My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience - Grayslake IL 6/7/2008

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locoqueso
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My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience - Grayslake IL 6/7/2008

Post by locoqueso » Tue Jun 10, 2008 7:29 pm

My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience (Part I)

Sunday, June 8th 3:00am

"Center lifters...center lifters...get dirt in the engine and it will seize...center lifters...top dead center...center lifters..."

"Whoa, what time is it?" I think to myself as I awake from a dream and squint to see the alarm clock. It's 3am and body feels like it was hit by a truck. I ache all over. I'm tired but I have the urge to center the lifters. I need to get back to sleep. I leave for Galena in a few hours and I'm beat. I roll over and close my eyes but it takes a while before I doze off again...

Flashback...

Saturday, June 7th 9:00am

I'm standing in the driveway, waiting for Colin to arrive. Diet Coke is in the cooler and coffee is brewing. Man I'm excited and can't wait to get started.

Then the blue bus comes rolling around the corner. I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. Oh man, after months of waiting the time is finally here...

ACVW Tune-Up 101
Colin provides me an overview of air cooled engines, how they operate and what we'll be covering during the first half of the day. He starts off by describing lifters, their role in my engine, centering the lifters and cylinder order. Along the way he illustrates the items we talk about so I have a better understanding of how they work. Air cooled engines and mechanics in general are all new to me so this is a great help.

Once I think I understand valves we move to points and timing. Once again a topic I'm not familiar with so we covered the coil and how it turns 12v from the battery into 20,000v for the spark. Colin then explains the inner workings of the distributor and how it works. All of this is illustrated for my benefit. The details and theory of timing is also covered.

My mind is racing as I try to absorb the information and we’re still in my kitchen and haven’t even touched the bus yet. I think it set the pace for the day. There are a lot of things to learn and I’m starting with no prior experience. Colin is very respectful and takes the time to make sure I understand.

So, let’s go outside and take a look at the bus.

To be continued...
1978 VW Campmobile (P-21) Westfalia - T2 2.0L F.I.- 151,000m
1982 Mercedes-Benz Estate Wagon (300TD-T) - S123 3.0L T.D. - 142,000m
1993 Dodge Maxi Van (190 SLF) InterVec Falcon - B350 Magnum 5.9L F.I. - 70,000m

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chitwnvw
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Post by chitwnvw » Tue Jun 10, 2008 8:17 pm

Colin's a natural teacher. His pride in his craft really shows through. I know what you mean about the next day Colin hang over, I think it took me 2 or 3 days to get back to normal.

And after seeing your bus first hand in Galena, it is choice. Just the seals alone had me ogling.

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zblair
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Post by zblair » Tue Jun 10, 2008 9:30 pm

I have saved all three of the pieces of notebook paper with Colin's drawings/explanations/receipt for what work was done. It comes in handy too, when you have him come back to show him those pages as a reminder.

Phred will never be the same since Colin's hard work with Jeffrey here a month ago now. We're so grateful, and so is Phred - Grateful Phred that is.



:flower:
1971 T2 "Grateful Phred"
1986 300ZX "MC-Z"
2009 Prius "Amesan"

"Love something? Serve it."
~Roshni Mitra

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Post by locoqueso » Sun Jun 15, 2008 1:25 pm

My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience (Part II)

I probably should have mentioned this in my first post, but this thread covering my IAC experience is meant to serve three purposes. First, it’s a basic overview of my experience working with Colin for a day. It comes from the perspective of someone that loves their bus, but also someone with little to no experience working with automobiles, let alone air cooled Volkswagens. Second, it’s meant as encouragement for others that may have the same level of experience as me and hesitant to work on their own Volkswagen. Third and probably most selfish, I hope by rehashing my day with Colin it will help me remember the vast amount of information we covered. I have a terrible memory and tend to quickly forget things unless I use the information on a regular basis.

Here’s where my last post left off…

The List
We step out into the garage and talk about my list for the day. I want to have Colin give the bus a general inspection. I had a semi-local ACVW mechanic give the bus an inspection at one point, but I wasn’t present so I didn’t have a chance to watch and ask questions. I took their word it was a “strong runner”. After an inspection I want to have Colin show me how to tune up the bus and perform the general maintenance to keep it in good working order.

Once we complete an inspection, tune-up and maintenance, my list continues on to include: Rough idle when cold, the front wheels sometimes squeak in first gear, hard start when cold, and a few other things. Basically I made a list of some of the issues I’ve noticed and I want Colin to help me decide which items we need to focus on first. I don’t expect we’ll get to everything today.

Disclaimer: The following order of events may or may not be fully accurate. I was very nervous and excited that day. At some points the event became a blur. I tried to remember all of the new information coming my way and tried harder not to forget everything we had just covered. To the best of my recollection, this is how the day went:

Valves
So let’s get to work…As Colin mentioned while we were talking in the kitchen, our first task will be to center the hydraulic lifters.

I quickly learn the “The Itinerary Spiel” I read a few months back didn’t sink in like it should have. Colin asks me if I have my replacement valve gaskets on hand….Hmmm…ahhhh…no?. (This won’t be the first time I find out that I didn’t read the spiel close enough.) :blackeye: I’m told we must be very careful with the valve cover gaskets since I don’t have any replacements.

We get to work…The latch holding the valve cover in place has a death grip on it and probably hasn’t been moved in years. Luckily for me and my bus Colin is able to carefully pry it off without damaging the gasket. I think this might also be the first time Colin warns me not to get dirt or debris in with the valves. It makes me nervous but I’m also more focused and careful as I work around the valves.

Colin walks me through finding top dead center for the first set of valves. I learn how to turn the engine by hand and check the distributor to confirm it’s ready for the valves I’m about to work on. While he’s centering the first valve, he shows me how to check for play and tighten it in.

OK, now it’s my turn…He wants me to center the second set. Colin, having already provided me with all of the information I needed, turns away to prep my timing scale so it will be ready later. I can hear him whistling in the background while I go over the process of centering the lifters in my head. I realize this is my first test. He did his part and now it’s time for me to do mine. I appreciate the fact Colin wanted me to do this on my own because he won’t be standing beside me the next time this needs to be done.

Wow, I did it. I centered my first set of valves. That really felt good to me. So what am I waiting for? It’s time to move to the other side of the bus and start on #3 and #4. A little while later I was done. At this point I was really proud of myself. :cheers: Earlier that day I couldn’t even have told you where the valves were located and now I had just centered them and was ready to move to the next phase: Points and Timing…

To be continued...
1978 VW Campmobile (P-21) Westfalia - T2 2.0L F.I.- 151,000m
1982 Mercedes-Benz Estate Wagon (300TD-T) - S123 3.0L T.D. - 142,000m
1993 Dodge Maxi Van (190 SLF) InterVec Falcon - B350 Magnum 5.9L F.I. - 70,000m

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locoqueso
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Post by locoqueso » Sat Jun 21, 2008 6:37 am

My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience (Part III)

Points & Timing
Colin had me pull the distributor to file and gap the points to .016”. Earlier in the house he explained the inner workings of the distributor and drew an illustration. I’m a visual person so that helped to set the stage in my mind. Colin’s dwell was broken so I didn’t get a chance to see how that worked.

I’m adding a Dwell to my wish list now.

Next up was the timing. I admit I never really understood how this works. I read the Bentley but that didn’t help my understanding. It was really cool to see how simple the process really was. Chances are that I never would have tried this on my own but with Colin’s help I feel confident for the next time.

I’m also adding a Tach and Timing Light to my wish list.

Fuel Injection
With the first part of the day over, we’re back inside for a mini lecture on fuel injection and mixture. This includes another illustration as he discusses the various parts of the system.

Outside we determine the bus is running a little lean so that’s adjusted to the proper mixture.

Spark Plugs & Compression Test
Colin showed me how to pull the first spark plug and gap it. I tried the second plug and quickly found out it was a little too easy to bend the tip. I had to bend it back out so it could be gapped properly. He had a really cool Porsche spark plug wrench. I’m glad I didn’t try this on my own. I thought about it in the past and I would have just used a normal socket not realizing the plug could easily fall into the case.

Add a Spark Plug Wrench to my wish list.

With all of the spark plugs out and gapped, we do a compression test. As usual, Colin checks the first cylinder for me as a demo. I crank the engine and then run back to see the results. . .It registered 120! I know I have a smile on my face like Mr. Vegas at the craps table. The next cylinder hits 145. I think I just hit the jackpot. If 120 is good, 145 has to be great! That’s when Colin lets me know there’s such a thing as too much compression and you don’t want too much variance between the cylinders. I’m a little bummed as we come up with 100 and 130 for the other readings, but it’s cool. I love my bus.

A Compression Test Kit has been added to the wish list.

Some of the Other Stuff We Worked On

We snooped around the engine looking for vacuum leaks. He found one and showed me how to fix it. We crawled under the bus so he could show me how to adjust the clutch. I’m glad he did because I had looked for that adjustment nut before up closer to the front of the bus and couldn’t find it. Colin also adjusted the steering box. He found some noise in the steering wheel (which I never noticed before) and took care of it.

Driving Lesson

With the bus tuned, Colin takes me out for a drive. He drives it around to make sure it’s running as he expects it to be and everything is in proper working order. I watch as he shows me the motions to double clutch. We head over to an empty parking lot so he can show me how it can handle corners and different maneuvers. It starts to rain pretty hard by this time, but that adds to the fun. I was very impressed at how well the bus can handle.

Now it’s my turn to drive. I try the double clutch and just couldn’t quite get it right. Colin gives me some good advice to get my regular clutching right first and then move to the double clutch. I’m working on that and trying to sneak the double clutching in as well.

Summary

All I can say is WOW! Without a doubt this was the best investment I’ve ever made in a vehicle. I now actually have the foundation to begin taking care of my bus on my own. I have a better understanding of the general maintenance that needs to be performed and the confidence to try it on my own. I’ve read through my Bentley and shop manual a couple times since Colin’s visit and the procedures now make a lot more sense. It’s like someone translated the Bentley to English for me.
1978 VW Campmobile (P-21) Westfalia - T2 2.0L F.I.- 151,000m
1982 Mercedes-Benz Estate Wagon (300TD-T) - S123 3.0L T.D. - 142,000m
1993 Dodge Maxi Van (190 SLF) InterVec Falcon - B350 Magnum 5.9L F.I. - 70,000m

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chitwnvw
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Post by chitwnvw » Sun Jun 22, 2008 7:29 pm

Loco,

Sears is a pretty good place to pick up a tach/dwell and timing light.

Harbor Freight is a good alternative if finances are tight.

http://www.harborfreight.com/

Turk called me from Illinois State Beach, I guess the weather is crazy up by you! Hope the hail didn't damage that cherry bus of yours.

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locoqueso
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Post by locoqueso » Sat Jul 26, 2008 3:50 am

My Itinerant Air-Cooled Experience (Update I)

Since Colin's visit I've worked on a couple projects he suggested:

1. I bought a grease gun and greased the front end. The original grease looked like it belonged in a diaper. I'm glad I had newspaper on the floor.

2. I've also changed the gear oil. It took a little work to get the drain plug off. For a while I didn't think it was going to come off. I was able to follow the suggestions made by others on the site and soak the plug in oil overnight and then drive around to heat it up. Thank you that made all the difference! Wow, that old oil really does smell awful.

I'm now taking Colin's advice and looking at problems as a challenge (or I’m at least trying to follow that advice). My normal response would be to get mad or become frustrated when things don’t go right the first time. That reaction doesn’t make for logical thinking and it’s typically how I make a problem worse.

I've also picked up a few new tools along the way:

Grease gun
17mm hex socket to remove transmission plugs
Pump for gear oil
Spark plug wrench
1978 VW Campmobile (P-21) Westfalia - T2 2.0L F.I.- 151,000m
1982 Mercedes-Benz Estate Wagon (300TD-T) - S123 3.0L T.D. - 142,000m
1993 Dodge Maxi Van (190 SLF) InterVec Falcon - B350 Magnum 5.9L F.I. - 70,000m

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zblair
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Post by zblair » Sat Jul 26, 2008 7:06 am

locoqueso wrote: I'm now taking Colin's advice and looking at problems as a challenge (or I’m at least trying to follow that advice). My normal response would be to get mad or become frustrated when things don’t go right the first time. That reaction doesn’t make for logical thinking and it’s typically how I make a problem worse.

I've also picked up a few new tools along the way:

Grease gun
17mm hex socket to remove transmission plugs
Pump for gear oil
Spark plug wrench
That first piece of advice is worth its weight in gold. Your acknowledgment and willingness
to make a new choice will change your life! =D>

I am also glad that you are getting your ride in tip-top shape. The health of our vehicles is
by extension our mental health IMHO.
1971 T2 "Grateful Phred"
1986 300ZX "MC-Z"
2009 Prius "Amesan"

"Love something? Serve it."
~Roshni Mitra

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Amskeptic
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Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jul 26, 2008 9:33 am

zblair wrote: I am also glad that you are getting your ride in tip-top shape. The health of our vehicles is
by extension our mental health IMHO.
Then my mental health is declining. . . . see fuel pump/heater valve post to come. . .
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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