Thursday, July 8, 2010

Got a seat

Thanks to Ronnie over at the Bug Haus in south Richmond I now have a complete rear seat for the Bug to replace the one burned up in the fire years ago. He was parting out a badly rusted out '72 Super Beetle prior scrapping it and I was able to get the seats. They'll need to be recovered in black vinyl but they're in pretty good shape otherwise.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Pan is Done

After working on it off and on for the last month and a half or so I've finally finished cleaning and POR15'ing both sides of the pan. I've added a page to the site detailing the process.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Don't Be Dumb With Power Tools

I'm about to admit I'm stupid but it's with the hope that the lesson I learned yesterday will serve as a warning and prevent the same thing or worse from happening to someone else.
I've been laid up for the most part since yesterday after a run in with an angle grinder. I was out working on the Bug's pan yesterday morning using a wire wheel on an angle grinder to remove the last bit of undercoating. I was sitting on my little Craftsman roller seat and in a brief moment of inattentiveness as I went to move the seat the wheel on the angle grinder made contact with the bare skin of my leg just above the knee while going 12,000 RPM's. The result wasn't pleasant. I now have a three inch or so long abrasive burn and it hurts like hell. I called my doctor almost immediately but luckily it wasn't bad enough to warrant a visit but rather I was advised to clean it thoroughly (which I'd already done) and apply Neosporin and a bandage. I'm also going in next week to get a Tetanus shot since I haven't had one in about ten years. (Something I've been meaning to do for a while.) By this morning it had started to heal and I've been able to leave the bandage off but it's still very painful off and on to the point where I'm walking with a limp at times.
So let this be a lesson to everyone. Don't be dumb with power tools. If I had just taken the time to turn it off yesterday before moving my chair and resuming work it would have saved me a whole lot of hurt.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summer Vacation At Last!

As of 3:00pm this afternoon I'm officially on summer vacation for the next seven and a half weeks and don't return to work until Monday August 23. This is definitely one of the perks of working in education. Starting tomorrow morning I'll be outside working on the Bug as much as the weather will permit. And at least now I can get in a few hours in the mornings before the temperature gets too high. I'm hoping to make significant progress this summer.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


I'm sad to say I haven't been able to make much progress on the Bug for several weeks now. Richmond has been suffering from extreme heat with high temperatures above 90 degrees something like 20 days out of the past month. The handful of days we had where it was reasonably cool outside about two weeks ago just had to be during the week and when I was sick on top of that. Even with three fans going in the garage it's just been far too hot to get anything accomplished. It doesn't look like the heat is going to let up anytime soon but I'm hopeful after Wednesday of next week when I'm finally on summer vacation that I can start getting some things done early in the morning before it gets too hot outside.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

CV3's Summer Show

The local Volkswagen club, Central Virginia Vintage Volkswagens, put on their summer show today at Iron Bridge Sports Park in Chester, Virginia. With around 90 Volkswagens of all models on display and 8 vendors it was the largest show I've ever seen in this area. Some very nice cars were on display and I also picked up some very useful information from various people I spoke with. I hope this

Monday, May 31, 2010

Paint Layers

I spent a little time this evening testing out the random orbital sander I bought a few weeks back on the body of the Bug. I thought this photo of the layers of paint was interesting. The orange at the center is the original color, the cherry red in the center was the color it was originally and the color it will be again eventually, and the top layer is the darker red it is currently.


Sunday, May 30, 2010

$40 and a Bump in the Head Later

I installed a ceiling fan in the garage this morning. Lowe's had a 52" contractor grade fan on sale for $20 this weekend and it was too good a deal to pass up. Installing it was pretty simple. There was a single bulb overhead light in the center of the garage and all I had to do was remove that and wire in the fan in it's place. During the process however I managed to drop the fan motor (the piece the blades attach to) while on top the ladder. The seven foot plunge to the floor it took bent it out of shape and resulted in another trip to Lowe's (third of the weekend) to get a replacement. At least it was only $20 and not more. I've since been able to bend the other motor back into decent enough shape so I may actually be able to put another up somewhere to provide additional circulation.

While I was installing the replacement my four year old son was out in the garage watching me work. As I went to reposition the step ladder the round metal motor housing (that goes around the motor and wiring to give it a cleaner look) that I had (stupidly) left on top the ladder fell and landed on the top of my head. After yelling a few choice words my son asks me in a very nonchalant tone of voice, "What's wrong daddy?" "I hurt myself Matthew," I replied. "You need an ice pack?" "Yea, go get daddy an icepack." So he runs into the house. A minute later he and my wife run out to the garage. "You ok? my wife asks, "Matthew ran into the house frantically saying you had hurt yourself and needed an ice pack. I thought you had really hurt yourself." But other than a bump on my head and feeling stupid for it I was fine.


Friday, May 21, 2010

A little bit at a time

This week I've been making progress on the pans slowly but surely. It's taking far longer and more effort than I initially thought it would. One of the problems I've run into is the old body to pan gasket. Initially I tried just using the wire wheel on the angle grinder to remove it (before realizing exactly what it was) but this created a huge sticky mess. Note to anyone trying to remove this in the future: don't use this method because of the aforementioned huge sticky mess it creates. After a little research I went to Lowe's and got a paint scraper and used that tonight. It was much easier and made far less mess. And the angle grinder will make quick work of the leftover residue.

I also started removing the tar board over the tunnel tonight to make sure there's no rust anywhere. So far I've found nothing but I've still got quite a bit of it left to remove. I'm hoping Sunday to finish up cleaning the pan and have it ready for a coat of POR15 early next week.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cleaning the Pan

Over the last few days I've been working on taking the pan down to bare metal. Using an angle grinder with wire wheels mostly I've been removing 37 years worth of rust, tar board, and grime with the ultimate goal of giving them a coat of POR 15. The angle grinder makes quick work of it for the most part but it's dirty work and eye protector and a dust mask are a must. Ear protection is helpful too as the angle grinder can get very loud. I'm sure my neighbors are not too thrilled with this step of the project because of that. Below is a picture I took early on of the difference between a cleaned/uncleaned side. I haven't touched the driver side yet but the passenger side is down to bare metal. It took about 45 minutes or so with the angle grinder to get it to that point. Once I get more done on this part I'll be posting detailing it further on a new page - Cleaning the Pan.


Saturday, May 8, 2010

And then there was one

Earlier in the week I exchanged the brown Bug for cash and sent it to it's new home. I got less than I wanted for it but after having it for sale for a few months without much interest when I finally had someone make me an offer on it I jumped at the chance. While I'm sad to see it go I really needed the space in the garage if I'm ever going to make any progress on my other Bug. As the picture below shows I now have a lot more space to maneuver around. From here I'm going to start working on the pan.


Saturday, May 1, 2010

My Daily Driver hits 100k

Earlier today my daily driver GTI reached the 100,000 mile mark. I knew it was coming and made sure I had my camera with me to capture the moment. As it was the wife was with me to snap the picture so I wouldn't have to stop on the side of the road to do it. Aside from the Bug I've owned this car longer than any other and put far more miles on it than any thing I've had. When I took delivery of it from the dealer in January 2004 it had 10.7 miles on it. They sure grow up fast.


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

New Cart Part II

Since Sunday I've built Bug Cart II and tonight my two brothers came over and helped me move the Bug onto it. It's a far simpler design than the previous one and was cheaper and took less time to build. Although I mentioned in an earlier entry about using pneumatic wheels I ultimately went with a set of 5" hard rubber caster wheels from Harbor Freight.

Overall dimensions are 6.5' long by 4.5' wide by approximately 10" tall. I've posted a page with details of the design for anyone looking to replicate the design.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


I'm going to go non-VW for a moment to talk about what I've been doing the last few days.
I spent Thursday and Friday afternoon along with most of yesterday putting together a new swing set for my son. I've been looking forward to this pretty much since the day he was born four years ago and finally decided that this was the year for it. I wasn't looking for anything fancy but wanted something that would last. After some looking around I found the kits sold at Lowe's that include all of the wood precut along with all the needed hardware to put it together. For just under $500 my son now has this to play on:


It took far longer to put together than I thought it would and I've been popping ibuprofen as I hurt in my places than I can count. (My wife says this is because I never exercise these muscles. I say there's a reason for that and it's called massive amounts of PAIN.) But seeing my son's face light up when he saw it for the first time and watching him play with it all weekend made it well worth it.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Bug For Sale

I've finally put the brown Bug up for sale on TheSamba, Craigslist, and RichmondDubs:
I still wish I didn't have to do it. I had high hopes when I brought the car home in 2006 but I need the space in the garage. And the money from the sale will help towards my other Bug too.

Friday, March 12, 2010

New Cart

When I originally designed and built the cart two years ago for the Bug's body to sit on it was done in such a way that it could roll over top the Bug's pan given the limited space in my garage. Now that I'm planning to sell the brown Bug and free up space I'm looking at redesigning the cart to a far simpler design that sits lower to the ground. After looking at some designs online I think I've settled on something like this. (Link to forums.) The only changes I'm going to make to it is to lengthen the sides so there's no overhang of the heater channels and also place larger, pneumatic wheels on the bottom to make the cart slightly higher. Those wheels will also allow me to roll it out into the yard if need be. (Since there's no driveway attached to my garage, just grass.)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spring Cleaning

During the winter when it's too cold to do much I have a tendency to just toss stuff in there everywhere just to get it out of the house or wherever it's coming from. Then come spring I finally go out there, sort everything out, and clean up and organize. Since the weather suddenly turned nice last weekend I've finally been able to get out there in the last few days and do just that. (Which between that and the weather change I'm suffering horrendously from allergies right now.) I can't stand working in clutter and need to have organization. I've shifted a bunch of stuff to the shed and am hoping ultimately after a major clean up in there that I can finally get my riding mower in there too leaving the garage to be Volkswagen only. I especially hate the grass and leaves that the mower tracks into the garage. I'm constantly sweeping to get the stuff out.

The next step now that I've cleaned up is to rebuild the cart the red Bug sits on so I can move it in order to get the brown Bug out once I sell it. As it is right now the way both Bugs are in there it's impossible to get the brown one out without moving the red one first. I'm hoping to have that done over spring break in a few weeks. (A perk of working in education.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Looking forward into 2010

I've been giving a lot of thought recently to 2010. I've said before that I wanted to make progress on the Bug and then for one reason or another haven't followed through with it. I've come to the realization that part of this lack of progress is due to the lack of work space I have in the garage. To that end I've pretty much made up my mind at this point that the only solution to this (short of having a bigger garage, something that isn't a possibility right now) is to sell the brown autostick Beetle I've had since 2006. When I bought the car it was with the intention of quickly turning it into roadworthy vehicle. But it turned out to be more involved than I anticipated and I've been hesistant to put money into it that would be better spent on my red one. I hate to do it but if it gets my Bug back on the road quicker it's just one of those things I'm going to have to do.