Baja Rebuild Diary - December
More News About My Baja 3rd December 2001

During the week I attempted to finish the interior, but didn't quite get there. My lovely assistant Meegan helped me by installing the rear seat as I was installing the electric windows. She had to find all the bolt holes first (they were covered by the new hood lining). She had a bit of a struggle a few times, but got there in the end. She even put the seat belts in.

I got half-way through doing the electric windows, but kept getting side tracked. I thought  I'd better finish the handbrake properly first. I had to adjust everything, which is always harder than it should be. Because I have a swingaxle pan converted to IRS, the handbrake cable lengths can be a little bit funny. While I was under the back I plugged up the rear heater duct holes in the body.

I also found one of the fuel filler tubes wasn't quite sealing properly, and was slowly leaking fuel over the side of the fuel tank. The annoying part was that it made all the new hammertone paint on the side of the fuel tank peel off. So I had to pull the fuel line off and put it back on with a stronger hole clamp.

I didn't get too much else done apart from that. I had too many other commitments. I did manage to borrow Brad's hole saw set though, so hopefully I'll get the new tail lights in during the week. I also greased my front end, two grease nipples didn't want to work so I had to pull some out of a spare front end and find two working nipples.

One more thing. The brake light sender on the master cylinder decided it doesn't want to work anymore. So I'll have to buy a new one of them this week, and bleed the brakes again. I'll have to be careful of the hammertone floorpan, any spilt brake fluid may peel the paint off.

More News About My Baja 10th December 2001

I bought a new brake light sender. Installing it was easier than I thought. I made a little cardboard oil drip tray to fit under the master cylinder and catch any brake fluid. Ever so carefully I unscrewed the old one with one hand and held the new one in the other hand, ready to screw it straight in. But it only dripped about 5 drips on the cardboard so it wasn't so bad. The only pain was having to rebleed the brakes (again).

I also got stuck into the interior. I finished putting the alarm in (a million and one wires on the thing). And the alarm even still works. I was a bit concerned because there's a big procedure on how to pull it out of the car so it will work in another car. It you do it wrong it disables itself and all sorts of weird stuff.

I finished putting the electric windows in. They work a little bit better with the new bailey channels. A little quieter maybe. I quickly put the door panels on the car to make it look slightly respectable. I tried to put some L bug carpets in it, but they didn't fit too good. They were just going to be temporary until I make some proper ones. I need custom carpets because of the 2 inch body lift.

So with the car in a slightly respectable condition, I drove it out to Cleveland for the day. It ran well on the way out there. But it the way home it started playing up a little. Real weird pops on part throttle on random times. I figured an idle jet must be blocked (Weber idle jets get blocked real easy). When I got home I had a quick turn of the mixture screws, and all cylinders seemed to respond, so I figure the idle jets can't be blocked too bad. I then grabbed a can of WD40 and sprayed it around the manifolds while it was idling, and the idle dropped. So I figured I had a manifold leak on the passenger side intake to head joint.

I have found that both gaskets available for that joint suck. The standard metal vw gaskets and metal, so it's seems pretty obvious that their sealing capability is limit. They always seem to leak. Then you can buy aftermarket paper ones (I think you can get standard vw paper ones, but they are thin and really suck). The aftermarket paper ones are quite thick and work well, for a while. As they get old they tend to shrink (like stock solex float bowl gaskets). They shrink across the ports and create a large air leak.

So Brad suggested why don't I just make some out of the paper material that has a metal layer in the middle? Well finally Brad made a useful and intelligent suggestion (no offense Brad ).

So on Sunday I went down to Repco and bought a sheet of metal reinforced gasket paper. The only problem I had was how to cut the holes out. I cut the outer shape with scissors, and punch the stud holes with an 8mm punch. But the port holes were trickier. I figured a hole say would make a huge mess of things. I end up using a small chisel to roughly cut the holes out (lots of little straight lines). And then I used my die grinder to finish the holes. It worked well and it's all back together and running fine.

This week I hope to get the new taillight holes cut into the engine cage.

More News About My Baja 19th December 2001

I cut the tail lights holes in the engine cage, and changed the oil, and that's about it. I have been too busy being sick and xmas shopping to do much else. I grabbed some pics with the video camera though (that's why they're crap quality).

You can see the new tail light holes. The old fenders are still on.

More News About My Baja 27th December 2001

I have managed to get the new tail lights in the car, and the new rear guards on.

Smooth rear guards.

The tail lights are just standard waterproof bosch trailer tail lights. I had to make brackets to hold them in the right spot.

In the future I am going to make running boards. But in the mean time I have to protect the rear guards from stone chips, so I made vinyl car bra's for them.

I drove my car around on xmas day, and it kept miss firing, popping out the exhaust and up the intake, and blowing flames. I couldn't quite figure out what was wrong. On part throttle it was fine, but under load it wasn't. I thought a main jet might be clogged, or maybe a faulty spark plug lead.

On boxing day I put a spare distributor cap and spark leads on, and the problem has seemed to have gone away. When I was test driving it the spark lead got stuck in the webers throttle mechanism, which stuck the throttle wide open. Lucky I was in 4th gear so I didn't have to react real quick. I just turned the engine off and slowed down. I usually have spark lead cable clamps on to keep them in the right place.

More News About My Baja 29th December 2001

I have managed to get the new front blinkers in the car, and the new front guards on. It was a pain, especially cutting out the headlight holes.