HOW TO: Vinyl Top Cleaning and Protecting

Raggtopp Fabric and Vinyl CleanerHaving a convertible is a great advantage living in California.  Spring and fall is just the best time to drop down the top for an afternoon drive.  However as we move into summer, the hot sun can take a toll on a vinyl convertible top. The cleaning and protecting of a vinyl top is vital to increasing its life.  We have tested many products over the years, however Raggtopp has rally cornered the market for cleaning and protecting these sometimes costly surfaces.

aggtopp Fabric and Vinyl CleanerCleaning the vinyl convertible top is needed to remove stubborn dirt from the surface.   Raggtopp Fabric and Vinyl Cleaner will gently remove this grime, especially when used with our Interior and Upholstery Brush.  Simply spray on, and scrub to loosen particles, after scrubbing, just rinse the surface and watch the soiling rinse away. On a heavily soiled top, two applications may be necessary.  Once the top is clean, just continue your washing of the vehicle as necessary and dry.

Raggtopp Vinyl ProtectantAfter washing and drying is completed, I recommend allowing the surface to completely dry for an hour or so before applying Raggtopp Vinyl Protectant.  I have found using a small sponge to apply the product is excellent for even coverage.  Allow the Raggtopp Vinyl Protectant to sit for 30 minutes or so. Follow by using a soft cotton or microfiber towel to burnish the surface to an even sheen.

Raggtopp Vinyl ProtectantAfter wiping the surface to an even sheen, it will have a beautiful low gloss look that is protected from UV rays. This UV protection will protect and greatly extend the life of your vinyl convertible top.  Raggtopp products are recommended by Haartz, the world’s largest maker of convertible tops.

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HOW TO: Polishing Aluminum with Simichrome

Simichrome Polish It is no secret that polishing aluminum is a labor of love.  Especially when polishing a 147 cubic inch custom V-Twin motor.  I am not going to tell you that I have a magic solution that eliminates all the work.  A polish by its very nature requires friction to remove surface oxidation, tarnish and other imperfections.  Genarally, the more friction, the better the depth and shine.  Now how often you maintain your delicate soft metal surfaces will clearly dictate the amount of effort necessary to bring it into it best possible condition.

So what do we use here at Goodspeed Motoring?  Simple… Simichrome Polish.  Simichrome Polish is made in Germany by Happich.  Happich Simichrome has been a industry standard product for decades.  It is great for all delicate metals, however it is just outstanding for polishing aluminum.  It has a terrific ability to remove oxidation, however is extremely gentle, making it produce a excellent final product.

For this V-twin motor we needed to find solutions to acesss hard to reach areas where bare hands could not access.  For these areas, such as between the cylinder fins, we used our Wood Stem Cotton Tip Applicators to apply a small amount of Simichrome, and used small strips of cotton towel to work the material back and forth until a sutible and even shine was obtained.  Once the proper amount of shine was acheived, we used strips of microfiber towels that were cut down to burnish the metal and remove excess polish.   After the entire motor casing was polished to its best possible shine, we wiped with a small amount of corn starch using a clean microfiber towel. This quick wiping will remove any remaining polishing residue, and increase the shine.  The last step is a quick shot of compressed air to remove any light dust left by the corn starch.

Although the final result did take some time to achieve, however it is nothing less that outstanding!

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HOW TO: Processing Small Parts

Wurth Clean Solve The old saying goes “It’s in the details”.  With any auto restoration project, the small or unseen parts are so important to putting together a top shelf job.  I have personally spent many hours working on items that are not seen once the car is reassembled or only important to the owner.  We have all seen those cars that are what I have termed “door panel restorations”.  Meaning, when you remove the door panel, what sort of awful are you going to find.  This is not how I process a car.

Today’s project focuses on one of those small details of a steel inner sunroof liner.  Again one of those hidden parts, but important to be processed properly.  It was nice unit and rust free, so it was just a simple job of removing the nylon guides, being sure to photograph the item before disassembly.  This will aid the reassembly in the coming months, as I may forget the exact order.  Disassembly was followed by media blasting the entire frame to bare metal.

Wurth VW Grey Lacquer Now that the frame has been completely stripped, I used a small 3” DA sander with a P240 paper to smooth the frame and create a nice finish for painting.  Making sure to wipe the surface with Wurth Clean Solve, to remove any oil or dust, it’s on to the etch priming.

I chose to use the SEM Black Self Etch Primer as the top coat of color is going to be a dark color.  Two light coats with a small flash time between.  This product will guarantee a solid adhesion between the bare metal and the top coat of paint. Speaking of paint, I chose the Wurth VW Grey Lacquer.  It is a close duplication to the original color and sheen.  Two coats of Color and let it dry.  Being a specialty lacquer product, it dries quickly and look better that it did from the factory.

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67 Beetle Wiring Harness

67 Beetle WiringUsually when in comes to shop projects, I talk about our customer cars and what we are doing to improve them.  Hard to believe, but sometimes I actually work on one of my own projects.  It’s the same as the shoe maker’s children going without shoes!!!  I have been wanting to custom build the wiring harness for my 67 Beetle for quite a while. I painted the car complete a couple of years ago and cannot install headlamp assemblies, taillights or anything on the exterior until this harness is completely installed.  My 1967 beetle project required some severe changes to a stock wiring harness, however I wanted to retain the original OEM look.

67 Beetle WiringI wanted to add ground wires to all exterior lamp assemblies as the original relied on body grounds. I also wanted to add two 40 watt relays to the low and high beam headlamp circuits to control any dimming or fluctuation regardless of engine RPM. This will also come in handy as I am running high wattage H4 bulbs. In addition, I am adding a Haltech Sprint 500 EFI computer to the vehicle to control the engine. I stubbed necessary wiring under the seat to control this unit. I sourced all correct colored tracer wires, upgraded all power connections and even used original German non-insulated wiring connectors.

Hours and hours of planning, collecting parts, supplies and most importantly, making darn sure not to forget a single thing.   I planned this project to take the better part of a month to complete, however to my surprise, I worked out perfectly.  About 40 hours later, I have a complete harness built with all switches and lamp assemblies installed and ready for testing.  Stay tuned for more updates…

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Stainless Steel License Frames – Shipping

As the cost of gasoline increases, we all feel the pinch in some way or another.  For Goodspeed Motoring we really feel the pinch in the cost to ship products to our customers.  As we see these costs continue to increase, we are always looking into cost saving solutions to help.  About a year ago we introduced USPS Priority Mail to our shipping selection.  Although this solution cannot work for every product, this has really offered a excellent solution for several of our small items.

Now the USPS is offering more sizes of packaging, so we are able to implement more of our cost saving shipping solutions.  The solution that I am very excited about affects our very popular stainless steel license frames.  Getting a pair of our frames delivered for only $5.35 anywhere in the country.  This solution can save an average of $6.00 on shipping costs.  So check out our selection of US made license plate frames and be even happier at the checkout.

Jeremy Goodspeed

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License Plate Frame Security Caps

License Plate Frame Security CapsOur License Frame Security Caps are a unique anti-theft concept of concealing your frame and mounting hardware from potential tampering or theft. A quality product, machined in Germany from solid stainless steel for a substantial one-piece appearance and to last for years of exterior use.

Packaged and sold in sets of two and includes a special hand tool to install your hidden mounting hardware.

Check Out Our Excellent Selection of Stainless Steel License Plate Frames

If it takes you three trips around the parking lot to find the perfect parking space; if you religiously have your car washed every week; or if you treat your vehicle like a member of the family – then clearly, our products are for you. Our premium line of stainless steel license plate frames have been embraced for over twenty years by people who are serious about their vehicles. Designed and made for the serious car addict. Our license frames are guaranteed for 4 years of exterior use and proudly Made in the USA.

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Ceramic Fuse Holder

Ceramic Fuse HolderIf you are restoring a 60′s or 70′s european car, then these are for you! We have sourced a correct fuse holder for a variety of applications. Use in line for back-up lights, radios or any other need. Includes a 8 amp ceramic fuse, and can be used with 14-18 awg wire. Check out our ceramic fuse holders here.

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Wurth Quick Fresh – Leather Scent

Wurth Quick Fresh - Leather ScentWurth Quick Fresh series of air fresheners are highly effective of removing odors and making a vehicle smell clean and fresh. Wurth Quick Fresh – Leather Scent can be used in two ways. First: a quick spray for a fresh an clean interior smell. Or second: It can be set as a deodorizing bomb for lingering and tough odors.

Wurth Quick Fresh is available in 3 scents:

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Baby Got New Shoes! – Restoring Porsche Aluminum Wheels

Cleaning Porsche Aluminum Wheels There is a distinct difference between a Porsche owner, and a Porsche guy. Not a single person who thinks of themselves as a Porsche guy would be caught without the alloy crest center caps properly aligned with the valve stem. The proper alignment is to point the bottom tip of the center crest directly to the valve stem. So taboo if they are not aligned, that it is a 1 point deduction per non aligned center crest at a Porsche concours event.

A super original 41,000 mile 1988 Carrera Cabriolet came into our facility this week that needed new tires. The DOT code on the tires showed that they were 14 years old, and in my opinion not safe. I mentioned to the client that I would do a very specific detail mount to the tires and attend to several items that need some correction. A detail mount consists of a super through cleaning of the rims after removal from the vehicle and a hand polishing to the painted and anodized surfaces to restore the finish to like new condition. When we mount the tires, we are careful to align the Michelin logo also with the valve stem. Can you say OCD? Once mounted, we carefully balance the assembly and even use a black powder coated wheel weight to blend with rims original finish. We even dressed the tires on both sides using Wurth Non-Silicone Cockpit Care.

Cleaning Porsche Aluminum Wheels Once the rims were properly restored, we attended to the alloy center caps. They were original, and the black anodized coating was faded and looking worn. We sanded the aluminum finish, and coated the bare surface with SEM Self Etch Primer. Self etch primer ensures proper adhesion between the aluminum and the top coat finish. After the self etching primer has a chance to flash, we top coated the center caps with SEM Original Trim Paint. We applied 3 even coats to each center cap and allowed to dry for 30 minutes. Once dry, we reinstalled them onto our detailed rim and tire assembly.

The final step was to reinstall the rim, hand torque the alloy lug nuts to exactly 94 foot pounds. The final result was a perfect set of alloy wheels on a much deserving car.

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Acura MDX Dash Vent Repair

Acura MDX Dash Vent Repair Often as we work on vehicles for our clients, we uncover problems that either the customer was unaware of, or had no idea that we could repair. This week we were doing the usually cosmetic enhancement on a 2007 Acura MDX. Our client was unaware that the adjustment lever on the right side dash vent had broken. After doing a Google search on this topic, I found that it is a very common failure, usually costing the customer 1 hour of labor, plus a part cost of over $100.00. OUCH!

After speaking to the customer, he authorized me to replace the broken part. So I started the process of removing the dash vent, which by the way does not take anywhere near an hour to remove and replace.

Once the vent was removed, I started looking at the mechanism and decided to try to repair the vent assembly before throwing a hundred bucks at a replacement part. Having all the parts, it was obvious that a small tab failed, causing the two piece sliding knob to split apart. As with many plastic repair parts, a two part epoxy will create a bond that is either as strong or stronger that it was originally. After making a shim to lock the slider plate from moving, I decided to use Wurth Fix All. Wurth Fix all is a two part epoxy using a 1:1 mixture ratio, and utilizes a mixer tip to properly blend the two parts perfectly before the resin comes out of the tip. Used in conjunction of the Wurth Fix All applicator Gun, it made it easy to apply a small bead to the lower half of the mechanism. Acura MDX Dash Vent Repair I then placed the upper half of the slider into the bead of resin. A firm press, holding for only a minute or two set the resin until it was stable enough to completely dry. I placed a piece of masking tape over the slider to ensure firm pressure until dry and left it undisturbed overnight.

The next morning, it was perfect! I was careful when applying the resin as not to interfere with any of the vertical or horizontal movements. They all worked just as it was intended. I reinstalled the vent and saved my client from an expansive part replacement.

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