March 1999 Newsletter

Tech Tips

I’ve been light on Tech Tips recently so here are some. Feedback from owners working on a 356 project indicate my suggestions to buy a good metric tap and die set is a good idea. A tap and die set should include a tool to measure thread pitch. You also need a tool to measure hole size. With these tools you clean threads on all your hardware and replace damaged hardware.

Eagle Hardware has a good selection of metric nuts/bolts but don’t believe the markings on the bins. Check size, length and pitch with your own tools. The folks who fill the bins seem to use a “looks close enough” approach.

Also, belts that measure 14mm across the flats (ATF) are no longer available. If possible try to save all your 14 ATF belts.I have disassembled hoods and found a mix of 12-13-14 sizes. 14 ATF belts were original, so at least use the same size.

Speaking of hoods, if yours doesn’t consistently close, it could be problems with the star wheels on the hinge or weakness under the hinge pocket. With the hood open, look carefully at the metal below the hinge pocket. It should not be torn. This can happen with repeated attempts to force the hood down. Torn or weak areas will need to be welded. But first the hood will have to be positioned correctly. To position the hood you have to ensure the hinges work correctly. This involves checking for burrs and worn spots and hand filing the star wheels and catch. You should be able to cycle the hinge at least a dozen times without hangups. Do this outside the car. With the hinges working and installed you can position the hood and repair under the pockets. Use pencil marks on the hinge to close in on your adjustments. It you are lucky, your hood is original and the index holes will line up.

You’ve restored your hood and hinges, put in a new hood seal but the good sets too igh. This is probably due to the reproduction hood seal which is too thick.While you should get all your rubber seals from International Mwexantile, you may want to bet the hood swal from Stoddard or Tweeks. I believe they come from Taiwan. They won’t last as long but they are thinner.

Show Time

I was invited to show my recently reacquirered first 356 at Prestige Imports. This was part of an RMVR event. The silver with maroon racing stripes, right hand drive, bent sunroof, Carrera 356 just glowed under the show room lights. I had a lot of nice comments and was very proud to share my first 356.


Almost all my time has been spent reassembling Cal’s Speedster. This is going quickly as all the parts were cleaned/painted and all the hardward had clean threads. Of course, some original parts were unuseable and had to be replaced with reproductions. There were the usual problems with fit and finish of reproduction parts. I’ve learned to live with this and don’t bad mouth reproduction parts any more. They are close enough and without them these projects would take years and big bucks.

We had an issue on Cal’s Speedster with a mix o ball bearing and roller bearing on the suspension and brake drums. Since we are running both Rudge Knock off wheels and standard 3 1/4 inch wheel it’s important the brake drums with their bearing are all the same. We found VW parts suppliers have the ball bearings and races we need. Another issue is the price of 5.00-5.25 X 16 inch tires. I thought they would cost about $50 a piece. But the best price I have checking dealers and mail order shops is about $100 a tire with tax and shipping. Anybody have a good source for these tires?

Cal’s Speedster should get to Autoweave in the next few weeks. It will get a tew top, dash, side panels, half tonneau, full tonneau and rebuilt Coupe seats. Autoweave is presently working on the Speedster seats. Cal is going to have options for wheels, seats and tonneau cover. He will have lots of different looks.

I mentioned Michale’s ’56 Speedster last month. Here is the sad story. Four years ago he sent the 356 out here from New Jersey to be restored by a guy in a remote noutain location. When the guy lost his shop I agreed to porvide storage and shope space. The 356 was to be finished in a few months. the car came here with lots of parts. The body work was completed and very well done. The Aquamarine paint had a lot of scratches and rub throughs. The guy basically abandoned the 356 at my shop. He has not been seed and does not return calls. Legal action is being taken by the owner who has paid $42,000 and after four years does not have a finished 356 Speedster.. So I have agreed to finish the car later this year.