Sunday, February 19, 2017

Before I continue, new tools!  Jimmy bought me a pair of Merry connector pliers, I picked up a 6" fine cut round file, and I bought a few more cheapo die grinders from Harbor Freight.  I also bought two more clamps, because you can never have enough clamps.


When I left off, I had been smoothing my rear brake caliper carriers.

After sanding all of the faces to 80 grit, I marked it up with bluing to file consistent fillets all around the part.






After the edges were filed, I sand blasted the calipers to get a consistent finish before moving to higher grits.  This was also my chance to remove any rust I had discovered, especially on the surfaces that won't be powdercoated (contact surfaces).



After blasting, I blued them up again to make sure I don't miss any spots with 150 grit or polishing.


After a bit more sanding, I'm considering them finished.  This is finished with 150 grit and then scotch brite.

This surface finish isn't really required, and will actually be sandblasted again before powdercoat, but going to this level of polish is important to make sure the lines and reflections will look right after coating.  I could have stopped at 80 grit, but there would be some uncertainty that the parts would show flaws.






Since these are now bare steel, I coated them with Gibbs oil to prevent rust until they're ready for coating.


I think every grinding and filing implement I own was used in this project.
(Note: that's not true I have at least triple this)

Up next: Girling 60 dual piston front calipers.  These are also steel, as are the carriers, and they're not quite as nice as the VW / Lucas rears.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

For the last few weeks, I have been preparing my brake calipers for powdercoat.

When I left off, I had just started to sand one of the rear calipers. These are cast aluminum, which sands quite easily by hand with some help from power tools occasionally.


In addition to sanding out the texture left from the casting process, I'm attempting to get all of the main surfaces straight and symmetric.

I noticed this bump on the back side of the calipers.  It wasn't used for anything, so I'm cutting it off!

Before and after.

The caliper on the left is finished to 80 grit, and the one on the right is still in process here.  I'm using bluing to help see the edges so I can tell if it will look straight after powdercoat.

After I was satisfied with all of the flat surfaces, I painted them up again to sand the fillets.

Two calipers in 80 grit.

After 80 grit, I blued them up again in preparation for 150 grit.  The bluing seeps into the sanding scratches, I'm effectively using it as guide coat here.

Finished!  These are both of the rear calipers finished in 150 grit and Scotch-Brite.

The rear caliper carriers and front calipers are all steel, so I will be using more power tools.  I spent some time organizing my abrasives for quick access.


Next I will be working on the rear caliper carriers.  These are cast steel so they don't sand as easily.

I made this fixture to help hold it in the vise during polishing.  It's not a regular shape, so I can bolt it to this fixture instead of trying to clamp on the surfaces I'm polishing.


After a considerable amount of sanding, filing, and more sanding, I've made a bit of progress!  The letters are recessed on these, so they may have to stay, unless I think I can get away with wet paint and putty on the carriers.  I may also be able to powdercoat once, sand them flat, then add a second coat of powder.


In non-VW news, I spent a few hours sharpening and adding to a drill bit set I inherited from my Grandpa last year when he passed away.  I also inherited his Drill Doctor, which works great!  I filled out and sharpened his 29 piece set (1/16"-1/2" by 64ths).

I also stumbled into this on Instagram.  Somebody lifted a picture of my toolbox from the internet and made a meme from it haha.  Pro tip: no wife = more tools.
Last week also brought some excitement as Woody Sr. hauled home his freshly completed '64 Chevy pickup.  He started the build himself last year, and had it finished by 89 Speed Shop in North Carolina.  They did an amazing job!

Crate LS3, Delmo tubs, all new chrome, fresh satin black.  No big deal.

Accuair, Selfmade rear tubs, fresh wood, mostly real but some fake patina.

Custom AF.

He unveiled the truck at the World of Wheels custom car show in Pittsburgh.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Now that the metal work is done on my control arms, I decided to work on some other suspension parts.  I am disassembling the brake calipers so I can strip the original paint, smooth out the castings, and have them powdercoated satin black.

In the front I'm running an 11" rotor upgrade with Girling 60 calipers, and in the rear I'm using 10.1" vented MK3 front rotors (on a MK3 front spindle) with VW MK4 GLI/20th/337 rear calipers and a modified carrier.


The fronts came apart easily, I just blew out the pistons with compressed air.  They were brand new, so nothing was worn or rusted.

The rears were a bit more difficult.  After twisting the piston out, I had to remove the internal parking brake mechanism.

This required a new tool!  Not many companies make these, and I couldn't find the Hazet version in stock, so I settled for these Motion Pro extra long retaining ring pliers to remove the retaining ring down at the bottom of the parking brake mechanism.


Unfortunately I didn't get any pictures of the disassembly, my hands were covered in brake fluid and it required my full attention to get them apart without ruining anything.

I also had to remove the seals at the rear of the caliper, thankfully they came out without tearing because I'm not sure these are easy to get.


Next I had to remove this bronze bushing that guides the parking brake actuator rod.

I fired up the lathe and made this removal tool.

I set it up in the press...

... and it popped right out!

Now the caliper are completely stripped to bare metal so I don't have to worry about ruining anything inside during the next steps.




Next step: remove all the original paint. I think these were powder coated red, it didn't come off very easily even with multiple rounds of Aircraft Remover.



I started by removing some of the raised casting marks, including the "Lucas" and "VW / Audi" symbols.

I'm using bluing to see where each curve ends, there are a lot of complex shapes in these caliper castings and I'm trying to make everything as smooth, uniform, and symmetric as possible before powdercoat.

I still have a lot of work left, but I've made good progress recently!

In other garage news, I stopped to check out my Uncle Rich's garage over the holidays.  He's just about ready to start laying tubing for the floor heat, then it's time to pour the slab!

I helped him choose a spot and make a sketch for the location of his 2-post lift.