Saturday, October 10, 2009

VW Transporter T2 Bus - Oil Change - 2.0L Type4 Engine

1978 VW Bus Oil ChangeIt 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.

Tools and Supplies I Use:
  • Castrol GTX 20W-50 Motor Oil
  • Mann/Mahle Oil Filter (021115351A)
  • Washer For Oil Drain Plug (N0138492)
  • Oil Strainer Gasket Set (021198031B)
  • Gumout Carb + Choke Cleaner (7559)
  • Craftsman Torque Wrench ft lbs (44596)
  • 19mm Socket
  • 13mm Socket
  • Funnel
  • Drain Pan

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.

Odometer: 144620

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Short drive over the weekend (and now a short break)

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.

Odometer: 144608

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 I'll get back to this site as soon as things slow down.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Wilson crashes NIVA's VW Fest 2009!

Camping at Marengo Ridge in McHenry County ILWe 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.

Ryno's 1972 Riviera and Chris' 1984 VanagonWe 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.

Wilson, the 1978 VW Campmobile by Westfalia

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.

Three VW bugs lined up at VW Fest 2009We 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.

Two VW Squarebacks and a 412The 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:

VW Westy with a trailer

VW T34 Ghia

Chris' 1984 VW Vanagon Campmobile

VW Splitty

Krusty's VW Double Cab

VW Double Barndoor

1970 VW Bug

Original unrestored 20,000m VW Thing

Late model VW Bugs

VW Meyers Manx

!975 VW Bug

VW Baywindow panel bus from Goode Plumbing

VW Karmann Ghia

VW Baja Bug

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!

Odometer: 144554

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Passing on the 71 VW Squareback

71 VW Squareback for saleI've decided to pass on the 71 VW Squareback I wrote about yesterday. On closer inspection of the photos, it looks like rust is bubbling along the sides. Plus, it was converted to dual carbs. The VW is couple hours away and money is tight, so I have more than enough excuses to let this one go. Kind of makes me sad. I could see a red squareback in the garage to compliment Wilson's sage green. I will still be on the search for a good deal on a rust free Type 3. If nothing else, this has inspired me to save some cash so I’m ready for the next time.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

1971 VW Squareback for sale

1971 VW SquarebackI found a 1971 VW Squareback for sale yesterday and I've been thinking about it all day. I love the Type 3s and have always liked the Squarebacks above the rest. The ad for this one caught my eye and the price is good ($900 OBO). I don't know if I'll end up with it, but it's fun to plan. We'll see what happens...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Wilson sputters again...

It's official, the hesitation and lunging has returned to this old 78 VW Bus. While driving back from the Chain O’ Lakes State Park on Monday, the bus started hesitating as I drove through the gears. It was an all too familiar feeling. As usual, everything was running perfecting up to this point and then all of a sudden...

...the bus began to rock back and forth as the original 1978, 2.0L FI engine hesitated for a moment, and then repeatedly lunged forward. It happened at about 20mph in 2nd, 35mph in 3rd, and about 55mph in 4th. It occurred after about 75-90 minutes of driving and only lasted about 60 seconds. The problem disappeared as quickly as it came. I first wrote about this problem about a year ago on (IAC) . Until recently, I thought we solved the problem with the recent work on my fuel system. Here are a few of the things fixed in June:
  • replaced fuel pump
  • replaced fuel lines
  • replaced fuel filter
  • replaced double relay
  • checked fuel tank
  • cleaned fuel injectors
  • checked timing and dwell
The bus ran fine for the next 7 weeks and 1,000 miles. Since then, I've experienced the "hesitation" on three occasions. Each time it was after 45-90 minutes of driving, so the engine was good and warm. It lasted less than 60 seconds, and then it was back to normal. I've said this before, but I need to read the old replies on IAC to reivew the other possible causes.

I'll post an update as soon as I know my next steps...

Odometer: 144466

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Wilson drives by the Chain O' Lakes State Park in Spring Grove IL

On Monday we took the Campmobile over to Spring Grove IL to the Chain O' Lakes State Park. We just did a quick drive by to check it out (Sorry, no photos). We drove through all of the camping areas. The Turner Lake South section looked like a prime spot to camp. The spots were very private, each one tucked into own area of the trees and bushes. These sites didn't appear to have electric, but they weren't bad for $12 a night. The state park has several walking trails to explore. There are picnic areas throughout the park. Boat launching and rentals are available. Fishing and hunting is allowed. Check out the links for more info.

I'll have to keep the Turner Lake South area of the Chain O' Lakes State Park on the list for a close, weekend camping trip.

Odometer: 144466

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Wish List: Ezy Awning (A7905)

Ezy Awning from The Bus Depot - © 2009 The Bus Depot, Inc., Perkiomenville, PA., USA, (215) 234-VWVWKeeping Wilson stocked with camping gear is always on my mind. I'm very interested in the Ezy-Awning sold by Bus Depot (A7905). It's been on my wish list for a long time. I used to think that a Spacemaker side tent (J14331) would be nice to have while camping, but I've reconsidered and now I'm favoring the Ezy Awning. It looks like the awning would be quick to put up and require less floor space than the tent. The availability of a jackpoint mounting kit (JP7905) makes it even more versatile, since the awning could be used on pavement and without the need for guy wires.

Let me know if you have an Ezy Awning and what you think of it...

Friday, September 4, 2009

Wilson spends a day at the beach

Wilson at the beach in Racine WIRacine Wisconsin, the home of Malted Milk, is a small town south of Milwaukee. We go up there a couple times a year with Wilson, to spend time at North Beach. The beach runs along the shores of lake Michigan. I like going up to Racine, because it's far enough away that it gives me a good excuse to drive the VW Campmobile, and I get to spend some time at the beach.

Jack at the beach in Racine WIThe afternoon is spent sitting on the beach in our folding camp chairs, just listening to the waves roll in. This is typically followed by a walk along the shore. I don't like crowds so a day at the beach usually starts early, on cold weekend days or during the week. I enjoy the peaceful sound of the waves, not necessarily the noise of other people yelling and screaming. Needless to say, you probably won't find Wilson at the beach over the fourth of July weekend. On those other days, feel free to stop by to say "hi" if you see this big green Westfalia parked nearby. I do like meeting people and talking about the VW experience.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Stuttering Wilson

Original 1978 VW TypeIV 2.0L Fuel Injected EngineWe drove to Rockford IL (hometown of Cheap Trick) yesterday to be with family. On the drive back home, the original VW 2.0L, fuel injected engine hesitated a bit. It happened as I accelerated through the middle of each gear. The bus would momentarily pause like it wasn't getting fuel. It didn’t last long, although it was long enough to make me worry. I asked Wilson to get us home and he could take the rest of the weekend off. The hesitation occurred over 30 seconds, about 45 minutes into the drive, and then the bus ran fine the rest of the way home.

I had something like this happen last fall, but I thought I fixed it. I replaced the fuel pump (Bosch GFP301), rubber (GS 102 Kit) and steel (NLA) fuel lines, filter (133 133 511), and double relay (Bosch 0 332 514 120) earlier this year. I’ve driven the bus about 1,400 miles since the repairs and I was hopeful the problem was long gone. I will read some of the old info from last year, to see what else might cause this. Follow up post to come...

Odometer: 144386

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Westy spotted in Dixon IL

73 VW Westfalia spotted in Dixon ILWe drive out to Dixon IL several times a year to visit family. Earlier this month, we spotted another Westfalia parked near us at Snyder’s Pharmacy on Galena ave. Kate caught a picture of it as we were driving away. I believe it might be a 73. I didn’t notice the New Glarus Brewing Company sticker in the window until just now. Yum!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Wilson enjoys Mader's German restaurant

Wilson parked in front of Usinger's in Milwaukee WIOn Saturday, we decided to enjoy the cool weather and take a local drive in the Campmobile. After a lunch time walk along the beaches of Lake Michigan, we drove up to Milwaukee for the afternoon. It was just a little too cold (70F) to sit out by the water. Kate suggested we drive up to Milwaukee (mill-e-wah-que), and stop at Mader's German restaurant (Est. 1902) for appetizers and Spaten on tap. Milwaukee is about an hour north, so it fit perfectly into our schedule.

I aways enjoy visiting Milwaukee. I live about half way between Milwaukee and Chicago, but in my opinion, there is no comparison about which one is a more pleasurable driving experience. Wilson drove flawlessly up highway 94 in Wisconsin. We made our way downtown and after a couple loops around the area, we found a parking spot around the corner from the restaurant.

Mader's is a famous German restaurant that has a history dating back to 1902. They boast a $3,000,000 collection of art, medieval armour, and antiques dating back to the 14th century. What I found more interesting was the photo/autograph collection of celebrity diners that hang on the walls. Many past U.S, Presidents, movie starts, and musicians have all enjoyed a good meal in the old building. My favorite was the note from Curly Howard stating "What a Meal!".

Wilson parked across the street from Mader's German restaurant in MilwaukeeFor the last few weeks, I've been trying to live a meat free life. Unfortunately I broke down and had some meat at Mader's. I couldn't resist, but it made me sad. I tried the beer battered bratwurst and it was pretty damn good. It reminded me of a German corn dog. We spent a lot more money than I expected, but it was worth it. Where else can you get Spaten Oktoberfest on tap all year long??? After Mader's, we pulled the bus around and parked across the streen, in front of Usinger's sausage company, for a quick photoshoot.

Blue VW Riviera spotted in Grayslake ILAs usual, I kept an eye open for any Volkswagens we might pass along the way. I didn't spot any during the entire drive, until I turned onto my own street on the way home. There was a nice blue Riviera, parked just down the street from me. It looked like one of my neighbors was having a party. I walked up to take a closer look. Other than Colin's bus, this is the first VW I've seen in this neighborhood.

Odometer: 144229

The 1978 VW Campmobile...

Wilson, the 1978 VW Campmobile P-22 by WestfaliaVolkswagen described the Westfalia Campmobile as "having a cottage that goes anywhere you want to go", and that really is true. Wilson is my home away from home, and I enjoy every chance I can get to take him camping. Even outside of camping, it’s nice to know I always have a place to sleep when I’m traveling. The sink, electric hook-up, and icebox provide the basic amenities for a weekend. The bus sleeps two comfortably with the fold down z-bed. VW claimed 4-5 could sleep in the Campmobile, but that would be a tight squeeze, even with kids. I like the pop-up top because it adds a lot of head room. I'd guess 7' at the tallest point.

The Volkswagen camper has always been a symbol of freedom to me. Freedom to go where you want to go, and stay for as long as you need to stay. Sure, you could get a huge RV and live like royalty, but you can't duplicate the personality and happiness a Volkswagen provides. I receive smiles and waves from complete strangers on almost every trip, not to mention the other VW drivers I see along the way. I wouldn't trade Wilson for any other driving experience.

For the record, here are the specifications and features of the 1978 VW Westfalia Campmobile...

Westfalia Models:

  • Standard (P-21)
    • Pastel White (L90D) Pastel White (L90D), Orange plaid
    • Bench converts to double bed
    • Swing-around front passenger seat
    • Clothes closet with mirror
    • 7 storage areas
    • Large dining room table
    • Sink with running water
    • 5.8 gal water tank
    • Icebox
    • 110-volt external receptacle
    • Curtains
    • Louvered side windows w/screens
    • Read door screen
    • Insulated panelled walls
    • Fluorescent ceiling light
    • Wall to wall loop carpeting
    • Spare tire
  • Pop-Up (P-22)
    • Sage Green (L63H) Sage Green (L63H), Green plaid
    • All of the features of the Standard P-21 model, plus...
      • Fiberglass pop-up top
      • Weather-resistant canvas sides
      • Screened window with zipper flap
      • Double bed with mattress
      • Luggage rack
  • Deluxe Pop-up (P-31)
    • Dakota Beige (L13A) Dakota Beige (L13A), Beige & Brown plaid
    • All of the features of the Standard P-21 model, plus...
      • Fiberglass pop-up top
      • Weather-resistant canvas sides
      • Screened window with zipper flap
      • Double bed with mattress
      • Luggage rack
      • Upholstered storage container
      • 12v refrigerator (replaces icebox)
      • Gas stove
      • Outside water hook-up
      • Snack table

  • Make: Volkswagen (VW)
  • Model: Type2 Transporter (T2)
  • Engine: Air-cooled, rear mounted
  • Cylinders: 4 cylinders
  • Displacement: 1970cc / 2.0L
  • Lifters: hydraulic
  • Net HP: 67 @ 4200 RPM
  • Fuel: Bosch L-Jetronic F.I.
  • Ignition: Coil, Distributor
  • # Speeds: 4 forward, 1 reverse
  • Final Drive: Rear wheel drive
  • Clutch: Single-disc, dry
  • Frame: Unitized body chassis
  • Rim Size: 5-1/2Jx14
  • Tire Size: 185 SR 14
  • Steering: Roller type
  • Wheelbase: 95.5"
  • Length: 177.4"
  • Width: 67.7"
  • Height: 81.0"
  • Ground Clearance: 7.9"
  • Turning Circle: 37.1'
  • Curb Weight: 3,300 lbs
  • MPG: 17-25
  • Top Speed: 75 mph
  • Acceleration: 50 mph 13.9 sec
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.6 gal
  • Engine Oil Capacity w/ Filter: 3.7 qt
  • Engine Oil Capacity w/o Filter: 3.2 qt
  • Manual Transmission Capacity: 3.7 qt
  • Windsheild Washer Capacity; 1.5 qt
  • MSRP (Campmobile): $8,570

Standard Features:
  • Four-wheel independent suspension
  • Front stabilizer
  • Steel belted radial tires
  • Power assisted brakes
  • Front vent windows
  • Dual outside mirrors
  • Padded dashboard
  • Electric fresh air ventilation
  • Auxiliary heater
  • Day/night inside rear view mirror
  • Walk-through aisle
  • Sliding side door
  • Rear window defogger

Optional Features
  • Air conditioner
  • Fog lamps
  • Bumper overriders
  • Trailer hitch
  • AM/FM/Radio/Tapeplayer
  • Roof carrier
  • Floor mats

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Wilson tailgates with Jimmy Buffett

Wilson tailgates with Jimmy BuffettWell, maybe not with Buffett directly, but we still had a good time. I drove the bus out to Toyota Park, in Bridgeview IL, to see a Jimmy Buffett show on 8/15/2009. We met some of Kate's cousins out there to tailgate in the parking lot. This was my first time seeing Jimmy Buffett. It wasn't a Dead show, but we still had a lot of fun wandering around. I didn't see any other VW bus, which kind of surprised me. I expected to to see at least one other Volkswagen somewhere in the lot.

The started off early by packing up Wilson with the gear I intended to use during the trip (chairs, cooler, food, etc). I also filled up the water tank, so we'd be ready in case we wanted to spend the night. Midway airport would be close by and the remote parking lot seemed like a possible destination if it got too late. A quick oil check and I was ready head out.

The plan was to leave a little more than two hours early, so we'd be able to take the back roads. It actually turned out to be a crappy drive. Too hot and too much traffic. We had to divert to the highway so we wouldn't be too late. It ended up taking about two hours and fifteen minutes before we made it.

I didn't plan on going in to see the show, but we picked up a couple tickets right before it started. I got down to the main floor with Cathy and a couple of her cousins. The rest had seats to the side of stage, up in the seats. After a few songs I decided I'd rather go back out to the VW and listen from the parking lot. It actually didn't sound too bad, plus I had a comfortable place to crash.

Unfortunately I missed seeing Joe Perry come onstage to play during Margaritaville. At least I could still hear him play. I laid back in the back, with the top up, just enjoying the cool breeze and music in the background. Eventually everyone found their way back to the bus after the show ended. We were stuck in the parking lot another hour or more until it finally clear out enough to leave. It was late, but we drove home to give one of Kate's cousins a ride.

I found this set list online. It's a lot longer than I remember...
  1. Lage Nom Ai
  2. Stars on the Water
  3. Summzercool
  4. It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere (w/Mac)
  5. Mañana
  6. Conky Tonkin’ (w/Nadirah)
  7. Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes
  8. Volcano
  9. Cheeseburger in Paradise
  10. Come Monday (The Beach Band)
  11. Son of a Son of a Sailor
  12. Brown Eyed Girl
  13. One Particular Harbour
  14. A Lot to Drink About (Acoustic)
  15. My Head Hurts, My Feet Stink and I Don’t Love Jesus (Ukulele version)
  16. Pencil Thin Mustache
  17. Grapefruit-Juicy Fruit (The Beach Band)
  18. Last Mango in Paris
  19. Home Again (Ilo Ferreira)
  20. Surfin’ in a Hurricane
  21. Southern Cross
  22. Gypsies in the Palace
  23. A Pirate Looks at Forty (Solo)
  24. Margaritaville (w/Joe Perry of Aerosmith)
  25. Fins
  26. Scarlet Begonias
  27. Yellow Submarine
  28. He Went to Paris (Solo)

Odometer: 144083

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Wilson grabs a bite at Bob Chinn's Crab House

Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling ILWhile looking at some old photos, I found this picture of me and my youngest son, taken at Bob Chinn's Crab House in Wheeling IL. It was taken around my birthday in 2007, about six months after I bought Wilson. You can also see Gato looking at us from her seat on the dashboard. We drove the old VW bus up to the famous seafood restaurant. My wife, my mom, my brother and his family joined us for dinner that day. About a year later, my son joined the Air Force and he is now stationed in Montana. It may be a while before I get to have dinner with him again, so it felt good to find this photo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Back to Blogger

Well, after less than three months, I'm moving back to Blogger. I've been tracking the web stats since moving to my own hosted Wordpress blog and I can't match the traffic Google drives to it's own Blogger service. It's probably double what I get on my own. I guess that's the benefit of of using Google's own product.

Oh well, Wordpress was nice while it lasted...

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Changing the Alternator Belt

During a recent drive, I noticed a strange humming noise coming from the engine compartment. I'd describe it almost like the humming of an electric motor. It was most noticeable sitting in the back, with my head leaning over the engine compartment. The problem was, as soon as I opened the lid, the noise from the engine was too loud for me to pinpoint the source of the humming. I received advice on how to identify the cause from the IAC web site. It could be a number of things, but to test the alternator belt, I just had to spray a little WD-40 on it.

I ran back to the bus, applied some WD-40 along the length of the belt, and fired up the engine. The noise was gone, so I ran back inside to order a new belt (068903137D) from the Bus Depot. To save on shipping, I tossed in a couple other items. Within a week, the package arrived and I was ready to change my first fan belt.

Although I have four different repair manuals, I couldn't find instructions with enough details to help me with this process. I found a few posts on TheSamba describing the process of replacing the belt, here's my interpretation (Thanks to Amskeptic for filling in the important details):
  1. Remove the three 10mm bolts that hold the fan cover.
  2. Remove the fan cover and timing scale (behind the fan cover).
  3. 3 = cover plate, 4 = 6mm alternator hex bolt
  4. Carefully pry the plastic alternator cover plate off by using a screwdriver at the top.
  5. Carefully loosen the 6mm hex bolt on the alternator. Do not remove the bolt or the back will fall off.
  6. 5 = 13mm alternator pivot bolt
  7. Loosen the 13mm pivot bolt on the alternator, accessible from under the bus, in line with the oil dipstick. It took me a while to find this bolt until I used a flashlight.
  8. To loosen the belt, move the alternator to the left, pushing by the 6mm hex bolt. I had to carefully use a large screwdriver to apply enough pressure.
  9. Remove the old belt.
  10. Install the new belt. I found it easier to start by placing the belt on the alternator, and then slipping over the air intake fan.
  11. Tighten the belt by moving the alternator back to the right. I had to carefully use a large screwdriver to apply enough pressure. The belt should have 9/16” movement when pushed in the middle with your thumb.
  12. Tighten the 6mm hex bolt to no more than 10 ft. lbs. Do not overtighten this bolt.
  13. Tighten the 13mm pivot on the alternator to 15-20 ft. lbs.
  14. Replace the alternator cover plate.
  15. Replace the timing scale and fan cover, and then tighten the three 10mm bolts that hold the cover. Do not over tighten them or the timing scale or fan cover could crack.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Wilson makes a stop at Santa's Village

Santa's VillageOn a trip out to see some family in the western suburbs of Chicago, a strange yet familiar sight caught our eye as we were driving down highway 25. It was the former home of Santa's Village (1959-2006) in Dundee. Where a magical place for the children of Illinois once stood, now a sad and abandoned park almost disappears into the nearby strip malls. The entrance was framed with giant candy canes and multi-colored mushrooms, along with a vintage sign pointing to the way in. We quickly hung a U-turn to take a closer look.

Wilson in a front row parking space at Santa's Village.We pulled into the empty lot and right up to the front gate leading to the "Three Worlds of Fun" (Coney Island, Old McDonald's Farm, and Santa's World). It really was a sad sight. The buildings were neglected and overgrown with weeds. A cold, steel fence surrounded most of the property. It certainly was not the visions I had of Santa's Village when I was a child. In its prime, it probably was not what I envisioned as a child, but it was far worse off now. We stuck around and took a few photographs before driving off.

Mushroom at Santa's Village

Within 5 minutes of driving away, Wilson started bucking and I could not get over 25mph. I pulled over and let the bus rest for about five minutes. The engine fired right up and Wilson drove smooth the rest of the way home. Maybe he was just a little bit sad like I was.

Odometer: 14370

Friday, July 3, 2009

Trip to the New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin

Wilson at the New Glarus Brewing CompanyYesterday my wife and I drove up to the New Glarus Brewing Company in Wisconsin. It’s was a nice, partly sunny, 70 degree day. It turned out to be perfect driving weather for the 100-mile trip up there. The brewery is in a small town, known as Little Switzerland, just southwest of Madison.

Shortly after we left, I noticed my gas gauge showed I was running on fumes. I freaked out thinking I was about to run out of gas, but then remembered that should still have a half a tank left. The needle was so far past empty that I realized it wasn’t working. Time to fill the tank and track the mileage (thanks Kate).

Orange Westy in Lake GenevaWe stopped at a gas station in Lake Geneva (WI) and noticed another Westy parked next door at a skateboard shop.

I love driving though the hills and back highways of Wisconsin. It’s especially pretty during the fall, while the leaves are changing, but spring and summer drives are nice too. It took about two hours or so to make the trip out there. The brewery sat on top of a hill, overlooking the farms and highway near by.

Wilson parked outside the New Glarus Brewing Company in WisconsinWe started with samples of a few New Glarus brews. They seem to prefer wheat beers, but I think my favorite was the Coffee Stout. Although I don't typically like fruity beers, I enjoyed their Belgian Red and we picked up a couple bottles to take home. Before leaving, I drove the bus around to the side for a couple picture. We were then off to spend a little time at a couple of the local pubs. I'm glad we came out during the week, because I have the feeling the town is full of tourists on the weekends.

A couple Ranaults parked on the side of the road.During the trip, what I thought was a yellow VW caught my eye. I stopped by on the way home, but it turned out to be an old Renault (a couple of them actually). They were parked on a lot, along with what could be considered a pile of junk or a treasure cove of priceless antiquities. My wife and I argued that point on the way home. I plan to spend a little time at that location the next time I'm in the area.

New Glarus, Wisconsin

This turned out to be a relaxing, enjoyable drive through southeast Wisconsin. Other than the gas gauge, the bus ran flawlessly. It was a great way to spend the day and I’m looking forward to my next trip up there.

Happy birthday Tuck!

Odometer: 143303

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Inspector Otto

Inspector OttoMy original VW engine tin has a white "I.O." stamped on the left side. Colin told me it's known as the Inspector Otto stamp. I guess most buses no longer have it for one reason or another, so it's rare to find. I enjoy finding out about these little bits of information and history on my bus.

This photo also shows the new foam engine surround seal that was installed last Friday.

Monday, June 8, 2009

On the Road Again (IAC 2009 Visit)

On the Road AgainWilson is back on the road. Colin stopped by last Friday morning to help me get the bus running again. We replaced the rubber and steel fuel lines, and fuel pump. That project seemed to consume the day. The double relay gave us problems, but thankfully Colin was able to fix it.  I'll have to pick up a replacement before I go on any long trips. During the fuel line effort, we snuck in a brake adjustment, installed engine foam seal, and properly attached the muffler. After a couple disappointing moments, Colin had Wilson running again. We did a quick check and adjustment of the timing and dwell. A test drive around the neighborhood and we were done. By 11:30pm we were reheating the chicken Kate made for dinner.

 Here's a little more info on the day...

Now I'm looking forward to Wilson's first camping trip of the year.