Convertible D 86007

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DaveErickson
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Convertible D 86007

#1 Post by DaveErickson » Fri Sep 10, 2021 12:07 am

Convertible D 86007 was purchased on BAT from Mohr Imports in Monterey 8/13/21. It looked like it had the potential to be a good driver, which is what I wanted.

This won't be a concours restoration, but the intent is to make it mechanically excellent and keep it on the road.

I have had it home about 3 weeks now. Mechanically, it clearly needed brakes and engine work. It also needed a top. The rear brakes are done, and disc brakes were purchased from Zim's for the front. The top frame went off to Augustine today.

The front brakes came off today and there was clearly some play in the king pins and link pins so the spindles came off as well. Good thing - the bottom right front link pin fell out while the spindle was being removed. The right outer tie rod was loose as well, no need for a puller once the nut was removed. I had to remove the upper trailing arm on the right side to get the spindle out. It turns out that the trailing arms were not parallel - the upper arm was angled down about 5-10 degrees from where it should be. It is hard to see from the photo below, but the pins in the c-link did not line up with the arm, had to push the upper arm up to get them to line up. No idea how long it had been like that. Not sure what is going on yet, will pull the torsion bar tomorrow, suspect some broken leaves.
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New link pin and king pin kits are on the way from Wolfsburg West and tie rods and sway bar bushings are on the way from Sierra Madre. The car has relatively new Konis all around, so it makes no sense that the right front suspension was in such poor condition.
Last edited by DaveErickson on Tue Oct 05, 2021 4:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Jules Dielen
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#2 Post by Jules Dielen » Fri Sep 10, 2021 2:38 pm

what a cool project, Dave. You bought it very well, plenty financial room for some upgrades.
Jules

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DaveErickson
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#3 Post by DaveErickson » Fri Sep 10, 2021 11:05 pm

Thanks Jules. My thoughts exactly. I plan to fix it one thing at a time and keep it on the road. It should also get me back to work on the 64 SC. Who knows, I might even make it to a WCH for the first time in a long while.

The trailing arm problem turned out to be adjustment. The upper was 5 degrees low, which is two full turns of the adjusting nut.

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#4 Post by Harlan Halsey » Sat Sep 11, 2021 4:31 am

Hello Dave,
Welcome to the Convertible D, the best of the open 356s. I have 85519, purchased in 1969 and restored it over the years while running it in the MHAR.
When you redo the king pin assembly, here are a couple of suggestions: C links can fail, have them Magnafluxed. Same for A spindles if you still have them. The new KP bushings will need sizing. The VW reamer works, but lately we have been line honing for a little better fit. The VW link pin bushings are steel, and they do work, but Porsche used bronze. Save the Porsche link pin washers and reshape the keys if necessary, the VW ones are different. Set up the KP to C link so tight that you can barely move it by hand. If you need help with this PM me and I can recommend someone in the Bay Area who can do this job well. I also know some who can't.
As for "financial room" I've always been under water on my restorations until long, long, after. When I finished restoring my Convertible D in 1974 I had about $4,000 in it not counting my labor. Its market worth was about $3,500. The numbers change, but they're all like that. I hope most of us play with 356s for fun, rather than profit.

DaveErickson
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#5 Post by DaveErickson » Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:48 am

Harlan, thanks for your input.

My first 356 was a 57A, purchased for $300 in 1970, when I was a college student at Berkeley, without the funds to do anything except work I could do myself. I have always wanted a Conv. D, but it took 50 years to find one I could afford and have the time to put it right.

I do have a Sunnen hone, but I don't think it is the right tool for this operation. The difference between a honed finish and a reamed finish is in surface quality, not fit. Both tools can give you the same fit, but a hone will have better surface quality (there is a sub micron difference in surface quality between the two). Honing has the disadvantage that it cannot correct any slight misalignments in the two king pin bushings, so the hole would need to be precision bored or reamed prior to honing. So assuming I wanted a honed finish, it would be a two step job. The advantage of that finish is vanishingly small because of the way the spindle bearings wear. My guess is that after a few hundred miles, the bushings would have enough wear that the surface quality of the two methods would be the same.

I have always used the VW steel bushings on 356. My experience is that steel bushings will last a long time. I don't have any evidence that they would wear faster. Lack of lubrication is the biggest cause of problems with the front spindle.

Regarding the finances, my object is to get the car on the road and enjoy it, and not be worried about the cost to do what it takes to make it perform like a 356 should perform.

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#6 Post by Harlan Halsey » Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:51 am

Dave,
This is not the place to go into detail about machining, but of course we ream first. The purpose of the honed finish, using long stones is to hone both bushings at the same time, correcting minor misalignment, and allowing a closer fit. But, this 2 step process isn't necessary, obviously, we just did it because we could. And the steel VW link pin bushings, work too. They may be a little more critical about lubrication being a high pressure steel on steel bearing, which is probably the reason Porsche didn't specify them. BTW, the C links sometimes bend too, and our first step is realigning them. (Actually the first step is polishing the crack area and Maging them.) Good Luck with your project.
It seems that a number of us started out with an imbalance between funds and time. In retrospect, without that that lack of funds, I wouldn't have learned the things I needed to learn about cars. No substitute for the Cast Iron College of experience.

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Joris Koning
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#7 Post by Joris Koning » Sun Sep 12, 2021 4:24 am

Hi Harlan, As a very novice machinist I like the machining content. For my understanding, how does the solid reamer introduce slight misalignment? I know a Sunnen hone is still on my wishlist next to a surface grinder but hard to find on this side of the ocean
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DaveErickson
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#8 Post by DaveErickson » Sun Sep 12, 2021 1:32 pm

Harlan Halsey wrote:
Sun Sep 12, 2021 3:51 am
Dave,
This is not the place to go into detail about machining, but of course we ream first. The purpose of the honed finish, using long stones is to hone both bushings at the same time, correcting minor misalignment, and allowing a closer fit. But, this 2 step process isn't necessary, obviously, we just did it because we could. And the steel VW link pin bushings, work too. They may be a little more critical about lubrication being a high pressure steel on steel bearing, which is probably the reason Porsche didn't specify them. BTW, the C links sometimes bend too, and our first step is realigning them. (Actually the first step is polishing the crack area and Maging them.) Good Luck with your project.
It seems that a number of us started out with an imbalance between funds and time. In retrospect, without that that lack of funds, I wouldn't have learned the things I needed to learn about cars. No substitute for the Cast Iron College of experience.
Harlan, as long as you ream first, you are ok. Just keep in mind that you cannot correct misalignment by honing, and you cannot get a better fit by honing, only a better surface finish.

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Harlan Halsey
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#9 Post by Harlan Halsey » Mon Sep 13, 2021 3:17 am

Dave,
It seems we disagree.

DaveErickson
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#10 Post by DaveErickson » Mon Oct 04, 2021 6:55 pm

I'm pretty much finished with the front end mechanicals. The drivers side lower swing arm and the C-link were both bent, so a replacement c-link and swing arm were procured, and new king pin and link pin bushings and pins were installed on both sides. I haven't worked on alignment, but the parts went together easily so I am optimistic. Also new tie rod ends and a new dual cylinder master cylinder were installed from Zim's, and front disc brakes from Zim's will soon be installed. I have a 67 vw bus master cylinder reservoir on order from Wagen Works, but they are exceptionally slow to ship right now, still waiting after two weeks.

Currently I am working on the battery box floor. Here are some pictures to show where I am starting:
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The floor has been raised about ¾" from using the battery box floor as a jacking point. Maybe the car was raced, either that or maybe the last owner (body shop storage warehouse) use a forklift to move the car around. Anyway that needs to be pounded back out and the rust needs to be investigated. At the least I will need to remove the strengthening bracket and the tow hook and weld in some repair metal.

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Re: Convertible D 86007

#11 Post by DaveErickson » Mon Oct 04, 2021 7:30 pm

Here are some pictures of what it looks like after some rough shaping using an air hammer and using an air chisel to remove the tar. There are some tears in the metal to weld and it looks like I will need to weld in a piece of floor. The repair panel that Stoddard's sells does not look the same as the floor in my Conv. D, I wonder if that is because of a design change in 1959 or if the Conv. D used a specific part different from the rest of the 356A's. Notice how the relief area on each side of the floor has a different shape (it is longer) than the floor that Stoddard sells.
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Stoddard's replacement floor:
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DaveErickson
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#12 Post by DaveErickson » Mon Oct 04, 2021 9:22 pm

The tow hook uses a reinforcing plate for the rear rivets as well as the front, which you can see in the photos above. Also, both reinforcing plates are spot-welded to the floor. Is that always the case on a 356A? I did not find the reinforcing plate for the rear rivets at NLA, but it will be easy to make.

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Mark Cohn
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Re: Convertible D 86007

#13 Post by Mark Cohn » Fri Oct 08, 2021 11:29 am

Dave, great project. I was watching the auction on BAT! Great car! I would check other vendors to see if they have a reproduction that more faithfully matches yours. Another option is to just patch the existing BB floor. It is tedious and time consuming but butt welding in patches isn’t so tough and it would preserve some of the nuances on your floor that we obsessive types find so interesting. If I were closer to my car I would take some pictures of the BB floor to compare. My Convertible D is in similar (but slightly worse) condition with all original sheet metal.

And by the way, I love your plans for the car! Thanks for sharing your progress.

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Re: Convertible D 86007

#14 Post by DaveErickson » Fri Oct 08, 2021 9:02 pm

Mark, thank you for your suggestions. I thought about patching the floor, but there is rust below the reinforcements that is not easy to get to. I tried drilling the tow bar rivets and reinforcing plate spot welds, but the spot welds were hard to locate precisely and there were several. Maybe if the battery box had been media blasted or vapor blasted first it would make the spot welds more visible.

Anyway I decided it would be easier to cut out the tow hook and bottom area, and I will butt weld the patch in on the sides and do the spot welds on the overlaps like the factory seams.

I have been inspired by Tom Perazzo’s posts and techniques and hope I can do something similar. I have tig welded for years, but not a lot of thin sheet metal, so there will be a learning curve. The last time I replaced a battery box floor was in the SC 25 years ago, and I torch welded it.

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Re: Convertible D 86007

#15 Post by DaveErickson » Sat Oct 23, 2021 9:39 pm

Here are some pictures of the new battery box floor in position for welding. I’m having problems getting low amperage to be consistent on my TIG welder. I’ve owned the TIG welder 25 years and it was used when I got it. It is a Miller Syncrowave 250, and while it still works fine at 50-150 amps, it is not controlling well at 10-15 amps. So a new Miller welder is on order, I will pick it up Monday.
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Since the Stoddard battery box floor does not match the floor in the car, I cut it short so as to retain the existing stamping.

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