Two months ago, I purchased a "new" S-Boot off Ebay. It doesn't have the VW logo or part number on the side. The details on the boot aren't as clean and exact as my original either. It looks like someone created a mold that's close to the original, but not an exact duplicate. If it provides a good seal I'll be happy for the price ($25 shipped).
It turned out to be a perfect day to work on the bus (sunny, but not too hot). First, we replaced the engine mounts and were able to do it without having to remove the exhaust. My exhaust didn't look like it was in the mood to be removed so I'm glad we were able to pull that off. It looks like we were able to fix the oil leak too. The bus developed a terrible leak after replacing the clutch last fall so that was the main thing I wanted to accomplish this year. It looked like the front seal we also replaced last year may have been faulty. Hopefully the new seal will last a little longer than 100 miles.
I'm about two hours away from Colin's 5th visit. I have an oil leak that developed after changing the clutch last year. It's also time to replace the engine mounts and the front shifter bushing (time permitting). Possible rain in the forecast today, but the sun is peeking out and I'm about to have my third cup of coffee... This should be a good day.
It's been a long time since I've updated this blog. Too many excuses and time has slipped away. Wilson is back on the road now and I've already made a couple road trips. I'll gather some photos and post the details soon. In the mean time, Here's a recap of Colin's visit earlier this year to help me out. Once again this was the best investment I have made to keep the bus running. Check out some of the previous "Itinerant Air-Cooled" posts for more information. He really is an air-cooled guru.
Last month Colin stopped by for the 2010 IAC visit. We quickly made our way to the kitchen for coffee and a review of my list. #7 and last on the list was a broken “Fuel Tank Sender Unit”. It stopped working last year, shortly after replacing the fuel lines. I did not have it in me this year to drop the engine and dig back in there behind the firewall. I really just added the fuel sender to the list as an FYI, but Colin decided that would be first thing we look at. I gulped my coffee and we headed out to see the 78 Westy parked in the garage...
My stomach sank as I imagined us dropping the engine and having no time to get through the rest of my list. I really wanted to hit item #1, “Hesitation, Bucking & Stalling on Acceleration” first to make sure we had time to fix it. The problem has been plaguing my 78 Sage Green bus for over a year and I was worried we might not get to it. Colin wasn’t as worried so we started with the sender unit. He asked me if I understood that we would have to drop the engine for this task. Colin, wondering aloud, then asked if I thought we could replace the sender unit without dropping the tank??? Oh yeah, I had nothing to lose since the fuel gauge wasn’t working anyway. Let’s try it!
After removing the firewall and surrounding hoses, it wasn’t more than just a few minutes before Colin was able to twist his arm over the top of the tank and remove the sender unit. This was all with the engine still in place. A quick test of the old unit confirmed it was faulty and a few minutes later Colin had the new sender installed and we were putting the firewall back together again. I was amazed and grateful considering we still had the entire day ahead of us.
We then went through the rest of my 2010 IAC list:
1. Hesitation, bucking, & stalling on acceleration
2. “Humming” from engine compartment
3. Steering box drip
4. Confirm alternator belt tension
5. “Pre-Trip” check
6. Replace rear shocks
7. Fuel tank sender unit
We could now focus on the first item on my list, engine hesitation. Colin asked me what I thought could be causing the problem and we talked over several possibilities. It didn’t take long for Colin to find that the AAR elbow was badly cracked and leaking. I checked the same hose myself last year and I didn’t notice any problems. That was another lesson in why I shouldn’t assume something wasn’t broken because it looked good the last time I inspected it. We weren’t sure if this would fix the problem, but Colin seemed very optimistic.
We then moved down the rest of the list, adding in a couple extra tasks along the way. This included adjusting the AFM, replacing the rear shocks, identifying the "humming" noise (which turned out to be my new fuel pump), checking the front wheel bearings, lubricating and adjusting the shifter stop plate, pre-trip check, and I’m sure a couple other things were mixed in there. We also squeezed in a little lunch and cookies in the afternoon. During our work, Colin noted a few things I need to do on my own, such as: replacing the front bushing (missing), fill the steering box (leaking), and repack the wheel bearings. Before I knew it we were getting close to the 10 hour mark and it was time to start wrapping up the annual visit.
Sometime during the day Colin asked me how I liked my Taiga Green Westy. I quickly corrected him and said I loved my Sage Green Westy. Colin again tried to tell me that my bus was Taiga, just like the BobD. I could feel myself perk up as I was about to teach the master about the Sage Green used by VW on the 1978 buses. I have prided myself in the beautiful Sage Green color of my bus. It’s been my favorite since I was a kid and first saw the Campmobiles parked on the Volkswagen lot in the late 70’s. Colin just smiled and asked me to check out the color code on his bus. Tucked behind the driver’s seat was a sticker with the words “taigagrün L-63-H” printed on it. He then walked back to my bus and showed me the same sticker hidden behind the seat. I couldn’t believe it. I was 110% certain I had a Sage Green Westy, but apparently VW thought otherwise when they marked mine as Taigagrün. I still think something is fishy. I’ve seen Sage Green referenced in too many VW printings.
Thanks for your help Colin and my new Taigagrün bus. The bus is running MUCH better since your visit. I think we made the fuel a little too lean at idle, but I'll fix that. The hesitation issue appears to have been fixed (YEAH). Have a safe journey...
It is time to change the oil before winter gets here. I've been changing the oil in my 1978 VW Campmobile every six months, or about 1,500-2000 miles. According to the manual, the oil should be changed every 7,500 miles, but I don't drive that much each year. I am trying to be very liberal with the oil changes to keep engine wear to a minimum. I would like to get as many miles as I can with this original Volkswagen 2.0L Type4 engine.
In order to heat up the oil before I change it, I like to run a short errand for any last minute parts or beer. This time I drove up the street to Pep Boys for the Castrol 20W-50. Once home, I let the bus rest for a few minutes. From under the engine, the drain plug is removed using a 19mm socket. The oil is then drained into a 15qt change pan so it can be recycled. After draining the oil, I removed the oil filter and oil strainer. The oil filter should be able to be removed by hand. The oil strainer is removed using a 13mm socket and cleaned using Gumout Carb + Choke Cleaner. Another tip from Colin that helped; the strainer cover plate can be cleaned with dish soap, to reduce the chance of leaking oil.
After the oil has sufficiently drained, install the drain plug and new washer, and then tighten with a 19mm socket (16 ft lbs). Install the new oil filter (coat rubber seal with oil) and hand tighten. Install the oil strainer with a new gasket set, and then tighten with a 13mm socket (9 ft lbs). Do not over tighten the oil strainer bolt.
I use Castrol GTX 20W-50 motor oil. I tried synthetic for a while, but learned it wasn’t worth the extra cost. Instead, I just change the motor oil on a regular basis. Remove the oil filler cap. Using a funnel, fill the bus with 3.7 quarts (with an oil filter change) or 3.2 quarts (without an oil filter change). Replace the oil filler cap and clean up any oil spills. I will wait a while and then check the oil level. If it looks good, I’ll let the engine run for a bit and then I’ll check the level again. If there aren’t any leaks, it is time to take the bus out.
We took a short drive up near Racine WI on Sunday. Nothing special, just a drive to run some errands. It really felt good to take the bus out and enjoy the day. I really needed to clear my head. I've been very stressed lately. The drive went well, even though I experienced the "hesitation" issue coming home. It only lasted a few seconds and then it was back to normal, and we cruised all the way home.
I've decided to take a break from this site for a few days, or maybe even a couple weeks. One of my cats, Patrick, is very sick and needs a lot of attention. He's now on daily sub-q fluid injections and he doesn't put up with it very well. I've been writing about the cats lately, and I want to focus on them until I'm sure Patrick is doing better. You can read about him, and his two friends at Meezers.com. I'll get back to this site as soon as things slow down.
We met up with some of the local IAC guys for a VW weekend in McHenry County IL. Our first stop was the Merango Ridge campground. I didn't know what to expect from this campground, but I was pleasantly surprised. The hosts were very friendly and accommodating. The camping spots were large and privately spaced apart. Outside of the noise we were making, the place was very quiet. I’d say this is the best campground I’ve seen in northeastern IL, at least so far.
We were the first to arrive around 3pm and had a great spot up front, tucked back into the trees. The other VW campers came driving in over the afternoon. mattg arrived about 10 minutes after we set up. I couldn't see the road, but the sound of the Type IV engine gave him away. We met for the first time and I had a good chance to look over his beautiful 77 Westfalia. Ryno arrived next in his Riviera with his SO, and his friend Chris was driving a custom 84 Westy. chitwnvw came out a little later with his family in the new 75 hardtop camper. Manfred and his GF were there by sunset in the 78.
It was nice to start putting the IAC names to their faces. We had a great time drinking beer around the campfire. We don't get to do this enough. By midnight the party broke up and people settled in for the night. We all planned to get up early in the morning to attend VW Fest, about 20 minutes away in Crystal Lake IL.
We got a early start the next morning. Before I knew it, a couple of the buses pulled out from the campground, so we quickly packed up and hit the road. Anderson VW in Crystal Lake IL hosted VW Fest 2009, and the Northern Illinois Volkswagen Association (NIVA) organized the event. This was the second year we’ve been to this show and it was a nice turn out. The weather was sunny and beautiful. It was a perfect day to surround yourself with VW buses and bugs.
The show had a large selection of vintage Volkswagens, including: Buses, Bugs, Squarebacks, Things, Ghias, Buggys, Rabbits, and a swap meet for spare parts. We walked around the lot a few times, taking pictures and watching the air-cooled cars roll in. I sometimes forget how many VW drivers we have around here, until I visit a show like this. It was a good time to spend with family and friends.
Here are a few more photos from the show:
Thanks to all the people that shared the weekend with us. It was nice to see old friends and make a few new ones. We had a great time and I'm looking forward to the next event!