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.