Entering the final stretch of teaching myself to rebuild a whole car – brakes, brakes, and windows

A few weekends ago, I had the Friday off for other reasons that fell through – and so, I began the Final Stretch of rebuilding my Passat.  Having embarked in August 2014 on account of “came home from Maryland, folded rear seats up… why is there 2 inches of standing water 😦 ” upon my quest to fix a few issues here and there, I have slowly rebuilt or refurbished nearly the entire damned car at this point.

Friday was a brake day.  As in “remove all the hard brake lines from the engine along the underbody to the rear calipers” and then “replace that shit.”  So I removed the rusted mess, and taught myself how to flare…

Making my own bubble flares

Making my own bubble flares

and bend…

Another delightful tool from McMaster, to bend the new lines to exact angles as needed

Another delightful tool from McMaster, to bend the new lines to exact angles as needed

new copper nickel brake lines into their variety of odd pathways rearwards…

Driver's side rear, with new copper nickel hard line to new stainless steel flex line

Driver’s side rear, with new copper nickel hard line to new stainless steel flex line

… and ended up with a very reliable albeit not very straight replacement set of brake lines:

Yay no more burst brake lines!

Yay no more burst brake lines!

Once that task was done, I got to finally make use of the power bleeder I bought myself, and purged the new lines and the old system of any and all accumulated crap.  I must have run 2 liters of brake fluid through the system, as it kept on spewing particulates and air bubbles and what have you.  Once it was clean, it became time to… rebuild and replace the rear wheel bearings, rotors, and brake pads:

All shiny and new - though I later found out (and have not yet gone about) taking it apart again, to install the rear ABS sensors I forgot about... :(

All shiny and new – though I later found out (and have not yet gone about) taking it apart again, to install the rear ABS sensors I forgot about… 😦

That job ended up taking a while, due to a couple of SEVERELY stuck bolts.  Thankfully, McMaster is the purveyor of all things useful to Mike, so I bought a couple of different sorts of bolt extractor tools at work, and eventually won the war.

Over Saturday and Sunday, I FINALLY got around to figuring out how to repair the windows.  What a mess, as VW is good at many things – but not power windows.  I have had the doors looking like this for a few months…

Door card and inner foam barrier removed, to give me a chance at soundproofing and window repair

Door card and inner foam barrier removed, to give me a chance at soundproofing and window repair

..as it was too cold and then I was too busy to delve into this problem.  As I quickly found out, my problems with windows not working or working when they choose to/without buttons pressed… can all be traced back to “slightly aged” wiring harness issues:

I WONDER WHY THE WINDOW AND SPEAKERS FOR THIS DOOR WEREN'T WORKING

I WONDER WHY THE WINDOW AND SPEAKERS FOR THIS DOOR WEREN’T WORKING

My dad, being a wonderful guy, took the worst one to his office and soldered all the breaks.  I replaced the driver’s side with a spare from a friend, and that fixed a lot of problems too.  At the end of the weekend, I had 3 working windows (the driver’s rear crapped out again on me, likely due to a wire breaking inside its insulation so I couldn’t see it).  That is why I was SUPER excited to find a GREAT deal on a full set of manual window regulators for a Passat B3 (the model type prior to mine, but interchangeable on a lot of parts):

Manual windows as an upgrade - I love how much I have changed my perspective on many things as I have gotten more and more into repair and rebuilding projects!!

~24 year old manual windows as an upgrade – I love how much I have changed my perspective on many things as I have gotten more and more into repair and rebuilding projects!!

Future work, as in this coming weekend, shall include (but is not limited to):

1) installing the driving lights into the new upper grill (as seen here)

Spacing out the Hella driving lights atop the replacement upper grill body piece I did up white with Plastidip

Spacing out the Hella driving lights atop the replacement upper grill body piece I did up white with Plastidip

2) doing the trim lines along the doors and top bumper edges white with Plastidip as well

3) removing the fading/peeling pinstripes on the doors

4) begin the process of refurbishing and redying the leather seat set I purchased

5) probably more I don’t recall at the moment

Being THIS far into a project involving all manner of skillsets I didn’t have even a year ago but have taught myself or been taught… is VERY edifying.  I thank you for your indulgence if you’ve been tuned in this whole time. 🙂

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