Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

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aopisa
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Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

Post by aopisa » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:09 pm

I thought I would offer something different this year regarding my IAC appointment on September 1st. I will start the thread early outlining my preparations and expectations for the day. Then follow up to then see how well the plan was executed or where things went off the rails.

Despite the fact that My VW Bus Maintenance Merit Badge should be revoked (more on that in a minute), Colin has again agreed to honor me with his presence for the now 5th (really?) year in a row.

The bus has been running pretty well this past year. So much so in fact that I decided to take it on the road with my two sons, Elliot (18) and Owen (16). I have threatened to do this every summer since I bought the bus. It never happened partly due to mechanical issues, being afraid of some major mechanical catastrophe or letting work get in the way. With the bus performing as well as ever, I said "screw it" despite my work load getting pretty demanding. Elliot is off for college in a few weeks and I figured it was now or maybe never if we did not go. If something happens that I don't have the know how to handle, then we will live in present and deal with it.

I will detail the trip with pictures in a separate post once I finish editing the photos and find a few extra minutes.

We ended up clocking in over 2,200 miles with only one potentially significant incident and that was completely due to user error. The engine sustained more hours of highway speed driving than any time I have driven it before. A few other issues cropped up that I would like to address when Colin arrives.

So here is why I should be inducted into the bus owner's Hall of Incompetence. A few days before the trip I performed an oil change. On day two of our road trip we were on I-76 just west of Akron, OH. It is a very busy, nasty semi-choked road with very narrow shoulders. Earlier in the day I was thinking how great everything was going and how much I enjoyed driving the bus. My fears and anxieties of having a major mishap had vanished. I was busy keeping a close eye on my mirrors and the constant stream of traffic passing me when I looked down at the dash and saw the oil light glowing bright red! Horrors! I have read that you have anywhere from a pico second to a few seconds before the engine is cooked when that light that I never want to see comes on. I instantly pull over onto the narrow shoulder and went from 60 mph to 0mph in about two seconds while simultaneously cutting off the engine. How long was the light on? I have no idea. We get out and go around the back of the bus which is covered in oil. I look under the bus to find that the oil drain plug is missing while the last few pints or so of fossilized plant juice and dinosaur guts is draining out onto the highway. Although I thought I had sufficiently tightened the drain plug when I changed the oil, apparently I had not.

To make things worse, I did not piece together a few very important warning signs a few miles and minutes before. It had rained while we were camping the night before. It started out cloudy. When the sun came out I noticed droplets on the rear windshield when looking through the rearview mirror. Hmmm... must be the way the sun is hitting the window and making last night's dried up rain drops to appear. Nope, that's oil you idiot.

At some point a guy in a pick up is riding my tail. This was a regular occurrence whenever we hit an interstate to make up some time. As he is passing me I see him turn on his wipers while they smear something across his entire windshield. What could it be? I dunno. The fact that this is my oil never even dawns on me until hours later after I recount the event.

At any rate an old college friend who lived in the area helps us out by giving me the name of a nearby air-cooled shop. AAA tows us there. We put in oil and fire it up. All sounds good, the oil light stays out, the engine continues to run cool in the upper 80's ambient heat and there is no loss of power or acceleration. I must have caught it as soon as the light came on while there was still enough oil to keep everything lubricated enough to prevent metal on metal contact. There was no indication of anything wrong up until the instant I pulled over. The only thing that told me there was a problem was the oil light to which I immediately responded. At the time of the Great Oil Loss there was no difference in the sound of the engine or any diminishment of power. I was extremely lucky to narrowly avoid an engine killing abrupt end to our first big road trip. We continued on and finished the trip without incident. Many memories were made and we had a good time.

I plan on doing a full oil change including inspecting the strainer screen for metal shavings before Colin arrives. Also, I would like to get the valve adjustment out of the way in advance.

I only included this event as an illustration in full embarrassing disclosure that I think I must be somewhere if not at the top of the pantheon of Colin's most inept clients.

Onto this year's IAC pre-visit checklist and parts ordered.

The passenger side outboard CV boot ripped while we were on our trip. I applied a ghetto hack of Saran Wrap and duct tape which is holding even now.

-Four Rein CV boot kits ordered and 12 point socket. Will also pick up extra Molybednum Disulfide grease and large supply of nitrile gloves.

The lower alternator retaining bolt is loose and spinning in its bracket. Upon inspection the nut has come loose from the back of the bolt and fallen off. The head of the bolt appears to have rounded off the square part which mates with the square hole in the bracket. The bolt cannot be secured by just fitting a new nut and washer on it. It either needs a new bolt or new bolt and bracket.

-Ordered a new (old) bracket and bolt.

In addition the alternator light has now glowed dimly for about a year. The voltage has remained around 12V with engine off and 14.6 with the engine running. I checked the other day and I am now reading 12.9 engine off and 15.3 with it running. Not sure if this is within spec, a bad VR or the alternator is now starting to overcharge?

-I did order a remanufactured Bosch alternator just in case. Also, figured that if we end having to replace that bracket we might want to drop in a new alternator for the trouble.

Near the end of our trip the idle began to hunt up and down from about as low as 750 to up to about 1,000. This seemed to be more prevalent when the engine was warm and we had been driving for a few hours straight. I checked for vacuum leaks and could not find any. Needs some IAC diagnosis.

I have some minor rust developing under the windshield. Last year Colin noticed that the windshield was not set correctly and this may be contributing to water retention. Waterdawg and I planned on pulling the windshield in advance, taking care of the rust and having Colin's help in putting it back in at the correct orientation. We'll see as I need to find someone who will match the paint although I think there is only one spot where it may be visible.

-Ordered new window seal.

And finally the fuel pump makes a high pitched whining noise. Again this is after several hours of continuous operation. The pump remains cool to the touch and there is no performance degradation. Has not repeated since we arrived back home. I will add that every time I have changed the fuel filter it has been clean as a whistle.

That's it. Nothing too difficult, but it should make for the most intense IAC day yet depending on how much we can tackle.

Stay tuned.

Image
1977 Westy 2.0L F.I.

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. - Chuang Tzu

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Amskeptic
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Re: Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:05 am

aopisa wrote:
A) I will start the thread early outlining my preparations and expectations for the day. Then follow up to then see how well the plan was executed or where things went off the rails.

B) I was extremely lucky to narrowly avoid an engine killing abrupt end to our first big road trip.

C) I did order a remanufactured Bosch alternator just in case.

D) minor rust developing under the windshield. I need to find someone who will match the paint Image
a) You taunt the Itinerant Air-Cooled Fates sorely . . . . .
b) Totally, we are doing an oil pressure test . . .
c) for me? how sweet, you HAVE been following my alternator dreads . . .
d) I can match the paint, I have the necessary tints on board

Looking forward to a DRY DAY, a DRY DAY, I am LOOKING FORWARD to a DRY day, your forecast looks terrible, however, we need a DRY 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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aopisa
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Re: Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

Post by aopisa » Tue Aug 26, 2014 4:14 pm

Amskeptic wrote:
aopisa wrote:
A) I will start the thread early outlining my preparations and expectations for the day. Then follow up to then see how well the plan was executed or where things went off the rails.

B) I was extremely lucky to narrowly avoid an engine killing abrupt end to our first big road trip.

C) I did order a remanufactured Bosch alternator just in case.

D) minor rust developing under the windshield. I need to find someone who will match the paint Image
a) You taunt the Itinerant Air-Cooled Fates sorely . . . . .
b) Totally, we are doing an oil pressure test . . .
c) for me? how sweet, you HAVE been following my alternator dreads . . .
d) I can match the paint, I have the necessary tints on board

Looking forward to a DRY DAY, a DRY DAY, I am LOOKING FORWARD to a DRY day, your forecast looks terrible, however, we need a DRY DAY.
Colin
a) My intention is to not taunt fate. I think of it more as an experiment to see how the day often swerves off on some tangent whose cause is only uncovered when we begin to tackle what seems like a straightforward procedure.

"Did you know that this is not supposed to be here? ...Or did you know you are supposed to have part X here and you don't seem to have one?"

"Uh, no."

Which then often launches into one of those entertaining "Why on earth would some numbskull do this to a poor bus." monologues.

b). OK. My fingers are crossed that this checks out or we will be off on a tangent (see a.)

c.) If it turns out that you need it more than I do then, yes for you. And yes, I have been following. I thought Ol' Silty was running fine. I don't have a puller. Are we going to use your now infamous pulley mangler?

d). Good. Do I need to get some kind of base? I am way, way out of my league when it comes to anything related to body work.

As of today the weather prediction looks like it could be a WET DAY. However, I will say that the forecasting track record this year has been even more wildly inaccurate than usual. So, I am not putting much stock into it until we are a bit closer. NOAA can't even seem to get it right even up to 24 hours in advance much less a week away.
1977 Westy 2.0L F.I.

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. - Chuang Tzu

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Amskeptic
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Re: Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:33 am

aopisa wrote: Image

Do I need to get some kind of base?
prediction looks like it could be a WET DAY.

That is a classic photograph, but you know that . . . :flower:


I have taigagruen (sic) for the BobD and I have some additional pigments offered to me to get me out of there when their paint match missed by a mile. We can match in a paint cap and apply with a brush . . .
Colin

Image

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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aopisa
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Re: Greenhorn in the Green Mountains - Chapter 5

Post by aopisa » Wed Aug 27, 2014 7:08 am

Thanks. That is my favorite bus photo from the trip. Avatar worthy. Mama Lou's was exactly as you would expect. Nice back road find. Can't get that at Sheetz on the interstate.

The weather prediction might be coming around. Not perfect, but a little more hopeful. From NOAA:

A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 78. Chance of precipitation is 50%.

I have another app that shows low 80's and only a 30% chance of T-storms.
1977 Westy 2.0L F.I.

Flow with whatever may happen and let your mind be free. Stay centered by accepting whatever you are doing. This is the ultimate. - Chuang Tzu

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