Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

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covelo
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Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by covelo » Tue Jul 30, 2019 4:18 pm

After a long hiatus, Colin spent a day with my family and our 1980 Vanagon and we picked up right where we left off nine years ago (but no more futzing with balky dual carbs). This time Colin initiated me into the intricacies of hydraulic valve adjustments (my 1972 bus didn't have those useful things), which resulted in a lot of confusion about whether to measure recession in hours or minutes. In the end I got the hang of it and I now have clear instructions for my diagnostics 3000 miles from now. We also dramatically improved the smoothness and precision of the shifter and confirmed that the sophisticated self-adjustment mechanism for the rear brakes worked as intended. The only big snafu we ran into was a stripped spare tire holder retaining bolt (need to tap some new threads soon), which took us all over Marin County in search of something bigger than an M12. Also, right after the triumphant end-of-shift picture below we learned an important lesson about the relative stability of a billstein jack. (They are great but don't use one unless the other three wheels are firmly on the ground). Fortunately, no damage was done and it was another enjoyable, productive, and empowering itinerant air cooled visit. Colin's visits enable me to avoid mechanics except for tire changes and smog appointments. That self-sufficiency is priceless!

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‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:57 pm

Wow. You beat me to it AND you squealed all about the new Jack Collapse West Coast Edition, so please disregard my heckle below to step up and tell us all about it ... you did!

That was quite a beautiful trafficky hot drive down from Sacramento to visit with covelo. I camped here in Sacramento after lunch with JLT:

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I know, beautiful, right? It was a big wall of what? Levee, that's what:

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Ain't it a lovely juxtaimposition of all that is wrong and beautiful about California?

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Here's a juxtaposition of all that was off about American auto manufacturing next to all that was right about German auto manufacturing:

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Ever meet a narcissists who might be looking at you but is really just scanning for his/her own reflection?

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Me too:

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Drove past a horrific tangle of junk devoted to "amusement". I'm not:

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This is California Highway 37 going to Covelo's house from Tracy over the Sacramento River delta:

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These pictures were taken in 101* heat in an endless traffic jam on CA 37. It was "race day". Look at the car riding my bumper:

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It will be difficult for you to see, but that is a line of slow cars leading all the way off the right side of the picture:

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Getting closer to covelo's house. That is San Francisco over the cows (think of that sentence):

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It was nighttime in covelo's town when I finally found my campsite behind a store. Soo tired, but there was a noise coming from above the jalousie window. What? I shot the camera for a quick look-see and to disorient the burglar ... deer!

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Found covelo's house buried up in the hills via an insane narrow path choked with cars parked worse than Brooklyn. Covelo goes way back with me. 2007? He sold me Pluck(y) The Squareback. He is one of those very smart people. We did a valve adjustment and timing check on his 1980 Vanagon camper just to while away the time while we waited for the sun to bring the splintery driveway "deck" up to pre-spontaneous-combustion temperatures. Look! A loyal patron patronizing:

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Once the pre-spontaneous-combustion temperature had been reached (about a thousand degrees), we slid around on our backs trying to drive as many splinters into our skin as we could so we could adjust and lubricate the shift rod in perfect agony. Well, the shifter moved more easily. Then we discovered that the spare tire carrier retainer bolt was pretty much stripped out, so we snaked (snaked, I tell ya!) down the side of the hill into the festering sweltering little town of Fairfax to find a tap/bolt. Bought a silly bolt and snaked back up into the hill via mystery trails (one-way, even) to see if we had a "solution" which we didn't. But at least it was still hotter yet on that wood splintered "driveway" to hell. So we checked the rear brakes (FYI, I check brakes AFTER snaking down steep little paths into pedestrian-choked little towns). I am NOT telling the readership that the car came crashing down off the jack. No covelo, I have a REPUTATION to defend here. YOU tell them (omg, you DID):

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Anyways, leaky rear cylinders. As I slipped into heat stroke, we had a beer. It was a very fine beer, and it was lovely to see you again, and drive your very nice Vanagon and meet your family!

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Then I snaked down the hill. Look at this! The houses barely perched, the hairpins, the parked cars at roof level or three stories below the front door, whatever! Californians ...

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But look at this, Commuter Scenery, California Style:

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Is it earthquake-certified? Stay tuned ... (08/02/19 Richmond-San Rafael Bridge score > mediocre) :

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Made it to BoltonFTW's burg at 10:00PM and got lost just enough to camp in a church parking lot up on a hill with crickets and no lights and a light breeze and a slight fever of guilt at what I had just subjected NaranjaWesty to, that commuter crowd is a tough one and the road surfaces are deteriorating in California, my beloved road-engineering California.
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 108,000 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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vwlover77
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by vwlover77 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 4:37 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:57 pm
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As I first scrolled past this photo, my early-morning un-caffeinated brain said, "OMG! Not only did Colin finally get a smart phone, he got one of the biggest! Wait, how is it suspended in mid-air?


....... Oh. It's the Vanagon mirror. :geek:

For a fun reflection, pull up behind a new Jeep Cherokee. You'll see yourself upside down!
Don

---------------------------
78 Westy
71 Super Beetle Convertible Autostick

"When we let our compassion go, we let go of whatever claim we have to the divine." - Bruce Springsteen

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covelo
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by covelo » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:18 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Wed Jul 31, 2019 11:57 pm
I am NOT telling the readership that the car came crashing down off the jack. No covelo, I have a REPUTATION to defend here. YOU tell them (omg, you DID):

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Are you leaning against the jacked-up car here? That could have been a fun action photo. But to protect your reputation, it was totally my fault to grab the Billstein to jack up the left rear wheel and not shove the jack stand under there. Fortunately, it was more like a nice gentle glide off the jack than a crash and the splintery and warmed-up wood deck had just the right amount of give to minimize the impact and the bending of the backing plate. All is well that ends well!

I have a tap and die set arriving today so will keep you posted on my progress with the spare tire carrier retaining bolt. Thanks again for a fun and useful day of wrenching!
‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

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covelo
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Location: Fairfax, CA
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by covelo » Thu Aug 01, 2019 10:26 am

I also found a picture of Colin's first visit (September 17, 2005). I believe we were trying to fix a fuel pump for my 1972. It was exceptionally cold and foggy, even for San Francisco.
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‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

tewa3240
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by tewa3240 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 7:00 pm

The Bilstein jack is the ted bundy of jacks.
It has maimed before & it will maim again.
Only bad part on a VW bus. Good thing it isn't bolted on.

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asiab3
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by asiab3 » Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:22 pm

Threads like these are why I enjoy this site so much.

As a side note, I'm excited to learn Fairfax is a city, not just an oddly specific neighborhood in Los Angeles… That clears up the timeline for me… (Fairfax looked oddly like San Rafael…) Either way, welcome to my home state, land of the "any biome you'll ever want, three hours max in a Volkswagen bus!"

Is that the Antioch Bridge, along the Sacramento River levees? I personally felt like I was launching off into space with my wheezy 1600 single port shooting up it at 4,200 RPM last month…

Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
119k miles with me.
296k miles on Earth.

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:15 pm

asiab3 wrote:
Thu Aug 01, 2019 9:22 pm
Threads like these are why I enjoy this site so much.

As a side note, I'm excited to learn Fairfax is a city, not just an oddly specific neighborhood in Los Angeles… That clears up the timeline for me… (Fairfax looked oddly like San Rafael…) Either way, welcome to my home state, land of the "any biome you'll ever want, three hours max in a Volkswagen bus!"

Is that the Antioch Bridge, along the Sacramento River levees? I personally felt like I was launching off into space with my wheezy 1600 single port shooting up it at 4,200 RPM last month…

Robbie

Them there fotos up high are from the "Napa River Bridge" on CA 37 hie-ing over from I-80 to the 101. The road is "Sears Point" and the raceway is too ... :flower:
Colin-BornInSantaMonica1959
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 108,000 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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covelo
Old School!
Location: Fairfax, CA
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by covelo » Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:45 am

Quick update on the stripped spare tire carrier bolt. I got a $30 tap and die set off Amazon (metric & SAE) and retapping the original M12 bolt hole did not fix the problem. (The threads were too far gone). Fortunately a US 1/2 inch bolt is just a tiny bit thicker and tapping a 1/2 inch by 1.75 hole worked beautifully. So the random hardware bolt that Colin and I found did the trick and is now holding the tire carrier securely. It was fun to use a tap for the first time. Very empowering.

Image
‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by Amskeptic » Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:26 pm

covelo wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:45 am
Quick update on the stripped spare tire carrier bolt. I got a $30 tap and die set off Amazon (metric & SAE) and retapping the original M12 bolt hole did not fix the problem. (The threads were too far gone). Fortunately a US 1/2 inch bolt is just a tiny bit thicker and tapping a 1/2 inch by 1.75 hole worked beautifully. So the random hardware bolt that Colin and I found did the trick and is now holding the tire carrier securely. It was fun to use a tap for the first time. Very empowering.
Excellent. Now go get a "fender washer" (big thick washer) between carrier and bolt.
Brakes?
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 111,155 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 108,000 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

Curtp07
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by Curtp07 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:50 am

Colin, I request your attendance as guest of honor at the grand opening of my New England Vintage Jack and Jack Stand Museum. Great posts!

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covelo
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Location: Fairfax, CA
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Visits Fairfax CA

Post by covelo » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:53 am

Amskeptic wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 9:26 pm
covelo wrote:
Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:45 am
Quick update on the stripped spare tire carrier bolt. I got a $30 tap and die set off Amazon (metric & SAE) and retapping the original M12 bolt hole did not fix the problem. (The threads were too far gone). Fortunately a US 1/2 inch bolt is just a tiny bit thicker and tapping a 1/2 inch by 1.75 hole worked beautifully. So the random hardware bolt that Colin and I found did the trick and is now holding the tire carrier securely. It was fun to use a tap for the first time. Very empowering.
Excellent. Now go get a "fender washer" (big thick washer) between carrier and bolt.
Brakes?
Colin
Will do! I had an annoying pulsing of the brake pedal after our work on the rear brakes. Opened them up this weekend (using two jack stands) and found that the right brake shoes were too far out. (We may have done that when were checking the adjuster). So I gave them a few turns in and now everything is fine. Also ordered two new wheel cylinders.
‘80 Vanagon Westfalia - 54,400 miles
'91 Toyota Pickup (4WD long bed) - 199,960 miles
1987 Alfa Spider Veloce - 166,400 miles
2017 VW E-Golf - 5,600 miles

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