'82 Vanagon CA/Fed Mash-Up Audit

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BestWesty
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'82 Vanagon CA/Fed Mash-Up Audit

Post by BestWesty » Thu Sep 16, 2021 7:32 am

I suppose it's time for a first post. :) This might be a bit of a weird one as it's not, "It's running poorly, help!!" but more, "it's running pretty great but things are not all right; but are they alright?"

So I've got an '82 Westy that I bought a number of years ago (from a flipper..lots of red flags, but, hindsight et al), used relatively trouble free as an only car for two years after throwing some money at the brakes and suspension; and then after moving to California for a job, it sat in CARB time-out as I agonized about what to do with it (including all flavors of legal engine swaps, or if maybe it was just time to sell).

Fate took a turn and my better half got a job here in the mitten state last year; it was surreal that I just needed to fork over ~$45, and I was back on the road. Anyway, all the long stories aside, I'm trying to get this thing whipped in to shape for use next year.

Dropped in a new battery, oil change, air filter, fuel filter, and it fired right up, even with 2016 vintage California gas still in the tank. Burned that off, and then put in some fresh ethanol-free go juice. Off to a good start, minus the tank reseal job I had done maybe needing re-done (garage positively reeked of gas and the following weekend..."I swear I put more in than that last week!").

Anyway, here's the breakdown:

- California van, manual transmission
- CA ECU & AFM
- No idle regulator box
- I think the engine harness (and relays?) may be Federal, not sure - no idle box hookup; could just be hacked up?
- Aftermarket vacuum advance distributor (Pertronix it looks like)
- Some sort of aftermarket coil - measured 2.7-2.8 ohms across the terminals; this is the Federal spec..?
- Federal exhaust, with an aftermarket cat and O2 sensor on the inlet side (connected)
- Charcoal/evap stuff all disconnected and/or missing
- Throttle body elbow ports all plugged
- Engine breather routed to where I think the gas tank vent originally went to on the air box
- No decel valve

State of tune aside, is any of the above anything to worry about? Comments, concerns?

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Amskeptic
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Re: '82 Vanagon CA/Fed Mash-Up Audit

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:00 am

As a general rule, do not worry about anything until it presents itself to you ... How does it drive? How are head temps? How is fuel economy?
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,730 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,865 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 132,040 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

BestWesty
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Re: '82 Vanagon CA/Fed Mash-Up Audit

Post by BestWesty » Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:23 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:00 am
As a general rule, do not worry about anything until it presents itself to you ... How does it drive? How are head temps? How is fuel economy?
Thanks for the reply! It drives well - fires right up even after sitting long periods, and fuel economy was what I believe to be good at 18-20+ on the highway while maintaining 55-60; or at least when I was driving it enough for it to matter, and this is also based on trip records based on GPS routes, as the speedometer was fixed shortly I bought it, immediately broke again, and then went on to the someday list. Then again this may have made it more accurate than the odometer; but I digress.

Having just installed the gauge, in any serious sense, head temps are still an unknown as I am really still just establishing a baseline. What I have seen in short runs around with timing at about 28 degrees, on the freeway, it likes to settle in on the low 400's. To my understanding there is no magic number that is safe/ideal for every engine, but given that I have run it for quite a while in this state and it still more or less makes the same noises it did when I got it, it must be at least reasonably safe, perhaps on the warm side of it.

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Re: '82 Vanagon CA/Fed Mash-Up Audit

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Nov 30, 2021 3:37 pm

BestWesty wrote:
Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:23 am
Amskeptic wrote:
Fri Nov 26, 2021 11:00 am
As a general rule, do not worry about anything until it presents itself to you ... How does it drive? How are head temps? How is fuel economy?
Thanks for the reply! It drives well - fires right up even after sitting long periods, and fuel economy was what I believe to be good at 18-20+ on the highway while maintaining 55-60; or at least when I was driving it enough for it to matter, and this is also based on trip records based on GPS routes, as the speedometer was fixed shortly I bought it, immediately broke again, and then went on to the someday list. Then again this may have made it more accurate than the odometer; but I digress.

Having just installed the gauge, in any serious sense, head temps are still an unknown as I am really still just establishing a baseline. What I have seen in short runs around with timing at about 28 degrees, on the freeway, it likes to settle in on the low 400's. To my understanding there is no magic number that is safe/ideal for every engine, but given that I have run it for quite a while in this state and it still more or less makes the same noises it did when I got it, it must be at least reasonably safe, perhaps on the warm side of it.

Original VW heads do not mind low 400s. Have the gauge blink at 430*, endeavor to keep them down near 400 or lower.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,730 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,865 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 132,040 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 94,225 miles

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