[T3] Things you never think about....

Jim Adney jadney at vwtype3.org
Sun Feb 18 18:01:07 PST 2018

Just some thoughts about parts of our cars that get ignored:

Plastic sheeting inside the door panels

I've had body shop people tell me that they are there only to keep down wind 
noise. They may be a small help in that, but that's not their main function. 
The main thing they do is keep rain water from soaking the pressboard 
backing of the vinyl door panels.

You'll never know this until you leave one of those plastic sheets out, or tear 
it up, and then notice your door panels warp after the next rain. If your doors 
are missing their door drains, you can cut replacements from heavy plastic 
sheeting. Dry cleaner bags are too light, but construction vapor barrier is 
good and I have some good sheeting here if you can't find any locally.

Door drains

That's right, rain water gets inside the doors. That's why the doors have 

Each door has drains at the bottom to let water out. If you don't clean them 
out occasionally, you may hear water sloshing in there after a rain. You don't 
have to remove anything to clean out the drains; you can poke them from 
below, but if you're inside the doors for any other reason, it's always a good 
idea to brush and vacuum out the loose stuff. It accumulates.

Wiper shafts

Most of the time we tend to ignore the shafts that turn the wiper arms, but 
those shafts actually come thru rather long bronze bushings, and those 
bushings can sometimes use some lubrication. You don't want to wait until 
the shafts have seized. I've seen cars where the bushings were turning 
WITH the shafts, slowly augering out the hole in the body.

At the very least, it's worth removing the arms occasionally, cleaning under 
there, and adding a couple drops of oil while the shaft is turning. If you 
happen to be taking the wiper assembly out of the car, take this as an 
opportunity to take the shafts out of the bushings, clean it out, and fill the 
space in there with a good grease.  

Door hinges

Most of you probably already know that there's a little plastic cap on top of 
each door hinge. You should pop that cap off once a year and fill the hole 
under it with oil. That will help keep things working smoothly, and with 
minimal wear, for a very long time.

Distributor lubrication

Every time you do a tuneup, you should clean off the distributor cam and 
rubbing block and then apply a small bit of fresh clean grease to the cam. 
This will keep the rubbing block from grinding a path into the steel cam. Yes, 
over time, this happens.

In addition, if your distributor has centrifugal advance in addition to vacuum 
advance, you should remove the rotor and add 1 drop of light oil to the hole 
in the top of the shaft. This will keep the centrifugal advance from sticking.

Jim Adney, jadney at vwtype3.org
Madison, Wisconsin, USA

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