Sunday, November 30, 2008


Lots done over the long Tgiving weekend. My hands hurt.

Check out the rug...

Ran some wiring from the charger (which I placed under the back seat) to run up to the front of the bug. I have the charger plug set into the passenger side horn grill (since there's no horn on that side, just the grill.) I still have to shoot a picture of that one. It's a part I got from an RV parts online store. 

Anyhow, after laying down the wiring, I went to work on the rug. Used up a whole can of contact cement, and I've been dizzy ever since. Brushing contact cement is one of those jobs you can't really get done fast enough. The reward is nice, and feels like yer making progress, but those moments you have where you are staring at the cement brushing onto the back of the carpet, watching it dry (don't put it down until it's 'tacky'!) seem to be the longest moments. Those moments that allow you to reflect "What the hell was I thinking...?"

Anyhow, looks good now. Check out the back seat.

You can see the box behind it. The battery box that is. Yes, got it fitted in on TGiving, in between making a pumpkin pie, vegan stuffing (brown rice, celery, mushroom, cashews, macadamias, vegan sausage, dill seed, and fresh dill mixed in at the end, yum), potatoes with garlic and painting the rims. You see what I mean about how little time I have?

Here's the rims...speaking of painting them...

They need a few coats of clear coat. Doing that this week and taking them to git tires put on. Then I'll try painting on the white wall. Got a special paint for that.

Had a friend who runs the Lucky JuJu pinball palace (check out who is an electrical engineer type stop by to inspect some wiring and schematics. Had to figure out had which lines off of the old wire harness to use to incorporate into the new system. Figured it out, and got some tips on wire gauge and how to run the wires thru the comp board. Good stuff.

Expecting batteries this week...I still have to secure the front battery area. Back box is obviously ready to go. 

My daughter told me today that I'll have the car finished before she is 6. That happens on Dec. 31. I hope so.

Oh, here's the old throttle spring I incorporated into the potbox....

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some interior, some wheels, some injuries...

Okay, since the motor was installed, and the component board installed, I've done some wiring to almost complete that part of the job. I had to install the potbox (the box that is the go-between from the throttle pedal to the controller), and once that was in I could put the connections from that onto everything else on the board. 

If it seems that I'm repeating myself, it's because I rarely read what I've written previously. Plus, I'm super tired.

So I had my rims sandblasted, but here's how they looked before that.

Pretty bad. So then I had them sandblasted, and then I treated them with the POR 15 pre painting chemicals (1st chemical, wash off with water, 2nd chemical, wash off with water).

Then I primered them with the grey POR 15 paint.

I hope to do the final painting this weekend. I have the stock colors in some rattle cans, plus some clear coat. Doing the two tone deal, with the anthracite (grey) on the outside of the rim, and ruby red on the inside. 

So here's a story for the truly bored: My next step was to get the battery box installed, which was going into the luggage area (behind the back seat.). I've already measure and drilled holes for the install, including the stainless steel 1/8 inch hold straps I made to hold the top of the box down. But back in that area there will be carpet. So my first thought was that I'd just lay down the carpet in the middle of the luggage area, and do the rest of the carpet later.


There's a very specific order in which to do the interior, and before I lay down and glue the luggage area carpet, I have to install the carpet that goes over the wheel well area. Okay, not too big of a deal.

Oh wait. 

Before I install the wheel well carpet, I have to have the headliner (the perforated vinyl wrap that goes over the walls/ceiling/interior of the car) installed, because the bottom of the headliner is glued to the wheel well area, and the wheel well rug is glued over the headliner.


Looks like I'm doing the headliner. At least part of it. Here's how the luggage area looked before any headliner or carpet. All I've laid down is the silver shiny deamplifier material to deaden the sound and help insulate the car.

So to start the headliner, I have to start on the B pillars (the vertical pillars in the middle of the car, where the doors lock to the car.)

I realize that the deamplifier silver stuff looks a lot like dryer duct tape, or plain ol duct tape. It has a tar like substance underneath it, and it's a nice pliable material, that is very easy to work with. I'm really looking forward to experiencing the affect it will have on the noise level. Not that I'll have a loud motor (like the VWs normally have), but it should make for a quiet cabin. I don't have plans for a stereo yet, but do plan on doing something eventually.

The other 'ghetto' looking item you may notice in the photo is the under carpet material there in the panel area. Behind that there is some deamplifier stuck to the body, but there was still space, so I had picked up some of this carpet padding, just a scrap of it for free at a carpet store, for this very purpose. I wanted to insulate this area. Anyhow, on to the next photo of more headliner.

The headliner on the ceiling is the old stuff...haven't done that part yet. Just look at the wall above door stuff. 

Proud of my folds on the area above the drive side window. Wow, I can't believe I wrote that sentence. This project is truly putting me into a weird bubble.

And the back. You can't see the part I goofed up back there, and I'm not telling where it is. Wheel well rug is in too, you can sort of see it, as well as the two 2/0 wire coming in for the battery pack. As I thought about the project after working most of the day on Sunday, I think I have to find new areas for that wire to enter the cabin. In fact, yeah, those holes won't work. What the hell was I thinking.

Trying to do this, while also trying to fit in work time, and hanging out with the family time is really challenging. Both kids want to help so much, but it's not like I can give them the wire strippers and tell them to go for it. Basically I have to completely work out the small tasks I need to do, way in advance of heading out to do it. And I have to know exactly what I'll be doing and how. If I have to improvise something, or make a decision on the design, while also knowing I have to go inside soon to make a sandwich for someone, or get someone down for a nap, I'm probably gonna make a mistake. That's what happened here. 

On Sunday I let me 3 yr old 'help' by holding my iphone. He mostly watched Super Friends on YouTube, but then he discovered the camera, and how to take pictures. He took some great ones, actually, and here's one he got of me...

At the end of the day on Sunday, I finally fit my battery box into the luggage area. Guess what? Now it doesn't fit. F#*@&*@! Is similar to what I said when I realized this. Mostly because that was the goal I had for the day: to fit the battery box into that back area. Well now I'll have to cut away some of the rug that won't be visible when the box is installed, and it should fit fine. I'm very happy that I have not glued any of the big rug piece, just the wheel well rug, and I probably won't have to remove a lot of that. 

A new feature: INURY UPDATE:

My fingertips are really sore, and I had to cancel out on a music rehearsal. Couldn't play guitar at all, and I was supposed to play standup bass for this thing. Not. A. Chance.

New cuts. Almost every cuticle has a deep cut that is irritated when I put my hands in my pockets. But the one I got from my japanese saw (from fitting the supports on the bottom of the battery box), has healed up nicely. I was sure it would scar, as the skin didn't want to join back together. Neosporin really helped out on that one.

My chiropractor thinks I'm nuts, cuz every time I come in I have a new car related issue. This time it will be lower back, on both sides, from reaching around into the back cabin area, thur the rear window, and the other hand reaching up under the back window area in order to try to blindly secure a nut onto a bolt pushing in from the interior. This took WAY too much time on Sunday, and my back hates me for it.

Unrelated to the car, but foot has decided to start hating on me. The bridge of my right foot doesn't like it when I walk. Standing: ok. Walking: bad. Very bad. I'm icing it every night, and nothing is helping. Might have to see the chiropractor early to see if she can help with this one. So because I'm limping, now my hip joint is barking.

Did I mention the rotator cuff/bursitus in my right shoulder. I can't really lift anything heavy, or throw anything or I collapse in a pile of throbbing, aching muscle goo.

Can't wait to start back on the car after thanksgiving.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Motor is IN!

took the day off (it was a holiday, officially) and managed to get the motor mounted today. A friend of mine help me scribe the plate on the bell housing (he used a dental pick!) I never would have thought of that. I tried a sharpie, and it just wasn't working out. He scribed it and cut it (I didn't think my collection of saws would do the trick.) I got it back last night, and then drilled the four mounting holes. My pal loaned me these center punch pins, not sure of the real name. They fit into the mounting holes in the bell housing, then I clamped the plate onto the bell housing, and then tapped the pins from the back, which punched a small hole into the aluminum adaptor plate to give me a center point to drill into.

Hooray for the center point!

Anyhow, I then used my drill press to make the holes. Drill press was great, cuz I didn't have to do pilot holes; just clamp and drill. As I probably mentioned, I'm a wood guy, not a metal guy, so I'm not too familiar with using metal as a material to drill and assemble. Aluminum is a very strange material. On one hand it's like a soft wood. When you drill it, it's a fairly easy, satisfying feeling to pull the drill bit down into it. But then it gets soft, gooey, and a bit like soft plastic or something. But then, the final result always looks sharp. 

Okay, so here are some photos of the adaptor plate, the motor, with spacers on top of it, and then the motor mounted into the car.

Now have a look at my garage (shop). It's such a crazy mess. Someone, come over and clean this up. You can sort of see the battery box and component board in the background in one of these.

My strategy now is to finish all electrical stuff before getting back into the restoration stuff. The only caveat in this approach is that before I finish the battery box (the one behind the back seat) installation, I'll have to put in the insulation and carpet before it's done. Sort of backwards, as far as the interior goes, but that part of the carpet, I think, I can put in before dealing with the headliner.

Below is the volt meter. I just picked up a couple of gauge brackets locally to install these under the dash. That's the next step. 

Sunday, November 9, 2008

More Progress...old pics and new...

Okay, there's been good amount of progress. First pics showing the POR15 paint job I did on the interior, painting over the welded patch of floor pan, and various parts of the floor pan. The POR (paint over rust)15 is this noxious paint, that turns into a hard shell after painting (and using the prep products as well). But it keeps the rust away and gives a nice glossy finish. I got this in some strange places (face, inner thigh, back of knee...i have no idea.) I painted the e-brake boot as well. It's the original and was pretty stained up, so I tried using the POR on it. Turned out pretty well.

And here we have the same areas after we laid down some sound dampening material. Got it at SecondSkinAudio from Arizona. When I say we, I mean me, my dad and my kids. They enjoyed using the rollers on the material to help stick it to the floors/walls. When it's time to put the carpet in, I'll put a layer of heat insulation on top of this stuff which should allow for some cushioning as well.

At this point i'm feeling WAY too lazy to match up my text with the pictures. I've been writing html for over 10 years, and the blogger interface makes it pretty hard to get this to work correctly.

Anyhow, you'll also see my first succesfully created 2/0 connector wire. That's the big thick wire with fat connectors on the end. There's a photo of the 2/0 wire cutters, along with the crimping tool and a small cut of the 2 ought gauge wire. That crimping tool needs more than a standard hammer. I could crimp succesfully by slugging it with a 3 lb sledge hammer, about 5-6 times. When that was waking my son during naptime, I switched to the more passive vise. I liked the vise better. I just put that entire crimping tool in the vise with the wire and connector and crimped it right down. Then put the heatshrink tubing over the connection, and shrunk it down. It's quite the heavy duty heat shrink, and becomes about 1/8" thick once shrunk down.

You'll also see the test battery boxes made from cardboard to get the best idea for a box fit. We went thru a few different ideas with cardboard until I settled on the red one you see.  It's made of plywood, but then I glued thin sheets of polyethylene plastic around it to protect the box from potential water spillage/battery acid.

You'll see the front area here, where the gas tank used to be, and then my test cardboard boxes to see if the batteries would fit. It looks like the middle battery would be too high, but we put the bonnet back on (hood, but on a VW it's a trunk), and check the height. Plenty of room.

There's the area under the deck lid in back, where you can see the transmission, and then the 4 brackets I made for my component board. Then there's a photo of the board setting on those brackets. And then another one of the board, mostly wired up, sitting in there again. Today I got the final 2/0 wiring done on the board, but there's no pic of that yet. I also installed the pot box just above the component board. Then I ran 6 lines of 14 gauge wire from the component board area, thru the passenger area up to the hood area, mostly for the meters, but 2 extra, in case i need them. 

The discerning reader will notice that the components have been moved around a bit since I wired them. 

You may notice the 2/0 wire that's housed inside the clear pvc tubing, it runs under the car. Pops up into the hood area, and back into the deck lid area. Before I put the sound dampening material on the floor, we had run some small nuts/bolts thru the floor to attach some supports that hold the 2/0 under the car at about every 15" or so. 

Also, how's that re-upholstered front seat look? There's two of them done, and I still have to do the back bench seat. 

I got the carpet, carpet glue and headliner. Not sure when I'll start that. I think I'll go for finishing all the electric insides first, and then get into finishing the interior. I still have to bleed the brakes with new fluid and add tranny fluid (yes, 'tranny fluid'). 

I also have to re-do the doors. I have all the door rubber, etc, but again, I'll save it until I get it running with the electric gear.

Last picture there is the sad state of rims/tires. I'll be taking them to get the tires pulled off this week (tires are bad), and get the rims sandblasted. Then I'll pain the rims, get some new tires put on and I plan on painting on the white walls. I'll try that, with the Ranger paint I got, which was designed for tires. We'll see how it works. Being that it's an electric car, I couldn't use the non-radial tires, and white walls only come in the bias tires. 

Hopefully next week we get the adaptor plate on and attach the motor...