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New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help!
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Poorjimmy5
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Joined: July 11, 2016
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Location: Long Island, New York
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 3:52 pm    Post subject: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

I am now officially part of “the few, the lucky, the brave…and the crazy”, having recently purchased a Sunshine Yellow 1973 Volkswagen Thing with 77,000+ miles on it (so says the frozen odometer) and not so subtle signs of a passenger side front collision.  She looks great to my eyes and is registered and runs.  Not that she doesn’t have her faults, which I’m hoping you knowledgeable people can help me sort out.  Let’s begin…

1)      On the drive from Massachusetts to Long Island, New York the fuel gauge meandered from full to empty repeatedly.  My question is this:  Is this normal for 1973 technology?  If not how should I troubleshoot this?  Should I just replace the sensor and float that is attached to the fuel tank?

2)      An inspection under the rear seat revealed removed springs and supports over the top of the battery.  I can see why, because of possible contact with the unprotected terminals and clamps.  Also the interference between the springs/supports and the battery the PO put in there is so much that I literally can’t reinstall some of the springs/supports.  Is there a way to protect the terminals AND reinstall all the seat springs and supports?  I don’t think a battery cover would work because of the previously mentioned interference that already exists.  (See Picture)  I believe the battery the PO installed is a boat battery and may be too tall.  How tall can the battery be and still have the proper rear seat supports installed above it?

3)      I know this sounds like a stupid question, but what tire pressure should I be running on these tires?  Should the back be different from the front?  I can’t believe how much contrary information I have found on this subject.

4)      My Wiper Motor bench tested with both high and low speeds at the overhaul shop, but when installed I can only get what I believe to be low speed from both the high AND low speed settings in my actual Thing.  Any idea what might be the cause?  Any idea on how to fix it?

5)      I can’t get my driver side mirror to stay in position and I’m not sure if it is because the mirror to the stem connection is shot or if the stem connection to the door needs a new round white plastic “shim”.  If it is at the mirror/stem connection, is there any way to “tighten” it so it doesn’t move around with every bump?

What I can offer in exchange is the following information:

According to George Hudson at Volkswagen Heritage, the Rivet used to mount the Door Check Strap Leaf Springs, p/n  N 016 197 1, has been superseded by N90576301 and it is readily available from your local Volkswagen Dealer Parts Department.  I have used these rivets to successfully mount 4 new Door Check Strap Leaf Springs to my Rattle Box.

 
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kenj06
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Joined: November 28, 2011
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:02 pm    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Welcome to the club!

I'll help out where I can...

1. Not normal. I would check for loose connections or a short and then the float. You can pull the float out of the tank, put a clip on it to ground and move it through it's motions slowly and see if the gauge tracks the position.
2. Get the correct size battery, Group 42. Mine also has a plastic cap that covers the positive terminal. http://www.gridgit.com/postpic/2012/10/car-battery-group-size-chart_467945.png
3. check this thread for tire pressure https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=652444&highlight=tire+pressure
Makes a world of difference in the ride quality. Pretty sure I'm at 20 front and 24 rear. Been running that way a couple years now.
4. If bench test was fine, I would think the turn signal wiper assembly in the steering column. You can check to see if you are getting the correct voltages to the terminals using the wiring diagram https://www.thesamba.com/vw/archives/info/wiring/181_Current_Flow_Diagram_4-73.pdf
5. a picture may help, mine has a place to put a wrench and tighten it up.

Hope that helps!
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mondshine
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Joined: October 27, 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 6:26 pm    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Some reading material:
https://www.thesamba.com/vw/archives/manuals/73thing/73thingmanual.pdf
Good luck, Mondshine
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Captain Spalding
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 7:13 pm    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

On the battery, Ken is spot on. The group 42 battery also has a flange at the base to work with the proper hold-downs.

Tire pressure - hardly anybody runs stock tires any more, and pressure will vary among models and sizes of tires. Trial and error is your friend here.

Wiper motor - make sure the wiring is connected properly. There are some diagrams posted here that are wrong. This is correct:
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Once you are certain it's wired correctly, you can try swapping the black and black/yellow wires at the motor. If the motor runs at high speed in both positions, you know it's not a problem with the motor.

Mirror: where is it coming out of adjustment? There are three possibilities. If the mirror tends to swing in and out, there is an acorn nut on the bottom of the shaft that can be tightened. If the whole shaft rotates forward and back on the door you can tighten the nut inside the door. If the shaft isn't moving at all but the mirror is moving on the ball joint I'm not sure there's a remedy. But you might attempt some dissection of it before getting a new mirror. If you do opt for a new one, beware that there are some poor repros out there.
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YDBD
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:34 pm    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

The advice above is spot on. For electronic woes, first thing to check is a good ground and wires are connected firmly.

42 is the answer to the universe, life and your battery.
_________________
'56 pan Dune Buggy since '69
don't live in the past...but when I did:
'67 bug
'64 baja
'60 dune buggy
'73 Personenkraftwagen Type 182 "Thing"
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 2:21 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

1. In addition to what was said above, the fuel level sender needs a good ground to work properly

2. Group 42 batteries are not all that available any more, with many places not being able to supply them. There are other more modern battery designations that are almost identical in size to a Group 42 battery. You can also remake your rear seats using a plyboard base so it will not short the terminals out. If you make a two piece seat bottom, then accessing the battery is very easy when compared to the original. Modern foams laid on top of the plyboard and then covered with vinyl will make for a comfortable seat. Make sure you add blocking to keep the pieces of the seat bottom in place.

3. There is a tire pressure placard under the front hood, near the latch. Bigger fatter tires may take less pressure than the original narrow tires.

5. What is coming loose on your side mirror? You may need to break the nut loose from the shaft to get the initial adjustment of the mirror right. Yes you need some kind of soft washer under the nut. The swivel on the back of the mirror is subject to failure over time and there is no easy fix without removing the glass, also it is common for aftermarket mirrors to not hold adjustment from the get go. If you can handle something that looks a bit hokey then buy an autoparts mirror with a stud on the back and drill through the end of the mirror arm to accept the stud.

Welcome to the insanity Wink


Last edited by Wildthings on Wed Jan 10, 2018 8:28 am; edited 1 time in total
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Poorjimmy5
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:07 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Thanks guys! I really appreciate it and will let you know!

42 Hahahaha! So long and thanks for the fishes! Laughing
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YDBD
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 6:23 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Poorjimmy5 wrote:
Thanks guys! I really appreciate it and will let you know!

42 Hahahaha! So long and thanks for the fishes! Laughing


at least someone gets my nerdhumor. or dad jokes.
_________________
'56 pan Dune Buggy since '69
don't live in the past...but when I did:
'67 bug
'64 baja
'60 dune buggy
'73 Personenkraftwagen Type 182 "Thing"
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74 Thing
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 7:45 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

1. There is a gas gauge vibrator that is attached to the back of the speedometer that helps regulate current which can be your problem...http://vwparts.aircooled.net/Fuel-Gauge-Vibrator-Electrical-113-957-099-p/113-957-099.htm

2. Yes, your battery is too large. Get the right size in there and put the springs back. I use rubber terminal covers as a precaution...https://www.amazon.com/Crimp-Supply-Military-Battery-Terminals/dp/B01FMZ2YYW/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1515595379&sr=8-5&keywords=battery+terminal+covers

3. Tire pressure should be under the trunk on a sticker, but for radials I run 23-25psi in the front and 28-30 psi in the rear.

4. Check the ground on the wiper-it should terminate on a ground cluster just underneath and to the left of the fuse block.

Congrats on the new ride!
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Poorjimmy5
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:52 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Thanks! More great information. I will get on this as soon as the weather gets warmer.

Had rattle box up on a lift the other day and the FRONT AXLE BEAM had significant rust rot and will need to be replaced. I should have had my mechanic give it a closer inspection to see what other front suspension parts need replacing. Any suggestions for additional checks or part replacements in this area while it's all torn apart?
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doublecanister
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:03 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Welcome Poorjimmy5!

I'll mention this on the fuel sender,

on my 73, the fuel float on the fuel sender in the gas tank had a crack in it, the guage registered empty or would move as it swished around in the tank.

I "repaired" the cracked float with a bic lighter and a black zip tie, sorta plastic welded it you could say.
It was well dry of gas when I did this obviously. just got the zip tie dripping on fire and dabbed it all along the crack.

Cleaned it up when done of the plastic strings. Snapped it back on the fuel sender arm.

Still working since 2008!
Rube Goldberg would be proud! Very Happy

Good luck with your new Thing!

T
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73'- Thing
66' -Mustang GT- Fastback
51'- Ford F1 pickup Flathead V8
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Poorjimmy5
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:13 am    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Nice! That's using your noggin!
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kenj06
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 11, 2018 3:16 pm    Post subject: Re: New (for me) Thing owner with many questions. Help! Reply with quote

Poorjimmy5 wrote:
Any suggestions for additional checks or part replacements in this area while it's all torn apart?


how full is your wallet? Very Happy
I'm guessing you'll get a rebuilt beam, make sure you have new bearings, seals and such in it. Then just check out other things in the area, steering damper, ball joints, tie rod ends, shocks, steering coupler. Of course you'll need an alignment after that. Don't forget new rubber mounting pads while you're replacing the beam.
May as well check the gas tank for debris and replace lines while your there. Fuel sock too if needed. It's all nearby. Or do that along with fixing the gas gauge.
My Thing has been a drivable project. I've picked different areas to focus on each winter so as to somewhat limit how much I spend all at once. Of course I do the work so if I have to go back into the same area again, it's only my time that I spend. If I was paying someone to do the work, it may have been more efficient to do some of the items at the same time instead of the next year.
Ball joints and tie rods were first, then disc brakes on front, gear lube change, rear bearings and cv joints was next and now rear bushings this year along with a final drive seal since that leaked over the summer. Other odds and ends along the way.
Enjoy!
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