Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

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Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jul 25, 2015 11:19 am

An example of a typical hill climb on Interstate 5 here at Oregon Mile Marker 80 down to Oregon Mile Marker 78.

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Please notice that the steering wheel is not shimmying, the car is not vibrating, the Maxxis 751s that airkooledchris sold me in 2011 were rolling just fine at approximately 55,000 miles.

After my visit with Walter/BusBoys in Redding CA at 107*, I took CA-299 from the heat of the inland to the Pacific Ocean bathing Eureka forever and interminably in 58-62* mist. CA-299 is about 120 miles of hairpin curves that are slowly getting "realigned" in Caltrans speak:

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This guy looked to be in a little pickle. He had to use his shovel to slow his descent down the hill. I am pretty sure that he was on top of the situation, but as a passing motorist with really nice smooth well-balanced tires, it looked a bit dire up there:

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This guy looked to be in a little situation.
"Hey, watch those power lines."
"What?"
"Watch those power lines."
"What?"

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Actually, he was doing what I'd have to call a "high wire act" . . . . . .
( ba-da-ba-ddsshhhhh - I'll be here all decade )
with these guys experiencing a few tense moments on top of a high tension tower . . .

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I arrived in Eureka at 5:15PM. Went to Les Shwab Tires to get the new Maxxis 751 tires installed. The old ones had been so well-behaved that I was feeling a little disloyal (and in retrospect, stupid) to just tear them off while they still had tread over the wear bars, but I still recall a few tricky moments where they had begun to hydroplane a bit in the long-ago puddles of Indiana, Minnesota, Iowa . . .

"I got 'wide fives', can you balance these things? I am on the road until October, they have to work."
"Oh absolutely, we'll put our best guy on it."
Best Guy was pretty chatty while dismounting those nice stable old Maxxis tires and sticking on the new ones until he slopped the first wheel on the balancer with the biggest centering cone he had. He tightened and loosened the collar several times, then spun up the wheel. Bangabangabanga, we gots four huge lead ingot weights splatted all over the nice white wheel.
"Your wheel is bent."
"But symptom-free over the past 50,000 miles," I replied, "symptom-free and it only had a .75 and a 2.00 ounce weight in all of those miles."
"See here? That's a wobble, too, this tire is going to shimmy."
That was pretty much the last thing he said to me. He struggled with all of the other wheels, too, slamming weights on, then ripping them off, then putting on other weights to compensate. He left for the night some time while the lugs were being "torqued" with an impact. Once on the car, I spun the wheels and noted that there was less wobble and run-out than displayed on the balancer. Paid my $651.00 and did a little test run down the 101. Not only is the car undriveably shaky, the brakes are pulsing like mad. I am feeling stranded in Eureka. Got a call in the morning, then another one the next day, and another the day after, then I have to book to San Franciso. These new tires are going to get worn down in short order, yes, but what about the steering damper, the shock absorbers, the center pin bushings, think of all the parts that get eaten by a lousy wheel balance, what now?

Since wpinnix was scheduled for an afternoon appointment, I went to the other tire shop in Eureka the very next morning, Tetrault Tire.
"Oh, hey, yeah, sure no way Les Shwab could balance without the special old VW 'wide five finger plate adapter', sure we'll fix you right up."
"I see only four studs on this finger plate."
"Oh, right, the other stud is just in the back somewhere, we'll put it on, say, just take a seat have a cup of coffee and we'll let you know when you're ready to go."
I walked to the back and watched the four-out-of-five finger plate try to balance the wheels.
"Oh sir! You must leave the shop area, insurance regulations prohibit customers from being in the shop area."
"I see five weights on that first wheel. That is too many. These are brand new tires with less than 10 miles on them."
"Well, your wheels are bent. There is no way that you'll get them balanced smooth, but we will put the best on the front, now please leave the shop."
. . . . and I did, in utter despair and $36.00 poorer. The car was now wobbling and tramping worse than ever, the paint on the wheels is chewed up, the beautifully smooth brakes are history, the engine and clutch are chattering off stop lights and I don't know what to do. I have one hour before my appointment.
Went to the car wash to wash off the tire soap and greasy paw prints. Washed some of the dust out of the engine compartment. Made it to the curve on 101 just at the stoplight. Engine died. Totally blind curve, and cars were rushing up. No shoulder! This was damn dangerous, and I knew it. Tried to wipe dry the distributor cap and wires. Jumped back in the car as horns blared, no start.
"Chloe, come ON."
"No," said the cow.
"Fine, good-bye starter motor," and I bucked the car down the road in 1st gear on the starter and found a stupid triangular intersection island just past the curve.
"Hamburger, that is what you are going to be real soon," I hissed at the balky car, but at the same time, I was feeling total wretched self-hating guilt deeply, this poor car.

Found water in the spark plug clips, dried them, filed the points, cursed at passing motorists under my breath (there is no need to blast your horn at a disabled car with blinking emergency flashers sitting on an island off the travel lane, what exactly is the point?)
Chloe started finally, and I stared at the wheels in disbelief, like this right rear wheel:

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Did the wpinnix appointment, a 1977 with a "parts bus" in the garage that I beseeched him to stop cannabalizing, because he actually has two buses that could be road-worthy, and went off to Starbucks to try to update you all on the wheel balance disaster unfolding.
"You left your cool spark plug wrench here," said the first of sixty thousand messages in the PM folder.
Drove back to wpinnix's house, (say hi Bill, fill us in on what we did!) and drove to the parking lot at Discount Tire to try one more time one more time pleasepleaseplease the next morning before pdlrofdrm's appointment. Les Shwab is located right next door.

A ratty Camaro pulls up in the side lot of Discount Tire at 8:00AM.
Two young guys get out with Discount Tire shirts. I explain the predicament.
"I want to try, I won't charge you."
"What, what do you mean."
"I like a challenge."
Did a fine job. Chloe is back.

Sherrod Smith of Discount Tire saved my day, and was smart and focused and careful. The little shop kicked the big guys right in the damn teeth, so hah you smooth-talking fancy waxed floor shops with the magazines and advertising.

Then I went rogue. Walked into Les Shwab.
"Your wheel balance did not work. I had to get it balanced at Tetrault Tire for $36.00."
"Oh sure, we'll cover that, we're sorry, we'll issue a refund for $36.00."
"You are giving me a $62.85 refund on my credit card, that is what you charged me for a balance. What I paid at the other shop is immaterial."
"That's not how w. . . . "
"That is how it is going down. Your 'lifetime balance' is quite useless to me if you do not have the correct adapter for my car."
Got my $62.85 credit receipt and drove over to Tetrault Tire.
"I need a refund for your wheel balance. It was terrible."
"We told you that your wheels were bent and that you might not be satisfied with them." (you did?-ed)
"You told me that you had a finger plate that would work on an old VW and that you would 'fix me right up' and . . . "
"We used the correct adapter for your c . . . "
"used an adapter that was missing a stud that you promised would be put on for the balancing job."
"We have balanced all sorts of VWs with that finger plate, nobody ever complained."
"You balanced wheels with a missing stud?"
"Yeah, sure it is not that important, there are four other studs that hold the wheel secure."
That did it for me.
"But what about THE BALANCE? Your balancer is thrown off with a missing stud and your weights all are trying to account for the missing stud!"
"Sure, we'll refund you $36.00. Sorry."

Made it to pdlrofdrms with a newly settled Chloe and chewed up wheels, but at least it no longer has FIVE weights on one area of the wheel. I love Jennifer. We worked on her bus and I can't quite remember all we did because I was so deeply distracted. Accelerator cable to help the engine deliver full power? Jennifer?

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Airkooledchris was my last appointment, and he wrote about it in another thread because this one was so late to the forum. I sped away from Eureka not just to find warmth, but to get my butt to San Francisco:

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Somewhere along the way, I got one wheel touched up after that horrendous bunch of lame-ity in Eureka. I am still totally grateful to Sherrod for restoring my faith and my bus:

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Right Front:

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Today I will do the others outside of Lone Pine as I head to Death Valley.
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

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by Jivermo » Sat Jul 25, 2015 1:41 pm

Great Goocamooga, what a tale of incompetence, and downright untruthfulness. Glad you got the $$$ back, miserable bums! But the kid came through!
Hey, just about at Glendale there, I got on Chloe, and went for a nice spin with you. The noise of that semi blowing by freaked me a bit; I thought your throw out bearing was taking an exit. Nice head temps and, of course, the Clock.

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wpinnix
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by wpinnix » Mon Jul 27, 2015 9:46 am

Had a great visit with Colin. I scheduled a half day, and it was time well spent. We worked on my 1977 Riviera, 2.0 fi bus.

Last summer i had a hesitation spot in the acceleration band due to a worn out spot on my AFM wiper contact. I had 'rolled' the wiper arm, and it successfully got rid of the hesitation. I had adjusted by AFM following Colin's tutorial, but wasn't quite sure I had done it properly, hence scheduling Colin's visit. The symptoms were a bit rough running while acclerating warm (acceleration cold was smooth) and lower than average fuel efficiency.

So, we checked the timing...was 7.5 degree at idle, but would push way beyond the 28 degrees at high rpm. So we retarded the timing at idle, and low and behold, it would top out at 28 degrees at high rpms. So, timing was too advanced.

Then we looked at the spark plugs. 1, 3, and 4 looked quite lean, while #2 had a dark greyish cast. So #2 was different than the others, looking closer to what we wanted overall, but still different.

Then we checked compression...1 = 135, 2 = 105, 3 = 140, 4 = 135 (I don't have my summary sheet with me, the numbers might not be exact, but the pattern is correct). So #2 has some issues. I have to keep a close eye on this one. I'll keep track of the valve adjustments and make sure I'm not loosing a valve.

Then we checked the AFM adjustment, and sure enough, it was too lean. So when moving the wiper to the left, it really liked it and rpms increased dramatically. It should have only slightly increased. So we adjusted it closer to what it was prior to me adjusting it. We couldn't get the idle to drop down to 900, so did some checks of vacuum hoses, and no leaks detected. So, used the screw on the AFM to drop idle just enough.

Then a test drive ensued. We stopped at a gas station to put tire pressure to proper levels and Colin drove explaining the theory of double clutching. Then I took over driving. Immediately felt a more responsive throttle, smooth acceleration, and noticed the engine ran an average of 10 degrees cooler. The previous lean condition required more throttle to satisfy it's need for fuel, leading to a heavier foot and hence the lower fuel efficiency.

We are headed to Crescent City (80 mile drive) this weekend, so will see how much fuel efficiency has improved.

Colin left me with a couple of other tasks (adjust rear brakes and parking brake...will do this Friday) and left his awesome Porsche spark plug wrench. I was so impressed by the wrench, that I tracked one down for myself. It really makes it much easier to get plugs in and out of the tins (much better than a swivel socket).

So, I had swapped out the driver's door from my 'parts bus' (and yes Colin, I plan on getting this on the road in the future) because the window regulator had broken and it was quicker to just swap the doors. The new door had this annoying whistle at speeds over 50 mph. Colin noticed this when I was driving and asked 'does the door have a blue slider down below the arm rest?' ...Yes...'Slide that forward' (I think that's the direction) and viola...no more whistle! I raised my arms in triumph! That alone was worth the visit.

I had a great time with Colin and look forward to having him stop by in the future, if he can stand our blazing 65 degree summer days!

Bill

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by Jivermo » Mon Jul 27, 2015 12:26 pm

Wow, great report, and really interesting to read. Thank you.

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airkooledchris
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by airkooledchris » Mon Jul 27, 2015 7:02 pm

Tony Gosselin & Sons' Tire
525 Commercial St
Eureka, CA 95501


That's the place I would have suggested to someone who needed a wide 5 wheel balanced. They have the correct tools and have done them - correctly. Sorry everyone else is a bunch of tools around here when it comes to the wide 5's.


Most of what Colin and I did was about sealing up the body from water, but we did dabble in the AFM a bit and swapped out a bad distributor for the correct 79CA one with factory electronic ignition.

My head temps are a bit elevated still from leaning everything out on our test (it was extremely rich) - and my first full tank of gas shows 13.3 MPG. Most of that is city driving, so it's not completely unexpected. Im going to run one more tank through it before making any changes back towards the richer side of the mixture.

The power is still fantastic, I couldn't be happier there.
1979 California Transporter

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by pdlrofdrms » Tue Jul 28, 2015 10:36 am

Good Morning! Well Our day started off with Colin being a bit frazzled from our small town shenanigans on his poor bus. But I had (literally) freshly roasted coffee beans ready to brew. I had my VW coffee mug ready and we sat down for some tasks list to tackle.

I love Colin's Visits. I look forward to them every year. I am a rookie VW mechanic and its really nice to have someone to go over things with.
First when Colin pulls up you go from " My bus is looking pretty good" to " Shit my bus needs a lot of work" .

I have met both of his buses and they are stunning. Things I can see his frustration with are all things I would love to live with on my bus. :-)
My Bus is a 1978 camper. I got it for 500.00 ( with a 2300.00 bill for replacing brakes and fuel lines etc...) All things that were not done I found out a bit later.
Which is why I decided to dive in! What could go wrong its already broken?! Lots can go wrong but in those failures I have learned so much. I am loving putting this bus back to life and on the road.

Once I figure out how to do pictures I will post some. They always tell me they are too big to load. Anyways this is my third year with Colin. And boy did we get some stuff done.
Last time he was here in 2014 my AFM did some crazy things. He had a fancy gadget that could help me adjust it like I needed and nothing would help. Poor Colin was getting doused with fumes and managed to not barf as we were winding down some country hills. So I got a rebuilt one after trying and trying to adjust it like I was taught. My Bus ran like a dream.
Fast forward a year and I swear, just swear my bus knows when he is coming!

It was running so great then poof it starts hesitating, loosing a bit of power, and well my front end needed some love.

So we knuckled down and got to work.
I think I might frustrate Colin sometimes. Mostly because I am a rookie. I do my best but he sometimes says What were you thinking? And I say " I was thinking YAY I got it on and it works!" LOL
Apparently folks, moving parts need grease. In case you did not already know this.
I sometimes think the VW gods are looking out over me when I do stuff like replace the Brake Booster and Master Cylinder.

We double checked my Valve adjustment. Good thing I was three hours off on every one. Then we fixed my acceleration cable the best we could. Its my peddle. Its a long story. Someday I will share it. But we managed to get almost full extension in the cable so I can have a full throttle at least. We adjusted my brakes and emergency cable, Fixed my steering column, and I know a bunch more but it was a long day. He asked me while we were under there when was the last time you greased all this? me: Ummm Grease what? Him" You dont own a grease gun?" Me: Nope
He pointed to all the places I needed to grease.

I am always sad when he leaves because I want to say " Whats next!" and then the time is up. He heads off into the sunset to where ever he goes. He leaves you with a list to tackle if you so dare. For me its the Center Pin and a bar thing in the middle. ( I would have to look up the name) sorry. See this is what I think Drives him nuts. He says okay lets start by calling things what they actually are. You know instead of" The metal box that has a clip over it on the top...It has a vacuum line to it...that thing.." I say. " Breather box" he says. LOL
With my to do list in hand. Guess what I did Sunday the day after. I scrubbed and Scrubbed my underbelly and greased the piss out of that front end. But Apparently 40 years of scum on the bottom is going to take a while to get off. How naive of me. 8 hours of scrapping and scrubbing. Using de-greasers and cleaners. Barely a dent!
Oh boy.

My challenge in the next year is to keep Olive running , clean her underbelly, replace some front end parts ( already ordered and in hand) and maintain her.

Tag I am it until next year.
Maybe next year I will give his sparkly bus a run for his money...but I say that every year and then it sneaks up so fast and I am lucky if I get my garage cleaned before he gets here.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jul 29, 2015 8:49 am

pdlrofdrms wrote: I am loving putting this bus back to life and on the road.

we fixed my acceleration cable the best we could. Its my peddle. Its a long story. Someday I will share it.
Guess what I did Sunday the day after. I scrubbed and Scrubbed my underbelly and greased the piss out of that front end. But Apparently 40 years of scum on the bottom is going to take a while to get off. How naive of me. 8 hours of scrapping and scrubbing. Using de-greasers and cleaners. Barely a dent!
Oh boy.

My challenge in the next year is to keep Olive running , clean her underbelly, replace some front end parts ( already ordered and in hand) and maintain her.
I've said it before, and I will say it now, that bus is lucky to have you. I brag you up to all the nervous neophytes all across the country, "you can do it! pdlrofdrms replaced her own master cylinder/brake booster and rebuilt her own engine! Did I mention she is taking up welding?" There's your entry point for telling us ALL about the accelerator pedal . . . :cyclopsani:
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

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wpinnix
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by wpinnix » Sat Aug 01, 2015 8:22 pm

bus_redwoods.jpg
Had a great trip to crescent city to surf, camp, eat Mexican food, and see a movie at the drive in theater.

The bus ran like a champ. Head temps briefly (like for 2 seconds) hit 402 after me pushing just a tad heavy on the pedal for 5 or 6miles of a 7% grade, but never exceeded 400 other than that. Head temps are 10 degrees cooler while cruising, and 20 degrees cooler on hills! Plus my fuel mileage was 16.7 with four people, one dog, all our food, camping gear, beer, 30 gallons of water (don't ask), four surfboards, 6 wetsuits, 3 chairs, and four smiles.

So, richer mixture = increased mileage....who would have thunk it?

Thanks again Colin!
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jtauxe
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by jtauxe » Tue Aug 04, 2015 11:39 am

pdlrofdrms wrote:Once I figure out how to do pictures I will post some. They always tell me they are too big to load.
Try reducing them in size before uploading them. They really don't need to be wider than 800 pixels to look fine in a forum post.
You can use any number of photo editing programs to resize a copy of the photo. (I generally keep the high-res original, and then keep a reduced-size copy for posting).
John
"The bus came by and I got on. That's when it all began..." - Garcia/Weir/Kreutzman
http://vw.tauxe.net

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Happyfolk
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Torqued In Eureka

Post by Happyfolk » Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:33 am

I've uploaded images on thesamba and linked them to this site. Works fine. Thesamba promises to never delete your VW related pics.
79 CA FI Westy
Mexico Beige
"Sandy"

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