VW Bus Buying Advice

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omacdon2
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by omacdon2 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:09 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

Haha I'm a little scared to hear what you have to say about the power brakes, dualport cylinder heads, and distributers, but come at me... :D
Do you think I would need to replace all of this and the engine while I'm at it / do a total restoration?

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JLT
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by JLT » Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:57 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:21 am

Ask me an Robbie what we think of pansy tippy-toe power brakes and fragile Faberge aluminum egg dualport cylinder heads and the this that and the other advance/retard on the distributors . . . go ahead, ask us.
Well, let us agree to differ here about the power brakes. As you know from my book, I misspent much of my life in the hang gliding world, where I racked up more miles going up and down mountains than most people do in a lifetime. During that time, I had two buses, a 70 with drum front brakes and a 71 with disc front brakes. I thought the difference was like night and day. But I agree with you that the single-port heads are a lot more robust than the dual-port heads.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

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Amskeptic
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Dec 04, 2018 4:27 pm

JLT wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 3:57 pm
Amskeptic wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:21 am

Ask me an Robbie what we think of pansy tippy-toe power brakes and fragile Faberge aluminum egg dualport cylinder heads and the this that and the other advance/retard on the distributors . . . go ahead, ask us.
Well, let us agree to differ here about the power brakes. As you know from my book, I misspent much of my life in the hang gliding world, where I racked up more miles going up and down mountains than most people do in a lifetime. During that time, I had two buses, a 70 with drum front brakes and a 71 with disc front brakes. I thought the difference was like night and day. But I agree with you that the single-port heads are a lot more robust than the dual-port heads.

I was just yanking chains. Sheesh I am 0 for 2 today and we have only si-FIVE members left.
I love my tippy-toe power brakes on the BobD and NaranjaWesty, and I love having to get into it with Chloe. All that effort makes me remember that all-wheel drum brakes need to be used sparingly.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

TrollFromDownBelow
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by TrollFromDownBelow » Tue Dec 04, 2018 6:56 pm

At least no one has taken exception to my opinion that the 71's are the prettiest bays. :geek:

To Colin's point - it's a good deal at $6800, but you will have to put some money in it. You will not find a 'perfect' bus for anything close to $10k... if you want turn key you would most likely have to double that....at least. Who cares if it is dual port...enjoy it for while the heads last and convert to single port heads if you desire after they wear out. The bus is solid. from the pics interior looks relatively unmolested. If need be, you could buy a turn key long block for $2k- $3k if the engine is completely toast (which I don't think it would be) and still be money ahead.
1976 VW Bus aka tripod
FI ...8 completely solid lifters.... now it's both kinda noisy and leaky, but she sure runs good!
hambone wrote: There are those out there with no other aim but to bunch panties. It's like arguing with a pretzel.
::troll2::

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asiab3
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by asiab3 » Tue Dec 04, 2018 10:10 pm

Someone (not me) posted a picture of my bus at the top of Pike's Peak on a discussion forum last month. Of the 412 comments, a majority seem to be discussing what Porsche or Subaru engine it has. A large minority seem to also wonder about the brakes.

https://www.reddit.com/r/pics/comments/ ... _peak_on/

From my experience with a 1584cc Type 1 single port bus tuned for sea level and tippy-toe drum brakes, don't worry a single minute about what engine or brakes a car has. Make sure the car has good bones and has been cared for; you'll be ahead of the pack.

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

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Amskeptic
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:27 am

omacdon2 wrote:
Tue Dec 04, 2018 1:09 pm
Haha I'm a little scared to hear what you have to say about the power brakes, dualport cylinder heads, and distributers, but come at me... :D
Do you think I would need to replace all of this and the engine while I'm at it / do a total restoration?
I gotta stop kidding around. Any bus, properly set up is a joy.

If you have a 1971 bus, then I am all for keeping it a 1971 bus. I thoroughly believe in replacing absolutely nothing on that car except that which has been proved necessary.
A 1971 Chianti Red/Pastel White 7-passenger bus with a black leatherette interior is a lovely thing. Its power brakes are welcome companions in the mountains. The dualport 1600 (properly assembled, maintained) is a fine engine. That is your baseline.

IF your car has been frankensteined, then you will have decisions to make.
If you have a rusty aftermarket exhaust, do you get another aftermarket exhaust or do you hunt down an original exhaust (with the correct 537B tailpipe dammit)?
If your door panels are warped hideous wood paneling with monster speaker grills, do you revert to factory?
If your engine has been replaced with a bug engine without the bus mounting lugs, do you track down a bus-appropriate case or do you stick it out with a leaking oil pump due to the stresses being applied to it?

You are the person who takes inventory of your bus and you decide if you want to go towards stock or to some place different. I will be here (Robbie too!) to help guide you should you decide to stay near stock (where the value of the vehicle jumps crazily).
Colin

p.s. this is what happens when you get it all together. Note the correct 537B tailpipe dammit:

Image
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

omacdon2
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by omacdon2 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 6:11 pm

Thank you all so much for your responses and the picture is incredible Colin! I'm going to check out the bus on Sunday. :bounce: Anything specific I should look out for? I got the Idiot's Guide VW book and will probably use the buyer chapter to inspect it before buying it.

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asiab3
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by asiab3 » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:26 pm

That's a great start; though the book was written when the cars were MUCH newer, most of the inspection advice is sound. Rust is a significantly bigger concern now than it was 30 years ago, and the prices mentioned don't hold water anymore, since these cars aren't available at any dealerships. :cyclopsani:

Take. Pictures. Especially concern yourself with rust-prone areas like the rockers, doglegs, battery trays, bottoms of doors, and front/rear corners.

Do not be ashamed of towing or trailering the bus home if you cannot guarantee its roadworthiness, and this INCLUDES brand new properly fitting fuel lines, tending to all disconnected electrical wires that seem to hang around. It's better to have one ride on a trailer now than another one later.

Where are you located? Got a local VW club with some veteran members that you could ask to tag along and guide you? Even those folks who insist on chrome engine parts :pukeright: often know where to look for rust and hidden damage.

Good luck with the inspection!
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

TrollFromDownBelow
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by TrollFromDownBelow » Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:39 pm

That there is a loaded question....if you can do a lotus position on top of the bus (and no, heck no, I am not flexible to do that) go for it.

Although I think the samba has a sticky somewhere ... so does ratwells site about buying a bus that is more in tune with buying an older bus vs. the idiots guide when these buses were still in production.

If you have 0 experience with A/C Veedub's I would encourage you to bring someone that does. If not effit, throw caution to the wind and go with your gut.

FWIW - When I bought mine, it was a 12 hour drive away so I paid someone on the Samba $20 for gas money to go check it out. It did give me peace of mind flying out and buying something sight unseen. Granted, I had wheel bearing issues and breeak downs on the way home, but hey, it just added to the story. :)

Biggest concern is rust. I would check out the areas (behind) the layers of bondo cracks and try to determine if it was collision damage, or if they are hiding rust. I have heard of rust laden east coast bus ending up on the west coast, getting a quick Macco job with slathers of Bondo, then advertised as a clean west coast bus and being bought by some poor slob back on the east coast thinking it was rust free. Based on your pics, don't think that is the case here, but caveat emptor.

Edit: Looks like Robby beat me to the punch as I was pounding away on my keyboard, but in essence we are both saying the same thing.
1976 VW Bus aka tripod
FI ...8 completely solid lifters.... now it's both kinda noisy and leaky, but she sure runs good!
hambone wrote: There are those out there with no other aim but to bunch panties. It's like arguing with a pretzel.
::troll2::

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tommu
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by tommu » Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:15 am

Agree with the Troll and Robbie. Rust! Take a flashlight and a magnet and dedicate yourself to calmly exploring it for rust. Go underneath first, check the beam, the chassis, try and look wherever water or road salt may collect. Then look at the door bottoms - use your magnet to see if they are made of metal or bondo. Look at the body panels from different angles and again hunt for evidence of shoddy workmanship or a cover up.

Try to plan your inspection for thoroughness before you get there. Rust first, then paint, then evidence for how this Bus has been treated over the years. What is clearly original and what is not. Do not rationalize away anything you find as 'easy to fix' or 'probably not a huge issue'. Take it down in a bullet point list, photograph and discuss it here on this forum. It's very very easy to persuade yourself to buy a thing you've been hunting for for an age.

Good luck, I hope it works out for you!

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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by omacdon2 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 8:06 am

Thanks guys. I'm located in MA, near the Boston area and these are the vw clubs the state https://www.thesamba.com/vw/clubs/index.php I might try contacting someone from one of the clubs to see if they would want to come along. I also met a guy at a vw car show in October that I could try to get in touch with again. I'm not completely clueless about VW buses thanks to the many VW car shows I've been to, books, and videos, but I haven't worked on a bus or driven one for that matter. I really appreciate all the tips!

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JLT
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by JLT » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:13 am

You might find these folks helpful:

https://vvwca.com/

the Massachusetts contact is:

Bruce M. Smith, (State Rep),
376 Main St., Oxford, MA. 01540,
vwsmiths.bms@gmail.com,
774-289-4142

Good luck.
-- JLT
Sacramento CA

Present bus: '71 Dormobile Westie "George"
(sometimes towing a '65 Allstate single-wheel trailer)
Former buses: '61 17-window Deluxe "Pink Bus"
'70 Frankenwestie "Blunder Bus"
'71 Frankenwestie "Thunder Bus"

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asiab3
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by asiab3 » Thu Dec 06, 2018 6:04 pm

Giving new meaning to "contact your state representative," are we now John? ;)

…And the club seems to have long arms everywhere, so they're a worthwhile reach-out I believe.
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

omacdon2
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by omacdon2 » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:04 pm

Update! I went to take a look at the bus today, but unfortunately it had a lot of hidden rust covered with bondo, a dead battery, dead engine, very loose pulley, a hole in the driver's floor, and a loose clutch. The hunt continues....
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Amskeptic
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Dec 09, 2018 6:41 pm

omacdon2 wrote:
Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:04 pm
Update! I went to take a look at the bus today, but unfortunately it had a lot of hidden rust covered with bondo, a dead battery, dead engine, very loose pulley, a hole in the driver's floor, and a loose clutch. The hunt continues....

Actually? Nothing in your pictures or description threw me.

We have a good member near you in maybe Littleton. He drives a 747 for his day job, curtp07. He might be a good companion for a little check-out trip.
Colin
[throw him a little gas money, those 747s get about 5gpm (gallons per mile)]
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

TrollFromDownBelow
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Re: VW Bus Buying Advice

Post by TrollFromDownBelow » Sun Dec 09, 2018 8:55 pm

^^^^ what he said .... but if you do have pictures of rust covered bondo, that would be intriguing. loose clutch, loose pulley and a dead battery can be fixed in about an hour.... for all three.
1976 VW Bus aka tripod
FI ...8 completely solid lifters.... now it's both kinda noisy and leaky, but she sure runs good!
hambone wrote: There are those out there with no other aim but to bunch panties. It's like arguing with a pretzel.
::troll2::

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