Sunday, November 30, 2014

It's Halftime on a Sunday afternoon...

Today is Sunday and in America the game of football is played.  And I don't mean soccer.  The Chargers and the Ravens were playing and as neither team is the Broncos, I could afford a vague distraction.   So, I made these parts.  Not that I need them because I have a full set of these already, nicely anodized, but I needed to KNOW I could make them if ever required.  I see folks asking about these Type 34 'corner window trim clips' quite a lot and I think the reason for this is that either the windshield or back glass rubber breaks down and allows the little buggers to escape.  Or, perhaps these clips fracture, loosen and then fly off the car under speed?  Maybe some of these were lost over time by careless owners, a situation precipitated by the fact that Type 34 restorations tend to span a greater period of time.  These cars are often handed off one or more times before they become abandoned projects, are sold for parts, or finally become completed projects by a motivated new owner.  Still wondering which category I fall into...

Anyway, here's my version of these little parts.  I started of with a flat sheet of aluminum picked up at the hardware store that is actually a little bit thicker than original 24 gauge.  I then covered the face of the original part with masking tape, removing the excess with a razor blade knife.  I removed the masking tape from the original part and applied it to the aluminum sheet to create my template parts, as shown above.  This technique allows me to create parts that are shaped very much like the original parts.  I then used real Type 34 window trim to test fit and size them correctly.  As a finishing touch, I elected to sand on these pieces a little so they are ready for chroming, anodizing or polishing.  I could very easily have left them raw because the material has a semi-polished finish that presents fairly well.

This was literally a halftime activity, start to finish.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Instrumentation for the Nautilus, Part 3

I finally sent some gauges in to North Hollywood Speedometer (aka NHS) for rebuilding.  I expedited shipping (with tracking) and put some insurance on the package to hedge my bet on an event free transaction with our friends at the US Post Office.  After a month of waiting to hear something from NHS, I called them only to be told they had no idea if my shipment had delivered, and if so, where it was on the premises.  The call ended abruptly, but an apparent scramble ensued at NHS to locate my stuff.  Back in Denver, it slowly dawned on me exactly how calamitous the loss of these parts was for me.  My blood pressure rose precipitously. I had to repeatedly stifle bad thoughts and words.  Not only had I included the dash/gauge components normally found on the Type 34 for rebuilding, but I had also included my reproduction Type 34 tachometer and a NOS '63 speedometer to use as a model.  After four hours--and right at the end of my tether--NHS called me with the welcome news that my parts had been found.  Immense relief and gratitude on my part was swiftly replaced by disappointment as I then came to realize that a whole month had passed with no gauge restoration work done.  Yeah--it definitely took a few minutes for everything to fall into perspective, for me to downshift and then give them 'the go-ahead' to finish the job.  I know the folks at NHS are good people and their work is legendary, but why do the mix-ups always have to happen with my stuff?

Moving forward a month or so, and my stuff is back from NHS.  I had NHS make three special Type 34 speedometer cables and they did a really nice job on them.  These speedometer cables are held to the back of the speedometer with a metal screw-on retaining collar, rather than the plastic collar so often seen.  The cable insertion depth into the speedometer is perfect. The axle end of the cable uses a circlip retainer rather than a cotter pin, which I'm a bit neutral about, but the cable length is right at 1100mm, which is exactly to spec.  Hopes riding high, I moved on to the rest of the shipment.

Dissatisfaction has set in while inspecting the restored gauges themselves.  Yes, indeed, all the gauges are beautiful in comparison to the parts sent in for restoration.  So, what's wrong?  Disappointingly, NHS needs to correct some inconsistencies and damage caused by their workmanship.  For example, the chromed outer ring that holds the bezel and lense in place on the multifunction gauge is cracked, dented and overly stretched.  I can forgive this because sometimes these things are hell to remove in one piece.  But they should have called me if they needed another ring to finish this gauge off correctly, or pulled one from their stock, even if they charged me for it.  Another issue is that the color of the inner bezel on the multifunction gauge and '64 speedometer is not the same 'champagne' color as the NOS '63 speedometer I sent them to use as a model.  NHS got the inner bezel finish absolutely perfect for the reproduction tachometer and clock, so I have no explanation for this lack of consistency in detail. So, back they go for another try.  I know NHS can get it completely right, given a little more time.  And I do have time.  Go through all the posts in this blog and you'll note that re-work has been a common theme with nearly every aspect of the Nautilus' restoration even though things eventually get corrected to my satisfaction.  Patience and understanding on my part remains key.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Nautilus gets some new wheels

The driveway at our home is a little steep.  As the Nautilus currently has no integral motivator, I'd be very happy to have the craft never leave our standard sized 2-car garage during the reassembly process.  When the craft was delivered two years ago and unloaded nose first into our garage, I already knew I had a problem on my hands if I needed to reverse its orientation.  This ended up not being an immediate concern because I essentially covered it and left it neglected for the next two years while life got in the way at every turn.  I now have some time to work on my favorite hobby, so getting it a little more mobile is an immediate consideration.

I bought a set of automotive wheel dollies years ago at Harbor Freight and have been storing three of them out of the way under the Nautilus ever since. The fourth was used to mobilize a complete Type 3 front beam because these units can be unwieldy and quite heavy when fully built out. This front beam is heading out for a rebuild in a few months, so I finally put the dollies to work and now have a very mobile dry dock arrangement for the Nautilus. How mobile? With a little human assistance the Nautilus can easily pirouette within the confines of our garage.  The wheel dollies also offer a bit of height to the craft, so it's easier for me to slide under and work on inside.

Weather is now cooperating, with temperatures headed towards more hellish high-summer heat.  This is the best time of year to install the wiring harness, for example.  With fore and aft hatches released and compartments examined I found them wanting for cleanliness.  I'm not just being overly picky here, because the upholstery cement used to apply the trunk lining material will simply not adhere to surfaces encrusted with the powdery residue from paint cutting compound.  This stuff was definitely not present before I sent the craft in for it's last round of body repairs.  It's also all over the suspension and transaxle bell housing.  Really annoying.  On the dollies, the car can easily be pushed out just far enough to soap up and rise with a garden hose.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Special Type 34 Parts, Part 1 - License Plate Brackets

I've decided to wake up this blog and do some posting, starting with the showcasing of some of the parts in my spare parts bin.  This time, I write briefly about the special Type 34 rear license plate bracket.  Lee Hedges sent out an email last week requesting one of these for his '68 Type 34.  I had previously set aside two of these brackets, PN 343 813 991, for future sale and snapped this picture of them to help with the advertising.  As much as this seems to be a fairly unique part for the Type 34, it actually went through some variations over the years.  Pictured to the right, the upper bracket was used during the early years, while the lower bracket seems to have been used during the later years.  I don't know when the changes were made, or which countries used each part type.  Both brackets use a pair of rubber packing pieces to help offset it from the rear valence panel by about 3/4".  I've only seen one picture of these packing pieces (pictured to the left and taken from der Samba), and never any NOS pieces.  The parts book lists the part number for these packing pieces as 343 813 995.  Two PN 'N 14 233 1' countersunk machine screws hold the plate to the craft via a pair of imprisoned nuts welded to the interior of the valence panel.

These license plate brackets are strange little details of authenticity and are definitely part of the Type 34's European roots and charm.  The top bracket is still for sale, so grabbing a little piece of this charm for yourself will set you back $27.50 USD, plus shipping.