Darryl's 1964 Porsche 356C Restoration Project Journal
Last Updated on August 28, 2018
MOST CURRENT PROJECT JOURNAL ENTRIES (IN REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER)
Entry: 8/28/18 - After a long search and an even longer wait for a JEGS.com backorder to be filled, I'm holding the elusive 2-1/8" to 2-3/8" adapter ring for VDO insturments! Hot rod 356 Outlaws don't need to know what time it is, they need to know the oil pressure so that big old clock hole in the center of the dash is now filled with a proper VDO 356-style 6-volt oil pressure gauge using a legit piece of German hardware to do it, like it's supposed to be done. Now I just need to decide how I'm going to accommodate the dual terminal oil pressure sender in that crowded area between the fan shroud and dual distributor. I have all the pieces to build my own but still find myself searching for a proven "off-the-shelf" solution that reduces the number of possible leak points by using a single solid piece of steel instead of a hose and the problematic issues one introduces.
Entry: 8/4/18 - Today I finally came up with a solution to attaching the lower spark plug access panels to the sides of the heater flapper boxes since discovering that the exhaust pipes interfere with accessing standard cheesehead engine tin screws and M6 x 6 mm hex head bolts. My design goals were primarily to come up with a secure method so I wouldn't lose the access panels if the machine screw or bolt would happen to back out. Also because of how close it is to the exhaust pipe, any solution using red or blue thread loc would not work. Since the person who modified the flapper boxes had welded actual M6 nuts to the inside of the sheet metal, I was able to thread M6 x 15 mm socket head machine screws out through the hole from the inside and then use two thinner M6 lock nuts to "double nut" the access panel from the outside while holding the socket head machine screw tight from the inside using a 5 mm allen wrench. My skinny 10 mm "tune-up" wrench allows me to tighten each lock nut individually and they will not come loose once the outer one is torqued against the inner one. It looks like everything is ready to go on the underside of the engine now and I will have to remove the lower wires and rear engine tin when I install the engine since the lower spark plug wires must run through the carburetor pre-heat pipe holes in it, but for now it's one more thing checked-off the list. Next thing is figuring out how to get a dual wire oil pressure sensor to clear the dual distributor, but that's something that can be done with the engine in the car!
Entry: 8/2/18 - I figured that now while the engine is on the stand and not in the car was the time to figure out which tools I'll need to use to get at those lower NGK DR6HS 18 mm marine spark plugs buried up under the cylinder heads between the push rod tubes and accessed by removing a panel added to the heater flapper boxes. I've also run into a little snag with the two little M6 bolts (the cheesehead engine tin screws won't work because the exhaust pipe is in the way) that hold those little panels, 8 mm long ones hit the exhaust pipes and those are the smallest ones I can find locally, 6 mm long ones are available online but I'll probably just end up cutting some down to as small as I can make them and then drilling them for safety wire so they don't back out. The lower spark plug's bakelite connectors are impossible to access without a proper set of specialized pliers and even then it's a challenge. The lower spark plug itself is quite small and a normal spark plug socket doesn't fit so a little research and I found this awesome Hazet (880 Mgt-18) that is compact, has a magnetic insert to stay on the plug once located and allows enough room to get a "wobble" 3/8" to 1/4" converter on it before sliding it up onto the spark plug. I then use another "wobble" 1/4" extension and a small 1/4" drive ratchet to snake up past the exhaust pipes and tighten or loosen the spark plug. I have tightened the lower spark plugs so they're good to go and will remove the easy-to-get-to stock spark plugs on the top side when the time comes to spin the engine over to establish oil pressure before the break-in run. I took a lot of detailed photos of which tools I used to refresh my memory when the dark day comes that I have to change those lower spark plugs!
Entry: 7/30/18 - The two sets of F-7 emulsion tubes (the carbs come with F-11) and a reasonable range of main gas jets (1.25 to 1.40) and air correction jets (1.80 in addition to the 2.00 that comes in the carb), for this project and my 914 arrived from CB Performance today. Emulsion tubes are expensive since 4 are required per car, jets are not so bad but it still added up to almost $200 for two cars assuming that they're both different!
Entry: 7/24/18 - I've finally reached the "ready to install" milestone on my new twin plug engine. Since I have to remove the new Weber 40 IDF carburetors to install the engine, I've ordered F-7 emulsion tubes (the carbs come with F-11) and a reasonable range of main gas jets (1.25 to 1.40) and air correction jets (1.80 in addition to the 2.00 that comes in the carb), for this project and my 914, before tearing down the carbs for a thorough cleaning, float level setting and installation of my best guess jets for the initial start-up and break-in run. If you look closely in the second photo below, you'll see the oxygen sensor wires running up the outside of the engine compartment of my 1979 Intermeccanica Speedster parked under my 914 on the 4-post lift. The dual sensor, wide-band air/fuel meter I use to tune the carbs under actual load conditions sits on the passenger seat and runs off a cigarette lighter adapter I have wired into the starter switch on the Speedster. Since the 356C is going to remain a 6-volt car, I'll have to carry a spare 12-volt gel cell battery in the place of the spare tire up front and run a wire into the cockpit to run the air/fuel meter temporarily. It's now midsummer and I'm super busy getting other projects done too, like also converting my 1974 914 from Solex 34-PDSIT to Weber 40 IDF carbs as well, fixing a drip coming from my 1974 911's dry sump oil tank and wrapping up the break-in of that new 1776 cc "double take" motor I just completed for the 1979 Intermeccanica Speedster. This is also the time of year I drain and refresh all the gas tanks of the cars in my collection so the ethanol-free fuel doesn't grow stale without the use of fuel stabilizer like Stabil, a technique that keeps them starting easily and running great without any stabilizer residue building up in the carburetor bowls. The year-old ethanol-free gasoline is transferred into the gas tanks of my daily driver cars in small amounts so it gets consumed quickly.
Entry: 7/20/18 - I chose to use a fancy spark plug wire set offered by Stoddard's that had longer straight brown connector (SKU NLA-109-954-00) as my normal primary spark plug wires and then a second set which I cannibalized for all the parts except with shorter bakelite connectors which I took off a set of Beru brand wires for the much longer lower secondary spark plug wires. Breaking down one of the Stoddard wires and comparing it to the 20' length of 7 mm copper core silicone bulk wire I got from the Mercedes restoration parts vendor showed that I had indeed found an exact match. To minimize waste, I started making wires on the end of the bulk wire starting from the distributor cap end and fed the length through the engine and cut them to fit within about an inch. What I love about the Stoddard set is that it has the cylinder number identification on the end that connects to the distributor cap, #4 wire in the usual position of #1 cylinder because the rotor is gear driven, thus runs in the opposite direction of the single rotor stock distributor. Now is a good time to experiment with tools to get at those smaller size lower spark plugs because they're pretty buried up in there!
Entry: 7/18/18 - With a Precision Matters full-flow oil filter installed over the oil pump, filtering 100% of the oil that goes on to lubricate the engine, the idea of keeping the sadly inadequate stock bypass oil filter seems silly. Not to mention the addition of a second coil on the fan shroud makes it even more cluttered and presenting the pair more prominently makes it visible with the engine lid up, instantly conveying that this engine is different, almost begging to question, "is that twin ignition?" by people passing by it at car shows and such. My decision is to move the twin coils higher on the fan shroud and install a solid loop of tubing to preserve the oil flow required to get accurate readings from the oil temperature sender and do it in a minimalist and sanitary "bolt-on" resto-mod fashion. I used a length of 6mm copper-plated steel fuel line intended for the Wolfsburg West Okrasa kit that already has the 10mm banjo fitting soldered in place. The stock Porsche oil line ferrule and compression (union) nut fit perfectly and it mates without any stress on the fitting in the case and with the oil distribution block leaving plenty of clearance for the dual distributor. The large stock oil pressure sending unit will interfere with the dual distributor, especially should I decide to use the double terminal one that runs an oil pressure gauge I'm thinking of substituting the clock in the dashboard for, so a solution will need to be found but it should be a pretty easy retrofit. Having a stripped down 356 engine as a fixture to do this kind of fabrication on is really handy since any dirt or metal shavings are far from the new engine.
Entry: 7/12/18 - I now have a dual sensor, wide band air/fuel meter in my bag of tricks that I used with great success on the Vintage Parts of Taiwan stainless steel muffler I chose for the 1776cc motor I put in the 1979 Intermeccanica Speedster. The Vintage Parts muffler came with the double oxygen sensor bungs installed, so I modified the Porsche sport muffler for this engine to have an oxygen sensor bung welded into the center of each end in a similar fashion. I also prepped and painted the muffler with high temperature gray exhaust paint so it looks nice, knowing that it will all be burned off within and few miles and won't matter but at least it looks good on the fresh engine build photos! Tuning the dual carburetors with an oxygen sensor dedicated to each one makes jetting, accelerator pump metering and syncing problems easy to pin-point and resolve.
Entry: 7/11/18 - All the powder coated parts are back and installed and the custom pieces that cover the carburetor pre-heat horns have been fabricated so that the lower spark plug wires use that opening as an access hole to feed the spark plug wires and their bakelite connectors through to the bottom side. I'm still waiting on all the parts to make my own lower spark plug wires but have found the important matching bulk German 7mm copper core, silicone spark plug wire, as well as the correct size 27mm and 24mm NORMA hose clamps for the crankcase breather hose from a Mercedes restoration shop called Authentic Classics. I have the spark plug wire routing figured out but need to make longer wires to reach the lower sets of spark plugs.
Entry: 6/22/18 - Over the last couple weeks I've ordered a set of Spanish Weber 40 IDF carbs from Redline with a kit designed to adapt to the stock Solex carburetor manifolds so I can use the later 356SC / 912 engine cooling tin components. I also wanted to use the Knecht-style air cleaners made by Flat-4 of Tokyo that hide a set of K&N foam air filters. I acquired all the stock 356C oil breather hose components and modified the top of the right side air cleaner to work just like a stock one, securing the breather elbow with an M6 rivet nut and standard cheesehead engine tin screw. After hunting down all the missing cooling tin pieces on eBay, I've sent all the rest of the parts off to the powder coater for a semi-gloss finish. I also ordered a new 4-hole pulley and bolt from Sierra Madre Collection since the old ones got misplaced somewhere over the last 4 years, I'm sure it will turn up eventually.
Entry: 5/31/18 - Another late spring roadtrip to Morris Brothers Motorsports in Salt Lake City in the Mercedes E-350 to pick up the completed long block twin plug motor from Jack. JB had a few details to wrap-up, like installing and torquing the clutch pressure plate to the correct spec. Then we strapped it into the back of the Benz to keep it secure for the long trip home. I drove out alone in one day but picked up Thu at the airport on Saturday night so we could spend some time with Jack and the family before making it a two-day trip back home. Everything made it home with no problem and I started the summer of 2018 with three projects going, breaking-in the new Speedster motor, swapping the Solex carbs for Webers on the 914 and assembling this motor with the hopes of having it on the road before cold weather hits.
Entry: 2/2/18 - I got a text from Jack with photos that JB had put the finishing touches on my twin plug engine and it was ready for me to come to Salt Lake City to pick up at my convenience. I can't believe how big JB has grown, he's wearing one of Jack's old Wolfsburg Motorwerks uniform shirts and his shoulders almost fill it out! I'm super stoked to finish up the engine on my Intermeccanica Speedster and break it in and then start on assembling this motor, a busy summer lies ahead!
Entry: 1/22/18 - I got a text from Jack with photos showing the progress he's making on my motor, the Carillo titanium rods protruding from the case and the relief channel being milled out of the oil pump chamber in the 3rd piece of the case for the Precision Matters full-flow oil filter. In addition to being a master Porsche mechanic, Jack is a card-carrying machinist and has assembled a complete machine shop at his disposal to do almost anything required to bring these old engines back to like-new condition. I've got to say it's been difficult here in Seattle for me since he moved, besides not having my best friend who was there for me during my darkest times before, during and after I lost my first wife to cancer. The void has also forced me to suck-it-up and dig into mechanical issues on my own that I would have cried "Help me Mr. Wizard" and relied on Jack to bail me out to avoid challenging myself on and as a result, I'm a better mechanic because of it. If I learned anything from Jack, it's how easy he makes it look, knowing how much I don't know and which jobs are truly above my pay grade, then making the investment in having a professional do it for me. Knowing this engine was assembled by a master is the cheapest insurance I could get to having one hell of an awesome, reliable and long lifespan engine in the most valuable car in my collection, my 356C.
Entry: 4/18/17 - After focusing on other projects for almost 3 years, the 356C's twin-plug ignition engine project is finally coming off the back burner. I should begin with explaining a lot has happened in that time, my buddy Jack Morris has moved his family and business from Seattle to Murray, Utah and he's shed the Volkswagen millstone and focused almost exclusively on building vintage Porsche engines, including those rare four-cam racing engines in a partnership called Morris Brothers Motorsports with his brother Chad. I married my "girlfriend" Thu (Jack was my Best Man) and now have a big family with 4 kids and 4 grandkids so my life is very busy and filled with world travel, grand babies and love. This year started with Jack calling me and telling me there was finally room in his schedule and to box up the 356C "normal" case that was having an oil leak problem and ship it to him. Once Jack got it, he sent the case out to Ollie's machine shop in Lake Havasu City, Arizona to have it inspected and machined. What turned out to be the cause of the oil leak problem was the center bearing saddle was out of round and allowed the crankshaft to vibrate just enough that the seal leaked at the flywheel. Fixing it required milling 1/100" off of each side of the case and then line boring it back to standard bore (thus cheaper and more readily available standard size bearings). This makes the assembled engine a little bit narrower so the 3rd piece was modified so it aligns correctly and 1/100" barrel shims added to the cylinder bases so the stroke is back to the desired throw. The first week of April, I packed up all the new parts; 1720 cc big-bore DURABAR cylinders and J&E pistons from Shasta, Scat lite-weight crank, Carrillo rods, Precision Matters full flow oil pump/filter and all the other original parts from the engine and drove them down to Salt Lake City in my new Mercedes E-350. When Jack gets the engine assembled, he'll ship the long block back to me for final assembly and installation of new Weber carbs before installing it in the car. My wife Thu is as excited about finally getting the 356 running as I am since we just met when I got it back from the paint shop!
Entry: 7/12/14 - just like when I was a kid, the decals were the last thing you put on the completed model kit! The holes for the gold emblems on the back of the car were filled in so I had to "prospect" for them using a template I had made from a car going to paint way back in 2008 when I was working at Wolfsburg Motorwerks as an apprentice. I had used my dirty hands to telegraph the hole locations on a piece of computer printer paper at the shop. I had also scrounged a very old NOS set of emblems from the Wolfsburg Motorwerks inventory which was one of the benefits of working for the shop. Prospecting I had done for holes earlier in the bodywork phase told me to start with the left-most hole and measure carefully. What do you know, I found it and then all 4 of them, exactly where they had been originally and the filler wasn't all that thick anymore since the guys at Maaco had given the car the once over so I'm able to secure them with the original style speed nuts. The car looks very finished but still no engine and bad news, there won't be for some months into the future. A huge opportunity has presented itself to my buddy Jack Morris and he has decided to shut-down Wolfsburg Motorwerks here in Seattle and move his operations to Salt Lake City. I'll have to wait until Jack's shop is set-up down there before continuing this project so for now it's back in the showroom for the 356C and I'll turn my attention to some other projects in the meantime.
Entry: 7/5/14 - Careful measurements when I was repairing the front bumper bracket holes determined the left side bracket was 18 mm lower than the hole and the right one was 10 mm lower. Fixing this correctly would require cutting the nose off the car and pulling out the inner nose structure on a frame bench, silly for a "driver" quality car that tracks perfectly. Fixing the problem such that nobody would be the wiser for a fraction of the effort involved simply modifying the bumper brackets. In a couple hours, I was able to mock-up and confirm the exact changes required to each bracket using a plywood template and then make the cuts and welds to accomplish the necessary modifications. I put the cuts and welds in a location that isn't easily visible and from the outside of the car everything looks perfect. Once welded and painted gloss black, the modified bumper brackets quickly bolted into place and the front bumper fastened to them. With the bumper mounted, I installed a couple other items, like the windshield wipers and called the post paint assembly phase complete. Now I'm waiting for the engine heads to come back from the machine shop with the modifications completed for the twin plugs. It seems there's been some kind of snafu with the machinist and he's gone off the reservation, nothing unusual for the shadowy vintage Porsche restoration community, it seems like all the best talent is getting old and suffer from failing health.
Entry: 7/3/14 - Installing the deco strip on the front bumper ran into a little snag because the ends had about 1/8" of space between them and the bumper once the retaining bolts were completely tightened. Figuring out a way to curl the last few inches of the aluminum took some creative tool making. First I fashioned a pushing block from a scrap piece of oak, cutting and filing an indentation to allow the block to push the aluminum but not the rubber strip. Then using the biggest 'C'-clamp I have, I put a piece of leather between the clamp face and the back of the bumper to protect the paint and pressed the oak block from the front. That alone didn't curl the end of the aluminum strip far enough so the next step was to fashion a "fulcrum" from a plastic BONDO spreader to bend the aluminum against. A few compressions with the 'C'-clamp and moving the "fulcrum" a couple times got the aluminum to conform to the curve of the bumper consistently on both ends and it was perfect. Installing the beading at the bases of the bumper guards went without any issues and before long I had a completely assembled front bumper, ready for the more challenging task, modifying the bumper brackets to compensate for the hidden collision damage on the inner nose structrure such that the straightened nose shell aligned perfectly with where the bumper brackets come through the holes I repaired since the last bodyman had simply elongated them to compensate for the flaws in the bracket's geometry.
Entry: 7/1/14 - I decided that I'm much more motivated to assemble the original bumpers since the car is turning out so stunning. It would be a shame to not install the beautiful original bumpers since I have all the new rubber and trim ready to go. Fabricating nerf bars would require a major amount of fabrication and I'm just not that into them right now. I decided to start with the rear, so the most difficult thing was making the plastic trim that goes between the deco strip and bumper conform to the curve at the ends. My solution has always been to cut off the retaining lip molded into the plastic such that it's just a flat piece like a ribbon just in the curved area. Then I use massive amounts of Wurth Rubber Cement to hold the heated rubber "ribbon" section and clamp it using wax paper over paint stirring sticks and little spring clip clamps. Letting the rubber cement dry overnight is critical since there is so much tension in the bent plastic once it cools. Assembly of the license lights was pretty straight forward and routing of the wiring uses little tabs welded into the inside of the bumper so the wires can go out through the bracket holes in the body. A quick clean-up and painting of the original bumper brackets with gloss black paint and lots of careful work to bolt everything together got the bumper back on the car. The results are rather stunning and it appears the holes for the license plate are for a "European delivery" car since they're where the long, narrow German license plates would go. I'll need to drill new holes for the new license plate bracket I have and put some rubber plugs in the original holes to hold the license plate away from the paint.
Entry: 6/29/14 - One more afternoon of work has the glass and interior complete. Once my new windshield comes, I'll pop out the front and rear glass and install the new window rubber with new chrome trim. I think the stock bumpers are the quickest way to a completed car so that's my next step, then mount the tires and install the new Koni shocks. The ball is in my buddy Jack Morris' court now as I'm ready for an engine! I asked my sweet new girlfriend Thu to model the completed interior for this photo, I am a lucky man!
Entry: 6/23/14 - Nearing completion of the drivers side and have a good start on the passenger side with both doors done on the outside and both rear quarter windows with new rubber seals installed. I masked off the dog leg shaped portion of the headliner between the quarter windows and rear window and redyed them with SEM Phantom White vinyl dye to cover the stains and discoloration and the results are very satisfactory. Once both rear quarter windows are installed, I can install the weatherstrip seal around the door openings. I should be wrapping this up with another day or two of work.
Entry: 6/20/14 - Another "two man job" checked off the task list thanks to the expertise and generosity of my buddy and Porsche mentor Jack Morris. Mounting the doors without damaging the paint is about as difficult of job as I can imagine and Jack's help made easy work of it. The driver's side door went on without much drama, but the passenger side needed lots of attention to the lower hinge bracket, removing one of the shims eventually got everything to line up perfectly. Now I just need to paint the hinge bolts, reinstall the hinge cover plates and then glue in the weatherstrip around the sides and top of the opening, install the outer door handles, door panels and inside crank and door pull handles before I can call this area of the car done.
Entry: 6/19/14 - Another late night session in the shop, getting the doors all assembled and ready for my buddy Jack to come help me hang on the car tomorrow. I also gave the areas ahead of the door hinges a thorough spray down with Wurth Cavity Protection Wax, which explains the gold color over what was just silver paint before. I'm taking some pretty aggressive preservation actions to keep what I have in the rust-free department intact and yet drive this car in the rain and enjoy it for all the fun I can squeeze out of the original factory build.
Entry: 6/18/14 - The door threshold work on the passenger side went twice as quickly as the drivers side as is usually the case once familiar with the job and all the tools are handy. The rubber that goes along the bottom of the door is not uniform on either side but I assume the doors will form them into the correct shape once installed.
The real fun today was hooking up the new repro tail lights. I had hoped to use the original lenses and rings on the repro bodies but found one of the lenses was cracked but the original rings worked perfectly. The nomenclature on the repro ring isn't quite the same size and shape letters used in the stamp. I'm working on the backup light and seem to have misplaced the baggie of hardware sometime in the evening after looking right at it and knowing what it was. Sleep might help me find it since it's now about 1:30 AM!
Entry: 6/16/14 - The UPS guy delivered all the missing parts that were holding up the starting the assembly of the door thresholds and rocker panels this afternoon so I started putting the drivers side together about 5 PM and was finished by about 11 PM. I still need to glue in the door opening weatherstrip but I will certainly be mounting the doors before the end of the week. One thing that came as a surprise to me was the holes for the aluminum trim along the bottom outer edge of the door threshold and the metal 'U'-shaped bar that holds the big rubber lip under the door opening were nowhere near where the originals were so I ended up having to redrill new holes. Some new holes were very close to the old holes so on the other side I'm going to just start will all new holes and avoid the possibility of having hole that is ruined becauses the drill fell back into the old hole and made one that's too large.
Entry: 6/14/14 - Over the last couple days I've installed the battery, headlights, front turn signals, hood latch, hood handle, fuel filler door and test fit the upper horn grills. I still have to hook up the grounding points for the front lights and find the correct 6-volt bulbs before I can test them. Once the parts shipments arrive, my next focus is going to be on the door thresholds and weatherstrip, hopefully within the next few days so I can get the doors mounted soon.
Entry: 6/11/14 - Today my friend and Porsche mentor Jack Morris and his kids JB and Sara came out to help me put the hood on the car. If ever there was a definition of a "two man job" getting this thing on without damaging the paint is it. Things went quickly and perfect gaps were achieved with only a few adjustments. Now I'm stuck waiting for parts before I can finish the door thresholds and mount the doors.
Entry: 6/10/14 - Today's focus was the back end of the car and I started with detailing the engine compartment to fix any overspray and dust issues. I replaced all the trim screws and washers around the rear perimeter after painting all the edges black to cover overspray and stains. I cleaned the wires for the engine compartment by wiping them down with thinner and then giving them a coat of clear paint. The wires to the tail lights got a bath in paint stripper prior to cleaning thinner. Finally I used my new vibrating parts cleaner to clean up the bolts for the rear deck lid and then installed that at the last step. I will need to touch up the bolt heads using the paint given to me by the Maaco painter so I'll wait to install the grills permanently until I can do the hood and door bolt heads in one mixing of the paint. I attempted to clean up the rear tail lights but the bulb housings were just too far gone to fix so I ordered reproduction units from NLA Parts and will use the original chrome rings and lenses over new bulb housings. I ordered all the remaining missing bits today and a new set of Koni shocks and steering damper, might as well have top notch suspension as well as engine.
Entry: 6/9/14 - Installing the new hood weatherstrip went without any drama and the new upper corner forming plates got a nice thick coat of the black enamel I use to paint engine tins so they should not rust. I used a hole punch to open up the holes for the 33 little #5 by 1/4" oval head sheetmetal screws with their tiny little trim washers. I have yet to use any glue because I like the idea of being able to use compressed air to get any trapped water out from under the rubber after washing but I will glue down any areas that don't lay right once I install the hood so I can use it as a clamp to hold the glue. Some little puckers in the upper corners should go way once some time with the hood holding them down goes by. Now I just need by buddy Jack to come over and help me install the hood, he's the only guy I would trust, we've done quite a few together.
Entry: 6/7/14 - Today's big accomplishment was getting the brittle old headlight and turnsignal wires back through the conduit tubes and into the headlight buckets. Once I wrapped all the branches in the wiring loom up tight and streamlined with black electrical tape, I used about a 3' section of 1/8" aircraft cable with a loop clamped into the end to give me something to pull on. the other end was snaked backwards through the conduit tube and the wire harness was attached to it again using black electrical tape. Pulling them through required a saw-like motion as it started to bind but the aircraft cable sayed attached and the whole thing pulled through without needing to use any lubricant. I think using the wire brush on the drill back when I cleaned the conduit tubes made all the difference. 3 of the 6 bullet connectors had come off during disassembly so once all the wiring was freed of it's black electrical tape wrapper, I started soldering the new ones ( hich I found at Eagle Day parts) back on using a soldering iron to tin the wires and plumber's style propane torch to heat the bullet connector and filling it with solder before slliding it over the end of the tinned wire. Everything went smoothly and no paint was damaged. All that's left to button up the spare tire well is installling the battery and running the two sets of wires and ground cables out to the horns.
Entry: 6/5/14 - Reassembly finally started today after doing a complete reorganization of my shop to move tools from old toolboxes to the new blue one and then organize all my bodyworking tools into the old red toolbox. Finishing the interior of the spare tire well / battery pan was the first task, scuffing the Por-15 surface with a Scotchbrite pad and then spraying a heavy coat of Wurth Hi-Build Underseal onto it got the surface looking very similar to the surrounding original asphalt splatter coat without giving it too much effort since it's under the spare tire.
Removing the plastic trunk liner and giving it a good "spa treatment" of Wurth Rubber Care and then cleaning up the compartment completed the day's work, the next step being pulling the wires back through the headlight conduit tubes, which will take a little creative effort.
Entry: 5/30/14 - So I have everything safely home and in my shop ready for reassembly, including the front hood. The final cut and polish will be done once the car is all back together and has an engine in it, which will allow the paint plenty of time to cure and harden. I'm extremely pleased with how this whole experience went with the crew at Maaco here in Woodinville and really never expected to be expertly guided to such a superior outcome because of my preconcieved notions on how the Maaco franchise does business. I was allowed to see the project evolve from a minimal expense metallic silver paint job, step by step deciding where to spend more money and ending up with something that I'm actually very proud of and can't wait to get back together and on the road. I've made a bit of a fundamental change in how I look at my car projects and have let go of striving for what I thought was perfection because by the time I got done with the car I had so much money and effort invested, it made me not want to risk damaging it to drive it. Not wanting to drive a vintage Porsche because of rock chips and getting it dirty is almost like failing an intelligence test. All I was doing was delaying the gratification of having a fun toy for the next owner. I'm now following a different drum, make these cars functional and fun and leave the concours perfection to those anal retentive types who only drive their cars to and from shows and wonder why they run like crap. Life is too short to not enjoy the fruits of one's labors and I'm now going to simply use the cars like they were intended, consumable commodities.
Entry: 5/27/14 - I stopped by Maaco this morning to drop off a couple glass jars for any extra paint Justin the painter had left over at his suggestion and checked on the progress with the cut-and-polish work was going on the paint that had been allowed to harden over the 3-day holiday weekend. I was shown how some "tiger striping" had shown up in the hood due to the metallic settling strangely on the contours, so it was going to be "re-shot" sometime in the next day or two. Meanwhile I was able to bring home the bumpers, rear deck lid, fuel filler door and A-pillar covers. The left side A-pillar cover with the serial number and paint code plates riveted to it turned out fantastic. The area inside the grills on the rear deck lid also turned out smoother than most I've seen from the best painters in the area. I've got to say that I've really enjoyed working with these guys and how they've let me be part of the process. I did all the tasks painters and bodymen usually don't like, disassembly and reassembly and take responsibility for damaged or lost parts and chips and scratches while reassembling the car. I have the car hauling trailer reserved for Thursday morning and I'll be bring the body and doors home then, the hood might take a little bit longer but there's plenty of leftover paint to experiment with to beat the "tiger stripe" effect.
Entry: 5/23/14 - After 4 weeks at the Woodinville Maaco, my car is finally painted metallic silver. Josh the guy at the front desk has worked with me each step along the way to take the most basic of paint jobs and add 30 hours of blocking and filling low spots all around the body by their best bodymen, Eddie and Darren. Once the body was flawless, I was allowed to come in and remove the doors, engine lid, hood and fuel filler door so a proper paint job could be done to get all the door jabs and the inside of the trunk and engine compartment. I also upgraded materials to use the best sealer and 2-stage color and clear coat products they offer. Now the paint job is up nearing the $4,000 mark and I've got to say that I'm pretty excited with the results. Matching the "6206 Silver Metallic" on the spray out card from Willhoit Auto Restoration required special ordering a non-standard paint from Sherwin Williams and I've got to say Josh went the extra mile to make sure we got exactly what we needed to make the results perfect. Justin the painter really laid down a beautiful paint job and I'm so pleased with the results, I'm going to have these guys do my '56 Oval Window VW when I get the remaining bodywork done later this summer.
Entry: 5/3/14 - While the car has been off at Maaco getting painted, I've done a thorough spring cleaning in the shop to get all the sanding dust off everything. Getting ready for the reassembly has me ordering all the rubber parts from Stoddard and International Mercantile in order to freshen up the weatherstrip, original trim and chrome pieces. The left front turn signal was missing a mounting stud so I drilled out the pot metal base to accept a 5 mm x 0.8 thread pitch tap. Then I purchased a piece of 7/32" diameter steel rod and "machined" the areas I wanted to thread with a file on my drill press until they were exactly 5 mm. I used my impact wrench and lots of oil to run the die down the shaft on both ends. The copper color on the shaft is where it came loose in the copper jaw caps on my bench vise. A little blue Loctite on the base threads to help it grip the pot metal and we're back in business.
I had found a set of four "11/63" date code matching 4½" steel wheels a few years back and finally dropped them by my favorite media blaster in Marysville before painting them with dark machine gray paint on the insides and back and Eastwoods Silver Argent Rally Wheel Paint on the outside followed by a coat of Diamond Clear after they dried overnight. I have a set of Vredestein 165HR15 tires from Coker Tire ready to put on once the paint on the wheels dries hard enough to handle the tire machine's abuse. So the shoes will be on the horse and ready for when that new engine is done!
Entry: 4/17/14 - Today is the day I rented the awesome tilt bed trailer from Del's Truck Rental and hauled the car to my nearby Maaco here in Woodinville. Once I got there, I spent quite a bit of time going over the car with Darren, the painter. He showed me a '64 Vette he's currently working on and told me he would start with block sanding the entire car out and give me the option of having him fix any major defects I missed in terms of low spots or dents. I'm feeling pretty confident that any additional work will be minimal but also realize these guys who do this day in and day out can make a few hours of their time really pay off in perfect reflections. The basic cost for a premium two stage metallic silver paint job to perfectly match the 6206 spray out card is just less than $1000 plus any additional elective surface prep @ $50/hour. So it's probably going to be in the paint shop about a month, perfect for cleaning all the dust out of my shop and getting ready for engine installation work. I might do the remaining metal repair and paint prep work on the media blasted and ready to go on my '56 Bug's hood and fenders first since they will be the same kind of mess and I have the time now to do them.
Entry: 4/15/14 - I spent the entire day chasing down low spots with spot putty and filler primer on the body and bumpers and I'm getting very, very close to calling it ready for paint. The 4" x 8" spray out card sample from Willhoit Auto Restoration in Long Beach, CA containing a Glasurit paint sample of what is considered a perfect match to the factory color, "6206 - Silver Metallic" that originally came on the car. I taped it to the front fender and looked at it in both sun and shade. There is absolutely no tint in the clear coat and the metal flake is very fine so it should be an easy shade of silver to match from Maaco's broad selection of silvers in their paint book. I'll make a run over in the morning with my paint sample and talk about color and schedule a drop off of the car.
Entry: 4/14/14 - Getting the bumpers ready for paint is the next big push. I did a final pass on the body and filled any remaining low spots or blemishes with red spot putty. The bumpers got the complete treatment, final straightening and fitting with the bumper guards, 80-grit grinder to any areas needing filler, Evercoat Rage Xtreme filler, rust converter on the surface rust on the front bumper from rock chips and then final sanding with 220 then 320 grit. A good thick coat of filler primer. I am really tracking to an end of the week trip to the paint shop.
Entry: 4/11/14 - The engine parts have just about all arrived with the exception of the repaired and twin spark plug modified 912 heads we sent into the machine shop. Both Jack and I are getting extremely excited but in my case also extremely motivated to get the car to Maaco for a coat of metallic silver paint! Since we're just putting a restored engine back together, the assembly time will be pretty minimal so the car has to be ready!
Entry: 4/10/14 - Over the last couple days I've been chemically stripping the paint and BONDO off the bumpers while block sanding the entire car. As it sits tonight the bumpers are bare metal after hosing and scrubbing the stripper off and giving them a spray down with Eastwood's Metal Wash to keep them from flash rusting.
The entire car has had the "once over" and has another coat of filler primer over the entire thing. Things are looking pretty promising as the number of defects is minimal and a few low spots need some putty and blocking out. I'm hoping to be ready for paint by the end of next week once the bumpers are also finished.
Entry: 4/7/14 - Now that the filler primer has dried up nice and hard, I took my LED bulb worklight and inspected every square inch of the car. I filled any missed defects in the primer, chips, small dents, air bubbles in the filler and sanding scratches with red spot putty which resulted in a car that looked like it has a bad case of measels. I'm letting the putty harden nice and thoroughly over night before starting the hand sanding with 320-grit on a block. The encouraging thing is that most of the defects are in corners and ends and the major open areas are perfect already.
With the putty applied and drying, I started the restoration of the bumpers. First by running a tap through all the captive nuts used to mount them, then pressing out any dents using my 12-ton shop press or hammer / dolly and finally putting the initial coats of paint stripper on them. Only the top of the rear bumper has any filler, the rest of the paint on both is coming off easily.
Entry: 4/5/14 - The last phase of the bodywork, the roof, had several deep dents that would be easy to lift out if the headliner was not in the car but stud welding into dry old rubberized horsehair insulation is a sure bet for a fire. Paving the pot holes with Evercoat Rage Xtreme filler was the only available solution so I took my 80-grit disc on the grinder to feather out the multiple coats of paint to get to the dents and leave enough room to feather out the filler. Hours later I finally had everything wrapped-up and ready for a thick coat of filler primer on the roof and rear half of the front hood. It's nice and warm in the shop tonight so the fumes can run their course and the finish harden and cure a bit before beginning the block sanding phase. I also want to clean up and paint the bumpers while the car is in the shop so I have the option of mounting them someday after the "outlaw" phase has run it course.
Entry: 4/4/14 - Another long day of blocking, sanding and filler priming. As of tonight, all that remains is the top and there are a number of dents requiring filler. I blasted the last three digits of the VIN found inside the rain tray on the rear deck lid. Then I smoothed the transition to paint with spot putty in an effort to make it more visible, after a little sanding it won't look like there was anything done. I do believe the end is now in sight!
Entry: 4/3/14 - Another day of filling and block sanding and completion of the nose panel and areas under the rear quarter windows that I sand blasted the rust out of yesterday. I lost count of the number of hours I have into making that nose panel perfect and know that each panel of the car could cost me that much time to do right now and I'd rather drive it for a few years first! The shadows of the evening sunset across a fresh coat of filler primer show off just how perfect the work turned out and will look fantastic with the nerf bars showing it off.
Entry: 4/2/14 - Another long day of filling, block sanding, welding up holes and sand blasting the rusty areas in the front trunk weatherstrip lip and under both rear quarter windows. I started using high build filler primer on the sides and have the weatherstrip around the windshield and rear window cut away from the outer lip where it meets the body in order for the painter to actually paint under where the new rubber will lay. Last step was starting the final skim coat and block sanding of the nose. I've been staying up until well after midnight working on this and getting very excited about the prospect of towing it over to Maaco soon for a metallic silver two stage paint job for less than $1000.
Entry: 3/31/14 - The bottom side of the new battery pan floor is done and the "faux factory undercoating" is drying from the heat of a halogen lamp. I substituted black Eastwood's high-build seam sealer in place of the tan colored 3M product I used on my 912 project but repeated the same fingertip dabbing method of creating an irregular surface over a coat of POR-15. Once the seam sealer was dry enough, I sprayed a heavy coat of 3M rubberized undercoating to form the splatter pattern that looks very close to the original asphalt undercoating used at the factory. I had coated all the surface rust with SEM Rust Converter weeks back so all the nose sheetmetal is stabilized and won't be rusting from exposure to moisture anymore. I wish I could dip the car in that Rust Converter because the insides of the fenders is practically unreachable.
Entry: 3/30/14 - I finally received my order from skygeek.com with the rivet peening tool for a pneumatic air chisel that was the same size as the rivet head for the front tow hook. I drilled a small piece of 2x4 to hold the peening tool vertically and then pressed it up against the head of the new rivet using a screw jack on the jack tray of my 4-post lift. On the top side it was old-school, oxy/acetylene torch, heat the shaft to orange-hot, just less than liquid, let it cool to red hot and then hit it with the blunt tip of the air chisel. It usually took 4 to 5 interations to get the peened head flush with the surface.
The results are exactly like the rivets I ground down to free the big washers reinforcing the ends of the tow hook, which by the way I welded the big washers to the sheetmetal for just that much more security in the event somebody ever does try to tow the car using the hook. I'm extremely happy with the outcome and I've just coated both sides with a thick slathering of POR-15 so it would flow into the gaps between the layers of sheetmetal sandwiched between the seams. Once dry, I have some black Eastwoods seam sealer that I'll further protect the seams and hide the plug welds with. In the end, I'll texture and undercoat the entire inside and outside so it looks like the factory undercoating using the faux-factory undercoating technique I perfected on the 912 project.
Entry: 3/26/14 - Today's main activity was finishing the repair to the huge dent in the left front fender just ahead of the wheel well that I had used my pneumatic planishing hammer to beat out when I first got the car in 2007. I finally used the shrinking disc on my angle grinder to heat and shrink the high spots and then prepare the area for filler using an 80-grit disc to scuff the surface up.
After filling with Evercoat Rage Xtreme filler and block sanding out, I used red oxide putty to fill the remaining defects in the surface and surrounding paint. In fact I spent most of the day sanding out paint chips and filling them with red oxide putty before block sanding them out as I work my way around the car prepping for a cheap Maaco metallic silver two stage paint job. I hope to have the majority of the car in gray primer soon.
Entry: 3/25/14 - Today I further refined the nerf bar mount design by reducing the height of the mounting bar on the '68 and later VW nerf bar from 2" to 40 mm so it was evenly spaced top to bottom in the bumper bracket hole in the nose with 3 mm clearance on each end, like doors and hoods should have. Now that it can again fit through the smaller, repaired holes in the nose, I have the nerf bar clamped into place while I play around with how far out I would want it and level it better. I used my angle grinder to remove the excess material and it didn't take as long as I thought it would, so 3 more isn't gong to require that many hours of work.
Jack had the high performance 86mm (1720cc) big bore JE pistons and hi-tech Shasta Design cylinders machined out of a solid piece DURABAR cast iron for me when I stopped by the shop today. I'm getting really excited about how quickly we're going to be looking at a ready to build engine. I had better keep at getting the body work done and ready for a cheap metallic silver Maaco paint job!
Entry: 3/24/14 - A beautiful day outside made for a difficult time staying inside the heated shop but I did and have a completed passenger side between the wheel wells primed with gray primer to show for it. The patches welded into the rocker panel and rear bottom corner of the door are totally invisible to the non-superhero. I have the sanding on the nose repairs completed too and now need to sandblast some deep rust in the front lip of the trunk opening before giving that whole section a thin skim coat job.
For some sick reason, I wanted to see if the original mounting holes for the 'P-O_R_S_C_H-E' and 'C' emblems under the rear deck lid lip were still there. Figuring that if the bodyman didn't fill the sllde hammer screw holes on the nose, he wouldn't be welding up any trim holes on the back. In my 2-year apprenticeship in the Porsche restoration shop in Ballard, I collected a number of items; original 'C' emblems with the 50 year patina, NOS emblems still in the packages and most importantly a template I made of the hole locations on the tail panel from a 'C' coming back from paint. I carefully marked the locations of the hole from the template positions and with a wire wheel on my drill, I looked for the left most hole for the 'P-O_R_S_C_H-E' emblem first. Wouldn't you know it, there it was, just filled with BONDO and easy to open up. Then I went for the right side of the 'P-O_R_S_C_H-E' emblem and that's where I struck it rich in deep BONDO. I chickened out before trying to hit the metal underneath. Then some shallow holes looking for the 'C' emblem holes, now realizing this was a sleeping dog best left for that day in the future when I can media blast the entire car and probably be welding on an entire tail section like I will be doing for the right front nose section. After I weld shut the 'custom' license plate mounting holes, I will fill the divots in the BONDO with modern filler and drill and glue the old 'patina' emblems into position during this incarnation of the car. I've done a great job in putting the rocker panels back into perfect form but my summer could quickly disappear into this tail section and I want to paint my '56 Oval this summer!
One little handy thing I recently picked up off the internet throug a random Google query, a paint can shaker that hooks into my Sawsall like a blade to securely hold a rattlecan or quart paint can and shake it endlessly. It really worked great on the thick gray primer I used to do the right side panel.
Entry: 3/23/14 - It was "FILLER-TIME" again today so I turned the heat up in the shop and started laying on the thin coats of Evercoat Rage Xtreme on the passenger side rocker panel and lower nose where I did all the metal work. After knocking it down with the pneumatic long board and random orbital sanders I finally have it down to the hand sanding point and soon ready for the final lighter skim coat filler. Nothing really exciting to report as filler work is more an exercise in patience and not taking too much off, going until the high points on the metal start "ghosting" through and stopping at that point and adding more filler where low spots show up. I'm doing the highest quality metal work in anticipation that someday I will be media blasting all this filler off and starting from scratch. Given that decision, I'm using cheap auto parts store primer and saving the expensive Spies Hecker Promat 3255 for the '56 Beetle project. I'm also going with gray primer so that the metallic silver paint doesn't have to cover a darker color and require more coats.
Entry: 3/22/14 - Today's focus was on the passenger side door and rocker panel. The rocker panel had some very minimal rust through from behind the last trim strip bolt hole closest to the torsion bar access hole. I made a triangular patch out of 20-gauge steel and completely welded in the trim strip bolt hole, later redrilling it in the correct place once all the welding was done. I also cut out a small section of rust bubbling in the bottom rear corner of the door, welding in a patch from behind. A coat of Evercoat Metal-2-Metal completed both repairs before moving on to stripping the entire rocker panel with a wire brush on my drill. Once stripped, I gave the entire thing a coat of SEM Rust Converter to treat the rust pits that were uncovered by the wire brush and will cover the entire length with a light skim coat of filler in the coming days. The paint on the door had many defects that were sanded down to the point red spot putty would level the surface and have good adhesion. I'm nearing completion on the entire side after a few more sessions with the sander and red spot putty.
Entry: 3/21/14 - The reproduction front bumper brackets arrived from Stoddard today and fitting them further revealed the extent of the nose flex that a history of collisions reveal. So with the data gathered, a strategy for minimizing the visibility of such a sordid past, which would show under less fortunate circumstances.
Entry: 3/18/14 - Ok, the metal work on the nose it finished! On passenger side bumper bracket hole, I ground down the weld bead and cut out hole the this morning. Then used the shrinking disc on my grinder to knock down the high spots just under the hood opening after I welded shut all the old screw / slide hammer holes (and all the ones I made). I'm particularly happy with how the bottom lip turned out and the symmetrical view of the battery box corners. I think this little BONDO prospecting adventure will do me for this summer and I'll just get a cheap Maaco metallic silver paint job to seal the primer. Someday I'd love to have the whole car media blasted but with what I found under the nose, I'm thinking it would be years of metal work before I drive it again and a barn find as solid and rust-free as this car should be driven for a bit before taking it all apart. Especially when it's powered with a big-bore / twin-plug motor that's coming back together later this spring!
The mangled passenger side fender brace needed some attention since whoever did the BONDO repair back in the disco age probably didn't have a welder so he left it hanging, ripped from the side of the battery box. I jacked up the front corner, removed the wheel to get full access to the bracket and scraped the asphalt filling out of the 'U' shaped channels. With patience, I was eventually able to get the metal back to the point I could mend the torn base by welding the pieces back together and once anchored, I was able to really get good leverage for straightening. It's amazing how handy a Louisville Slugger baseball bat is for this particular job, I was able to feed it through the horn and driving light holes and give it a good whack with my big deadblow hammer. The 5 lb. slide hammer came in handy too with pulling the metal backwards. In the end, there's still some minor "squaring up" of the channels remaining when I find a piece of square rod and make a tool to form it with, but it's welded tight back into the original shape and everything is nice and solid for now.
Entry: 3/17/14 - The patch for the passenger side bumper bracket hole was a little more extensive and complex than the one for the drivers side. Instead of trying to rework an ancient repair; badly dented, cracked and sloppily brazed, I simply cut out the entire damaged area and started with a fresh piece of 20-gauge sheet metal. Making a cardstock pattern, transferring it to the sheet metal, cutting, fitting, forming and finally clamping into place resulted in the first photo below. Once tack welded at each corner and once in the center of each side so I could remove the clamps, I used the cut-off wheel on my Dremel tool to widen the gap between new and old steel on each seam a short section at a time, then clamped a piece of soft copper pipe crushed into a flat plate behind the gap and filled the gap with a thick MIG bead in short lengths at a time, cooling each with compressed air to keep the panel from warping. The result is the second photo below, thick MIG weld beads over the seams and cracks that were also cut wider with the Dremel tool and welded shut with copper plate clamped behind. Good penetration means that the beads can be ground off flush with the surface and blended into the old metal to make the patch disappear. I ran out of time today so grinding and cutting out the bumper bracket hole will be the first task next session.
Entry: 3/16/14 - Got the driver side bumper bracket hole patched back up this afternoon. After tacking the patch into place with a piece of crushed soft copper pipe backing it, I used the cutting wheel on my Dremel tool to grind away all the brass brazed into the existing cracks and then welded up those cuts and holes too. By the time I was done, "bi-focal neck" had set in from tilting my head so far back I could see through the welding hood through my glasses but the results are pretty good and I might go back and fill one more thin area in when my patience has returned.
I cut a piece of steel bar the width of the battery retaining bracket out of the ¼" x 2" strap metal and welded it to the end of the bracket to lengthen it. I tapped a 6 mm 1.25 pitch hole further back so the bracket would hold the bigger "cloaking" battery case hiding the 6-volt gel cell and modified the plastic top so it looks legit while not completely covering the battery all the way to the outboard side. With the ground strap and hold down strap in place the whole thing looks pretty legit. I also salvaged the large washers on the old rusty battery pan used for holding the rear rivets of the tow hook to the bottom of the battery pan and I need to figure out how I'm going to install the rivets to replace the bolts temporarily holding it in. The plug welds holding the battery pan in don't look particularly pretty with flash photography but once hidden with seam sealer and a thick coating of high-build undercoat, they won't be obvious at all.
Entry: 3/15/14 - I worked a little more on pulling the kink out of the hood hinge mounting channel inside the hood. As you can see, it took 9 separate pulls with the stud welder but the channel is back in alignment and the hood seems to lay slightly better. A high spot in the middle of the passenger side still shows the slight spring but it's close enough for now. I'll wait to make any further adjustments to the hinge plate until I have the hood off the car.
The front bumper bracket holes are cut back and ready to have patches fabricated and welded in. I traced the top profile into a piece of file folder cardstock and then flipped it over and aligned it 5 mm from the upper rim of the fog light opening as the the photo and measurements by Cliff Hanson answered a question I posted on the 356 Registry BBS. I tried to grind all the brass brazing out of the area and some cracks will need to be repaired but this is a very simple little patch if I use the Dremel grinder to radius the opening to match the top.
Entry: 3/14/14 - I realized that I don't have any front bumper brackets so did my best faking up with the back ones I have to do a preliminary test-fitting of the front bumper. The profile looks pretty good but the bumper itself is slightly tweaked so it's really just to enjoy how much it hides all my pulling work! I worked a bit on trying to fit the front hood and did slightly improve the gap on the front lip but there's still much gap showing up the passenger side lip. The driver's side is nearly perfect. All together a pretty productive week considering I was stripping all the BONDO off the nose a week ago tonight.
Entry: 3/13/14 - So the final thing I needed to figure out before pulling out the big dents in the lower passenger side's nose was how to keep the bottom lip from moving forward with each blow from the slide hammer. Besides already having landscape timbers sized to support work across the 4-post life, I have a leather "panel beating bag" filled with about 100 lbs. of lead shot and placing it directly in front of the lower edge then pushing the car forward onto it provided more than enough unmovable anchor. It was time drill holes and start pulling.
In the end, I was able to replicate the curve of the undamaged drivers side of the car to the passenger side using only 3 drilled holes for the slide hammer and dozens of stud weld pulls. Suffice to say, I'm estatic about the outcome and now just need to clean up the mangled bumper bracket holes and weld shut all the slide hammer holes, from this repair and the original one done by the ham-fisted bodyman from the disco era using a screw on the end of his slide hammer.
Entry: 3/11/14 - A few weeks ago I somehow managed to break off a die chasing threads in the forward bumper bracket captive nut on the right side, today was the day to fix that. I cut out the old nut plate as close to the size of the nut plate itself as possible and got really close. You can see in the following photo the size of the hole in the bumper bracket and the sheared-off lower mounting point of the fender support brace, a future repair project.
Next I fabricated up a new captive nut by spot welding a new nut plate to a piece of sheet metal with the correct sized hole already drilled into it. I trimmed the sheet metal down to exactly the same size as the original that I cut out of the car figuring the width of the cutting wheel on the Dremmel tool would be the perfect gap to fill with MIG bead.
Then after some creative clamping, I MIG welded the new captive nut into place and then again used the Dremel tool to grind down the welds. In the end it was solid, lined-up perfectly and everything works just like original. Installing the bumper brackets further confirmed that the left and right sides are perfectly aligned and I breathed a big sigh of relief.
My next task was fabricating a way to pulling the big dents behind the nose from the front. Out of a piece of ¼" thick by 2" wide strap metal, I formed a 2" x 2" dolly using an 80-grit disc on my 4½" grinder, contoured to the shape of what the worst horizontal section of the dents should be. It will be held on the end of my 5 pound slide hammer by a 6 mm bolt so that only ¼" holes need to be drilled in the sheet metal, and hopefully only about 4 or 5. Once I get the main dent pulled, I have a stud welder / puller that will do the fine brush strokes. Welding up holes is one thing I'm quite good at by now! Next I need to figure out how the brace the lower lip of the nose panel such that the pulling force is directed to the area I want to pull and not simply just pulling the whole panel forward. Good thing is that I have a 4-post lift and nice big landscape timbers as a starting point in building the brace.
Entry: 3/9/14 - So now that I know the left side is virtually undamaged, "surveying" the depth of the damage right side is a matter of careful measuring and drawing grid lines using a Sharpie and a magnetic measuring tape to lay out a grid 2" apart. The first line was lined-up with the top edge of the bumper bracket holes and then the exact perpendicular centerline was found. After that, horizontal lines every 2" followed by vertical lines 4" from the centerline and then 2" over the worst areas of damage. I installed the bumper brackets to check to see that the underlying frame points are square with the outer nose panel and that everything is horizontal using plumb line string to compare the lines with the string and everything looks very straight.
The primary tool for transferring the known, good contours of the left side to compare with the damage on the right side is this adjustable profile gauge I found at Eastwoods. A quick comparison of the horizontal grid line across the left as it met the fog light hole showed about how deep the BONDO was across the center of the damaged area on the right side. The difficult issue to solve here is how to pull out the metal since getting behind it to push it out is not possible with the inner spare tire well bulkhead in the way.
The adjustable profile gauge made it easy to create cardboard profile templates for each of the 4, 2" apart vertical grid lines over the most damaged area. I'll do the same for the horizontal ones as well so that I can check progress as I begin the pulling process.
Entry: 3/8/14 - Once all the filler was removed it is obvious that there was a pretty significant impact to the right side below the bumper, inside the fog light hole and centerline of the car. The left side of the car is virtually undamaged, other than the bumper bracket holes (on both sides) being enlarged and brazed repairs to tears from a front impact that drove the bumper down and a row of holes drilled to remove a dent just below the hood opening at the center. I'm going to attempt to pull out the damaged area using all the tools in my arsenal and see what I can do. I'm thinking that I can patch this without buying any new sheet metal pressings since the damage is limited to such a small section and the repairs done were so primative.
Entry: 3/7/14 - Some deep cracks in the BONDO on the nose of the car made me take the one-way trip with a wire wheel on an electric drill to see just how deep and bad the damage is. A mangled right front fender support bracket ripped from the sidewall of the front battery box wall had me suspicious of how hard of hit this section of the car had taken but the truth really comes out when the BONDO comes off. There's at least a 5 to 8 mm thick slathering of BONDO over the lower section of the right side and screw holes from the primative slide hammer dent pulling technique popular in the '70s across the top edge and more starting to expose themselves as I continue stripping the BONDO lower on the panel. Brazing around the bumper holes speaks to the degree of bending the bumper brackets sustained in the impact and how much they got pushed up and into the opening, causing actual tearing of the sheetmetal around the opening. UGH!!! I'll know more once I get the entire nose panel stripped.
Entry: 3/6/14 - A few little reminders of why I need to keep from getting too deep into body work arrived today. A set of lightweight Carrillo titanium connecting rods, a fuel pump block-off plate and a Pierburg electric fuel pump. At 6 volts, the fuel pump delivers a low enough pressure flow that no pressure regulator is required and the bowls of the Weber carburetors will be filled and accelerator pumps primed to insure cold starts are quick. The mechanical fuel pump will be removed and the block-off plate fills the hole quite elegantly, thanks to Zim's minimalist design, it looks like how the factory would have done it. The Carrillo rods are yet another little insurance policy that high RPMs won't result in disaster. A little devil with a pitch fork is whispering in my ear, "A hot rod, rust-free 356C is way more fun on the road than in pieces in my shop!" and I'm listening!
Entry: 3/5/14 - My old spot welder had bit the dust last week so finishing the battery pan was on hold until my new one showed up and I could finish spot welding the battery bracket into place on the bottom of the pressing, it finally arrived so I got back on it. I started by tenting off the area between the front wheels and floor of my garage so sand wouldn't fly everywhere when I used my handheld sand blaster to make the metal of the rusty old flanges inside the spare tire well nice and clean to weld to. Luckily the blasted sand stayed pretty well contained on the top of the plastic tarp tenting off the underside so cleanup wasn't too bad. The resulting blasted original sheetmetal on the top of the bare metal flanges was encouraging because they were so solid. It should be noted that I did not remove the original battery pan floor spotwelded on top of the original flange so I'm welding the new floor to the old floor and there will be an extra layer of metal in between. By sawing right up to the original flange when I removed the old panel gave me a very solid place to weld to. If I was doing a concours restoration, this wouldn't be good enough but for a driver, after seam sealing and undercoat, nobody will be the wiser and it will be a rock solid repair.
After carefully measuring the position of the tow hook and drilling the holes for the rivets, I punched the necessary plug welding holes into the perimeter of the pressing and then reinstalled it using the Cleco clamps.
On the bottom side I slid the jack tray on my 4-post lift to the front, put a copper plate on the top of a screw jack and put pressure under each section between the Cleco clamps from the bottom. On the top side I used a blunt tip on my air chisel and hammered the layers sandwich of metal supported by the copper plate together so there was no void between the plug weld hole and underlying flange metal, then plug welded it back into place.
Once the Cleco clamps were removed, I drilled the hole in the top layer out to a ¼" hole so the bottom layer was still the size of the Cleco hole and then plug welded that such that it made a good weld and filled the hole through the bottom layer. As it sits tonight, the plug welds inside the spare tire well are ready for grinding and ready to finish the installation of the tow hook reinforcing plate behind the patch I fabricated in the front luggage compartment bulkhead where the old one had rusted through and then figuring out how I'm going to peen the rivets. There are also a couple cracks in the original wall and flange sheetmetal that need to be filled but that's welding done from the bottom side.
Entry: 3/2/14 - I left the heat on overnight to keep the workshop at 72° F so the filler could cure and make a proper physical and chemical bond with the bare metal. This morning I put the last coat of lighter filler over the entire panel and hand board sanded the entire thing to the final shape. A quick coat of Spies Hecker Priomat 3255 primer and it's ready for final paint prep and fixing a few very minor defects under the lower edge and not even visible without crawling under the car. The hours of effort this little project required makes me even more resolute in simply putting another coat of paint over the existing BONDO repairs and let sleeping dogs lie.
Entry: 3/1/14 - I got the workshop up to 72° F today so it was, "FILLER-TIME!" The left rocker panel looks pretty close to final sanding and priming this evening. I'm extremely thrilled with how thin the skim coat has ended up. The perfect day to be in a warm garage, outside it was in the low 40° F range and periodic snow flurries, March, in like a lion!
Entry: 2/28/14 - About 6 hours of stud welding, pulling, hammer and dolly work and the left rocker panel is looking great. I installed the rocker molding to see if there were any variances that drew the eye to them and it looks fantastic, like a 1/16" max filler depth only in the deep depressions.
It was also UPS delivery day, a radio delete plate arrived from Zims arrived with a fuel pump block-off plate for the motor (I'm going with an electric one) and a 6-volt Optima battery and a "cloaking" device called a dummy battery case which will fit perfectly in the stock battery bracket.
Entry: 2/25/14 - Funny thing when you put a car on a lift, things you didn't really notice from standing height become very obvious at ground level. The bottom door gap on the drivers door and a deep crack in filler below kept catching my eye as I was working on the battery box. So, first thing I try is taking an oak block and big hammer to it and sure enough, a consistent bottom door gap was easily established again, the problem was a huge hunk of pink BONDO popped off the car! So many hours of wire wheel grinding and all the filler 'slathered' over the rocker panel is dust and a rust-free but severely in need of some hammer dolly work section of metal remain. So here's a little experiment in blending a repair into an already filled area. My hope is that I can get a nice even surface a new coat of fresh paint will look good on and have my buddy Ken match the paint in the doorjabs so the car looks presentable but minimally restored and I can drive the hell out of that twin-plug engine this summer!
Entry: 2/22/14 - I made an accidental discovery by posting a question on the 356 Registry BBS asking what color the electric tach wire was in the '65 model, since I have to run one, it might as well be the correct color. To my surprise, the answer was there's already a tach wire installed in the engine compartment, usually coiled up under the wire bundle below the voltage regulator with an empty spot on a 5-wire connector under the dash behind the mechanical tach. Sure enough, a little digging and there they are. A quick check with my Ohm meter confirmed the circuit. The cable end of the mechanical tach is visible in the foreground as the photo was taken through the tach hole in the dash.
I set the new 7000 RPM electric tach into place just to see how it looks. I'll be needing to find some additional instrument light sockets to fill in the missing ones and make some wiring extensions so the wires reach the lower warning light location on the new tach but all-in-all this one's going to be easy. I also ordered a 6-volt Optima gel battery and fake "cloaking" simulated vintage battery cover that fits the original style battery mount so they get here about the time I'm finishing up on the battery pan replacement.
Entry: 2/21/14 - Todays efforts focused on trimming and fitting the battery box floor pressing and then fastening it into place with Cleco clamps. I was able to get the back and sides clamped in and determine how much shaping will need to be done to fit the front edge of the new pressing with the front luggage compartment bulkhead. The battery retaining bracket is also partially spot welded into position but my spot welder had a problem about half way through. Some forming of the sheetmetal inside the patch made to the front luggage compartment bulkhead will be required to accommodate the notch for the tow hook and the backing plate riveted inside the compartment. For now a screw jack and wood blocks are forcing the new pressing into place and magnets are holding the tow hook into place so I can determine where and how big to make the bends in the front luggage compartment bulkhead.
Entry: 2/18/14 - The order arrived from Precision Matters today with the twin-plug distributor and full-flow oil filter. This is part of the the "get out your wallet" phase in the project twin-plug project. Next on the shopping list is a Scat lightened and counterweighted crankshaft and a set of Carrillo titanium connecting rods to make over-revving a non-issue, everything else is just a matter of machining. All the expenditures that make high-compression JE Pistons on big-bore cylinders a bulletproof set-up and one-time investment.
Entry: 2/15/14 - I almost used this electric tach on my Okrasa oval window VW project but a little scrounging found a much better donor tach for that job and this one will actually be the perfect redline for the hotrod twin-plug engine that's going into this project so I'll be needing to run a wire and mount this tach before I get the engine back from Jack.
Entry: 2/13/14 - I stopped by Jack Morris' shop today and took a close look at a twin-plug motor he's in the process of assembling. A close look at the lower heads shows where the holes are drilled through the cooling fins and into the combustion chamber, then threaded for the second spark plug. My heads have been sent into the machine shop for a complete rebuild and drilling for the twin plugs and should be arriving back soon.
Access to the additional spark plugs required a modification to the heater "flapper" boxes by removing the carburetor pre-heat ducts and fabricating plates with openings for the spark plug wires that are mated to the side of the box using standard sheetmetal tin cheesehead machine screws. The completed combination of head and heater box makes for a very sanitary installation and easy maintenance. I used some greasy old 912 heater boxes I had in my parts stash and saved the original and more rare 356C boxes so a modification of the cable arm is required on the 912 boxes. The conversion cable arm a part offered by the same guys who make the twin-plug distributor and full-flow oil filter, a company called Precision Matters.
The full-flow oil filter from Precision Matters replaces the cable-driven mechanical tachometer drive plate on the oil pump so I've also acquired a later '65 356C electric tachometer to replace the cable driven model that came with the car. I'll be needing to run a wire from the engine compartment to the dash to supply the RPM signal to the electric tachometer. A full-flow oil filter will be a big improvement over the low-efficiency bypass oil filter which I'll also keep in order to have an additional quart of oil in the system. I've ordered the full-flow oil filter and twin-plug distributor from Precision Matters and look forward to its arrival from the UPS man.
Entry: 2/12/14 - Today's efforts focused on fabricating a patch to fill the notch cut out of the rotted section of the where the tow hook rivets and backing plate will be installed. The patch went in pretty easily and the MIG welds beads are dressed to a point where they don't interfere with the overlap of the battery box floor panel. Test fitting the new battery box floor pressing required disconnecting the headlights, horns and turn signals and pulling the wiring harness out of the conduit tubes to the headlight buckets so it didn't interfere with sliding the new sheetmetal pressing into place. It looks like there's a lot of extra material in the front part of the new pressing so I need to decide how much I'm going to remove before I start drilling holes and laying-up the panel using the Cleco clamps. The factory undercoating is so thick that hiding all the repairs is going to be very easy to accomplish. I'll also need to spot weld the battery bracket into place very soon but installing the tow hook (which is on order from Stoddard) will need to be done after welding the floor panel into place.
Entry: 2/8/14 - All the engine parts are off to the various machine shops getting ground, reground, rebuilt or drilled for spark plugs so it's time to turn my attention to a problem on the other end of the car, the battery box. When the battery is removed, there's light showing through the bottom of the compartment. Easily solved problem, a new pressing from Stoddard should trim down nicely and weld in without a trace. The old battery hold-down was completely rusted away so a new one was also ordered. The one thing I didn't order until I could take a closer look at saving the original was the tow ring. A close look shows the old one is pretty much spent so I'll be ordering a new one of those with the reinforcing plate and rivets from Stoddard on my next order. Having the battery firmly held in place and with a good solid ground cable mounting point is a fun project that makes a nice improvement to the car.
Entry: 1/30/14 - Well, after discussing all the decisions and possible issues with Jack, I gave him a $2000 deposit to start buying parts and I've got the engine torn down to the point I can drop it off with him. Funny how easy it is to tear down a perfectly clean engine... I had grand plans for that Zenith set-up but alas modern gasoline and a lack of a full range of jets make it virtually impossible to get a proper tune and clean running engine without years of practice. I'm excited about a 1720cc with twin plugs, should get about 25-30% more seat-of-the-pants horsepower while using a modern, fully manufacturer supported Weber 40 IDF carbs. In the 6 years I've been playing with the Super 90 on my 912, I've had some major philosophical shifts in how I view the hobby and with all the interest in the car and modern aftermarket developments aimed at making them faster, more reliable and more durable, I'm embracing all the suggestions Jack makes.
Entry: 1/28/14 - So it struck me the other day that I've got this solid 356C that is not being enjoyed because I need to do a complete tear-down of the engine and figure out why it leaks such a large amount of oil out of the bell housing. Also since putting Webers on my 912, I've become a diehard "restomod" vintage Porsche enthusiast since making the engines run as well as modern fuel will allow them to seems to outweigh the benefits of 100% originality if your primary interest is driving and using the car and not showing it as concours quality. I've been watching my friend Jack Morris build twin-plug Super 90 engines for some time and after driving a couple, realize that a bit more of a hotrod 356C is the direction I'd like to take this car while still preserving it for a complete bare metal restoration someday in the future. Today I took the first step in that process by pulling the engine out of the car and preparing it for delivery to Jack for him to build a "long block" twin-plug, big bore engine that will end up using Weber carburetors. This engine isn't the original one so the whole "numbers matching the birth certificate" purist thing is not even possible and there's no impact on the car's value, so why not build a hotrod and drive it instead of letting it sit in the garage, waiting for someday. I'll probably actually use the car more if I'm not worried about rock chips and door dings.
1964 Porsche 356C Showroom Brochure - Here's a fun little time capsule, clearly marketed towards the technical/engineer mindset, no nonsense, just the facts. Scanned imaged provided by H0ward N0urse.