Most recent work: Interior Door Cleaning

Really haven’t had much time to work on the bus lately, just been driving here when the weather is nice. I still haven’t applied the epoxy primer I purchased two years ago and it’s probably wasted. I have kept it inside to keep it from the heat. So we’ll see if it made it or not.

I have started sanding down the passenger’s side some to get it down to the factory paint.

I did spend some quality time with her this weekend and made some decent progress on cleaning up the passenger’s interior side door. The door panels are shot so decided to remove it and clean the dirt and grime up. I removed and saved the protective plastic so I could use it as a template when the time comes. In trying to clean, I started using 409, then Purple Stuff, but found WD-40 and a brush to do the best. Then I hit it with some rubbing compound in some areas to finish cleaning.  I should have taken a before picture of the door as a whole, but you can tell the dirt and grime from the smaller shots.

1973 Volkswagen Bus Door Interior
1973 Volkswagen Bus Passenger Door Interior – Dirty
1973 Volkswagen Bus Passenger Door Interior Door Handle – Dirty

Next step will be to clean up the interior of the door and lubricate everything.

It’s been awhile…timing and tuning

I’ve been busy with life and haven’t had much time to work on the bus lately. I did have my coil go out on me, so ended up having to install a new one. During troubleshooting, went ahead and replaced the points and condenser also. I replaced them when I purchased the bus 7 years ago and really didn’t have very many miles on them, but replaced them anyway.

Good news was the points weren’t pitted.

Also, I recently was given a timing light so I decided now would be a great time to give it a shot. I’ve only set the timing statically and tweaked by ear previously so I was anxious to be able to nail the timing hoping to eliminate the slight hesitation I’ve had when shifting gears and starting from a standstill.

Was also given a tach/dwell meter but it didn’t work so well, so I ended up picking up a small tach to hook up in the engine compartment.

After doing some research and taking the advice of fellow bus owners, I decided the best way to time it would be with the vacuum hose disconnected, running at 2800-3000 RPM’s and set around 28 degrees BTDC.

I tried it and was really having some issues with it running. I would set it with the engine warmed up and then when cold, try to start it and the timing was off so bad I couldn’t get it to start. So I would set it statically to get it started again and then try it again. Then I decided maybe I needed to tweak the carb a little to try and get them both working together.

After further research and more advice, I decided to set it the same way BUT to run it at 3500 RPM’s instead. That was the trick. Timing was set at 28 degrees BTDC and was running much more like it should.

I’m running a Weber Progressive Carb and set the idle mixture screw 2 full turns out from the bottom and then set the idle speed screw 1 1/2 turns after the screw touches the stop lever. These were great instructions from the Weber website and is what I followed:

Carburetor Set Up and Lean Best Idle Adjustment

I then tweaked the carb just a little per the instructions and she seems to be running better than ever. Took her out for a spin and the hesitation is gone and ran smooth the entire time. Let her cool back down and then went back out to see how she would start when cold, and fired right up.

That’s it for now. Until next time…

Time to start working on the body

I took a day off from work yesterday for one of my boys field trip, and other errands, and had a few minutes to spare so I ran over to Palmetto Paint Specialties Inc. in North Charleston and Morris set me up with some epoxy primer. It’s been a LOONGGG time since I’ve done any auto painting, so things have changed quite a bit.

Told him I needed a primer that I could work on the bus a section at a time, do any glazing I needed to, and then could leave it until I get ready to spray it with paint. It stays in the garage and is not really exposed to the elements but still wanted a good quality. Told him it’s not a show vehicle, but still want to do it right. He hooked me up with PPG’s EPX-900 Epoxy Primer in beige and EPX-901 hardener. Still not totally convinced I’m going with the original Pastel White for the final paint, as we may go for a two tone job with vw orange below the beltline and then white above. But if we go with all Pastel White, the beige primer should be fine. I’ve seen several vehicles with the bege primer and it really looks nice. A good color to worth with doing the body work.

Really looking forward to sanding down the paint chips, getting rid of the surface rust and getting it one color.

Also, started looking into what to do to solve my sliding door track problem. It’s not THAT bad really, but would be nice to have it where it works nice and smooth. The problem is the bottom of the track has a three inch rust through on it, thus the door roller hits the dent and sinks.

All of the surrounding metal including the outer sill, inner rocker and everything looks good. Really hate that I will have to remove the good outer rocker sill to get the track replaced, but that’s the breaks.

I did find out today that a friend of mine has purchased the late model bus outer sill from Gerson at Klassic Fab. So I was glad to hear that as it has been very challenging to find VW Bus repair panels that are of good quality. Most I have found to be much thinner than the original and do not always fit correctly. Also, e-mailed Gerson to find out if I can purchase only the track from him instead of the entire inner rocker with the track. Hopefully, we’ll hear something soon.

You can check out my sliding door pictures:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+larrystoudenmire/albums/5664183264481223313

“I think I found the problem…”

Finally had some time to crawl under the bus and check things out. Started degreasing the area some and all of a sudden sparks are flying.

After getting the area cleaned up, a little more careful, I found that two of the wires had been rubbing together and were shorting out. So, wrapped a little electrical tape around it until I can address further, and see if that corrects the problem. I’ve driven around own a couple of weeks now, and it has started every time. Hopefully, that solves the problem.

Latest issue – No Start

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

I haven’t done too much lately, just been driving her around here and there. But over the past year, I’ve noticed a few times that when I turn the key, she wouldn’t start. Had power to everywhere – radio and lights work. Just no start. Turn the key off and the starter would kick in.

But not this time. I had just backed her out of the garage until the rest of the family came out to jump in and she would turn over, Tried it again  – no luck. Tried for another 10 minutes and nothing. I haven;t had time with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the SouthEast coast, and cutting grass and normal family responsibilities to check on the situation. But my first thoughts were that the ignition switch was going out. I had replaced it a few months after I purchased the bus and pulled the steering column, painted everything, fixed the horn, etc. It was a real pain changing out the switch and had heard a few rumors where other bus owners had to replace the new cheap made switches.

I really didn’t want to hafta go through that again.

Fast forward to yesterday, and my son and I were headed to the beach for some beach combing after the hurricane (in my other vehicle). And it dawned on me, he had asked me about a specific sound whenever I had tried to start it that day. I told him that it was the fuel pump.

HEY wait a minute, if we heard the fuel pump(which we did), that means that it is not the ignition switch, so it must be the starter solenoid or the starter.

So, a sigh of relief comes over me. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Frustration level is gone…at least for now. ;-)

Well, nothing but good news.

After discussing my issues with several Samba members, they insisted my problem was a vacuum leak problem. I couldn’t understand it, as I had replaced the distributor vacuum hose, made sure the base of the carb was flat, sealed the carb to the manifold, replaced the silicone boots.

Starting thinking about what had NOT changed over the course of the problem and the only think I could think of was the brake booster hose. So, I proceeded to remove the distributor vacuum hose and the brake booster hose and plug them. Low and behold the bus cranked and idled. Unbelievable. So I went back and reinstalled the distributor hose and it still idled. Reinstalled the brake booster hose and the problem arose again.

The brake booster hose is the only one in the engine compartment I hadn’t changed out yet and it was looking rough around the firewall. Replacement hose was a little difficult to find but found a local supplier for Gates Rubber – Power Brake Vacuum HosePart # 27233. It was 15/32″ and 3 feet long. Luckily they had two in stock as it takes 3 feet from the hard brake booster line into the engine compartment and connect to the check valve and then an extra foot to go to the carb. I also removed the check valve, cleaned it up and reinstalled, BUT TAKE NOTE. In this case, the Bentley manual is INCORRECT.

I’m not sure if the brake booster check valve is original, it appears to be but no guarantees. According to the Bentley, the arrow should face the brake booster. However, in this case, the check valve is clearly marked with the word “MOTOR” with an arrow. The arrow must face the carb. This allows air to flow towards the carb but not towards the brake booster, in case the engine were to backfire through the carb,it will stop the air flow and ruin the brake booster.

So, we are now on the road again and I have driven her around a little and she seems to be doing much, much better. I’m still working on tweaking the carb and need to adjust the choke some. Hope to do that a little more this weekend.

Retapping the head

After discovering the stripped 10mm stud, I had to search for another answer. I debated and debated and measured and remeasured on what to do. As much as I read, I kept hearing to stay away from a helicoil, as  helicoil is nothing but a spring really, and the heat from the head and engine can cause it to expand and contract, which is NOT what you want from a head stud.

So, it’s off to find another solution. After more and more reading, I decided to try a Time-sert kit. I didn’t really have anything to lose(except for about $75.00) but I wanted to avoid having to remove the engine and having the head repaired.

Here is a link to their metric kits: www.timesert.com/html/mtrcsert.html .

According to the Time-sert website, the Fastenal Company is supposed to carry the kits. However, after visiting the store and calling, they knew nothing about Time-sert or their kits.

So, off to the web I go.

I found a company called Mechanics Tools and Bits on Amazon that sold their kits. I placed my order for the TIME-SERT M10 X 1.25 Metric Thread Repair Kit 1012 and received the shipment in just a few days. Great Transaction. Then I discovered I ordered the wrong kit. I should have ordered the TIME-SERT M10 X 1.50 Metric Thread Repair Kit 1015. I contacted Neal Hillegass from the company and he gladly exchanged the product, no questions asked. Of course, I had to cover the shipping, but there was a price difference  and he’s response “just send it back” and we’ll take care of it.

A couple more days and I had the correct kit. However, I ordered the 14.0mm inserts as that’s what it appeared I needed based on the stud. But after getting the kit, I realized the next size – 17.0mm -would be better suited for the job. Luckily, the inserts are relatively inexpensive, so I contacted Neal again and purchased the 5 of the 17.0mm( a few extra just for future usage if needed, hopefully not) for less than $10.00.

Got everything I needed now to start the job and there was nothing to it. Had it installed in about an hour. First, you drill out the hole, retap it for the insert, use another included specialized drill bit for cutting a small circle around the hole to flush mount the insert, then another tool to install the insert.

And that’s it. the stud is installed, torqued at 13 lbs/in and is not going anywhere. It actually feels more snug with no wiggle than the 10mm studs I had to retap on the other side. The intakes are installed and everything seems snug and secure.

Really getting frustrated…

After ordering and installing the new intake gaskets and silicone boots, I still have a leak and the carb is still acting the same…will start every time, but will not idle.

While installing the intake, I was able to torque all of the intake nuts to 13 lbs on each of the new ones and the old ones except for one. One of the old ones started feeling like it was pulling the stud out and the aluminum gasket looked crumbled.

So I loosened up the drivers side boots and removed the drivers side intake…to find that the one stud that wouldn’t tighten partially coming out. Also discovered hardly any threads are holding it in AND it was a step stud meaning someone before myself had done some work on it. Some mechanic really did a bad job on this engine.

I took the step stud out and cleaned the threads with a die and ran a tap in the hole just to clean any leftover metal.

Then I cleaned all the parts with alcohol to remove any grease and applied some Loctite Red Threadlocker stick, reinserted the stud and tightened it down as much as possible without stripping. Not much thread in the top of the hole but hopefully enough in the bottom for it to hold. I would drill it out and retap, but it has already been drilled out to accept the 10 mm stud. So I would have to go up another size. Going to let it sit overnight and then we’ll try and reinstall the manifold to see if we can get a good seal.

Then I’ll have to address the carb issue. I may try to pick up a spare Weber from someone just to have for troubleshooting. Hate to spend to much on it, as I have the original duals but haven’t had the time to rebuild the second one yet.

Need some parts

Started looking today for the needed aluminum intake manifold gaskets (021-129-707D-4) and silicone intake boots (113129729BSI). I had ordered intake boots recently but they were black and from what I understand the black boots are made of urethane and not silicone. Therefore, are not as heat resistant as the silicone. So, my search for the best price and shipping begins.

It’s been a busy summer…but not on the bus.

Finally have made some progress…at least I hope so. Past couple of weekends I’ve had a friend over to help me with retapping the intake holes on the heads for the new studs. Finished installing them today, and also reinserted another stud where the previous owner was using a bolt. So, we’ll give it 24 hours or so and then we’ll reinstall the intake …very carefully. And hope for the best.

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