Monthly Archives: March 2015
One thing the ’68’s lacked was a cigarette lighter. Since I don’t smoke, I have no need for a cigarette lighter, but I do have a need for a 12 volt aux, better yet, a USB connection to charge my phone when needed since I’ll be using it as my radio/mp3 player. I was at our local auto parts store this morning looking for a license plate cover for my wife’s motorcycle and came across this 12 volt aux/usb input. I immediately thought it’d fit perfect underneath the ashtray and it was only 8 bucks, so I figure what the heck. I needed to clean up the nasty ashtray anyhow and since it had the autostick shift pattern decal that needed to come off, I thought it’d be a nice little project this afternoon. I was going to be cleaning up my fresh air box anyhow. The 12 volt aux/usb bracket fit perfectly underneath the ashtray just as I had hoped. I used high durable double sided tape to secure it after I cleaned up the ashtray a bit. Ran the ground wire into the ashtray which made for a perfect ground, one less wire to run. The hot wire runs through an existing hole that used at one time to mount a radio or CB, just made the hole a little bigger, inserted a rubber grommet, worked like a charm. I ran the hot wire to the back of the fuse panel to #2. It’s only hot when the key is on. I was going to have it continuously hot, but the USB unit has a little l.e.d. light that would stay on all of the time. Buttoned everything up, tested it and it’s perfect. Finished with a little cleanup of the fresh air box, then took her out for a drive around town, enjoying this nice spring weather! Waiting on the arrival of my bamboo parcel tray and bluetooth speaker. That’ll be next weekends project!
I’ve given a lot of thought about installing a radio in the Beetle. Unfortunately, most of today’s radios will not fit into the metal dash opening in the old Beetles. You can retro radios that will fit, but they’re very, very expensive. So I’ve opted to use my phone as my radio/mp3 player and I bought a EU Boom bluetooth speaker. This is a rechargeable, 360 degree speaker that has excellent sound quality. It’s design will allow me to place the speaker in the parcel tray for easy access. I was leaning towards a Boze bluetooth speaker that was actually a little cheaper, but the sound quality and design of the EU Boom changed my mind, plus it was only 20 dollars more.
Had some time this afternoon and concentrated on getting the trunk area cleaned up a bit. No rust, but a lot of dust. Got the spare tire area cleaned up and washer fluid reservoir hooked up. Also installed a new wiring cover on the back side of the dash. The old one had seen better days and was cracked. I plan to make my own trunk liner just to make everything look a little cleaner. Have a couple of ideas floating around, once I commit to the project, I’ll put together a how to. I also dressed up the wiring on the new fog lights, they look a lot cleaner now. And I also moved the fog light indicator in the speedo opposite to the bright light indicator. Now, when the fog lights are on, the left side blue light is on, when the bright lights are, the regular right side blue light is on. Hope my bamboo parcel tray will be here Monday or Tuesday so I can get it installed.
So I’ve been thinking for a while about what to do about this. Some time, probably back in the 70’s, somebody had installed a CB radio in the Beetle. I remember when it was cool to have a CB radio installed in your car, way before texting and cell phones. Anyhow, somewhere along the line, the CB was removed, leaving a hole in the hood where they had mounted the antenna. The hole was plugged with a solid rubber grommet. When and if I ever decided to get the Beetle painted, I’ll probably have the hole welded up and forgotten about. Until then I thought it’d be a cool place to mount a tachometer. Not many places on or around the dash for a tach, so I figured why not. Since it’s something that I’m not totally sure I’ll keep, I got a cheapo Bosch tach at Autozone to fill the bill. Easy enough the hook up. One wire to the coil, one hot wire, one to the light dimmer and one ground. The hardest part was getting the wire from the front of the car to the coil. I know this probably isn’t everybody’s cup of tea, but I’m digging it so far, whether or not it’ll be a permanent fixture is to be determined.
Just wasn’t satisfied with the positioning of the fog lights. I really like them and the nice brackets, but they just stuck up too high and too far out. There’s no way to modify the brackets because they’re solid metal and I think they are more suited for the ’67 and earlier bumpers since those bumpers have an additional bar that sits on top of the bumper. So what I did to make them less obvious was to turn them in towards each other, putting the fog lights closer to the body and not protruding out past the bumper. Yeah, they still sit to high, but I think moving them makes them look less out of place.
Had a busy night after work today. Was going to wait until tomorrow to tackle these projects, but it was so nice outside that I decided to do it this evening. Cracked open a few Michelob Ultra’s, restarted the first season of Breaking Bad on the garage tv and went to work. First task was to remove the front seats. They came out surprisingly easy. Next I cleaned up the seat frame and rails on the floor pan and gave them a fresh coat of paint. Made a jig to hold the springs that assist in moving the seat frontwards and backwards and gave them a fresh coat of paint. While all of that was drying, I installed the new e-brake boot. What a pain in the ass that was! But after a few choice words and a couple of beers, I finally got it on. I also got power to the new vintage fog lights. I know that they’re not everybody’s cup of tea, but I like them. They come on when the low beams are on. I also have the indicator on the speedo come on when the fog lights are on. I’m using the ATF temperature light since mine is not an auto stick. I also installed my new Hurst style shifter. Ended up being much easier than I thought it’d be. Then I cleaned up the seat rails, gave them a quick sanding and a fresh coat of paint, then put everything back together. Whole process took the entire first season of Breaking Bad and about 8 beers. All in all, I’m very satisfied.
Got some toys in the mail today, so I played around a little before leaving for work. Replaced the vacuum lines just to freshen them up a bit. Also mocked in the fog lights to see what they’re going to look like. I’m very pleased with the brackets that hold the lights in place. I’ll dwell on it for a couple of days, then decide if this is the placement that I want. But for now, I’m diggin’ the look. Also got my EMPI shifter (Hurst style). I’m somewhat surprised I didn’t get any installation instructions though. I’m sure it’s not rocket science to get it installed, but I’m sure there’s more to it than just unbolting the old and installing the new.