Tag Archives: Volkswagen

  • How to Plasti Dip Your Car - Dipping a Mk3 VW Golf


    There's a time, place, and vehicle for a proper show-winning paint job. What happens when you have the itch to customize your car or give it a better finish then it currently has, but don't have the ability, tools, time or cash for a traditional repaint. Recently automotive enthusiasts have found a reversible way to customize and change the color of their vehicle without damaging the paint. This craze is called "dipping your car". What's involved when you dip your car? Well basically it's a plastic coating that when sprayed heavy enough, can be peeled off of the surface without damaging the paint underneath. The key is to lay enough coats that you create a tough, flexible "skin" over the vehicle. Plasti-Dip and other plastic coatings were originally known for coating the handles of tools, benches, outdoor public furniture and other oddball uses until someone discovered that you can obtain the plastic coatings in gallons and spray it through a household paint sprayer.

    We wanted to experience this craze for ourselves and one of our loyal local Eastwood customers "Sean H." offered up his customized 1997 "Mk3" VW Golf as a subject for dipping. Sean has owned this VW Golf since high school and after 8 years of daily driving, pizza delivery, and just general abuse, the original black paint paint on this car has seen better days. Sean also was a little bored with driving a black car and wanted something drastically different. It's like one of those makeover shows where the guys wife is an ultra-conservative, boring dresser and the hosts make her look like an A-lister party-girl and the husband goes nuts. It's not necessarily better, just different and a welcomed change. Since Sean has some sentimental attachment to this car, he didn't want to sell her. This is just a temporary new look to rekindle the love affair with his little VW Golf.

    Sean decided he really did want to go with a drastic makeover and he decided on White Plasti-Dip as his final color. As you can imagine changing from black to white is going to take a LOT of material to completely hide the black. Just like a traditional paint job Sean decided to use a "Mid-Coat" to speed up the process and require less coats of white. He chose Gun Metal Gray Plasti-Dip to lay down first over the original black paint. Most every base Plasti-Dip is dead flat and has almost zero gloss. This look isn't for everyone, Sean included. He decided to top coat the white with Plasti-Dip Glossifier to give the white finish a bit of a gloss. Follow along below as we show you the basics to dipping your car.

    As you can see the paint on this VW Golf has seen better days and this car gets driven a lot. Sean began by pulling the car into the shop and giving it a thorough cleaning. He finished up by wiping the entire car down with glass cleaner and began taping off the glass, emblems, and large parts of the car he didn't want to coat. The nice thing about plastic coatings and Plasti-Dip is that it DOES peel off, so you can be pretty quick about taping off the car. Areas that have definitive breaks from the body like headlights, taillights, etc. can be left untaped and you can simply puncture the coating where it connected between the body and that part and just tear it off. We suggest focusing on areas that have little to no gap from the body and things that are intricate like emblems and certain trim. Otherwise the tedious job of taping off a car for paint is much easier when dipping a car!

    Once the car was taped off Sean moved to preparing the Earlex Spray Station and the gun metal gray Plasti-Dip. Before pouring, Sean thoroughly mixed the dip. Once the first batch of paint was ready to spray Sean set his spray pattern and practiced his technique on a spare junk bumper rebar. From there Sean began laying his first coat of gray. Because of the dramatic color change he ended up laying 2 heavy coats of the gray to get enough coverage for the white to properly cover.

    With the black muted a bit with the gray Plasti-Dip Sean thoroughly cleaned the Earlex gun and moved on to mixing and spraying the white Plasti-Dip. In the end he laid six coats of white to get a high build that could be peeled off easily. Sean waited about 30-35 minutes between coats to allow for the dip to "flash". Once the car was all white you could really see why he decided to use the glossifier.

    After the white flashed on the car Sean cleaned the Earlex gun and mixed up the glossifier. The glossifier does shoot a bit differently than the colors and you will need to dial your gun back to avoid excessive output which will cause runs and sags. Once the paint gun was adjusted properly he applied three coats of the glossifier again allowing 30-35 minutes between coats. The final result gives the white almost a metallic or pearlescent effect to the gloss. Definitely better than chipping, fading original paint!

    With the car fully dipped everything could be untaped and the coating peeled off of the headlights, taillights, and other parts he didn't want the coating on. The best way to do this is to cut or poke a hole in an edge or corner of a part and peel the edge up as you go like you're removing a vinyl sticker. Any excess that isn't built up enough to peel off can be rubbed off using your fingers or a sponge. Remember it's easier to remove heavy "overspray" Plasti-Dip than just a light dust coat!

    Once the car was unmasked and the excess coating removed, Sean rolled the car outside to get a good look at it. The finish has a cool medium sheen with a metallic/pearl type look in some lights. Up close there is a light texture, but from a few feet away it really looks great and could almost be mistaken for a traditional respray! Sean plans to use the Black Aerosol Plasti-Dip to coat the side trim and some other parts to break up the amount of white on the car. That's one of the nice things about dipping a car is that you can just peel it off if you don't like it or peel a portion to add another color or customize the dip further. Now that the car is back on the road Sean has a new love affair for his car and he can be seen rocking it around town with pride like the day he first bought it!

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  • Any Of These Silly Features On Your Classic Car?

    Wouldn't a decapitated horse's head be "more" frightening to horses, not less?
    A "swamp cooler".

    Rob Sass of Hagerty.com wrote the following column about five of the silliest automotive features ever. (Courtesy of FoxNews.com)

    Occasionally, automakers get it right in the new feature department. Seat heaters? Good. Back-up camera? Good. Intermittent wipers? Really good. Self-parking? BMW’s iDrive and Ford’s Microsoft Sync? Let’s just say the jury’s still out. The market, however, decided quickly on the list below, which contains automotive gimmicks that range from not-very-useful to patently absurd.

    Record Player: Offered by Chrysler from 1956 to 1957, it was the auto industry’s first attempt at making pre-recorded music playable in a car. While engineered for the rather bumpy environment of a moving car, the player wasn’t immune to skipping and scratching the records, which weren’t the standard-size LPs or 45s but a smaller proprietary format that required owners to buy all of their music again. Those of a certain age who have owned Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” on 8-track, vinyl, cassette, CD and MP3 can sympathize.

    Front-Mounted Horse Head: This turn-of-the-century accessory was meant to make early internal combustion cars less frightening to horses. More than just a freakishly large hood ornament, it literally consisted of a not-very-convincing, life-size fake horse head that could be mounted on the front of the car. It could also be used as an additional fuel tank, pre-dating the Pinto (the other exploding equine) by some 70 years.

    Swamp Cooler: Numerous companies from the 1930s through the 1960s marketed these ungainly contraptions that looked like the offspring of a jet engine and a canister vacuum. The device attached to the window of the car and contained a few gallons of water, which used the ram air effect created while the car was moving to force humidified air inside. They were minimally effective in hot, dry areas. Practical and relatively inexpensive auto air conditioning put an end to their use. Occasionally, auto swamp coolers can still be seen as odd period accessories on classic cars.

    Rear-Facing Seats: Car sickness occurs when the brain receives conflicting signals about whether the body is in motion or not. Rear-facing seats were a common source of this type of cerebral confusion, yet they were standard as the “back, back” seats in so many of the classic station wagons that baby boomers grew up (and threw up) in.

    Semi-Automatic Transmission: Both Porsche and Volkswagen used this obscure bit of technology to allay the fears of clutch-o-phobes. It was essentially a conventional manual transmission without a clutch pedal. The device was actuated when the driver put his or her hand on the shift lever. Unlike today’s shiftable automatics, there was no fully automatic mode. You had to move the lever through each gear. Porsche called it “Sportomatic,” and VW called it “Automatic Stickshift,” even going so far as to advertise it with a chrome badge on the back of the car. They’re heartily disliked by collectors who often replace them with conventional manual transmissions.

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  • Learn how to Strip. Paint Stripping Made Easy.

    It has been a while since my 1966 VW Bus project was introduced on the blog. House projects, other VW projects, and a 1 year old and a 3 year old have caused my progress on the Bus to be slower than I expected. During this time, I've been accumulating parts and repair panels in anticipation of working on it. Now that the other projects are out of the way, I'm back to working on the Bus.

    One of the first things I wanted to tackle was stripping the paint from the lower half of the Bus to see what was hiding under the paint. To strip paint, you have several options: media blasting, mechanical removal, or chemical removal. With the large flat panels, I didn't want to chance warpage with media blasting, and chemical removal can be a bit messy, so I opted for mechanical removal using my angle grinder and these Poly-X stripping discs. Be sure to use the proper safety equipment when stripping paint like this, as dust will be in the air (respirator, faceshield, ear plugs, gloves). The Bus had 4 layers of paint and these strippings discs quickly removed the paint and body filler. I was able to strip the whole bus to bare metal, from the beltline down, in an afternoon using 3 discs.

    I knew there was some body filler in spots, but didn't expect to find as much filler as was hiding under the paint. There was some minor damage under the filler, but it seems like whoever did the bodywork went a little overboard with filler. I also found a fiberglass patch in the rear apron covering up a hacked cutout to allow use of a two tip VW Bug muffler. I'll be showing how to create and weld in a patch for that repair in the near future. Now that I know what I am working with, I'll be able to properly address the damage. Stay tuned for more progress.

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  • Welding Project With Eastwood TIG 200- Building Custom Strut Mounts

    Anyone that follows our posts here will notice that I am a fan of lowered vehicles. Could it be my fear of heights? Honestly, I'm not sure, but everyone can agree a car or truck that's "in the weeds" sure looks heavenly!

    As I get older I want my custom vehicles to ride better, even when they are extremely low. It's not fun riding on the rubber bump stops and dreading every imperfection in the road! With vintage watercooled VW's this is a big problem enthusiasts face. I recently found a set of early-spec"rebuildable" strut mounts and I decided to gut and raise them to gain some shock travel and improve ride quality.

    Since I needed an oddball sized piece of tubing to build the extension, I had a piece of 11 gauge steel rolled to match the diameter of the strut mount shell. I then used the vice and a pair of Eastwood Locking Pliers to clamp the rolled metal together. I then chamfered the edges and used the Eastwood TIG 200 on 220v to weld the two ends together. The result was a nearly flush joint that just needed a small amount of finish grinding.

    With my "tubing" now formed I chamfered the edges of every piece to help me make a flush weld joint. I started by clamping the bottom halves in the vice and tack welding them together. This allowed me to flip the mount over and weld it in a more comfortable position. I set the TIG 200 to a max amperage of 140 amps and used 1/16 Steel TIG Filler Rod to join it all together and fill the chamfer I made. I repeated the process with the top cap and I soon had a mount that looked OE, but is 1.5 inches taller.

    I am still working on making my weld puddles all look uniform, but I have come a long way since I first began learning to TIG weld on the TIG 200 about a year ago! With a little patience and a lot of practice, it really opens up what you can fabricate!

    -Matt/EW

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  • TIG Welding Project of the weekend- Shortening Steel Oil Pickup tube

    A big part of building modified cars is swapping around parts from other years, models, and even makes. When you get pretty far into heavily modifying a vehicle, you will definitely come to a point where you will need to learn how to weld, especially TIG weld. This past weekend I tackled a mini-project I've been putting off for sometime.

    In stock guise this engine used an oil cooler that ran hot coolant through it to "cool" the oil. Sure your coolant may stay a few degrees cooler than your oil..but not enough to significantly cool things down. In the end it leaves more failure points for coolant hose leaks, and doesn't help cool things down much.

    I decided to use a "sandwich" oil cooler with external oil radiator. I used the "sandwich" cooler portion from an 80's turbo Volvo. These came stock on just about every turbo Volvo in the 80's-90's and are plentiful in the junkyard. You can then mix and match an external oil radiator of your choice to gain oil capacity and cooling capabilities. I chose an OE oil radiator and hoses from a European Mk1 Golf GTI. It required little modification to fit in the grill of my 76 VW Rabbit project. As an added bonus, the fittings on the hoses that came with this oil radiator were a direct fit to the Volvo sandwich piece.

    Because the sandwich cooler is much thinner than the factory cooler, I needed to chop and shorten the VW cooler cap shaft by about 1.5" (are you confused yet?!). I started by marking and chopping the section out I didn't need.

    Once the pieces were cut, I made sure they were flat by grinding the cut ends with my Eastwood Eastwood Bench Grinder and beveled the edges to be joined. By beveling the edges I can make a weld joint that is flush with the surface of the joint without having to grind any of the weld away. I chose to use some thin .030 steel filler rod to make tight, small weld puddles; again to reduce the need to grind.

    I set my Eastwood TIG 200 up on 110v current and used a 1/16" Red TIG Tungsten. The result was pretty good and my weld bead was flush with the cooler cap tube.

    After hitting the cooler parts with Aluma Blast Paint, I reinstalled it all on the engine and now have a factory looking external oil cooler conversion!

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