Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

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wcfvw69
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Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by wcfvw69 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 11:30 am

I purchased my 1970 bus in June of 2014. It was in a fairly good state of being mechanically neglected over it's life time. The previous owner had the engine rebuilt by a shop in Yuma and it didn't run well when I bought it. I replaced the brand new, spectacularly crappy EMPI 34-3 carb that was on it with a spare Brosal 30/31 carb I had. Getting rid of that POS EMPI carb, along with changing the plug wires, doing a valve adjustment and tune up made it run pretty nicely. Over the past year, I've gone thru all the mechanical/electrical systems in the bus to make it reliable and prevent any break downs during camping trips. You can see the mechanical refresh/repair thread below.
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http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewto ... highlight=


I've owned VW bugs since the early 80's and have been working on them since I was a kid w/my Dad, back in the 70's. I currently have a 69' convertible that I did a full body-off restoration during 1999-2002. Many rusted out panels were repaired and replaced. I did all the metal work and body work and then had a shop paint it. I then went thru the mechanicals on it and I then rebuilt the engine around 8 years ago. I also own a 67 bug that I bought out of S. California in 2006. It was in original condition, with original paint but was worn out. I did a mechanical refresh of the 67 (front suspension overhauled, cables, brakes, transmission was rebuilt (before I bought it) and I also rebuilt it's original engine as well. I then painted it in my garage a couple of years ago. The interior was refreshed back to like new/original condition. I've owned several bugs over the years and this 67 is the most solid, tight, original driving/feeling bug I've owned. Both bugs are purist stock w/all the original, rebuilt parts on the engines.
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I've spent the past several years on The Samba reading threads, while learning from the most proficient VW mechanics/contributors. Having the two bugs done, I wanted a new project. I had really fallen in love with the Bay bus campers. I then spent my time in the Bay forums on The Samba and here on this site. Reading Colin's threads and his write ups made me really appreciate his knowledge, passion and his skills with these old buses. I decided to hire him for a day on his 2015 tour, with the sole purpose of him doing a very anal, nit picky assessment of all three of my VW's and check the work that I've performed on them. I've never had anyone with Colin's vast experience drive these VW's. While I'm not a mechanic by trade, I've learned over the years of wrenching on them. With the great resources of VW manuals and now this site and The Samba, it's easier than ever to do the work on these VW's ourselves. I've learned so much from the experienced contributors from both sites and especially Colin's posts and write ups.

I was blowing my driveway off when the familiar sound of a beautifully running bus drove up the street at our scheduled time and backed into my drive way. Colin was being followed and "stalked" by a freshly developing haboob to our east. Colin jumped out of his bus and after our greetings, he pointed to the storm heading our way. We adjourned to the house and a cup of coffee, to let the haboob blow over us. Note to self ... NEXT TIME it would probably be a great idea for me to shut my garage door before going into the house! My spotlessly clean garage looked horrific after we went back out there.
Colin confessed to only having about 2 hours sleep due to some not so quiet and respectful neighbors at his motel. I was also sleep deprived as well from a couple poor nights of sleep. Colin proceeded to discuss some theories with me, then get an understanding of my skill set and what my objectives of the visit where. While he quizzed me with what should of been some simple questions, my brain failed to comprehend nor articulate any thing resembling a cohesive, correct answer. He patiently kept w/me until my poor, tired brain wrapped my head around what he's was teaching me.

Colin hopped into the 67 bug first. I asked him to PLEASE be OCD, anal and nit picky. He said no problem. We drove the bug a few miles and other than suggesting a slight tightening of the steering gear worm adjuster and replacing the rear shocks that he felt were getting weak, he gave the 67 a thumbs up. I had the engine rotating assembly balanced when I rebuilt the engine. When I put it all back together, I felt like it ran good but had never had an expert assess it. Colin slighted tweaked the fuel mixture screw, then said it ran great and smooth and we moved onto him doing the same assessment to the 69 vert.

Luckily the rain and dust storm had passed and the skies were not threatening. We jumped into the 69 convertible and headed off. Colin noticed it had a slight, lean backfire when driving it. We pulled in and he proceeded to adjust the Solex carb. He discovered that while the carb's fuel adjustment screw would adjust, it simply wasn't responsive enough to the adjustments. We also discovered the original throttle positioner was not working. I happened to have bought an NOS rebuild kit a year or two ago for the throttle positioner and I hope it fits and corrects that problem when I get to it. So, on the 69, I was left with a list that included, removing, then disassemble the Solex 30-2 carb, soak it and blow out all the vacuum ports to see if it improves the sensitivity of the air/fuel mixture adjustment. Then, I need to fix the throttle positioner. We also saw some slight oil moisture/weeps that I need to follow up with. I was relieved that nothing else was noted or pointed out.

To say I felt relief after Colin drove both bugs and gave them a thumbs up would be an understatement. I was certain with these engines I'd rebuilt, he'd say "what's that knocking or internal noise I'm hearing"! I've only rebuilt 3 VW engines in my life and was happy they passed his inspection.

Finally, we got to the 70 bus. The first thing he noticed was the engine lid rod/holder was installed backwards and the rollers were probably frozen. It's not exactly an easy opening lid. I opened his engine lid and went WOW.. He pointed out other things that I was not aware of that I noted for future repair and we got in for a drive.
The two big rocks he noticed was the steering gear worm adjustment was a bit tight and the bus didn't return to center as easy as it should. I had installed new ball joints (the good ones that don't bind up) and tie rods too and he said they need to work in. He also noted a slight flat spot on the engine due to probably the 30/31 carb. Overall, he felt the 1776 engine was very smooth, balanced and ran well with good power. He then proceeded to test the brakes. The roads were still a bit wet from the storm that passed through earlier and when he stomped on them (all drums), the right rear locked, throwing the bus into a bit of a scary sway to the left. Oh boy, I thought. We pulled the bus into the garage and removed the rear drums to explore why this was happening. I had only inspected the rear brakes but they looked fine to me. Colin noticed that the drivers side leading shoe brake lining was smaller than the rear shoe's. We looked at the passenger side rear linings and they were both the same length. So, the right rear brake leading shoe had a lot more lining than the left side. After thinking about it, we came up with grabbing a grinder and carefully removing the extra lining material from that shoe so it was the same length as the other side. We did this, then put it back together. Colin explored more under the bus, looking for anything else of concern.

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Colin noticed that the bus shifter rod was squeaky in the tube. While I had it out and replaced one of the bushings on the shaft, I was far too stingy in NOT lubing it or the tunnel up enough. Colin came up with a good solution/plan to spray some white lithium grease into the tube then used compressed air to blow it back thru the tube and blow onto the bushing. This lubed the bushings back up and we had no more noise. He "gently" suggested that I get busy on treating the surface rust under the bus and then undercoating it. He then did a wonderful job of adjusting the steering gear that I had adjusted a bit too tight. He quizzed me on what other things I had lubed under there and then asked me if I had gone thru the sliding door bearing cleaning, adjusting. I proudly stated that I had and go ahead and check it Mister! He did and said, it's actually not too bad. Colin applied just a slight bit of grease on the lower track, pulled the upper guide roller bracket off, re-lubed that bearing and adjusted it. Now, It was pretty good before Colin did this. After, it was EVEN BETTER.. When you pop the door handle, the door rolled down the track on it's own, twice as far.. He said it's one of the better opening doors. I tried his sliding door on Chloe and of course it opened spectacularly.. Damn show off.

I had a chance to really look at Chloe in person. To say it's an amazing bus would be an understatement. Colin let me drive it and wow, was it like driving a new bus. His shifter was so silky smooth, tight and crisp. The steering felt terrific and his engine was responsive, crisp and simply ran beautifully and quiet.

We did a final road test of my bus and the brake pad tweaking/readjustment resolved the right rear lock up. The steering was much lighter and returned to center easier as well. Colin's expertise and his decades of experience with these old air cooled VW's is VERY apparent.

The day was complete. My GF knew Colin was visiting and we were not sure if he'd have time to stay for dinner before heading off. He agreed to stay. My GF Eva spoiled us both with a fantastic dinner and beer. We had a very enjoyable conversation during and after dinner. Colin then left us to head towards NM.

It was great to finally meet you Colin and thanks again

Bill
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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whc03grady
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by whc03grady » Wed Aug 12, 2015 1:01 pm

Damn, everything is so clean.
Nice writeup.
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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Randy in Maine
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Randy in Maine » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:18 pm

Your 67 beetle takes me back to when I was 20 back in 1974. Mine was beige and had a hurst shifter. I had lot more hair then also.
79 VW Bus

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wcfvw69
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by wcfvw69 » Wed Aug 12, 2015 5:56 pm

whc03grady wrote:Damn, everything is so clean.
Nice writeup.
My engines in the bugs could of benefited from a wipe down before Colin arrived. He was kind in only pointing it out. lol
After seeing Robbie's spotless engine in his bus during Colin's visit with him, I knew mine were not going to measure up! :)

As I noted, I was just happy the engines passed his mechanical inspection! I'd always heard what I thought was an internal noise in my 67 bug engine. Several people listened to the engine over the years and asked if I heard voices in my head too! HA! It was clearly me just being paranoid. Colin slowly revved up the engines and said they felt smooth and balanced..

Randy,

I love bone stock bugs, like they were when delivered new. It takes me back to the early 80's when I had my then stock 69 bug. Colin and I both commented on how these stock VW's are time capsules. They force us to slow down while driving them and for me, bring me back to my youth when things seemed so much simpler.
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by jcbrock » Wed Aug 12, 2015 6:33 pm

Bill,

Your fleet is inspirational.
'76 Type II Station Wagon - in the family since new!
Corvallis, OR

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Aug 13, 2015 10:07 am

jcbrock wrote:Bill,

Your fleet is inspirational.
No kidding. I was almost in tears driving that 1967 bug, everything that Volkswagen was about is represented right here in 2015, just puttering along in the midst of modern huge swollen aerodynamic stylin frou-frou blingaling SUV and pick-up truck traffic. Such a nice tight, solid, light, responsive, and I guess the anthropomorphizing word that best sums up a beautiful old Volkswagen, "eager" little car. I would have happily taken that bug for a cross-country jaunt and we'd be pals in no time, through the southwest haboobs, the vast skies over Texas and it would be a pleasure on the roads of New Hampshire, even in a snow storm. This car exemplifies exactly what I strive for (don't tell Bill, by the way, it'd just go to his head).

Then the red '69 convertible bit me. We did talk about how the quality of an early Volkswagen convertible could modestly stand next to a Rolls Royce Corniche convertible of the same vintage and win hands down. So this little VW bug convertible which cost 1/20th the Rolls, is totally more charming and honest, and is easily as, if not more, attractive as any Rolls Royce. Totally charmed.

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The bus is closing in on that fresh VW feeling, but it is the new challenge for Bill to tackle. I look forward to the final results. It had unacceptable emergency braking performance. Yer damn right we slid sideways, but I was interested to read Bill's recall of the test, "the right rear locked, throwing the bus into a bit of a scary sway to the left".
See, we didn't actually swerve left. What was recorded in Bill's brain was that I had to saw the steering wheel left, and when I aborted the braking, the car then snapped left back into line. We ran through the possible reactions of our surrounding fellow motorists, "stoned hippies, freaked out because the stoplight changed colors," "look at that hippy van skid, musta dropped the roach clip." Since control of the vehicle is as critical to safety as actual stopping ability, solving this one became the priority of the visit.

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It was already apparent to me that Bill does fine work. I was expecting to find some failure of a wheel cylinder, maybe a grease seal looped around the ebrake cable with grease spattered all over the left brake assembly, heck how about a crushed-shut brake line? Well, what the heck, it looked fine:

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I prattled on about how I have not seen a proper leading shoe versus trailing shoe since I did the BobD brake inspection in December 2010 in La Mesa CA. "Are these original shoes?":

viewtopic.php?f=44&t=9102#p163804

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The right side brake shoes, however, had the typical replacement linings that are equal lengths. So, how did this bus end up with different shoes right-to-left? :

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Bill asked if this would cause such a noticeable difference in braking force. I replied that if we look at shoe widths and lengths over the years, VW made maddeningly incremential increases in "swept area", and yes, this would indeed be the cause of that misbehavior. After a discussion of death and how we want to die ... ... ... :

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... ... ... we decided that Makita grinding and chiseling the right leading shoe to match the left would be an acceptable risk to our lungs. We DID wet down all of our grinding and sanding operations with brake cleaner, so give us our EPA certified best brake work practices medal already:

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Our subsequent braking test showed the slewing to be back within the normal range of drum brakes. The day evaporated all too quickly and we were both pretty tired, but I'll tell you what, Phoenix ended up giving us a break as far as not too much heat with that post-storm humidity, and the dinner that Bill and Eva fired up was without question the best I have had in 13 years. Amazing.

Keep your eyes open, folks, there's subtleties to the myriad ways people can screw up the simplest jobs. For example, what kind of moron, what kind of MOron could possibly drive to a splendidly beautiful spot o' solitudinousness and dump out all of his oil into the oil drain container and then brightly ask, "where's the new oil, I thought I had a container of new oil?" Yeah, that'd be me.
Colin

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BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 118,840 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 89,009 miles

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jtauxe
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by jtauxe » Fri Aug 14, 2015 7:26 am

wcfvw69 wrote:... Colin then left us to head towards NM.
And we eagerly await his arrival! He gets yet another convertible bug or two on Saturday, being restored by a friend and his college-aged son, followed by a couple of Westy appointments (both formerly owned by yours truly), a visit with my Wild Westerner, a wrecked Westy, and the Mexican single cab -- all that in our little town of Los Alamos, pop. 11,000. Then down to the Rio Grande Valley to help out deadaheaddub and his rescued single cab.

Northern New Mexico awaits!
John
"The bus came by and I got on. That's when it all began..." - Garcia/Weir/Kreutzman
http://vw.tauxe.net

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Jivermo » Fri Aug 14, 2015 5:58 pm

Now this...this...is quite the Itinerary. What an adventure! I feel as though I am watching the Downton Abbey of wrenchdom, and I can't wait to see what the butler does next.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:59 am

Bill, are you there?

I screwed up royally. I can't believe it. I was just looking at the shoes of the BobD and it is the TRAILING brake shoe that is shorter.

On your bus, the left LEADING shoe was shorter, and I baaah b-a-a-a-a-a-h, followed suit and made the right leading shoe shorter as well. So, we have balanced braking, side-to-side yes, but we have violated the PURPOSE of the shorter shoe.

The LEADING shoe is supposed to have more material because it is "energized" by the rotation of the drum.
The TRAILING shoe cannot generate as much force, because the rotation of the drum tries to knock it away from the drum.

The trailing shoe is supposed to have less material so that it will wear at the same rate as the leading shoe.

In the grand scheme of things, you may never notice . . . comments welcome. Take it to Free Speech if you have to unload invective. :blackeye:
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 118,840 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 89,009 miles

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wcfvw69
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by wcfvw69 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 3:38 pm

Amskeptic wrote:Bill, are you there?

I screwed up royally. I can't believe it. I was just looking at the shoes of the BobD and it is the TRAILING brake shoe that is shorter.

On your bus, the left LEADING shoe was shorter, and I baaah b-a-a-a-a-a-h, followed suit and made the right leading shoe shorter as well. So, we have balanced braking, side-to-side yes, but we have violated the PURPOSE of the shorter shoe.

The LEADING shoe is supposed to have more material because it is "energized" by the rotation of the drum.
The TRAILING shoe cannot generate as much force, because the rotation of the drum tries to knock it away from the drum.

The trailing shoe is supposed to have less material so that it will wear at the same rate as the leading shoe.

In the grand scheme of things, you may never notice . . . comments welcome. Take it to Free Speech if you have to unload invective. :blackeye:
Colin
Hey Colin,

I'm not too worried about it, actually. It's not like I'm driving this 45 year old bus as my daily driver, all over the United States. Who'd be crazy enough to do that?!? :)

The other day on a drive I had to hit the brakes pretty hard and it stopped straight and fine. Thanks for the heads up!
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:52 pm

wcfvw69 wrote: I'm not too worried about it, actually. It's not like I'm driving this 45 year old bus as my daily driver, all over the United States. Who'd be crazy enough to do that?!? :)

The other day on a drive I had to hit the brakes pretty hard and it stopped straight and fine. Thanks for the heads up!
While just the Incorrectness of it would normally make me lose sleep, the fact that it stopped straight and fine helps me to sleep at night. So does the 51* bone-chilling cold of the high plateau here outside of Cheyenne . . . with new drums now installed.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 118,840 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 89,009 miles

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by asiab3 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:54 pm

When I see brake shoe sets with the different length friction material for our rear drums, I get excited. Then I can never remember which way the damn things are supposed to go. My inner logic says the beefier shoe goes on the trailing side because it lacks the "grabbing" power of the leading side. My inner logic then goes deeper and says "remember that time I had to back down a 4x4 trail? ONE leading shoe in THAT direction sure was a bone-headed idea. Could've used a larger shoe surface there…" WRONG apparently! :blackeye:

My inner inner logic goes deeper still, and agrees with the above, now apparently.
RobbieMineAreTheSameSoDealWithIt
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by Amskeptic » Thu Aug 27, 2015 8:21 pm

asiab3 wrote:When I see brake shoe sets with the different length friction material for our rear drums, I get excited. Then I can never remember which way the damn things are supposed to go. My inner logic says the beefier shoe goes on the trailing side because it lacks the "grabbing" power of the leading side. My inner logic then goes deeper and says "remember that time I had to back down a 4x4 trail? ONE leading shoe in THAT direction sure was a bone-headed idea. Could've used a larger shoe surface there…" WRONG apparently! :blackeye:

My inner inner logic goes deeper still, and agrees with the above, now apparently.
RobbieMineAreTheSameSoDealWithIt
I went through the same mental pretzel as you did. The horsepower generated by brake shoe friction doesn't need the "extra friction surface area" on the energized shoe. Hydraulic pressure against shoes half the size could lock up the wheels just fine. The pragmatic engineers of the world's favorite car wanted to avoid complaints that only one of the pair of shoes was wearing out long before the other.

Next time you have to back down a steep hill, do what I do, apply the handbrake. Then you will have braking bias in the rear and less locking of the unloaded front tires.
Colin
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 118,840 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 89,009 miles

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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by asiab3 » Thu Aug 27, 2015 9:18 pm

Amskeptic wrote: Next time you have to back down a steep hill, do what I do, apply the handbrake. Then you will have braking bias in the rear and less locking of the unloaded front tires.
Colin
Brilliant. The backwards dirt slides last year were hair-raising.
1969 bus, "Buddy."
145k miles with me.
322k miles on Earth.

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wcfvw69
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Re: Colin's Visit to Phoenix and the haboob

Post by wcfvw69 » Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:30 am

Amskeptic wrote:
wcfvw69 wrote: I'm not too worried about it, actually. It's not like I'm driving this 45 year old bus as my daily driver, all over the United States. Who'd be crazy enough to do that?!? :)

The other day on a drive I had to hit the brakes pretty hard and it stopped straight and fine. Thanks for the heads up!
While just the Incorrectness of it would normally make me lose sleep, the fact that it stopped straight and fine helps me to sleep at night. So does the 51* bone-chilling cold of the high plateau here outside of Cheyenne . . . with new drums now installed.
Colin
51*? Nice...!

I'm jealous. Yesterday's Phoenix temperature was around 107* with Pensacola, Florida summer time humidity thrown in to maximize our discomfort. I always chuckle when people talk about the Phoenix heat and say "but, it's a DRY heat".. Um, yea.. Not so much.
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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