The Dwan Cautionary Tale

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Amskeptic
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The Dwan Cautionary Tale

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:20 am

As James mentioned in another post nearby, I have visited several times over the past couple of years. Once, I even saw a splitty, a blue tired 1959. Then I didn't. Over many visits, I inquired about the splitty and was treated to various tales of restoration delays and mishaps and delays and then the stories got a bit severe. So, when James mentioned that the splitty was actually ensconsed in his garage, well, I had to visit.

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Though ostensibly, I was there to fix the drain plug insert leak on the '77, we gravitated towards the beautiful splitty that was just asking to be looked at. And the stories that I had patiently suffered through over the years took on a life right before my eyes. My God.

Look, beautiful is beautiful, we can all agree on that, beautiful is a beautiful thing. But damn, the instant that beautiful becomes the end, the goal, the reason, all hell breaks loose. Beauty is something that happens on your way to something else. Like, if you love a VW you had best be aware of what made them great, do your part to get that greatness back, and then you can look at the resultant beauty.

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What the hell good is a shiny pretty bus that can't steer, stop, or go or keep out the rain? These cars were tough old workhorses. You owe it to them to make them tough again. They happened to be light precise German engineering, so! Make them light, tight, and precise! They happened to be beautifully finished along the way. So, make them beautifully finished.



We attempted to adjust the stop plate and the front shift rod coupler just came apart. You can't just cram a M8 bolt up there, you have to have a grub screw. The right front tie rod was spinny loose, but it sure was shiny! The rebuilt center pin/bushing assembly was looser than any 200,000 mile beater. Brake hoses tied in knots, leaky rebuilt transaxle, leaky rebuilt reduction gearboxes that were contaminating the brand new rear brake shoes, a side window that could not close because the hinge support weld was so far off, doors that dropped when you opened them, a choke cable that was dragging along the ground, a steering box with no oil in it, a clutch pedal that clanked and an accelerator cable that stuck annoyingly, this was a Restoration That Cost Plenty, and it belongs to a man who showed all due diligence and care and enthusiasm, who researched the details exhaustively, who tracked down the parts, and whose intention was to honor these cars in the highest possible way.

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I found the car difficult to drive, the maiden voyage was fraught with anxiety over attending to the sloppy steering, sloppy shifting, noisy release bearing, brakes that did not inspire faith, and that is not a 1959 Volkswagen. The people who worked on this car ought to be hanged for negligence.

Though James and I were beat with fatigue and tinges of disappointment, the car itself spoke through the negligence,
"I Am Waiting To Show You What I Am About".
And I hope James perseveres too, I would be hacked, infuriated, demoralized, but I hope James is made of sterner stuff. During this test drive, I could sense the Volkswagen that awaits our discovery, drop-dead gorgeous, distinct, tough, reliable, light, and precise. I was utterly charmed by this car.
Make it happen James, I will try to help.
Colin

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BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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Oregon72
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Post by Oregon72 » Wed Sep 15, 2010 11:56 am

WOW - that is purdy!!!!
-'72 Westy-

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:04 pm

That is precisely why you should do it yourself. Spending money does not have the same heart.
Besides,
Beauty is something that happens on your way to something else.
We are all watermelons hurlting over the cliff edge. A joyous, terrible, perilous drop. It's just the way it goes. 1959 is long gone but we can still enjoy the phantoms of those age. But ultimately it is gone and only thru the trickery of our minds can we truly time travel. On our way to something else.
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Elwood
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Post by Elwood » Wed Sep 15, 2010 12:29 pm

Huba Huba =D> What a beautifull bus and also two guys that love them.

Call me crazy but I will always get a thrill out of men that take care of their rides. And that includes you too glasseye. :pirate:

Like your beard Colin.

Barb
'69 weekender ~ Elwood

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James Dwan
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Post by James Dwan » Wed Sep 15, 2010 1:19 pm

I am in no way defending the body shop that did the majority of the work, but they were primarily hired to do the cutting out of the rust and replacing the metal and paint. They ended up doing the windows because they were too far behind to have the window frames and glass put together when it traveled to Sewfine. They were the ones I hired to put in the headliner, rag top and windows. However, one of the pop out frames is so badly welded that the window won't close, at least 2 doors do not shut properly, the belly pans were welded on AFTER the Bus was painted causing some paint to burn off around the jack holes that now have primer on them even though I gave him 3 more months past the due date before I took it back.
The engine was to be handled by someone else but the Bus was delivered with no fuel tap, starter, and the bushing in the tranny was actually 12 volt! This caused the mechanic to work over time and I suspect that is why the choke cable was left un done. He also did not have a chance to start the engine in the Bus so had no idea about the throttle issue since I am the one who hooked that up. I am hoping a spring replacement will resolve that issue.
The tranny & RGBs were definitely their responsibility and I have 2 ruined white wall tires to show for it.
The front suspension was covered in our agreement and depending on how easy it will be to fix it will determine the likely hood of a lawsuit. In fact if averything that is still wrong can't be fixed for under the cost of a retainer ($1,500) that is exactly what will happen.
This is a case of a body shop owner who has a few split buses that wanted to make a name for himself in the texas VW community but bit off more than he could chew, got 90% done and realized he had lost too much money on the learning curve to continue. then let the bus sit in the back of his shop for 3 months while working on other VWs to pay the bills and just let mine sit and avoided my calls until I could stand it no longer.

I mentioned on Bus only email list about my unhappiness and I got a threatening text from the business owner propositioning me, if I had the balls, to meet him any where to settle it! Of course I have sent the text to my email address for posterity...
'73/'77 Westfakia
'78 Super Vert
'59 23 Window Deluxe

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glasseye
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Post by glasseye » Wed Sep 15, 2010 5:10 pm

Elwood wrote: Call me crazy but I will always get a thrill out of men that take care of their rides. And that includes you too glasseye. :pirate:
Barb
Even though Frito still wears a dented fender?

But that bus there, that got even ME a little bit chubby. :bom: Gorgeous.

Like a good woman, that bus deserves as much love as you can pass along.
"This war will pay for itself."
Paul Wolfowitz, speaking of Iraq.

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satchmo
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Post by satchmo » Wed Sep 15, 2010 7:48 pm

James,

Let me take that problem child of a bus off your hands. You have had enough trouble with that one. :joker:

Tim
By three methods we may learn wisdom:
First, by reflection, which is noblest;
second, by immitation, which is easiest;
and third, by experience, which is bitterest. -Confucius

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hiwaycallin
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Post by hiwaycallin » Wed Sep 15, 2010 8:35 pm

How did you manage to get that license plate number???

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Hippie
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Post by Hippie » Thu Sep 16, 2010 4:11 am

I wish I didn't live so far north and in the middle of nowhere. It would be cool to have unscheduled drop-ins from Colin.

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sped372
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Post by sped372 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 6:15 am

hiwaycallin wrote:How did you manage to get that license plate number???
Even more amazing, it's '888 8888' in one photo and '88 888' in the other!?!
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

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spiffy
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Post by spiffy » Thu Sep 16, 2010 7:12 am

Woof, sorry to hear of the troubles.

Luckily, these old splits have very very very simple major mechanical systems and if you can get the parts on hand you can have a mechanicaly restored rig to enjoy.

My 67 looks like crap on the outside but all the stuff that makes it stop, handle, and go is in top order and it was easy to get it that way.

Moral of the story: your goal is very achievable and you are closer then you think. :cheers:
78 Riviera "Spiffy"
67 Riviera "Bill"

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James Dwan
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Post by James Dwan » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:41 am

Thanks for all the encouraging words. Last night as I fell asleep I realized i never fully explained why I mentioned that the body shop did the windows instead of Sewfine.
Basically I had 2 vent windows, a Sigla on the drivers side and a Sekurit on the passenger side when it went in, when I got it back the Sigla was on the passenger side with the logo on the inside. Reading backwards from the outside! They were confused by the fact that I had 2 passenger side vent windows.
So they had a 50/50 chance of putting back correctly and they failed, much like when they put the rear view windows on the wrong sides... One is taller (passenger) and one is shorter.
Anyway I cannot slide the driver's side window a mm. Not sure what to do about that. They broke 3 of the pop outs when installing them because, I found out later, they did not remove the tac from the window rubber and it caused the windows to break I guess from the minute extra coating causing a fitting issue. I demanded they take off the labor charge.
Unfortunately they were 3 pristine Sigla windows and they are rare as hens teeth in that condition. I have been able to replace 2 of them with Sekurit for the time being.

I figured the rest of the mechanical issues would be easy enough to figure out on my own so that is why i took it back when i did. I was told the paint issues were fixed, unfortunately they weren't but they are around the belly pans and jack points so they should be.

My present conundrum is the turn signals and the fact that my brake lights only work if the lights aren't on. I am going to go back over the screw holes for the lights and remove the paint to allow a better ground and possibly get a new flasher relay. Hopefully that will fix the last electrical gremlin.
'73/'77 Westfakia
'78 Super Vert
'59 23 Window Deluxe

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Post by Birdibus » Sat Sep 18, 2010 8:37 am

sped372 wrote:
hiwaycallin wrote:How did you manage to get that license plate number???
Even more amazing, it's '888 8888' in one photo and '88 888' in the other!?!
Two versions? Ha ha funny I had not seen that. I was wondering if there was a B mixed into those 8s.
71 bus, 74 westy

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sat Sep 18, 2010 4:29 pm

Birdibus wrote:
sped372 wrote:
hiwaycallin wrote:How did you manage to get that license plate number???
Even more amazing, it's '888 8888' in one photo and '88 888' in the other!?!
Two versions? Ha ha funny I had not seen that. I was wondering if there was a B mixed into those 8s.
LISTEN Mr. Photoshop HERE was in a little bit of RUSH and had to make it happen for my esteemed customer, oKAY?? Sheese, the "cut" part of the "paste" was too big to fit the requisite "8" into the confines of the license plate in the first photograph I NEVER SAID I WAS A ARTIST . . . wait a minute, yes I did.
Colin :blackeye:
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 129,490 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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