Itinerant Air-Cooled Columbus OH

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Itinerant Air-Cooled Columbus OH

Post by NewBeginningsAgain » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:19 pm

My first ever IAC visit was amazing! Wrenching under the guidance of someone who knows what they are doing was a major confidence builder. After a year of ownership, I feel like I’m finally beginning to get to know my ‘78 Westy!

I had been lurking around IAC for quite some time (years) before I joined. I poured through past Itineraries, Technical Forums, Community Forums, and Whatever, reading about others’ trials and triumphs with their beloved Volkswagens. So, when Colin rolled up the driveway and stepped out of Naranja, I was struck by an odd feeling. I know someone I’ve never met before. Weird.

We drank coffee and Colin began sketching out, literally, the beginnings of a plan for our day:
A) Valve Adjustment (sketch) adjust pre-load… (sketch) this says 8 and 2:00… (sketch) next adjustment forensics…

B) You Have Pertronix Oh Well…

C) Timing (sketch) Crankshaft rotates...Top Dead Center… Combustion Before Top Dead Center… RPMs...Degrees… Simple math…

And so we began.

Valve Adjustment - It felt good to be under the bus, but I seemed to lose my orientation and visual-motor skills. I fumbled tools, my hands shook, and I couldn’t seem to orient a screwdriver or wrench to make a functional lever. Colin gave clear instructions, and I made my way through it. I did my first valve adjustment, and, I know what to do, and what to look for next time (forensics)! I may have received a demerit when Colin audited my work and found that I neglected to tighten one of the locknuts.

Timing - The vacuum advance wasn’t working, so the distributor was removed to swap out the vacuum advance with a spare. The distributor was replaced, as were many pieces of crumbling vacuum hose and the alternator belt. Next up - test drive.

“Hideous,” was one word Colin used to describe the dark strip of window tint chopping off the top of the windshield. I learned my seatbelts were not installed correctly before he got in the bus, and there was too much play in the clutch, as soon as he sat down. He showed me the correct orientation for seatbelt installation, and the clutch play was adjusted from, “Huge” to 1 inch before taking off.

Test Drive - “Hideous,” was repeated during the test drive, as Colin hunched down to look under the window tint rather than through it. When we stopped to switch places, I was reminded that the clutch would feel different. Yes. Yes, it did. Not my best performance, but I did manage to learn a few of the finer points of shifting gears.

After the test drive, it was time to learn how to lubricate the sliding door and the front doors. The sliding door was in good shape. The front doors were not. The hinges were loose, and the striker plates needed to be adjusted, “to actuate both latch pawls.” I knew the doors felt, "off." Now I knew why, and how to fix it.

I also learned how to adjust the rear brakes and the E-brake cables. We noted my brake lights were not working and replaced a fuse. This was interesting, as I had the same thing happen not too long ago. Hmmm...Why….? That about wrapped up the work on the bus. All that was left was a pop quiz, a review of all we accomplished, and a list of things for me to do next.

Pop-quiz - Just thinking about it now, makes me nauseated. I blanked out. It was exactly what I experienced in school as a child with an undiagnosed learning disorder. You may be able to relate if you have the reoccurring nightmare where someone holds a microphone up to your face and asks you a question, cameras rolling...and then your brain shuts down. So that happened. It wasn’t pretty. I’m sure I got a demerit. I’m going to put that behind me now. It’s done.

The list of accomplishments was longer than I expected. The day seemed to go by so fast, and I still had many questions.

Things to Do
#1. Remove hideous strip of window tint from the windshield
#2. Anything else, including, checking belt tension in 100 miles, lubricating the front suspension, purchasing 4 and 4.5mm vacuum hose, re-installing the seatbelts, cleaning the door seal grooves to allow the doors to fully close, follow-up valve adjustment (w/forensics: How far does the adjusting slot turn? Are the shiny scratches still visible inside the valve cover?), and asking Colin why he wanted a paperclip to check the horn, which we didn’t get to before running out of time/daylight.

This was a good day. I have a new-found confidence in the bus (it earned a “Nice Car!!” from Colin), and confidence in my ability to participate in taking good care of it. I am beyond grateful for this experience.


'78 Westfalia, Dakota Beige, 80k miles
'69 Transporter, Savanah Beige - Sold. Regrets.
'66 Samba, Lotus White - Lost in New Mexico

1978 Westfalia, Dakota Beige, 80k miles
1969 Transporter, Savannah Beige - Sold. Regrets
1966 Deluxe Microbus, Lotus White - Lost in New Mexico

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Columbus OH

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Sep 20, 2019 5:36 am


Arrived at NewBeginningsAgain. I asked, "is it 'New Beginnings, oy vey, AGAIN'? or is it 'New! Beginnings! Again!'?"
She assured me that it was the latter, and we launched into VW Engine 101 over a fine cup of coffee. By and by:


Just another day of napping in the warm sun ... oh, and vandalizing the crank pulley and timing scale with EZ Read marks, adjusting valves, discovering a poorly clocked distributor and a failed vacuum advance unit, fixing them, timing adjustment [no fuel mixture adjustments required (!) AND it had the factory AFM with a factory untampered anti-tamper plug], brake adjustment, ebrake and clutch cable adjustments, door lubrication and striker plate adjustments. It drove well ... except for a nasty clutch chatter. Speaking of chatter, we did that, too. It was an absolute pleasure to meet you NewBeginningsAgain, and Percy the dog napper and your son.

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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