Saturday, August 28, 2010

Motorworks Restorations makes a house call

It's a truly great thing when a company stands behind their work.  In this case, Jeremy and Julio of Motorworks Restorations are taking this beyond the figurative sense and are moving it right toward the literal one.  The two stopped by last Saturday morning to finish up a few paint details I was afraid to tackle myself due to limited paint polishing skills and equipment.  Over two years ago, while Motorworks Restorations was still in their old location, the Nautilus was covered by overspray from another paintjob being done in an adjacent work area.  It's taken some time to locate the problem spots on the craft and get it all removed.  This overspray issue has always bummed me out, however Motorworks has always considered it a warranty issue that they are dedicated towards working through.  And when I report a problem, they quickly resolve it.  Regardless, this has stalled my progress on assembly because I have no desire to put freshly chromed or NOS chrome parts on the craft, only to later have to remove them to have paint buffed.  Counter productive for all concerned.  On this particular Saturday, great progress was made to address this annoying problem.

While working in the front trunk area, Jeremy had a chance to check out my 'spare-change alignment handiwork' on the right hinge.  He will fabricate an aluminum shim to shift the hood into better alignment.  Also, my search for acceptable front hood seal material continues, as the Type 14 seals are still not quite right.  In checking around, ISP West may have some better stuff available now.

The fore and aft compartments gleam again and I have no excuses to get started in there...unless some part is made out of unobtanium...which still happens more often that I would like.  Keep thinking I have everything I need, only to find that the parts I thought I had are either less than ideal, ill-fitting, or flat out wrong.  I wish I were just making excuses, but it's becoming another source of frustration.

Motorworks has undergone some relatively recent personnel changes.  Gone is Gary Turk, and this concerned me because Gary had a lot to do with the character of the work done by Motorworks.  My concerns were unwarranted.  Julio is the new guy at the shop and jumped right into the weekend work at hand.  He had several spots on the main body to polish and showed me what was required to work these areas.  You can burn through a clear coat quickly, so masking tape was used to prevent this at every 'sharp corner'.  The results of Julio's work are outstanding and I was quite relieved because it really looked like the problems were the result of sand scratching in the bodywork beneath the paint.  That the paint had two years to cure made it easier to work with, too.  Jeremy threw right in with Julio and together they knocked out this job in just a little over two hours.

I'll be picking up some 3M #1 Polishing Compound and microfiber towels to keep the finish on the Nautilus shining.  Knowledge breeds confidence and I feel I can definitely do some of the more minor and less visible cleanup work by hand at this point.

I snapped this shot right after the Motorworks crew shoved off, and right before the Nautilus went back under its car cover.  As a finished Motorworks product, I think this is as good as it's gonna get for this one.  I want to thank Jeremy and Julio again for stopping by and taking another pass at the car. 

Since last weekend, other aspects of the restoration are starting to move along, too.  The wiring harness installation is in progress.  The engine is starting to come together.  More brake work has been done.  Starting to wire up the upper steering column.  Chroming is in progress and nearly done.  Gauges are under restoration.  Yes, there's lots going on and hopefully there will be strong progress to show before the weather turns lousy and Winter sets in.  Hard to believe that Fall is only three and a half weeks away!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

My Two Cents on Hood Alignment

It's no joke, a picture is worth a thousands words--but that wouldn't stop me from writing another thousand to go along with this picture.  Bottom line, I've never really been all that pleased with the front hood alignment on the Nautilus.  It all goes back to having to use a replacement hood on the craft to create something presentable for the painters.  The original hood was a bit caved in from what apparently were two sets of butt cheeks, so I hesitantly provided a really nice spare to further the project.  I wasn't all that keen on its use because Karmann's own body build process for the Ghias matches up the hood and decklid to the main body shell very early on in each car's construction.  This is done because the dimensions vary from car to car, particularly in the trunk openings at the front and rear, mainly due to its hand built nature.  The same could be said for the doors, though to a lesser degree.  Regardless, swapping out any of these movable body panels results in a host of alignment issues that can be really difficult to contend with, but are nearly impossible to resolve invisibly after paint is on the car.  Knowing this well, I badgered all the guys at Motorworks very early on to make sure this particular alignment issue was addressed during the bodywork.

After opening and closing the front hood a bunch of times to test fit the hood seal, the right rear hood height issue made itself known again, along with my acute annoyance.  I let Jeremy at Motorworks know about the situation and he assured me that the problem could be resolved, but never really went in to detail on how.  I decided to 'logic' my way through the issue and what you see is the hack I came up with.  Literally, two pennies were used to model up a hinge shim to lower the right rear of the front hood.  To be completely honest, I actually put the two pennies to the back side of the hinge initially, which raised the hood twice as high as it was.  Either way, a wedge shaped shim will work well.  This change also resulted in the need for a change to the front hood latch hook by using a hammer to reshape it a bit.  For our Type 14 Karman Ghia friends, the hinge shimming would work similarly.

Jeremy at Motorworks Restorations has assured me that he will formalize my investment with a far less noticeable and far more presentable shim after I finish assembly and bring the craft back to them for final tweaks.  In the meantime, two pennies saved are two pennies earned.