2015 Started with two BANGS…

Dearly beloved, we are gathered here this morning to tell tales of great sorrow…

This year did not start good…

On the 3rd of January my eldest son decided to do some agricultural work with my beloved Roadster.

And then, three days later, on the way back from the farm where he is working, the Beetle died. Yes, that Beetle that we spent so much time on restoring last year.

Such a small thing can have such huge consequences…

The tappet covers are kept tight by a cork gasket on each side. And one of the cork gaskets just collapsed due to old age. All the oil blew out there, and then some bearings in the engine started breaking. The engine has this huge knocking noise.

After all the things we have done to restore the Beetle, this was just one step too far… Now you can imagine Adele singing the theme song of Skyfall… “This is the end…”

I posted all my misery on facebook, and a friend in a neighbouring town made me an offer I can’t refuse…

So- the Beetle is being sold, as is…

In the next day or two it will be collected, and so a memory will be gone… I have known this car all my life, and owned it since I was 18. It is now 47 years old. But the new owner does have the skill to restore it properly, and bring it back to life. I don’t.

So- yes- two dreams have died this year- the one of me going on tour with my son on the bikes before he goes to the USA to work there for a year. And the dream of the Beetle doing a road trip into the sunset.

But there are some nice bike trips for me and my wife in planning at the moment- so keep on watching this space. BAd times usually don’t last forever…

But this is the end…

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Wired for Sound…

This week is extremely busy and hectic. The financial guys in church decided we must raise more funds with another mini fete next Saturday. So I am back to being a butcher- we have 3 large Bovines and 8 Porkers to get from the hoof into consumable sellable portions.. And it is my responsibility to get it done with a team. We are 2/3 rds through’ but it is really hard work.

Meanwhile, back at the Parsonage my eldest son passed his Driving License Test with flying colours on Monday. But the Beetle is not ready yet! I am still waiting for the upholsterer to finish the inner door panels.

Last night I began with the most important part of the project. According to 18 year olds. I would have said the engine, mothers would have guessed the brakes. But of course teenagers would start at the Sound system!

Yesterday evening I jumped into the Beetle with an angle grinder and a file. The hole for the stereo is much too small for the modern players. So I enlarged it. And the Beetle experts guessed it right. Smack Bang into the wiper motor.

So now the stereo has to go into the glove box.
I am using my minimal handyman skills to build a bracket to keep it in place. Here is another few hours’ worth of sweat and tears and arc eyes and burn wounds…

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Yes, the Sony does fit into my bracket…

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Will everything fit into the Beetle? That is a good question! For another day… off to bed…

My artwork- a Lazarus Beetle…

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/work-of-art/

I am not an artist. I do not have the ability to take up a brush, and paint a beautiful painting.  I do not have the ability to weave words into a beautiful poem.

But the past few months I tried to bring some beauty out of death… My old VW Beetle was dying a slow death- Rusting in Peace.  It did not move anymore.

This was it then:

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Before we started to raise it from the dead…

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But my son’s 18th birthday was nearing, so we tried to bring it back to life…

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And after a few weeks it is better. I know, not really art… but we used paint in the hope to make it better than it was…

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Yes, it is not art… yet… but it is slowly getting there- the 4th generation of our family behind this car’s steering wheel, that is art in my eyes!

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So maybe this could be art?

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It is nearing the finish line, but it is not there yet- watch this space soon…

 

 

Fiberglass floor for the Beetle

I am very scarce on my blog at the moment. Sorry about that!

I am working quite hard at the moment in our church, we had the funeral today of the well respected man who died last week.

Tomorrow was my mental D Day for the Beetle project, as tomorrow is my son’s 18th birthday. But as all these projects go, it takes double the time and tripple the money to complete… at least the young man still has to produce a valid driving license before the gift can be taken into possession…

I am now building a fiberglass floor for the Beetle. I know that some internet sites says that it is not a good thing, and that only original VW Floor Pans should be used. I am in no way able to afford that at the moment.

So- I got some expanded metal from an engineering firm in our town. I cleaned it with hydrochloric acid, then rinsed it and bolted it to the floor pan. Every now and then I snuck off for an hour to work on this. Last night I put on the first Fiberglass layer on the floor, and just now the second layer.  When it is completely dry, (cured?) I will put a layer of stone chip rubberizing on as a floor. I really hope it will not look too shabby!

Here is just an update on the state of the floor today before the second layer.

I hope the Beetle will soon be going like this one:

Beetle and Bike- another LONG day…

I must confess… last night I would have given the Beetle away for free.  But sorry- you are too late, I feel a little bit better today!

I stayed over at my mother’s house in Pretoria on Wednesday night. Yesterday morning I had to visit some of my critically ill church members in hospitals in Pretoria again.  I also used the opportunity to buy my BMW a Givi Topbox, as I like to look like the pizza delivery guy!

Last night when I came home, I felt the urge to work some more on the Beetle… I peeled away an old floor mat of the Beetle. And saw that the damage that the rust has left, is much worse than I thought.

This is the sight that greeted me… ok, after I poured some Hydrochloric Acid on the rust…

Man, I was depressed!

So I jumped in with the angle grinder and the inspiration caused by the pain, and here is today’s result…

No, not really- I saw this “Beetle” at the place I buy my VW Spares…

Today I started early, like half past six. I sanded some last places on the outside that really irritated me, and then I used the last of my spray paint on the outside…

Like I said on facebook-  The outside is done becaise the paint is finished!

I like the Arctic White and Matt Black theme on this car…

It now needs a very thorough cleaning, some sanding with 1500 grit paper and rubbing compound, and then a layer of good quality car polish.

A friend also came over to help me sort the electrics, and I am proud to say that the horn beeps again and the brights shine brightly again..,

I  have been busy today, I also fitted the new Givi Top Box on the BMW…

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There is still a HUGE challenge remaining  on the inside of the Beetle. Although I had the seats reupholstered, the rest is still naked rusty 47 year old German steel…

I still need to fix the floor pan with fibre glass, and I will also have to engineer a new bracket for the petrol pedal.

Not bad for a total beginner with NO technical skills whatsoever… The car looks good from a distance, just dont look too closely at it…

Now, in my typical Friday fashion, the barbeque fire is burning, and I am chillaxing…

So that is why I am so scarce on the blogs at the moment, and in town, and in my friends company…  This was a LONG Day!

Now, let’s BRAAI!

 

A Whiter shade of Pale- The Beetle Project

I don’t get much time for blogging at the moment. I don’t do much work- but then, I did take a few days leave…

This morning, with much fear and trepidation, I applied the first color coat of paint. It did not go as planned from the beginning. The first batch had too much thinners in it, and the paint did run exactly as I did not want it to.

There will be a bit of sanding in my near future…

But the first coat of paint is on…

And slowly, oh so slowly, it is starting to look vaguely like a Beetle again…

Yesterday I went to Pretoria to visit a church member in hospital. I also stopped at a shop specializing in Beetle and Buggy Parts. I bought some grommets to put the beading strips back on. And it felt quite good, drilling the holes at the correct places, pushing the grommet it, and hearing that satisfying click when a 46 year old beading strip jumps into place again…

The one truth I did learn- paint does not cover any screw-ups in the preparation phase. But then, as I am a total amateur, I am quite happy with the results so far…

I also applied my other 1% capability skill today. The floor pan is slightly rusted through at three places. I cleaned it with some swimming pool acid- I think it is hydrochloric acid. Then I covered the holes with fibre glass. (Why does the spell checker go red on that one- how do you spell fibreglass? Or is it glass fiber? )

In any case- there might be another exciting prospect on the horizon.  The Rider MIGHT just have a new stallion soon. Ok, not new, also a 2000 model. But I will post when it happens. Meanwhile I am desperately searching for buyers for my BMW R 850 R.  I do have an offer for my Aprilia, but I want to keep it for my sons…  Watch this space… or buy this bike and come and tour South Africa!

Beetle Project- The Primer coat is now applied…

This morning, after a hearty breakfast with some fellow Word Riders, my son and I had another go at the Beetle restoration project.

It is a public holiday in South Africa today. Yesterday was Freedom Day in South Africa, remembering the day in 1994 when all South Africans could vote for the first time.  When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, it is the habit in our country that the Monday is then also a Public Holiday.

We have finished the primer coat this morning. As I understand it, the primer must now cure for about 24 hours before applying the color coat.

We also, with great tears and suffering, put back the fender that we had to take off. It is starting to look like a car again. Although the many enemies of the Beetle/ Bug will doubt that it will ever look like a car!

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I am quite proud of this door! It was rusted through, as well as the panel where the fuel cap is situated. I fixed it will fibre glass 2 years ago (after another few sessions of Youtube!) That is also why the front fender had to come off- to sand the fibre glass layer decently and get it level and smooth.

I must confess that the car looks good from a distance, but with closer scrutiny it will still show a lot of pock marks that I am not able to fix with my subnovice skills level. But you know what, it is coming along nicely. I have tackled a huge project that I have no clue about. And we are slowly winning the battle!  It might be ugly, but I will be proud of it!  I will keep you posted as we move along!

 

Prepping the Beetle for a Paint Job

The past few days were quite hectic. Every little bit of time that I could, I was busy putting on body filler to small holes, sanding, trying to get a good foundation for the paint job that follows… I worked late at night, and started again early in the mornings.

I must confess. it is quite scary to attempt this restoration project, when I have no skills whatsoever. Between Youtube clips and Jim Tylers book on restoration, I try my best.  But I still don’t think Chip Foose or those guys at Gasmonkeys (Fast & Loud) will begin to offer me a job…

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I have bought the primer. I have bought some Arctic White paint. And a lot of water sanding paper for finishing first the primer layer, and then the paint. It took a while to cover the windows…  After everything was sanded as smooth as I can, I washed the car with car shampoo. But it sure looks in a sorry state…

Now… tomorrow I have to conduct a funeral service.  A man I have great respect for died on Monday. I have to see his widow and son in an hour’s time to make the last arrangements for tomorrow morning.

And then- the moment of truth arrives. I have to use a spray gun for the first time in my life… I really really hope I get it right! I don’t have the money to get professional help, and I really want to give my son this car as his 18 th birthday present.  Looking as good as I can get it.

Just a last thing- my father died in 1993. While I was busy fixing this car, I saw some of the things he have done for me, on this Beetle. I got a secondhand petrol pedal, and when I wanted to fit it to the floor vracket, I remembered why the petrol pedal was missing. The bracket was broken. My father has made another bracket, but it did not last. So I had to take it out, and weld a new bracket. I hope my bracket will last another generation…

When my grandmother bought this car new in 1968, she would not in her wildest dreams imagine that her great grandson would drive it one day. And this makes me wonder- how many more years of service will Jeremiah provide? My son wants to call her Betsie, after my grandmother…

 

VW Beetle rules!

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My son took this photo while we were working on the Beetle yesterday. I played with it a little bit on my phone’s editor. I just love how this hubcap turned out!

This week will be another hard one full of appointments and tasks needing my attention. But every now and then I will try to grab a piece of sanding paper and head to the shed…  My son’s birthday is just over 3 weeks away…

Will post if something worthwhile happens to Jeremiah… (the Beetle- so called because it was Lamentations driving it long distance at university…)

The original photo my son took:

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