Sponge Wobble

The new tire is nice and sticky, but did not affect the wobble, but that’s ok because now I remember why…

The rear wheels, especially the left one, have a wobble. It’s very subtle, but definitely enough to affect the front end.

My first fear, and probably why I put it out of my mind, is that the axle was bent.

Having suddenly remembered this, I began shopping for axles for the eventual replacement. Turns out there are two lengths of swing axle, so I consulted the oracle (“Tinker” in my local BTW chapter) and he suggested that the axles are VERY hard to bend and that there could be several much easier to fix things wrong instead.

Last night, I pulled the left wheel off and, while I could not find my dial indicator to quantify it, I did not *need* the indicator to see that the aluminum wheel adapter is bent.

Upon further investigation, I see why it’s bent…

The brake drum, in a departure from the usual hub/drum setup for Beetles, has a separate brake drum and wheel hub. Seems that it may be the way the brakes are done on a Type 3. The brake drum is held on the hub by two low profile bolts.

The bolt shown here interferes with the back of the wheel adapter.

Someone tried grinding away some material on the back of the adapter:

…but either they didn’t remove enough or they didn’t remove it soon enough and the adapter plate bent.

These plates depend on one eccentric bolt in order to adapt a hub with four bolt holes to a wheel with five studs.

It occurs to me as I write this that I may be able to reposition the eccentric bolt to a hole adjacent to the low profile bolt head. This may simply bring a different spot into interference.

I will try that with the new adapters, which I am picking up a lunch today, but I may end up just cutting away some material to relieve some clearance on the back of the new adapters.


I forgot to update this blog until the next entry was already posted. I removed the two low profile bolts, “depending” on the lug bolts to hold the hub in place. The rear wheel wobble is gone. The 30MPH front end wobble is unchanged.

Long Overdue Update

I have done a little bit of work on Sponge Bob, but more importantly, we racked up a few miles, just short of 4000 since the new speedo was put on way back in October of 2009. Much of this is ’round town miles, though a big chunk went on in a South Texas vacation/camping trip.

Sponge Bob has a new tire as of today. I pick it up on the way home in a few minutes. I also have a new headlight that I may even get on there tonight.

Last fall, Sponge Bob’s fuel pump quit. Without realizing it, it had actually been going for a while and was misdiagnosed as an ignition problem. When it died for good, at least it did it in town. Gabby trucked down the road to the nearest auto parts store for another unit, which was installed in pretty short order. He’s been reliable ever since. The mild but frustrating front end shimmy is expected to go with the old tire and while I have the wheel off for that, I will change the bolts that the speedometer sensor detects, which should stabilize the indicated speed. Change the headlight and I think Sponge Bob will be good for a while.

As for the Dragon trike, the two biggest things it needs are the shifter and the fenders, and arguably, the fenders could wait. The current shifter is such a pain to operate that it is difficult to properly tune the engine under and real driving conditions.

Replacing the shifter will involve welding on an alignment jig to bolt the new shifter to temporarily, cutting out all the old shifter parts, building a mount for the new shifter then removing the jig. The biggest question remaining is whether the shift lever can be easily removed from the new shifter to facilitate removing and installing the body.

While I have the body off for the shifter work, I need to clean up some wiring issues. Some of the wires are too short and since they plug in to the back of the fuse blocks, tension has resulted in some wires coming unplugged. Similarly, the wiring harness on the body needs to be secured better. I used sticky taped wire looms, but most of them didn’t last as long as it took to finish assembling the trike. Those looms need to be epoxied to the underside of the body.

No, I didn’t forget I own this trike…

… but you probably couldn’t tell by the activity level…

It seems likely that I have missed pretty much all of the mild spring season for working on the trike. It’s so stupidly close to an actual stopping point that I feel like a bum for having not finished it yet.

Between an especially rainy spring and a pretty major remodeling project in the house, followed quickly by a long-planned vacation trip, I find myself at a point of nearly being ready to take up the reins again and get this thing permanently on the road.

The big thing left is the replacement of the shifter. I have a dune buggy shifter that I need to install. It will be slightly tricky because I need to preserve the current mounting attitude and position, and yet replace the current shifter with one of a completely different design. I have a cunning plan.

After the shifter is in place, the trike will be rideable and thus tunable.

Stay tuned….