We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby – 11.13.014

Rather than gripe about how busy I’ve been or how slow this build is or how terrible I am at updating this thing, lets get right to it.
Early September I was heading back from a friends house, driving down the freeway, when all of a sudden I lost all engine power.  I pulled over and surveyed all items with no resolution.  Get on the phone and have a tow truck on its way.  Enter: flatbed tow truck.  Having just completed the bumper and body work I assumed that the tow truck ‘artist’ would be unable to get my car on the flatbed without causing damage to either bumper.  “No problem.  I do Ferrari’s and Lambo’s all the time.”  Fast forward a few minutes later where he’s got the car halfway on the flatbed and maneuvering the beds height around to prevent any damage.  At which point, my nervous tension was cut by saying “Now you’re just showing off.”  Haha.  Anyhow, he managed to get my car on with no problem.  After my nerves settled he gave me and my car a ride home, where we stowed it in the garage.  A day or so later it was back on the road thinking that all was taken care of.  At that point, I had just hit an interval service on the motor (40k), so I changed the oil, oil filter, cabin filter spark plugs and coil packs.  Went about my days thinking I had fixed whatever the problem was.  Wrong.

A few days later, I limped/coasted my car home.  It was a complete dead horse.  The car would not turn over.  Racking my brain, I finally had enough and had to bit the bullet–I needed to have a shop take a look at it.  Enter: tow truck service #2.  After much hassle, from one company, I got another company to service my transport.  $275 later, It ends up at Sprint Autoworks in Camplbell, CA.  Mind you, this is the first time this car has ever seen any shop floor.  I suppose that a good track record, 8 years into ownership.  It was no rush so I told the guys to take their time.  Turns out it was loose contacts on the fuse that controls the injectors.  They tightened the prongs and had me come pick up the car.  In talking with one of the guys at the shop, he had informed me that the car was of a 30 day build version.  VW had only built that particular model for 30 days before revising/updating items, which would further explain why the Owner’s Manual and the Bentley Manual aren’t matching up to the fuse panel.  Anyhow, fixed and moving forward…

So, we (my dad and I) soda blasted and primed the R32 grille.  As we started to wet sand it, the previous paint/primer was starting to lift.  At that point we decided to strip the grille from the previous paint and sand what hadn’t been done (from the previous owner).  The metal flashing lifted the paint perfectly.  I could peel it off in sheets… the plastic slats of the grille, however, didn’t fair too well.  It ended up reacting with the stripper making that grille and the progress up to that point, worthless.  It COULD be saved, but the man-hours involved to float it all out and re-sand/prime/etc was way more than I wanted to repeat. I sought out a replacement grille and had it at my doorstep within a few days.  Once arrived, I pulled the license plate box and we quickly filled the holes.  Thereafter it was sanded and primed and is currently awaiting paint.

By now its mid-October and the cars body work is complete.  All dents are removed. Everything is in final primer and ready for paint.  It was now just a matter of finding available booth time.  By happenstance, my dad had a booth available at a collision center.  The date was set for Halloween.  All that needed to be done between now and then was wait.  The week of paint came quickly and it was time to give the car a full body wet-sand.  All panels, bumpers, and various trim/accent pieces were hit with 500 grit wetdry paper.  After a long 10+ hour day of sanding, it was done.  Got up the next morning and made a final pass to ensure each surface was sanded.  From there, it was off to the booth.  With no front or rear bumpers, side mirrors or door handles I made my way down the highway.

Once there, we bring the car into the booth, mask it up, degrease it and from there lay down a sealant.  Now comes the paint.  To see the car and parts in one color was unreal.  All the months of working and waiting was beginning to pay off in realtime.  We managed to get a couple coats of paint on everything and by then, it was about 11pm, Halloween night so it was time to head home.  While most people had painted their faces, I was painting my car.  We returned the next morning to lay down a healthy portion of clear and then ‘bake’ the car at 140 degrees.  Mind you its roughly mid-50’s to mid 60-s outside, but in the spray booth, a warm 81 degrees.  Cant complain about that!  With it being the weekend, we left the car in the booth and returned the following morning to pick it up.

The pictures don’t do it any justice in the sun.  The depth is amazing and the increase in coarseness of the metallic is perfect.  It really sets the car off.  Especially now that it’s all one color.  While we could have easily reassembled the car in its entirety that morning, we loaded up the bumpers and sides kirts int he truck and I could drive the car during the week and we would rub out the car the following weekend.  During the forthcoming week, the side mirror caps would be re-cleared and the door handles and billet license plate frame would be painted (booth wasn’t large enough to fit ALL the parts in while originally painting car).  So it was back to driving with no bumpers or mirrors… or door handles.

Saturday comes and its time to get the car back together.  Having it all piece by piece, be put back in place, was an incredible feeling.  However that was subsided by the few hours of work we still had ahead of us, as we now needed to wet-sand, buff and polish the clear coat.  Once that was completed, it was washed, dried and stared out.  Still cannot believe how great it looks in one piece.  All that’s left now is for the grille to be painted and the exhaust to be installed.

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