Car Parts

The Antique Typewriter Collectors’ Meeting is a week away as of today, and the excitement is definitely building! Our arrangements put us there around noon on the 28th, driving more or less straight there from Columbus. That drive sans detours will be 3 hours, 48 minutes and 253 miles. That’ll be the farthest I’ve ever taken my car in one go. That means that it’s time for all the necessary work to make sure that it won’t become a fixture on the side of a road somewhere.

In the past month I’ve been working on that. Rotated my tires and checked brakes. Seatbelts? Drivers’ side needs to be replaced. Coolant? Low. Windshield wipers? Replace ’em. With no warning my JVC Bluetooth stereo decided that working wasn’t high on it’s list of priorities and crapped out, and that simply won’t do. The list goes on.

While I do have a parts car in my possession, I had either taken out the parts I needed and had discovered that they didn’t work (in the case of my dome light switches in the doors) or that they were already missing (in the case of the cold start valve). Off to the junkyard we go. A nearby junkyard does have a Rabbit but it was perched high above a mini-van, and as such was unusable. Dad found a place in Columbus called Woody’s Auto Salvage and we set out on an expedition.

Salvage Yard

On the first trip to Woody’s, I got the HVAC components that go under the hood at the bottom of the windshield out of an ’87 Cabriolet. Before those parts my recirculation didn’t work and I got a puddle in my passenger footwell whenever it rained. Glad that’s over. By the end of the day I’d retrieved HVAC components, a cold start valve, a complete ashtray (I don’t smoke but I want the thing to work and be original), parking brake & door switches for the brake warning light and dome light, relays, and original pedal covers. Mine had been replaced with ‘sporty’ looking pedal covers that I said I’d replace the moment I laid eyes on them.

1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet In Junkyard
The junkyard’s 1987 Cabriolet. It had 810k miles!
Car Parts
The HVAC components in their natural habitat.
Car Parts
My tools and flannel amidst the wealth of car parts.

The next day my wisdom teeth were removed, and I was out of commission. During that time I revived the blog after a time spent manually porting each post. Another thing that I’m glad is over.

I took the pedal covers out of my parts car and used the best out of the bunch to replace the sporty covers with stock. Dad went back to Woody’s and while he was there I had him fetch the center console from that car, which contained a cassette tape holder that was in much better shape than that in my parts car. After some tinkering with the door switches, the retrofits were complete!

1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet center console
The center console with cassette tape holder.
1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet center console, disassembled.
The same center console, disassembled for cleaning.
Sport clutch pedal cover
Sporty cover…
Stock brake pedal cover
…not so sporty cover.

Using Dad’s vacuum tester I discovered that the vacuum servo for the center vent was faulty, preventing it from opening and warming the car up. With winter around the corner I tore into my parts car to retrieve the functional servo contained therein – in the process learning how to remove a mid-80’s VW Golf dashboard. Fun times. I also took the vacuum control head for the HVAC system from that car since the mounting brackets on the one in mine had shattered. After installing it I discovered that it leaked. Badly.


HVAC control head
My original HVAC control head.
1987 Volkswagen Cabriolet without dashboard
The aftermath of dashboard removal in my parts car.
HVAC control head
The HVAC control head from my parts car.

The second expedition to Woody’s Auto Salvage was wildly successful. After removing the ’87’s HVAC control head I sought out a late-90’s Cabrio. I’m considering replacing the door, trunk, and ignition lock cylinders on my car with those compatible with the far more secure sidewinder style key in use on modern VWs. I knew that the ignition cylinder from a Cabrio of that era would fit in my steering column, and I was quite content when I found a white 2000 Cabrio not far from the ’87. Unfortunately I hadn’t brought the tools necessary to remove it, but as I looked about the car I thought that the cassette stereo still in the dash looked like it would fit in mine. All I had was a hole were the JVC unit had been. I bit the bullet and retrieved it. Dad told me that these stereos were compatible with a 6 CD changer that he’d seen in several cars, and soon I had one of those too.

HVAC Control Head
Control head No. 3.
Volkswagen stereo.
The stereo in the 2000 Cabrio.
The yard at Woody’s Auto Salvage

Dad was skeptical about the radio, and honestly I was too. We tested the CD changer when we got home and discovered that it didn’t detect that the magazine had been inserted. Still unsure on how to fix that. The bench test of the stereo went well, showing that it functioned perfectly.

That night in a marathon session of momentary vehicular madness I removed and reinstalled my dash, replacing the faulty servo and control head in addition to fitting and wiring the radio. It fit perfectly! Unfortunately there was a discrepancy between the wiring diagram and the wires present in the dash, so the radio remained silent much to my chagrin. Some tinkering the next day resolved the issue. More tinkering two days later (three days ago) by dad repaired the previously silent left stereo channel, though the two rear speakers still don’t work. Only the two forward 4×6 speakers function, but it’s better than nothing. The next day I went out & bought more supplies. Plywood, carpet, antifreeze, a spring compressor, an air filter, etc..

1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet dashboard
The process begins.
Car repair
Starting the rewiring process.

Once home and with more than ample assistance a trunk floor panel was measured, cut, fitted, carpeted, and installed. The spare was flipped right-side up and inflated from empty, in the process discovering that my car jack is unoriginal since it has ‘Ford’ stamped on it. I have no idea where I’m going to find the right one.

Typewriters in trunk
My trunk now has enough space to fit several typewriters comfortably.

A long-time joke with a coworker of mine from Kroger finally became a reality after I sat down with some paint and a brush for longer than I anticipated, but for the most part it looks good. This also saw the long – awaited removal of the irksome space-hogging subwoofer and its amplifier. Now my trunk is much more spacious and typewriter friendly.  There’s still more to do, however. My shock bushings are collapsed, my CV boots are torn, I need to check and top off my fluids, and the front-end needs to be aligned. The list of things to do to my car is steadily shrinking, and for that I’m grateful.

1985 Volkswagen Cabriolet
“Swag Cab” is now official.
Volkswagen stereo
My new stereo in its proper place.

As always, thank you for reading and have a good day!