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BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/10/18 2:56 p.m.

In reply to vwcorvette :

That was on the list of options but I want to keep the stock bumper and just 'snug' it up to the truck to look better. I might ventilate the lower core support though, time will tell. 

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/13/18 2:24 p.m.

Ok, Everybody out of the pool!

The intercooler should be the last bracket I need to weld in so it's time to clean and paint the engine bay. 

That should be easier if I put it back up on the rotisserie.

And pull off all of the suspension and steering. 

However, I forgot about something. 

This jagged bare metal hole around the shifter box isn't gonna cut it. So I need some sheet metal to patch it up. I look all around the garage and can't find any the right size/ gauge. But then!

Who's hoarding? Not me, I was saving this piece of an old dryer for just this project. 

I went without the CAD template and just started cutting. I didn't take any pictures of my first attempt because I didn't get that far into it before it all went pear shaped. Here are some shots of the second attempt. 

There's more work to be done but It's getting there. Remind me to make a plan or template next time though because this piece is quite wonky around the edges with me just free-balling it. 


Ram50Ron New Reader
7/13/18 2:53 p.m.
BirgerBuilder said:

My jaw dropped when I saw this... You might as well seam weld this thing now. 

Is that rotisserie motorized? 

Mezzanine Dork
7/13/18 4:34 p.m.

In reply to Ram50Ron :

Looks like he's got power up/down via the electric trailer tongue jack. This whole thing seems to have escalated quickly, right?

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/13/18 7:16 p.m.

You got it, Mezzanine, lift motors and manual turn.

 Most of the panels have already been welded via rust repair. For most of this build thread, the truck has been on it's wheels but 5 of the 6 years I've been working on it have been up on the Spit. 

At this point I really should do a full respray but I'm just gonna hit the undercarriage and engine compartment to get it on the road. I'm tired of just looking at it! (plus I like the patina)

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/15/18 12:42 p.m.

Got up early this morning and welded in the patch panel under the shifter. 

I really wish I had spent more time cleaning the metal before I started welding because the welds I laid down next were absolute trash. 

It doesn't look that bad in the photos but I left big gaps and dirt in the welds which made for a lot of splatter and burn through. 

No big deal I suppose though, by the end I got it sealed, but with way more grinding than necessary.  

Plus it will get a liberal coating of seam sealer anyway. Primed looks nearly presentable. 

Next I need to grind all of the loose paint out of the engine bay... hooray. 

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/17/18 2:06 p.m.

 Well I started sanding down the engine bay this weekend. You'll never guess what I found... 

wait, what's this...

PO's Welding missed some spots...


So I cut it open and the results are not great. Plenty of rust in there but maybe enough salvageable metal to work with. 

I hit it with the sander and a chisel first, got all of the flakes off. Found a few holes, and I really don't want to cut open more than this.

I found this bottle, which I swear I bought to use on my first ever VW, 20 years ago. 

The stuff still works!


Just needs 10 more applications... 

I did cut out and patch that hole though. 

Welded from the other side, obviously. Then, I ran a thin wire brush down the gap as best I could and vacuumed out the dust/ flakes. It's nice to be able to turn the whole frame upside down for that. 

I ordered another small can of POR-15, which I can hopefully get down into most of the bare metal in there before I weld it back up. 

In the mean time, back to sanding down the rest of the engine bay. 



BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/23/18 2:40 p.m.

Well I got some POR-15 and hopefully that will slow things down in there. 


I started to do some more sanding and prep work but the pin I had set up to lock the rotisserie, kind of gave up the ghost. Well the truck swung down and I just kind of caught it but I guess I've been putting this off for too long now. 

I saw a much better design on somebody's blog a while ago, like I said, I've just been putting it off. 

Step one, get out the plasma cutter. 

I didn't have any plate large enough so two pieces welded together will have to do. 

Next I just need to cut some holes in it... like 24 of them. 

I tried to take a time-lapse video of the hour and a half it took me to cut them all but apparently my phone got bored after the first one. 

Well, all done either way.

The rest was really easy, I just had to drill a hole in some solid bar and weld up the pieces. 

It is so much more stable now. A smart man would have done this years ago.




BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/24/18 2:55 p.m.

Also on Sunday I got the shock tower patched. 

I started with a curved piece of sheet metal 

But of course, the shock tower is a compound curve. 

It's hard to see in this picture but the right lower side doesn't reach and neither does the left upper side. 

So whats a guy to do? Get out a hammer and dolly and just beat the tar out of it, of course. 

Enough hammering in the center and the plate curved (kind of) the way it should. 

All tacked in to my satisfaction. It became a major pain in the ass to weld however. I made the mistake of cutting the panel out too close to where 2 layers of metal meet. And between those layers, lives some seam sealer that I can't clean out. So, when you weld, the material heats up the seam sealer, which out-gasses, and pumps little contamination bubbles into your welds. You would think I would have learned this already and made my cuts either farther away or overtop of the two layers.... oh well. 

You can see where it's particularly bad on the upper left section, and really the whole top portion... 

Oh well, grind it down and try again. 

Lots of reflection kind of ruined the picture but take my word for the fact it looks... passable. 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/25/18 5:32 p.m.
BirgerBuilder said:

There's a Fred Flintstone aesthetic here that I really enjoy.

BirgerBuilder New Reader
7/26/18 2:34 p.m.

↑Ha! I guess you're right.↑

Well I was planning on getting the engine bay painted this week but you're not supposed to paint above 85% humidity and Maryland has been a rain forest on top of a swamp this week. Does anyone have any experience on whether the humidity effects the results or just the drying times? 

In the Mean time, however. I wanted to address those leaky oil seals on the turbo. So I bought a rebuild kit and pulled that sucker off the engine. 

I watched the how-to videos, several times, and pulled the turbo apart. 

Fins all looked fine, it spun freely, things were going well. 

I got the parts cleaned up nicely...

But then I started putting in back together... Well, despite  watching more than one video telling me to do so, I neglected to mark the alignment of the nut/shaft/ compressor wheel when I took it apart. So... it will be out of balance...maybe. I decided that I didn't want to spend 150$ and wait two weeks to have someone rebalance my old worn out turbo shaft and started putting it back together anyway. 

However, when I tried to put the front oil seal back together, it wouldn't just click like it was supposed to. In fact it wouldn't go together at all. Let's see what we have in here... 

So I'm thinking that the front cover, outer bearing, whatever you call this part, was already trashed when I took it apart. The video I was watching said there should be a groove in there for the oils seal to ride in. And if it wasn't trashed already, it is now. The oil seal kept catching the edge of the aluminum housing and made these little chips out of it. 

So of course I was cursing myself, really annoyed that I wouldn't be able to buy just that part and would likely have to buy a whole new turbo or at least the shaft and center section but out of curiosity, how much is that?


Oh. That's... very reasonable.  

Very well, I'll get back to sanding the engine bay. 


Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
7/26/18 2:54 p.m.

That's a fair price for a turboharger cartridge but what about a turbocharger cartridge?

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/26/18 6:24 p.m.

I had to read that about 5 times before I figured out what you were on about. I missed the typo in the ad and then again in your post. Good thing I'm not an editor!

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/27/18 2:11 p.m.

While I'm waiting for my new Turboharger, I figured I should get some painting done. Humidity is still up, (and will be until October) so I decided to climate control the garage. I don't have my dehumidifier since I took it to work because the basement kept leaking. But I do have a Volt! With electric AC. Now, you obviously can't control the temperature with that, but you can use it as a makeshift dehumidifier. Just open all the windows, put the AC on full blast and add a fan. 

Actually kind of worked. Only made the garage hotter though, obviously. An extra Window unit helped balance that out. 

I know, you're all jealous of my install work, sorry guys I'm not for hire. 

After that I put some paint-prep cleaner in the bay and vacuumed the floor and got the truck taped off.

I didn't take it down to bare metal because I'm too impatient for paint work, but I scuffed or removed all of the paint with 220 grit. 

So. Thursday night I finally got around to spraying some paint, after being up since 4 am with intention to do so. And? I got this far. 

My old spray gun kept getting, blow-by? I don't know what you would call it but the air kept on flowing when it wasn't supposed too. I pulled the whole gun apart and cleaned it... three times, before giving up at 11:30 at night. 

This morning though, New gun.

This one had killer reviews on the Home Depot web page and they had em in stock. 

So far I'm pretty happy, It lays down a nice even pattern and the adjustment knobs have a lot of travel so they are not too fiddly. 

It even comes with two guns, now I just need a shop intern to clean the primer out of the first gun while I spray top coat. 

Not that I can do that with the ultra cheap rustoleum paint I'm using, oil based needs to dry for 24 hours before the next coat...

 Oh well, It's a start!

Mezzanine Dork
7/27/18 2:58 p.m.

Doesn't it feel amazing to get a solid color in your engine bay?

Heads up on the Rustoleum if you don't already know: drying completely can take forever. Days. Weeks. It'll be soft for a long time too. Did you use a hardener?

BirgerBuilder Reader
7/27/18 3:15 p.m.

I did not use a drier. I didn't realize the paint would stay soft longer without it. What do you suggest? Japan drier? Also, now that I put down the first light coat will it help to use it on the next few coats? 


BirgerBuilder Reader
8/6/18 2:36 p.m.

It's been a minute, but I'm getting some stuff done. 


I had a hard time spraying between the bumper support and inner frame rails. But a foam roller on a stick ended up being the perfect size. 

I also got my new turbo parts and started putting it together. Unfortunately, I had an immediate problem. 

The old oil feed adaptor doesn't fit the new turbo. apparently there were two different sizes availible. 

I started to fix the issue by milling down the fitting and cutting new threads. Which would have worked beautifully if I hadn't donked it up. 

I counted wrong and took off about 10/1000ths too many, and on a 10mm fitting, that's a lot. 

I looked all around for a new fitting but they cost between 30-60$ for this one little piece. 

I stopped into a local shop called British Metrics and he looked at the parts, thumbed through his giant catalog and called a guy. Yup, he's got one, It should be here by Tuesday, $1.50. Life-saver.

So odds and ends over the weekend while I was waiting for the part. 

Put the rest of the turbo back together. 

And dropped it on the engine, which took way longer than necessary because I didn't align the inlet and outlet perfectly. (no scribe marks on the new parts.)

And I rebuilt the pump for the upcoming TIG cooler I plan to build. And... I found this. 

Looks like someone did a E36 M3e job prepping the metal before putting the POR-15 on there. So many people have been working on this truck, I wonder which one it was... 

Anyway, I got out the grinder and atoned for my sins. Guess the next thing I need to do is check every other repair I made on the car to be sure the paint is sticking properly... hooray. 



Dusterbd13 MegaDork
8/6/18 3:00 p.m.

por15 dont stick to clean metal. no matter what. sorry....


as far as rustoleum: in humid and warm, mineral spirits mixed 1:1 with a splash of hardener (valspar enamel hardiner is what i use) and its rock hard and ready to go within a day. dry to touch in a couple hours tops. 

harbor freight 9.99 gun is what i use. i dont even bother to clean it, just cash in on the warrenty.....

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/6/18 4:23 p.m.

I ended up using the Japan drier and thinning with acetone as the can recommends. It seemed to be pretty dry after 6 hours but I waited the full 24 between each coat cuz it worked with my schedule anyway. 

I have the  metal prep/ etching stuff, you are supposed to use with POR-15 too bad I didn't use it. Oh well, I just went with etching primer and a rattle can for the re-paint. 

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/10/18 5:42 p.m.

Little bits and pieces are getting done but I am starting to worry about hitting my October deadline...

Also just put the first 10,000 on the volt getting 187 MPG*

*Not really

but it is cool that after all that mileage, the thing still has 85% of the oil life left. 

On to the Vdub. 

I received my new fitting and I was way off on price, it cost 2 dollars. 

Also, the oil passage is way smaller so I threw it on the lathe and drilled it out to the larger size. 

Much better. While I was working on it though, I had a change of heart and decided to delete the EGR system after all. 

So I made two block off plates and added some adhesive heat shield to the intake manifold as well. 

Now, on to the reason why I feel like my deadline is getting farther away instead of closer. 

Nearly all of the painting I did after the floor pan repair is pealing off. I guess I needed to learn that POR-15 is some thing you use instead of doing right, not because you are. 

Oh well, I got most all of the old paint off and bought more primer and paint today. While I am under there, I'm filling holes left behind by the trim clips since it will be easier to weld them up with the truck on it's side. 

These are all along the side, just above the rocker panels, which I will now be painting  black. 

And finally, onto the one rust spot I've been avoiding this whole time...

It must have gotten a bad scratch early in life for this much rust to pop up. But luckily, the inside isn't too bad. There is some rust at the corner by the fender flare but the weep holes seem to have stayed open and saved the day. 

Time to cut!

And a quick look inside...

Hopefully I can wrap this up quick.



BirgerBuilder Reader
8/14/18 2:13 p.m.

Not a lot got done this weekend, mostly because my wife finished up her build and we had to go to Pittsburg to show it off. 

But I managed to get a few hours of work squeezed in. 

I got the seam sealer and primer down under the rockers and inside the rear quarter.

And got a patch panel made up. 

Got it tacked in and noticed that the bottom doesn't line up perfectly. Well... if I was gonna put a fancy paint job down, I'd probably fix that. 

Welded it up anyway, the panel warped a little bit anyway and the whole left side doesn't line up perfectly, It's not so bad that an acceptable layer of bondo won't cover it. 

Finished in Primer, This picture makes the side look better than it is and the top look way worse, either way, this is an easy to get-to-spot that can be fixed/ touched up later. 

I also painted the rocker panels in bed-liner, hopefully that will cover up some imperfections and prevent future rock chips.  No pics today...

Ok, I'm gonna start putting it back together, for real, I promise.


Mezzanine Dork
8/14/18 2:18 p.m.

Nice work on the patch - not perfect is just perfect when you're not building a perfect show car. I bet with some filler you'll be able to flatten that whole panel nicely.

I'm not up to speed on my cosplay...who is your wife dressed as? It's an impressive costume!

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/14/18 6:23 p.m.

It's Fury, I think. From Darksiders 3, a new video game that comes out this fall. 

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/17/18 3:05 p.m.

A few hours here and there and stuff is getting done. 

Rocker panels finished up with some bed liner. 

I also decided that should run brake lines while they are easy to get to. Two problems there, I don't have enough brake line and these parts. 

There is supposed to be a clip of some kind holding these together, I don't know what that looks like or where it is so I knocked one out of stainless. 

Quick and dirty, done.

I routed the one side of the brake line to convince myself progress is happening. 

And since I was out of supplies, Bondo. 

Didn't I say I was done doing body work for now? 

BirgerBuilder Reader
8/21/18 7:58 p.m.

I got the second brake line in the mail and installed it. 

After that, I decided it was time to put it all back together. I had time on Sunday so I set up a time lapse and got to work.


For some reason, the embed video isn't working for me today... I might keep troubleshooting. 

Anyway, I got up to the point where I needed to attach the brake lines to the  master and I couldn't find my tubing cutter to save my life. Finally found it and I couldn't find a basic diagram of how the Brake lines go. Well, I finally found the cutter, said Eff it and hooked em up without any proportioning valve. I can fix it if it's a problem, later. 

Here is my 'vice' set up to hold the flaring tool. 

The 98 jettas, which I have the manual for, have a type of release valve at the rear of the car. If I'm constantly locking up the rears I could source that or just get a universal proportioning valve. 

So, now that it's all installed, I can bleed the brakes and see if they work, right? 

Nope. I had forgotten that I lost a bleeder screw along the way and have no way to pressurize the system. Would have been nice to know before I spilled all of the fluid out of the rear drum on one side. 

But none of that matters! Why? Because the engine is in, for the last time! And as a bonus, I didn't even scratch the paint with the engine mounts!



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