IAC Greetings From Irvine Part III

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Amskeptic
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IAC Greetings From Irvine Part III

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Nov 14, 2010 7:34 pm

It is SUNNY! It is 78* It makes me happy.

So yesterday I returned to Nathan@el's OrangeMobile Vanagon to babysit it through a California Smog Test.

We found out why his Vanagon was not running very happily. It had a standard high resistance coil lurking amongst the Hall Effect Ignition System. We went ahead and returned that poor engine to a nice breaker point and condensor distributor and a new coil from my stash. Then we plugged in all the original stuff (disabled of course- shhhhhhhh) and made the engine look as factory as we could except for the glaringly blue coil.

Image

He can post you the results of our exceedingly paranoid efforts to make sure we did not fail. You do not take this test lightly! It costs!

Then I spent endless minutes cobbling together a ridiculous new window regulator retainer, while I made him go figure out the reverse lamps, and repair the problem:

Image

. . . . and Nathan@el had to put the door panel back on, wondering mightily, I reckon, just what he was paying me for.

Image

We ended the day at Lanval's, a Consultation regarding what promises to be a punishing few days next week putting the Rad Rat Raddison RV's engine back together. It is my kind of fun.
Colin
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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nathan@el
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Post by nathan@el » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:13 pm

Yes, it was another very successful IAC day in Irvine! I was extremely happy to get the van smogable, as that is something that has been hanging over my head for three months now. I've actually been driving all around California illegally since I couldn't get my sticker without the smog (even though I paid my fees on time), which stressed me out quite a bit. But now I'm legal!

I am going to try and take a picture of the before and after smog tests, and then post them up here, since the difference is highly impressive. I failed miserably the first time around, but the van was running pretty bad then due to the coil problem that Colin mentioned, and possibly varying wiring or distributor issues as well. Now it's running the best it ever has in my 3.5 years of ownership. For now, suffice it to say that we beat the CO "max limit" by a factor of 10! Now, I already knew that Colin was a Type 4 expert, but this amazing result only reinforced for me how well he knows these engines! I don't think it could run any cleaner than it is right now.

After the elation of the smog test wore off a little bit, we heading back to my place to take care of some more minor, but also important, problems. My reverse lights hadn't worked for over a year, and I checked the bulbs and the fuse to no avail, and figured that it must be a problem with the switch on the transmission. But that sounded daunting to me, so I didn't put much effort into the problem until Colin arrived. It turns out that one of the two wires was just disconnected, which was a 30 second fix. Or, it should have been a 30 second fix, but the wire and boot were completely caked with think oil and grease, so I had to take care of that problem first. But it was still less than a 5 minute fix.

Colin and I also discovered, that of all the problems that can occur on an air-cooled Vanagon, who would have thought that fixing a broken passenger window would be one of the more trying ones! We spent a good hour at least trying to devise a way to keep the window from falling into the door, and in the end, we were ultimately successful, although the situation is still a little precarious. But, as Colin pointed out, I just need to tell my passengers to close the door CAREFULLY, and the entire problem SHOULD be solved.

Of course, one of the best things about the visit was the conversations that I shared with Colin. I always find Colin a joy to talk with on pretty much any topic (and this trip covered everything from the esoteric nature of relationships, cosmology, the economic crisis, and the ridiculous nature of public education), and this time was no different. Colin has an impressive array of knowledge on hand, and is always genuinely interested in engaging people in discussion, which I appreciate a lot.

The day ended at Lanval's garage, as the two discussed the large task at hand this week with that engine (replacing the heads). I know that will ultimately be successful as well!
Orange 1980 Vanagon L Westy
~190,000 miles on body
~20,000 on engine

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Mon Nov 15, 2010 10:50 pm

78? On Earth? How very strange....
Today was raking leaves, but alas the wet and powerful wind has dumped an equal amount. Such is progress. But the watercolor hues! A million billowing grays, skyward! Ah I love it. But the mountains are already socked in with feet of snow, oh well until June up high. And then you guys gots pineapples how very strange.
http://greencascadia.blogspot.com
http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
it balances on your head just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine
your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

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Birdibus
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Post by Birdibus » Thu Nov 18, 2010 10:48 pm

yes, Hambone, it's our little secret down here... sun. Chill and damp is soon to arrive though. Even soCal has some winter cold, though not like elsewhere.
71 bus, 74 westy

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Thu Nov 18, 2010 11:40 pm

nathan@el wrote:Yes, it was another very successful IAC day in Irvine!
The day ended at Lanval's garage, as the two discussed the large task at hand this week with that engine (replacing the heads). I know that will ultimately be successful as well!
At Lanval's garage:

Image

We had serious corrosion pockmarks along the WATER cooling sealing surfaces:
Image

Spent most of the day trying hard to build up and hand-sand "mill" a perfectly flat perimeter around protruding cylinder barrels and dangling hoses, wires, halogen lamps:
Image

Tomorrow, Friday, I hope we can get this thing together and drive it around even . . . before the rain.
Colin
(I will let Lanval fill you in on my drilling job on his water pump . . . . :pukeleft: )
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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Sylvester
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Post by Sylvester » Sun Nov 21, 2010 4:08 pm

So what happened? Was there an intermission?
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.

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Post by Lanval » Sun Nov 21, 2010 5:05 pm

Not so much of an intermission, as a beatdown. I think Colin won, but the jury is still out.

So here's the deal with the water pump. When I was removing the thermostat, one of the bolts broke off in the water pump, with only a very small bit of thread showing, making it difficult to get at.

Now remember, this van has been sitting in a field for 7 years, with rats peeing all over everything. The WP is yucky, in addition to having a bolt stuck in it.

Unlike myself, Colin tries to fix things. I basically said, "Hey, it's old and crappy, let's just replace it." Colin wanted to see if we could do it and save the money, so he cut a groove in it, and we tried to turn it. No dice, nor did using a chisel and hammer to break it loose help.

To be fair to C, the issue with the water pump was that he felt we had to remove the main belt pully from the crankshaft to do the water pump. I argued the Bentley doesn't actually say to do that when removing the pump for a head replacement. I've come to discover that relying on the Bentley to be accurate in these sorts of things is foolish at best, outright ignorant at worst. In any case, we were able to get the pump off, but it wasn't easy. Tight quarters for some of the bolts, but Colin's agile hands managed the trick. Here's the old pump:

[pix now deleted]

The rust on the pully is standard for everything we haven't cleaned or replaced.

Here's the driver's side head that was leaking:



Here's the driver's side with the new head on. You can see where the water pump was removed. There was about 1/2 inch of that brown sludge in the coolant reservoir which I cleaned out this morning. I can only guess what must be sitting in various low spots and crevices.

Here's the same new head from above; notice the mustache bar on the ground, with 3.9 broken engine mounts. Those were shipped and replaced with the water pump.

And here's the same head with the water pump, thermostat and fuel rail in place.



and here's what the engine looked like after Thursday night; sadly, Colin actually did the heads after I had to go to work. Got to watch him resurface the block's seating surfaces with JB Weld and spit, though.



and here's where the engine is today; alternator is back on, feul delivery system is in place, and now waiting for me to connect the hoses for the cooling system, fit the A/C compressor, power steering pump, and the belts. Then fill with fluids and drive to Oregon (just kidding about that last one).

I did run into some minor troubles. 1) The new coolant reservoir that I ordered from Van Cafe (who has been shipping me parts every other day for the last week) is wrong, so I had to clean out the old one and use it. Luckily, it appears to be in fine shape with no spiderwebs or cracks apparent. 2) one of the bolts for the power steering brackets had bad threads, so I had to replace it with a facsimile. 3) One of the hoses coming of the H pipe from the coolant reservoir has a big wedge missing and thread from the hose showing. It's gotta be replaced. I'll try to source that locally.

Colin is expected back here next Wednesday for the finishing touches. He thinks that if I try to start it, I will freak out. He's probably right. Besides, when the bolt I left in one of the cylinders starts going "punka-punka-punka" I want to see Colin's face.

Actually, I already saw him simultaneously evince both shock and awe in a single glance. I had hell's own time getting the exhaust off, because I figured the bolts wouldn't come apart easily. So I yanked, pulled and did all sorts of things to get the exhaust off, and then gave up and disassembled the bolts in question in about 5 minutes, and removed the exhaust in another 5.

Well, all that pulling/yanking bent the exhaust such that getting the exhaust to fit on was a real WORK. Colin was getting kind of testy, and no wonder. Kid Blunder here (that's me) had bent it up so bad that we basically had to use 1-2 jacks to get the different connections to line up. That exhaust system has more tension than a kindergarten teacher who gave up alcohol and cigarettes in the same week.

But he's Colin, so when I said, "give it up, I'll just go buy another one" His eyes practically popped out of his head. I mean, for a moment, just a moment, he did a spot on impression of Peter Lorre's character in Casablanca when he sees the gendarmes coming for him. He persevered, but it was a near thing. Unfortunately, dealing with that error sucked up a lot of time, and prevented us from finishing on Friday, as I had to go work for several hours in the evening, (Hey, someone's gotta pay for that new water pump!) so I'm going to sew everything up and bring the big C. back for one more day to make sure all is well, and see it run.

Personally, I just think he wants to sit in a luxurious Vanagon seat, and drive a premier VW product, with a more power engine (95hp!) and power steering (drive with one finger!).

Updates coming next Wednesday at the latest.

Best,

Lanval

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nathan@el
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Post by nathan@el » Mon Nov 22, 2010 7:42 pm

So, after getting the van finally running well, I decided to dive in and take a road trip up to Merced CA to visit a very good friend of mine (~300 miles each way). The van performed well, had more power for climbing the Grapevine than ever, ran about 40-50 degrees cooler than it had been in the past, and made the trip without even a hiccup.

However, my gas mileage is pretty abysmal. It was bad before, but now it is even worse. I averaged only 12-13 MPG during the entire trip, and one tank was as bad as 11.75 MPG. In the past (not the recent past, but the past) I was averaging more like 16 MPG, and even got a couple of 18 MPG tanks. What could be the problem here? The van seems to run awesome, so shouldn't it be getting better mileage? Any ideas of what to look at?
Orange 1980 Vanagon L Westy
~190,000 miles on body
~20,000 on engine

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hambone
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Post by hambone » Tue Nov 23, 2010 11:23 am

26 in Portland right now...and snow and ice. Call me nuts but it gives me warm memories of the Midwest. Maybe notso warm... :drunken:
It was fun driving in the Star Wars snowflakes last night and a quick surprise visit to Ruckman's new pad, slippy slidey in the lightweight bus. These things seem to drive like empty pickup trucks in the slick.
It's nice to see the sun again.
How are the rest of you faring this early winter?
http://greencascadia.blogspot.com
http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
it balances on your head just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine
your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Tue Nov 23, 2010 9:02 pm

nathan@el wrote:So, after getting the van finally running well, I decided to dive in and take a road trip up to Merced CA to visit a very good friend of mine (~300 miles each way). The van performed well, had more power for climbing the Grapevine than ever, ran about 40-50 degrees cooler than it had been in the past, and made the trip without even a hiccup.

However, my gas mileage is pretty abysmal. It was bad before, but now it is even worse. I averaged only 12-13 MPG during the entire trip, and one tank was as bad as 11.75 MPG. In the past (not the recent past, but the past) I was averaging more like 16 MPG, and even got a couple of 18 MPG tanks. What could be the problem here? The van seems to run awesome, so shouldn't it be getting better mileage? Any ideas of what to look at?
Plug in the oxygen sensor and see what happens, no long interstate travel.
With your CO and HC readings, the engine is running pretty efficiently, but let me know how the driveability and fuel economy and head temps are with the ox sensor plugged in.

I am noticing that the BobD has worse fuel economy when it is cold.
Colin
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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nathan@el
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Post by nathan@el » Wed Nov 24, 2010 12:30 am

Plug in the oxygen sensor and see what happens, no long interstate travel.
With your CO and HC readings, the engine is running pretty efficiently, but let me know how the driveability and fuel economy and head temps are with the ox sensor plugged in.

I am noticing that the BobD has worse fuel economy when it is cold.
Yeah, I was actually wondering if the cold weather had anything to do with it, but it still seems like a precipitous drop to me. I actually plugged the ox sensor back in earlier today, to see if that would make any difference. So far, I have noticed a definite increase in head temps (+/- 25 degrees), and I feel like the van has slightly less power as well, although that I am not as certain about thus far. Haven't driven far enough yet to see if there is any difference in MPG...
Orange 1980 Vanagon L Westy
~190,000 miles on body
~20,000 on engine

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Wed Nov 24, 2010 9:57 am

nathan@el wrote:
Plug in the oxygen sensor and see what happens, no long interstate travel.
With your CO and HC readings, the engine is running pretty efficiently, but let me know how the driveability and fuel economy and head temps are with the ox sensor plugged in.

I am noticing that the BobD has worse fuel economy when it is cold.
Yeah, I was actually wondering if the cold weather had anything to do with it, but it still seems like a precipitous drop to me. I actually plugged the ox sensor back in earlier today, to see if that would make any difference. So far, I have noticed a definite increase in head temps (+/- 25 degrees), and I feel like the van has slightly less power as well, although that I am not as certain about thus far. Haven't driven far enough yet to see if there is any difference in MPG...
Nothing wrong with higher head temps and less power right now in the deep freeze of Irvine, it is 58* !! I shall perish of chills.
ColinAtCampusStarbucks
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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hambone
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Post by hambone » Wed Nov 24, 2010 10:50 am

Wintering in Portland indeed! :drunken: Yeah yeah.
Perhaps ya should put some PANTS on to ward off the chills? :geek:
Or grow that beard big and bushy.

The sun has never shone so bright
after the chills and frights
and long never-dog days
of this lack of light
http://greencascadia.blogspot.com
http://pdxvolksfolks.blogspot.com
it balances on your head just like a mattress balances on a bottle of wine
your brand new leopard skin pillbox hat

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nathan@el
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Post by nathan@el » Fri Nov 26, 2010 1:49 am

So, after plugging the ox sensor back in, I now seem to be getting about 14MPG. Definitely better than before, but I feel like it should still be higher. Also, the van seems to run better without the ox sensor plugged in (lower head temps, a bit more power).

Is there anything else I should look at with this issue, or should I just accept the fact that these Type IV engines pushing around a Vanagon aren't going to get great mileage?
Orange 1980 Vanagon L Westy
~190,000 miles on body
~20,000 on engine

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Fri Nov 26, 2010 10:37 am

nathan@el wrote:So, after plugging the ox sensor back in, I now seem to be getting about 14MPG. Definitely better than before, but I feel like it should still be higher. Also, the van seems to run better without the ox sensor plugged in (lower head temps, a bit more power).

Is there anything else I should look at with this issue, or should I just accept the fact that these Type IV engines pushing around a Vanagon aren't going to get great mileage?
You are free to play now that we are on this side of the smog divide.
I expect a more dramatic improvement with the O2 sensor in the circuit.

This has its dangers (primarily a lean condition will blowtorch the exhaust valves and recede the valve seats).

A) Warm engine, with the O2 sensor unplugged, turn mixture screw CCW one turn. Idle still smooth? Top off gas tank and record mileage. Run a half tank down. Check fuel mileage and report back.

B) Next check we will go to the wiper adjustment . . . .;
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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