Under your own power

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Sylvester
Bad Old Puddy Tat.
Location: Sylvester, Georgia
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Under your own power

Post by Sylvester » Tue May 26, 2020 6:10 am

When your Bus is laid up for a few years, you find the time to clean it out and remove all the trash, wrappers, and everything else form the nooks crannies and storage compartments as I did. I removed everything, including my tools and spare parts to clean out everything. Sam the Bus has been on the road weekends since Colin's visit in November of last year. The wife and I had wanted to go camping since, and I wanted to make sure all was well with Sam before taking a trip in her. This past Memorial day weekend we drove two hours away to a Georgia state park for one night of camping in the Bus, the first time in six years I believe. One thing I had been noticing in Sam was a slow start, I had been tweaking my carburetor since I am the one who rebuilt it years ago. I was getting too much air via no proper plugs for the carburetor and finally got them all plugged up. Off we went to the hills, I noticed Sam fully loaded with gear does not go up the hills like she used to, but she did with no overheating. Everyone loved the Bus, many stopping by our site to admire Sam and ask questions.

When it was time to leave, Sam was hard to fire up more so than before. But she did, and away home we went. About a half hour down the road Sam cut out on the highway like I had just turned off the key. No RPM gauge activity, so I slowed to a side road and got out thinking my accelerator cable had come off. Nope, it was good. I checked to see for a loose wire and none, and Sam's oil dipstick was not burning hot. Sam fired slow but did start, so we ran a side road for awhile before getting back on the highway. Twenty minutes later she dies as before, I coast to a gas station and check her out again. This is where I realized I did not have my spare coil, voltage regulator and the majority of my tools in Sam anymore, even my Complete Idiot book is missing. After searching here the the Samba for clues to the issue, I call Colin because I really do not want to be towed home, and go over the possibilities. He surmises it is not the Pertonix as when that dies, it never works again. It may be a bad battery connection, so I take a nail file clean the cables and put them back on. He asked me to take the temperature of the coil. Yes, it was hot. Colin says the coil could be the culprit, and I try to remember how old it is. Talking to Colin re-assures me that I can do this on the road, that just not panicking and calm down and think it through, listen to your training (and Colin) and this will be handled.

Sam starts slow and we head out again, getting closer to home now we are fifty minutes away. Sam dies again, this time I am not near enough a road and we pull to a stop on the side of the highway. I call Colin again, he says do what you can where you are, I know I can't get a new Petronix (And I am pretty sure this is not the issue). So what can you do 50 miles form home on the side of a highway at 3:00PM on Memorial Day?

I come up with a plan.

I call my son and ask him to go to the local parts store and get me a new coil and bring it to me. It takes an hour, so the wife and I pull out chairs and sit next to Sam on the highway. If it works, well we are back on the road. If it doesn't, my son takes my wife home and I wait for the tow truck.

We joke about our situation, wondering what all the passerby people think when they see a VW Bus on the side of the road with two people sitting in chairs. "Hey man we pulled over to smoke some weed, we didn't want to while we were driving because that is dangerous!" My opinion in humanity drops a level, only one person stops to see if we need help. He owned a 67 Beetle years ago and agrees it sounds like a bad coil. He promises to come back in 20 minutes and bring tools if we need them. He did not make it back, I am not sure if he was held up or something else. Just his stopping brings me up a level, but no one else stopped on a busy highway to ask if we were ok. Coronovirus scare? Maybe, in this day of age who knows.

My son pulls up and hands me an aftermarket coil, no Bosch. I disconnect the blue Bosch I have and connect up the POC one. I am so nervous doing the busy work with my Leatherman (Always have one of these on you!), just to make sure I don't put the wrong wires on the coil I wrap a cut up band aid on the ones that go to the negative side. Yes I know what goes where, but I was so nervous I did not trust myself.

Sam fires up. She idles, so I let the wife ride back with the boy while I press on home. I watch the miles tick off my Waze to my exit, then side roads to home. All the time we were having issues the one thing that I kept thinking was, I do not want to call a tow truck, I will one way or another make it home under my own power.

Five hours after we started home, I pulled into the driveway.

My advice is to always make sure you have the obvious spare parts in your VW and tools. I was so preoccupied with all the gear for camping I left that check off the list. Also, if you have slow starting issues, check that coil. It may be about to die a slow death.

To my friend Colin I called out there, who reassured me and helped me calm down to the point of applying experience and deduction to a problem, I say many thanks for picking up and helping me narrow down the issue and getting me home under my own power.
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue, I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace. Where never lark, or even eagle flew. And, while with silent, lifting mind I've trod, The high untrespassed sanctity of space, Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Squeebles
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Re: Under your own power

Post by Squeebles » Sat Jun 06, 2020 5:23 pm

That was a great story, good reminders in there. Thanks for posting!
1977 VW Bus, 2.0 FI

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tommu
Addicted!
Location: Sunny Burbank
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Re: Under your own power

Post by tommu » Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:16 pm

That reminds me to get a spare coil. Once I have one I just know I'll not need it!

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Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
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Re: Under your own power

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jul 01, 2020 1:32 pm

tommu wrote:
Fri Jun 19, 2020 2:16 pm
That reminds me to get a spare coil. Once I have one I just know I'll not need it!
I, too, just had to replace a generic black coil that broke down under the heat of southern Florida. Fine when cold, cut out when warm, when the coil windings got warm.
Colin

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BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
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Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 89,009 miles

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