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OT plastic kit car


Ulu
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  • 3 weeks later...
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It was Beautiful and sunny and I got the car running pretty good, so I took it out for a ride.

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Not 100% good but I would say 98% good, with just a little hesitation off the line once it warms up. It’s probably got a minor vacuum leak somewhere.

 

)The manifold is absolute dung.)

 

Static timing with the Fluke & 22mm wrench.

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The gas leaks are cured and the oil leaks are cured. So far.

 

This is because I tore the carburetor and distributor off yesterday. I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.

 

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A gorilla used this distributor clamp for a chew toy.

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I was condemning the carburetor because it has been sitting for 18 months since I bought the car. The carburetor was a mess.

 

It had rings just like a tree has rings. But it doesn’t have age and corrosion. It’s a nice shiny carburetor. Doesn’t have any miles on it but was full of dried up gas, and every hole that pointed towards the sky was plugged up with dirt. Fortunately it was a 400 mile carburetor and I had no problem cleaning it up and making it work.

 

You have to take the distributor out to get the carburetor out. That gave me a chance to inspect and lube the distributor and check the timing out. The points look like they have 400 miles on them. This is the low-time Brazilian made copy of the German Bosch 009 style distributor.

 

 Here is some Volkswagen trivia for Anybody who changes the distributor.

 

This car originally had a distributor with vacuum dashpots to help control the advance. Someone changed it to the more industrial style centrifugal advance distributor.

 

It has the breaker plate 90° off. This means you have to move the spark plug wires around the clock one position so the engine will be in time.

 

What the original builder did, however, was to make new timing marks on my antique German crankshaft pulley. Approximately at bottom dead center. With a grinder, 3° wide. 

 

Remember way back when I said I’d like to put crank-triggered electronic ignition and fuel injection on this car? I still do. More than ever.

Edited by Ulu
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The CHP inspector came to my house today and I have the signed papers in hand. It’s all paid for & I will have a title and tags soon.

 

I hope. I am waiting at the DMV again….

 

 

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The DMV was a breeze and now I have plates and reg and a title on the way.

I spent some time mounting the rear plate, but the front one will be a bit of work.

 

I just realized that I have not owned a roadster since 1975. My second car was a ‘64 MG Midget. I still have dreams about that car at night sometimes.

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The license plate and tail light bracket arrangement on this car is really a flimsy business.

 

The original Jag system had the tail lights mounted on a bracket, and the plates were suspended from that.

 

This design has the plate and the lamp and a lamp bracket flapping from one flimsy stamped stainless steel horror.

 

Of course I made this even worse by putting some heavy chrome plated license frames on. Pushing the tail lights out another half an inch and adding lots of weight to the flapping bracket.

 

I was planning to take those brackets off and mount tail lights to the fenders using some model-A brackets. However the model-A brackets do not give me a good angle on the tail lamps, and relocating those will leave a bunch of ugly holes to fill in the back of the car where they are extremely visible.

 

I need to figure out a way to modify the brackets I have to be strong, and at the same time not ugly-up the back of the car.

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What he did was verify what my original VIN was, and what year the car was manufactured, and what kind of car it was. Then he signed the paper and I took it to the DMV.

 

Call the highway patrol HQ in Fresno and tell them you need a VIN verification for the DMV on your project vehicle. Ask them to send an inspector to your house.

 

You probably need the papers from the DMV in advance, so he will have something to sign.

 

The guy that came to my house had to go to Clovis, West Fresno and Sanger so I’m sure he will come to Reedley.

Edited by Ulu
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14 hours ago, Plymouthy Adams said:

I believe I would look at mount it and a light, bottom of the rear bumper centered to the car....balance, functionality for less chance of flap and getting you coat tail snagged. . .

 

I’ve looked at dozens of photographs of 1937 Jaguars and they all have two lights and two plates arranged approximately like mine. They also have much sturdier tail light brackets, and this is my goal now.

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got you....you still wish this style mount...just not  happy with the flimsy bracket, being you have both on your car, I agree in maintaining the look and balance and the holes are already in the glass body. (I did not look at the right light in your picture)....you lucky your kit had the twin mounts and lights and not used the original VW lamps instead like a number of kits used.  If the metal is real flimsy and say chromed light gauge steel, perhaps you can get a set duplicated in a heavier gauge stainless and give them a high luster finish on the ole buffing wheel.   Even light gauge stainless if resistant to flex and bend.

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These brackets are made from flat pressed stainless steel but they are not well engineered. They might’ve been OK if they were twice as thick but even then they would have been wobbly in my imagination.

 

The original car had brackets with some section to them, that were made from pressed steel (painted black) or possibly even castings. I can’t tell from the photos that I have.

 

They mount with the same triangular pattern of bolts, but considerably higher on the car. It wouldn’t bother me at all to make some by hand with a hammer and a torch and a grinder.

 

I live only a mile and a half from one of the top chrome shops in California. I would take them and have them plated. My windshield frame needs to be re-plated badly, so I will be visiting them eventually.

 

 

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Sacramento or Lodi?

 

Both are very good but $$$.

 

DJ

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On 1/15/2022 at 1:31 PM, DJ194950 said:

Sacramento or Lodi?

 

Both are very good but $$$.

 

DJ

Valley Chrome in Clovis

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I changed my voltage regulator yesterday. This is the third one and son of a gun, when I started it up it didn’t show a charge. GIRrrrr….

 

I didn’t occur to me at the time that I might have a defective ammeter, because I did actually see it show a charge and a discharge when I put the electronic voltage regulator on the car.

 

It stopped quick and I blamed the regulator and changed it again. To No avail.

 

After I had shut the engine off I thought to beep the horn and watch the ammeter move, and son of a gun, it wasn’t moving. Then I put a real load on it with the highbeams and son of a gun it really moved.

 

So I think my ammeter is sticky.
 

Temporarily I will clip a voltmeter on the wiring and go drive it today to see what happens.

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I put the front plate on with rubber insulated clamps on top, and on the bottom I tapped some 1/4-20s into the fiberglass, which is quite thick at that point. I don’t have all the chrome hardware on yet and those ugly carriage bolts holding the bumper on are not in the same place.

 

I marked the ugly ragged fender tips with blue tape and a sharpie.

 

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This is after trimming them off with a cut off wheel, and flat sanding with a long board to make them even.

 

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I did some touch up paint with a little brush & some matching red from my huge collection of skateboard paints.

 

There are lots of chips and rough edges which need trimming and filling, but all I did is touchup the bits that you could see easily.

 

Edited by Ulu
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Thank you. It’s a fun project. I let it languish for quite a while because my wife ticked me off.

 

There’s no reason my wife can’t park outside of my garage. But she demanded to park in the garage.

 

Whenever she demanded to park in the garage I just quit working on the car. It took her almost 6 months to get the message.

 

The thing is, when I got this car I was kind of disappointed. If my wife had not fallen in love with this car, I would have just flipped it; So that crap was a little hard to take.

 

Anyhow today I got around to working on the trim plate for the steering shaft.

 

This was once a chunk of commercial aluminum window sill, 0.1” thick (before I sanded the snot out of it.)


Making the rough pattern:

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Hogging it out:

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Slitting the slot:

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Sanded but not buffed:

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OK I got the steering column disassembled and removed so that I could do the first test fitting on the trim plate.

 

It was cold in the garage, so I heated up the plate and the paint with a heat gun, in a box, before I shot the paint.

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First time that I have been able to actually lay this on the fender, as the steering column is now removed.


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Well the best laid plans always have a flaw. I didn’t make my cover plate quite large enough and once in the exact position it wound up being 1/2”farther forward than I originally imagined.

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So it didn’t quite cover up the damage. 

 

It’s a plastic car so I stuffed some epoxy putty up from underneath and touched it up with red paint. It’s just a tiny spot and you can’t see it in the photograph at all.

 

I’m going to have to make a larger plate from scratch and a new gasket as well. Not a big deal. The big deal is the steering column.

 

I couldn’t figure out where to put the screws until the steering shaft was installed but once the steering shaft is installed you can’t install the fourth screw. Catch 22!  It all has to come apart.

 

That of course is not the worst of it. I must make a complete new steering shaft for this car because mine is cobbled together from bits and pieces. The number of pieces was made worse by the fact that I had to cut it to remove it from the car last time due to a broken screw that was in the position I simply could not drill.

 

This car really needs a brand new steering shaft and a U-joint and a secure column bracket. I would also like to ditch the Volkswagen steering column completely. I’m not trying to use modern control stalks. It’s just bulky and unnecessary and ugly as sin.

 

 

Edited by Ulu
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  • Solution
On 1/20/2022 at 11:30 PM, Ulu said:

Thank you. It’s a fun project. I let it languish for quite a while because my wife ticked me off.

 

There’s no reason my wife can’t park outside of my garage. But she demanded to park in the garage.

 

Whenever she demanded to park in the garage I just quit working on the car. It took her almost 6 months to get the message.

 

The thing is, when I got this car I was kind of disappointed. If my wife had not fallen in love with this car, I would have just flipped it; So that crap was a little hard to take.

 

My wife is waiting to ride but I told her it might be late this year or early next.  She let me know yesterday she wanted to get out of the house and go somewhere. We're heading off today.  She knows how I am. I'll work on something at the exclusion of everything else. Told her to always let me know when she gets antsy.  

Edited by Bryan
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It helps to think that whatever we engineer (cobble) is really a prototype.   A prototype is "try it and see", and re-engineer (re-cobble) it later, based on what we find has to change. 

 

The only difference between us and the world of commerce is that we don't make a billion units based on what we learned from the prototype. 

 

We do have this forum, however, so that others can benefit from our experience.  And, somehow, we're having fun in the process. 

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I ran a prototype shop for a couple years, at Vendo, and as a manufacturing engineer I had my hand in from start to finish.

 

There were complaints from the union, that “engineers weren’t supposed to spend so much time on the shop floor.” They claimed “excess supervision” and other silly things.

 

It wasn’t the prototype crew though. It was guys from the punch press shop next door.

Edited by Ulu
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So I got out and drove the car to the Volkswagen shop Wednesday afternoon and I learned a few things in the process.

 

The first thing I learned is this tiny car is the most fun you can have without actually driving a go-cart on the city streets. It’s elbows out, all the way.


I noticed some oil seeping at the right cylinder head so the head bolts are probably loose. She is parked!

 

Next, That dented wheel cover that I thought was never going to stay on? Well it didn’t. I now have three and I’m going to toss them soon.

 

I have been shopping for some appropriate custom wheels for this car but in the immediate future I might just strip the stock rims (which are in very nice shape) paint them mustard yellow, and put some chrome caps and trim rings on.

 

The steering works pretty well, and it has no more slop than a typical Volkswagen. I still want to change it completely. in addition to the rag joint, it needs a real u-joint. Also I was driving it without front shock absorbers which was actually not as bad as you might think, compared to how it rock-stiff was with the shock absorbers on.

 

This is a very light car in the front so it doesn’t bounce around like crazy, but it bounces enough now that you can really see how having un-equal tie rods (Just like a P 15) Makes the car twitch under certain conditions.

 

The brake pedal felt a little soft when I started the car but it pumped up right away. When I got home I saw spot of brake fluid on the floor. The master cylinder was leaking, and so I bought a new one yesterday.

 

Fortunately I was able to get a nice one manufactured by a German company in Denmark instead of a crummy one manufactured by a Mexican company in China.

 

It was $80 versus $40 but when it comes to brakes you pay the price. One way or the other. I won’t be installing it quite yet because when I put it in it will be mounted in a different spot. This of course means changing some brake lines. Volkswagens used bronze brake lines, so they don’t rust like the old Plymouth. All the rubber lines were already replaced at some point and are in very nice shape.

 

I need to tighten every bolt on this engine, out of the car. What I’m going to do instead of R&R the engine is remove the body.

 

It’s time to rework the frame. It will probably be apart for six weeks. It’s hard to paint everything in the winter. Also, in order to take it off fully assembled, I will have to build a flying jig. I will weld a truss structure That allows me to lift the entire body at once, with my engine hoist.

 

At the same time I will check everything on the engine, and change the intake manifold. I should straighten out the bent exhaust system. I will probably just buy a new one.

 

many other things will happen at the same time which is why it will take six weeks. The actual construction and welding of the frame should not be more than 7 days. Once I build the jig I should be able to remove the body from the car in less than one hour.

 

 

 

Edited by Ulu
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Well I weighed my car yesterday. I didn’t do any other work on it but I was trying to figure out what shock absorbers I should buy.

 

Of course all I have is a bathroom scale and it won’t weigh a car.

I went around to each wheel with a junk-steel fulcrum, and a marked pipe for a lever. 12 to 1 ratio.

 

I stood on the scale and weighed 184 pounds. Then I leaned on the lever until the car came off the ground and read the scale at 160 pounds.

184-160=24lbs

 

Weight at a front wheel therefore was 24×12 or 288 pounds

 

Rear wheels weighed at 355 lbs

 

I find the entire car weighs 1286 pounds unladen, with the gas tank dry. Gross will be about 1600 average. 1800 lbs max.

 

Weight distribution is 45/55 and estimated at 42/58 at max gross wt.

 

She will definitely be a Taildragger.

 

Anyhow I’m gonna go see if I can find some decent shock absorbers suitable for this setup.

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