madclarinet (madclarinet) wrote,

Getting the Ghia back on the road - part number the 1

Well, a few weeks ago we finally started the long process of getting babyghia's old VW Karmann Ghia back on the road.

My plan is to regularly update on progress, firstly on Livejournal but eventually it'll be on a seperate website (once my best friend finally decides which server he's going to put the domain on (he has sorted me out the domain and is setting up the server space for me as he has the capacity to host it). I'll probably also dual post it on LJ but we'll see how the posting goes. I think mainly it'll be interesting and useful for me to keep track of what/where the whole process is. Hopefully they'll be better photos of it all too (at least I'll be taking photographs to ensure we have a better idea of how to put stuff back together if we have photos of how it came apart ;-) ).

As a warning - this and any of these posts will contain rambling and my usual random thoughts. I'm not a mechanic but, as a few of you know, am always willing to try and learn something new. Its different to my normal activity of computers and such like. Anyway, its not like I don't have time at the moment to do anything. Not allowed to get a job at the moment so need to get myself doing something.

We started the first major attack on the 23rd. Actually - the first part started a few weeks earlier when we dug the car out from under all the stuff that was covering it. This was funny in places when some really old stuff was found - some of which was recognised (don't ask about the purple shirt). We also had purchased (well babyghia did) a few tools and such like that we knew we needed to at least start the process. I bought a few of my tools over from England but left a lot (which my parents and brother-in-law now have) as it wasn't worth the cost of shipping them. With the tools I did bring, the ones babyghia has and the few that were purchased we have a start of a decent set.

The main plan for the day was to jack the rear of the car up and onto axle stands. Remove the rear wheels and go from there. Seems easy doesn't it, we have two jacks - a nice hydraulic one and a standard scissor jack. babyghia pointed out the jacking points and we started jacking up the car. Once we got the car partly up we looked for the place to put the axle stands. That sounded easy and we spotted the probably place - the repair manuals we had were a bit vauge on the description and the photo in one wasn't that clear. So, from assistance from my now father-in-law (yikes) by the wife (scary to use that term) soon confirmed our suspicions.

So, jacking continued until both jacks were at the highest possible. Which was about 1/2 inch too low for the lowest step on the axle stand (figures). So, thankfully I remembered the old trick of chocking the jack from below using wood. Of course - there wasn't really anything suitable in the garage or around so we had to get some from a hardware store. Happily the staff at the local store were helpful and had some wood 'out back' that they thought would be suitable. It was more than suitable, cost less than the stuff we were looking at and they cut it in half for us too (saved me doing it).

Once back, we jacked the car up and using the wood we got the axle stands easily into place (a couple of points higher than the lowest setting too. A bit of liquid wrench and the rear hub caps popped off with ease. The left rear tyre bolts came off without much trouble (assisted with liquid wrench) and the tyre came off easily. The right rear was a bit more trouble. Two bolts came out with ease but the other two didn't want to move. We moved onto looking at the engine and cleaning the bits plants that had fallen into it years ago (apparently it was usually parked under a tree (or bush or something). Every so often we attempted to loosen the two remaining wheel nuts. One of them finally came loose on an attempt by myself. The last one came loose when babyghia thought that she almost had it moving - so we joined forces and with both of us on trying it finally came loose. The noise they made when surrendering was slightly amusing (at least to me).

Then engine itself seems in fairly decent shape for its age (and saying its been stuck in a garage for several years). It apparently was due for a full overhaul so we'll probably get that done by someone who knows that they're doing. We did remove the battery and clean the corroded contacts (and the area around) so any residual acid was gone. The oil will need draining (something we were thinking of doing but didn't get around to even thinking about doing).

After that we finished for the day - we were all tired and we'd made a decent enough start.

We had another look at the Ghia last Saturday afternoon. We really weren't too sure what we were going to do. I wanted to remove the rear brake drums as the brakes seemed to be the main mechanical problem with the car. We didn't have a socket big enough to remove the axle nut - also we need a breaker bar as well. Those are things we need to add to the shopping list. We did, however, find some useful things out. The brake pedal needs major adjustment but a air noise was heard when pressing it - which points to air in the system (very bad). So, we then attempted to open the hood (bonnet in the UK). This is a problem as the release was broken. I tried the usual (stick screwdriver in and try and pop the release) but I realised that as the release lever is attached to the glove compartment - which is made of cardboard and will need replacing. I broke the cardboard (after laughing at some of the contents of it, which included a couple of babyghia's high school photos) The cable was located pulled with a pair of pliers - which happily released the hood. Inspection of the brake fluid container (which is located in the front luggage compartment) showed that it has brake fluid - so brake bleeding is a must.

Experimentation with the brake pedal showed that the rear brakes don't move but the handbrake (e-brake) does seem to be doing something (looked through the wheel nut holes at the springs within the drum brake). I suspect that this is due to the brakes needing bleeding. I still think that taking the drums apart will still happen not sure if it'll be sooner or later - it may depend on if we can bleed the brakes.

Further testing shows that the accelerator (gas) pedal and cable are still working fine, the clutch feels okay but the pedal probably needs adjustment. That was really all we could do without getting some more tools. Still, although not much was actually done - we now have a much better idea of what we can do to.

Although plans do change (and often drastically) but next time I hope we can bleed the brakes and see if we can get them working (at least to some point. To do that I have to get to the front of the car. Which could be a problem - we'll see. The brake pedal does need adjusting but after reading the books we have - that's not too hard.....

More cleaning up will probably be done - some the stuff that's been in the car for 'x' years and some that's due to it being in a garage for 'x' years.

Still may need to dismantle the brake drums, might be worth doing anyway, just to see how everything looks. Whatever we do we'll need some more tools. I probably need to make a list and try and be nice to babyghia so she'll buy them (it's in a good cause as its her car ;-) ).

At least I have more time to read the repair/maintenance manuals that we have.

Tags: ghia
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