Re: 85 Vanagon Digijet

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Lanval
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Re: 85 Vanagon Digijet

Post by Lanval » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:34 pm

Anyway, on the to grand final ~ or as Colin referred to it, the "cut to the chase" visit.

First, I explained that the replacement for the distributor I order (both from GoWesty Parts) had a bad vacuum canister. Didn't hold a vacuum. Not to worry though, the original they sent me with seriously bent nipple DID hold a vacuum. So Colin tests it, and then looks at the original distributor. Lo and behold... the new one that did hold a vacuum? Doesn't spring back from the retard position. I dunno if it's too tight or what, but once retarded, it just holds that position. Not like the old, ratty, piss-covered and rusty dizzy. Nnnnnooooooo, that thing works fine. So in it goes.

Now here's where I learned something new. See, when I tried to set the timing, it still ran like crap. Consequently, I assumed the dizzy was bad. Not so Colin. He sets it to the correct timing (helps that he really understands the placement so he knows he did it right) and then starts checking OTHER stuff.

Eventually he realized something rather odd; when moving the sweep hand in the AFM, nothing happened. Even if he moved it all the way to either side. Now that's just not right. So first he tested the signal. Does it meet spec? It does indeed. Now for the wiring. Sure enough, a dead wire. Now remember, I bought a "used but working" harness and installed it. At the time, after all that work to track down the original problem, I thought, "You should really verify all the connections are continuous" but decided not to. Hell, the guy said it worked. If you can't trust anonymous people on the internet, who can you trust?

So Colin pulls down the boot on the connector to the AFM and bingo! There's a single wire not connected. What's weird is that it wasn't just pulled out. It's clearly shorter than the others, and has been clipped. Why? Why wasn't it repaired? What problem could such a thing resolve?

We push the van over to the garage to get good 110v (for some reason, Colin didn't want to do this ~ instead he tried to solder the fix in situ) by manually connecting his transformer to the alternator so I can solder. This is crazy, and in what can only be described as a gesture from the Gods, it doesn't work. I suppose the concept of pushing the van, as opposed to driving it, violates some base tenet of Colin's world view/ideology. A kind of 'sin' in the master's eyes...) and solder in the fix. The van runs nicely, a bit of adjustment and we're off for a drive. Everything goes swimmingly, and with a final adjustment of the idle, Colin is off for greener pastures.

I don't know why he does this, no greener pasture than here. You know, when he arrives we always have hot coffee, and I have to force him (force!) to eat a Mediterranean lunch of French bread, cheese (Tillamook sharp and smoked gouda, French brie) with fresh fruit (strawberries, fuji apples and grapes) and Italian bruschetta and cold cuts (the last of which he will NOT eat...).

Sheesh. Fixed the van good though.

L.

Lanval
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Re: 85 Vanagon Digijet

Post by Lanval » Sun Feb 27, 2011 6:42 pm

Next day we had another visit. More coffee, more lunch, more insistence. To be fair, he did have a schedule ~ Nathan@el at 2pm.

Some quick jobs that needed doing:

Replacement accelerator cable ~ the old one was frayed, and I had a replacement ready. With Colin's help it was in within about 30 minutes, give or take a few for adjustment and some other minor issues (greasing, for example).

Stiff shifter ~ greasing and adjusting all around. While we were doing the shifter, Colin had me disassemble and grease the bolt and bushing at the connection between the shift lever and shift rod down below.

Broken fuel pump mount ~ The rubber connector for the fuel pump that helps manage vibration was broken. For this I didn't have a replacement, so Colin super-glued the two pieces together. Then he had to bend the mount to get it to fit. I use that term loosely, since even after the adjustment there was a significant variance vertically between the left and right side of the rubber piece. That's got to be replaced, and the mount has to be further adjusted.

There might have been one or two other things that we did. We got a late start due to a meeting I had, so not as much time as usual. I was allowed extra time on the first visit, so no complaints.

The van shifts easily and precisely now. The accelerator is smooth and responsive. Those were some nice, minor fixes that have a real impact on driving. It's really a pleasure to drive now, and the heat is awesome (it's relatively cold here in LA at the moment). The 2.1 really makes the van go (as far as VW vans anyway) and Colin had it up to 70 on the freeway with no problems (other than the massive vibration from the luggage rack which currently has no seal. Not to worry ~ I have the seal, now a nice warm day and some time....)

Easily worth the money, fun and informative. The best part is that I'll probably get to see Colin again later. Already starting to put some money aside...

Lanval

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Amskeptic
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Re: 85 Vanagon Digijet

Post by Amskeptic » Tue Mar 01, 2011 10:27 am

Lanval wrote: It's really a pleasure to drive now,
Easily worth the money, fun and informative. The best part is that I'll probably get to see Colin again later. Already starting to put some money aside...
Lanval
Aw shoot, it was nothing really . . .

Actually, the diagnosis track was our victory in my mind. It is easy to dissolve into an unfocused self-deprecating panic, and I was getting close with the bizarre way the LM-1 was reacting. Remember when I was getting a little testy, "It says 'too rich' while the oxygen content is up in the 20's? WTH?"?
I was deteriorating into sloppy guesswork with notions of failed injectors.

Anyways, I live for the "pleasure to drive" finish line.
Colin
(must go put Fred's 1970 Westy engine in, Fred is a travelling southwest denizen)
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . . 112,660 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,820 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 112,220 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . . 55,570 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 78,885 miles

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