Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

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Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 17, 2015 11:02 pm

I love the approach to Los Alamos. Amazing distances and vistas and colors (mostly in the afternoon and evening).

Here I am where I will point out later. Los Alamos is pretty much not yet visible to the camera pixels over there on the left up the side of the mountain a ways as I head north on 87:

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Now it is the whitish dots to the right of center, since I have turned west:

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Note the two water towers, they come up later:

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The rear view mirror shows where I came from as I draw almost level with the airport. This little road is so steep that Chloe struggled in 2nd gear at one point (some of it was low compression/rich mixture at 7,000 ft elevation):

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My first call in Los Alamos was Atomic City Bug with his '75 Beetle convertible and the engine to his son's '63 Beetle affixed to an engine stand. These folks are engineers. It was a pleasure to go over the concepts with them before we headed out to do a tune-up on the convertible:

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We also got in it with the '63 engine attempting to reposition the distributor drive gear, adjust its valves and lubricate the rocker assemblies, and go over some note:caution:warning: issues:

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Next day was pmaggiore's Son of Yellowbird westy, the one where we had the twins working on the engine several years ago, and installed the windshield as a full family affair a couple of years ago. This year, we had to make it run sensibly. After a thorough plod through the Diagnostic Steps with vacuum gauge/fuel pressure gauge/timing light all monitoring the engine's vitals, we narrowed down the bizarre idle and tendency to stall to a loose temperature sensor ii . Then that bus played with our emotions and started to act up just as we were going to do a test drive. We could have second-guessed the TS II repair, and gone on a long journey through "other things" , but I was pretty sure we had just run out gas. And we had. My little cleaning solvent gas can got us to the gas station and it drove FINE.

After our victory lap to the gas station, we attacked the brakes because they did not feel fresh:

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While my customer worked, I lolled:

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We had an excellent dinner, then I drove up the mountain above Los Alamos and camped under the stars with a Plan For Tomorrow. The Plan was to repair the weep at the oil pump, clean all the tins and engine carrier, maybe paint the exhaust since it would be easy to remove and spray, and install the Type 4 engine seal. Yeah . . . plans.

Morning looked fine. There's Chloe, parked on a serious downhill on the power line trail, Los Alamos way down the hill:

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Looking up the hill. I am halfway up above the middle hill to the left of the water tower in that prior "note the water towers" photograph:

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Got the apron off, the fresh air hoses, the heat riser covers, the belt, the rear tin, the deflectors, the preheater "stove pipe" off, the crankshaft pulley off, the engine jacked by the bottle jack so I could remove the engine carrier to access the oil pump, and finally, I got the oil pump cover off. Good thing it is not windy today, this dirt trail could whip up some nasty dust, you know . . . :

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THEN I looked up:

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I worked as quickly as I could, even when the rain began to pelt. Really rushed the oil pump cleaning and was pretty sloppy with the Permatex Aviation as the wind began to pick up. A blast of lightning and a stunning clap of thunder added a bit of urgency. This was the kind of strike where you get the kaboom instantly and hear the rolls of thunder radiating away from ground zero. Then it started to hail. I bailed to the interior:

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Folks, I was glum, wet, icy cold, my work environment was a shambles, the dirt kicked up all under the car and all over the engine, the raging rivulets coursing underneath scattered my tins screws and who knows if I made the oil pump weep any better . . . probably a whole lot worse, you know why? Because I am pretty sure I put the wrong gasket on, in my rush. It was beautiful up on that infernal hillside, though:

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Here you can see the center of the storm mosey on down through Los Alamos through the tailgate:

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As soon as the rain let up, I hopped out and wended my soggy way back to the dripping engine hatch. The generator pulley was all rusted, dirt spatters all over, the jack was coated in sand and oil and standing in a muddy rivulet. I was pretty disgusted. Dried off as much as I could, found the tin screws, mopped the back bumper, got the crankshaft pulley on after carefully dabbing away the silt spatters, got as far as the third screw when crackaboom! blasted me again:

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A whole new course of rain and thunder and spatter and rivulets and I bail to the driver's seat and note the right vent wing is leaking, and man, I want to just leave this damn hillside, but the engine is in no condition to run just yet. At 2:30 PM, it lets off and Los Alamos even gets some sun now, good-bye you stupid storm, go harass Santa Fe:

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I mop up the deck lid and rear bumper and engine again, and get the belt on and the rear tin and heat riser covers and even felt a little hint of almost sun against my thoroughly chilled shirt. Now I get to see if the Type 4 foam seal is going to work. I cut the lips off the old rubber seal, but reinstall the center part so the groove edges won't grab and tear the foam seal :

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Sunshine!

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I think this foam seal is going to work out fine:

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Poor wheels, were so pretty at the beginning of this day:

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Beautiful evening, as the storm moved off:

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I'll let you know if the oil pump is still leaking, but right now, I need to get ready for tomorrow's NEXT Los Alamos appointment. Note where the water towers are now:

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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 Los Alamos

Post by Jivermo » Tue Aug 18, 2015 7:05 am

Man, I love New Mexico. Taos, Abiqui, that huge caldera that you come out of a forest and it bursts upon the scene, Bandelier, the many great hot springs, DH Lawrence's ranch in the Sangre de Christo mountains. What a magical place.

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by glasseye » Tue Aug 18, 2015 3:41 pm

It don't say "Land of Enchantment" on their tags for nothin' :cheers:
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by AtomicCityBug » Tue Aug 18, 2015 6:51 pm

Colin - Thank you so much for your time and patience with us. Nate tore out that night in the vert and came rolling in around 1 am after his last night out with the boys before heading back to Bozeman. The next morning the garage smelled just like a normal 'ol garage instead of the usual inside of a gas tank. It seems to be running much better. And by the way, that loud exhaust does serve one good purpose... there's no way he's sneaking in after curfew unless he parks it half a mile away. It was a genuine pleasure to get to learn good tune-up techniques from you.

I hope you were on high ground last night when that wicked storm blew through. I had to close a window 25 feet away because I was getting wet as the wind was blowing the rain so hard.

Safe travels on the rest of your trip. Thank you again. A truly memorable day.

David & Nate

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by jtauxe » Tue Aug 18, 2015 9:03 pm

In fact, there are times when it is called LAND OF ENCHANTMENT and they don't even bother spelling out the state. This is a year-of-manufacture light truck plate for 1975:

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http://vw.tauxe.net/bluebird/Bluebird_YOM_plate.jpg

Colin, I am so glad you got to meet David and Nate and their bugs. I know those guys through the high school robotics team (shout out to FIRST Team 4153!) and yes, they are really sharp. I'm sure they were an absolute pleasure to work with.

And Pete was very pleased, saying that Y2 (Son of Yellowbird? OK) is running better than ever. Man, he loves that bus, and since it is his daily driver, I see him often driving around town, given its distinctive color and all.

Did you visit YellowBird on Tuesday? -- I didn't see you. For those who don't know, YellowBird (http://vw.tauxe.net/yellowbird) is a fine specimen of a 1976 Westfalia that I owned for 18 years, drove 50,000 miles, and sold a decade ago to a couple three blocks away. Fine bus. And although I miss it (and am forced to walk by it every day on my way to and from work) its sale did start this ridiculous rampage of buses bought, reconditioned, and sold that now numbers... 16? 17?
Oh, and Y2 (http://vw.tauxe.net/y2) is the next bus I bought, and I sold it to Pete. Small town.

Sorry you got caught in the rain up on the mountain on Monday. But it is monsoon season, and this is not unexpected, even when the day starts out with a completely blue sky. I was down in town, and was actually wondering, Where is Colin right now?

My offer of a level clean driveway still stands! It won't get you out of the rain, but it will keep the dirt off everything. That's a great story. And what a storm we had Tuesday night -- I again thought of you up on the mountain.
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: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by asiab3 » Wed Aug 19, 2015 12:13 am

Dave and Nate,
Welcome to the site, thanks for signing up and posting!
jtauxe wrote: Colin, I am so glad you got to meet David and Nate and their bugs. I know those guys through the high school robotics team (shout out to FIRST Team 4153!) and yes, they are really sharp. I'm sure they were an absolute pleasure to work with.
Small world! I spent some time on teams of my own, and the old robotics/engineering summer camp I used to run hires all FIRST alumni. In fact, the team from Hawaii push-started my bus two years ago when I left my lights on all day……


Colin, which "wrong gasket" are you worried about? I've always been curious about the four small holes in the "cover" gasket. Bentley and Wilson say to use THAT one on the cover, and the hole-less gasket on the case/pump surface. I did, like an obedient sheep.

I would like to become an informed sheep,
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Aug 19, 2015 6:27 am

asiab3 wrote: Colin, which "wrong gasket" are you worried about? I've always been curious about the four small holes in the "cover" gasket. Bentley and Wilson say to use THAT one on the cover, and the hole-less gasket on the case/pump surface. I did, like an obedient sheep.

I would like to become an informed sheep,
Robbie
I am more off than that. There is a round hole gasket with four tidy outside "ears" to go around the studs, and there was a square gasket with those stud holes inside the perimeter. The latter is the one I threw on. The former is what was already on the engine. Mike may have mixed up gaskets, may have been instructed to use the one already on, I have no idea. So far, so good . . . :geek:
Colin
(except that I can't find my wallet)
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 Los Alamos

Post by jtauxe » Thu Aug 20, 2015 1:24 pm

asiab3 wrote:Dave and Nate,
Welcome to the site, thanks for signing up and posting!
jtauxe wrote: Colin, I am so glad you got to meet David and Nate and their bugs. I know those guys through the high school robotics team (shout out to FIRST Team 4153!) and yes, they are really sharp. I'm sure they were an absolute pleasure to work with.
Small world! I spent some time on teams of my own, and the old robotics/engineering summer camp I used to run hires all FIRST alumni. In fact, the team from Hawaii push-started my bus two years ago when I left my lights on all day……
Oh, man... we competed against (with!) some of those Hawai'i teams--very impressive!

And here is a quick photo of Colin and Keith (Snickers' new owner) standing between Chloe and Snickers, with my 3 Type 2s in the background.

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It was a busy day! The big news is that we got JellyBean (that Wild Westerner in the background) running, after a decade-long sleep. And I learned more about dual carburetors than I ever wanted to :study: . All three of the Type 2s in the driveway have dual carbs.
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: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Aug 21, 2015 8:58 pm

It was a busy day. Those dual carbs gave us some exercise in scrambling ingenuity.

But first, we left off in a damn hail storm and I did photograph the pretty aftermath up on the hill, yes, but the road was totally different than when I went up:

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The slope had something to do with it:

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Drove down the hill to camp in some warmth and to rotate my tires for the first time since Eureka and discover that I have a cracked left rear brake drum. Brake pedal is smooth cold, and pulses now when the drums get warm and the left rear gets all warped frying pan on me:

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Went to Santa Fe to get some supplies for the next calls and all, but discovered that my wallet was gone at the check-out in AutoZone. Tried to call the last place I bought anything, the coffee at McDonalds in Los Alamos. Nope. Couldn't call. My AT&T cell service is dead in Santa Fe, it is dead in Los Alamos, it is dead here in Espanola here tonight, AT&T is dead to me as of now, I am switching, I guess, to Verizon.

Drove back to Los Alamos and talked to the manager at McDonalds. He reviewed the security footage of me last posting to the forum and drinking coffee and spilling the damn coffee when the headphones cord lassoed it.,
"Ha ha haa, you spilled your coffee, but sorry, amigo, the people after you were muy very old, they did not pick up anything or look at anything like your wallet, what are going to do now, amigo? I think you threw your wallet away, we empty trash each three hours. I think you left it on your tray."

Jtauxe implored me to cancel my cards, but I was still too seized with hope that someone would turn it in. Finally cancelled my AT&T Universal Card. They were the epitome of professionalism towards the stranded traveler and sent me a new card to jtauxe's house, I picked it up the next day. Ranted at Searscard for their blabbledy bureaucratic baloney about how it would take three to seven days to generate a new card.
"I am traveling, you are the same Citibank infrastructure as AT&T Universal, why can't you overnight me a replacement card?"
"We can do that only if you keep the same number on your card."
"What if a crook decides to buy out Tiffany with my missing card?"
"Well then, we suggest that you close out your account."
"Good idea. Platinum Member since 1987 is closing out his account."
"Wait, sir, what I me......."

After a crash course in incoherent carburetor theory due to my extreme flitting about the screws and stuff, we got JellyBean running with clouds of smoke and barely controlled fuel leaks and hit the road for a demented joyride down the block. After a couple of ginger laps around a parking lot, I sensed that the varnish was getting rinsed off the tank floor and carb float bowls with barely two gallons of fresh gas turning into turpentine at each slosh, so we beat it back to the house:

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The white bus, poor thing, had been in a wreck that bent up the relay lever and drag link. Here is the center pin clamp bolt after having hung through some terrible impact. We stuck on the Road Warrior's last spare center pin clamp bolt so we could get a little bit of steer left out of the poor thing:

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Ran out of time at the end of the day, but we got the engine running to check it out, and it appears to be a very nice VW 411 1700 engine under its dual carbs:

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Here's the guy who knows he is in for it, the Dual Carb Adjustment Procedure:

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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 Los Alamos

Post by hambone » Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:55 pm

Ya gotta knock off those field repairs, sooner or later it will bite the fanny. Yeah you like it. :drunken:
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by tewa3240 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 8:58 pm

The Chloe maintenance is part of the saga.
But if I tried dropping case in any given Seventh-Day Adventist parking lot.......
I'd be in the back of a cruiser faster that you could utter the words "bowden tube".
Maybe he gets away with it due to his proficiency......they show up where he WAS not where he's AT.
Roll On Amskeptic! :joker:

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by asiab3 » Sat Aug 22, 2015 9:45 pm

tewa3240 wrote:The Chloe maintenance is part of the saga.
But if I tried dropping case in any given Seventh-Day Adventist parking lot.......
I'd be in the back of a cruiser faster that you could utter the words "bowden tube".
Maybe he gets away with it due to his proficiency......they show up where he WAS not where he's AT.
Roll On Amskeptic! :joker:
Couldn't have said it better!

I usually chicken out with those kinds of repairs. The most I've done are "simple" projects like clean and lube jobs. I chickened out at the parking lot end-play adjust last year, but I'll do it one day! :pirate:
1969 bus, "Buddy."
142k miles with me.
319k miles on Earth.

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by Jivermo » Sun Aug 23, 2015 11:13 am

Lost wallet-a real drag, especially while on the road. Man, those engineer guys, the Atomic fellows...their shop bears such a striking similarity to my own! Perhaps I could have my next knee replacement surgery performed there.

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Los Alamos

Post by jtauxe » Thu Jan 14, 2016 4:24 pm

Jivermo wrote:Lost wallet-a real drag, especially while on the road. Man, those engineer guys, the Atomic fellows...their shop bears such a striking similarity to my own! Perhaps I could have my next knee replacement surgery performed there.
I would, but I'm not a real doctor. Up here, we have doctors aplenty, but few of them are MDs. I spend my days cleaning up after those Atomic fellows, the weaponeers. I wish they'd stop weaponing and start helping to mitigate the mess they've left behind. Ah, the plight of the environmental engineer! :pukeright:
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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