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

What do you NEED to drive?

2010 May 28 03:11

Working on a vintage car never ceases to amaze.  On Monday I did a test drive of 150 miles.  Car ran basically fine.  Wednesday over lunch, I went out, started it, and wait for it to warm up.  It died after 5 minutes. Huh?

It acted like it had run out of gas.  I looked at the fuel pump and saw grease leaking out, which I'd noticed before, but hadn't really been concerned about.  

I looked closer, and took off the pump.  To my surprise, the pin that forms the fulcrum for lever inside the fuel pump had come totally out of the housing!

Before driving it a significant distance, I want to have at least a semi-permanent fix for this problem.  First, before removing the pump, block the fuel lines with surgical-style clamps.

And remove the distributor to make it easier to get at the front fuel pump bolt:


I dis-assembled the pump and used a Craftsman rotary grinder tool to cut a chamfer in each end of the pivot pin.

Then cleaned and re-assembled the pump and peened the pin into place:

no surprises

2010 May 25 13:41

Driving on the interstate in my vintage Beetle, just after a fuel stop.

I drove 150 miles yesterday evening in the Beetle.  As an exercize in navigation, it was a failure.  I was driving between two different routes I knew well, but I didn't think about the additional distance the intermediate leg added.  So I got home much later than planned.  

But as a shakedown run, the drive was great.  Some elements:

At 70 mph the oil didn't get above 215 degrees (in the cool of the evening, granted).  This was measuring the outside surface of the block with an infared thermometer.

I suspect that I need to adjust the calibration of the oil temperature warning dipstick gadget.  At 215, it wasn't any where near going off.  It turns out that antifreeze mixed to go in a car has about the right boiling point to check the calibration.

Apparently the problem with the fuse for the reverse lights was its location; it was getting too hot.  I slightly re-threaded the wire where it goes across the top of the engine, and even after driving for over two hours, it still worked.  So that's fixed.

I fixed the muffler tips--it turns out that the clamps just hadn't been tightened properly.  They're solid now.  I need to check to make sure they're at the proper extension, but that problem is fixed.

No gasoline smell inside the cabin.  Yay!

No gear-shift rattle whatsoever.  That was nice.  

The gas gauge seemed to work Ok, although it seems that the top "half" of the tank according to the gauge only has about 4 gallons of gas. Hmm...I guess that's not too far off; the tank is supposed to hold 11 gallons.

And it's really kind of a noisy car.  One long-term project will be to try to get the body and door seals under control so that there's less wind noise.  

The engine ran really well, although it did die on me one time coming off the interstate coming to a stop.  I think the idle is actually set too low.  I just need to tweak it up a bit.

The oil in the crankcase isn't down significantly, so I should be able to do a 450 mile drive with no problem.

So I think the car is signed off for long-distance drives.   At this point the only thing that still needs to be done for long-distance travel is to finish driving it 500 miles after engine assembly, take the engine out, and re-torque the cylinder heads.

looking shiny

2010 May 24 04:43

Friday through today I managed to work on my vintage Beetle some. 

On Friday, spent some time with polishing compound, and I got the worst of the greasy handprints off, and started to make the car look a little bit shinier after 3 years of almost not being driven. 

I mostly got the gasoline stains out from below the gass filler where it had leaked out (when the vent wasn't working).  However, now I have some ratty spots at the bottom of the fuel filler door that I need to repaint, or something.

I ordered and got in the mail a temperature threshold sensor that tells you if your engine is too hot by measuring the oil temperature.  It's a brass tube, with a bimetallic spring at the bottom.  Here it is stickout out of the dipstick hole at the camera.  

  A copper wire is connected to the spring and sticks out the top; it's indicated by the green arrow.  As the oil gets hotter, the spring twists, and end of the copper wire twists with it.  When the oil is as hot as it should be, the copper wire has rotated around and is where the purple line is, and it touches the head of the screw, grounding the circuit and turning on a light in the front of the car.  

I installed the temp sensor and ran a wire to the front of the car for it.

I bought a couple of analog tach-dwell meters on ebay; here I'm testing them against the digital one.

A couple of other things on the squawk list:

I tightened up the clamps on the muffler tips, so they're solidly mounted now.

And the reason that the reverse lights aren't working is that the fuse is blown.  And I blew another one.  I checked the current, both reverse lights together pull like 3.5A total, and it blew an 8A fuse.  So it must be getting too hot.  I'll have to try to relocate it.

haiku-like status update.

2010 May 23 02:44

Every time I think I'm going to start posting regularly, I actually end up posting less.  A brief, haiku-like status update.

Beetle is running.  I'm starting to have confidence in its ability to drive distances.

Car polishing compound is neat.  I've brightened the finish quite a bit.  Lot more elbow grease to apply, however.

In terms of buying an airplane, I'm thinking seriously about a pre-1968 Mooney.  Manual retractable gear, cruise 145 knots on 10 gallons per hour.  Just need to get one with a moving-map GPS.

I'm not so thrilled with pivot blogging software.  I may yet break down and use wordpress after all.

More later.  Including wands.

computer stuff test post

2010 May 06 03:13

I'm using this new blog software to do something I've wanted to for years--create a new category. The first separate category is for computer stuff. I can write the occasional post about detailed computer topics, and people who aren't into that sort of thing don't have to read all about it. This is only a test. If this were an actually blog post about computers, I would have dumped so much detail that everyone would have fallen asleep.

car drives; gas gauge works

2010 May 02 05:07

I drove my vintage Beetle 24 miles on Friday during lunch.  Lovely drive.  I'm gaining confidence in its ability to be a road car.

I am in the process of getting the defrost/heating hooked back up.  Right side center defrost vent hose hooked up.

I also fixed the fuel tank sender; it now reads full when the tank's full:

And I'm very very very tired.  'night.