Fixing my car

Summer is coming, and it’s time to fix a few issues in my car! First of all, the easy and fun part: my air vent had a few flaps missing, so I wanted to remake them. Easy peasy! A few minutes with a caliper and CAD, and the design was ready:flapI then printed the file on Crunchlab‘s 3D printer and after a few tests I got this:

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Looks good and works too! We only had orange PLA, and this has two drawbacks: it’s orange (duh) and PLA is not the best choice here as it degrades with heat and moisture, and there’s plenty of both in the AC system. I’ll reprint them as soon as we get some black ABS filament, but it doesn’t look bad now:

20150212_131002Download the STL files

The other big problem, that’s affecting almost all SLKs, is the interior rubber paint stripping over time:
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Fixing this requires removing all the interior plastics, stripping the paint and repainting them, typically with products from volico.de.
So I started disassembling the car, taking mental notes of the cablings and internal spaces for some future mods.

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The “good” part of that job is that you don’t need chemical paint strippers to remove the paint, because I noticed that the paint gets soft and sticky when the weather is hot and wet. So I threw everything in the bathtub, filled it with warm water and left it there overnight. That softened up the paint and I was able to peel it with my fingers, using some boiling water for the difficult parts.

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The black underlying  plastic is not bad, so I decided to not repaint it as I don’t want to ruin it again and I’m not good at painting either. Before reassembling everything, I had to fix one last thing! The cabin air gets moisty quite fast in winter, and that fogs up windows. I haven’t smelled a bad smell from outside in a while, so I guesed that the recirculation door was not working as it should. I checked all the basic troubleshooting stuff that I found on this AWESOME thread but everything seemed fine; after hours of looking at the mechanism I found out that I was missing the return spring on the flap, so it was stuck to internal recirculation:

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I looked around on the floor under the carpets and behind the wall as that’s where the spring should have ended up if it snapped, but it was nowhere to be found. Luckily, I had a spring in my springs drawer that fitted good with a few mods. Replacing it requires removing the whole unit, and that requires A LOT of effort. I decided to take the lazy route and spend hours swearing trying to fit my hand, a screwdriver and pliers in the tiny space left between the unit and the car frame, and was finally able to install the new spring. I don’t have any pictures of that, because of the swearing and because I couldn’t fit any camera in there.

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