Sunday, December 8, 2013

Not all went to plan but the result is a great one

The first bolts came out on the 27th October 2012. The engine was the first thing to be removed and it needed a lot of work, add in a conversion to 12volt and the allocated $1000 was not enough. The largest cost was the reconditioning of the heads followed by a new muffler. Other things were, A new alternator, distributer, carburettor, gasket and seal kit. The clutch housing had to be modified from a design flaw. When designed they didn't leave enough room for the clutch release bearing. Sure there was enough room when it was all new but when the clutch plate wears the bearing bottomed out and would make the clutch slip only compounding the problem.

Alongside the engine repairs the chassis was worked on. Armed with an 9"angle grinder all the old bolts, timber and shield were cut off. There was so much corrosion and rot that none of it was recoverable. The chassis was sent out along with other components to be sand blasted. This also cost more than was budgeted for. In fact almost all aspects of the restoration was more than budgeted for. Initially $2000 was set aside for the whole job. Half for the engine and the other half for the chassis/body. It was within weeks it was realised it would need twice that.

Around April 2013 paint was starting to fly, took until mid September to complete all the painting tasks. The chassis and the other major components were done first so to have a rolling chassis as soon as possible. Unfortunately the weather turn cold early and made painting very difficult, took weeks for the paint to fully cure. With the chassis painted the engine was bolted in first, probably the first job that went very smoothly. Then came time to re install the axles. New wheel bearings were required, the old ones looked like the grand canyon. These also cost more than planned. 8 new seal were fitted to the bearing housings and 2 for the gearbox. Working out the wheel gauge was a bit of the stumper, in the end the answers was found using Fairmont ST2 Manual.

All the brake rigging was pulled apart. A lot of it uses the same parts from Fairmont as is the design. The brake shoes are held on by wooden blocks. These had to be made, thankfully we had some hardwood laying out back and saws/tools to turnout 4 brake blocks. Linkages were welded up and redrilled and new pins fitted taking out all the play/slop in the brake system. This a part of the project was cheap and painless.

The gearbox was another easy job of refitting taking very little effort. A bit of silicone sealant and it bolted straight on and it doesn't leak oil.

Time came to do something about the body work. Originally the sides and running boards were hardwood, the top deck was plywood.  Not surprisingly hardwood is hard to get these days and what is available is expensive. The decision was made to make everything out of marine grade plywood. Prior to painting the plywood was fitted up so the paint would not get damaged trying to fit it all to the chassis. To replicate the plank look the boards were cut down their length. The plywood was primed before being painted red.

An all new shield was made up based on the same dimensions of the beat up original. The new one is all welded, no rivets were used, bracing was traded off for thicker plate steel. It ended up being only slightly heavier than the original, it will help with traction as well. Its construction was simple and straight forward. However, painting it was a nightmare. On the back of it is pale green and the front has to be red. The green back was done first then masked off to paint the front, all was going well until the last coat of red. A fly landed on the wet surface and ruined the finish. Once the paint was cured and the fly mark buffed out another 2 coats were needed but just as that 2nd coat went on it ran badly. Fixing took a couple of weeks. The excess was mopped up straight away, the paint then had to dry completely before sanding the entire front face of the shield with wet and dry sandpaper, then another 3 coats. It was at this point I was ready to throw the entire project in the bin. Thanks to a good friend who was helping with the job made me see sense. We moved on to getting the new trike trailer finished in time to take the VW to the Wagga model show.

The second to last job was the wiring of the electrics, this is the part I love doing. A central control box was made up to house the power distribution, fuses and relays. There is a key ignition to prevent unauthorised use and an emergency stop switch. Fitted also is a multi-unit electrical system I developed for when two or more trikes are coupled together, a jumper cable is used between units. This system makes it possible to share power, operate lights for direction of travel, all horns sound as one, most importantly and why the system was developed, is that from one point all powered units can be shut down should something go wrong.  It also has a remote control option.

On the 27th October 2013 the last bolts went in and the attachment of the identification plate on the front. This too didn't go to plan, despite using quality rivets they broke before pulling tight.

The VW is still yet to be track tested, probably sometime in the new year once the Crookwell Heritage Railway has its Heritage Operators Licence from John Holland Rail. It did go the this year's Wagga model show for display with only good comments received.

All up the final cost figure was $4,700 not including its purchase or labour and I lost count of the hours after 300. Would I do it again?  I have a TIC to do but it won't be done to the extent of the VW and not for a while. I will enjoy what I have for a while before tackling another restoration.



Friday, October 25, 2013

Oh so close!

The finish line is in sight. It's been a long, frustrating and expensive year.  Coming soon is the last blog entry on the VW restoration. In it will be all the good and bad stuff that has gone on.

It's been emotional.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

For one brief moment... was all together. For 30 minutes anyway.

The timber work was finished and an all new shield made.

Slight changes were made with the timber work. Originally the running boards had 3 access hatches, 2 on the left for the battery and engine valve cover and 1 on the right for the other valve cover. The left side hatches were made to be one piece. The other change was the top deck had 2 hatches and now just has one.  The changes were made for simplicity and improve rigidity of the timber work.

The top deck the had a giant hole cut into it to fit the modified control panel. There are a several more switches being used including a key ignition. The auxiliary board that was on the VW when I bought it has been deleted.

I found a couple of headlights on eBay. They are replacement headlights for a Fordson tractor and are the old fashion deep bucket type, very similar to what the railway used for all trikes. These accommodate halogen globes and parking light bulbs. The latter will have red LEDs and act as tail lights. New brackets were made to fit these lamps. A beacon pole has been made to bolt on the rear of the VW.

The shield frame was made from 25mm x 3mm angle iron and the sheet metal 1.5mm. I welded up the frame and took it to a local fabricator to have the 'sweep back' bent into the sheet metal and cut to size. I then welded all around the sheet metal to the frame and ground the seems to make it all look one piece. It turned out rather good.

A new aluminium fuel tank is being made. The old galvanised one will be good for a shower head.

A week or so ago a box of electrical goodies turned up from Jaycar.

This weekend the timber has been sanded and ready for primer. Brackets were made for the throttle cable on the control panel and carburettor and fitted the cable.

Another modifications we made was the remote operation of the direction changer. Originally there is no provision to change direction without getting off and walking around the front. So we had an idea to add another lever next to the clutch pedal.

 I'm on holiday for the next 4 weeks during this time the remainder of the painting will be done and final assembly. I'm looking forward to a friend coming up and staying for a week. His help should speed things up. Who knows, it might get to a point it can be fired up.

Right hand side running boards
Control Panel
Shield frame

Fitting the sheet metal

A big hole for the control panel

12 volt accessory sockets

That 30 mins the VW was together

Beacon pole

Remote direction lever and clutch pedal

The sliced up left running boards and hatch

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Slow and steady

Lost a weeks worth of work due to the flu, pretty sure it wasn't just me that was down for the count, a lot of friend also were struck down. Probably a blessing, money has been tight with many bills that come around this time of year.

Since last update all the hubs and wheel went back on, gauged and aligned. This part of the job was easier than the Wickham, not that there is any difference in mounting the hubs but a different approach was used. As mentioned in the last post there is a brass bush in the left rear hub. This bush can not be adjusted on the axle tapper, too loose and it will slip, too tight and you risk distorting the brass bush and jamming the hub. Once the LR hub and wheel was fitted on went the LF hub and wheel. Using a 7' straight edge placed across the face of the rear wheel, we tightened up the front hub until the face of the front wheel was parallel with the rear. The right hand side was just a matter of measuring the face to face of the wheels.

The wheels are made by Tamper, they are the same as 16" Fairmont wheels. Using Fairmont's standards for an ST2, the VW being close to the size and weight of one, the face to face measurement worked out to 1594mm or 62-3/4". This leaves an 1/8" inch play in the wheel gauge. Fairmont allow up to 1/4".

The brake rigging is back on, not adjusted yet, it will be one of the last jobs. The control panel has to go back on so the brake lever ratchet will align. New hardwood brake blocks where made, the old one were just to far gone. The pins are cut down 1/2" bolts.

New angle iron has been purchased for the running boards and shield frame. The angle runs around the edge of the running boards to give support and protect the timber from the workers jumping on and off and tools thrown on it. The shield frame is yet to be started.

Speaking of running boards, they are back on and so are the side, the top deck is cut out ready to be lined up and bolted down. The running boards will have hatched cut into them for access to the valve covers on the VW engine and on the left side the battery cradle.

The next jobs are to fit everything that is left to put on, rebuild the shield, fit it, then take it all off again for painting. It's starting to look like a trike again.

Left side wheels and brakes

Right side

Right running board and angle iron boarder

The engine being closed in

The top deck. The middle section is the part that will be hinged to flip up.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Assembly Continues

It's been cold, it is Winter after all.

Last weekend about a 1 litre of paint was sprayed around to make things look pretty and because it is winter it took  6 days for the paint to dry.

Yesterday (6th), the gearbox was re attached to the front axle. These boxes are quite heavy and we employed the floor crane to support the rear of the box while the front was lined up on it's bearings and seals. A quick reassembly of the front cover that houses the direction lever and a bead of sealant run around the case, it was then bolted up.

Today both skid rails and left side wheel hubs went back on. The left rear is different to the others, it is a free wheeling hub. This allows the trike to be picked up at the front and turned without the rear wheels dragging.

The hubs fit on the tapered ends of the axles and to tighten them up a nut is spun on, it pushes the hub up the tapper and wedges it tight. The catch is keeping the wheels in gauge, the more you tighten the nut it pushes the wheels in and if not careful the it will end up under gauge. To cure the problem shims are used. In my case it is 1/64 gasket material, it's wrapped around the taper and cut so not to overlap. In the end it makes a nice tight fit and the axle can't slip in the hub.

I also picked up 2 sheets of marine plywood for the body work and had it cut to size for the running boards, sides and the top deck. It will be fitted for size and bolt locations, then taken back off and run through the saw to turn it into boards to replicate the original look then painted. To use real hardwood boards was cost prohibitive so the ply will have to do.



Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just some photos

Front axle refitted. Awaiting the gearbox that is ready for painting

New brake shoes. These are Fairmont shoes. Hardwood brake mounting blocks are being made as the originals are rotten.

The 4 wheel hubs ready for a coat of black. Some of the brake rods are hanging up out of frame ready for paint aswell

More stuff ready for painting

One of the better scores from the VW are the new Tamper (Fairmont) 16" wheels. Other than some light pitting from sitting in the dirt, these are in great condition.

The front left mounting just for fun
This weekend the paint will fly, left for a week and then assembled on the trike. Being realistic the body work could be started mid July. Still a lot of work ahead but it's encouraging to see it come together.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Assembly begins

Assembly of the VW has commenced.

The engine is back in the frame with just a little trouble with the hardwood mounting blocks. When I made the blocks I should have used the engine mounting wings for the bolt spacing instead of the chassis. After a little fiddling it all came together.

When the VW was built, the workshop angled the engine forward to compensate for the short cardan shaft. As a result the inlet manifold was bent rearward, this was done to keep the carb level.  During the assembly of the engine with the new, fatter alternator, the carburettor didn't fit. A spacer was made up to raise the height of the carb so the crank for the throttle pump would clear the alternator. After refitting the engine to the chassis this new spacer amplified the angle of the manifold (confused yet?). In short we had to pie-slice the spacer we made to level the new carburettor.

The rear axle was also re installed with all new bearings and seals.

The engine was dragged under the chassis then lifted into position
The new bearing and seals fitted the axle boxes
The fitted rear axle

If you look closely, you will see the carburettor spacer bolted on the inlet manifold and the cut made to it

Looking from the rear the engine is all fitted

 Jobs from here are re installing the front axle, fitting the hub and wheels, gauge and align said wheels. Then the gearbox can be refitted. With any luck in the next 2 weeks it will be a rolling chassis again.
Lastly. Dads Fairmont runs like clockwork during a brief track test last weekend.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

It runs even better

Got the new VW carburettor in the post this morning. Less than 2 days to come down from QLD.

This afternoon Dad and I fitted the new carb on the engine, reset the timing, fired it up and fine tuned the idle. It runs so well now, no flat spots. We also changed the oil  after some running to flush out the system after sitting for so long.

Next job is to re-adjust the tappets and confirm the timing. Then it can go back in the frame. Just not this weekend. We will be working to get Dads M19 Fairmont back together. It went in for a mechanical overhaul 7 years ago and only now ready to be re-assembled.

The M19 delivered in 2005

I bought the M19 for a Fathers day present in 2005.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

It runs!

Yes the engine runs...sort of. As suspected the original carburettor is not ideal for the job. It's the industrial engine version where you just set and forget the throttle. The problem we are having is flat spotting. So we are going to fit the automotive type carb.

I picked up a brand new carb off eBay, should be here in a week.

Had a little trouble fitting the clutch housing back on, at some point something has changed, either different clutch plate or different release bearing but when all assembled the release bearing was jammed up tight between the bearing carrier and clutch plate, making the clutch slip. Some one had a go at rectifying it by putting spacing washers between the engine case and clutch housing but it still didn't allow enough clearance. The bearing carrier is a separately machined part of the clutch housing so some 6mm spacers were made to space the carrier further out. The release bearing now has room to move. If this modification wasn't done, as the clutch wears it would have started to slip and compound the problem.

The clutch housing holds the starter so it was fitted so the engine can be started on the bench.

All new hanger pins for the suspension have been made. These are 1/2" rod and new threads cut into them. The brake linkages were welded up, ground flat and re drilled, threads were cleaned up as well.

The hard wood blocks that the engine is mounted to were made to replace the rotten ones.

The frame is all painted and moved back into the shed awaiting reassembly. Oddly the engine will be the first thing to go back in then the axles and gearbox.

Engine mounting blocks

Engine all together

Frame Painted

New suspension bolts

Re-made brake linkages

The new bolts that are going into the VW

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Down and dirty

Several days with angle grinder and bench grinder, both fitted with a wire wheel and most of everything that will be reused is all clean. The shed looks like a disaster zone with dust and paint flakes everywhere.

The frame was also flipped up the right way and painted. Left it to dry for a few days, now it's wrapped in plastic to mask off the hand rails. These are going to be black along with the foot steps.

The engine tins got a lick of paint and now ready to be assembled on the engine this weekend. By the end the engine should be finished and be put aside until it's ready to be placed back in the frame.

A great debate arose whether the axle boxes should be painted or left in their natural steel look. in the end they were painted. I have a seen other jobs were they have not been painted and while it does give a more machine appearance it sort of looked only half finished. A lot of work has gone into the VW to make it look special and it is being done up not just mechanically but it will be a show piece.

Next week it is back to work with my day job. It's hoped to get the painting done before them. So far it's looking good. Phase 3 of this project will commence, in the form of late nights assembling the whole thing. No where near the home stretch just yet but over the last two weeks it is progressed in leaps and bounds.

Engine tin ware

Some of the cleaned components

Brake rods

Axle boxes

Hubs, Sweeps, stays, many cleaned parts

Painted frame

Frame masked for painting the hand rails and foot steps
Dad on the wire wheel