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Rusty bolts

September 9, 2006

A few unsurprising surprises from today’s mechaniking session:

  • If you are doing suspension work on a 39-year-old car, squirt penetrating oil on the relevant bolts a couple times a week for three weeks prior.  You’ll be glad you did.

  • In fact, if you know you’re going to work on certain other fasteners next year, slather some grease on them now.  The grease will protect and infiltrate the fastener in the meantime.  Then do that penetrating oil thingie when the time comes, too.
  • New Japanese KYB nitrogen-filled shocks are waaaay better than worn-out Mexican VW-OEM shocks.
  • In fact, they’re better by far than any shocks I’ve ever put on a Beetle.  Wow!  I never thought they’d be worth the few extra bucks, but they are.
  • A Snap-On 3/4” deep-well socket found in a rusty toolbox in a trash pile, combined with a Plumb 6-inch extension found in the gutter while out walking one night, plus the handle to the old useless Bilstein jack, makes just about the best lug-wrench I’ve ever used.  Price is right, too.

Now to work on installing my new seats.  Finest in Malaysian seat-engineering technology (I suppose) but more importantly, a far stronger seat mount and frame than the original VW.

Update, Sunday, 10 September 2006: Seats are installed.  They will take some getting used to as it changes the interior of the car, but they are a great improvement in safety.  They have strong bolt-in mounts, double-latch sliders and recliners, a sturdy frame, and adjustable headrests. Installation took about four hours including the fact that there were some minor problems (correct bolts not included and slider latch connector wire wrong length) and I had not installed seats like these before.  And, I was working at a pretty relaxed pace.

If you have a classic VW, and you want to win restoration shows, stick with the original seats, but if you plan to drive the car, replace the seats.  Granted it isn’t the safest car in the world, but the original VW seats were exceptionally weak, snapping off the floor in even minor collisions.  This was especially dangerous if the car was rear-ended as the seat would fail the occupant would collide with the rear inside of the car.

Categories: Personal, VW
  1. zilch
    September 10, 2006 at 05:13 | #1

    Very few things in life are as satisfying as well-functioning cobbled-together tools.

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