Wednesday, October 28, 2009

VW Mirror repair

And finally, this past weekend I was able to knock off a few car related projects. First off, I put new brake pads on the front of the Rover. The rotors are still quite smooth, and there's just a slight lip on the outside edge of the rotor from where the previous pad wore the braking surface, but nothing to worry about, so I just popped in the new pads. Took about an hour, so no big deal. Then I filled the fuel tank and popped in a bottle of the Land Rover fuel system treatment, in preparation for this coming weekend's oil change. This maintenance stuff is a life-long battle!
On to the funner project. The drive side mirror on the Bug. I got this car, with mucho help-o from the Moms - meaning she paid for it - in 1989. When I picked up the car, the drive side mirror was loose and I thought it just needed to be tightened.
Then it just plain fell off!
And revealed this ugly stripped out hole in the chrome vent window frame where it would normally snug right in. Ugly. Well, VW parts are easy to get, sure...but GOOD VW parts are not...there's a load of Brazilian and Mexican reproduction crap out there, and most of it isn't worth diddly. My German vent frame is stripped out, but otherwise what to do?

How about I make a small sheet metal plate and resurface the stripped out hole and give the replacement mirror a new place to hold.
First I made a template out of a small piece of cardboard, in this case a soap box. Then I laid out the template on the scrap metal to be used for the project, here a piece of framing from a home computer, and traced out the shape to be cut.

About 5 minutes with the Dremel tool and I'm in business.

Cleaned up and smoothed off...the plug looks almost identical to the template. gotta pay attention here. The plug is flipped and rotated 180 degrees in this picture, compared to the template. Must be alert moving forward, but we're looking good so far!

I have a few stainless fasteners to help me with the next part of the job, but first I need a big fat hole in the plug for the mirror to marry to, and I'll need to paint it too.

And of course...I'll need to clean up the area on the frame to receive the I've drilled and tapped the three holes and I've hammered the raised edges of the stripped out hole back flush so the plug with fit flat. A little chrome polish is next...

The template got the center hole first, and then I transfered that location to the plug, punched the hole and applied some black textured paint on the plug, two coats both sides.

And finally...With the stainless fasteners I install the plug to the vent frame and then, with an o-ring in place on the mirror, screw the mirror into my plug. Viola!...Mirror! Here from the rear of the car...

And from the front...

And at a distance. First time in 20 years the car has two mirrors...always a good thing in a convertible with blind spots the size of Nevada.
Sure this repair probably falls under the classification of 'rigged', but its structurally sound and it looks pretty clean, and what's best allows me to KEEP the German part that would have otherwise been trashed and replaced with a Brazilian knock-off. The purists out there may frown...heck, my Dad may frown, but I'm just glad it's finished.

Actually, Dad may approve. I remember on his 1964 Porsche 356C, that he had a small hole in the rear seat back, square in the center. Rather than trash the original upholstery there, he instead stitched a small Porsche patch over the hole and called it done. Like my little plate solved the ugly factor, looked reasonable clean and factory, and allowed the original damaged German parts to live on for another 40 years with their secret damage hidden from all but the most trained and knowledgeable.
I also got some fuel stabilizer for the help with an issue of caramelizing fuel in the carb that I'm dealing with...the result, I'm told, of E85 blended fuel. We'll see if that makes a difference. Seems to be good so far, so another good tip there, Pops!


Steve Reed said...

Oh, I think Dad would be pretty impressed, actually! You did an amazing job with that. It looks terrific.

Anonymous said...

Now you need to do the other side the same way so it matches. Don't half ass it!!!!

Barbara said...

Sort of reminded me of getting a root canal and a crown, only not so painful. You are amazing at these fix-it jobs!

utahDOG! said...

Thanks Barbara!