My Smyth-Utes build thread

Powder Hound

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Day 42(b)

Then since the surround has been sitting there expectantly, I decided I needed to pay some attention to it.

When you line it up, there is a large tab that is designed to insert just under the outer skin of the roof, and over the second layer of roof support. There is a third brace in the roof as well, but it is under that second layer.

When you just line them up directly, the tab, about 1-2 inches from the side, just keeps going straight instead of following the curve of the roof. Since I didn't have any help to get it in place, I sanded those ends thinner so that I'd be able to fit them in. and that worked out OK.



Here's the left side:



And here is the span, tucked in for the preliminary fit:



Now, here's the 'fun' part. The sides want to stick out wider than would align with the door edge. Pushing the side in (either side...) causes the middle at the bottom (along the front wall where it is sitting) to flex toward the back about 1/2 inch. This is going to be interesting. The flex is no problem, but my question will be what is the best way to hold down those sides. Interesting problem...

And now, since it is Friday, we'll have game night.

What is the difference between the following 2 photos?

Photo 1:



Photo 2:



Well, I did stand in a different location, so details like what is showing or not showing due to the perspective don't count.

Thinking...

Thinking...

Thinking...

Give up?

Have the answers?

OK, score yourself:

2 points for the very minor differences in the extension cord from the hot air gun on the right side of the bed.

2 points for the the differences in the power cord from the belt sander that is sitting on top of the orange extension cord spool.

5 points for the little led flashlight (yeah, the one that looks like a mini work light) on top of the orange tool box, partially occluded by the Dewalt drill with the grinding disk mounted. It is missing in photo 2.

And 10 points, the grand prize, for noticing that the bumper is now back where it should be. Yay!

Cheers,

PH
 
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Powder Hound

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

I have a nice set of Enkeis as well. My plan is that the first one that runs, the trucklet or my 4-dr will get the Enkeis, and the other will get the BBS VZs. I'll have to locate some tires first, however, for the BBS wheels. I have other tires, but they're going on some 17 inch wheels I have.

If you check the last few pages of the what did you do to your Mk IV thread, you'll see that I've had some troubles of late with my 4-dr. A pump reseal didn't work out so well. I think, at this point, I fubarred my injection pump, but for the life of me, I can't figure out where I went wrong.

Anyway, so a trucklet in build stages and a 4-dr down until I get the pump figured out. Or replaced. :(

Good thing I have a few extra cars hanging around to use.

Cheers,

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
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Not working on the truck today as I have some other things to do. But, I'll explain my plan of attack for the surround.

Last time I was able to mount it on the car in a trial fit position. The front sides that need to line up with the rear edge of the front doors sticks out a lot. I was wondering if the part had a problem. So I found a video that Mark did where he was explaining what to do to mount the quarter panels and the surround.

In the example he was doing, it was an older part (one where they used to do little windows back there). I noticed that his surround was wide at the door edge like mine is, but he was able to push it in with one finger. Mine - nope, not a chance. Mine is pretty difficult to push in, and the stiffness through the side and around that rear corner is such that if you push the side in to match with the door, the middle of that rear part going across the back and sits on the top of the front wall displaces toward the back.

In other words, the part is distorting due the the substantive structure of the sides and corner.

My fear is that if I just pushed in the sides and secured them with multiple screws along the forward door edge, then that lower rear edge across the back would distort and cause too much stress on the window. That might crack the glass, or spring the frame, or even pop the glass and frame out of the surround at some point down the road.

The 'easy' quick thing to do is to use my heat gun to relax the corner while securing the sides where they need to end up. The only snag on that is the corner is tall, and the heat gun is essentially a point source. But while that is a concern, I don't think it will cause the method to fail.

Another factor to help make it easier would be to grind out the corner on the inside, use the heat gun to warp the plastic and do the install, and then at some later point use some epoxy and fiberglass to restore structure on the inside at a later date.

Using polyester resin would work as well, but all I can easily find is the really cheap stuff you find in home improvement stores or FLAPS, and that stuff you don't really want to use if you can help it. It is the cheapest resin there is. It has a very high percentage of styrene, which is necessary for the cross linking, but it is also the stink you smell with polyester resin. And the cheap stuff has a very high percentage of the styrene monomer, and what doesn't get cross linked will evaporate over a long period of time, stinking up the trucklet's interior the whole time.

So no, not going the route of using polyester resin for this.

Epoxy doesn't stink. Vinylester resin is as strong as epoxy, is cheaper most of the time, but has the styrene monomer stink potential like polyester, just maybe not as strong.

I'll have to do a little research on sites for vinylester and epoxy resins. Aircraft Spruce and Specialty is a great place for information and a lot of different choices for bonding systems to check out.

Probably I will see if the heat gun alone will get the job done, and then look at the grind out part of the laminate and restore back structure needed later method if needed.

But not tonight.

And last Saturday I didn't do any work because I spent yet another day working on the injection pump of my 4-dr Y2k Golf. Everything went well until it wouldn't start. My current theory is that I tooefed the pump head when I put it back together and damaged the bore such that it can't generate sufficient pressure anymore to overcome the pop pressure on the injectors.

I now have a replacement pump on the way, and I'll be able to look the old pump over when the replacement arrives and I pull the old pump.

And that's the way it is.

Cheers!

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
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:D

You know, I have 2 goals with this thread: 1) be somewhat entertaining, and 2) provide information.

I know I'm not a great writer, but hopefully y'all find my style just different enough that you enjoy reading.

And the other thing, providing information, well, I'm not a shill for the Smyth-Ute guys. I'm trying to be straight on this. They've done a few things wrong, but those things are difficult details and mostly my opinion anyway. On all the rest, they've done an amazing job to get it right in nearly every case. So as a kit, they've done a great job and I'd recommend it to anyone that is so inclined.

The other part of that is that it is a kit, so you get to do a lot of labor. It isn't quite as easy as some of the videos would have you believe. And when you run into a problem, you get to figure out how to fix it. It has taken me a while to figure out that for these deals, I'm pretty much on my own. I've called Mark a couple of times, and it is pretty much a few suggested solutions that have been tried, but in the end, you do it how you want. But no matter how that goes, when you call, you get the principal on the phone, not someone who has been there for only 6 weeks. It's a pretty good deal, and people respect as well as cherish that. Mark noted, when I went and picked up my kit, that he doesn't get inundated with spurious calls. Even he is surprised with that.

There's forums on facebook, but for multiple reasons, I will never have a facebook presence. There should be good information there; I don't know.

So what ends up with this thread is that I'm giving a detailed enough account that I hope anyone who is considering this project will be able to see everything that is involved, and at least my solution for it. Not that it could ever be the only solution, just my take on the problem. For example, I haven't seen any you tube video showing that there's corrosion in the trunk area that should be addressed.

Anyway, I'm very glad some people like what is being written here and I love that you say so.

Thanks!

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
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Day 43

It is Christmas, after all, so just for a short change of pace I went up to the shop to do a quick warp on the surround.

First thing I did was line it up and used blue tape to mark a spot that I will need to go over later. I'll need to take a millimeter or so off the outer metal at that spot.



If the photo had turned out a little better you'd be able to see that the cut is generally pretty good, but at that spot it needs a minor adjustment.

Anyway, I found a couple of clamps, and set them to move the sides in so that they will match the contour of the door edge. Then I ran my hot air gun along the rear corner. I figure if I move that part, then the stress on the rest of the surround across the back will be alleviated.



I needed 2 clamps.



After heating the corner for about 15 minutes or so, I figured that would do it. Then I did the other side in the same manner.

In the end, there is still a little strain:



That gray stripe is the part that should be below the matching surface of the door. So there is more work that needs to be done. Nevertheless, it is easier to push that part in than before I started. So some progress was made.

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Cheers,

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
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Day 44

Happy New Year!

Well, now that the holidays are past, and there is a lull between ice storms, it is time to get back to the project.

Last time, I was a little disappointed in that the rear surround still wasn't quite in line after a bunch of time under the hot air gun. It had improved, but not enough, and pushing it in still took a lot of pressure and bent the line along the front wall (that is, the bottom edge of the surround that goes across the bed and rests on the bed's front wall).

Time to change that.

Part of the time off wasn't completely work and trying to use a snow blower to move ice; I did think about the problem. I had come to the conclusion that I would need to grind out the vertical corner at the rear of the surround so that it would be thin enough that the sides could be bent in without flexing the rest of the surround.

But, first you gotta think like an engineer.



Well, you can't really see it, so here's a better view of the passenger side from the rear:



I cut a single line from the inside corner through the horizontal surface to the outside. I did this on both sides, so 4 cuts.

And after the cuts and repositioning, you see this:



So the sides are very nearly in place without any pressure, and the pressure to get it right goes from about 25 pounds to 1 pound.

Here's the left (driver's) side, and you can see the cut easily.



And if you look at the front of the surround, you see that this side as well is very close to perfect alignment with the door edge, and without extra pressure. Yay!

Here's a couple of shots to show how the lower cut was made.



Hard to see, but a little more clear when seen from the inside:



And that's it. I'm about ready to glue and rivet in the surround. And the quarter panels as well. I just need to see if there're some videos showing how some other people fastened it on the edge that lines up with the door.

A short night, but seeing how it all lines up, a very satisfying one.

Cheers!

PH
 

Powder Hound

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Joined
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'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 45

I am starting to get all the rest of the little details done so I can do the final assembly.

Today's first task was to fit the fuel filler door.



I lined it up to see where the problems are. I see that I needed to prep for a wider hinge than was accounted for in the lines that Mark (or someone else at the factory) paints to show what you need to cut out.

Above I'm trying to mark off the actual width of the hinge cutout.

Here it is from the inside. I put sharpie marks at the tape.



Then you cut and try and cut and try and cut and try and cut and try. Continuing to mark and trim out the plastic so the part can fit in, but still leave a margin to use to fasten (glue) the part in place. It can take a little while. At the hinge, you need just a little margin, but it must be thinned so it can fit in between the hinge and the lid.

The new setup uses a finger indent, but the plastic backing needs to be trimmed out just a little or you won't actually be pulling up on the lid. In the end I got it to fit flush and it should work very well.



You fasten it down with glue around the edge and a couple of rivets to make sure.


But no, I didn't actually do it because I didn't bring the glue (windshield adhesive).

Then I decided it was time to go back to the right side tail light. The one that wouldn't fit no matter what. Well I played with it a bit and finally stumbled onto the trick to get the tail light assemblies to fit into the opening after all the adjustments they tell you about: If you don't have the bumper cover (Mark claims it is called a 'roll pan') in place yet, you need to push the lower part of the quarter panel in as if it is being held there by the roll pan. Then the tail light fits. If you don't push in on that lower part, the tail light won't line up and fit in the opening. It just won't. Which means that you really need to torque the quarter panel to get it to fit right.



and pushing:



It is a little hard to see, but if you look at the inside vertical edge, the one that will line up with the tailgate, you can see the displacement in the first one and that the second one is lined up after my leg is pushing in on the quarter panel.

Well, that's about it. I started looking at the lights. They supply these led things for the license plate illuminators, and I'm not sure I want to use them. But probably I will because they'll be easier to install than cutting a square hole for the OEM lights and making a little box to protect them from getting wet, dirty, and corroded in too short a time. And if using the OEM lights, you'd probably need to mount them on the sides of the plate indentation because I don't think there is quite enough room to mount them on the top.

I'll be needing to mount the backup lights in the tail light assemblies. That won't be too hard. And then it is on to match up the wires to their proper places so the lights will work properly. The color codes on the wires that are given in the written manual is nearly correct. My car didn't quite match and I'd bet it is due to being a different year than the one they wrote the manual from. No worries - the difference is very small and only 1 wire.

I'll have to get some long sheet metal screws for the surround. And maybe enough to use elsewhere on the body panels, and it'll be ready to go. I will probably be ready to start gluing everything for real in another week or so.

Cheers!

PH
 
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Powder Hound

Top Post Dawg
Joined
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Day 46

Yes, I'm still alive!

It has been an interesting week at work; not so much for working on the trucklet. I have been doing some work at home on lights.

It is a little awkward in some respects. Specifically, the turn signal/backup lights. The Smyth setup is to have regular parking/stop lights going in the lower half of the light assembly. (In case you forgot, this is the rear lights.) The turn signal and backup light is the upper half, where you have a clear round cell. That cell is provided with a socket separately, where you just add the amber bulb, also provided, and then drill a 3/8" hole (they let you figure out the size) and mount a reverse light in there. The only thing I really have against this is that the backup light will probably be pointing in a direction other than straight back. Now this may or may not be a problem. For most people, I think a little light is about all they expect anyway, and you usually make do with that. I figure I can do a little better.

I started working on replacing the red lights as well, but I decided that part was taking too long, so I'm going to set the reds aside for later. I do have some amber LEDs for the turn signal, and was thinking about the best way to do the install that will keep me from having to drill lots of holes in the compartment for the backup/turn and also have a reasonable installation.

So I thought about it and came up with this:



This is some thin aluminum (actually a roofing product I bought at the local home improvement store). By cutting out the shape shown, and putting a hole in the middle sufficient to mount the provided backup light (which is an LED light by the way), I can then mount the amber LEDs I have in the sides of the aluminum "cup" so they shine into the reflecting part of the capsule and make a nice amber turn signal.

Then all I will need to do is mount the aluminum cup like this:



There will be some more work to making this thing. I'll have to make the 'petals' or sides of the cup wider so I can glue them together, and then just stick it in place as shown instead of the green socket that Smyth provides. The wiring is the same problem that you have anyway, so that doesn't change.

In case you're wondering, the amber LEDs will be Phillips Lumileds in the Rebel package. It is small, has a small pad for soldering to a heat sink (that will be a small piece of copper) and small pads for the wires. I'm using 4 of them because the 350 ma power setting should need about 2.9 Vf for each LED.* To keep the brightness steady and keep from burning out the LEDs, I'm using a current controlled source that has thermal induced voltage and power limits to protect the circuit.

The red parking and stop lighting will be done with Rebel LEDs as well, but that will be done at a later time because I really need to get this trucklet driveable as soon as possible since some other unanticipated priorities are beating on me hard right now.

For esthetics, I like the idea of having the turn signal and backup not look like there's a weirdness in the bottom of that part of the light assembly. That's my own taste - to you it might not matter one whit. That's just fine - we all have out own likes and dislikes.

The front side of the photo above looks like this, even though it isn't a very useful shot:



It shows that the outer part of the assembly has a lot of "lens" effect. You can barely see the aluminum cup, and really the dark hole I already put in it is about the only thing that sets it off. When I'm done, that dark hole will be replaced by a much larger round button with a bunch of LEDs in it. They're yellow, because that is the color of the phosphors. The way they do white LEDs is to make a UV LED and then coat it with a phosphor mix that glows white when irradiated with UV from underneath. And that phosphor mix looks yellow when it isn't being run by UV.

The other thing I did today was to spend about 2 hours doing final adjustments to the quarter panels and surround. That all came out nicely. When I was doing that part, I found I had forgotten the memory card for my camera, so I don't have photos of that. But, you didn't really miss much. There were a couple of spots on the upper and lower corners of the left side of the surround - both of them being where they impinge on the Jetta body. Also a spot on the right upper corner that was preventing the surround from getting to where it needs to go.

Now, the parts all fit very nicely. There will be about 4 or 5 places where screws will be needed to achieve the proper displacement from the body to line up with their matching surfaces. That is, the part is too high on its own and needs to be held down.

For example, on its own, the right side of the surround sticks out a little higher than the door edge it needs to match up with. You drill a small hole (1/8" or so) through the surround. You countersink that hole. Then you also drill a similar hole in the metal underneath. The screw, flat top made for a countersink hole, goes through, and is screwed through the metal until the surround is at the correct height to match up with the door when closed.

You do all this to set it up, then remove the screws, and apply the adhesive. The surround requires adhesive on both sides of the tab that goes into the roof, all along the base that rests on the front bed wall, and on the sides where it connects to the body. Or where it gets close to the body. Then you can set the screws. Then you can install the rivets in the roof. You'll really only need a few rivets in the roof (4? 3?) to hold the tab while the adhesive sets up. Then you can apply filler to the sides along the doors. A little more filler to cover the screws, along the top to cover the seam and the rivets. I'll be using a heavier filler (in my case I'll be using Tiger Hair) for the sides by the doors, because that is a bigger gap problem. The small and thin filler parts along the roof, for example, will be filled in my case by Metal Glaze. I like it better than Bondo.

I'll have to post some photos when I start this process next week so it will be more clear than my above explanation, so stay tuned!

I'm excited that the end is looking like it is actually coming. The light at the end of the tunnel is now visible, and as long as it doesn't start whistling at me,** I'll be OK.

Cheers,

PH

* For LEDs, a constant brightness is what you want, particularly when you are using a bunch of them in a series. Because of variations in manufacturing, a series of LEDs with a constant voltage can appear to be of differing brightness. With proper manufacturing controls, and binning of the end product, that probably won't happen. Or rather, the differences wouldn't be too annoying, especially in an indirect light situation like I am planning for the turn signals. But, as a/r as I am, I'm going to use a constant amperage power regulator so all the LEDs will be of the same brightness, and any excess voltage will be absorbed by the regulator. This keeps the LEDs from glowing differently depending on engine speed, or whether the battery has finished recharging after starting, for example.

The Vf is the forward voltage of the diodes. For my installation, for the brightness I am running, that value will be right around 2.9 volts. 4 of them in series will consume close to the 12 volts available in the car, except that while running the voltage delivered will probably be between 13.5 and 14.2 volts. If I use a voltage regulator configured for constant amperage, it will keep the LEDs from running too bright, and therefore too hot, because that would severely limit their lifetime. And one of the reasons I want to run LEDs is so I will never have to change the darn things.

The one problem I don't have an answer for is the backup light. It might be a chinesium POS (highly likely) where they overdrive it and don't heatsink properly, which means you have a great little light for 10 hours instead of the 20k hours they advertise on the package. We'll see...

** - yeah, a train would ruin my whole day. ;)
 
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Powder Hound

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Joined
Oct 25, 1999
Location
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TDI
'00 Golf 4dr White 5sp, '02 Jettachero 5sp, Wife's '03 NB Platinum Gray auto(!)
Day 47

Well, no photos today. Rats. I took photos, and I can see them on the camera, but my computer where I connect to TDI Club has decided it no longer wants to read the SD card. Stupid machine. :mad: All I can do at this point is add in the photos at a later time if my computer decides to repent.

Today I decided to install the tie downs so I could go ahead and finish enough to glue/install the quarter panels and rear surround.

I started out by working on an experiment to see if my idea of doubling the wall behind the bracket will work. I thought riv nuts would be a good way of installing a solid faster back there.

So I ordered some rivnuts and a huge drill bit from McMaster-Carr. I received them the next day. Impressive. And the shipping is quite reasonable for something like this. Rock Auto, you should take notes.

I had been thinking to determine the locations and then weld a backing plate at that point. The weld wouldn't show, and it would make a solid reinforced base for a tie down.

I grabbed a couple of pieces of scrap aluminum (nice to have a metal shop right there) and drilled the holes. Then, since I have 2 sizes of riv nuts, I started with the shorter size. I had a slight hard time getting the nut through the hole, and had to re-drill and ream it out. Then I screwed a long 8mm bolt through the nut and used it as a way to hammer the nut into the hole without collapsing the rivet part of the nut. Then I turned the bolt to collapse the nut. The nut spun. So I used a vice-grip to hold the back side (this version didn't have the hex facets like some riv-nuts do) while I turned the bolt.

What ended up happening is the the rivet collapsed at the outside surface first. It turned and the little grooves dug out the outer surface of the aluminum and that front surface deformed. The bolt head dug into the surface flange as well.

I tried the same thing with the longer rivnut and the same thing happened. Hmmmm.... I was thinking about going back to the hardware store, buying bolts and nuts that will fit completely inside the threads (6mm or so ought to do it) and then using washers to isolate the rivnut so that turning the bolt and nut with wrenches at both sides will supply crush pressure like the real tool does.

But the day was wasting away, too. So I punted.

The key here is to stop and think for a few minutes. All this reinforcement I was thinking of doing is a great idea under other circumstances, but here I think it just isn't worth the effort. Simply because, after all, the side wall that is supporting the tie down is only 1/8" aluminum. Reinforcing the tie down will set it up so that a failure will appear over a wider area and be more difficult to fix. Besides, this whole trucklet is really a light duty unit - aptly termed a 1/4 ton at best. So trying to have a heavy duty tie down is just silly.

So the punt was to take the tie downs (door jamb striker 'U' plates and the bolts used to mount them - got them from a local company that recycles a lot of VWs and Audis) and use extra washers and 8mm nuts that are supplied with the kit.

Over all, drilling and installing these things took about 90 minutes. There was another hour or so used earlier in the week to think about where best to put them and then measure out and mark things so it wouldn't look like a 5th grader did it with no tools when it was all done.

With that out of the way, it was time to do the final steps before glue-down and rivet for the 2 body panels. Defined: I'm done with the shaping and fitting, so the thing left is to install some screws to keep the panels in place while the gluing and riveting is done. That is, putting the panels in place helps you size it all up and get the door gaps correct front to back, but the panels stick out from the car too much in a couple of places. `When you put the surround in place, it stays pretty much where you put it. The quarter panels do as well, but I wanted them to stay there instead of trying to jump off the bed side walls, so I used a single uninstalled rivet to hold them in place. You just put the quarter panel in place, and drill a rivet sized hole just like you were going to install it, and then stick the rivet in place. You don't pop it, and so you can pull it out whenever you need to remove the quarter panel. Such as when I needed to install tie downs. Or shape the quarter panels for final fit. But while this method works great for the fore-aft location, and is good for quick removal and reinstall, it isn't the final fit that you need. You can line it up this way and have the door edge gap correct, but viewed from above, the surround and quarter panels stick out from the body too far and need to be held down when you do the final assembly.

The way you hold them down is to get some kind of long screw. Then you drill the body panel in strategic locations. For the surround, the top and bottom close to the door edge works well. You drill a hole large enough to accommodate the screw shaft. Then you counter sink the hole in the fiberglass, so when it is installed you have a little space to fill in and hide the screw. Then you drill a smaller hole in the metal of the B pillar. Stick the right length screw in, and screw it in until the panel is pulled down to the correct height to match up with the door edge.

If that all makes sense, great. I wish I could post a few photos, it would be much more clear.

I didn't do the quarter panels. At least, I didn't install the screws. I need a longer drill bit, but I don't know where I'd find one, and I don't want to wait for mail order. So I will find a way to mark the metal and then remove the quarter panel and drill the hole in the lower B pillar. Then I'll be able to put the quarter panel back on and install the adjustment screw. I will also need to locate some longer screws. Well a middle size I don't have would be a better way to put it.

I have 1", 1-5/8", 2", and 3" screws. They're exterior screws, so they have a corrosion resistant coating. They should be fine, just need to apply a little corrosion protection to where they penetrate the B pillar. The 1-5/8" screws worked OK for the surround, but the fender is quite a bit farther away from the B pillar. The drill bit I need for the smaller hole won't make it to the B pillar metal. The 2" screw isn't quite long enough, and the 3" screw is overkill. I don't want the screw to stick too far into the interior and have to cut it from inside or risk poking something later, so I want screws that are the right size. I'll look for some 2-1/2" screws before finishing this part up.

And it was snowing, so I decided that I'd just call it a day and go home.

Tail lights:

I've been working on these, but I found my original idea isn't going to work, so I will re-configure my turn-signal-backup light cell. The brake/parking lamp will be the suggested 2 filament bulb that has a socket supplied. I figure when I get more time at some point in the future (when?!?!?!?) and want to replace the bulb with red LEDs, it won't be hard to do. Just not right now. Gotta finish the blinkin' trucklet because there is a lot of work piling up for it to do. Anyway, I'll do some pictures of the new setup, and when my computer decides to cooperate, I'll show you.

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 47, with photos this time!

I was able to find a peripheral to read that flash card for photos. Some of these will be a little boring. But I am including them because you might want to see the damage you can see if you click to see the full size image.

The backside of the first experimental rivnut (the short one).

The front side. Here you can see the damage.

Then you need to drill a 13mm hole, you need a BFD. Big <cough!> drill.

Starting the second test with the long rivnut. I have the bolt in place to use as a mandrel to seat the rivnut in the hole.

Tapping in...

Ready to torque.

Backside...

This shop where I'm working has been around a while and the owner likes to collect tools he uses. Not every day of course, but this is an interesting BFH.

Just kidding - it is actually a rubber mallet.

OK, so the rivnut thing didn't work. There are a lot of possibilities, such as ensuring that when you set the nut you don't spin it. Also, doing the correct size hole is important, but the recommended drill size was 13.5mm, which I could not find easily. I figured 13mm would do, particularly since I was hand drilling it and wouldn't guarantee the finished hole would be perfectly sized to the bit. And there is the other consideration that a rivnut is essentially somewhat soft so that it will deform.

With these considerations, maybe aluminum isn't the best substrate to use to set one of these things. And the not spinning the rivnut when you're trying to set it in place is another biggie. Maybe the most important. I just don't have time to do more experiments.

So, as I noted above, time to punt.
 
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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 47, photos continued.

I decided a front and back pair on each side would be best.

It makes sense, particularly if you're going to tie say, a net or a tarp over cargo. Or maybe make a tray for bicycle(s). And I'm not worried about mounting a box at the front of the bed. Not that kind of truck.

And here it is mounted.

The back side, showing washers and nuts:

Front location:


Drilling for the locator screws:

Finished with surround:

You see 3 holes, and the surround pair have screws but the top one on the quarter panel is countersinked but does not have a screw in it since I did not have an appropriate length screw, and have not yet drilled the pilot hole in the B pillar.

Same story on the driver's side.




So that's it for yesterday's illustrations.

Stay tuned for tomorrow!

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 48

Time to attach the quarter panels and surround.

Not lots to show in terms of process. Since the panels have been on and off dozens of times for fitting and various adjustments, today is a rivet and glue it so we can get on with it day.

The basic process is apply the adhesive, and use rivets to hold the panel until the adhesive sets up. That might take some extra time, because it is <bleep>ing cold up here, and that part of the shop isn't heated. Not really.

The adhesive I'm using is Dow U-486 windshield adhesive. It is a urethane type glue that is good at bridging a gap. Once it sets up, it is pretty difficult to get it off. I found that when fresh, it cleans up with methanol, which is convenient because I already had some. It is quite viscous when warm, and when cold, well, I broke a caulking gun trying to extrude it from the metal tube.

I overcame this by borrowing a heavy duty gun my shop owner friend has and by using my heat gun to warm it up when trying to apply it.

For the quarter panels, I needed a couple of rivets on the top surface that is on top of the bed side walls, up by the front of the bed. And one at the tail end to keep that part on the tail end. After getting those done, I found that the locator screws I had already drilled didn't work. So on the driver's side, I didn't really need the screw, and on the passenger side I used a clamp. I figure it will be good until the adhesive cures.

On the bottom of the quarter panels, you apply adhesive and then rivets along the bottom where it contacts the car, and up around the wheel well until about 10 o'clock (passenger side, 2 o'clock on the driver's side) because that is where the sheet metal ends.

Then it is remove the panel, clean the surfaces that will accept the adhesive, and vacuum any other dust and debris out of the car that has collected. For me, there were aluminum shavings and plastic/fiberglass dust from adjusting. Then apply the adhesive, position the panel, do the rivets on top, then start with the rivets along the bottom. Before I did the final positioning, I also made a small dent in the running board so that water collecting there would be able to drain straight down. There is a small port there, and I'm not sure if water is supposed to be able to come out there or go in there and drain elsewhere. I'm assuming the former, so making a little dent to allow water to drain should be a good idea.

Here's the passenger side panel all glued and riveted.



Another view.



The driver's side looks basically like a mirror image, just the dust and fingerprints are different.

Here's the surround.



It is taped. The window has the same tape that has been there since the window was installed. The top seam has been glued and 7 rivets drilled. I found some of the glue was scraped off and is bulging up on that roof seam. I was going to clean it off, which would have taken quite some time with paper towels and methanol, but my friend who came in to examine the progress commented, "that's why they make razor blades!" I decided he has a point. The lower seam tape is to be able to just peel the tape after loading the seam, and have an instant wonderful clean seam. I find that the adhesive is so viscous that it is difficult to get it clean there at the tape, so I'm going to have to carefully trim adhesive when I pull the tape. Trying to pull the tape early would just make a mess because again, the adhesive is super viscous and the tape would lift the edge of the adhesive and make a mess. I'll just have to work with it after it sets up.

Here's another view before filling the lower seam. I already had adhesive in between the surround and the front wall, I just needed to fill the seam. You can also see the clamp on the quarter panel and the excess adhesive pushing up at the roof seam.



The driver's side of the surround, ready to go with filling the seam.



Here's the seam filled. I decided to go ahead and do this now, because I had about 1/4 tube left, and no way to seal a partial tube without it becoming difficult (curing at the nozzle, even if you seal with aluminum foil) as well as generally messy.



And the other side:



And that's about it. I still have 5 rivets left, and the rear bumper (aka "roll pan" according to the Smyth instructions) takes at least 6, unless you are a fashion heathen and go with 2 on one side and 3 on the other. But if you checked carefully above, you will notice that I said nothing about the 2 running board pieces that go under the front doors to match up with the bottom of the quarter panels. You need rivets for those as well. Good thing I already bought a small box of them (flush rivets) and am ready to go. I didn't try and install those because I found a couple of places that need some rust treatment. So, they will take a little more time. And the top covers for the bed sides will take some flush rivets as well as more adhesive. This could get interesting, and I'll probably review some videos before finishing those parts.

So I still have the tail lights to finish and wire, the license plate lights, and the roll pan. Then I'll need to do a couple of mechanical things (exhaust, left rear brake, parking brake cables, wheels & tires) and at least put primer on everything before I start driving it. It is still too dang cold to paint. At this point, I'm not sure I can do the primer. I'll have to run a test.

So, I'm pretty close.

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 49

I just went by the shop. I was going to work on the rear rollpan and wiring, but it was just too cold.

I started out to trim the adhesive that gished out the top of the roof seam, and while the part that was actually sticking up was firm, the part close and down in the slight groove is still gooey. 48 hours just isn't enough time to cure in this cold. I need to trim it very close like that so there will be room for the metal glaze filler to stick. I might have to go over it with my heat gun. We'll see how it is on Saturday.

And my fingers were getting stiff from the cold as well, so I called it. Single digits, or close to it, don't work well for this type project.

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 50

Time to explore the biggest mistake I have discovered so far. Actually, I'm pretty close to the end, hence to the end of the mistakes as well. I think.

So here's the mistake:



Can't tell what's going on? I don't blame you.

Here's the deal. Way back when I cut the body off the back, I took a look at the wiring bundles going down the left side. Both sides have a socket for the side curtain airbags, and the side impact sensor (that fires the airbags on the sides, such as those side curtains and the ones that blow out of the outside of the front seats). The right side also has a plug for the fuel filler door popper, the trunk light (Golf) or one of the lights (Jetta) and that cig lighter plug for power. I didn't need any of these, but figuring that I might come up with something in the future (particularly light and power plug) I pulled that one back and stuffed it under the floor up front where one could get it through the port for the fuel tank inspection access.

I figured the other side would be similar. Noting that there are multiple splits in the harness on the left side, and most of those plugs wouldn't be needed, but still I might figure out something for say, the trunk lid popper, I figured I could save that one too, while leaving the one with the tail lights since I'd really need that one.

So I pulled the ground wire from the ground that is on the inside just behind the left wheel well.

Shortly thereafter, I realized that I'd need the license plate illuminators as well, so I needed to keep that harness. Tons of other plugs on that harness, and basically none of them will be used. Problem is, I failed to find the nut that secures the grounds to that screw. One of the reasons I delayed gluing the quarter panels on is because I still needed to nail down that second ground wire.

So, fast forward to the day when I glued the quarter panels on (a week ago), and in a great moment of brain fade, I forgot about securing the ground wire.

And today, I was going to glue in the roll pan (aka rear bumper cover). This would make it near impossible to get to that ground, and without securing the second one, the license plate illumination wouldn't work. I decided I'd rather use the one there instead of trying to run a new ground wire back up front. After a search, I still didn't know where the nut is, so I guessed that the bolt is a 6mmx1.0 piece, and went to a local hardware store to procure a 6mm locknut.

Now comes the real fun. Reaching in from the back, there wasn't room. So after trying and coming short on reaching the bolt, I pulled the bumper. Then I was able to come a little closer. Still it was difficult. I was able to put that second ground wire on the bolt, but it was stubborn and would jump back off at the slightest provocation. I also tried to use a split lock washer, but that kept falling off as well.

Well, there was lots of fun trying to stretch my arm far enough into the innards inside the bed walls, and only being able to barely touch the required bolt with 2 fingertips, and using them to force the 2nd ground wire in and then try and screw on a nut. I had to stretch until the bottom of the fender was in my neck. Yikes!

After about 4 hours of frustration, I was able to accomplish my goal, and both grounds are now securely attached. A lesser individual would never have been able to do this. Don't get me wrong: this is not a statement of character, it is a statement that if you are shorter than I am, your arms would not be long enough to reach that bolt. Mine barely made it, and I have pretty long arms even for a 6'2" guy (at max, I think I'm shrinking slightly these days).

So the explanation of the photo above is this is the view of the ground bolt that needed the second ground attached, viewed from the rear.

Now, back to the regularly scheduled program.

I've been working on the tail lights. I have showed a few photos of the turn signal/reverse light that is being placed in the clear cell at the top. This is the view of those lights installed.



Now add the brake/parking red light bulb socket:



And after a couple of hours to add proper extensions as well as seal up all the connected wires:



Now the idea is to use those extensions (the longer wires that are gathered and a loose knot tied in them) to solder into a male plug cut out of the OEM bulb carrier. Then if the tail light assembly had to be removed for changing the brake light bulb, or if there was breakage or something, then it would be easier to unscrew the assembly and unplug it from the truck.

So I cut the plugs out of the bulb carriers.



Meh - nobody was going to buy them anyway. Then I soldered the wires into the plug.

Or tried to. One thing I didn't think about was the kind of metal they used in those carriers. I was thinking it would be copper that was tinned. Little did I realize the power of the processes of manufacturing and cost savings. That metal isn't tinned copper, not even steel, but aluminum. Great for manufacturing because it is light and relatively stiff because of the section it gives you, but IT WON'T SOLDER.

So I spent the trouble and time to cut them up for nothing. Meh - nobody was going to buy the bulb carriers anyway.

Well, gotta cut some holes for the brake light socket.



The turn/rev light install isn't deep enough to need a hole cut for clearance, and I can stuff the wires through the brake light socket hole to get them over far enough to splice them into the wiring for those lights. To install plugs, first I'll need a 5 conductor weatherproof plug pair, and then I can splice those into the wiring. Someday in the near future is when that will happen, right now I've a need to get this trucklet streetable ASAP.

This photo shows what happens when you try and drop the bumper with the quarter panels in place.



As in, it isn't going to happen after that rear bumper cover (aka roll pan) is glued into place, unless you cut about 3 inches off each end of the bumper. Just something to keep in mind for the future.

Time to do something about that silly hole in the side of the right quarter panel:



2 rivets hold it in:



And I placed the rollpan in place. I just drilled for 3 rivets on each side and put rivets in place without popping them.



So now I just need to take care of wiring details, install the tail lights, and then get this thing ready for paint. Finish the interior details, a couple of mechanical items (left rear brake caliper and rotor, and exhaust plumbing) and it will be ready to go get inspected.

Yeah, right. I'm thinking the interior will be dead last. And between here and there lie about a million details. You know what they say about projects like this: the first 90% of the work takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% of the work takes the other 90% of the time. In other words, it is looking close to done, but there's more left than meets the eye at first blush.

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 51

Hey, I'm back!

We just went on a trip to Arizona. There were a couple of official reasons: 1) dental work and 2) a continuing education course for my wife who is working on additional certifications for cranio-sacral therapy.

The reason 1 is that I am old enough that my teeth are giving me trouble, so rather than paying the extortion prices that local dentists charge, I can go to Arizona, warm up during this time of year, get the dental work done in Los Algodones, Baja, Mexico, visit with relatives (my kids, their families, and all my brothers and sisters save one live in the Phoenix metro area) all for less than what it would cost to have it done locally. And the quality of the dental work is at least as good if not better than I have gotten locally.

Anyway, the hiatus is over. I should be able to get the truck to driveability pretty quickly - I am shooting for the end of this week. It is simply due to my company deciding that they can "meet the profit target" for my project by replacing me with an H1 visa guy who knows nothing about what I am doing. I'm not happy with this, but it is what it is.

So suddenly and unexpectedly, I have a lot more time on my hands.

Today had a late start on the trucklet due to a few details I needed to take care of as soon as possible, such as signing up for medicare. I had been counting on working until I am 70, but it looks like that might not be happening. Until other plans and opportunities are in place, I'd better be doing something.

OK, so the unrelated stuff is out of the way.

It was mid afternoon by the time I got to the shop. It was a little warmer today, which means that while I was working hard I actually needed to remove my parka and all I needed was my hoodie.

The first thing to do was to check on the rear roll pan. As you can see, the lower profile at the sides where the quarter panel overlaps the roll pan to provide a surface to bond the panels together doesn't quite match up. I'm not sure why this is since all the other panels seem to line right up.



I sanded the quarter panel in order to try and get it to match a little better. That was mostly successful, but the profiles of the overlapping parts are still a little off. So the bottom part is going to be a squeeze and more filler is going to be needed than I thought would be necessary. If you decide to build one of these, work on this detail BEFORE installing either of the quarter panels onto the chassis so you don't have to figure out why it isn't fitting while you're trying to set the rivets before the adhesive sets up.

The wires of the lights are ready to go, but since I forgot to bring the wiring diagram, I struck out.

I then took a couple of hours or so to start cleaning the tire bead area on the rims I'll be installing on the trucklet. I found a cheap set of snow tires in good shape, and since they are the proper 15" size, and since I happen to have a set of Avus rims (I actually have another set as well, but they're keeping my wife's NB off the ground) I'm going to mount them up after I'm done prepping the rims. No use going to all this work if there's enough crud in the bead area that the tires continually leak air and generally become a headache. It should take me a couple more hours tomorrow, then paint the beads with a clear coat varnish to provide a smooth area for a leak-free mount. I'll get a couple of new valve stems and when the varnish is dry/cured I'll mount up the tires.

So that's about it for today.

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 52

I started out today prepping a set of Avus rims. I sanded the bead area of accumulated rubber and the uneven surface caused by corrosion, wear, and anything loose. After cleaning them with methanol (it makes a surprisingly good solvent/cleaner) I painted those surfaces with polyurethane - a single coating. This is just that bead area. Since the wheels are used (one looked like it had a lot of hard miles), some refinishing will be in order at some point in the future. Maybe when the snows wear out and it is ready for summer/all seasons type shoes. I then set those aside to dry. I'll let them go until Thursday or Friday even though it is a quick dry formula. It's cold here.

I also decided to check the fit of the taillights. I drilled the holes for the 2 hold down screws (those flat headed screws whose purpose I didn't know way back when). Of course the holes were a little off, so there was some fun trying to 'move' the hole a bit. All 4 of them (2 each side).

Next was to break apart the jacks with the 5 wires for the taillights. So now I have a cable ending in 5 wires with a junior timer female clip on the end of each. Not that it will matter in the end, but you never know. (At least, at that point in the afternoon I didn't.) Now at this point I need to put some adhesive between the quarter panel fiberglass and the aluminum bed side to fix the position for the taillights as well as the roll pan. I'm putting that off for a bit, however.

I decided that things are winding up, so I'd better test the lights to make sure they work in the car the way it is planned. So I just folded the wires together and taped them with blue tape, just to hold it all. Then I installed a battery, turned the key and turned the lights. Park, brake, backup, turn - they all work. The only thing not quite kosher is the turn signals have the fast blink of a burned out bulb because the turn signals are LEDs.

I was thinking all I'd really need to do is take the blinker apart and find the correct capacitor and change that out to a bigger one, but on thinking a little more, I think the blinker (the hazard light switch) is smarter than that. So I'm going to do some more analysis after finding a spare to play with. In the meantime, a fast blink won't hurt anything.

Now, to permanently mount the tail light assembly, those flat head screws will be going through the bedside, through a layer of fiberglass, and into a boss on the tail light. I looked at the length of the screw and figured the room I have to play with, and it looks like the screw is too long. Not by a lot, but it doesn't really take that much excess to break the plastic, particularly when it is so bleeping cold in the shop. So I figured I'd shorten the screw a little and give the threads a bit of help in cutting the threads into that plastic boss.

So, first, cut about 2 or 3 threads off the end.



Then you cut an angled slot such that the first thread has an angle to help cut. You also need to trim off the first thread leading up to the angled slot so the screw will act like a tap into the plastic boss. Here you can see a couple of them, with the slot at about 9 o'clock. I tried several photos, but none of them really came out. For some things, these automatic digital cameras don't do a great job.



Then, after you install the light assemblies, it looks like this from the inside of the bed.



After it has been test fitted, it is time to apply some adhesive. Here you see the quarter panel held in place with a vice-grip. The black stuff right on the outside of the bed side aluminum is the Dupont U-428 adhesive. I put enough in place to hold it. It is squishing out just a tad. Actually, the area glued is about 4 inches in diameter, maybe more in the odd dimension. Overnight, the outer perimeter will be set up to a depth of maybe 1/4" or so (probably less than that) and the rest will set up over the next while. Months? I don't know, and the roll pan and tail light screws will need to help stabilize it until it achieves sufficient strength to hold everything without help. But nothing will move, so the overall installation will slowly grow stronger.



Here's the other side, where it is easier to see the fiberglass part. You will also note the blue tape I'm using to hold the light assemblies. The wires probably would hold them as well, but I'm hoping the tape is enough.



So that's about it.

Well, almost. I have been thinking of what to do for those wires since I don't have weatherproof connectors. So I went to the local guy who specializes in VW and Audi recycling (Force 5 Auto in Concord, NH). He let me check out a couple of cars he has ready for recycling. I found a 3 wire and 2 wire set of connectors above each strut on one of the cars which will be just right. I still need a pair of 2 wire connector sets, but I might have that covered already if I can just find them in my own junk. In the meantime, I have a great set of connectors for the main taillights.

Finding both sides of connectors like that isn't easy. Nearly all of them wind up terminating in a component, so usually you only can find just the female side. This time I have both. Yay!

See you tomorrow.

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 53

Today was spent getting things ready to wire up the tail lights. This isn't lots of fun, so I didn't take many photos. But I was able to get weatherized plugs in place for all the rear lights.

It turns out I had some 2 conductor plugs already, so I set those up for the license plate lamps. Unfortunately, I don't have the proper crimp tool for the inserts, but the wires for the little LED plate lights are so fine that I don't think it would do me any good. I ended up soldering them into the inserts after crimping them as best I could with regular pliers. I wouldn't recommend this for anything else, and probably before I use these again, I'll get a decent crimping tool. Those make jobs like this much easier. Well, unless you're having to use wires so tiny that crimps make no connection.

In the meantime, I already had the wires from the taillights hand twisted with the wires from the car's harness for testing yesterday. So today I needed to identify the wires in the new plugs I picked up last evening, and make a map so that I would get it right.

So 2 sets of plugs, coming from the left and right side of the donor car for the same component. You'd think it might be the same color scheme for each side, but no, the donor was an Audi so of course the colors on the wires were different. Duh!

But no matter. The plugs themselves were relatively clean and came apart nicely. After checking and rechecking everything about 3 times, I finally had it ready to go.

First, all 20 connections were prepped by stripping the pigtails and then twisting them together. I also taped them to keep from having short circuits. Then I hooked up the car's battery and checked the lights to make sure everything is copasetic. I did this test first on the plate lamps as well, and did it before I started on the taillights.

I did find one connection where I had the wrong wires connected. I had to check my notes and the notes were correct but I just messed it up. I'll chalk that one up to not liking kneeling on the floor and trying to do this stuff in less than ideal lighting. It seems kind of strange to be having to use a flashlight in the middle of the day, but that's the way it is.

So after the bad connection was corrected, and the battery hooked up again to ensure everything is good, I started in on the soldering. For these, I just soldered the twisted wires. Then I went back after they had all cooled and prepped heat shrink tubing. I painted the joint with liquid tape then slid the tubing on. The liquid tape worked nicely as a lubricant, and after the tubing is shrunk, it acts to seal off the joint nicely. So after I had them all set up, I fired up my hot air gun to shrink the tubing. Now there's 20 homes for micro-mud dauber wasps, if there is such a thing. (The full size wasps keep filling in the hollows of my lug nuts, so if there's tiny ones out there, they'll find these things I am sure.)

OK, so after all this, you have connections that look like this:



The colored wires are coming down from the taillight on the right side. The taillight assembly has been properly installed at this point. The joints I just made are the little spread of black ends you can see at the end of the brightly colored wires, and I'm holding the end of the plug wires from the donor car.

And here's the connection into the car's wiring harness.



I'm holding the car harness. The tape at the joint was a label I put there to mark the taillight socket.

Here's the left side.



On this photo you can see both ends of the donor part as it connects between the car's harness and the wires dropping from the tail light assembly.

And here's what it looks like after stuffing the harnesses back into the car where the trunk used to be. I did a trial mount of the roll pan for this. The actual first thing I did this morning was to take a look at the roll pan to see why it wasn't fitting in well.

I found 2 problems. First I hadn't trimmed the roll pan close enough across the bottom. So I cut about an inch or a little more on the bottom where it curves back toward the front of the car on the underside of the roll pan. I just needed to follow the real cut line.

The second problem is that the flange that was put on the sides of the roll pan to allow it to be riveted and glued to the quarter panels is at a different angle that the quarter panel as it comes around the corner to meet up with the roll pan. The flange seems to angle toward the rear off the roll pan, and that is the exact wrong direction. So I spent a while making fiberglass dust. The roll pan still doesn't fit like I wish, but it is a lot closer than it was. I think I'll use a minimal amount of fill to smooth things out, but I also don't think it will end up being a big deal even if the contour is not optimal.

Anyway, to set up for the photo, I wanted to get that thing to stay in place so I ended up setting the top rivet on each side. I really wanted to glue the roll pan in place tonight, but it was late, and time to finish up. I also found I was picking up black smears. I had put a dab of adhesive (Dupont U-428, as black as printer's ink) on the ends of the plate lamps both to keep the nuts holding them from unscrewing, and also to seal the end of the hollow threaded shaft, because that is where the wires exit. But it seemed that no matter what I was handling, new gobs of black were appearing on my hands, with the problem of cleaning it off as soon as I found the smears. Too much time was being spent wiping that off with paper towels and methanol. But I couldn't figure out why it was all over the place, so I threw in the towel.



So just to see what I needed to do tomorrow after installing the roll pan, I laid a couple more aluminum pieces out. These are trim pieces that go on the top of the roll pan to the bed, and on the top of the bed sides.



These will be permanently installed with rivets and adhesive. I'm thinking I'll just use black silicone instead of the Dupont stuff for this install. The rivets will be flush.

The last note for today is that because of the generally rough surfaces the wires will be hanging over, I'll need to procure some kind of protective tubing for the wiring harnesses. Or just wrap it is tape. Multiple layers of tape. Or something to protect the wiring from chafing and spoiling that future day(s).

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 54

Time to remind myself what styrene monomer smells like.

Ach - too late. I smell that stuff every time I sand, cut, or otherwise work the FRPs* of the kit.

Today started out with snowfall. After examining the situation, I decided to return home at noon or thereabouts to clear the new snow.

So the first thing when I did get to the shop was to go ahead and rivet and glue in the roll pan.

First I positioned the roll pan, and made sure the holes were correct. As usual, I had to re-drill the holes in the underlying part. I had already countersunk the outer holes in preparation to using flush rivets. But I had a problem positioning the roll pan as before: it wouldn't seat on the bottom part of the joint, so some time was spent sanding for proper clearance.

Then I cleaned the areas to be joined with methanol. It dries quickly even in this cold air, which means the joint surfaces will be clean and dry as soon as I can get the filler/joining material ready.

I broke out the Tiger Hair. This is a filler product from Evercoat, notable because the visible filler in the resin is fiberglass fibers. It makes for a stubborn gooey mess, but I think it is a good way to cover gaps and, in this case, attach two FRP panels together, since it is a material that is essentially the same as that being joined.

But you make it like any other filler. I used a wood stir stick to pull some out of the can and put it on a piece of cardboard. (The directions say to avoid a work surface that is fiberous. Well, I just didn't have anything else that would work.) Then you add some hardener - it is a cream that has the catalyst in it. Blue. The main product is purple. You can tell when it is mixed properly when the color is finally uniform. I used a wall paper smoother as it was the only thing I could find that was flexible and, being made of polyethelene, should be able to shed hardened filler by flexing it.

Then I separated about half and spread it in the joining area of one of the seams, positioned the rivets, and set them with a pneumatic rivet setting device. Very nice, very quick. and you can one-hand it that way, holding the parts with one hand and running the rivet gun with the other. Then I did the same thing to the other side.

Under normal circumstances, this stuff cures quickly, and it only gives you about 5 minutes of pot life before it sets up sufficiently to make further movement detrimental to the strength of the final bond. Not here, not today. When it is cold like here, in February, you start wondering if it will cure before all the resin leaks out. Thixotropic properties just don't apply as well. I helped situation by breaking out the hot air gun and warming up the joint areas. It seemed to help the situation. A lot.

After about 20 minutes, I was able to trim off the excess that protruded from the joint so that a proper surface filler could be used. I'm using Metal Glaze, another Evercoat product. I like it better than any Bondo filler as it is stronger. It is indeed much more expensive than Bondo, but I like the strength.

Anyway, the Metal Glaze is mixed the same way as all the others. Same color of blue hardener/catalyst as the Tiger Hair. This product starts out as light green, so at least there is a good contrast with the hardener until you mix it in. Then spread it into the divots/groove/other surface flaws to fill them in.

After it cures, you sand it down then see if you need to add more to the low spots. You go through several of these cycles, depending on how good you are at all this.

This is the right side after 'gluing' with tiger hair. The light color on each side of the seam is sanding in prep for the metal glaze finish filler.



And the left:



Then, after the metal glaze, first the right:



And the left:



After sanding these seams, there are a few low spots, so another iteration is needed. Tomorrow perhaps.

I did need the hot air gun for the metal glaze as well. The times I have used it in the past, I had to race to get it on the part before it set up. This time, the hot air was needed to make sure it didn't ooze off the part. Sheesh!

Now I decided to start working on the brakes. The left rear caliper is the only original one; I've replaced the other 3 already. The left rear wasn't done because I couldn't get the lower mounting bolt off the carrier before. This time I was able to get the bolt out.

But while the parking brake cables are in good enough shape to leave them in, I had previously decided to go with a full set of new calipers and rotors. Unfortunately in this case, I forgot new brake fluid, anti-seize, and penetrating oil (PB Blaster). So I'll collect all these things and try again tomorrow.

I was wondering where the day went, but I did spend a lot longer for lunch because moving the snow was difficult. There's a lot of ice on the driveway (mostly due to the previous trip and being absent) and it was warm enough that the new snow was turning to slush. Bad news, as my snow blower does not handle slush. At all. It clogs and becomes very frustrating. Sigh... maybe I'll just wait until spring this year. If I had a way to just smoothly roll it down as it falls, I would do exactly that.

Anyway, tomorrow I will hopefully finish the brakes, finish the metal glaze, and see what is needed for the exhaust. I haven't taken a good look at the exhaust yet - all I know is that the rear hanger rusted off the muffler. If I'm lucky maybe all I will need to do is weld a new rod onto the existing muffler. We'll see. I don't remember listening to the exhaust note, so I don't know if there are leaks that need repair as well. We'll see. It will be interesting to see how much of this I can do. I'll need to take another break mid-day because my wife has found a family to take a look at our 2 excess cars we need to sell. A 2003 1.8T Jetta, and a 2006 2.5l New Beetle. Both autos. Guess who was driving these cars? The NB has only about 82k miles on it. If you know anyone interested and within a reasonable distance, have them PM me.

It is getting close to just small detail work. Yay!

Cheers,

PH


* - FRP - Fiber Reinforced Polymers, also known as "fiberglass" after the most common fiber used for reinforcement.
 
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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 55

Today was soaked up by mounting tires on wheels, selling a car, replacing the left rear brake caliper, and mounting the rear license plate.

I started out buying a few nuts & bolts for the license plate. Possibly I didn't need to, but I did it anyway. I did stainless nuts and washers, and regular bolts. Doing both in stainless results in thread galling unless you use a lubricant in the threads.

Then I went to the shop. There's a guy next door that does some auto mechanical work among other things, and he has equipment to mount and balance tires. I worked out a deal with him to use his equipment and save some $$. After mounting the tires, I went back home because my wife arranged to have a friend come by who needs a car. It is convenient, because we need to sell 2 cars out of the 6 we own. So now I am down to 5.

Back to the shop and there I balanced the tires I had mounted. Then I replaced the left rear caliper.



After that, I looked over the exhaust - what I could easily get to - and I saw a lot of rusty pipe, but I did not see any obvious leaks. I was contemplating replacing the entire exhaust, and how much I didn't want to start that right now because of what a PIA it would be in this cold, since I don't have a lift.

While I was trying to come up with an alternative, I mounted the license plate on the rear. Drilled a couple of holes after positioning the plate and marking the holes. Then assembling nuts and bolts. It looks like this:




So, back to the exhaust. I decided the easiest way to see what I am up against is to start the trucklet and listen for any obvious trouble. So I opened the outside door and shut the door into the rest of the shop and connected the battery.

It fired up easily enough. No clouds of smoke, either. I think this engine is going to be just fine. It was somewhat noisy, but it was in an enclosed space and the hood was up. But I didn't hear anything horrifying, so I think I'll do what is needed for right now, and save the wholesale replacement until it gets a lot warmer. It will still be "interesting" in that I anticipate the nuts at the turbocharger end will be hard to remove. The rest of the hardware will probably need to be cut off. That is what you end up with when that much rust is evident. C'est la vie, eh?

So, lined up for tomorrow I'll replace the wheels with a more workable set, replacing both front fenders, and the front bumper cover. And yes, I'll install the tailgate as well. If I can figure it out, I'll probably be taking a look at the shifter linkage to see why it is so stiff.

And if anyone wants a set of rusty steelies with nearly worn out tires mounted, please let me know. I will not charge anything if they come pick them up.

What? You haven't heard any demand for such things in many years? Yeah, me neither. But it can't hurt to ask.

Cheers!

PH

PS: Be sure your loved one knows how much you care on this day! :D
 

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 56

So remember the tires I mounted and balanced yesterday? Well.

My basic theory is that when doing used tires like these, then the least tread pair go on the back, and the most tread goes on the front, since I figure that most of the time that will be where the most wear is.

These are directional tread snows, so there's a fly in the ointment there. I was aware of this, and thought I planned accordingly, but apparently I missed the boat somewhere. I ended up with the low tread pair on one side and the high tread on the other side, so that just won't do. So I have a pair of wheels where the tires need to be flipped. The guy that owns the tire equipment wasn't around, it being Saturday and all, so that will have to wait. In the meantime, I have 2 wheels in place.

The right fender needed replacing. Maybe the driver's side won't have to be just yet, but definitely the right side needs help. I also have new liners. In prep, I jacked up that side and found some rust prevention/treatment was in order. The process was going along well. I find that I'm missing a bolt, so that is something I can get next week. I also need to find a clip.

This is what it looks like when the factory corrosion protection gets this old and a little water gets in to oxidize the zinc and cause rust. I'm actually surprised it isn't worse. Here at this point, there's a bolt that screws into the rocker panel. It screws into a metal speed nut that clips into a rectangular hole in the rocker. In this case, the clip came out when I extracted the bolt, and the bolt was holding a small portion of the old fender. The metal in that area is rusted thin, so I'm thinking it won't work to just paint the area, get new bolts and clips and go. I'll have to think about it some.



Here's another look, so you can also see much of the dirt and sand that was held up behind the liner before I removed the old fender.



This is after I had sprayed the undercoating material, but then removing the last bolt left this rectangular hole.



And someday it is all going to come together.



This is where the other 90% of the time is being spent. Sigh...

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 57

First on the list of to-dos is to fix the tire problem. Then attach the new-to-me right front fender.

But before I set off to the shop, I decided to work on the headlights. These desperately needed new lenses because the originals are so frosted as to not be sure there's lights inside. Ergo, the light output is dismal at best.

So I broke out my trusty hot air gun and softened the butyrate glue. After pulling the old lenses off, I tried to clean out the reflectors. I find that these old reflectors are dying - the aluminum (or is it actual chrome? IDK) is starting to flake off. I thought it was just dust but I see it isn't doing well.

I think I'll work on another set of old assemblies I have hiding in the basement. I'll do this is in the morning. As it is, the value of buying someone else's used lights from this era (anything over 15 years old) is pretty low, as in if someone offers a pristine pair for over $50 it is optimistic in my point of view, that being what value are you getting for the $$ you fork over. If the lenses are crap then just skip it.

Anyway, I then went to the shop. The fender calls. So do the tires I need to flip. I did the tires first.

The low tread one is one where it seemed to take a large amount of weight to balance it before, so this time, after flipping the tire, I also moved it 90 degrees on the rim to hopefully get a better result.

It is still 2 big lumps of weight on that one. I guess that is the problem tire. Good thing I'm not depending on these for a long lifetime.

Anyway, the tires are re-done and looking good. I mounted the right rear onto the truck, and then started on the fender.

For the fender, there are the 4 bolts along the top just inside the hood, 2 up front along the bumper cover, and 3 inside in front of the door's leading edge. The bottom bolt of these 3 is the one that is a little iffy. It rusted there, and you will recall that I lost the clip as well when I removed the bolt. To fix this, I bent a 1/8" piece of aluminum so that it would bend down at the rear of this little compartment at the front of the valence under the door. I used adhesive and a couple of rivets to hold it in place under the old surface, and drilled a small hole that was screwed into by the bolt with the fender.

I think this fender I bought a few years ago is an aftermarket one since it didn't fit that well, but it is hard to say. I had to push it and be careful how it was bolted into place to get it to match the seam of the door, and hopefully the hood seam will work well too.

I then screwed down the new fender liner. It didn't fit well, that I expected since it came from Rock Auto. (VW is way too proud of their liners, like all their other parts. Seriously VW, you should be ashamed to ask so much for a buck's worth of molded ABS.) But it doesn't show, so I didn't worry. Just drill a few new holes where the supplied holes didn't line up.

I am a couple of fasteners short, however. So I called my favorite VW/Audi recycler and asked if he had a Jetta to look over. He did. I went on lunch break and then drove over. It had what I needed, including a couple of caps on the headlight assemblies. I don't know why people keep losing those things.

This Jetta he just got in looked to be in reasonable shape except for getting shortened in the rear by about 3 feet. Glad I wasn't driving it at the time. But I think I need to revisit for some other fasteners in the morning.

So after coming back, I finished up the fender and mounted that front right wheel.




There is just the front left wheel to go. I think I might be able to use that fender, but it is hard to say. That is the corner that is stuffed into the wall, so I haven't been able to do much other than get a glance at it.

Time to put the tailgate back on, since all the stuff on the end is pretty much done.



Or so I thought:



There was a little error on this right side before I removed the tailgate, but this is terrible. I'm going to have to think about how to handle this. In the meantime, I can finish assembly of the front end, re-hang the muffler, and get the trucklet driving. That could be by EOD tomorrow. Yikes!!

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 58

This is what you find behind a wheel well liner that has never been removed and cleaned.



The scrap of liner that was still hanging on was about twice this height, and that was all. The trucklet also was missing (without surprise) the side and bottom covers for the engine bay.

I horsed in a new liner. Got it from Rock Auto. The price is right, the fit is not. I think there's a reason why there are no cars imported from Taiwan.

Since VW is so <bleep>ing proud of these cheap plastic parts, it is a good reason to buy them like I did. But putting them on in the winter is difficult, and I'd have a hot air gun at the ready, even in the summer. It is a good compound, but they just. don't. want to go into place.

Anyway, got that done, didn't replace the fender on the left as it was just on the edge of being too rusty. As in, I can get away with it for a month or so, then I'll need to revisit this issue.

The replacement wheel is now on that side as well. I started it up and moved it in the small shop space. If you refer back to some of the photos, you'll notice that the left front is right against the wall. Within a couple of inches, anyway. And so I moved the trucklet to get room to work.

I also reassembled the front end since I was able to bring headlight assemblies with new lenses in. Hey, you can actually see that there are headlight components in there now!

Basically, the trucklet is driveable and inspection available now. I will need to clean some snow (and a spare crated transaxle for an Audi) out of the way, and I should be able to get it out into the daylight.

Some body work still needs doing, such as the rocker covers under the doors, and all of the interior that I took apart. And for some reason, the driver's side headrest is hiding somewhere other than on top of the seat back. Maintenance is required: the oil in the engine and transaxle need changing. I'm betting the transaxle lube has never been touched.

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 59

My Jettachero has finally seen actual sunlight for the first time in over 4 months. Yikes!!

Oh, and that 'snow' that needed cleaning to be able to open the doors for me to drive the trucklet out? Mostly ice, and the dirt underneath decided to start growing a few rocks as well. So much fun chipping away. :rolleyes:





OK, ok, it is a work in progress; don't call the aesthetics police just yet.

Today I needed to get this thing out of the shop and get it inspected so that I could drive it. Over the last couple of days I've applied new headlight lenses and installed them, new front wheel well liners, a new set of shoes (well, not exactly new, but with serious tread and at very low cost), reassembled the front end after all that, applied sealant (silicone RTV) around the rear wheel wells and up and down the driver's side for the rear window surround and quarter panel. The passenger side quarter panel and surround will need to wait for repositioning since that side is too close to the wall right now.

I got my trusty VCDS and drove the trucklet out to warm it up and see if it was OK to inspect. All is pretty much OK, but the "comprehensive components" test was failed or incomplete. Hmmm... a scan for DTCs shows a negative charge pressure error (yeah, it was gutless, so not surprised), so I needed to check it out.

First, the vacuum line itself is attached to the actuator with a metal crimp leading me to think it is the original and needs replacement anyway. The line, detached from the N75 solenoid won't hold vacuum, so I jacked it up, removed the wheel, and took a look to see what it would take to remove the line from the actuator and test whether it was the line leaking or the actuator itself. Actually, since I'm replacing the line anyway, testing that is useless. On looking at the actuator, testing that is a waste of time also, since it is rusted in half.

While I am there, I decided to check the N75 as well, just to be thorough. I set up my VCDS again and did the output test on it, and found the N75 does not seem to build vacuum with much speed, but does release it immediately on the computer sending the signal. I'm not sure how fast the vacuum is supposed to build, but the line I was using to sense it was very long and that might have something to do with it. At any rate, it seems to work OK, so I'm going to assume the N75 is OK for now.

So definitely I MUST get a new actuator. I think I have a used turbo in my garage so I'll see if the actuator is attached.

Driving it around was an interesting exercise. That is, it is so hard to move the shifter, you quickly end up with an achy right arm and shoulder. Stop and go traffic is a non-starter in this condition. I had been thinking that the shift linkage just needed adjustment, but after driving it I think I need a new transaxle. It is a desperate act to find reverse when you need it, and third gear is gone except by accident. The previous owner did not seem to know how to leave a shifter alone after finding the next gear - that is the only way I can figure they'd wear the shifter brackets inside the gear box. I haven't had the courage to try and get it going fast enough to use 5th gear - remember the 'gutless' comment above? Yeah. So maybe 5th works and maybe not, but it doesn't really matter at this point.

A previously contemplated project had me procure a suitable transaxle already, so I have one. Just not the time to swap it just now. I think I will have to plan this last exercise as it would probably be easier to do both (actuator or maybe complete turbocharger and the transaxle) at the same time.

I did drive it around to get it inspected and to show it to some guys at my favorite Audi/VW recycler since they asked to see it when I was able. There were several people who made favorable comments, in spite of the unfinished appearance. It is the first one anyone has seen locally, so I think that is the reason for the favorable comments, but they still made me feel good. I think that when I get the final paint on, then it will be getting a lot more good comments.

Anyway, it drives. It has taken a lot more hours than have been claimed in most all the you tube videos, but they haven't done a lot of the detail I'm having to put into mine. It really helps to have a base car that needs nothing.

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 60

No photos, sorry. But it wasn't really photo-worthy activity.

I just got back from a short hiatus. For personal reasons, my wife and I took a road trip. 3k+ miles, round trip. Too much time in the saddle, but the trip was good. Maybe next time, I'll link up with the at least 1 member that is local to Niceville, FL.

So yesterday I started getting ready for the next step, which is repairing the mechanical problems. I drove Jettachero from the shop to my home and loaded up the transaxle, Koni Yellows I had waiting for a fun opportunity, and a few other incidentals. Drove them back to the shop. I used a bad tire I have waiting for proper disposal to cushion the transaxle. It is just too soon to start scratching up the bed - Jettachero isn't even painted properly yet! I still need to check the stick in the car to see if it needs help as well, so that will come later. It is fortunate that the gearbox appears to weigh less than 50 kg. How much for sure I don't know, but I figure I wouldn't have been able to move it around myself if it was heavier than that. I'm a FOG, you see.

Oh, and I checked: 5th gear is a no-go as well. So 3rd and 5th both sound the same. When you try and get them, the sound is a little like a screwdriver allowed to hit the teeth on a spinning gear. And no engagement. That transaxle has serious problems. If I have time after the swap, I'll crack the case and see what is there. I suspect it won't be worth repairing and will be a parts collection. We'll see.

The other thing I did to Jettachero was to seal the long seam at the rear of the passenger side door. I already did this to the driver's side, but I didn't do it at the same time to the passenger side because of access (too close to the shop wall to open the door). After hearing the noise the last time I drove Jettachero before the road trip, and the improved conditions yesterday, it will be a great improvement to road noise incursion into the cab. To do this, I just squirted a bunch of black silicone RTV into the gap. Not hard, just a little messy. I might have to go back and do a little touch up, but that part will be even easier. I'll just need a good flashlight as the lighting in the shop is sub-optimal.

Right now I'm also wondering about the condition of the LCA bushings. Actually, no need to worry - since the original car was pretty much OEM on the running gear and the owner was not plugged into TDI Club or the vortex, I'm absolutely certain the LCA bushings are dead or nearly so. So they'll need replacing, and I have the bushings either in my garage or on the way. I'll also get a practice run when I refresh the suspension on my Golf, since it needs it so badly. For example, the bushings on the rear axle beam are original. In both vehicles.

So starting tomorrow, that activity will start, but it will be mixed with some repair work to my house that is of ultimate importance and will take precedence over anything else for the moment. Well, there's a couple of other things that will get thrown in the mix, like eating, sleeping, a few legal things - you know, the stuff you have to do if you are a real living human in the USofA.

Anyway, I'm back.

Cheers!

PH
 
Last edited:

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 61

Friday the thirteenth. How apt.

Well, I didn't do a lot - other things and all. today I put Jettachero up on jack stands to prep for dropping the transaxle for replacement and doing the same thing for the turbocharger, seeing as how I'm in there and all.

Actually I did this the day before. But yesterday I was looking at it and decided I needed to see if I was really going to do the whole swap or not. I had seen a video on You Tube by dieselgeek (Thanks, Jim!) about replacing the bushings on the shift tower for side to side stiffness/resistance in shifting.

So on Friday, I did a check to see if all I really needed to do was fix the shift tower. I found it very difficult to get that bell crank shaped part out. Once gone, moving the golf-club was relatively easy. That confirmed that the real problem was that one bearing. Even trying to get the bushings out of that thing was impossible. They're brittle, and locked in place by internal corrosion.

The real bad news is that the transaxle still does not shift correctly. No 5th gear still, and it appears 3rd is probably still questionable as well. OK, so I'll swap out the transaxle with my replacement unit. That will probably start next week.

I'll follow this with a few photos later today. I'll also go ahead and pull the half shafts as well. In the meantime, I'm not going to spend a lot of time today. I have an electrical problem at my home that is a must-do.

Anyway, that's all there is for Friday. Today's installment will come in 13 or 14 hours or so.

Cheers!

PH
 

Tdijarhead

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Nov 10, 2013
Location
Lawrenceville PA
TDI
2003 TDI Jetta Daughters Car, 2001 TDI Beetle, Daughters car, 2005 Golf TDI Mine, all 5 spds
Electrical problems are hard to track down sometimes. A few years ago we were having problems with some of the outlets and lights browning out or blacking out completely in our house. I finally found that the main 200 amp breaker in my fuse pane was arcing out one leg (side) of the panel. So just replace the main breaker right? Well.......the box was made by a company called Murray, apparently sometime in the last 40 years Murray went out of business so no new breakers of any kind were available anywhere.

I had to swap out the entire 200 amp panel, of course I went with a Square D panel this time. It’s an interesting job swapping out a live panel.
 
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