Tuesday, May 31, 2016


 Once in a while you run into something amazingly stupid. Take this BOSCH window lift motor for example. It is out of a 1990 V W Vanagon. This thing is about an inch and a half [more or less] square and about 5 inches long.   It looks pretty nasty, and that is after I did some cleaning on it.
 This is the flip side. Even nastier on this side.  But wait...it gets better...
 Well, maybe not actually better...inside, it looked like it had spent a good bit of time at the bottom of Lake Yuk! In fact it took about an hour to convince the brush holder [in my hand] to even come out of the motor body. That brush holder, by the way, has to carry the brushes, the brush holders, the pressure springs, and a set of starter coils.  There is so little room in that brush holder that the brushes have to be of STARTER BRUSH material, because they are so short. Carbon brushes would wear out in weeks, apparently...      Just try to buy starter brushes these days, particularly TINY little shits that could be used in this sucker!
 The armataure is supposed to be shiny and bright....not Lake Yuk black. See, the
V W people, in their infinite wisdom, placed the motor in the door of the Vanagon so rainwater runs right onto--and into--the motor. When I took it apart I got at least three tablespoons full of water out of it.  Good stuff, eh?  Yeah, results of grand engineering...  
Well, I DID finally find some starter brushes that I could cut down and I DID figure out how to install them in this sucker.  This is the reconditioned motor--looking better than new and ready to go back into that superbly engineered VW Vanagon door.  A door that now has a custom made water deflector over the window lift motor. Great stuff, re-engineering what the engineers should have done right in the first place.

Thursday, May 5, 2016


 This is the flip side of a Saab Monte Carlo instrument module, in all its beat up glory. Rust, corrosion, hard handling, and 50 years time have taken their toll.   AK!
 Here is the front of the plastic instrument mounting panel. It was pretty boogered up. You can't see all the cracks and gouges in the panel, in this photo, but they were there.
 The panel had six mounting bolts cast into it--this is the back side--and five of them were ripped out. The panel was also warped and was cracked in about a dozen places. 
 J B Kwikweld to the rescue! A local hardware store was the source for the 4mm x .7mm bolts, as well as the brass pipe I used to provide the centering sleeves for each of the bolts. There were a number of places where I used the JB to straighten the panel by routing out a long groove, laying in the JB, then holding the panel flat as that brand of killer epoxy cured for 24 hours. 
 The front of the panel had eight or ten places where there were a lot of little side by side cracks.  I ground out each tiny crack with a Dremmel tool, then filled it in with auto body filler and sanded it smooth. This sand-fill-sand-fill-sand process went on for a couple of days.... Then it was time to prime-sand-prime for a while, and finally give it three coats of color.  Pretty good, huh?
 Each of the instruments were reconditioned. Here is the full set, ready to install in the car.
And here are the four major instruments sitting in the repaired and repainted mounting panel. All the warning lights--not shown in this photo--were also reconditioned--they were just as grubby as the rest of the module [see photo one--above].  The owner could have just whacked out a panel out of aluminum and screwed it to the instrument panel of his Saab 96, but chose to have me do the job right...and you can see the results. Reminds me of a sign I saw one time on the shop of an old time welder/blacksmith:  "I can mend anything but a broken heart."