Sunday, April 22, 2007

Killing time while the paint is drying

I've been treating the outside of the gas tank with POR-15 this weekend, which means I've had a lot of time to kill between coats. I took the opportunity to do some small jobs I've been putting off. The wiring in the engine bay was in pretty bad shape, so I replaced all the weak connections.

I also decided to start cleaning the lining of the trunk above the engine. It's cleaning up well.

The Ghia decided it was time to give up a long-held secret. I found a hidden ignition key inside one of the spring covers.

I don't think the previous owner knew about it. That means it's been there for at least 26 years.

Very happy to now have all four original keys.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Front end cleanup

The POR-15 I ordered for the gas tank didn't arrive before the weekend, so I decided to take some time to clean up everything below the tank while it's easy to get to.

This gave me a chance to check on the condition of the various front end parts. Generally, the rust isn't bad (superficial surface rust here and there) but many rubber parts need replacement. I need to put a new steering coupler on the shopping list for sure. Note the three pieces of white cloth tape that held the windshield washer tube in place at the top of the image. Is that how Karmann did it? Probably so.

If the rusty patina is any indication I'd say this Boge steering dampner is the one that came with the car.

The position of the fuel line in relation to the frame tunnel marks this as an early pan. The fuel line was relocated up and out of harm's way in April 1963 (chassis #0176350). Likewise, the master cylinder and its associated brake lines got a stone shield beginning at chassis #0111150, in November 1962.
In general, '62 models tend to live a little more dangerously.

Next week the gas tank goes back in and hopefully I'll be able to start it up.

Friday, April 13, 2007

VWs on the dock, Seattle, July 1958

This great photo is another slide from Charles Phoenix's amazing archive. It shows an orderly lineup of brand new American-spec 1958 Beetles along with three dove blue Transporters, one of them a panel.

One interesting thing about the cars is that they hadn't yet been fitted with sealed beam headlight bulbs. I have always assumed that the bulbs for North American cars were installed in Europe, but this photo suggests otherwise.

The ship in the background, the Blumenau, was part of the Hamburg South America Line. Once a passenger line from Hamburg to South America (hence the name), it became mainly a cargo fleet by the mid-60s due to the increasing popularity of air travel. It makes sense that VWs would be part of the cargo it transported. I wonder how many West Coast-bound VWs got a ride on the Blumenau?

Thanks again, Charles!

Sunday, April 8, 2007

Dirty jobs that someone's gotta do

In preparation for starting up the rebuilt engine for the first time I thought I'd better have a look at the gas tank. The car's been sitting for six years, and tanks that sit for years are prone to rust, varnish deposits, gelled gas, and who knows what else. I drained the tank a few years back because it had developed a leak in the hose below the tank, and an empty tank invites rust. Out it came.

I think a little cleanup is in order.

The tank itself didn't look too bad on the outside -- surface rust, but nothing too frightening. Not knowing what to expect, I pulled the fuel gauge sender and prepared myself for the worst. And I found...

Nothing. I wasn't prepared for a clean tank interior. Amazing. The small spot of surface rust above is the worst of it, and it's nothing. I had a look around with a small gooseneck flashlight and a mirror. Remarkably clean. The outside, however, has two spots that are close to rusting through:

I think if I treat it now it'll be alright. Time to place a POR-15 order. And while I'm shopping I'll pick up a new tank filter. The old one disintegrated as I was taking it out.

The tank is stamped "64." A manufacturing date? Maybe the tank was replaced at some point.

One very odd thing I found is this warped sealing surface on the fuel gauge sender:

I can't believe that overtightening the mounting bolts could cause this much distortion. I wonder if it was caused by a tank venting problem? Or maybe someone used a match to see if they were out of gas?

The stain in the middle of the trunk lining was caused by the warped sender. Years of gas sloshing around repeatedly soaked the lining and permanently damaged it. The car always did smell a little gassy on the road. Good thing I was able to find a better liner. I'll take this opportunity to point out another 1962 1500 Ghia oddity: The spare tire access panel is color matched to the car. Beginning in 1963 it was black for all car colors. The same is true of the engine lid. '62 weirdness.

While in the vicinity I got rid of some bubbled paint in the area around the brake fluid reservoir. The old-style rubber reservoir stopper (another '62-only "feature") allowed a long-time leak that ruined the paint and led to rust. When I bought the car in 1994 I cleaned up the brake fluid and rust and threw some rust-inhibitive primer on the worst areas.

The primer was a miserable failure, but luckily the rust hasn't gotten much worse underneath it. Still, one of the uglier spots on the car.

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

VW 1500 "S Type," October 1963

An ad introducing the dual-carb 1500S from the October 1963 issue of Safer Motoring.