September 2010 Newsletter

newheaderPorches and Pastries
Final Reminder: Saturday September 25th is Porsche and Pastries at 356Restore. It starts at 10:00am but come anytime and stay as long as you want. Plenty of food, beverages and Porsches.

Having written about two hundred of these newsletters over almost twenty years, some months we don’t know what to write. I mentioned this to BJ and he said “Heck just walk around the shop, plenty of ideas.” He was right, so here is my observations after a shop walk.

Bleeder Valves
The Twin Grille Roadster from Oklahoma was missing the rubber caps that protect the opening on the wheel cylinder bleeder valves. These are important as without them, moisture can get in the valve as it points up. Once they start to rust they are difficult to remove without snapping off. Once the bleeder valve is gone you can’t bleed your brakes. Two were snapped off on the Roadster, one snapped off as we tried to remove it and one we removed successfully. These were the four front wheel cylinders.

While wheel cylinders have come down in price (about $80) wouldn’t a ten cent bleeder cap be a better deal? Check your 356! Take a few minutes with a flashlight. More than half of the 356’s we evaluate are missing the little rubber bleeder valve caps. Get them at your FLAPS (friendly, local, auto parts store).

Engine Shroud Color
Many do-it-yourselfers ask “What color should I paint my engine shroud?” Well, the prevailing wisdom was that normal engines were black and others were light grey or silver. We have a 3’x4′ picture in the shop of the Porsche factory assembly area in the early 60’s. There are twelve engine pictured. The normal engines with Zenith carbs have black engine shrouds, the super engines with Solex carbs have grey shrouds except for one grey engine with Zenith carbs. So if the factory didn’t worry, why should you? Check out the picture at Porsche and Pastries.

We use a lot of this penetrating oil solvent in the shop and it has saved many rusted fasteners. It is better than Liquid Wrench and better than WD-40, which is a water dispersant lubricant and not a penetration solvent. Check it out and order at

Safety come natural at 356Restore. We have eye protection, ear protection, breathing protection and safety shoes and clothes. In twenty plus years of working on 356’s I have had only two injuries. One was using a dull X-Acto knife, the other when I dropped a wrench on my eye. I was under the 356, tightening a fitting and I did not think I needed eye protection. BJ had a eye injury even when he was wearing eye protection. A piece of metal took a ricochet and came under his face mask. Eyes are pretty damn important so wear eye protection.

Another safety procedure we use is to yell “Clear!” when lowering a 356 off the jack stands. This is after we check to see if it is safe. We even do this when we are alone. (We started this procedure after I lowered a 356 and the jack stand was not clear. My 356; and the painter gave me a good deal.

Kit’s ’64
As mentioned earlier, there was a big delay on finishing Kit’s ’64 Coupe as she needed a new crankshaft and the best crankshaft vendor-Scat was out of stock. Scat had a great reputation for the best 356 crankshaft, as they never break. All the racers used them. Well, the Scat crankshafts were finally back in stock and the mechanic got one. It was out of spec! It would not work and the factory played dumb. We won’t go into details here, so if you need a crankshaft you or your mechanic should do due diligence.

356 Comfort
You should be comfortable when driving your 356. The pedals have two positions for short and long legs. You have to pull back the rubber floor mat and remove the wooden floor board. A bolt on the pedal shaft can be removed and the pedal can be shortened or lengthened. There are also different size steering wheels. A standard 16 1/2 inch wheel and a smaller 15 1/2 inch wheel. Some after market steering wheels are even smaller. When the 356 was introduced, some owners complained about over steer. Porsche solution, a bigger steering wheel!

BJ is just about done with the metal work on the Texas ’60 coupe. We counted over forty patches to the interior metal. Fortunately little repair was need to the exterior, as no rust or collision damage and all the gaps were good (even the rear lid which was used by the goats to play King of the Mountain). I started on the front of the Twin Grille Roadster and found lots of poor previous repair. The Roadster was “restored” thirty years ago and at that time the 356s were old and not worth much. So quick and dirty repairs were done. At least we didn’t find flattened oil cans riveted and bonded over.

And of course we bought another shop car. A ’58 cabriolet which requires a lot of metal work but nothing we haven’t seen before.

Grandpa News
Over Labor Day, Barb and I took Alex and Jen to Vail where we rented a condo where Alex could swim. We also took her up the gondola and there is a great play area for kids at the top. Kids under twelve ride free in the summer. You other Grandpas should take note.