Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

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Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jul 02, 2013 9:10 am

I left the Lucky Lab in the rain and drove to the California border . . . in the rain. By this point, my eyes had long since dulled into grey hopelessness, the lifelong spark had been thoroughly extinguished, my sodden soggy sour soused spirit slowly slipping towards some wet hydroplaning highway death on this water-infested orb, my grave would probably splash muddy water as they dumped the casket in.
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Oh yeah right, Oregon "thanks" me, for WHAT, taking half of its precipitation along in my poor rusting bus?
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But hark! Do I see . . . blue sky? California! Are you going to save me from perpetual grey?
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Mount Shasta! Hidden by clouds, but hey, I am looking through dappled skies whose patches of blue might promise dearly desired sunshine:
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And then California said, "we gots grey too."
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I had to drive towards it. The itinerary said so. The blue sky disappeared. I had to get to Pacific-Chilled Eureka, to enjoy their famous 56*-60* climate:
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Some two hundred miles of rain and hairpin curves greeted me on CA299. The droplets on the windshield hide from your view the depth of the ravine here:
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I no longer even complained. Dead inside, I drove through the rain with a gritty lack of determination. Even the engine's inner fire was slowly being leached into the wet cold landscape:
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I guess the land needs the rain. This is the Trinity River:
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I took a photograph of Chloe in the rain outside of Eureka. Knowing that Eureka always greets me with cold Pacific mist and I had two appointments coming up, I was steeling myself for sweatshirt grey dampness for the next few days. I stood here at a roadside turnout and tried to loosen up my muscles which were contracting into a seized fetal position even as I stood there:
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Wouldn't you know it . . . the last couple of hundred feet of elevation dropped me out of the clouds and rain into . . . . sunshine . . . . in Eureka. Warm Eureka. Warm sunny Eureka? For two days, I exulted in sunshine.

Worked on pdlrofdrms bus. After enduring a litany of disappointments with those who administered to her poor bus, she took on the task to work on it herself. She took the engine out and installed two remanned cylinder heads. Riddled with doubts, she asked me if that "funny noise" was a problem. Others had offered dire possibilities like "loose camshaft gear". I heard perhaps a little oil pump tang clatter, but judged it inconsequential. Like misszora, she now has a strong quiet peppy engine. We decided to deal with the sliding door. Installed a new receiver in the b-pillar because the old one had been butted too many times by a sagging door. Made two new roller bracket shims with an angle grinder and dremel and got that door hoisted back up to the proper level. Longingly, she had witnessed how Chloe's sliding door latches in the fully open position. We prevailed upon a hapless pen and robbed its little barrel spring. Drilled a divot in the stop bracket. Kissed the hook's end with a dremel to hold the other end of the spring. Voil-, no wait, Eureka! Door now latches:
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She tenderly ministers to her bus:
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She is amazing. Business owner, roller-derby participant, and vital spirit.
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Next day, Airkooledchris and I couldn't even get out the driveway. It wasn't the clutch that was making it difficult to shift so much as a rapidly failing transaxle. Once again, old Volkswagens try to take care of their owners, his bus had gently warned him to get home and it was pretty much done in the driveway.
1st and 2nd were unobtainable, and reverse was losing its ability to stay in gear. Strangely, the detents were gone in the 1st 2nd shift fork.
We pulled the engine and transaxle in 60 minutes flat as I had promised + another 60, so sue me.
Here's the drain plug on the failed transaxle, looks like the mechanical improv of a palm tree:
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I got all panicky over a moveable flywheel, we measured .005" radial movement + another .005" axial movement. This dampened airkooledchris a tad, to think that his engine was ill as well as the transaxle.
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But his Volkswagen has other ideas. Our test drive with the new (used) transaxle was fine! The engine was peppy and quiet with no discernable main bearing thumping.
Knowing that Bleyseng and I have been having a conversation about "rev-limiting in the late bus ECU", airkooledchris' bus decided to stick its accelerator cable on the test drive so we could *hear* the most-definitely-supplied rev-limiter cutting in.

Tough day but good fun. Sunny warm Eureka gave way to close to record high temperatures as I drove down to Napa for the appointment with brewcruiser. Do you think I complained about the 108* heat and blinding sun?
You bet.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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airkooledchris
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by airkooledchris » Wed Jul 03, 2013 10:57 am

Take that Oregon! :sunny:

I don't know why I hadn't considered the transmission itself, and kept focusing on it being a clutch issue, but thankfully this green project bus was nearby and was able to donate it's transmission to getting my daily driver back on the road.

What Colin was nice enough to spare me from, was referencing our conversation about when the gear oil was last changed. "never, by me anyway"

Yea, I picked up this blue bus 3 years ago and I never once thought to check the transmission oil level or oil condition. It's one of those things you do every lotsandlotsofmiles so I ignored it. I don't know that addressing it's oil would have saved it from it's true death, but it served me well in these past 3 years and it didn't strand me and my family in the middle of nowhere on the way to/back from Maupin twice, or to/from SF and back twice, nor on numerous other camping trips that took me well out of cell range.

No, it died 6 blocks from my house. It was 90% downhill to get it home and into the driveway where it sat until Colin arrived and we realized that even a test drive to see these behaviors was going to be impossible.

It was HOT on our day. Like HOT HOT for Eureka. I'll admit it, I don't like to be hot, especially if im working hard. It slows my brain down, makes my skin hurt and makes me want to throw up my hands and just say 'F it!' - but I was excited to get this bus back on the road so we buckled down and wrestled the engine from it's bay in a few hours time. As always the start of the day is nice and relaxed, but by mid-day the realization that our workload keeps increasing - makes me nervous of meeting the deadline.

Then there was the endplay check, which revealed a possible wonky main #1 bearing. I do not want to hear this. I do not want to hear this. Ive been feeling so confident about this busses overall health that I picked up another project one to work on so I can just drive/drive/drive and enjoy this one. Of all my busses over the years I love everything about the motor in this one the most. The power, the sound, the feel, the way you can tune it to run cool or lean it for around town driving. I know it, and it might be slowly dying. In that moment I thought to myself, well - the engine might be dying, the transmission just did and the body needs rust attention. That leaves me with almost nothing that doesn't need money and time, neither of which have been in supply lately. Awesome. This of course hits me at the hottest part of the day when all I want to do is go light one up, crack one open and sit on my big lazy american ass and just space out for a while. What could I get for all of this crap right now if I just unload it and buy a f'ing Honda or something? OK OK OK, it's not really that bad, get your ass in gear and let's DO THIS THING. It took me maybe an hour but I pulled myself out of that funk and we moved forward.

The replacement transmission is drained and refilled with fresh gear oil. Were getting it cleaned up and ready to install when Colin notices that the input shaft can simply be pulled out without any resistance. It's getting late. This will put fixing this as the last thing we do today, and ill end up with a motor/trans at the end of my driveway and no help or time to finish it up on my own.
Screw it, says I, let's install the transmission and motor together as a unit and pretend we didn't see that. Colin thought about it a bit and we went for it. It's going to have to come out as a complete unit again next time to, but whatever, that seems to be the norm anyway.

The rest you know about. The transmission works great, the motor isn't making any obvious problem sounds and we even got to play with the built in computer rev limiter.

I was so drained after this one compared to the others. A combination of running myself ragged for weeks leading up to the appointment and getting pretty sunburned the day of the appointment itself. I still have a little bit of tuning left to do in order to get it exactly how I like it again, but im pretty darned close.


One strange thing happened during the install - the motor sits further back in the engine bay than it did before. It's like the transmission is shorter than the other one, but upon measurement it doesn't seem it. Also my motor mounts are all screwy and broken, so it may not be sitting correctly in there anymore. I was able to push the transmission forward a hair to get it closer, but it still isn't quite right.

When I finish putting the project bus motor together and fund/acquire another transmission for it, I can smog it and drive it for a while - while I pull the blue busses drivetrain and give it some long overdue attention. (and have enough time to do every little thing the way id like to)

It was a great day overall, and once again I learned more than i'll ever be able to retain - but enough to keep me pushing forward on my own for another year.
1979 California Transporter

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tristessa
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by tristessa » Thu Jul 04, 2013 3:51 am

Amskeptic wrote:I guess the land needs the rain. This is the Trinity River:
Image
That's where Stuarts Fork comes into Trinity Lake. There's only a couple times in my life where it *hasn't* looked more or less like that .. it's really not too bad this year.
Remember, only YOU can prevent narcissism!

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Jul 04, 2013 11:06 pm

tristessa wrote:
Amskeptic wrote:I guess the land needs the rain. This is the Trinity River:
Image
That's where Stuarts Fork comes into Trinity Lake. There's only a couple times in my life where it *hasn't* looked more or less like that .. it's really not too bad this year.
My annual traverse of Lake Shasta and Lake Mead suggests that the West/Southwest needs more rain or preferably, snowmelt!
ColinInElkoNV (where my transmission is randomly kicking out of 3rd and 4th)
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by BellePlaine » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:22 am

airkooledchris wrote:
Then there was the endplay check, which revealed a possible wonky main #1 bearing. I do not want to hear this. I do not want to hear this.

Chris, Colin gave me the same diagnosis in 2011. Here you can see the movement in my main bearing.

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Anyway, this engine has taken my family around Lake Superior twice and on many other camping trips since then. I know that an engine rebuild is in my future, but I think that we have some time yet.
1975 Riviera we call "Spider-Man"

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by airkooledchris » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:56 am

BellePlaine wrote:
airkooledchris wrote:
Then there was the endplay check, which revealed a possible wonky main #1 bearing. I do not want to hear this. I do not want to hear this.

Chris, Colin gave me the same diagnosis in 2011. Here you can see the movement in my main bearing.

Image

Anyway, this engine has taken my family around Lake Superior twice and on many other camping trips since then. I know that an engine rebuild is in my future, but I think that we have some time yet.

thank you for this. seriously, while I have come to accept it, I *have* been seriously doubting my 'far from home' trip capabilities ever since... :sunny:
1979 California Transporter

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Gypsie
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Gypsie » Fri Jul 05, 2013 12:21 pm

airkooledchris wrote: I *have* been seriously doubting my 'far from home' trip capabilities ever since... :sunny:
Oh that'll go away once the eye twitch settles in...

Truth is, whether it's new, used, young, or old, a mechanical failure is always possible.

AAA will help for most events, but a working knowledge of your rig and some basic troubleshooting skills will go along way to keeping you rolling.

Sounds like you are enjoying some lemonade right now with your fortunately 'just sitting there' transaxle.

Great Job folks.

Oh, and welcome Dream peddler.
So it all started when I wanted to get better gas mileage....

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jul 05, 2013 9:33 pm

I underplay the strengths of the Type 4 engine so as not to inculcate in you, my esteemed customers, any tendency to take these magnificent engines for granted. I like a little nervousness in all of us.
That said, these engines have tough lower ends.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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Bleyseng
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Bleyseng » Fri Jul 05, 2013 10:46 pm

They "Love" fresh oil and cool head temps and with that they run a looong time.
Geoff
77 Sage Green Westy- CS 2.0L-160,000 miles
70 Ghia vert, black, stock 1600SP,- 139,000 miles,
76 914 2.1L-Nepal Orange- 160,000+ miles
http://bleysengaway.blogspot.com/

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:09 am

Bleyseng wrote:They "Love" fresh oil and cool head temps and with that they run a looong time.
And for all you main-bearing-issued Type 4 and especially Type 1 owners thus all air-cooled VW owners, remember,
"The Itinerator sez, "don't use the clutch pedal for anything but crisp gear changes."
::wessonality::
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by airkooledchris » Tue Jul 29, 2014 8:56 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Bleyseng wrote:They "Love" fresh oil and cool head temps and with that they run a looong time.
And for all you main-bearing-issued Type 4 and especially Type 1 owners thus all air-cooled VW owners, remember,
"The Itinerator sez, "don't use the clutch pedal for anything but crisp gear changes."
::wessonality::

Which does *not* mean you should forgo double clutching eh?

After reading up on BellePlaine's recent breakdown, im reminded of my own main bearing wonk. I'll still keep driving it though (once I put it all back together of course.) =)
1979 California Transporter

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jul 29, 2014 9:09 am

airkooledchris wrote:
Amskeptic wrote: "The Itinerator sez,
Which does *not* mean you should forgo double clutching eh?
You may enjoy double-clutching to your heart's content. Double-clutching occurs under full oil pressure with a warm engine, so the wear is minimal in the thrust direction only.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by airkooledchris » Thu Jul 27, 2017 11:21 am

I like going back and re-reading what went down in previous appointments, esp when my next one is bit a week+ away.

It should be noted that Colin and I fixed that transaxle input shaft pulling out of the bellhousing by using 2 clips that were both wrong for the application. So far so good. I also haven't done a thing to the engine since all of this went down, other than just drive and drive and drive it. I daily drive this bus year round, it never gets a break and I think that's the key to keeping it happy. It has slowly started a trend of running hotter and hotter over time, when under load and at higher RPM's, but that doesn't effect my daily driving habits. I've taken it to Chico/SF and back a few times since then and it hasn't failed me yet.

It's been 2+ years since I looked at the valves. I haven't changed the oil in 6 months. I have no idea where my timing is set at currently. Every single time I turn the key it fires right up and gives me plenty of power. I really do love this thing.
1979 California Transporter

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by airkooledchris » Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:22 pm

I changed the oil and checked the timing before heading north to camp (where I am now). The oil wasn't too dirty but I went ahead and did the filter as well. The timing was exactly where I last set it, like it always seems to be with this bus. The valves should probably be checked. Maybe I'll get to it before Colin gets here .... maybe.
1979 California Transporter

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From California

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jul 29, 2017 10:36 pm

airkooledchris wrote:
Sat Jul 29, 2017 5:22 pm
I changed the oil and checked the timing before heading north to camp (where I am now). The oil wasn't too dirty but I went ahead and did the filter as well. The timing was exactly where I last set it, like it always seems to be with this bus. The valves should probably be checked. Maybe I'll get to it before Colin gets here .... maybe.

Volkswagens do like to be run. Chloe is settling in after 10,000 miles of hard daily driving since April 25.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,885 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,899 miles

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