What its all about

What its all about

Monday, January 5, 2015

After a 4 year hiatus...  The bus runs once more.

I don't have any pictures, but last summer I spent a few days and re-assembled the front suspension.  The front ball joints had gone out, and I finally got around to having a local machine shop press them out and press in the new set.  Bus ball joints are a beast, as a bus is a 1 ton rated truck.  I use Jamie's Machine Shop off Bartlett street in Greensboro to do engine and mechanical work...  He does the heavy press work for Foreign Accents, so I carried them to him.
He's done the machine work for a few V8 engines for me in the past, and is a good guy in my book.

In the fall, I had a chance to pull the rear axle hubs off, and press out the old bearings.  I had Foreign Accents press in some new German wheel bearings, as while I've got access to a big press, I didn't have the right size sleeves to press them in.

Over the week of Christmas, I had some time off so I re-installed the transmission, engine, rear hubs, rear brakes and cv axles and fuel lines and filters.   

I made the mistake of replacing the shifter cage, while the transmission was out.  The aftermarket part wasn't wide enough to fit the rear shifter shaft through the opening, so I unbolted the engine and transmission from the chassis and slid everything back.  After installing the original part, and safety wiring the set screws back into place everything went together...  With the exception that the positive wire that runs to the dash board, pulled out of its crimp connection.  That required a new crimp ring. 

Once that was done, the starter solenoid clicked into place...  But, the old starter decided that it's time of service was over... A new one went on shortly there after.  

Sweetie Dog helped out, and before long the engine was back running...  After installing a new starter.  Luckily, most all the pieces and parts were still inside the bus.  Sweetie did have the chance to eat the speedometer cable, and one bump stop, but other than that she was a great help.

After priming the float bowl, and polishing the points with a dollar bill...  She fired up and came to life.

I'm waiting for a new brake reservoir to come in (Don't leave the seat out for 4 years... and let it sit in the sun... it cracked to pieces when I went to fill it...) and a few other small pieces before she'll be ready to take a jaunt around the block, hopefully this weekend!

The VW Bus

The VW bus as a daily driver.
Forget... forever onward what you consider the definition of transportation.

You are about to journey down the path of enlightenment, and learn the curious nature and language of a mechanical being. The Volkswagen is a peculiar beast, fed a steady diet of oil and gasoline it will move slowly from place to place.

Buses mark their spot. They pee on you when you least expect it. Like a foreign customs agent, it takes time to figure out where they want the grease. They take a little tweak here and there, when something not quite right they tell you if you listen.

When you hop behind the wheel of a bus you've got the best seat, as you'll soon experience she's a low flying slow air plane. Flying high enough off the ground to do an oil change, swap master cylinders, and cv joints without jack stands. Head and tail winds effect speed over ground, your steering wheel at speed is more for yaw, in the end she goes where she wants, or doesn't.

Buy her quality parts, or she'll spit them back at you. Your bus is half truck and half home; sometimes a magic carpet to distant places… other times a squatter. Wandering down the road with a smile on her face, the grins and thumbs up from those on the same path make her day. If you wish to show off your wrenching skills, she'll humble you. Trust her, lover her... and she'll be one happy camper.

You've got to love her deep down or she'll leave you stranded, half the battle is the will to keep her on the road. If you don't think she will, she'll know it... scratch her rattles, lube her squeaks. Never forget she’s an aging mistress; her joints aren't what they once were... if its cold it takes a little bit longer to get motivated. One day you will too.

You've had your fair warning. Spend your time cuddling and she'll fire up when you need her, but if you've got other projects you've got to give an offering. When she humbles you, give a prayer to the gods of speed and give the bus in question a shot of oil. Mostly problems come from not driving her, buses get sad… some more than others, and if you don’t drive them they question your love. Miles are the VW anti-depressant.

Give her a pat on the dash and thank her for the trip at the end of the day.