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Well, this weekend was a bit of a “catch up on projects” kind of weekend.

I started by taking Megan’s 1974 Super beetle in for an oil change and tune up at M&M auto repair, about the only place around here that will work on an old bug. It was such a flash back to my childhood when Manuel, the bug guy, started tweaking and tuning the carb, timing, rpms, etc, all by ear. He’d give the throttle a quick tug, listen to how the engine responded, twist this, turn that, do it again, then rev up the engine slowly, tweak this, turn that, repeat a dozen times until satisfied. (-:

While I waited for them to finish on the bug I wandered over to home depot and picked up a programmable thermostat for the house. Our mid 60’s furnace leaves a lot to be desired. Here’s the old thermostat with a big old blob of mercury used as a switch.

From Projects

After the oil change and tune up I took Wally home and redid the front brakes because they kept squealing when cold, very annoying.

From Wally the Superbeetle

I put in new shoes and all new brake hardware.

From Wally the Superbeetle

I’m not real happy with the new brakes, they’re a bit mushy, but they don’t squeal and as things settle in and I continue to adjust hopefully the mushy feel will get better.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I broke a 1/2 inch craftsman ratchet. I haven’t tried to get it replaced yet, but here’s what I broke. I put my Blackberry phone in the picture as a reference to scale.

From Wally the Superbeetle

So, after working on the bug, replacing the thermostat, and some other odds and ends I decided to start work on the front window cover for the trailer. This is what that looks like so far. Still need to work on the arms holding it up and a lock down mechanism, but it’s getting there.  I’m trying to decide if I want to leave it silver or maybe paint it. Not sure yet.

From Projects

Well, I tried to do the rear brakes on Megan’s superbeetle yesterday. The brakes stop good, but the bloody things squeak and squeal when cold. It’s irritating as all get out. I disassembled the front brakes and cleaned everything a while ago, but I couldn’t do the backs because I couldn’t get the castle nut off the rear hub.

It turns out that castle nut that holds the rear drum on is torqued down to 217 foot pounds. It’s not coming off easily. Rob and Dave’s VW page has a nice article on doing the rear brakes of a Super Beetle. In fact I use their pages for reference quite a bit.

Anyhow, I purchased a 1 7/16 socket. Grabbed a 1/2 Craftsman ratchet from my friend Chuck, acquired a 4 ft cheater bar from some scrap metal at work, and went to town on the brakes starting on the driver’s side. The first thing I did was get a Sharpie pen and mark the holes on the bolt and hub where the cotter pin went through. Then I attached the socket, ratchet, and 4 foot breaker bar, also known as a cheater bar. Easy peasy. Castle nut spun right off. Brakes were good. Gave the drum and pads a quick scoring with some sand paper, cleaned everything with brake cleaner and reassembled. Woot! This is easy.

Except when I tried to do the passenger side something went horribly wrong. I attached the socket, ratchet and breaker bar, started putting pressure on the bar to break the castle nut loose when, CRACK! Slam! Breaker bar, socket, and ratchet all hit the ground. Huh? Must have come off the nut. Strange. Tried again with the same result. Sadly it turns out I snapped the inner workings of the ratchet. It appears to work, until you put heavy torque on it then it just snaps free. I actually took the ratchet apart and you can see the stripped teeth inside. 😦 As the girls would say, Sad Panda!

So, at least it’s a Craftsman ratchet with a lifetime warranty. Time to find out if that’s true in reality or not.  We don’t have any Sears stores close, closest is in Salinas, but we do have Orchard Supply stores which sell Craftsman tools. I’ll be taking the ratchet over there today and see if I can exchange it.

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