Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Grey Hatch - When it rains it pours Pt. 2

Now there are many reasons the speaker hole looks like this; I've had one major stereo install on this car since owning it and I've swapped in speakers here and there. Since I don't trust myself with wiring/snaking, I let my front components be installed by the same guys every time I need something done and swap out the rear coaxials myself. At some point the hole for the front pass speaker wiring grew in size and when the water hose test was performed (thanks beff), I could see that any water going into the crevice where the side mirror and window meet would come shooting out the break in the vapor barrier where the speaker hole was. Accordingly, the back of the speaker was wet (but thankfully didn't short out) and the screws for the +/- connections were rusty. Everything was way too wet to tape more plastic onto the existing film, and on top of that I was working outside while it was raining; the garage was occupied and I wouldn't have had enough space to work even if I was in there.

After vacuuming as much water out of the carpet as I could while the rain slowed to a mist, I took some plastic bags I had from my last wheel shipment and made a shower curtain of sorts. I also used some towels and some super absorbent microfiber drying towels to jam in both the speaker hole and reinforce the towel I had jammed into the door sill under where the water was coming from. I did another hose test to see how it fared...and it was...good enough. I laid an unopened trash bag over the roof and door mirror to keep as much water from going into my rigged 'diaphragm' while parked.

Far from pretty. Anyways I drove to work and squeezed the water out of the towels at a nearby gas station (and again that night when the rain stopped). I arrived at WSC the following morning and Tom came out to assess the situation; there were multiple problems. For one, at some point between when it was resprayed and now, the front sunroof drain plugs worked their way inside the body, on both sides, with no where to drain but in. I never paid attention to this before as I've never had leaks pointing to this being a problem before; now they're positioned like they should have been.

Lastly, the vapor barrier on the front door obviously needed replacing. While I had the card removed I also needed to remove the doorcard guide clips, door handle and mirror lever so I could put a clean sheet in right on the metal in the original location. The door handles were kinda tricky to remove until I found the release tab, but everything was straight forward until it came to the doorcard guide clips. FYI, these guide clips you see below in this crap cell phone pic are NLA in the US. Be careful not to break these during removal as you'll have to source spares already installed on another car or possibly European VW/Audi dealers; I haven't bothered to check. You may think you'll need needle nose pliers or something to get them out, but all it takes is a good finger tip squeeze to get the 'arrowhead fins' in while pulling them from the outside. The clip under the mirror is a bitch to get to, but it can be worked out with a flat head screwdriver, to do the squeezing action, from the outside. I'm 6'1" and have big hands so if I can take these things out, anyone can.

Once everything was out, Tom came over and helped me lay on the film. He wiped the surface down first with some alcohol/prep fluid first then we laid it on good and tight. I rubbed over the contoured areas that needed to be sealed for water run off. Then I did a bucket of water test, after making all the holes for the door parts, with positive results. Unfortunately I think we put the film on too tight as putting the doorcard on took some work to flex the film a bit; I'll remember that for next time. I cleaned up everything, picked up some food from Nava Thai (delicious) a block up the street, put the factory barrier foam/doorcard/speaker and sill panel back together and got on the road.

I razored everything tidy, but left some extra film wrapped around the bottom of the door because I'm paranoid and want to have the option of slacking up some film later if needed. I'm leaving the seat out until things dry out completely and I decided to drive the golf for another week or so to make sure things are right enough to wash it and return it to the garage. Facing problems head on is always the best way to go and it'll be nice to find out how well my new barrier functions with abnormally wet conditions; this week there will be 4 days of rain in a row starting today (Oct 3rd). Wish me luck.

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