Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

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drober23
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Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

Post by drober23 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 6:05 pm

Wow, what a day!

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I can't express how lucky we are as a community to have the ability to schedule a day of Colin's time to come and work with US and on our Volkswagens. I think I'm ready to send in my deposit for next year.

Chloe drove gracefully down my drive at about 9:00 am. Colin came in, and we sat around the table discussing busses, engines, timing, and the lilke. I suspect he is just trying to figure out where I am in my VW knowledge. The discussion centers around valve adjustment, and since I have engines with both solid and hydraulic lifters, Colin covers both types. Not just the "turn this screw this many times" stuff you can get in the Bentley! The discussion started with "why do we need 0.006" of lash? Then jumped into explaining expansion rates of all the components, and how the hydraulic lifters fit into this. Somewhere in the discussion I mention that I have a Raby Camper Special, and Jake says to adjust COLD to zero lash. Then we discuss how he is able to make that work. Whew! I think I'm keeping up!

To tie the valve adjustment story to actual practice, Colin next dove into the forensics of a valve adjustment. Did you have to change the setting? More than an hour? (an did the end position of any valve adjustment screw differ from the starting position by more than the hour hand of a clock takes to go from 1 to 2?) What does is mean if you have to turn the screw further than where it started? Not as far? If you have to do it on 1 and 3? Whew again!

Now he's ready to take a look at my prodigious wish list for the day. By this time, it's pretty clear to both of us, that I am a little bundle of hyperactivity (dying to say "LET'S GET OUT THERE AND FIX SOMETHING!") and he wants to take things at a measured pace. Anyway, here was the list we started with.

1. Cutitng out / bucking problem
2. Rear brakes seem to lose adjustment
3. AFM Tuning
4. High Oil Pressure Readings on Gauge
5. Won't idle when cold (idle speed really slow, stalling)
6. Hot Start Problem (solenoid, wiring?)
7. Mystery Noise - front end (sounds like a cable flopping)
8. Front Brakes Squeak when warm/hot
9. Fuel Gauge Not Working

That was quite a list. And as we were discussing things I also mentioned that I have a 009 distributor. We both decide this is odd, and add addressing it to the list (without worrying about what might have to come off).

So, we rush outside (ok I rush, and he walks) and start to dive in. First on the list was the bad wire I had discovered coming off the rear lights fuse in the rear left of the engine (the black one that feeds the double relay its power). I had borked up a soldering attempt earlier. Colin calmly explained how to prepare the wires and apply the solder (get the shrink wrap on the wire first!). There were a total of 4 repairs, as we discovered the little "loopback" wire that goes around the fuseholder was quite damaged, and I had hacked a repair on the blue/red fuel pump power wire in the past as well. He made me perform one of the repairs so that I could feel confident when presented with this in the future, and did the other three himself. We hoped that this may have been the big culprit int he cutting out / bucking problem. We did not observe any cutting out today, but the jury is still out on if this was the culprit. No matter, as it was a well executed repair that made my wiring quite a bit more robust.

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Next we decided to look at the low idle (stalling) when cold. As part of this discussion Colin noticed that the fittings that slip into my S-boot were not seated properly. This was a new S-boot, and I had not gotten them in correctly. We fixed that and moved to the AAR. I hate taking the AAR out, and managed to make my self busy doing something else until it had magically been pulled out of the engine bay. We adjusted it as "open" as we could. He admonished me for using a shoddy bit of hose between the AAR and intake plenum. World-wide disaster was averted with the installation of a new bit of hose (the old one was collapsing a bit) and I was also instructed on the proper way to run the FI wiring harness.

At about this time Gabriel (my 8 year old son) decided he was hungry. Colin had began to bristle when he saw a second fuel filter between the pump and the FI rail. That MUST come out NOW. It did, and we had to run a new length of FI rated fuel line from the pump to the rail. While I buttoned that up, Colin somehow got the AAR back on the engine and managed to get BOTH screws in (did I mention that I hate intalling that thing too?). We went in and had some lunch. Discussing the relative merits of "pretzel rolls" as opposed to bread or normal rolls.

Fed and ready to get going again, we emerged from the dome and jumped into the bus. At which point turning the key greets us with... nothing. Lights on, no turning over. The bus had been sitting for a while, so we checked the voltage: 7.4 volts. Not good. Jumped the bus with my Ford, and off we go! Colin was driving, meeting my bus seemingly for the first time, and trying to make friends. He unilaterally adds "Shifter Stop Plate Adjustment" to my list. He is dissatisfied with how it is responding as we are driving at relatively low speed on my dirt road. I discuss my earlier attempts at AFM tuning, and decide it must be revisited, soon! We stop, and he makes some adjustments (wiper 1/2, then a full tooth richer). We switch drivers and he observes my driving. We discuss the lost art of double-clutching and how to be gentle to your bus (so the clutch plate lasts a LONG time) you should shift in such a way as to minimize shock to the clutch. The closer the engine speed is to what the trans wants BEFORE you engage the clutch again, the better, etc... I hear, but it will take me a while to internalize this information.

Colin is also not pleased with the brakes, and thinks the booster may be suspect. We get back to the dome, and crawl under the bus to look at those rear brakes I was whining about. They had lost their adjustment again. One star on each side was fully "in" with no threads showing, and the other side was fully out with all the threads showing. Decidedly NOT the way I left them. We jacked up the bus, re-adjusted them, and staked the anchor between two points of the start adjusters. The idea is to create a bit of resistance to keep the vibration from allowing those stars to re-adjust themselves. An eye has been officially kept open to observe the result of this! Once the brakes were adjusted properly it was clear that I had over-tightened the adjustment cables under the front of the bus in an ill-advised attempt to compensate for the lost adjustment.

With the brakes adjusted, we took a quick look under the front to see if we could find the mystery noise. I declared the speedometer cable the most likely culprit, because when Colin shook it, the noise sounded disturbintgy familiar. Colin then adjusted the gear shift stop plate to his satisfaction.

I had a serviceable SVDA distributor laying around, so we pulled the old distributor to begin the swap. Would you belive it... when we looked at the distributor NO SPRING!!! We look in the distributor hole NO SPRING!!! Colin starts to convulse, ever so slightly... invoking the name "Mitch" several times. We stopped and stared in disbelief for a few minutes. After a bit of further examination, and quick soul searching, we confidently decide that there was not a spring in there to start with. We stopped and stared in disbelief for a another minute. Colin pulled the distributor drive out and turned it 90° (because the 009 is offset 90° and we were putting in an SVDA). I gingerly placed the new spring (borrowed from a '73 Super Beetle engine that won't need it for a while). I then put the new distributor in, and we statically timed it. Next we fired it up, and reset the idle speed. Then we broke out the timing light, adjusted some more, and were quite happy with the timing when we put it away.

We took a second drive, Colin was very pleased with the difference the SVDA distributor made in the engine's overall responsiveness. He also liked the shifting MUCH better, and was happy with the bus's overall suspension, steering, and feel. He declared it "pleasnatly tractable". The brakes felt much better after getting the rears adjusted properly again. We returned to the dome, and discussed the day's events as he filled out the invoice. We did everything on the list except explore the hot start problem and the fuel gauge. But, we added stop plate adjustment for the gear shifter, and swapping in an SVDA distributor. I was thrilled with the fruit of the day's discussions, and the day's labor. Thanks for a great day and a priceless service Colin!

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And on top of all that work and knowledge, I got an original pen drawing of my bus with the invoice!
DJ

'75 Westfalia, '79 Deluxe
(plus more busses than sense)

In a time of chimpanzees I was a monkey

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bajaman72
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Re: Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

Post by bajaman72 » Sat Sep 01, 2012 10:30 pm

=D>
Nice write up of the days events. I love reading these :)
Projects:
1972 Deluxe Transporter (2nd Driver) 2.0L - 091, dual Dells, Bug Pack exhaust. Camper Converted
1973 Baja (another 2nd Driver &Toy) Stock 1600 DP, dual Kadrons, Stinger

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Amskeptic
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Re: Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Sep 02, 2012 8:22 am

bajaman72 wrote:=D>
Nice write up of the days events. I love reading these :)
That was fun . . . with a tuba and a piano and a built-in slide in the house, but best of all, a lively discussion regarding compression rise and flame front propagation torque peaks vs horsepower peaks vis-a-vis specific fuel consumption and timing effects upon exhaust valve temperatures.

You all should be aware that he has a '68 Singlecab amongst his several several several other Volkswagens, and he asked me to tell you to keep on him pretty much daily to get every single one of them shipshape, that's what I remember anyway.

So, another Raby engine gets to enjoy a little pull up to 65mph in 3rd, but woe to all who drive on Michigan interstates, they are arguably the most awful, appalling, abysmal, atrocious, abominable and alarmingly atrophied collection of ruined rebar in buckled slabs of crumbling concrete in the nation.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

vdubluvah
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Re: Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

Post by vdubluvah » Wed Sep 12, 2012 11:56 pm

We discuss the lost art of double-clutching and how to be gentle to your bus (so the clutch plate lasts a LONG time) you should shift in such a way as to minimize shock to the clutch. The closer the engine speed is to what the trans wants BEFORE you engage the clutch again, the better, etc... I hear, but it will take me a while to internalize this information.
LOL, it did me too. Thank you for mentioning that bit so I could think about it again.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Colin Visits the Dome in Carleton, MI

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Sep 13, 2012 6:02 pm

vdubluvah wrote:
We discuss the lost art of double-clutching and how to be gentle to your bus (so the clutch plate lasts a LONG time) you should shift in such a way as to minimize shock to the clutch. The closer the engine speed is to what the trans wants BEFORE you engage the clutch again, the better, etc... I hear, but it will take me a while to internalize this information.
LOL, it did me too. Thank you for mentioning that bit so I could think about it again.
Hey! You were the good ol' days, before humidity and rain and humidity and rain. Yes, we must endeavor to be nice to our Volkswagens.
Chloe's Brutal Task Master
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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