Itinerant Air-Cooled Goes To Amarillo (and back)

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled Goes To Amarillo (and back)

Post by Amskeptic » Wed Aug 28, 2019 10:52 pm

Now things get crazy ... I wanted to decompress after the Taos Gathering with that tantalizing promise that Kit and I had made to each other since April at least. "We need to sit under the stars." I am not practiced at sitting under the stars under the spell of Idle Theory. My late night stars have included hanging out of the sliding door upside down or running on paths "like a panther (but now like a stampeding herd of buffalo)" or just marveling in slow circles. To sit with another human being and just shut up sounded like a seriously good thing.

I tried to move my Amarillo appointment, but alas, it could not be moved. I bid JR and Kit good-bye and took off with the dawning realization that I was saying good-bye to my beloved dry and mostly sunny southwest for yet another season.

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Texas of course said "Welcome, here's a hunderd degrees and a hunderd percent humidity":

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Arrived in Amarillo with my splendidly running NaranjaWesty after 300 miles of beautiful scenery, traded in for blatty motocycles and bellowing pick-up trucks and glaring nightlights and restless traffic. I was on the 335 beltway under lightning strikes at midnight and dove off into a farm driveway to camp for the night.
"This is nice, away from humans."
Awoke at 7:00 in the humid heat and stripped down for a refreshing Motel6 bucket bath of Chlorox and Tide followed by a rinse and a shave.
"This is nice, away from humans."
Except that poor early morning jogger who apparently was jogging on a paved "jogging path" which bisected the farm driveway. Our curt nods were the funniest damn thing. He did not break stride.

Contacted JR and Kit who offered to drive east so we could maybe find a campsite nearer to me before I headed to Arkansas. I just could not envision it. So I made the usual sorry speech, "blah blah time baah can't blah no sorry busy blahbladrivingblahblah. Dammit."

Deanaha promised us no rain even though the skies were threatening.
"This is on you, Deanaha."
"It will just pass to our north."
And it did. Deanaha has a bus that they had never heard run. I reviewed their story over coffee and walked past the gorgeous Chevelle and checked out the bus. I spied the jumper cables being used as grounds. Something about grounds. In minutes, I spied why the bus has not started in the year or so that they have owned it. Oh yes, the ECU ground wire to the coil was stashed amongst the taillight wiring, itself unattached. I preened to myself, "we shall do a luxuriant day of essential maintenance, and spring the start-up at the end."

Deanaha waded right in to the valve adjustment with plucky resolve:

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"This one won't click". Uh-oh. Exhaust #1 is receded entirely. We had to back it out some five turns to find "0" point.
As we were about to start it, I saw that the alternator was missing its cover plate. Then we saw that the alternator bracket was broken. We replaced the alternator bracket in a two-hour detour designed to impress upon my customers that there is only one way to do it, correctly. The tins were bent as though in a crash. Lucky us, we had a spare bus to raid some fine parts from (it was an immersion with a story behind it) Then, we got one chuff at start-up, and no ignition spark subsequently while cranking. Since I do not care for Pertronix much, I blamed the Pertronix. We installed a set of points and an "EMPI" condensor. Well, the spark would still only fire off at ignition on/off, but not when the engine was rotating on the starter. Since I do not care for EMPI products, I blamed the EMPI condensor and we installed NaranjaWesty's distributor. After a couple of minutes of extremely smoky running, we shut it off.
Hey, I said it was smoky:

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The engine could not idle without assistance. Vacuum leaks? Tested all vacuum connections, including blocking off the brake booster wye. They checked out. At consciousness-slipping-away point, I thought to check compression because the engine just couldn't run itself at idle. It was obvious that this car had been worked on by either angry or ignorant mechanics ... or both. Well, #2 spark plug was stripped.
Now why does Deanaha have a boroscope that feeds her smart phone screen and she has been a mechanic only for five hours, and I have nothing of the sort after 40 years?

I replaced NaranjaWesty's distributor in NaranjaWesty, and Deanaha's distributor in her bus, and it started like it might want to live, albeit with a bad smoking habit.
We had an engine that would barely start itself by the end of the day, and a receded valve seat on #1 exhaust, and a stripped #2 spark plug hole. Any one of these could be repaired in situ. Not all three. Overhaul due, Deanaha. You have good help surrounding you.

That was a late night outta there. I smelled like a refinery and was pretty good and exhausted. Drove back onto Amarillo's 335 Beltway and found a collapse spot where some medical complex had changed its mind and left a road dead-ended. It rained all night.

In the morning, I went to a Starbucks and pulled out my phone to try again to carve out the schedule, because I needed to sit under the stars and shut up with a friend. But the schedule had not yet yielded. I was also taking up new commitments now posted in New York. It looked like I just could not pull off a late Idle Star-Gazing.
Called Kit and she was accommodating to my schedule insanity "I understand, we will meet up again ..." But five hours later, Rick Steiner contacted me to agree to a later appointment, which dove-tailed with the affirmations from CL Hudson and SamW and McCandmore and NewBeginningsAgain to push the schedule back eight days. Called JR this time. "Where do I find you?"
"Oh, we headed west, we're out near Grants."
BobD - 78 Bus . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 70 bus . . . 206,845 miles
Naranja - 77 Westy . . . 121,400 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 91 Lexus LS400 . . . 92,435 miles

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airkooledchris
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Goes To Amarillo (and back)

Post by airkooledchris » Fri Aug 30, 2019 11:14 am

Hopefully they will be able to get that yellow bus back up and running, between the parts vehicle they had access to and some fresh 'stick to it-ivness'

Really glad you were able to detour. Scheduled windows of time in regions where you'd like to spend an extra day or two fully exploring would be a great way to break up the tour going forward. At the end of one region and before moving on to the next, a window not just to reset/relax, but perhaps take in more of the surroundings.

There's some great redwood forests in the area that would be fun to just shut up and look at.
1979 California Transporter

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jtauxe
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Goes To Amarillo (and back)

Post by jtauxe » Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:39 pm

Well, Colin, you are always welcome to retreat to northern New Mexico and chill for a few days. :)
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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