Itinerant Air-Cooled To Death Valley

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled To Death Valley

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:20 am

Ridgecrest, down US 395 from the mountain pass, was hotter than heck. Chloe was giving me grumpy, pitchy, lunging launches from stops, more like a bronco than a cow. The engine had been developing a nasty run-on when I shut it off, too, and that is unmitigated hell on those poor pistons. 60,000 miles of decent carburetor performance had come to an end. Therefore, this railroad underpass looked like a perfect 105* shady spot to clean the carburetor. These underpasses have a constant breeze, by the way, at least when one side faces a hill and the other a vast plain.

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Parked the front of the car in the shade while the back and I stuck it out in the sunshine. The dashboard cannot give itself a tan to protect it, OK?? And, and, and anyway, how could I read the float level to the millimeter while in the shade?


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Did a quick reading of the vacuum signal to the throttle positioner and found it a bit punk, barely 5 inches above 1,000 rpm and only scooting to 10 on throttle release. Read the fuel pump pressure and found that it had improved to 3.2 psi, a full psi above the magic marker reading by the rebuilder in Salt Lake City. The free flashlight never needs batteries sunshine duly helped me to read the float level after I took the top off. With the body of the carburetor still bolted to the intake manifold, the float chamber is at a perfect level. Did you know that the 1968 and up VWs all have engines canted 3* down towards the front? The carburetors all know. Those float chambers are designed to be level so long as the mounting flange is at a 3* tilt. There it is, a perfect 20mm below the edge:

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Then I took the carburetor off the still warm engine. Here is 60,000 miles of Chloe gas tank crap that made it past the fuel filter (which I ought to change one of these days, it is four years old this October). Keeping the fuel tank full when not driving really helps reduce any rust, heck, I keep it above 1/2 at all times! except when I uhh don't, um, in the middle of nowhere?

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Gloriously hot day with all the sunshine I could want and noooo traffic coming through the railroad underpass or overhead on the tracks, either.
Surrounded by silence in the heat, surrounded by mountains and blue sky, a lovely hot breeze, the Quintessential Itinerant Air-Cooled Summer Day To Remember when, in the howling grey snow of February as the ice scraper falls again into the slush, I feel the frosty fires of frost-bitten freezing fingers.

Cleaned the seat for the cut-off jet, snugged it up firmly to stop that hideous dieseling, blasted everything with GumOut The Nectar Of The Gods, and made sure that the carb kit base gaskets were lightly greased and not cinched down too tightly (they are so soft and fluffy that they squish into critical orifices like the throttle positioner vacuum line).
Got the carb back together:

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Discovered that the mixture screw was back to normal and the driveability is back to superb, smooth launches yay, no more dieseling, BUT . . . the head temps are up a solid unfixable 20*, and I think I know why. I think the air correction jet was a tad varnished (less air correction, more fuel), and now that it breathes more freely, it is giving us factory fresh leaner partial throttles as it glides from idle to full power.
"Tough," I said to the exhaust valves, "we need to spend less on gas, let's go to Death Valley."

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Washed the windows here, can you believe it? The view. Can you believe the view, me washing my windows occasionally is totally believable:

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CA 178 outside of Argus. They have been waiting for a fire for so long that they had to turn the fire station into a museum, you think I kid . . . :

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Yes, that is a train coming right at me. No, there are no crossing gates, no crossing lights, it is just a track-meets-road free-for-all. I stepped on the accelerator pedal, and my powerful VW 1600 with the newly refreshed Solex 30 Pict3 carburetor just propelled me across the tracks with barely five minutes to spare:

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I am so transfixed by this area on the planet, I don't know why. CA 78 leading up to Panamint Springs Road:

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This is all just the approach to Death Valley. We are one valley west, one valley closer to the Pacific Ocean, thus one valley cooler, a mere 112*.


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I love these rises in the road that afford a sweep of the sands below, the lighting is unlike anywhere else:

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Here the road just gives up any hope of being "paved". It was the ugliest washboard surface imagineable, and plenty of rocks, and you know I was fearing this year's destined rendezvous with some hotshoe (last year it was a Chrysler 300 that cracked my turn indicator lens on the BobD)

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I found that the new Maxxis tires happily track through soft sand, so I drove down the shoulder at a nice 20 mph with only occasional ball joint work-outs. Here comes Destiny! It is a hurrying black Ford Excursion out on an excursion! They are tearing down the road in air-conditioned comfort. I note that those huge chromy wheels and big tires are quite a bit of unsprung weight, and the amount of suspension compliance looked positively sloppy in comparison to my Teutonically nailed-down trailing arms. Fortunately, no gravel bath this year and they woosh past.

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Coming up to the CA 190 east-west traverse from the south:

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Arriving at Death Valley:

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Thus, "Itinerant Air-Cooled To Death Valley" comes to an end.
Greetings From Death Valley is next.
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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asiab3
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled To Death Valley

Post by asiab3 » Sat Aug 01, 2015 9:34 am

I have the most beautiful Rossini overture playing in the background, and just as the crescendo really got going the photos ended. :bom: I will pause the track and wait for the (always stunning) Death Valley proper photos. Good luck to your air-cooled human body. Chole will be fine, but I worry about humans in that heat...
Amskeptic wrote:...made sure that the carb kit base gaskets were lightly greased and not cinched down too tightly (they are so soft and fluffy that they squish into critical orifices like the throttle positioner vacuum line).
I made mine out of gasket paper I had on hand. Should I be using something more "official" for engine health? You'll see it in a few days anyway, but there might be a public learnin' opportunity here...

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled To Death Valley

Post by Jivermo » Sat Aug 01, 2015 10:24 am

You're transfixed. I'm transfixed. Edward Abbey was so transfixed by the desert that he had his friends bury him, wrapped in a blue, sleeping bag shroud, in an Arizona mesa. Illegally, I'll add. "Fug 'em!", he said, up to and beyond his last breath. My favorite is the area around Big Bend in Texas, where the twisting, coffee con leche colored Rio Grande runs its steamy course through the parched landscape, and where hardscrapple nonconformists (58 at last census) while their hours away in settlements such as Terlingua and Lajitas. I was camping there, by the river, one year, and the heat was unbearable. The ranger came by and told us, "It's 115 degrees here right now. Y'all need to move up into the Chisos, and get a cooler spot." We did that. The wildlife was as aggressive as the heat; scorpions, sidewinders, Javelinas, even the birds are rowdy and mad. But I loved it-as the auto tags from New Mexico say, "Land of Enchantment". Where else can you find such things of mystery as the Lost Dutchman's Gold Mine, or a Winchester rifle leaning on a tree for a hundred years, a roll of like new ancient barbed wire some long dead cowpoke stuck in a cave in 1870, and what makes these places such fertile ground for writers like Cormac McCarthy to spin his sinister and gripping novels around? Abbey is probably mummified in his blue bag by now, desiccated by the dry, preserving heat of that Arizona place, like that other desert disappeared, artist Everett Ruess, swallowed up in the Utah wilds in 1934, and that was that.
Someone might stumble onto one of them in years to come, like those World War 1 soldiers in the Dolomites that keep popping up, like a legion of the dead, still smart in their wool uniforms until the heat of the sun starts the defrost clock ticking.
Yes, I like the desert, too. Like our air cooled vehicles, you always got to keep your eye on things while you're out there. And, even when you do, there is always something waiting in the wings, just to make things interesting. Enjoy Death Valley, Colin.

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