Irvine Interlude

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Lanval
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Irvine Interlude

Post by Lanval » Tue Jun 24, 2014 12:03 pm

The day started off drowsy, slow and cloudy. Not to worry, though, as the marine layer burns off promptly at 10am, and we were scheduled for another pristine So-Cal day: 75 F, light breeze, and a reasonable cup of coffee. We got all three, and then some. In the past, I've usually had some major project to do that was a challenge to do within a day; not this year. Anything that big I wasn't prepared for (redoing the front end suspension, for example) so instead I set my sights a bit lower, on a couple of things that Colin's help would be invaluable, and would make for a somewhat more relaxing itinerary visit. We've had hairy times before, so low and slow was the order of the day.

The first thing we looked at, which of course turned into a more extended meditation on the nature of these engines, and the necessary experience needed to fine-tune the engine according the book, but not by the book ~ some account must be taken of the years of wear, differences in technology and the engine's own "personality". The engine has, over the last six months, run rather rich. This did however resolve some issues, while maintaining some other issues. I knew the gas/air metering system was operating at the edges of sanity, but by running rich, I had apparently solved long-standing "hot start" issues. The engine would however, when warmed up, maintain a high idle (1800-2200), which is far from ideal (though it makes starting from a stop in rabbit-start-land somewhat more tolerable for the other drivers around me, since the high idle made it fairly roll off the line).

We started by setting the engine to factory specs, and then I watched as Colin fiddled with the unmetered air and the idle switch. It seemed t hat adjusting the distributor was also called for ~ and done. After the adjustment, more fine tuning of the air, idle and timing. My takeaway from this was as follows:

1. The factory settings are a starting point, but then I'm going to have to use my knowledge of the engine, sound, touch, etc. in order to get the engine to run happily; in getting back to the factory settings, we also re-introduced the hard start problems (I learned that it might be easier to jump start in second or third gear, as opposed to first!) and you really haven't lived until you get to "drive" a van while Colin pushes!

2. I'm going to have to make checking the engine and pushrods a more common thing; I simply need to spend time adjusting and readjusting settings until I can develop a more intuitive sense of how to manage the engine. Particularly since I have to deal with a tight smog regulation down here in So Cal. Two years ago, Colin set the engine and I smogged it within a week or so. We'll see if that works here, but in any event, I see I'm going to have to make a habit of toying with the settings in order to fully understand what they're doing in terms of effect.

The engine has some gremlins; one which was particularly vexing was the throttle switch. It's apparently supposed to enrich the mixture under full throttle. Removal and check showed the switch worked, so why no enrichment? Careful replacement and setting the switch at optimum location did not reveal results... or so it seemed. The LM-1 is a great device, but it's hard to tell, when placed in the pipe end, if you're seeing real numbers, or just what's left after the catalytic converter has done it's job. In any event, we couldn't tell for sure if the enrichment was working; didn't feel that way according to the butt dyno, and the LM-1 had no good info to appease our anxious souls.

Here's the throttle switch. It's tempting to replace it, but it seemed to be working OK, though we didn't test every bit of those wires:
Image

This process took most of the day, and involved a fair amount of test driving with the LM-1 hanging on for dear life as we roared around Irvine trying not to irritate the rich and clueless in their pristine cars. Coming up and down the rather steep hill I live on, it was clear that we had resolved a problem that i'd been having with stuttering/starving under load when the engine was warm. The offset was less power when cold, but I now have a more reliably sluggish van. Getting to that point required a bit more experimentation, and adjusting, sometimes on the road, as here:

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In the midst of this my lovely wife brought out "lunch" ~ in deference to Colin's "full-speed-ahead" work attitude, it was our usual cut fruit and cracker plate. I probably ate most of it, which is why I'm chubby. I like cheese, what can I say?

Image

I like to try to add a bit of civility to the day when I can; too many visits (mine as well as others) are such a long battle with the elements, the cars, the cheap aftermarket parts that anything that affords a moments relaxation seems beyond value. It also allows me the occasional portrait, as here:

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The hot start problem plagued us; it seemed to be flooding at first; after cranking the engine a zillion times, plenty of gas smell... a leaky injector? First we checked the pressure ~ nope. Held pressure fine. Then we pulled a couple of plugs ~ nope. They looked fine. Then Colin did something that I didn't directly observe, but assume to be dangerous, since he said he checked the spark at the coil and it looked good. Probably best I didn't see that... In any event, if you have fire, and fuel, then it must be air that's wanting, no? No. Or at least so it seemed. In any event, we checked all the grounds, cleaned some contact points, used electrical grease of some sort to prevent oxidation ~ all in the hopes that it would solve this annoying gremlin. Here's some of that work now!

Image

and close up:

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We eventually seemed to beat it, but it's hard to say exactly which "thing" resolved the hot start issue. Timing perhaps, but it's a bit of a mystery ~ I'll have to fool around and see if I can get it to reproduce: get the engine hot and see if I can change the settings to reliably create/resolve the "hot start" issue I've been having.

The last order of the day was more concrete ~ the windshield washers have never worked ~ run the pump and you got a puddle on the ground. So we quickly dropped the dash (Colin has pictures of this) so we could have a "bat-in-hell" chance of fixing the issue. Though it's terribly difficult to get at the washer lines, it's possible, and we got lucky. The driver's side which is the intake and tees off to the passenger side, is available behind the master cylinder. Not so the passenger side, which is sadly hidden away behind the heater motor. I did NOT want to remove the heater motor.

Some work determined, though, that the problem was from the tank to the nozzle. We popped the driver's side nozzle (I'd order replacements) and got to the "T" junction that joined the intake to the two nozzles. We repaired the tubes, and Colin got his fingers burned heating up some shrink tubing to seal the junctions. Here's a picture of the final product; you can see the old brownish tubing on the right, which is the original, and our newer black tubing on the bottom and the right:

Image

By that time it was just 6pm, and time for dinner. I neglected, I'm afraid, to take a picture of the fantastic layout Mrs. Lanval prepared, but it was steak and/or turkey tacos, with all the fixin's; we try to make sure that Colin gets a decent meal when he's here. I figure the next week is gonna be some random assortment of "food" duly washed with carb cleaner and spotted with gasket sealant of some sort.

The last thing I did was send him off with a half-rack of diet coke, a few t-shirts that I reckon will be used to polish a fender or something, and a catalog of VW stuff.

All in all a restful day of work, and perhaps the only true vacation I will take this year.

Bon Voyage!

Lanval

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ruckman101
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by ruckman101 » Wed Jun 25, 2014 1:56 am

Sounds like a perfect day. An indulgence of opportunity to relentlessly focus, that many steps closer to "just exactly perfect" ... priceless. And good food to boot.


neal
The slipper has no teeth.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jun 25, 2014 8:56 am

ruckman101 wrote:Sounds like a perfect day. An indulgence of opportunity to relentlessly focus, that many steps closer to "just exactly perfect" ... priceless. And good food to boot.


neal

A lovely family, the Lanval Family, makes me "civilized" briefly.

Here is a picture of ponder:

Image


. . . as we attempted to glean the workings of the idle switch and the full throttle switch, they were daisy-chained to the ECU, now doesn't that mystify you a bit?

Image


You can render your Vanagon thus in about ten minutes:

Image


The steering wheel position was perfect for that relaxed in-your-lap motoring:

Image


We had the dash back together in good time. Lanval has traversed this road before, and has a crisp grasp of the techniques required to fiddle the air ducts, heater cables, steering wheel bracket, and glovebox light wiring. I missed the shot of the Indignities Of Aiming The Newly Functional Washer jets, but they worked.

After that mini-explosion of utter chaos, we were pretty cool customers to hit the dinner hour on time, and a good dinner it was. Again, I wish we had more time to sit around with a beer and chat, it is a pleasure to converse with someone as well read and ready to debate the issues and trends of the day.
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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Amskeptic
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jun 30, 2014 9:08 am

( I moved SlowLane's thoughtful and technical response to Lanval's observations about the LM-1 to:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=9926#p177787
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

Lanval
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Lanval » Sat Jul 12, 2014 8:29 pm

I thought a follow up to the excellent day we had was in order.

One thing that we didn't do, but maybe should have just to see how things would turn out, was smog the van. It needed to be done this week (7/10 was the due date), but I didn't want to waste time with Colin sitting in a smog shop while a bored and surly tech twiddled his thumbs (that has been my experience, generically, in Irvine ~ the land of the wealthy. I get my smogs done at a shop in Santa Ana now, run by a Hispanic guy who could teach classes on speed, efficiency and customer service ~ but that rant ought to be saved for another forum, and another day).

I also felt, based on intuition and laziness (i.e. not actually looking under the van to check), that there might be a hole/opening in the exhaust ~ Colin commented on this as well when listening to the engine. Thus, I wanted to kill two birds with one stone. I sent the van over to a local VW specialist, who have a smog test center next door; they are thus able to get the smog check taken care of.

They checked things out, and agreed that, in fact, there was a substantial hole in the exhaust. They replaced the exhaust and the tailpipe, left the catalytic converter as is, but most importantly, appear NOT to have touched the engine to adjust it for smogging. Butt-dyno and experience reports the engine is performing just as it was when set up by Colin and I. With Colin's setup, the engine flew, FLEW through smog with flying colors.

As a double bonus, with the exhaust fixed, the engine has a new deep, rumbly note that is pure boxer engine. I really dig it ~ it has changed the aesthetics of driving a bit, and makes me want to drive more, do more with the van, get back on top of that horse and really get things dialed in.

I love my van. It is freedom of the purest sort.

ML

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Amskeptic
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:19 pm

Lanval wrote:I thought a follow up to the excellent day we had was in order.
replaced the exhaust and the tailpipe,
the engine flew through smog with flying colors.

I love my van. It is freedom of the purest sort.

ML
They are. I am enjoying scampering where cars don't even try . . .
I like best of all that they are unassuming.

Image
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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ruckman101
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by ruckman101 » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:29 pm

Yep. Amazes folks. Climb up a mountain and find us at one of Hambones camps. Hey!

I remember the amazed looks on a couple of folks on motorcycles after pushing some brush on overgrown forest service roads we were exploring when we drove on in and through their camp. Many moons ago. Priceless.


neal
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Lanval
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Lanval » Sat Jul 12, 2014 11:53 pm

Yeah, I miss the RalleyeBus (that's the only remaining picture in my Avatar) ~ I wandered all over western Oregon with that thing, and earned the nickname!

This vanagon, though, is a more elegant carriage, from a more civilized age.

Carry on, gentlemen, carry on.

ML

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ruckman101
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by ruckman101 » Sun Jul 13, 2014 12:24 am

Nah, just as capable. Although you wouldn't be pushing brush if damage to the paint job was a concern.

neal
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Amskeptic
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:32 am

Lanval wrote: This vanagon, though, is a more elegant carriage, from a more civilized age.

ML
[ :cherry: ]
Vanagons are the baby-boomers to the baywindow post-war generation. They are sharp around the edges, they don't have the traction, they don't have the character, they suffer from computer-based "just-enough-to-get-the-job-done" design, they don't have the time-tested quality of the older buses that helped to build the civilization that Vanagons prance around in.

An old baywindow bus knows how to rock climb and yet looks good at Lincoln Center as it parks next to the flashy Escalade, your average baywindow has a history and stories no Escalade can ever hope to match, and its beauty only illuminates itself to the discerning, it might be late to the party but it always shows up.
[/ :cherry: ]


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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whc03grady
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by whc03grady » Mon Jul 14, 2014 11:00 am

Amskeptic wrote:Vanagons are the baby-boomers to the baywindow post-war generation.
So does that make Splitties Depression-era Nazis?
Ludwig--1974 Westfalia, 2.0L (GD035193), Solex 34PDSIT-2/3 carburetors.
Gertie--1971 Squareback, 1600cc with Bosch D-Jetronic fuel injection from a '72 (E brain).
Read about their adventures:
http://www.ludwigandgertie.blogspot.com

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retro1302
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by retro1302 » Mon Jul 14, 2014 1:57 pm

I do contemplate that one of the workers that assembled my Splittie, in 1965, may have been a depression-era Nazi. A ton of history built into our VWs
____________________

1965 Split Camper
1971 Super Beetle Convert
1980 Triumph Spitfire

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Amskeptic
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Jul 14, 2014 8:27 pm

Let's wrap this one up, I had no idea we were going here. I was enjoying a light personal joke with Lanval, and it seemed barely apt enough to apply a generation to the *personalities* of the vehicles.
Colin

(nobody had a "nazi" generation)
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

Lanval
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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Lanval » Thu Jul 17, 2014 4:58 pm

I'm unwrapping this...

The appropriate response to Colin was this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gj53mU0hz4Y

While it may lack some of the nimbleness of the earlier types, the vanagon is truly an elegant iteration of the van. I never get tired of having heat on demand (front and rear!), or the steady beat of my extra 20+ hp rumbling up the hill.

Since we did the work, the van has truly reached a new high in drivability ~ the family leaves next week, and I plan to spend every weekend I'm alone out with the van camping and riding. Time for this old van to get some post-worthy miles on it. See you in the camping section!

ML

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Re: Irvine Interlude

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:15 pm

Lanval wrote: Since we did the work, the van has truly reached a new high in drivability ~ the family leaves next week, and I plan to spend every weekend I'm alone out with the van camping and riding. Time for this old van to get some post-worthy miles on it. See you in the camping section!

ML
Enjoy! Particularly that view out the windshield . . .
ColinInCAAgin
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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