Sunday, June 21, 2009

Let the...Moon...shine in, Part 4.

The Nautilus is back at Motorworks Restorations for a little TLC. The paint picked up a light haze from the paint prep being done on another car at Motorworks back in January. Now--to be fair, that happened at the OLD Motorworks location because such a thing would never happen in the NEW Motorworks shop. Yep--they've moved to a much larger location and have sectioned off the paint prep work area from the final assembly area. I finally got a chance to tour the new digs yesterday and was very impressed by what I saw. They are taking care of my minor paint issue and are also installing the rebuilt front end. I was going to do this work myself, but I rather like the idea of any paint scratches caused by that work being their problem, and not mine.

One final possible modification of the car would be the installation of a sunroof clip. I've gone back and forth on this one, but after driving Scott McWilliams real sunroof Type 345 to the Type 34 Registry Dinner I know I must have one. The remaining stumbling block for me is one of sunroof mechanism reliability. And time & money--but that's always a given for automotive restoration projects. The reliability issue is one we'll have to deal with in an ongoing manner, but right now I'd just be happy to have a sunroof that works at all. Double checking the parts quality and functionality is job one. Having access to a shop with a solvent sink to clean up the greasy and grime encrusted parts was also key and Jeremy generously let me borrow both to get my sunroof clip ready for a test run.

Cleaning up stuff took a fair bit longer than I expected, but once clean it all went together real fast. I used the 12V Porsche 912/911 sunroof motor, but I could have just as easily used one of my 6V sunroof motors. I used WD40 rather than white lithium grease as a 'lubricant' to remove the need to go back and dig that grease out of everything during that final assembly. Jeremy has quite a lot of experiece with VW sunroofs, so after I did the rough cut on assembly I asked him to take a quick look at things and perform some fine tuning. We operated the mechanism nice and slow, and it opened and closed very nicely, popping up and into place as it closed, just as it should. No loud noises, no binding, no breakage. We have a definite winner, and a 12V one at that! So, I'm all set for whichever voltage I later decide on.

So what was the final verdict on sunroof cable compatibility? That remains an unanswered question, actually. The 356 sunroof cables are the best choice for sure, but new ones haven't been available for over five years. Used ones are in short supply. I'm really having trouble finding them, so it you find some, please let everyone know. In the meantime, the closest cable I can find that is even remotely close to what we need for the Type 34 might be the '68 to '79 bay window VW bus sunroof cables. Near as I can tell, to make these work, at least two modifications are needed. The first modification would be the same as that which needs to be done with the 356 cables, in that the cable needs to be removed from the main sunroof connector cable end, shortened, and then swaged into place in the reverse direction. Since these cables are for a bus, there's quite a lot of extra cable. The 2nd modification is not so simple. It appears that the angle of the cable guide relative to the sliding steel roof connection is more extreme in the bus than the Type 34, so this would have to be corrected. In addition, the spring for the roof section needs to hook around a post that is simply not there on the bus cables. A machinist is needed to drill out the existing spring pin, machine a new one with the extended post, then thread it and the cast cable guide at a less severe angle. I know it can be done, but the question remains is who would be willing to do it?

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