Disconnected the steering wheel coupler by unplugging the horn ground wire, then removing two castle nuts and cotter pins on the coupler. Cleaning off some of the gunk makes it easier to see the parts. Especially when trying to get the cotter pins out.
Steering coupler doesn’t look that bad, but I’ll know more when it’s cleaned off. I always assumed I would just replace it since it’s a ‘soft’ part. There’s an interesting forum thread on the Samba.com site, that talks about using urethane couplers. I’ll think I’ll stick to a OE part like this one from CIP1.com.
I picked up a piece of 4’x’8’x1/8″ Masonite (hardboard) from Lowe’s today. A 4’x8′ sheet of hardboard is enough to do all four panels and then some. About $7.
I’m going to use this to repair my driver-side door panel, which has a warped and torn and decayed backing, but still has some vinyl with a few years left (maybe). So first, I’m going to separate the vinyl from the hardboard, and use the hardboard for a template to cut out the new door panel.
There’s the vinyl, then there’s a trim piece (like beading) that goes around the perimeter. There are staples all around the perimeter holding on the beading, but the staples don’t go completely through the door panel. They’re not bent like normal staples — just stuck in a little.
Because my panel’s hardboard backing is in pieces (and some pieces are missing), I have to re-assemble it. But it’s also warped badly, so I’m going to try to flatten it before I try to put the pieces together. My approach is to wet the hardboard, and lay it out flat with some heavy weight stacked on top. At the Vanagonauts website someone name Chris talks about this very thing.
There are only three cuts to be made — the rectangular pocket opening, and the two circles for the window crank and door latch handle. Then, I will need to drill the holes around the edge of the backing (and NOT through the vinyl, of course) for the press-in fasteners that hold the panel to the door itself.
Today I removed some more pieces. The front bumper (what was left of it), the rear bumper, and the horn. It’s amazing how much more rust is shown in the photos than what you see with your own eyes. I find myself taking a photo and loading it on the computer saying “Wow, that looks bad!”. I guess I could stop taking photos and the rust would just go away.