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Yet another new Thing owner...
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dixonmanor
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Joined: June 09, 2006
Posts: 73

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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 12:49 pm    Post subject: Yet another new Thing owner... Reply with quote

So, I bought my first Thing (and first VW) a few days ago. Beautiful shape, absolutly NO RUST, rebuilt engine about 1k miles ago, army green (I purchased it from a friend, who had purchased it from the Oregon Christian Soldiers- I kid you not- some sort of wierd religious militia we've got here in Oregon), original hard top, original radio, etc.

It doesn't need a lot a work, just some minor brake and transmission issues, but I'm sure I'll be pestering the board with tons of questions in the coming months. So I'll start with these:

What tools/parts should I carry at all times? Like I said, this is my first VW, and I know nothing about them, but I'll be taking the Thing on many long trips this summer (she's my only vehicle).

Does anyone have any experience installing aftermarket stereos while maintaining a stock look? I'm a fairly obsessive record collector, and take my iPod anywhere I go. I saw something a while back where a guy had hidden an amp in the trunk, and ran the iPod off that. He put a toggle switch under the dash to switch from original radio to modern stereo. This was on an old Mustang, though... thoughts on doing something similar to a Thing?

What about disc brakes? The front drums are going to need replacing soon anyway, so I'm thinking of just going for a disc brake conversion instead. Thoughts? Costs?

I'm thinking I'll need to put some sort of lock box in or on the Thing. What about a sort of two-level box directly behind the rear seats? I'd prefer not to mount it on the rear "trunk" lid- which I've seen on Thing before.


I look forward to your guidance, and learning all about my new ride. Thanks in advance-

Joe
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LEJ
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Joined: May 13, 2006
Posts: 115
Location: Ontario, Calif.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 1:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't guide you on the Stereo installation besides, in my 73, I wouldn't be able to hear it unless it was turned up to maximum volume and since I detest rude people that have their radio's turned up so loud I can hear them a block away, I've chosen to eliminate a radio.

The ""minimum"" tools to carry are a "Jack" lug nut wrench, adjustable open wrench and a screwdriver and as far as supplies, a quart of oil and a fan belt. The fan belt is critical because if it goes, so does your air cooling and electrical system.

Some people carry points and a condenser and a whole myriad of tools, I just carry the above and a AAA towing card.

When I purchased my 1973 last month, I removed the front drum brakes and installed a So. Cal. disc brake kit which included new rotors, new calipers/pads, new hoses and a new master cylinder. I also turned the rear drums and installed new shoes. Empi, SO Cal, CNC and Neal all make brakes with the wide 5 bolt pattern that you currently have on your vehicle.

I recently read that one member went with a lighter brake set up by Neal or CNC.
The un-sprung weight wasn't an issue with me and as such, I've had nothing but flawless response from the So Cal kit.
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Captain Spalding
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Joined: February 19, 2005
Posts: 2488
Location: . . . in denial.
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 2:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Yet another new Thing owner... Reply with quote

Congrats on your Thing.

LEJ pretty much said it all on tools. As you learn how to work on your car, that question will answer itself. If you don't know how to work on your car and don't care to learn, you already have all the tools you need.

There is plenty of info on audio equipment out there, so I won't comment on that except to say that stock Thing radio speakers and never-without-their-iPod-audiophiles dont mix. Exclamation

Okay, the brakes. If you have a stock engine, the drum brakes are fine. I take 10 extra minutes at every oil change to check their adjustment. Disc brakes are nice too.

The lock box: I have considered putting one UNDER the back seat, on the side opposite the battery.

There are ready made solutions. Here is an underseat box from TufLoc.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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kubelmann
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Joined: April 13, 2003
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 09, 2006 11:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

On the issue of Thing brake systems. I have access to all of OEM AtE German Thing brake parts. Go to Samba Thing parts classifieds if you want to get the real deal at a good price. Please let me know if I can help you with any best quality oem German parts. If you want details of this, Please pmail me and I will share more details. K-mann
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dixonmanor
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Joined: June 09, 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just took the Thing on her first 100+ mile trip. Without (major) incident, she ran like a clock. Everything went very smoothly. The speedo cable snapped about 10 miles in, but who needs it, right?

Anyway, thanks for the tips so far.
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kubelmann
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2006 11:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We swaped wheels and tires from one Thing to the other today. The good news ios Herr Kubelmann was out on the long and narrow dirt paths and he left some deep grooves. We burned some gasoline today. He definately ran like the wind hard and fast. More later.
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Towel Rail
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Joined: April 15, 2005
Posts: 4621
Location: SE CR IA US NA PE
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2006 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

dixonmanor wrote:
Just took the Thing on her first 100+ mile trip. Without (major) incident, she ran like a clock. Everything went very smoothly. The speedo cable snapped about 10 miles in, but who needs it, right?


I've broken a couple speedometer cables too. Not sure what the problem was -- I lubed it beforehand, even -- but the latest one has been lasting. When it didn't work, it wasn't a big deal. I knew I wouldn't get any tickets on the highway, and second gear seemed about right for residential streets.
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1974 Thing -- under the knife
1967 Beetle -- spring/summer/fall driver
1996 Subaru OBW (EJ22, 5-speed, AWD) -- winter car, 3-seasons "don't feel like biking today" car

049 > 070 > 053 > 009
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scottienoel
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Joined: July 10, 2006
Posts: 51
Location: Seattle, WA
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would also add to your kit the book "How to keep your VW alive for the complete idiot" by John Muir. This is a great book. In HS I had a '73 thing that caught on fire. I resurrected it with the help of this book (prior to doing this I had no mechanical training). It is a great book. You can get it on half.com (used) for under 10 bucks. Get 2 and keep one in your car and one at home.
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chinarider
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Joined: November 08, 2002
Posts: 276
Location: San Francisco, CA
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As for your radio question, yes, it is possible to wire a stock Sapphire radio to accommodate an iPod (or other accessory) outlet. I don't recall whether I saw the discussion in one of the Samba forums, or on the Web. Either way, try a Google search, as there are some photos and wiring diagrams of just this. I think the guy did it with a Sapphire AM radio.

I was also considering doing this to a Sapphire XXI 8-track that I just installed (yes, I actually put an 8-track in), but decided against it. Prefer now to just buy some good, classic 70's 8-tracks and have a decidedly low-fi, but authentic audio experience.

As far as tools go, I like redundancy - there's never such a thing as "too many tools" I keep a "road set" under my hood, which consists of:

1 set of 1/4" drive sockets (smaller through mid sizes)
1 set of 1/2" drive sockets (mid through large sizes)
1 seperate socket for my spark plugs
1 set of open end/box wrenches (9mm - 23mm - I think)
1 small adjustable wrench
1 medium adjustable wrench
1 large adjustable wrench
1 multi-head screwdriver
1 large flat-head screwdriver
1 small slip-joint pliers
1 large slip-joint pliers
1 needle nose pliers
1 channel lock
1 vice grip
1 ball-peen hammer
1 leatherman multi-tool
1 swiss army knife
1 electrical kit (wire cutter, multi-meter, wires, tape, splices, fuses, etc.)
1 set of allen wrenches
1 two-sided dentist pick
1 flex mirror
1 wire brush
1 piece of emmory cloth
2 flashlights (crank - not batteries)
2 spare fan belts
3 quarts spare oil
1 set of jumper cables
Several hose clamps & lengths of hose
4 new spark plugs w/a gapping tool
New points and condenser
Some spare light bulbs
1 Copy of Muir's book
A few feet of duct tape, rolled tightly
A small spool of steel wire
25 feet of nylon, braided cord
Tow rope
Timing gun & tach/dwell meter
Latex gloves
Rags
A small tube of grease
Some West System epoxy
A jack (smaller, aftermarket screw type) with lug wrench
A fire extinguisher - very important!
A few other odds and ends - I kind of forget.

Anyway, most of this fits in an old backpack. The rest lives in my spare tire and a couple of other nooks under my hood. This set is just for breakdowns, road trips, helping other folks out, etc.

Another point on Muir's book: once, when I broke down on Dead tour, this book was invaluable, as it allowed a mechanic (who had never worked on a VW before), to fix me up and get me to the next show after one of my front wheels literally fell off the car!


Last edited by chinarider on Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:13 pm; edited 1 time in total
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scottienoel
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Joined: July 10, 2006
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Location: Seattle, WA
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2006 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also have a plastic grocery bag. I had a vacum hose break and wrapped the bag around the whole, duct taped that and was able to make it to the next town with an open auto parts store to get a new hose.
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dixonmanor
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Joined: June 09, 2006
Posts: 73

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 16, 2006 12:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the HUGE list! I've only been carrying a spare fan belt, a flash light, a few random wrenches, some oil, and a cool, never-used, circa 1950 First Aid kit (it's color scheme matches the flat army green of my Thing). Looks I've got some shopping to do!

Performance update: The Thing has now been driven (from Portland): to the Dalles and back, to Seattle and back, to Seattle and then Anacortes and then across San Jaun Island and back to Seattle (where I am now)... in a few minutes I'll be back on the road and headed into Portland. All of this in the last month, in addition to being my daily driver, and it's only stranded me once, but that wasn't a big deal, as I could push-start her enough times to make it home. Pretty good for a car that hasn't really been driven at all for about two years. This week she'll see a few surface-level improvements- running boards, soft top installation, sound system, etc... and then back on the road for most of August and September. I'm having a LOT of fun.
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