Monday, May 28, 2012

Made it to Vintage this time

The wife and I loaded up the 1600 and made the 335-mile trip down to Winston-Salem, NC for Vintage. With the exception of one quick stop to readjust the electric fan temp switch, the drive was thankfully uneventful. Here are the stats:

Distance From Home to the Event: 335 Miles
Fuel Economy: 33 MPG
Average Moving Speed: 56.8 MPH
Maximum Speed: 84.4 MPH

While at the event, I took almost no pictures, except for a a few documentary pictures of a pristine `67 1600 that had all of 11,000 miles on the odometer, which reminded me of all the original `67 parts that I need to find.

On the way back, we took a short (four hour) detour to Tennessee to pick up some furniture that used to belong to my wife's great-grandmother. The day involved about nine hours of driving, but it took us through the Blue Ridge Mountains and across North Carolina, a bit of Tennessee, most of Virginia and back to Maryland.

Then, we picked up a vintage rocking chair and a 1910 Singer sewing machine. For the record, a rocking chair on your roof will significantly decrease fuel mileage.

With the fan switch adjusted properly, the temperature held at a nice, steady and safe point.

This, of course, makes her a happy car.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Running Again! (and much smoother this time)

A few days ago, after finishing the wiring, I started up the car. I was hopeful of the performance of the new injectors, but was immediately let down. the M42 stumbled and refused to hold an idle. After a few inquiries to the right sources, I set about testing sensors and checking the function of various parts. At Jake's suggestion, Jay and I wired up the M42's check engine light and did a "stomp test". This is a simple procedure that involves stomping the throttle five times with the key in the "On" ("FAHRT" on the ignition) position. The M42's ECU will then begin to blink in sequence to give you a set of fault codes. The single code that we received pointed us in the direction of either an air-flow meter (AFM) failure or a vacuum leak.

Here is the Check Engine Light that we wired up. I have to say; having my car tell me what is wrong with it is a new thing to me.

We tested the AFM to find no problem with instructions from the guys on

Once that was done, we began searching for a vacuum leak after I hurriedly ordered new manifold gaskets. A little carb cleaner found the leak on the #3 intake runner. Once removed, Jay found this gnarl on the mating surface.

I can only assume that the manifold was dropped at some point in it's life. The possibility that this has always been a leak point makes a lot of sense about how the car has acted in the year since I've had this engine.

Jay carefully filed the lump smooth and we resinstalled everything with new gaskets.

Dudley and I bolted everything back together, torquing the intake to about 20 ft-lbs. She started right up and settled into a nice idle of about 800rpm.

Also, I made a plug to go where the heater box used to be. I'll be adding a modern HVAC system to the car later, which won't need this giant hole in the firewall.

Note the piece that was ground away to fit the glove box.

I used some closed-cell foam as a gasket between it and the body and I used a little RTV to seal things up on the inside.

Dudley and I took the car out for a test drive and she runs smoooothly. So, I'm almost ready for the roadtrip to Vintage.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Front Swaybar, Wiring Finished, Wipers On and Other Small Details

Progress has been made on a number of fronts. I finished up all but a few details in the wiring, installed the new front swaybar, installed the muffler, made some improvements to the emergency brake cable setup, put the interior back together and took it for a test drive; all with help in no small part from Dudley.

First, the emergency brake cable adapters:

I started with a spare spacer from the inner control arm joint.

Then I cut it into three pieces.

Then I ground them down to 31mm each. Since I needed a total of 35mm of spacing, I planned on using 4mm thick washers that had an ID that was close to the brake cable boss. 

Now the emergency brake engages with 4-5 clicks of the handle.

Next, I installed the 22mm swaybar:

See the difference? I bought new 22mm swaybar bushings from, though Ireland Engineering sells them as well.

Then I got to the wiring.

The 1600 harness didn't have a single relay, so I added five of them. 

I also wired up the tach adapter and adjusted the wipers. 

Dudley and I threw the interior back together and I wired up the gauge cluster.

After realizing that the dome light wiring should have been done before the headliner was installed, I decided on an alternate course. I mounted two small LED lights in each footwell. I'll likely add more later, but I like this look so far.

The muffler got a coat of high-temp paint, but no tip. I like the stock, lower volume exhaust, if I could just get the engine to idle properly......more on that later.

I still can't stop looking at the rear discs.

There are still a few things to get done before Vintage, most importantly getting the M42 back to a smooth idle.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Fuel Injectors

When I installed the M42 last year, I refreshed all of the intake seals and took care of the mess under the intake. One thing that didn't make the budget (other than a water pump....argh) was the fuel injectors. So, after a little research and some lengthy thread-sorting at, I bought some reconditioned Bosch 0280155710 injectors, which were OEM for a Ford mustang of indeterminate year. They're match the stock M42 injectors in output, dimensions and plug type, but have a much better spray pattern. They require a 1/2 washer around their base to mount, but no one will see that.

Here you can see the extent to which one must go to remove and replace fuel injectors in an M42. You have to remove the upper and lower manifolds, electrical connection to the fuel rail, a few vacuum lines and fuel lines.

Then you can remove all of the clips and remove the old injectors. Guess which ones are the new injectors.

I had to remove the O-ring at the spraying end of each injector to fit the washer over them.

Then, I installed them in the fuel rail and mounted the apparatus on the lower intake manifold.

.....and installed that assembly on the head.

Once I got everything bolted back together, it was clear just how hidden the new injectors are.

I also installed my salvage yard-find 19mm rear swaybar. I modified the end links that I had (yes, still rubber bushings for now) with spherical joints from I have the matching 22mm swaybar for the front, but I haven't gotten to it yet.

I'm still staring at those disk brakes, though......

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Rear Disc Brakes

I have a confession: I am terrible at adjusting brake drums. No matter how many times I try, I always seem to end up with dragging brake shoes or non-functional brakes. In the blue-moon chance that I get a brake drum adjusted properly on my car, it's a sure bet that I won't be able to repeat that on the other side.

There. I'm glad to have gotten that off of my chest. Phew.

So, in order to circumvent my Krypton-like resistance to brake drums, I took the entirely rational step of replacing them with an over-engineered technological upgrade: disc brakes.

The parts collection includes the following:

Discs from the front of a Mk1 VW Jetta/Golf
Carrier brackets from the rear of a Mk3 VW Jetta/Golf
Calipers from the rear of a Mk4 VW Jetta/Golf
Pagid brake pads for VW Mk4 Jetta/Golf rear brakes
Rear brake lines from a VW Mk4 Jetta/Golf
Brackets from Jake (
6X M10 X 1.5 X 20mm Allen Socket Cap Screws
2X M10 X 1.5 X 20mm Flat (Countersunk) Allen Screws
4X M10 X 1.25 X 20mm Allen Socket Cap Screws
4X M10 X 2mm thick washers

I also had the wheel hubs turned down by Tom at to fit inside the new discs.

First, I bolted the brackets to the trailing arm. You have to grind out a piece of the shock boss support to get the bolt in, and you'll likely do a better-looking job than I did.

The bolts are the 1.5 pitch allen heads and the flat-headed countersunk bolt.

I used a regular-head bolt for the bottom mount because the hardware store only had two of the fine-thread (1.25) M10 allen head bolts. It would have looked a lot cooler with matching bolts, for everyone that climbs under my car. Looks like I'll be waiting another year for that Ridler.

Also, here's a fun fact: You'll need 15" wheels to fit over these brakes. So, if you have a set of 14" E30 Steel wheels, you'll need to do a little clearance grinding on the calipers. Have fun with that.

Here you can see the few millimeters of clearance between the wheel and the caliper.

When you bolt it all together, put the 2mm thick M10 washers between the bracket and the carrier.

A note about the carriers:

When researching this conversion, I kept coming across the requirement for Mk2 Jetta/Golf carriers. Since I bought the discs, calipers and carriers from a single person that had collected them from the salvage yard, I had no way of verifying the donor car parts source. So, I ventured to the salvage yards to verify, but I found that I could rarely find a Mk2 Jetta or Golf. The few that I did find had drums in the rear, so I was confounded.

Then I pulled a rusty carrier from the rear of the much more common Mk3 Jettas and Golfs. The Mk3 carrier was identical to the supposed Mk2 carrier that I bought. This mean one of two things: either the original parts requirement is for Mk3 carriers and not Mk2 carriers, or the Mk2 and Mk3 carriers are identical. Either way, you can safely assume that Mk3 carriers will work.

For the brake lines, you'll get them looking like this:

Bend them until they look like this:

The advantage to using these lines is two-fold. They replace the hardline that goes along the trailing arm, eliminating one connection (read: leak opportunity) and they have a banjo bolt connection to the caliper, which is a lot easier to thread into the caliper than a hardline. 

Sidenote about the Pagid brake pads: The used calipers came with used pads that had these little shims to keep the pads in place. The Pagid pads did not come with the shims and actually didn't need them. It's a detail, but I can imagine someone getting confused about trying in vain to shove pads in with these shims in place. If you were actually able to do so, the pads would never move.

I used stock emergency brake cables. They work fine, but as I discovered, need 30-35mm of spacing to work properly. I had to improvise with a few spare m10 and m12 nuts. Maybe I'll remove and paint them later, you know, to stay in contention for that Ridler Award.

So, after bleeding them (without having to remove the caliper - woohoo) and adjusting the emergency brakes, I've got self-adjusting, way-overengineered brakes. Now that I have the ability to stop, on to obtaining the ability to go.

UPDATE: Those spacer-nuts are hideous. I have since made a proper spacer that does the job as looks much better. See here:

One more note: The discs have a countersunk hole for a flat-head allen bolt to hold the disc in place when the wheel is off. Since the disc is now mounted on a turned-down BMW hub, there is no threaded hole. However, I might drill and tap this hole just to regain the intended though unnecessary feature.