Sunday, November 11, 2012

"Meanwhile, back at the ranch..." Part 2

It took a bit of effort to reach the body man out at the ranch to arrange a time to see the Nautilus, again.  I'm happy to report that work on the right rear fender has progressed.  Some filler was added to help level things out, but in running my hand over the area I found about a 2" diameter high spot at about the 10 o'clock right above the fender lip.  As of a week ago, this is what that fender looked like.  I used the cardboard jig the body man created--pictured below--to confirm my suspicions.  The body man told me he could take the whole thing down to bare metal if I wanted and start over, but I told him to just take down the high spot in the filler he had recently added and then hit it all with a guide coat so I could take another look next week.  I am sure he sensed my frustration with the whole situation.  It was about this time that one of the ranch hands came into the shop and asked me to move my truck because I was "blocking the road"...with the word road being truly used in the loosest of senses.  I was also suddenly slammed back to the reality that my car was indeed located on a working cattle ranch. In context, I'm bound and determined to not become a 'cash cow'  for this outfit.

In enlarging the photo to the left, figures can clearly be seen on the jig that look like working values for the money I'm going to owe the body man.  If so, and if the body man stays on plan, I actually feel it's some of the best money I've spend on bodywork in quite a long time.  My wife first noticed these figures, actually.  She really wants this car done and would like an end to the financial hemorrhaging. 

The orientation of this card is exactly that which was used on the fender between the 10 and 2 o'clock position on the fender.  It's a low tech solution, but a very effective one.

I just noticed that this picture was taken on the decklid of the Nautilus.  Notice that the color of the decklid is not a uniform color of L514 Emerald green.  Like the right rear fender, it's about a bazillion colors right now, depending on how much material needed to be removed in any given spot.  Unfortunately, this provides yet another opportunity to relay a sad backstory for how things were done incorrectly at the previous body shop and how the ramifications of that workmanship have affected both reassembly efforts and finish endurance under the stress of the hot Summer sun.

The right side of the Type 34 decklid has four relatively small mounting holes for the graceful and artistic Karmann Ghia script.  The script orientation and mounting methods are similar to those on the Type 14 Karmann Ghia.  In fact, the script is exactly the same on both models.  The four retainer clips that hold the script to the outer surface of the decklid have a thick rubber exterior that completely encases a round metal 'speed nut' that actually does the work to retain the script.  The rubber covering on these retainers actually serves two purposes, one of which is to protect the paint from scratches and the other to help seal the four script mounting holes to keep water out of the rear truck.  The problem I have had is that so much bondo was applied to the outer surface of the decklid on the right side that the script mounting pins couldn't extend deep enough to allow the retainers a decent grip on the end of two of the four script mounting pins.  I actually discovered this issue about two years ago and it was one of the reasons the car was returned to the previous body shop for rework.  Unknown to me, that body shop's solution was to actually glue the retainer clips to the ends of the script retainer pins to keep them in place, rather than re-work the decklid.  This workaround was discovered this last Spring when I removed the KG script before sending the car out again in July.  What was even more annoying was that while the car sat out in the back lot of the body shop the hot Summer sun worked away at the decklid to actually cause it to flex enough in the heat to CRACK OUT some of the bondo!  The 3 inch crack developed from side to side at the rear most script pin hole.  It went all the way down to the metal because rust was developing.  The only solution for the body man was to remove material from the decklid surface and grind out the crack.  The decklid was then remounted and I think it fits better than ever.  Another problem is solved, more money is spent, but progress is made.

The hood alignment issue was addressed next and was accomplished without any significant body or paint rework.  The body man was more than happy to hand me back the 2 pennies and present me with what I believe is very good hood alignment.  The seal needs to be installed to confirm, but the prognosis is really good.  The two paint drying rack dimples are still present, but at this point I am happy to leave them as is.  The dimples are really hard to see, but the cost savings are real.  At this point, I'll take it!  Ok...so...lots of good news and I was now waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And I wasn't disappointed because it was at this point that the body man told me that he will not install the sunroof section into this car.  He doesn't trust the bodywork done by the previous body shop and at this point doesn't want to turn what looks like a success into a complete and catastrophic failure by removing structural rigidity to install a replacement roof section.  The 'A' pillar water drain tubes are also a complication.  If the car were still in primer the work would still be a challenge, but there would also be less of an investment and therefore fewer concerns about damaging the car.  I have to accept my body man's limitations particularly when it's in my best interests.  There will be no sunroof.  End of story.

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