Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota

Post by Amskeptic » Sat Jul 06, 2019 9:27 am

The reason I have not been around is ... three appointments in a row plus a thousand miles of rain and bugs gnats mosquitoes and rain too.

I arrived in the rain to grifftenstein's house. It is quite a spread and I was appreciative of the two-car garage. His Westy is back from the body shop with new paint that bears spooky resemblance to the Road Warrior's blue and white with factory dual carburetors:

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"It'll be an easy day," said grifftenstein, quite unaware that I can make any easy day an exceedingly vexing one. We did manage to get through a tune-up with his favorite annoyance (breaker point gap setting) annoying me, too. We let it go, we just let it go at 40* dwell. I say that 40* dwell will only go larger over time, "all you have to do is drive it!"

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Well sure, if it wants to drive you might "drive it". But really, these carbs which I championed so mightily so many years ago, have been annoying. Today's visit gave us an utterly dead spot right off idle. The only way through it was to rev the engine stupidly against the protesting clutch. So, we decided to emark upon a Volksbitz rebuild process. We did other things too. Like I can remember any more, but I think we did something with a sliding door and a turn signal switch that used not to cancel. And it rained.

Drove to the vicinity of my next appointment. It rained. I camped across from the highway department's squadron of highway trucks. I did not know this, of course, I only knew that it was "dark" at the time of my decision to camp out. Did you know that the Belle Plaine highway department has some early birds who show up at 5:30AM, get in their trucks, start them with their headlamps on, then sit in them doing paperwork I guess, while I scramble to wake, break camp, and stare at the carpet of dead mosquitoes on the front of poor NaranjaWesty? I mucked the mosquitoes off the front of NaranjaWesty and drove to McDonalds for electricity for my laptop. No electrical outlets. Arrived at Belle Plaine's house and marvelled at his new garage. Man, it is an open airy two car garage now. Belle Plaine has stepped up a quantum level and even has a heater ready to go.
(get in touch with Busboytom, he might be able to supply you with a hoard of parts from that Larry guy we met)

Today's project was drive forward the windshield channel repair. I took one look at the welding job in progress and suggested that he was done with the welding phase. You don't have to worry a windshield channel to death with water-proofing weld-up when a nice application of rust-catalyzing primer and bondo will do .... :

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We ground down the proud weld spatter and tried to follow the contours of the original channel with fealty, fealty, by God:

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Meanwhile, I sort of tore down the headliner. The bows would not hold it up. Having done Chloe's windshield, I knew exactly why the bows would not maintain their positions.

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Yep, the front bow is shorter than the next one because the front of the car actually tapers in as it approaches the windshield.

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We swapped the bows around and now we have a headliner that arches nicely:

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Meanwhile, the windshield channel was taking shape, bondo'd, sanded, bondo'd, sanded:

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At the end of the day, we had a coat or two of primer. Belle Plaine changed my life in an instant. All of these years, I have battled brush stripes that required several color-sanding steps. Belle Plaine? He just used those nice little tapered foam "applicators" that leave no stripes. A DuhGreatIdea, thank-you, Belle Plaine:

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See the trim being used to hold the headliner to the windshield opening? Learned while doing Chloe. You don't need a million clamps:

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Drank beer with Belle Plaine while the now strapping lad rode his bike on the street in the afternoon sunlight. Belle Plaine is a good man:

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It was no simple little drive up through Minnesota to visit EskimoTom. Good grief. Maps make it look so easy. County Road This, Highway That, Number ThisThatAndTheOther, hey a street name tacked onto a road number, gone! look, this road changes name and number here at that tree ... it was finally impossible to follow my own directions, so I collapsed in exhaustion in some little town "close" to the morning's appointment:

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Got my self lost on MN 21/9 when one of the two branched off on the other, and my despised MapQuest said "turn left on 176th". There was no "176th". Called Tom. Barked at him, "just the names and numbers, I cannot absorb landmarks!" Showed up oh, around, I dunno, lunch time? 10:30AM.
EskimoTom has that native blood circulating in him, so do I, it shows up as a certain sensitivity to the world:

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Quickly, I discovered that his poor Volkswagen was not feeling well. It was running on two cylinders, but it had this insanely frisky idle that would not go down! Well what? Turned in the idle speed screw, turned in the idle mixture screw, crazy idle speed. Eventually decided that the #3#4 manifold must be leaking gobs of air AND gobs of unconsented fuel must be pouring in there at a just right mixture for crazy idle speed:

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Well, we did get rid of the intake leak after a battle with fitting the left manifold onto the intake pipe and the head studs. #3 and #4 were participating once more. Smooth idle, only when cold. Then it died and died. Too much fuel now, not enough air to go along with it. Swapped out the carburetor with a very used carburetor. "Your chance to shine after long sit, don't let us down!" Well, it was a rather balky little carburetor after its long sleep. So, another Volksbitz client is made. We did get to drive it up and down the area roads, though, and that was a morale boost. Came back to the house before the threat of rain delivered more rustitupevenmore. Fixed the brake lights! Just needed a fuse! Fixed the turn indicators! Just needed lubrication but it was a junky new switch that had cheap plastic detents that got beaten into stops before our life-saving lubrication could save it. We stretched the detent spring to relieve the plastic, and it sort of works ... like my life. It was a pleasure, Tom, and I hope I was not too sharp with the elbows and attitudes:

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Drove off in the darkening night to meet my fate ... more rain and bugs.
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

EskimoTom
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Location: Lake Wobegon, MN
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota

Post by EskimoTom » Tue Jul 16, 2019 2:21 pm

Aloha & Greetings from Lake Wobegon, MN (insert vintage tourism postcard here):

First, a huge thank you to Colin for working me into The Itinerary this year! It was a close call with a Twin Cities appointment short a deposit and Colin's next Montana appointment moved up a day.

I unfortunately had to bow out of 2017 due to a financial squeeze and in 2018 not enough Minnesotans raised their hands for The Itinerary to allow Colin to economically stop where I live; down the gravel road a ways from the middle of nowhere. In the meantime "Rusty" sat unused, but at least garaged for 3 years.

I get jazzed prior to a Colin visit, although this was only my 2nd visit. Details of the first visit can be found here: https://www.itinerant-air-cooled.com/vi ... 70&t=13088. I was first introduced to Colin via Chris in Belle Plaine during the 2015 Itinerary who asked me to come visit and share the experience. I'm grateful today for that invitation and encourage others here to do the same.

After Colin's 2016 visit I was unable to diagnose or resolve an engine which had an insanely high idle and lacked power. During our prior session, we reassembled all the engine's pieces from the long-block and it had not occurred to me that something was incomplete. Time ran out before we could button everything up & drive the bus. After Colin's visit I just didn't have the time, energy or focus to pick up where we left off. Had I known then what I know now, I would have booked 2 days in 2016.

My goal for this bus was to make it a solid runner and pass it on to someone motivated to save it and help continue its journey. This year, I needed to wrap up engine work on the '71 Sportsmobile camper project. After Colin's visit, this bus is now fortunately in the hands of a Wisconsin couple who plan to do exactly that and drove it home.

On the day of the visit, I woke at 4 am, & couldn't get back to sleep. My wife Pamela later found me waiting outside to document Colin's punctuality. I got a call just before 9:00 to hear that while close, the lack of proper highway signage broke Colin's GPS.

Hopping on the laptop and Google Maps I was able to pinpoint his location and with a little "Lost in Translation" gave him the final directions to our very rural location. The conversation with Colin relaying directions could be characterized as "rural Minnesota Nice meets urban New York Direct." I'm accustomed to providing final directions to visitors on the phone by using landmark references rather than sign posts. This wasn't Colin's preferred approach, but it worked out in the end.

I thought the day would be a breeze and I could send Colin on his way early, it turned out to be a long day for all.

First sight of Colin off in the distance, arriving at 10:37 am. Our house has a 1/4 mile long driveway to the gravel road seen here.

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We spent the first part of our visit with "the good coffee" prepared in a french press. I shared stories about my bus history showing him pictures of the '76 camper I drove for 22 years and the renovation it received. I had progress photos of my 1967 21 window bus currently in restoration. We talked about the pitfalls of finding the right restoration people and the idiosyncrasies of driving a spit bus with the reduction gear boxes. The restoration folks I found specialize only in 67 and earlier VW's, nothing else.

At one point in time, I had 3 split window project busses, the 76 camper and an 86 Vanagon camper. As of today I have yet to drive a split window bus. Hopefully next year I'll be reunited with my last remaining bus.

I reminded Colin that a Smartphone was a legitimate business expense and that I feel Google Maps beats Mapquest in accuracy and functionality.

We outlined plans for the days visit, I needed the engine to run properly and resolve the turn signal issue which prevented the front right turn light to function. I had one caveat, I did not want to get into anything that could not be resolved by the end of the day.

We started the bus and no amount of carb adjustment had any affect on the idle. We next ran a compression test with all cylinders reporting acceptably within range. Pulling the plugs we found only #1 & 2 firing and no evidence of use in #3 & 4. I took a liking to Colin's spark plug wrench, I have to find me one of them.

Colin next got his vacuum gauge in place and determined there was a major leak and concluded the driver's side intake manifold must not be mated effectively to the block. I've never owned a vacuum gauge. Today, I have a better understanding and appreciation for how to use one for engine diagnostics.

Colin deftly extracted the intake manifold and the studs from the block without engine removal, then reassembled everything. He double checked the the passenger side as well.

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We took a lunch break to escape the heat and humidity for a time.
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After buttoning up the engine bits, Colin found the carb adjustable and idle responding, but didn't feel good about how the carb behaved. We tested the electric choke on 2 proper coded carbs laying around and chose the better of the two to replace the existing unit.

BTW, if someone in the vicinity of Central Minnesota is interested, I have a small hoard of air-cooled, primarily 1600cc bits, I'd like to go to a good home, PM me for a description if interested.

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By now the sun was close to the horizon and the turn signal lever was removed. I did this after his last visit and did not know what to make of it, nor did I wish to destroy it, so I cleaned it and put it back together with no effect. I didn't suspect the spring was overpowering the ability to get the lever to reach its necessary contact points. The last item on the list, working signals and brake lights was complete and the day wrapped up at 10 minutes to 10 pm.

And, on his way, Colin drives away to decompress and hopefully find a quiet rain free place to rest before continuing on, The Itinerary.

Eskimo Tom

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1971 Camper. Sportmobile. "Rusty"

Curtp07
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota

Post by Curtp07 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:55 pm

Mapquest? Holy hell man.

EskimoTom, I may be contributing to your Colin2020 fund. Will PM for parts.

Keep trucking!

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asiab3
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Minnesota

Post by asiab3 » Tue Jul 16, 2019 8:55 pm

Nice writeup!

I especially enjoy the picture of Colin getting eaten by your engine bay. :)

Here's this:
http://www.autoatlanta.com/Porsche-Spar ... 2203A.html

PM sent :)
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 Greetings From Minnesota

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Jul 16, 2019 9:34 pm

Curtp07 wrote:
Tue Jul 16, 2019 7:55 pm
Mapquest? Holy hell man.
Keep trucking!

It gets worse. MapQuest transposed on brown napkins with sharpie markers.
"Is that a 6 or an 8?"

Add to that the risk that one missing street/road sign (an ever more common occurance) can flood me with paralyzing doubt.

Time for a GPS ...
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

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