Monday, 13 June 2016

Poor old paint... and other adventures.

As with all things, stuff never happens when you expect it to. So on the one night when I left the car outside (due to having woodworking machines spread out) it decided to rain. Now, to be honest, it didn't stress me that much. I have an extremely "lasse fare" attitude to washing cars. I figure, the dirt helps protect the paint. LOL :)

Well hopefully.

There is another reason I don't often wash the beetle. Whenever I do, I literally wash paint off it. Unfortunately, after 60 years the paint has become powdery at best. Really I should expect it because the car has sat under the harsh Australian sun during it's life. Yes, it was garaged a lot of the time, but in the end, no paint can last that long without some bleaching and fading.

I was heartened to see a recent episode of Jay Leno's garage, where he described his practices of "wiping down" his cars rather than washing them. The gullwing mercedes in this episode is somewhat similar in paintwork to my beetle...

The upshot is that I've taken to waxing my car regular instead of washing it. Seems counter intuitive, but the car is a little dusty, but not much more. The rain shower washed most of it off the other day anyway. The problem with a shampoo/detergent wash is two things; it washes delicate paint off; the detergent/soap in the formula will penetrate below the paint in bad spots. Either way, it just speeds up the rust issues in a car with a suspect finish. What you really need is something that will seal the paint and metal again. Hence the wax. I've been using the first version of Nxt generation tech wax. The bottle is more than a few years old, but it works well enough.

The other day I did the roof/bootlid (the most worn areas) of the car and today I did bonnet and front guards. The other parts of car have been blown over. It always surprises me how well it comes up. The paint literally shines afterwards. You can see it's sealed. Which as I said, is pretty important...

Here's the bonnet after waxing. As you can see, it looks shiney, but you can see the pitting. There's also exposed rust on the left hand side along that ridge on the bonnet. You're may be thinking, "that doesn't look too bad", until you see the old nappy I polished the wax off with.

Now some of this is old wax and there is a little dirt there too, but mostly, the grey is... factory VW paint. Sadness. You can see why I have no desire to get soap and water near it in a concerted way. The bootlid has already been polished through in one spot. I'm pretty liberal with the wax too. Where there are chips in the paint of rust, I pile it on.

In the end, the car looks pretty good afterward. I took the liberty of adding extra wax under the edges of the guard as well this time. Hopefully that will slow the rot down there.

Too much crankcase pressure
In other news, I've been working hard to try and get the car to stop pushing oil out of the dipstick tube at higher revs. Various discussions with "Uncle Brian" led me to the conclusion that it needed more breathers than the one small breather car previous had...

There was a discussion about the merits of plumbing the oil vapour line in before the turbo in the intake. I was advised this was a bad idea for two reasons; Oil in the mixture will make the car ping; Oil is heavier than air and bad for turbos, just wears them out. So with no vacuum, we needed more breathing. One breather just wasn't enough, so off to the parts store (again) and I bought TWO more. Yes, the car now has three different breathers. Two come off the CB Performance breather/oil filler box. The other comes off the top of the fuel pump block off plate.

So welcome to "Pete's breather-o-rama". No they don't match and they look a little dodgy, but they do work. So far, the car is not puking oil on the exhaust and stinking like a nasty, nasty oil burning stinking thing. Is it however, still leaking oil from the sump. Which is part of the next challenge sort of.

Inadequate oil scavenging
As part of fiddling with various things, I recently pulled the intercooler piping off and found (to my horror) oil in the intercooler. Initially I thought it was coming off the filter, but no. It's coming from the turbo bearing. When you look at the bottom of the car, you can sort of see why...

The oil return from the turbo is the silver covered hose on the left hand side. You can see it reconnects to the sump via a brass fitting. The issue here is that when you give the car a boot load, some of the oil in the sump goes back wards into the turbo. Additionally, even when the car is sitting, the hose acts as sort of extension of the sump. Sure, the turbo is slightly higher than it, but not high enough to drain it properly via gravity. Another guy (fastie) warned me about this on a forum. I should have done things differently from the start. What I need is a scavenging pump. So I bought one off ebay...

I know what you're thinking, "that looking freakin huge!". You're right, and it is. Hmmm. It's actually a marine fuel pump for pump diesel. Apparently, it works fine as a scavenge pump too. It's also heavy. Extra hmmm. I've climbed under the car and there is simply nowhere to put it unless I move the water pump in the last update... yes, that's right. But that's ok, because it can move anyway. The upshot is, the oil return in the sump will be plugged up. This is good because I've worried since day one about a big rock knocking off the brass fitting and killing the motor. There's another reasons the water pump will move.

"Inter-warmer" radiator

I think I've mentioned this before, but the intercooler radiator is acting more like a heat sink for the engine/trans than evacuating heat from the intercooler coolant. Admittedly, winter temps have made it easier on the current setup, but once summer returns it'll be touch and go again. So the other day, this thing turned up.

For reasons I don't fully understand, it came without anything to hang it off. No flanges, brackets or whatever. I came with 4 small tabs with holes in them. I assume the idea is you have them TIG welded on. I haven't got around to that yet. The financial controller has told me to stop spending till we get reimbursed for a few work expenses. I spent a LOT of time laying under the car and surfing ebay for a cheap motorbike radiator to use. In the end, this was $200 instead of $40, but it's EXACTLY the right dimensions and seems far superior. I haven't sorted out water hoses for it yet, but I reckon I'm gonna use braided rubber hose. I could put steel or alloy pipe, but it's harder work and less forgiving to rocks and debris.

It will also mean I'm discarding the fan, which is a good thing. It couldn't cool an eskimo. I guess you get what you pay for and I didn't pay much. The wiring for the fan can run the water pump once I move it. And the wiring for the water pump can run the oil pump. Easy peasy.

More issues
I still have other issues to sort with a leaking deep sump. I suspect a permanent fix with silicon sealant might be the go. I also have to have better valve springs installed. Hopefully my mechanic can do that. The other continuing issue is ground clearance. I've got the new rubber for the torsion plates, I just need to jack the car up and I'm holding off til I do other things. In the meantime, "Ima grindin' on the muffler!"

As for tuning, boost is still at 5psi max. I'll look into that once I have these issues sorted. The car drives pretty well for what it is. It doesn't start great when it's cold, but it idles and drives well enough and I'm getting used to driving it. It must be pretty to run in now and there haven't been any real dramas.

Till next time...

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