Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Moderators: Sluggo, Amskeptic

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:32 am

. . . but first I had to survive redrita Pennsylvania. And before that, I had to get to redrita Pennsylvania . Which meant that I had to travel through 1funbug Ohio ... after I had finished up with equinox and Troll From Down Below. It is all becoming a blur. I hope to chime in on those prior calls which have posted, and I need to remember to update that thread that Alman72 of no breaker point gap/busted transaxle housing/dangling Bowden Tube/mangled shift coupler cage fame ALSO had a completely loose #1 rocker assembly with the nuts and washers in the pushrod tube recesses AND IT STILL GOT HIM HOME.

But I am here, now, to tell you of how close I came to blowing a fuse and blowing outta here. One other forum member fielded the call, I was so done done done. Seriously, the humidity and the heat took me down to a drifting sleepless puddle of damp misery. There was that record rain event up from Pensacola to Maine that I drove into mostly unaware. The poptop actually leaked into its canvas, onto the sink counter and the carpet, the taillights filled with water, the rubber mat under the driver's seat got damp, my two week new WalMart's Finest BS "Dr. Scholls Gel Inset" sneakers leaked into my socks, the daily (thrice daily!) Motel 6 wash-down wash cloths never did dry out, the rain beat down, there was no campsite left, the ground around me was puddles and sodden biologic decay, the mosquitoes were clamoring to get out of the rain, and NaranjaWesty ran absolutely perfectly. Thank-you, NaranjaWesty now at 87,030 miles, and sorry! It's what we do.

I really did enjoy our day at 1funbug's house. He had a fun bug, too. Looks like pretty serious fun:

Image


But I was there to assess a very nice 1977 Westfalia with a Raby engine kit. The complaint was low oil pressure. We hooked up my oil pressure gauge and went joy-riding:

Image


The oil pressure indeed dropped down to a minimally acceptable number as the engine heated up. We had a spirited paper/pen concepts discussion about VW's pressure relief valve physics, and I was heartened to see that 1funbug assimilated my wandering explanations. The upshot was to drive it and listen for noises that suggest unhappy bearings. I am fairly certain, however, that the engine is going to be fine. Update us, 1funbug
( ed. he did: [b]http://www.itinerant-air-cooled.com/ ... 13675[/b] )

Image


With alarm, I saw that my highly anticipated three day gap between Ohio and the Pennsylvania call was forecast to be rainy. I had deferred so many stupid little projects all the way through July, and now they are going to be deferred yet again? Disappointment welled up in me as I started cursing the clouds. Pennsylvania's topography is pretty tough on a dry day. The tectonic collision between Africa and North America (long time ago) had really crumpled Pennsylvania into these long arcs of mangled crust known as the Allegheny portion of the Appalachian Mountains. Pennsylvania town as perched on the sides of these mountains and the roads just snake through them with steep shoulders and limited sight lines. Because I refused to pay the Pennsylvania Turnpike tolls, I did the whole dang traverse on secondary roads. Then the rains. And the trucks. Hurrying trucks and spray and blinding blue headlights. Did I mention the trucks? Two varieties. Semi's hurrying with their blue blinding headlamps, dump trucks, Dodge Ram duallys, everybody is in a hurry, and there I am peering through the spray and the rain, is that my turn?

Redrita's appointment day started with an emergency touch-up of the poptop's bolts which I had to assume were allowing water in way up in the canvas regions:

Image


Image


The forecast for our day was "thunderstorms and flooding". It did, and it did. Redrita is a 1971 red Westy, and it was snug in its canvas cave. We did a brief morning concepts session and followed with a check up of the valves and points and timing and carburetion. As you know, no engine is allowed to run without functional idiot lights. Yeah, so we had that dash apart to discover that the prior owner had gone to town on the wiring. It was a puzzle just waiting to be solved. Hours later, we had idiot lights and even a right headlamp. Much much more to do there. We topped it off with a new old oil bath air cleaner, I was so happy to see that chrome rust horror aftermarket thing removed. It rained. The rain was so fierce that water trickled in from the sides and pooled just behind the engine in a muddy lake. In our cozy little canvas cave, redrita proceeded to make us all damn good and sick with fumes, odd fumes, too many fumes. The upshot was that the cylinder heads are loose and the engine really does need to be torn down. I enjoyed the banter with Tim and Jennifer. We needed high-quality banter, the work environment was a real test of stamina. The rust inspection showed some horrendous body work (foam!) (plaster?/bondo?/fiberglass?/ all applied with a shovel) and some new rust areas just loving the damn rain. I have to say though, that the test drive showed a plucky spirit in redrita, and these guys are going to have to make some decisions as to how to proceed.

Redrita was to be the last call for the next two weeks. I was to go to the upstate barn and plough into the fleet of old lions + Squareback. But all I could see was sticky hot gooey humidity and daily forecasts of rain training up the eastern seaboard. I left in a downpour:

Image


Image


Image


Got lost in the central Pennsylvania swamps of closed roads and poorly detailed detours . . .
Where do you camp in this? What projects can you do in this? Even a brief sunny day will barely evaporate the trillions of gallons water soaking everything into a muggy sticky mess that of course will relieve itself in afternoon pop-up thunderstorms. I was dreaming of being where I am supposed to be this very second - in the desert, under the stars, doing days-long projects and glorying in the stillness of a startlingly crystal clear starry night with the trucks gliding across a faraway interstate in the distance. Joyful.

So the petulant rage kept building. Trapped in the humid heat. NaranjaWesty damp. Me damp. Hating my circumstance, sleep-deprived, stuck in a pretty little box day after day, here's the Susquehanna:

Image


The plan was to bail west, catch my cancelled Columbus call, hit up the Saint Louis guy, and head west until the humidity map showed 25% dammit. The plan was tell everybody remaining to add one digit to the month. Blow off the wedding in New York. Save my sanity. Come back when the temperatures have dropped ten degrees. Then Cindy called, "can't wait to see you."
(to be cont.)
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

Jivermo
IAC Addict!
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Jivermo » Mon Aug 06, 2018 6:52 am

Hoh, boy!

User avatar
xyzzy
Getting Hooked!
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by xyzzy » Mon Aug 06, 2018 8:05 am

Oh man -- Thanks for everything you do Colin!

Look at the bright* side, with all that rain, Naranja will probably turn into this:

Image
---
1973 Westfalia
Encinitas, California USA

User avatar
ScottLasVegas
I'm New!
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by ScottLasVegas » Mon Aug 06, 2018 4:08 pm

Vegas is currently 6% humidity, but it is also 107 degrees. Come on out.
79 Riviera CA FI

Curtp07
Getting Hooked!
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Curtp07 » Mon Aug 06, 2018 9:44 pm

Welcome to New England..well almost.

Bagram was comfortable and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Got to see the mighty mountains the entire ride in. Kuwait was closer to 120 in the shade. I believe Qatar was 115. Outside and on the flight deck.

What I’m trying to say is the weather is nicer here than there. Flew across Iraq not a cloud in the sky! In fact I haven’t seen a cloud in almost a week!

I hear reports the Boston area has been miserable with the heat and humidity. Welcome!

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Aug 10, 2018 7:10 am

Hello. Yes, I exist yet.

Here in upstate New York for a week of tenderly ministering to my poor caged lions in their dank leaky cage (leaky, as in I broke the drought and brought thunderous rain events each and every day since I have been here). Here's the state of the barn's roof:

Image

(the definition may be too diminished to see the rain coursing straight down)
Image


Image


Image


So, yes the brakes were all frozen on the Squareback and the Mercedes, the electrical door switches are now not switching, the mold on the carpet, and the guy I give my money to says, "yeah, I need to get to that roof, but the door is off the track." It is, too.


These people I love, keep growing up and up:

2003:
Image


2004:
Image

(2007 needs to be scanned)

2014:
Image


2018:
Image



2007:
Image

2018:

Image


And a new one to perhaps count off the years:

Image


Much work to do, will sporatically update here and on other threads!

Image
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

Curtp07
Getting Hooked!
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Curtp07 » Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:17 am

You’re closer!

Nice pictures.

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:05 am

Curtp07 wrote:
Sat Aug 11, 2018 5:17 am
You’re closer!

Nice pictures.
Hey look, a reply, a real reply . . . .

Squareback:

Image


Would not start. Went straight to the breaker points AGAIN like a lab rat looking for the same ol pellets. No. Still would not start. Pulled each carbon-sooted original Made In West Germany W175 T2 spark plug and decided to use Chloe's old "new" Bosch Made In Russia Super W8 AC Russia-issue spark plugs from the Yuma used heads to save time. What a waste of time. The Russian plugs would not start into the holes on the original German cylinder heads. Found that the sloppy ground electrode welds were interfering with the plugs' ability to align in the holes. Filed down the welds in line with the thread pitch. No no no. Threw them far into the weeds. Cleaned and gapped the original spark plugs. Slipped in with my finger tips. Remember campers, Squareback and Fastback engines are a marvel of very tight packaging back there. I was arthritic by the time the plugs were installed. Engine started with a boost from NaranjaWesty:

Image


Drove like the brakes were on. That is because they were. By the time I got back to the barn, the left front wheel was good and hot hot hot. Saw that I had never taken these pads out since I have owned the car. I had never seen this style of shim before:

Image


The pistons are like the ones on the bus, but these shims do not positively locate the pistons, you set them, the shims merely grasp the inner surface and peg them to the locating pins:

Image


This here is my "piston retracting tool", consisting of a two foot breaker bar and deep socket working a brake adjusting spoon pry bar. Worked them back and forth with little brake bleeds on the push back in phase. After a couple of hours, I had fresh brake fluid and freed brakes. This car is deceptive. It is a frumpy little busy car, but some bit of Porsche heritage comes out when you get on it:

Image


Next up was the poor Mercedes. Started right up with its usual kick to the chassis when that V8 springs to life. The initial test drive was characterized by a chassis vibration and subtle unwillingness. Hey! More stuck brakes! Thanks, leaky barn. As per the Squareback, I had to pry pistons with that breaker bar and adjusting spoon.

Had a huge stupid realization midway through Operation Free Brake . . .
Neither of these cars, after sixteen years of mostly sitting, had a hint of rust on the disks! Why??
a) fabulous German steel
b) brake pads that had successfully laid a rust-proof glaze
The Lexus is a nightmare of grinding rusty pulsing after only four months. (?)

But! The last piston on the last caliper on the Mercedes was so stuck, how stuck was it? it was so stuck that it was well and truly stuck. Had to take the caliper off the car and I went around the barn looking for various implements and tractor protrusions to serve as:
a) a vise
b) a press
c) a work table
Nope. Finally happened across an experiment that worked very well
(to be continued)

(continuation - I ran so out of time up there that I did not even post the photograph to show you what I had to use. Here is the photograph of the use of the item I had to use (but first, look at how rust-free good German ATE calipers vintage 1977 are):

Image


Yep, the ball joint separator tool turns out to be a superb piston retracting tool! That caliper piston let go with a "crack!" I had to of course squawk my usual "f--k!" because I thought it broke, but it actually retracted. Then I assembled the caliper on the car without the disc yet installed. Then I pushed on the brake pedal to fill the bores with the bleeder open. Then I installed a pad on the opposite side and hammered the piston out with a punch to the brake pedal. It froze. Got the ball joint separator/piston retractor tool out and was grateful to discover that it mounts up perfectly with the caliper installed. OK, whatever, everything bled and free and re-installed. Called the valet boy to bring out the Mercedes and make it quick.

Image


After but three feet of forward motion, first valet transmogrified into a snooty Mercedes driver barking at the other valet (not really):

Image


After we all bled the brakes for the first time EVER and changed the oil for the first time in ELEVEN YEARS, we went out and did driving lessons for all of the three valets. Woke up the Lincoln, changed its oil for the first time in oh four years? and it happily glided out of wet dock and assisted in the driving lessons. Can you imagine? Getting to school on Monday morning:
"I learned how to drive this weekend."
"Sweeet."
"I think I actually liked the Mercedes better ... "
"What Mercedes?"
" ... than the Lincoln, but the Lincoln was pretty cool."
"What Linc ... "
"... but really, the Squareback had such tight steering."
"Wait, what ... "
" ... but I liked the clutch action on the Westfalia."

Yeah, it happened like that. Four kids' first manual transmission driving lessons all on one car with one instructor in one morning
("Squareback," I said, "you haven't had enough action over the past ten years ... ")

Image


No, the ten year-old did NOT stall on her first manual transmission driving lesson /first drive on a public road ... until she got cocky on the way back.
Yes I did, I sat on a stump and smoke a cigarette when it was over.

First car baths in over a decade:

Image


Image


Image


More to come, more to do . . .
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

User avatar
Ronin10
Getting Hooked!
Location: Columbia City, Seattle, WA
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Ronin10 » Mon Aug 13, 2018 12:40 pm

To get my piston to rotate this past weekend, I had an old prybar kind of like this one:

Image

Ground down the sides so it would fit between the piston and the rotor with the pads and shims removed. I was then able to lever off the caliper itself using the horizontal portion of the rectangular opening for the brake pads as a pivot. That modified tool and short cheater pipe made the applied force almost completely tangential to the piston, giving a nearly pure rotation. It now resides in my toolbox for future use.
Oscar: 1976 Sage Green Bus, Stock Motor, Solid Lifters, Manual Transaxle

User avatar
BusBassist
Getting Hooked!
Location: Rochester, NY
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by BusBassist » Mon Aug 13, 2018 5:36 pm

Is the Squareback parked on a blanket, sand, or some kind of ancient hieroglyphic script in the concrete?
Late 73 Bay w/a transplanted 914 Engine.

User avatar
Mr Blotto
IAC Addict!
Location: Northern Burbs / Chicago
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Mr Blotto » Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:14 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 6:05 am

Image
Did you add an AMC Gremlin to your fleet (I spy one)?
1978 Sage Green Westy - 2.0 FI - SOLD WITH 109887 miles :-(

User avatar
Amskeptic
IAC "Help Desk"
IAC "Help Desk"
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:46 am

Mr Blotto wrote:
Mon Aug 13, 2018 7:14 pm

Did you add an AMC Gremlin to your fleet (I spy one)?

Good God Lord No.
It is another "car" being stored in the barn, along with some boats and whatnot.

So, each car was treated to some real driving, some badly needed maintenance, and human interaction.
The twenty four year-old Michelin MXV tires and brakes and transmission on the Mercedes were exercised thoroughly, and that heart-breakingly mighty Mercedes soul was roused on its last drive from the gas station to the barn. It is still my favorite road car:

Image


Image


The Lincoln was ridiculously quiet and mannerly. The cruise control held the car at 45 mph then 55 mph with unexpected precision, and the engine fooled me once at idle where I thought it had stalled, but no, it was merely running almost silently:

2001
Image


Image


2018
Image


Image


The Squareback was washed, waxed, and cleaned with the assistance of a ten year-old, and it was driven by four neophytes, and it was treated to a little bit of a hurry as we raced against the rain back to the barn. It was docile and responsive to the tentative new drivers, and it knocked out some excellent shifts with real heel and toe (courtesy of floor pivot pedals) double-clutching.

Sheesh, I am just an old fool who likes cars too much:

Image
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 116,898 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 84,465 miles

71whitewesty
Getting Hooked!
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by 71whitewesty » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:32 am

Great post. Love the pics of the kids growing up and driving. I better get mine on the driving program. =D>

User avatar
sped372
IAC Addict!
Location: Waunakee, WI
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by sped372 » Tue Aug 14, 2018 10:54 am

I love this post, thank you. I'm sure those kids will remember those moments forever. What are your plans for those vehicles? Why that particular barn still? Seems like sooner or later the decision may not be yours by the looks of that roof...
1971 Karmann Ghia - 1600 DP
1984 Westfalia - 1.9 WBX

User avatar
whc03grady
IAC Addict!
Location: Livingston Montana
Contact:
Status: Offline

Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From New York

Post by whc03grady » Tue Aug 14, 2018 11:19 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Tue Aug 14, 2018 7:46 am
Sheesh, I am just an old fool who likes cars too much.
Except the poor, maligned Gremlin apparently.
I always thought AMC had a good, idiosyncratic design sense. Very much of their time, too, for better or worse (considering that that time includes the contemporary VW bus, also very obviously a product of a certain time, my verdict falls upon 'for better'). The 1971 Javelin is, in this writer's humble opinion, the most beautiful muscle car of them all.
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

Post Reply