With Wings As Eagles: Craig P. Steffen's Blog

never a dull moment

2007 November 29 01:15

Here's the plan for removing the stuck screw in the right outside CV joint in my beetle. On the way home from supper, I buy a Craftsman rotary grinding tool:

Here's what the head of one of the CV joint bolts looks like:

I will use the grinder on the bolt that's still in the car to make a slot for a large slotted screwdriver, like so (this is my practice run):

Well...the reality didn't quite work out that way. I got slots cut in the bolt head, but I couldn't generate enough torque without it slipping to get the bolt to turn. Here's the head of that bolt now; note that it's still attached to the car:

Damn and blast. It's too late tonight for me to do anything else. I guess the next thing I'll try is to cut the washer out from between the bolt head and the pressure pad. If the place that the bolt is binding is where the head seats, then that will free it up. If it's not; if the problem is in the shaft or the threads, then having the head off of the bolt will at least allow me to continue, although I now have to deal with a stuck bolt (but in a part that comes out of the car, so it'll be easier to work on).

.833 batting average

2007 November 28 08:28

I managed to get 5 out of 6 bolts out of the outer right CV joint in my beetle last night. That gives me a .833 batting average, which is pretty good.

Unfortunately, that leaves one bolt in there, which I managed to strip.

While this is annoying, it shouldn't be too much of a setback. I do, however, see a Dremel tool in my very near future.

a cunning plan

2007 November 26 23:13

I'm a little bit squeamish about taking the rear wheel bearings out of my beetle. They are a vital part of the car and need to work properly for it to function. I think I now have all of the tools and procedures lined up to take them apart, re-pack or replace them, and then put the wheels and brakes back together.

The first thing I need to do is remove drive shafts. They run from the transmission to the axle stubs. At the bottom here you can see the brake plate and stub axle, and above it the drive shaft going towards the car and the transmission:

The ends of the drive shaft are held on by unusual bolts which have a 12-point cap head. Here's a photo of the end of the drive shaft where it bolts to the stub axle:

I'd been worried about being able to get the right tool for those bolts. This last week I managed to find the right thing at O'Reilly auto parts here in town:

By the way, the general type is a "triple square".

The second smallest size, the M8 is the one that fits

So I think I'm finally ready to go in and take it all apart.

I have new bearings to replace them if that's necessary.

There are two bearings per wheel. The inner bearing is a ball bearing, it's installed all as one piece:

The outer bearing is a roller bearing:

with a removable inner race:

poking and prodding

2007 November 20 00:14

Ah, I'm back from work travel, and I'll be able to catch up on things somewhat this week.

When I got the wheels and hubs off of the beetle, I decided that the right rear was pretty worn, so I should get a new one, so I ordered a box of parts. Here's Jasper and pangur doing quality control:

A nice, shiny new brake drum:

I have all of the wheels and the brake shoes off, so I want to re-pack all the wheel bearings. I have several manuals, but most of them talk about undoing the suspension to get the back axle out, which I don't think is really necessary.

Here's a diagram of the axle/bearing assembly that I need to take apart to get at the bearings:

It's like a airplane...without wings!

2007 November 06 21:41

I was stuck for quite a while up until recently with the Cessna model. I went to try to attach the wing to the body, and the body was too wide, and it made the wing too tight and not fit right. The body was apparently slightly too wide at that point, and so when I forced to fit, the wing tips bent up quite a bit.

Well, sitting outside last week for Haloween, I took some time and filed down the fuselage of the airplane so the wing fit better. Here you can see the marks above the windows:

After doing that, I managed to jury-rig the propellor onto the front of the cowling so that it's attached and turns, and then I get the cowling front attached:

Then I got the wing glued on, finally:

And the wing struts and main landing gear, so it's starting to look like a real airplane!

four on the floor

2007 November 03 22:11

I now have all four wheel hubs off on my beetle in preparation for replacing brake components and re-packing the wheel bearings.

The rear drums are a little more work, because they're held on by big 36mm castlated nuts secured by cotter pins:

Those nuts are held on with 217 foot-pounds of torque, which makes them the toughest fastener to remove on the car except the "gland nut" that holds the flywheel on the crankshaft. To keep the hub from turning, I bought a steel bar that I braced against two studs that I threaded into the hub:

Here's the left rear brake assembly all taken apart:

Going around the car, I finally got the right front wheel and hub off. Shown here is the spindle of the right front wheel right after taking off the drum. The red gooky stuff is wheel bearing grease, which is what lubricates the wheels when they're turning.

I'm concerned about a channel that appears to have been worn on the shoulder at the base of the front right spindle:

I can't imagine what wore that. The inner race of the bearing doesn't even sit there. I think the only thin that rides there is the grease seal on the inner part of the drum. Here's the other spindle (on the left side) for comparison: