Saturday, September 21, 2013

New addition to the family

A year or so ago Shelly called me into the lounge to show me a scene from a movie she was watching. It was the well known 80s teen movie 'Pretty in Pink.' The star of the film, Molly Ringwold, was driving a beaten up pink Volkswagen Karmann Ghia (an early low-light model no less!). She said, "that's the car I want." Deep down a little voice inside went "YES!" because I've always loved the Karmann Ghia.

I thought it would be fairly easy to find one, but I was very wrong. While there are quite a few for sale, finding one that hadn't been too molested (chopped, dropped, slammed or otherwise messed about) or met Shelly's stringent acceptance criteria was a challenge. We had a few false starts, offers that fell through, and other disappointments, but we've now purchased one. It needs a complete new paint job, but that's fine as Shelly wants a red car.

The car is in Melbourne and will be shipped over to Perth in the next fortnight.

Interior looks good.

1200cc engine

Floor looks okay. Not rusted out.

When finished it should look something like this -

Update - 27 September 2013
The car is on its way

Update 9 October 2013
The car has arrived!

I had the car dropped off at V-Dub Repairs and Spares for the mechanical once over.

Update 25 October 2013
The car is now home.  It's running a little rough and still needs quite a bit of work done to bring it up to scratch. Next week we'll take the car to K-Paz Painting for a full strip down and repaint.

Some links -

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Car and Bike Repairs


Oh dear!!

They put the warning "do not drive or operate heavy machinery" on drugs for a reason. For a couple of weeks in August was laid low with a dose of the flu. In fact, this winter the flu has taken me down three times. On one of my days, wallowing around in man-flu misery, I had to move the DKW out of the driveway and, in my stupor backed straight into the fence. Great!!! Actually I said something quite else. So, the baby had to go for some medical attention.

I took the car to Karson at K-Paz Spray Painting, who did a great job repairing the damage. The panel looks fantastic and he was able to match the paint perfectly.

While the car was in the shop I asked Karson to look at the front wing. When I bought the car there were two small bubbles in the paintwork, both about the size of a ten cent piece. The front bubble cracked open shortly after the car arrived allowing moisture to get in, causing the bubbles to run. By this time the two bubbles had become one long cracked bubble, almost a foot long. The panel was removed, stripped back and repainted. Fortunately there wasn't really any rust under the bubble.

The bubble as it originally was. It got much worse!

And is now gone!

I am very happy to recommend his work. He can be contacted here -

The Ariel
On New Year's Eve 2012 I took the Leader out for a bit of a thrash. It was a very, very hot day and I was doing about 70 mph, when the engine began to splutter and I could smell burning. I immediately slowed down and the engine settled down. Needless to say I was a little worried, but the Leader was continued to run without any ill effects for several months. Then, in February 2013, the Leader began to malfunction. It would suddenly splutter and stall after 15-20 minutes of riding. It would then start up again, but only run for a few minutes before stopping again. The longer the engine was rested, the longer it run.

At first I thought it was a petrol issue. I was already having a problem with the original petrol tap, which would progressively unwind when the engine was running. I replaced the tap with a modern pull/push tap.

I also replaced the petrol pipe, which was beginning to perish. The carburetor and air filter were also cleaned, but this not solve the problem.

Next checked the state of the petrol tank, which, despite never having been restored proved to be in clean as a whistle.

The electrics were next. I replaced the battery and the spark plugs, but the problem persisted.

So it wasn't fuel, air or spark and it was getting harder and harder to start. It was time to bite the bullet and look at the engine itself. A check of the compression didn't bode well - there was virtually none. I already had a set of Suzuki pistons so I dropped the bike over to the boys at The Vespa Shop for fitting.

I suspected the worst but they found that only one ring had blown, but surprisingly the barrels had not been damaged or scratched. Interestingly they discovered that one of the original pistons had been installed the wrong way around. No wonder occasionally the bike felt like it was running on one cylinder!

Unfortunately what should have been a simple process proved to be more complicated. The Suzuki rings are much thinner than the original Ariel rings and two sets broke when being installed, requiring re-orders from Draganfly in the UK.

The engine now runs substantially better than it used to, certainly displaying a bit more grunt.  Despite this after attempting a long 'running in' ride the engine still cut out after 20 minutes.  So, I have replaced the coils, which I've heard can cut out if overheated. I have taken it for a test drive since then and so far - touch wood - it hasn't cut out. Hopefully that's it - there certainly isn't much else to work on!