Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Thinking while Dinking

I unexpectedly had Sunday available to putter on the bus.  Boo was supposed to work, but suddenly didn't have a shift.  So, after a visit to the gym (I really need to do that more), I opened the garage door, turned on some tunes and pondered the bus.  Sometimes, you need to just be with your project to have an epiphany.  I had a flash of brilliance that (hopefully) could solve the wet-weather challenges for good.

Cutting Cards
I decided that a free afternoon shouldn't count in my build versus buy math since the afternoon was free.  So, I pulled out the Dremel and cut another door card.  Okay, back up.  First, I took the first door card I did and started trying to hang it on the passenger door.  I found little things that needed to get adjusted.  The grab handle holes weren't big enough.  Then the inner latch surround thing didn't fit.  Last, I realized that the holes for the door clips weren't there.  That was kinda fun, actually.  I took the ratty old door card and laid it on top of the new one.  I set those on top of a fresh piece of MDF.  Once lined up, I grabbed my drill with a 3/8" bit and bored straight through the door clip holes in the ratty door card into the new one and the MDF underneath.  Perfect.  I pulled the ratty card off the stack and traced the other holes and around the edge.  30 minutes with the Dremel later, I had a duplicate of the new card.

I still need to do a little sanding around the edges to make it a really nice fit.  The holes line up well and the grab handle, window winder and inner latch all mount correctly now.  Its just a little 100%-ing around the edges.

Hanging the Plastic Curtain
Originally, the early VW's had a "vapor barrier" between the door card and the steel door.  This was because no matter how good your seals were, water would seep inside the door, and could slowly rot the MDF/cardboard cards.  Most VW's have had these plastic sheets ripped out by stereo installers or confused mechanics, and their door cards have accordingly suffered.  I have tried a few different things over the years to get a plastic sheet to stay in place, but spray adhesives, contact cement and gorilla glue don't work.  Or they work too well.  Ultimately, I've just driven around without door cards while waiting for the answer to appear.  I found a posting on a website where a guy used that blue poster tack stuff (called BlueTac), and said it worked great.  I'll be trying it myself: a thin line of that sticky stuff all along the edge, taking care to avoid the door card mounting holes.  It occurred to me that this might be the solution I've been looking for with the belly pan too.

The belly pan, if you don't remember, is really a mechanical protection against rocks and such.  I've been trying to also use it as a splash-guard to keep the pedal electronics dry.  I'm going to try using the BlueTac solution with a sheet of plastic.  Figure, if I can protect a door card, I should be able to protect the electronics the same way: simple sheet of plastic held in-place with BlueTac.  I should also be able to cover the uppers, making the small sub-floor water-safe.  Neat.

That's it for today.  I bought some 3M-verson of BlueTac at Office Depot yesterday so I'll try the plastic thing this week.  Until then, here's another picture from the door card development effort.
3/8" drill bit fits perfectly in the mounting holes

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