June 8, 2003

New Fuel Lines Rained all day yesterday, but I had to work a full day anyway. Sun was supposed to come out today, but it didn’t. Still, it didn’t rain, so I took the opportunity to do an oil and filter change on the wife’s Toyota, which we’re giving away to her niece on Monday, and did the same to my Jetta, which was at 5000 miles since the last one. Decided to use semi-synthetic instead of pure synth this time. Added a pint of Valvoline high-mileage additive and the car seems a bit better for it. Strange stuff. Real gooey. I have my doubts that it really does anything but thicken the viscosity of the oil. Whatever… With 123K miles, the Jetta is getting up there in age, so I’m at the point where I’m not worried about trying these “restorative” additives that are probably doing more to my wallet than my car.

Finally finished the work on the fuel lines in front of the car. Went to install the rubber bushings that go between the fuel pump and the front beam, and realized that the thread size is larger than the old bushings. A trip to Pep Boys and AutoBarn later and I had the M7 nuts I needed. The weekend is a bad time to go to Pep Boys. The shelves were just about empty of anything I needed. Got back to the car and cleaned up the little fuel muffler, its backing plate and hooked everything up. The only thing that didn’t work out was the location of the fuel filter. I don’t have a bracket that’s supposed to go on top of the fuel pump, so the fuel filter is sort of hanging, resting snugly though against a brake line. I don’t know if this is good or bad, but I doubt it will cause any problems.

Fuel Muffler Took the underplate off the master cylinder and what a mess. Both the plate and the MC are just covered in rust. I took the plate home to POR-15 it and the master cylinder will be replaced. I might try to get it rebuilt at a later date. I initially thought it was dry, but when I started loosening one of the brake line fittings, brake fluid started oozing out. I guess this is a good sign as it means there is probably little if any rust in the lines and maybe the brake cylinders are still good as well.

I took the VDO sending unit out of the gas tank as well and the sender came up without its protective case. I finally got to see the extremely fine wires on which the float rides up and down. I can see why they break. They’re about the thickness of a hair. Examined the inside of the gas tank. There’s a little surface rust, but I’m not going to seal it or really worry about it. Hopefully the filters will do their job. Probably not the most prudent thing, but I’m not going to pull that tank unless I have to. Also saw that someone had put a piece of carpet under the fuel filler hose. Great. Probably means it’s leaking like in so many other Type 3’s. Another thing I’ll worry about when the car is actually on the road.

June 1, 2003

Can you believe yet another rainy weekend? Got nothing done on the car, but at least it gave me some time to update this website a little.

May 28, 2003

Two rainy weekends in a row, so not much has been done on the Square. The garage it’s in is too tight to do much of anything without pulling the car out at least a little. Received the rest of the fuel line in the post, and that will be the first thing I do when I finally get cracking on the car again. Reinstall the fuel pump, reconnect hoses, clean the screen in the tank, drain the oil & pull the engine. I’m hoping my engine cart comes in by this weekend. I ordered it from California Import Parts and for some reason it’s being shipped from an island in British Columbia. Go figure.

Was looking around for a Beetle to take the place of my Jetta (which has now been in the shop for over a week getting a new clutch). Never take your car to Aamco. What a freaking disaster. I just hope they’re not torturing it. Was driving down the street the other day and saw a purple one that I tried to get the phone number off, but it was faded or rainwashed or something. Didn’t bother to knock on the door of the house behind where it was parked. Followed a red 71 beetle into work today too. Hmmm… Beetles calling. I really should get my Square on the road first. I can just see me now, starting an aircooled VW collection, none of them working.

May 12, 2003

No Rust Got a much better look on Saturday at what’s going to be involved in pulling the engine. I jacked up the rear of the car and just took about fifteen minutes to get underneath and really just look around and see what was what underneath. I think it’s probably not going to be as difficult as I thought, or at the very least it won’t be as complicated. I just have to make sure every connection is labelled properly and that the transmission will be supported when I drop the engine. I’m still amazed at how solid this car seems. Even above the transmission there’s no rust. I did find the recirc canister above the transmission and figure it will be included in all the hoses I want to replace. I just ordered some more fuel line from a guy on Ebay so I can finish up the fuel line replacement. I had no idea how much braided line I’d need. So far I’m at about ten feet and I’m almost done. Another six feet should do it. Most of the recent batch went to the part of the fuel ring that goes over the engine cross-wise. I took out the old fuel line from inside the plastic tubing. Most of it was in good shape, but I figured it would be best not to re-use it.

Canister Rust Cleaned up the plastic tubing and then threaded the new fuel line into it. Left it off the engine though as I figure I’ll do the rest of the engine compartment when I put the engine back in after I replace the heads. I had no idea how open the torque converter was to the elements, but I guess it doesn’t matter. There’s a huge spot on the driver’s side that I guess will be the place that I can disconnect the torque converter from the engine’s drive plate. My schedule is booked up for the next weekend, but hopefully the 24th and 25th of May will be nice days so I can hopefully get this done. I figure if I start around 8am I should be able to change the heads in one day. With most of the other stuff done — ignition replaced, fuel lines replaced, vacuum lines replaced — I’m hoping once the heads are changed all I’ll have to do to get her running is a valve adjustment & timing set. It would be way cool to have this thing on the road for June, but I have no idea how long the brakes will take me to get working. While I was under the car I took one of the rear brake plugs off the backing plate & there seemed to be a lot of brake pad left. In fact, they seemed almost new. However, I have no idea in what condition the cylinders are, and I’m planning on totally replacing the master cylinder. I already bought the blue brake hose, so I’m going to replace that as well. The hose on there now seems pretty dried up and old. While I was checking that, I got a glimpse at what I think rusted out the section under the hood on the driver’s side just in front of the antenna. It looks like water got trapped up behind the other fuel canister that sits in the fender, and it must’ve rusted right through. There’s a lot of dirt in there, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it just held in all that moisture and gave the rust a good place to take hold. Bad design I guess. Someday I’ll get to replace that… Someday.

May 9, 2003

Cracked Head Caught my dad’s cold on vacation, so I haven’t done much on the car lately except stress out about how in the hell I’m going to drop the engine to change the heads. I know people have done this a million times, but it will be my first time doing it. I ended up tearing down most of the $50 engine over the last weekend in April. That was way cool. Found out the metal around the spark plug holes had major cracks around them reaching to the valve seats. Along with that, cylinders three and four had lots of pitting on the top of the cylinder. I have no idea what that means happened, but I’d gather that the engine was not terribly well cared for. The oil was blacker than any I’d seen and the sludge on the drain plate was pretty thick. I haven’t cracked the case yet because I need to figure out how to get the gland nut off the torque converter plate on the crank. I’m going to try the “two screw” trick on the fan on the other side. Just ordered another floor jack from Sears, this one goes up to 21″ so it should be high enough to get the back end of the car high enough to drop the engine. I guess it’s just something I shouldn’t think too much about and should just do it. Once that’s done, I think it’s just the brakes I have to do and she should be running after that, hopefully ready for inspection & registration. Hope to get to some of that this weekend.