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My Thing Get It Driving Thread
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vwwestyman
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Location: Manhattan, Kansas, USA
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 26, 2015 9:15 pm    Post subject: My Thing Get It Driving Thread Reply with quote

Not sure if "build thread" is quite correct, as at the moment I am not planning to do a full restore or something. I just want to drive this Thing!

I have three teenage foster sons at the moment, and I think they all want to ride in it just as much!

It took a while, but I was finally able to sell my New Beetle in order to raise the cash for the Thing. I purchased this one from Flower Mound, Texas which is a suburb of Dallas.

Got up early yesterday morning and hit the road. The original plan was we'd camp on the way back but ditched that idea due to being behind schedule, the camp area was super crowded, and it was super hot. Instead, we just headed all the way back to Manhattan.

The trip was well over 1000 miles and we didn't get back until 3 am.

So today I was able to start assessing just what I've got.

According to the guy I bought it from, it has sat for something like 25 years. He said the story he was told was that the original owner died 25 years ago and the family just stored it away until he bought it a little more than a year ago, but he didn't do anything at all with it, so he didn't know much more.

It seems to be pretty solid, the only rust besides some spots of surface rust seems to be the battery tray area. There are a couple spots of bondo that have repaired what must have been dents, one on the driver door, one on the hood, and one along the rocker on the passenger side.

The top is nearly completely rotted away, though the frame appears to be pretty solid.

The seats are all very surprisingly nice.

The engine does not seem to be seized. I can't shift into any gear, though.

Today I cleaned up the car with the idea that it is nicer to work on a clean car than a dirty one. I pulled the gas tank, and will need to have it repaired or something, as there is a rusted hole in it. All other fuel lines will be replaced

I'll add photos later, I feel asleep writing this post! Very Happy They are in the gallery if you can't wait!
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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63ziggy
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What??? A Texas Thing left Texas? Say it isn't so??

Welcome to the Thing family.

We are anxiously awaiting photos. oops, went to gallery.

Man, solid candidate. She looks like she will buff right out and clean up great. Some TLC and mechanical safety repairs will make a great looking driver.

Have fun with your new Thing.
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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On the way home.

The rest are sitting on the trailer in front of my house before I started cleaning it up.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So yesterday I got started. Cleaned it pretty well, pulled the gas tank and started on the fuel lines.

The tank will need a lot of work to get useable again, but I think it can probably be cleaned and I can repair the pin holes that rusted in the bottom.

Today I ordered the advanced German brake repair kit from The Thing Shop as well as their "gas smell" kit and a couple other items to getting the brakes and fuel lines taken care of. I'm hoping to tear the carburetor apart tonight or tomorrow.

I need to figure out why the shifter doesn't seem to engage any gears. It won't push into anything, clutch pressed or not.

Can someone tell me how the rear seat backs are supposed to release?

I also need to order tires. The ones that came on it seem too short, but they are 25 years old and useless. Its a shame, because they look like they were fairly new when this Thing was parked.

I removed the engine lid, because the hinges are rusted and it was bending the metal on the lid. I'm hoping that some PB Blaster and gentle massaging will help free them up.

I was encouraged that one of my boys was asking to help work on it yesterday afternoon, so hopefully it'll be a fun project to get him involved with!

Here are a couple shots as it sits at the moment. You can see my two busses in my "auxillary parking." (The house is sitting empty, so I've traded doing mowing chores for the owner for permission to use their driveway.)

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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waxhead
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice find! That looks really solid, at least from the pictures. Shouldn't take much to get it back on the road (you hope!)

Plenty of knowledgeable folks here to answer questions, but be sure to use the search function too - most answers are already there.
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germanbilly
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 2:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't try and repair the fuel tank. If it has small holes in it it will keep getting more and more. A new tank is cheap and if you are putting the fuel kit in it do it right the first time. Pull the plate under the back seats in the middle on the tunnel and check the shift coupler to make sure it is not broken. Do it right the first time or always be ready for something to go wrong. Make sure the fuel sending unit is not all rusted up while you have it out and replace it.
GB
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Shoyrtt
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 3:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with Billy, just get a new tank.

The battery pan is an easy fix. If you are not picky, just buy a bug one to weld in.

PB blaster and some heat should free up those hinges.

It might be a good idea to pull the trans and just go through all of the mechanicals. On our second Thing (very similar to yours), we did the brakes, all of the lines (brake and fuel), cables, refresh the trans and bushing, CVs, shocks and motor before putting it on the road.

It takes a little bit, but much safer in the long run knowing you addressed everything. Cool
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2015 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Advice taken, I ordered a tank and screen.

I appreciate the thoughts on pulling the whole drive train and may do that. But my hope is that I can get it driving without having to do that. For example, I'm anticipating that after having sat so long, the engine will likely leak some oil. I'm just hoping that it will only be an "acceptable" amount of leaking so I can drive it till the end of the summer. That way I can have some fun with it till it gets cold, and can have a better idea of all the work that needs done.

Then as it gets cold, I can disable it and take care of the deferred stuff.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was able to work on the carb this evening. Man, was it nasty inside!

Here is what I found when I popped the top off. Keep in mind, I did spray a bunch of carb cleaner into it yesterday before doing anything else.

It was super gross, but I think cleaned up ok. Hopefully I can get it put together tomorrow.

Maybe I can get the motor started up off a gas can while I wait for the tank and brake stuff to arrive from The Thing Shop.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm reading through tons of posts on tires...

A lot to sift through!

I'd like to find something that will fit, and the "look" will fit as well.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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ente_kaefer
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwwestyman wrote:
I'm reading through tons of posts on tires...

A lot to sift through!

I'd like to find something that will fit, and the "look" will fit as well.


I purchased my tires from WalMart, Douglas Xtra Trac II, 205/75 R 14 tires.

I did have to purchase an adapter plate to allow the rim to be mounted on the machine at WalMart. Tires were $ 55 each before all other fees.
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imtb
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks solid and I wonder if that is OG paint.? I bet that it would clean up real nice.

Glad your geting it going instead taking it completely apart and then loosing interst. Better to keep it going.

Good luck.
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

imtb wrote:
Looks solid and I wonder if that is OG paint.? I bet that it would clean up real nice.

Glad your geting it going instead taking it completely apart and then loosing interst. Better to keep it going.

Good luck.


Unfortunately, no, the outside paint isn't OG. I imagine the inside is.

It is a poorly-done respray. Right over things like the fender beading and it is peeling in several places. I think they bondo-ed over a couple dents and gave it a quick paint job to "freshen" it a bit sometime way back when.

That was the one disappointment in the purchase, as this was not evident in the ad pics, and I honestly believe the man I purchased it from wasn't aware. The OG paint would indeed have cleaned up real nice.

This might shine up OK despite the peeling spots.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ente_kaefer wrote:
vwwestyman wrote:
I'm reading through tons of posts on tires...

A lot to sift through!

I'd like to find something that will fit, and the "look" will fit as well.


I purchased my tires from WalMart, Douglas Xtra Trac II, 205/75 R 14 tires.

I did have to purchase an adapter plate to allow the rim to be mounted on the machine at WalMart. Tires were $ 55 each before all other fees.


Will that size tire fit under the hood? I don't think it will based on what I've seen but just wanted to see for sure.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pulled the shifter and the cover plate. Unfortunately, nothing obviously broken in either place. It seems that the shifter just doesn't want to move at all, possibly inside the transmission.

I realize that pulling the engine and transmission is certainly an option and I may well have to do that to be able to drive this Thing, but I am wondering if there are any tricks I can try first to get the shifter to move.

Do they ever jam up? I feel like I have seen a mention of that somewhere around The Samba and a potential fix but I really have no idea. Perhaps I'm being too optimistic/hopeful!

One other shifting related question: Is it normal for the stick shift to be able to spin up front? I don't remember my old Beetles doing that, but it has been several years since I sold the last one. However, I didn't see anything (such as a locator pin on the stick or a slot for a pin in the shift rod) that would have prevented the spinning and was broken.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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germanbilly
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 28, 2015 9:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwwestyman wrote:
Pulled the shifter and the cover plate. Unfortunately, nothing obviously broken in either place. It seems that the shifter just doesn't want to move at all, possibly inside the transmission.

I realize that pulling the engine and transmission is certainly an option and I may well have to do that to be able to drive this Thing, but I am wondering if there are any tricks I can try first to get the shifter to move.

Do they ever jam up? I feel like I have seen a mention of that somewhere around The Samba and a potential fix but I really have no idea. Perhaps I'm being too optimistic/hopeful!

One other shifting related question: Is it normal for the stick shift to be able to spin up front? I don't remember my old Beetles doing that, but it has been several years since I sold the last one. However, I didn't see anything (such as a locator pin on the stick or a slot for a pin in the shift rod) that would have prevented the spinning and was broken.

Shift Stick spinning is OK, 205 up front no fit. In years past we would pull the fill plug in the transmission and put a big screw driver in the hole and move the shift fork. Most of the time it will will unlock it and will work perfect. Give it a try you have nothing to loose.
GB
GB
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 29, 2015 10:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got a chance to look at the bit of the hockey stick protruding from the trans.

There certainly is some surface rust that has formed on it! You can even see where it looks like it has fused a little to the bushing. So I'll be hitting it with some PB Blaster over the next several days to see if I can get it to break free. Hopefully that is all that will be required.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A couple boxes from The Thing Shop arrived today!

I got the Fuel Smell kit, a gas tank, the full German brake rebuild kit, and a few other bits and bobs. I'm hoping to get a lot of work done tomorrow afternoon!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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The motor runs!!

This weekend I installed new plugs, the carb, an electronic ignition that was sitting in the garage and the air cleaner. Tonight my boy wanted to help, so we got the oil strainer cleaned up, adjusted the valves, and filled it up. He wanted to go in and play on the computer but I said no way until you learn how to adjust the valves, lol.

I'm waiting for the gas tank nipple to hook that up properly, so we used a gas can.

It was pretty smoky because I had dumped some Marvel Mystery Oil down the intake a few days ago to lube the to end a bit. Also, it shot a bunch of mud dobber nests out the exhaust! Lol

The smoke was starting to clear up, but I think the fuel pump is dead. I only got fuel to the carb with an electric pump and it would always die pretty quick after removing the electric pump.

But the engine sounded pretty decent given that it hasn't run in 25 years and has a few little holes in the exhaust.
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Dave Cook
Stuartzickefoose wrote:
I'm gonna punch vwwestyman then shake his hand when I meet him.

notchboy wrote:
Ill just punch you in the face. Wink

1978 Champagne Edition Westy, repowered to '97 Jetta TDI
1973 Wild Westerner
My Thing
www.thefosterdads.com
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germanbilly
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 03, 2015 9:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks great love the smoke. The way the carb looked and the fuel tank i would also say the pump is gone also. On my 73 that sat out in the open for 8 years it took the whole fuel system and after that fired right up and runs perfect.
Have Fun, GB
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