CC Repairs: Fixing a Pair of Blue Cars

Having done nothing to my VW last year other than change the oil, I decided that this year I would try to catch up to the maintenance curve a bit. So I ordered some parts.

When I refurbished my 1963 Beetle around 10 years ago, most parts were advertised in three levels of quality:  Cheap Brazilian, Good Brazilian, and German.  I tried to use mostly German quality parts from Wolfsburg West, however buying from them is expensive in Canada because the shipping and import duty can be quite substantial.  Many items subsequently were bought from CIP1, which has both a USA and Canada website.  Shipping is free so long as I spend more than $100, which is usually not hard.

I needed $10 to put me over the $100 threshold, so I selected a license light seal.  When my package arrived I removed the old seal, and found a respectable amount of dirt under it.  My VW lives under a maple tree during the summer and accumulates tree dirt rapidly.

To my surprise the old seal and the new seal were identical.


Made in Taiwan, they even came from the exact same mold cavity.  I find these details interesting since I briefly worked in a plastic moldmaking shop during my student days.


Here’s the new seal installed, as you can see it doesn’t fit very well in the spaces between the bolt holes.  I kind of miss Brazilian parts, maybe I should have held out for a German unit.  As I recall the original one did that too, and eventually shrank into a better fit.  Being exactly the same part I at least know it’ll last for 7-10 years.


The other blue car I worked on this week is our 2013 Ford Focus.  It’s had a rattle in the passenger door since we bought it.  I took it to the dealer once and they charged me $100 to not fix it, so this week I pulled the door apart to try and find it.  I have a roll of FatMat lying around leftover from the VW project, so I cut some pieces and pasted them wherever I could while I was in there.

The rattle is most pronounced during cold weather, but I found that banging the top of the door frame still made the rattle.  I’d been banging away for about half an hour with my left arm up the speaker hole, just about ready to give up when I finally found it:


There’s a bracket that supports the front glass channel, but it’s not fastened to it.  I got a rubber band from a head of broccoli and slipped it over the end of the bracket.  I could only see this with my fingers, so stuck my phone up in the door and took this photo after I was done.  I think that’s my first use of broccoli in a vehicle repair.

So there’s two down.  I still have battery cables, jack points, and throttle cable extender to do on the VW in the next few weeks.  On the Focus I will try and tackle the smell this summer.  When we bought it the car it had been cleaned and detailed, and did not smell funny.  I now speculate that it was previously owned by a family of chain smoking, incontinent sheepdogs.


Anyway, classic car maintenance never ends, and daily driver maintenance never ends as well.  Further updates as the situation warrants.