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


2008 March 16 23:25

I haven't had time to work on the beetle lately. We're doing real live spring cleaning and so I'm keeping my nose to the grindstone. Perhaps I can work on it next weekend.

So for the moment, I leave you jith this

I bought these bumpers on ebay a while back. I wanted to keep them in good shape, so I didn't want to stick them on a shelf somewhere to be scratched. So I took them out of their pacakging and they've been on the floor (carpet) of a room in our upstairs. Well, I was cleaning that room and the bumpers were in my way. So I hung them from the basement ceiling above where I have all my car parts and seals.

two thirds of what?

2008 March 14 21:04

I ran across this battery in my basement the other day:

Anyone know what this is a battery for? (I know, I'm asking it as a rhetorical question.) Consider it foreshadowing for a blog feature that will be coming soon. Here's a hint: It has noting to do with my car and it has nothing to do with flying or airplanes.

Since this battery and its siblings are over 15 years old now, I've been looking for replacements. There's a Panasonic Lithium camera battery that's pretty close, which will work, but it's a tight fit in the socket that the battery goes in. Just now, it occured to me that the important marking is the one in the middle, "BR=2/3A". I had alwasy thought that "A" stood for "amperes", so the two bottom markings above "matsushita electric" were statements of the battery's voltage and current capacity, but it turns out that BR-2/3A is the battery type. That is, it's two-thirds the length of an A-type battery (used to be available along with AA and AAA).

So by searing Google for "2/3A" and "battery", I think I finally found a source of exact replacement batteries. This web site gets kudos for being cheaper than the other places that came up on google and they have exact battery measurements in mm, which allowed me to match the size. Woot!

More to come.

plate ran away with the ring

2008 March 12 23:39

The first thing I did in this project was to remove the drive shaft from the right rear wheel. For the first time since then, I took the protective bad off and got ready to hook it back up to the stub axle.

Here's the hardware for re-attachment. Since the triple-square bolts are so fiddly, particularly when dirty, I'm going to just put in all new bolts. Of the three pressure plates, one is new because of the grinding I did on the old one to try to get the stripped bolt out.

I stuck the drum on the stub axle to provide a way to keep the axle from turning...

As I torqued the bolts on that hold the drive shaft to the axle.

Next comes the brake plate, which I've painted a groovy flat black, as outlined recently.

I attached the emergency brake cable to the brake plate, and then discovered that with the brake cable attached, it won't fit over the stub axle when it's in place.

After all the trouble with getting the axle bolts out, there was no way I was going to take it back off, so I disconnected the brake cable, installed the plate, then re-atached the cable.

The bearing carrier installed with the outer seal in place. This is a good illustration of the color change in the brake plate. Before cleaing and painting, the plate was about the color of the carrier.

The outer spacer, which has a chamfer on one outer edge; the one that goes against the inner race of the ball bearing.

Brake plate, bearing carrier, drive shaft, and outer spacer installed (its the shiny thing in the middle of the seal). I've also installed the brake hard line that feeds the slave cylinder; the top is visible in the hole in the brake plate with the cylinder mounts.


2008 March 12 01:28

Ready to start re-assembling the bearing/axle assembly on the right rear of the beetle. From left to right, the spacer sleeve that goes between two bearings, the stub axle, the inner spacer, and the tube of grease.

The inner spacer has a chamfer on the inner edge that goes against the end of the stub axle.

Here's the inner spacer on the axle, ready to go into the axle assembly. The seal that I installed yesterday presses against the outer edge of the spacer, keeping the grease from leaking out in that direction.

The stub axle in place. The ball bearing is enough to hold it in position.

The cavity between where ball bearing is (you can sort of see it at the back, infused with red grease) and where the roller bearing will go. The spacer sleeve is around the axle.

The really narrow nozzle was really slow, so I put on a much bigger nozzle.

With the bigger nozzle, the grease squishes in quite readily.

The space is well enough packed that grease squishes out around the rollers in the roller bearing when it's installed.

I might get that wheel on in the next couple of days.

test in a replacable spot

2008 March 12 01:05

I've taken the right rear brake plate off my car to use it as a test for the rust treatment.

It had to be disconnected from the emergency brake cable

I painted the plate with several coats and I'll try fitting it tomorrow when it's dry.

hand operated air cooled seal installer

2008 March 11 01:08

I spent a while trying to install the inner seal on the right rear of my beetle yesterday, but I couldn't get it to go into its seat. It's easy to get it to go slightly in:

but then when I try to tap around the edge, the opposite part pops out and you're back to square one.

So I got a C-clamp big enough to squeeze the seal against the bearing housing, using two two-by-fours as flat surfaces:

This arrangement pushed the seal into its seat and got it flush with the outer surface

but that's not anywhere nearly all the way in. I need something about the diameter of the seal to push it in deeper.

As it turns out, the bearings are the same diameter. Here's the outer part of a roller bearing that I used to be just as big as the seal but no bigger

So I set up the squeezing mechanism with the bearing pushing on the seal and the clamp providing the squeezing force.

And only the second evening I worked on it, the seal is in!

a different color rust

2008 March 11 00:43

I'm going to try a different type of rust treatment this time:

So I took the other rear (rusty) brake drum

and painted it

The important thing here is that even though I was very careful to paint the inside of the lug bolt holes, you can see the lug bolt still threads into the drum. I think that means that I can paint the brake plates without having to worry that it's going to mess up the fit of any of the parts.

one brick

2008 March 10 00:04

At long last, all the bearing parts for the right side of my beetle are clean and ready to install (except the brake plates; I'll need to figure those out next).

The axle bearing chamber in the diagonal arm before cleaning out the old grease.

After cleaning it out

Ball bearing clean and ready to be greased

Cake decorator loaded up with wheel bearing grease to lubricate the bearings.

Which is a great idea...except that this cake decorating bag split open with almost no pressure. Argh!

The ball bearing after I greased it the old-fashioned way.

Driving the ball bearing into place

All the way in:

Don't forget the securing circlip:

Cake decorator grease dispenser take two. Hopefully this one is stronger. I'm using the tip from take one, because I think the long nozzle will be ideal for getting grease into the reservoir in the diagonal arm.

clean before dirty

2008 March 08 01:00

That rust stuff is great! Here's what the brake drum looks like after having the rust dissolver on it over night:

HOWEVER...I'm going to need to be a little careful when applying it to parts that have a precise fit. Looking at the back side of the brake drum, some of the stuff dripped through the bolt hole:

and now the lug bolt won't go into the hole. Since the brake plates have at least a couple precision fit surfaces, I need to be very careful about putting that stuff on them.

I thoroughly cleaned all the wheel parts for the right side of the car tonight, and they're drying in front of a fan.

With a little luck, I'll be able to have the wheels on the right side of the car tomorrow. That will depend on the temperature and whether it's miserable to work in the garage.

Why did I buy a cake decorating kit at the store today?

Tune in tomorrow and find out.

keeping on pegging away

2008 March 07 01:59

The weather this weekend is going to be really horrid and cold, so I took the chance to work on my beetle this evening. While I was cleaning I ran into the box where I keep the paint and surface stuff. I decided to try a couple out.

First of all, I've been working recently to get mores tuff up on the pegboard on the wall. Here's what it looks like today

and one blurry photo of when I put the workbench in almost two years ago

I tried the chrome polish and rust remover

It is applied more or less like car wax. The change wasn't as dramatic as I would have expected, but it definitely made it brighter. This is the front left headlight shroud before using the polish,

and after

The thing I thought about most was rust. The brake backing plate on the front left looks like it has some penetration rust, so I thought I'd buy a couple of new ones. I can't find them anywhere. So I'll want to be preserving the ones I have very carefully. First I took the backing plate off the left front spindle:

Here you can really see the pockets of rust:

I bought some stuff to treat rust that dissolves it into a surface that you can then paint. So I'm trying it out on the right rear brake drum, which has been decomissioned:

Here's the drum after applying the rust remover: It'll be interesting to see what it looks like tomorrow.

Oh, and as soon as I'm done messing about with brake plates, I'll be installing new brake slave cylinders:

pieces, parts

2008 March 06 00:43

All the brake cylinders are off the beetle now and all four hoses have been replaced by steel braid jacketed lines.

The old master cylinder is on the left. On the right are the four slave cylinders. The front cylinders were pretty ratty and a little rusty.

Here's the right front wheel assembly with the slave cylinder removed:

The new brake hose can be seen in the background.

I'm going to have to stop avoiding working on the bearings soon, so I can get the car on its wheels.

but what about the brakes?

2008 March 04 08:11

When we last heard from our hero, he was working on wiring and batteries and stuff, and not on the brakes which is why the freaking car is up in the air in the first place. I did get a bunch done this weekend, I just hadn't had time to edit the photos.

So I got two "bubble-flared" brake lines bent and installed in the front and the back, and I Saturday I made a section to bridge them in the middle of the car, right below the driver's door. I got the length matched pretty well:

I'll try give you an idea of where the line runs. Here's the master cylinder as it stands now:

I've indicated the brake line that I installed with a red arrow over on the right. This line goes over to the left side of the car and runs down the place where the heater channel is, right below the driver's door. I've also circled the hole in the body where the stock rear brake line goes into the body and around the pedal cluster.

Now we're looking into the fender well where the wheel normally sits.

You can see the line bend here to follow the body shape. I've highlighted the two flare unions where the patch piece is installed.

Now near the rear of the car

the line comes from the left, goes through the jack point, then bends inwards toward the center of the car and then bends up once it clears the torsion tube (in the brightened area at the right of the photo).

A slightly difference view as last time, this one shows where the brake line curves around the torsion tube.

The arrow points to the brake line "T" where the front-to-back line is split to go to the rear brake slave cylinders.

After getting the brake line run, I padded it against the metal of the car and attached it with cable ties. Here's one of the joins padded with a piece of fuel hose and tied on with a cable tie (my motto: "better living though cable ties").

The brake line dressed where it goes through the jack point:

The back of the front fender well again, with padding so the line doesn't rub on the metal of the body.

Looking from the back of the car to toward the front.

You can see the two unions in the brake line where the bridge section goes. I circled the left front wheel spindle for perspective.

Remember, running a new brake line in a "custom" location was because I mis-diagnosed where the leak in the brake system was, thinking it was in the front-to-rear brake line, when it turns out the leak was in the master cylinder. And one of these days, I need to get back to the wheel bearings so I can drive the car again. Argh.