With Wings As Eagles: Car/Mechanical Entries

A New New Beetle after all...

2014 April 24 22:33

So up until recently, I hadn't driven a New New Beetle. (I don't think that's what it's called. To me, the post-1998 VW "Beetle"s were the "New Beetle" so when they changed the design for 2013, I think it was, I think if it as the New New Beetle.

Anyway, I'd been wanting to drive one. Enterprise rental car had one when I was renting one time, but I didn't know that until I was in the parking lot and it was too late then.

Since my plane was down for 5+ months over the winter, and the last flight I took in it was the one that ended with it being damaged, I thought it might be a really smart thing to go get some dual time with an instructor. So I took two flights over the winter to get some take-off and landing practice. That was very useful, and I'm glad I did it. One of the times I combined it with taking my car for an oil change. I borrowed one of their fleet vehicles while mine was being worked on; it was a Beetle:

Instrument panel:

They've moved away from the single round instrument, so that's a change. A very nice instrument panel, though.

They did a really superb job of sculpting the right side of the dash board:

The upper glove box is meant to look like the vintage Beetle's only glove box. However, there's another, bigger one down below (which contains an iPad cable, presumably for audio, highlighted by the green arrow):

The luggage area is definitely bigger than mine, which is great. It actually does have a latch:

Which is the VW logo in the back.

It was very nice to drive. I liked it. I think I like the aesthetic of my car better, which more suggests an original Beetle, but this would be a fine car.

Looking forward and back

2014 April 05 11:37

Buying an airplane a year and a half ago was a first (and probably only for a long time) experience. However, except for this last July, where I took a couple of big trips, I haven't had a chance to really fly it due to mechanical stuff. Once it's back together, I expect I'll be able to. So as far as the airplane goes, this spring/summer should be the first real season of travel in it.

I knew my vintage VW had problems even before I rebuilt the top end of the engine in 2008. When I rebuilt the top end, I found all kinds of other problems; the heads were machined wrong, they weren't attached to the engine right, the oil pump was messed up. Now that I've split the case, I've found other problems (some created by me). The big one is that the camshaft was wearing severely, so it's time it's replaced. Also--I bought new tie rods and new bushings, so I can finally get the front suspension into shape. If I can get the engine rebuilt and everything else all together, it will be a real car.

Harold Ramis, who played Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and was one of the writers died a few weeks ago. He's young enough and Ghostbusters is enough of a milestone in my head that I hadn't ever thought about himm being gone. And David Letterman, while healthy as far as I know, announced the other night that he'll be retiring in the next year or so.

So I've had endings of things and renewal on my mind a bit of late. So when several of my favorite songs came up on the satellite radio during important times when I was driving, I've been (whimsically) considering those to be good omens.

And this one in paticular when I was driving down to pay the hangar rent:

So in that theme I'm going to try to carry farward and do things this spring/summer that I've meant to do before but just never have. I'll try to get slides scanned. I'll get a Christmas/update letter sent out. (I almost got there last year but I stalled). I'll try to get my stuff in the basement organized. I'll get the old front stoop demolished and the new one built (I'll talk about that in another blog post.)

And blogging once a day (on average) for the month of April is part of it. We'll see.

He had to split

2014 April 02 23:04

So I split the engine case of my vintage VW the other day:

So I found out what was putting the grit in the oil. I had used a crappy after-market distributor distributor clamp. The distributor is what holds the distributor drive shaft in the case agains the motion of the crankshaft, which is turning it but always trying to push the shaft out of the case. If the shaft gets too high, it eats up the brass gear on the crankshaft that's turning it.

That brass gear is toast, about 20% of the gear is gone. So I need a new one. And I'll replace a lot of other stuff in the engine. I got out my micrometers last night, and the camshaft is pretty badly worn too.

So I'm going to do a more thorough re-build than I had been contemplating. I'll add an oil filter to get the maximum amount of life out of it. I have other parts on order, I just need to find a machine shop that will regrind the crank.

Starting the Jump

2014 April 01 23:42

I've been horrible about blogging. I blogged a bunch last August/September and and then like three times since then. Oy. However, Molly Lewis, the wind beneath my wings as far as internet presence goes, vlogged pretty close to every day in April last year, which was an inspiration to me. So I'm going to try again this year to blog every day in April.

I have a bunch of stuff to write about, including lots of photos, but my laptop needs a reboot before I can edit photos and I need to go to bed. So a brief list:

Lots of good stuff to write about this month. And hopefully some new flying photos in the mix.

Ok, I got the photos. This is in January. I took my commission a little far as far as "cleaning up" the wiring, and and actually removed a bunch of the accessory wiring. Here it is, spread out on the floor:

And here was a couple of weeks ago, with everything back in and lit up for the first time: