days for me, so progress will slow a bit. But stay tuned!

There's other projects to get done along the way, such as the passenger side seat belt problem - the one where the ECU says the igniter resistance is too high. There's also the ventectomy, but I'll do that another day.

Previously I mentioned why the one I picked up is the wrong one, and after thinking about it and seeing that it is becoming a PIA to get a plug-and-play unit, I decided to resolve the issue by swapping just the belt.

So here's the deal. Try as I might, I could not find a way to unreel the belt unless the unit is bolted in place. Not even tightly, just bolted. There must be some magic in there. Or maybe it came from the same school that taught ECUs to figure out when they're being tested - I don't know.

So you have to bolt the thing in place to unreel the seatbelt. Then, you have to hold the reel while you unbolt it so you can work on it. This is for the one that is the bad mechanism and the good belt. The trick is that you need to hold the reel because when you unbolt it, it will try and reel the belt back up. But you'll never get it back out, so you have to hold it. Always. Now, once you have it unreeled, take a look at the center of the reel (spool, whatever you want to call it - I'm calling it a reel here).

Here you see the end of the belt. On the top is the belt coming into the mechanism, and just below that is the end of the belt. The belt feeds through the middle of the reel, and has a small loop into which a lock pin is inserted. This makes it impossible to pull the belt back though the reel and locks it in place.



This is another view of the end of the belt with the lock pin with the rest of the belt coming off the back side of the reel and coming around and out the top of the photo.


What I did to get it out was to use a flat blade screwdriver to push the belt from the backside. You are basically pushing the part of the belt that is sewn together through the reel so the end of the belt with the pin will get pushed out of the reel.


It is hard and progress is slow, so you need to be patient. And remember, all this time you are having to keep the reel from winding the belt up, even a little, because if that happens, you will have to start over.

When you push enough through, you can grab the end of the belt with pliers or something like that. I suppose you could use fingers, but mine aren't that strong.

Here the end of the belt is coming out nicely.


Get it loose, and you can extract the locking pin and then pull the belt out through the reel and out.


When you install the new belt, be sure the part number winds onto the reel side.
Then any extra twists in the belt can be easily taken care of and you'll have a belt correctly installed. The mechanism says you can't use this on another car. Well, if you aren't careful, maybe there's a danger. So all you guys who try this better ground your electric personalities so you don't set off the igniter. Me, I'm dry dull and boring so there's no danger. It helps to have the battery disconnected as well.

As per the usual, just because I got away with this doesn't mean you will, so try this at your own risk. I think the dangers are minimal, but I'm not a seatbelt engineer, nor a lawyer. Obviously. If I was, you wouldn't see me posting these photos and telling how I did this.

Now I have an empty seatbelt retractor with an igniter whose resistance is too high. The hole in the top of the pyrotechnic device appears to have intact fuzzy thin wiring (think: very old style flash bulbs) so I think it will fire anyway. So now there's three pyrotechnic devices that will be tried in the near future. As I said earlier in this post: Stay tuned!!

The next side project I'll be doing will be the ventectomy. It has been so long since I've done one I'll have to look it up. But I'll post photos anyway. I'll see what's there so I don't just post the same thing over again.


Also, tomorrow will be busy with a few other things like a bike ride and buying some POR for the - what, underbed? Spare tire carrier? So I may not be posting again until Thursday. We'll see.

Oh, my, I almost forgot.

We did put up the B pillar reinforcements even if there are only 3 rivets in them. There was more, but as I explained, I took it out to go back and refigure how best to proceed.



And with this one, the front wall is in back of the photo leaning against the wall.



Cheers,

PH

PS: I uploaded 17 photos, but I didn't use all of them, so there's only the one post for today. Sorry for the misdirection, but editing the post won't let you go back and fix a bad title. Sorry.
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 9 Starting the Trial Fit

It is about time to do the final trim on this brace. I'll get there while doing the side walls.

On the driver's side, the final trim of the top of the brace has been accomplished.




There's a gap here over the wheel well, and there is an identical gap on the driver's side as well. I'm not sure why as the fit everywhere else along the lower edge of the sidewall pieces is excellent. Maybe it is due to another brace that will come in later. Definitely it isn't just something they forgot. And there's a little notch in the middle of the gap to make really sure you don't pinch that cable coming in. It isn't a good idea to do anything with that cable as it comes from a side crash sensor


One thing that could use a little more clarification is how the front wall fits in. The flange is supposed to be flush with the b pillar brace, and the top of the front wall is supposed to end up flush with the step in the b pillar brace. Well, if you do that, it won't quite fit all the way down because that front wall comes down just in front of the hump that is under the rear seat. I ended up deciding that is just how it is, and when it all gets bolted and riveted together, it will be OK. There is just a little tension on it though, in my case. There is a row of piercings along the bottom edge of the front wall. As near as I can determine, those will be drilled out and riveted to the front side of the hump. Maybe this is explicitly mentioned later and I just missed it. We'll see.

Anyway, the outside sheet metal over the wheel wells has received what I think is the final trim. The side walls fit, and the front wall looks good. I haven't compared the fit with a square, but it looks great by my Mk-I eyeball. But it is all just loosely fit right now. It is all coming together.

I'll be working more on this, but there will be several hours tomorrow and Saturday cleaning the back for some POR paint as I'm not quite sanguine about water dripping down there a lot without giving the metal more protection.

And I found out the tailgate is projected to be delivered a week from today.

A few more photos:

The side walls hang out the back a bit. It looks worse than it will after I hang the bumper back on.



This inside of the front left corner. There's 2 bolts at the top and the middle one on the side. They're just turned far enough into the nut that the threads bump into the nylon ring of the 'lock' part of the locknut.


Looking at that front left corner from the outside.


View of the passenger side of the rear. That gray 'dust' on the aluminum parts is alumina that is manufactured by the plasma cutter they use to cut out all the parts.



It's going to come back apart before the final assembly as this is just a trial fit to ensure there's no show stoppers. But it is starting to look like an actual pick-'em-up truck!



Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
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Location
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Celebrate!

Yay! A replacement Ford Ranger Flareside '93-'05 FO1900117V (P99352) tailgate fresh from Taiwan made it to my door, courtesy of UPS and a bunch of other unknown transportation companies.

The upside is that the corners down by the hinge are only slightly deflected, not enough not to use the tailgate. It might not even be noticeable unless you look. If the hinge works OK without any changes, I won't try to bend it back.




Yay again! Now there's no excuse to keep from finishing the trucklet. Unless you consider those pesky things like work, eating an occasional meal, finding the ibuprophen, sleep, cold, bad weather (well, that's why I have found an indoor workspace...) and the usual stuff like that.

Oh, and I received a bunch of sound deadening panels as well. Those boxes sure are heavy for what they advertise to be. But I figure the mass is probably a good part of the sound attenuation property.

Errata: I was puzzling after yesterday's bed trial fit. It seems the manual is a little different than what I was able to do. On page 17, paragraph 6, it is a short 1 line: "Front wall/bed sides/b pillar brace is the order of layers in to out at the b pillar area where all three bolt together". This order of assembly is extremely difficult. In fact, I decided that the photos don't quite tell that story, and in looking at one of the Smyth videos, I see Mark assembling the bed in the same way I did, with the sides going in on the inside of the front wall flange. Since he is doing it that way, and it fits that way, paragraph 6 should read: "Bed sides/front wall/b pillar brace is the order of layers in to out at the b pillar area where all three bolt together."

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 10

A short night tonight. I transported the tailgate and sound mat to the shop, and started drilling holes. The drill's battery gave up though, so I called it early and decided to review the manual a bit after I plugged the battery into the charger.

Sleep early, hit it tomorrow. Lots to do, particularly lots of prep that gets skipped in all those videos.

Cheers,

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 11, Murphy lives at my house

And he got really ticked off that I have been going elsewhere to work so he followed me today and kicked the bleep out of me.

Seriously, it seems like I could have gotten a lot more done if I had stayed home and worked on a few of the other things that need doing.

Basically, today was 'get going on the final build', so it is time to start over. The front wall and side walls have been pulled off. I then drilled out the remaining 2 rivets on each of the B pillar braces. I had previously drilled out the holes for all the rivets on the braces (there's 25 or so on each) but waited until I got the braces off to finish drilling out the holes through the steel.

Well, that took a long time. You don't go too fast, because if you do you'll burn up your bits and the holes won't get drilled. So I took it slow, but it is not easy because you still have to push the drill through the steel, and you need to control the speed while doing that. And you have to be able to stop when the bit breaks through so the chuck doesn't grind up the edge of the door opening.

Finally got that all done. Now, to start setting the braces. Rivet 1 is OK since it was done before. Rivet 2, next to rivet 1, won't go in. Have to re-drill it, not completely, but it still takes some time to enlarge the hole a bit and make sure the aluminum and steel holes line up perfectly. Rivet 2 still won't go in. Have to drill again, and enlarge the hole just enough to fit the rivet. Finally. OK, set this one.

Oh, by the way, my friend who has the pneumatic rivet gun hiding in his shop there is off making money or doing a favor for another friend (this guy is seriously one of the most helpful persons I have ever met). But he's not here, I don't know where it is, and I'm not going to rummage through his shop. So I'm setting all these by hand.

And so on and so on. Every blinkin' one of these had to be redrilled to get the rivets to insert so I could set them. By the time I was all done, so was most of the day. Sheesh!

I did clean out the back: vacuumed carefully, rubbed with a scotchbrite product so the POR would hold, then used methanol to wipe it well. This should work. I need the POR because the bed won't be sealed and it will be getting wetter than it did when it was a complete sedan. There are rust spots, most of which were prepped before, but I found a few new ones. Hopefully that will be it, but there's probably some lurking I can't find yet. I'll have to periodically check this for the rest of its life with me. Good thing they make the bed so you can take it out if needed for inspections, to get to the spare tire or fuel tank if needed, and convince the po-po I'm not carrying drugs. Guess I'll always be needing to carry the correct allen wrench.

Anyway, the back is all ready to go for the first coat of POR. Wait, hold everything. If POR cures more than 'dry to the touch' then you need to sand the surface between coats. I don't want to do that.

Therefore, the current plan is to wake up at 5 am on Monday, get over to the shop, paint the first coat of POR, then get back right after work, and hope the cool temperatures have left it in the perfect state for painting the second coat without having to sand it. Shh... don't tell Murphy or he'll do horrible things to me like turn on a heater in that room or something.

I didn't take but a few photos, because I just didn't do any photo worthy things today. Sigh...

The inside of the right (passenger) side B pillar brace. You can see, if you blow it all the way up, that all the rivets are populated now, instead of just 2 or 3 like there has been up until now.





Inside of left side B pillar brace, also completely riveted in.


The outside of the left B pillar brace. If you look about 1/2 way down, just below the horizontal bends they put in the brace, or about level with the front door window sill, you'll see a little black drip from a rivet. What I did for rust prevention is to use a cotton swab to put some POR on the inside of the hole, all the way through to the other end of the steel, and around the barrel of the rivet just for grins. Then I set the rivet in. Yes, for each and every hole. The idea is to ensure the inside of that hole has some protection on the steel. I'll probably apply more POR around the rivets inside and out before it is done. I'd really rather not have the door seam rust out, so I'll so anything I can think of to prevent that. This seemed like the best thing to do at this point.


OK, B pillar braces set, all clean, ready for (early!) Monday morning. It should be interesting if nothing else. Remember, please don't tell Murphy anything about my plans. Thanks.


So that's about it. It seems like I am no further than I was a week ago, but this is going to finish this time and not do any back-tracking. I've got all the parts, no more excuses.

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 12 Painting... No, not the outside of the trucklet...

Short day today. I got up early and painted the first coat before work, then went over and painted the second coat over lunch. I was concerned that the paint might not be sufficiently cured to paint the second coat, but I think it was just right.



If you know how these things go, you'll notice particularly in the cut out brace that normally goes up the inside of the wheel well is full of urethane foam. I decided to see if that might help seal the void in there. If you do this, don't bother. It's kinda messy, there's no guarantee that any sealing will take place, and it looks weird. Buying pour foam would be a much better choice, but I didn't really have time for that and bought the aerosol can at my favorite local home improvement store. I will know better next time. Smith recommends just sealing off the small holes with RTV silicone such as GE silicone II. There's a couple of large holes where the rear seat seat belt anchors go, but I'll just glue a couple of caps on those with the same RTV.


After work, I was busy doing something else. We recently bought a new-to-us car for my wife, who really wanted an AWD car for the winters up here, and she'll feel lots better in her 2007 Audi Quattro. Unfortunately, the 2nd and 3rd gears do the 200 rpm hunt when you're driving slowly in town, so I figured the previous owners probably skimped on the maintenance and the transmission is going. So last Thursday I found a used unit with less than half the miles of the current one, and had it shipped to a local freight depot. I borrowed my friend's truck and went and picked it up. So, if and when the transmission dies, or at least gets too annoying to keep it, I now have the replacement queued up and ready to go. It won't be easy, since it weighs 300 pounds, but it will be doable. Just not in 1 day.

Tomorrow the bed starts going back in the truck. Yay!

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 13

It is time to do the final build - get going on the final product.

First, clean excess metal around the fuel filler so that the outer quarter panel will easily fit the fuel filler door.



And while it is so easily accessible, I'll go ahead and do the ventectomy. The access to remove the valve assembly is just visible at the bottom of the end of that thing jutting out to the left (toward the rear of the car -er- trucklet).



There is a small barb that is not visible unless you have a mirror or a borescope because it is on the bottom. If you get something to push it in (I used the tip of a paint can opener) then you can push on the valve button in the fuel filler neck and get the valve body out.

It looks like this:



Squeeze that little black horseshoe shaped retainer, and you can pull out the valve, spring, and retainer:



If you like, you can reassemble the spring and retainer, and just leave out the valve. Or leave out all 3 items; it doesn't really matter.

Reinstall by pressing in from the same way it came out. Be sure and orient the flat side away from you. You'll see how the end lines up.

And once it is seated, you're ready to go:



On to the main event. Tonight I inserted the front wall, both sides, and then the last 2 cross bars. Installing the bolts in the cross bars is 'fun'. The holes are cut so that there is barely enough room for the nut on the bottom one. That means it will be an interesting exercise to get a wrench in there. Maybe it will be easier if you put the nuts on the outside of the sidewall.

The other thing that makes installation of these bolts fun is that the 5/16" hole is barely large enough for the bolt. When you're going through 2 layers of aluminum, the outer edges of the threads will be cutting threads into the aluminum. It ends up increasing to torque enough that you might think you're hanging up on something when you are really having to pull the threads through a tight hole.

Next comes tailgate assembly. The hardware (hinges, latch plates, handle, internal rods, various nuts and bolts) come in a separate plastic bag. After starting to assemble stuff, I decided that I'd better knock off (it was late anyway) and go review the video. One thing for sure: I remember seeing the explanation of the shouldered bolts that are needed for the cable keepers for the gate, and what I got in my kit:



is a wood screw. So I'll need to send an email or make a call tomorrow since this is not the correct hardware.

Anyway, now it looks like this:



Cheers!

PH
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 14

So far, I've found that the wood screw in my tailgate hardware bag is not for the cables. I don't know what they are supposed to be for yet, but eventually I think it will come out.

In the meantime, the proper shouldered bolt is on backorder from Ford, and when that will be resolved is anybody's guess. To keep everyone going, they have substituted a regular bolt with an interesting collection of washers to approximate the function until such time as the real bolt is available.

I also clarified to myself how the rest of the bed supports are supposed to go in, so I'll be busy this evening after work.

After work I went to the shop and rearranged the hardware on the tailgate. I tried to fit it on and found that there were a couple of places where adjustments were required. There's no instructions for this, so when you find something that doesn't fit, you have to figure out for yourself why, and thus where is the best place to make an adjustment.

I needed to grind off a little on one of the hinges, and some off a tab that inserts into the striker but was too long. I'll need to make just a little more adjusting since the right side catch at the top doesn't quite click in by itself. But I was able to get everything hooked up and then was able to insert some shims to hold the line between the sides of the tailgate and the sides of the bed. It is important to maintain this while making final adjustments and tightening all of the nuts and bolts up at the front. Those at the front are only hand-tight right now, and here that means hand screw until the bolt end hits the nylon insert of the locknut. But measured with a square, the front end of the bed is very nearly square. That means I won't have to move stuff much - probably no extra grinding on bolt holes. That will be good. It is always good when things bolt together the way they should. One nice thing about the Smyth kit is that they did a good job on measuring the pieces, and since the cnc plasma cutter does it the same way every time, you can figure that unless your chassis is bent, it is going to fit and work.


Now for photos:

Sorry, I forgot my camera and didn't take any. But it really is the same as it was on the last of day 13, just now that black tailgate is hanging on the end of the bed sides instead of laying across the last 2 bed support beams. It seems a little flimsy, since it is held only by the two 1/8" aluminum sides. But after the sides are riveted to the chassis and the additional structure is added, it will stiffen right up.

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 15

Here is what it looked like at the end of day 14, with the tailgate hung on and shims inserted to hold the gap at the sides of the tailgate.



So checking on the final placement of everything - making sure the bed is square and the front wall is correctly placed, it is time to start bolting and riveting.

First I placed all the bolts in the corners and on the front of the side walls - these bolt to the front wall. Seven bolts in total on each front corner.

Once the bolts are all in and finger tight, you check those front corners for squareness. Then I tighten 1 of the four at the top corner on each side, then check again for squareness. Then I tightened to "firmness" all the other bolts. I did that to within a thread or so to tight, so there's a little room to move. Then check for squareness again. Then tighten a second bolt on top, and one down the sides, then check for squareness again. Then tighten all the rest, and check for squareness. Yes, again. Fortunately for me, the bed started out very close, and then after it was first adjusted to square it didn't wander as the bolts were carefully tightened.

These are the bolts I am talking about:


Then it was time to start riveting the front wall. There is a row of 9 rivets along the bottom edge. They are marked and I had already drilled the aluminum for rivets. After checking for position, I drilled the end one on one side, and set the rivet. Then I checked the other side, and found I needed to push the wall down just a bit. I then drilled and set that rivet. Then I went back and drilled out the first rivet and reset that side of the wall, redrilled, and set a new rivet. Then, one by one, switching sides each time, I drilled the hole through the steel and set the rivet.

For these rivets, I used the pneumatic rivet gun, and it was nice. Since the rivets are rather long (3/4") it took 2 shots to completely set the rivet. With the Big Daddy rivet gun, it takes 3. With a hand rivet gun, it takes 4.

When I got to the middle, the drill didn't fit because the console was in the way. But my friend came to the rescue with a 90* drill that worked. Then neither rivet gun would fit, so it looked like I'd be removing the console anyway, but he came up with the hand rivet gun which has a rotating head, and it fit in nicely. So I didn't have to remove the console. Yay!

That 9th rivet is the one right in the middle, where you can see the end of the console just under the carpet flap.


And with all the rivets set:



There's a lot more rivets to drill and set along the side walls as well as figuring out how to seal the front wall. The real trick is going to be where the rear seat hump curves around. There's a well there that probably I'll end up filling with foam and then sealing around the edges. Something needs to be done otherwise there will be a pit there with no way to drain any water that gets in there.

Cheers!

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 16

I started early today by making the jumpers that will be needed to keep the ECU from complaining about the missing side curtain airbag.



Before you drop your jaw in awe that someone would put something this fugly into their car, rest assured I feel your pain. But I'm also not going to go through the hassle of trying to find the exact 2.2 ohm resistor that looks beautiful to put in a place where it will never be seen again. Also, what you see needs to be trimmed and covered in a liquid insulator so it will actually work.

I went looking through my small stash and I know I have a resistor assortment somewhere that would cover this perfectly, but I couldn't find it. Remember when I told you that Murphy lives at my house? Well, he doesn't take breaks. Ever.

What I did find is a roll of surface mount device (smd) resistors at 6.81 ohms in a 1206 package (pretty small as you can see in the photo). Since the target resistance value is 2.2 ohm, and 3 of these in parallel work out to 2.26 ohms, I figure that's close enough. So I soldered 3 in parallel on these wires, and made 2 copies, one for each side. I'll have to trim the leads and use the liquid tape before I install them. I'll also need to install them at a place upstream on the wires instead of sticking them in the connector. That would work, but it would make a repair nearly impossible. Although, I have to say, in the event a side collision might cause the computer to try and pop the airbag and that impulse might burn out one or more of the resistors, such an event would cause repair of the jumper to be very very low on my list of concerns. Particularly since such an event would probably total the trucklet. Just hopefully not me with it.

It would still be good to be able to fix something if it goes wrong with the "normal" function of such a jumper however, so it is still a good idea to have it in a place where it is relatively easy to get at.

I'll probably install it tonight, or maybe tomorrow instead. I'm a little up in the air about that because I have some urgent tasks before the snow flies up here, and that day is coming soon.

The install will be simple: just locate the proper wire pair and make a breach in the insulation at that point, solder in the wires, apply liquid tape to hide the wires from moisture incursion, and tuck everything back in after the goop dries. I'll probably start out by sticking the wires into the official connector and hooking up the battery in order to run a test first. No need for soldering if it isn't going to work properly.

Cheers,

PH
 
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JLMurphy

Veteran Member
Joined
May 16, 2007
Location
Huntingtown, MD
TDI
2010 Golf 6MT, 2001 Golf 5MT
I started early today by making the jumpers that will be needed to keep the ECU from complaining about the missing side curtain airbag.

...
What I did find is a roll of surface mount device (smd) resistors at 6.81 ohms in a 1206 package (pretty small as you can see in the photo).
Ahh, 1206s. I remember when I thought those were small. Good times. Try 0402s sometime. Impossible without a microscope and the smallest soldering iron and solder you can find. :D

Of course, with my eyes at 49 I'm pretty much under the microscope for any soldering, regardless of size. :rolleyes:

There's no shame in those jumpers BTW, if you've done any rework you've had to do some janky stuff to get it working. If it's stupid and it works it's not stupid. :cool:

Loving the thread BTW can't wait to see the finished product.
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 17 Going rivet-crazy

0402s? My eyes are hurting just thinking about that!!

Obviously, I didn't get back to the shop. Other stuff got in the way: work decided that I was going to stay busy until 11pm, so my time got burned. Oh, well.

So this morning I went over and took my computer to test the jumpers. Got there, and found out I forgot the key fob, too. Rats.


No matter, I'm still busy. I decided that the bed is as square as I'm going to get it, and it isn't going anywhere, so it is time to make sure of that. The bottom of the front wall is already riveted, and the corners with the side walls are tightened with bolts, so I'm reasonably confident that it will be OK.

I ended up doing a little overkill with the rivets. Just me, I guess. These were lots easier to drill out. Partly because some of them were only 1 layer of steel after the aluminum, and I think the metal was thinner overall. I didn't measure, so I don't know for sure, but it was a LOT easier to drill all these out and set the rivets than it was to do the b pillar braces.

I did the same POR in the hole trick I did with the b pillar rivets. I got excited on the front wall rivets and forgot the POR, but I think it will be OK because there's going to be lots of sealant over the top of those, and I think the inside will be sort of protected as well.

First, there's the 2 jumpers inserted into the socket plug for the side curtain airbag.


And another view so you can see the jumper stuck into the plug:


And the rest of these are various views of the rivets I set today:














In the above, you can see I tried to get the rivets with a reasonable spread between them, but they are still a little more packed than Smyth (or any engineer that knows this stuff well) would say is required. Still, those sidewalls aren't going anywhere now.

There's a reasonable amount of flange to tie into. Forward of the loop that used to catch the rear seatback, the sidewall veers away from that flange so it can't be riveted. And the wheel wells that will cover this stuff will be riveted onto the side walls and help stiffen them up a lot. Add in the quarter panels, and it will end up being a very nice pickup bed.

It is a little hard to see some of these since I put all the POR on there. Shiny black on black just doesn't photograph well. But it all went well, I think.

The first time I went to take photos for today, I found I had forgotten the memory card again. Sheesh. Still sitting in this computer. So I went home and got my wife's green Jetta running, hopefully cured its 'lean bank 1' error (vacuum leak from an old hose, or so I am led to believe - and there was a leak I found, so...) and put a new battery in the other NB we have. I need to chase down a current leak on that one; it kills a battery in 2 weeks or less. Better than 2 days (unplugged the monsoon radio fuse), but still not good enough.

Then I collected the memory card and the keys for the trucklet and went back to the shop to take photos and test the jumpers.

I plugged in the computer after reconnecting the battery. I didn't bother opening the shop doors so I didn't start the engine. I did bring up VCDS and checked the air bag module for faults and found none. So I exited that processor and re-entered it and checked for faults again. 3 times. No faults, so I am assuming that it is OK. Probably I should have unplugged one of the jumpers to check my process, but I didn't think of that. Well, I'll try it again later, just to be sure. But I'm pretty confident at this point that it is all going to work.

Thinking ahead a bit: there's not a good way to rivet the wheel wells along the top edge where the current wheel wells top out. On the sides, yes, but on the top, the existing sheet metal will get in the way. So that part will be just a sealant. And since the wheel wells will be 2 layers of aluminum, that riveting will go very nicely indeed. Yay, something to look forward to.

There's still the support bars for under the bed to do, then the wheel wells and the bed floor. I have to get a 1/4 - 20 tap for the bed floor. You end up drilling a hole directly in the C extrusion channel being used for the support beams and cutting threads for the bolts that will hold the bed floor panels in place. If they ever wear out, there's always helicoils.

If things go well this next week, I might be real close to doing body work by Thursday night. Oh, oops. That's Halloween. And on Friday I ride the big silver bird west for a few days to visit family. So next week will be kinda short and then there will be a short hiatus.

Lots of fun coming up!

Cheers,

PH
 

Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Days 18 & 19

May as well combine these. Work called on Monday and so my work time on the trucklet was cut very short. I did manage to reset the front wall rivets and add in the POR I left out last time. I then sprayed the bed with step 1 of Rustoleum Never Wet, an additional anti-wetting coating to help water drain out. Yeah, belt-and-suspenders thinking here.



I must say it is much easier to drill out an aluminum rivet than it is to drill through a thin layer of steel. It had been nagging my a/r mind so I had to go back and do it. Now, if I ever get crazy on corners or bumps I might be driven crazy by small rattles back there. But at least I'll know what it is.

I also managed to drain a complete tube of black Silicone II to seal off the front wall. Well, as complete as I could get it. Apparently this tube was one that has been sitting around a while. While the nozzle end has a foil seal that keeps the silicone RTV from curing, the other end does not, and will slowly cure if you ignore the tube for a long time. I'd figure anything over 6 months and you are probably going to be a little disappointed. For me, about 1/3 of the tube refused to be expelled from the nozzle.

Day 19, last night, was spent installing bar #1, and lining up 2 & 3. 4 and 5 are already installed; done for installing the tailgate to maintain the separation of the tail end of the side walls.

These are not bolted to the sides. Instead they are supported by L brackets which are riveted to the bed, or the bed and side for bar #3. That one is a little different. It is supposed to be removable so you can get to the spare. If you are not at all risk adverse, you can also leave out the spare and have a "secret" compartment for storing, oh, I don't know, maybe extra food rations and drinking water for crossing the southwestern desert, extra fuel for that lap-of-america excursion you always wanted to do, or maybe a way to win the Lemons race with extended time between refueling stops. If that is even possible.

Anyway, the deal is that the #3 bar can't be lifted straight up because the wheel well covers will be in the way. So they have a half-size L bracket for each side of the #3 bar. 1 full size, and 1 half-size. And you rivet the half-size bracket to the side wall instead of the bed. That way, you can remove the center bolt holding the bar to the brackets, then drop the bar and slide it out.

I looked at the right side, and decided that I may as well rivet the full size bracket to the side as well, since the little ledge on the bed is very small anyway. This is due to the offset of the spare tire well. I never thought about it before, but it is offset to the right. Strange as I figured an offset would go left to make more room for the fuel tank, but there is also consideration for the exhaust plumbing. Specifically the muffler.

I was able to measure everything out. Then I used another piece (I think it is the one that tops the tailgate) as a straight edge to ensure the L brackets are correctly sized. Two of them needed to be ground down by just a hair, probably due to the junk that both VW and myself put down there to protect the bed. I am also adjusting the position of that pair out away from the sides a little. It should only make the mechanics better.

Can't move the brackets for #3 away from the wall, however. I marked the locations with tape and have pics of the general layout. Took photos. Then I sprayed the bed with step 2 of the rustoleum never wet. That layer dries to a rough surface that is really hydrophobic and should allow accumulating drips to run off to drain holes with extreme alacrity. Unfortunately, it isn't good for standing water, so if there are places that don't run off well, in a year or so I'll be able to take up the bed and see where to fill in the dips. Fun!

The left side. The longer tape on the walls are supposed to mark the bar centers. The L brackets are laid out where I'm going to rivet them, but of course I can't just lay brackets on the bed side.



The right side. There really isn't room to move the brackets in on bar #2 as on the left side, because the spare well would prohibit having a full footprint for the bracket.



Here's a more detailed photo of the right side insertion for bar #3. As you can see, the ledge there would only allow 1/2 the bracket footprint, so I think it is a good idea to mount that bracket on the side as well.



I'm going to see if I can nail down the bars tonight. And I bought some more silicone this morning so I can complete some sealing tasks.

Cheers!

PH
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
Under a Bridge, New Hampshiyuh, USA
TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 20. Sort of.

I didn't do much tonight. I am trying to get ready for the trek west, let alone Halloween tomorrow. So after picking up a couple of last minute grocery items and some back-up candy (midget tootsie rolls in case the primary stash of snack sized Kit Kats and mini Reeses' cups run out), I went over to the shop to collect a few things I don't want to hang out for 2 weeks all by their lonesomes. After all, if they got lonely enough, they might grow legs and disappear.

I also needed to drop off a set of nearly new snow tires I scored last night from a craigslist ad. By the time I get the trucklet ready to go, I am sure I will need them.

I still had my diagnostic computer there (an old laptop, the only use for which is running VCDS), so I checked the negative case of the resistor spoof of the side curtain air bag. It worked perfectly. So now I know I have a good solution to convincing the airbag controller that the side curtain airbags are still ready to go.

So that's about it for now. I'm not going to be doing more work on the trucklet for about 2 weeks. Don't forget to check back after the middle of November!

Cheers,

PH
 
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