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So Much For That Hot Desert

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:39 pm
by Amskeptic
We met our match out there. But first, how we got to that point:

This is the top of the hill outside of Baker CA with that "world's largest thermometer" reading 116*. I was proud of the Firestone Assassinator-shod BobD for climbing this famous 16 mile 2,000 foot ascent in 4th gear the whole way, something the Road Warrior never could do. It did it in 4th even as I kept off the gas, it settled in around 60mph and just did its thing:


The heat was still woozy-inducing, so I continued on another several miles until the Halloran Summit at 4,700 feet. Then I measured the engine temps. Oops. We got your basic 312* reading on the crankcase just below the pushrod tubes, and a 250* at the oil pump and 255* at the oil filter and 245* at the valve cover gaskets. Dipstick was noticeably warm, but not impossible. Engine was running fine. The Firestone ScrewYouWeHateYou tires were actually running cooler than the German Metzener spare 145* versus 155*.

It was here that I realized that I was part of the problem. Heart-racing and no sweat after laser checking out that blasting heat from the bottom of the engine, I myself was over-cooked and there was no relief in sight but the shade of this magnificent old tree:


No Death Valley with this car and this heart today. I did not trust the temps and do not have enough experience with this particular engine to push things. You see, that above-note increase in power up the hills was nice and all, it's what America wanted after all, but it changed the rules of the game I have always enjoyed with air-cooled VWs. I don't know that this more-powerful bus engine is quite so bullet-proof as the little Road Warrior's unperturbable and modest engine. We traded-in rock-solid reliability in the early 60's in our efforts to keep up with the times in the late 70's. I now need to feel out and learn how much to "back-pedal" the increased power to keep temps down, and it makes me now think this later more powerful 2.0 engine I now have to drive might benefit from some . . . . gauges. Otherwise, I end up driving it with the same output as the Road Warrior, and the hills will have to be pulled in 3rd at the same speed as the Road Warrior used to to keep the temps down. Which explains still better why I like VW's method to understress and underpower their cars, they did the "back-pedalling" for us.

Here is where the fuel pump started screaming:



Could not have picked a prettier place to discover that the fuel filter (cerca 2003) was finished:



By the time I was done mucking around with a leaking fuel hose clamp-off that ran gasoline-rinsed WaxOyl all over my arms and armpits and had wrestled off that black-gooed old fuel filter for the new grey Israel's Finest and got the clamps where you can actually loosen them next time, and shortened the pump-to-filter hose and replaced the gas tank-to-filter hose with a longer one so things are not rubbing againt the wrong sharp edges ....:


..... it was getting more beautiful and the temps were down into the low 90*s and my heart rate was getting back to normal:


Drove up the dirt path here at the summit, and found a bewitching landscape of cacti and moonlight with the dip of I-15 visible in the far distance, a red and white artery at night, a vein of our civilization's pell-mell dash here and there, utterly baffling and nonsensical to Overheated Hermit here, and that completely pissed-off bird that came down and pecked at my left rump "HEY! What IS the PROBLEM here?" I yelled at the bird as it flew back to its cactus perch. I walked/jogged another mile up the dirt path, and each short little hill and dell gave me a new vantage, a new landscape. In the moonlight, it felt as swift as a fighter jet strafing a canyon, this is called Entertainment in the Middle Of Nowhere if you are easily amused by your child imagination.

Camped under stars blotted out by that stupid old moon. Next morning, I thought, let's finish the fuel system and do the fuel hoses finally. Then I can see why #3 is leaner than the others (and indeed, the plastic cap on the injector was not properly crimped to the body causing a more shrouded and thinner spray as a result, and the factory install of the injectors squashed the o ring more than the others to compensate). Each original fuel hose that I took off was friggen perfectly pliable :pale:

. . . and each new fuel hose was installed with the trepidation that it doesn't have that nice heat resistant nylon mesh surface of the oem reinforced fuel injection hose. But at least I was able to bend the fuel pipes so they would not rub the cylinder tins FINALLY. I see no reason why you should not bend the fuel rail to help the circuit avoid interference with the brake booster line, the intake manifold, the spark plug connectors, and I bent the left rail but good to make a decent 90* bend over to the cold start valve:


A bit more finagling of the right pipe to miss the tin, the #2 spark plug connector and the harnesses:

Image which time I had a serious tan/burn on my back. At 4,700 feet, there is less protective ozone smog, I guess. Drove down the hill to Primm Nevada and won a 20* increase in temperatures:



Am in SteinwayPianoLand, and must get to it in the middle of the night where it cools below 100*. You know that this piano is making music only because it knows that I love it to death. A piano with these huge five foot long strings in this heat should have delaminated and exploded and died long ago. But I love it . . . and the spirit of the old man who was taken too soon from me.


Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 12:54 pm
by hambone
Can't see the damn pix but that is quite a writeup. Thanks. Nice to see you soar.

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:18 pm
by sped372
I love being "held back" by our bus. Seems like if everything is in place and you're not a complete moron (losing speed? shift down!) it won't allow you to overload the engine to the point of overheating. It doesn't have enough power to generate sustained heat-producing pulls. Drive sensibly and you don't *need* gauges.

If the later bays have enough power to overheat themselves (granted, you're in some serious ambient heat right now) it seems like a backstep rather than progress.

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:39 pm
by hambone
Progress is always a sacrifice of something. Simple has merit.

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 1:58 pm
by Randy in Maine
I now need to feel out and learn how much to "back-pedal" the increased power to keep temps down, and it makes me now think this later more powerful 2.0 engine I now have to drive might benefit from some . . . . gauges.
Words I never thought I would ever read!

Beautiful spot there. Always makes me feel "small" when I am there.

Posted: Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:52 pm
by midatlanticys
hambone wrote: . . . . . . that is quite a writeup. Thanks. Nice to see you soar.
x2 =D> thank you CK!!

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 6:23 am
by Cindy
Stupid old moon? Excuse me?

Take care of that heart. I just had visions of you flat on the floor of the roller skating rink.


Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:36 pm
by Elwood
Hey Colin, I remember a time in Death Valley, sitting in a tricle of the Armagosa river tring to cool off and keep alive, it was not fun but a learning curve for survival.

That Lucky 'Ol Sun has nothin' to do, but roll around heaven all day.
Great classic song sung by many on Youtube, give it a listen.

Be safe you knukelhead !

What happened to your video of your Dad playing the piano? It was so cool to see and hear?????

See you soon :flower:

Posted: Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:51 pm
by EZ Gruv
I made that drive a month ago. It wasn't quite that hot though.

Posted: Sat Jul 24, 2010 8:44 pm
by Lanval

If you recall I did that drive around mid-August of last year after your visit. The pull op to Hell-O-ran Summit saw me at 35mph with head temps at 430F and oil temps around 250-75F. Temp was the same.

The 2.0 is a powerful little bugger. Even with my lousy tune (sorry, working a lot, plus my surprise is taking some time) I can run up the hill to Turtle Rock in 3-4 gear at 45-60 mph. I love that the 2.0 will actually *pull* uphill in 4th, but I suspect that I'm not supposed to be doing that. If I had my guess, and Herr Pfarrendriven were here (in my head that's the name of the German guy who builds my VWs) he'd say that the extra power is for cruising on the flats, and not, NEIN! to be used to push your transporter/van uphill at freeway speeds.

Doing such a thing would be near impossible in Germany anyway; few are the roads that go uphill in a hurry, and are also straight. Germany is a place where these vans would be driving most of the time in 2nd and 3rd, and the hills would be driven slowly because the road is narrow and twisty!

Not here in the US, though. GM/Ford/Packard etc. with their giant engines were made to fly over the straight-wide freeways. Your transporter is meant for other things....


Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 11:29 am
by hambone
VWs in the Cascades kick ass. A perfect union of climate and terrain.

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:07 pm
by glasseye
hambone wrote:VWs in the Cascades kick ass. A perfect union of climate and terrain.
Well, there you have it then. That explains it. :cheers: Hills plus cool air. Gotta love it.

You should feel Frito, pulling up an 8% grade in top gear at 1900 rpm, turbo whistling a happy tune. Fr*$$#ggin awesome.


Tell us more Steinway stories. Right NOW.

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 7:45 pm
by vwlover77
glasseye wrote: You should feel Frito, pulling up an 8% grade in top gear at 1900 rpm, turbo whistling a happy tune. Fr*$$#ggin awesome.
My in-laws have a scan gauge in their Sprinter Winnebago View. Even more awesome when you can read the boost pressure and power output on the gauge!

Posted: Sun Jul 25, 2010 8:55 pm
by chitwnvw
Do we want limits that we work around, or do we just want unlimited power?

The latter sounds kind of boring.

Posted: Mon Jul 26, 2010 12:30 am
by Amskeptic
glasseye wrote: Tell us more Steinway stories. Right NOW.
I shall post new Steinway ditty, perhaps tomorrow. I look like a demented old nun with my wet shirt wrapped around my head at 138* inside the trailer with two hot kerosene lamps going. Good God That Was Hot.