Author Topic: How are the Bay projects coming along?  (Read 8335 times)

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Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #30 on: April 03, 2014, 08:44:28 AM »
Fantastic !! Make sure you throw $40 bucks of chevron 94 in and run it for awhile before goin threw Aircare . I had my 69 engine totally rebuilt , mechanic took it threw Aircare and failed , he threw $40 of 94 in , went back and it passed ???? Wtf really !!!!! Sounds like ur well on ur way , good luck :)
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Offline LateBaySteve

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2014, 09:55:01 PM »
Don't wanna clog this up too much, but I just gotta say that I am really enjoying George's stories. As much as I appreciate all you "air-cooled since '91" (or earlier) type dudes, and all that I've learned from you,  It's refreshing to hear from an ordinary hobby-mechanic cutting his teeth on VW's like myself. Even though I've had my bus for 10 years, I've still got a lot to learn. Coming from the 60's Ford community (which is less than inviting to novices) I guess I've remained a little intimidated.
Ironically, I've never found type 4 spark plugs difficult to change even though John Muir describes them as being "At an angle that will seem crazy to you...It's not a big angle (10 to 15 degrees) but just enough to drive you crazy getting them in" (yes I'm one of those novices that still reads the "idiot book"). But I have had similar experiences: It took me two weeks to replace my front beam!
Anyways, great reading and thanks to you all, new and old.
'71 Double cab project
'77 Bus camper project
'73 Bus Adventurewagen for parts "Nelly" Soon gone
'78 Bus hacked panel for parts "Ohm" Soon gone
'69 Type 3 Fastback "Rusty" SOLD
'01 Jetta VR6
'02 Golf TDI (wife's)
'67 Mercury Cougar driver. My 1st car

Offline LateBaySteve

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2014, 10:36:42 PM »
Okay, here's where I'm at with my baywindow project:
I have a '73 Adventurewagen that I've had for 10 years. Art from AVR in Abbotsford built me a 2055 and trans for it, and I have replaced/upgraded most of the mechanical and interior over the years. The problem is that it has rust, and front and rear body damage that prevents me from operating the cold air intake, and more importantly, closing the engine lid. So I've been on the lookout for a donor body. I bought a '78 body that is much better, but not perfect rust wise, and it was a panelvan so I'll have to weld in window frames. I'm on the fence as to wether it is worth it to swap my components into said van, or continue the search for a better body. So that's where I'm at.
My '73 driver is still a driver, apart from some brake lines that I have to sort out this spring.
I first bought my bus to live in while freelance mushroom picking and treeplanting and still look at it from a utilitarian point of view. I have no interest in building a show car, but I do apreciate "stock" and German parts.
I still don't fully understand why most of you seem to like to lower your vehicles (especially buses), but I am firm in my belief that "each to his own" and I don't look down upon anyone in the hobby.
I used to shop at airspeed, and have so much appreciation and respect for Geoff, and those of you who keep the local ACVW scene going.
Thanks.
'71 Double cab project
'77 Bus camper project
'73 Bus Adventurewagen for parts "Nelly" Soon gone
'78 Bus hacked panel for parts "Ohm" Soon gone
'69 Type 3 Fastback "Rusty" SOLD
'01 Jetta VR6
'02 Golf TDI (wife's)
'67 Mercury Cougar driver. My 1st car

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #33 on: April 06, 2014, 10:16:24 PM »
Ok.......I was all ready for the rest of the tune up on the orange bus.  One thing peculiar about this 1975 bus was that the PO told us it was a 1975 but had a 2000cc 1979 engine installed.   At that point, early in our Bus-Lives, who were we to question?   However, in reading the Bentley manual, it says ignition timing on the "1975 cars and 1979 and later Calif. cars" is 5 degrees AFTER TDC, set with vacuum hoses attached (I assume they mean to the vacuum advance canister on the side of the distributer).   But then it says "1976  and later -- except 1979 and later Calif. cars" is 7.5 degrees BEFORE TDC, set with vacuum hoses attached.   

So here I went, assuming it was a 1979 2000cc engine and therefor would want 5 degrees AFTER TDC.   First, I would change the points and condenser and if it looked burned/pitted, I had a nice new distributor cap and rotor too.   So I pop off the distributor caps with the two spring clips and that part was super-easy.   I look inside with anticipation to see how the points look.   I pull out the rotor (easy) and........and...........where are the points????  I'd read the instructions several times, saw lots of pictures but nothing inside this thing looked like points to me.   Instead there's a thick black round thing in the middle and what looked like a little black plastic box where the points should be.   Two wires came out of that little black box and went to the coil........except.........except, where was the condenser?   What the heck had I been reading all these past nights?   This was nothing like I expected.   The little black plastic box had some writing on it so being 53 and my eyes are crap these days, I did my favourite trick of taking a photo with my phone and then blew it up to read it.   Pertronix.   Heyyyy......I remember reading something about that. 



So I went back in the house and while'd away another coffee and some significant time reading about it and figuring out which one I had.   Turns out it is the Pertronix 1847.  So no points and no need for a condenser.   Cool.   But not as fun as replacing the points which I was actually looking forward to.   Since there was a lot of scoring and pitting and black burned marks on the metal parts in the distributor cap, I went ahead and changed the cap and rotor.   I test-started the bus to make sure she still fired up ok.   I was certain that she already sounded better and smoother.  Ok...............now to try my new toy of the strobe timing light.   

So.....lessee...............it's a 1979 engine so I needed to set for 5 degrees after TDC, which I assumed (and still do) that means it was approx where the 5 would be to the right of the zero on the timing scale bolted to the engine in the usual place.   I would make a white mark on the flywheel (the fan thingie) where the notch was so I could easily see it.    First off, freaking hard finding that notch was but after some reading and looking, I did find it.    Fire up the engine and the timing light running off sparkplug #1 wire and Holy crap, it was no where near 5 degrees after TDC and was more like 12 degrees Before TDC on that scale (wildly assuming that zero on that scale is TDC).    I did the fun thing of loosening the bolt that holds the whole distributor section in place and started to turn it as per instructions and with engine running (idle) and timing light a-strobing away, I moved the notch area more to the right on the scale, towards the zero with the plan to move it over to the 5 degrees after TDC but long before I got it over there, the engine was running so slowly, it was threatening to simply stop.  The only way to get it's speed back up was to spin the distributor back the other way.  It seemed happiest around 8 degrees before TDC but I worried that made no sense and did not want to burn out my valves or something over time if the explosions were happening with valves not fully closed or something.   

One article I read was if I removed the vacuum hose from the vacuum advance thingie, it could well swing over to 8-12 degrees Before TDC so I wondered what would happen when I pulled off that hose.   Well, nothing happened.  No difference at all.  Makes me wonder if the vacuum advance piece even works anymore?    Anyways, with lots of tweaking the the distributor around we finally got it running not too bad (engine warmed up by then) with a couple degrees After TDC on that scale but it did not sound really strong.   Let the engine cool for an hour or two and started it up again.  It started fine but it ran really really slow on idle and very slowly sped up as it warmed up.    I gotta figure that is not set correctly yet.   I did not take it for a test drive yet to see how power has been affected. 

Part of this process also had me questioning if that really was a 2000 cc 1979 engine.    On the thick engine tin that houses the fan/flywheel is the engine code number and it starts with  "ED xxxxxxxx"   So.........isn't that a 1800 cc engine from 1975?  Did that guy lie to me?   Either way, according to Bentley, the 1975 1800 cc engine also gets set to 5 degrees after TDC.   

But it was dark and I was getting hungry so the next excerpt will have to the next sunny, non-work day.....

I'll post pictures......once I figure out how to do that.   Copying and pasting or dragging apparently is not how to bring in pictures.  I'm sure someone will give me a hint.
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Offline BUSDADDY

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2014, 07:04:53 AM »
PM sent ;)
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Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2014, 08:56:51 AM »
Dude we gotta hang out , that's funny !!!
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #36 on: April 07, 2014, 08:38:07 PM »
Ok, so I've learned a few more useful facts about the orange bus, yellow bus and white bus.   The orange bus is the one I'm working the most on right now as per my previous posts.   The question I had on my last update was what exact engine does that 1975 bus have?   With help from a couple other members of our site, I finally now understand where the super-secret (to me, anyway) location of the engine code on the actual engine as opposed to the potentially misleading number on the rear engine tin.  It was mentioned to me that people have been known to swap engines and keep the engine tin that was original to the bus.   So the engine code on the actual engine itself on my era of buses (75-79, possibly other years as well?) is on the top rear between the oil breather "stack" and the tin shroud just above the cooling fan.   It's back there.  You cannot see it from the rear engine hatch.    You cannot see it from the top engine hatch.  You need someone with a smallish head and very good close-up vision (not someone 53 like me!) to put their head deep into the rear engine hatch (you'll want to make sure the engine is off.....) and put their nose/eyes right over that spot, looking straight down with a flashlight. 

And that's how we got ours: my teenage daughter, absolutely thrilled to be helping her dad work on our buses with this important task, going deep into the engine bay and calling out the numbers to me.    So now I know EXACTLY what I have, for the first time:

Orange Bus:   Engine code on tin shroud "ED" but on engine itself is "GD".   VIN starts with 235.   So yep, it's a 1975 with a 2000cc engine replaced into it with likely keeping the original tin shroud from from the original 1800cc engine. 

Yellow Bus:   Engine code on tin shroud "ED" and on engine itself is "ED".  VIN starts with 235.   So all is likely original: 1975 bus with expected 1800cc engine.

White Bus:  Engine code on tin shroud "GD" and on engine itself is "GD".   VIN starts with 238.   So.....this one was the surprise.  Advertised and sold as a 1975, it's clearly a 1978 with the appropriate 2000cc engine.  Coooool........   

So now that I know for sure what engine I have in the orange bus, I will once again tackle setting the timing correctly when I get a day off and some sunshine to work in.   

Meanwhile, I'm very happy to finally know for pretty certain what I have in each bus.   One day I'll write an outline of all the mods that PO's have done to each bus to disable various vacuum-driven devices (EEG, Decel Valve, EGR, charcoal filter, etc, etc) and how each one appears to be done (some interesting re-runs of vacuum hoses, etc).    Makes diagnosing issues especially interesting......

-George
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #37 on: April 08, 2014, 07:59:36 AM »
Howdy Westy69.   The KMS 3 hour MIG welding course I got from here:  http://www.kmstools.com/classes-and-gift-cards-29000000/     It's in the big Coquitlam KMS store and I tried to get in the morning class but they wrote me back and said it was booked up so I moved to the afternoon class but I fear it's now full too.  I think they said they could just get me in if I got back to them quickly (although, that could have been a sales pitch too, I suppose).   

-George
Learning from my mistakes I'm clearly going to be a genius one day!

Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #38 on: April 08, 2014, 08:17:53 AM »
Howdy George ;) thanxs for the link , that could have been fun , so Plan B is to see how much of a pro you turn into after and see what you can do ;) then as most guys here are experts at welding and will probably say , nooooooooooo , you can teach me !!!:D
But hey if you ever need a house or shop built to house ur welding projects , no problemo :))

Keep us posted

Cheers Jerry
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #39 on: April 09, 2014, 10:08:00 PM »
And...................setting the timing to around 7 or 8 degrees BTDC (at idle) did the trick.   Passed AirCare at approximately 4:55pm today!  Sooooo happppy!!!!!     The orange bus is mechanically sound and back on the road but still looking pretty battle-scarred on the driver's side (and I mean bumper to bumper on that side is battle-scarred) until I can get the bodywork done.   Meanwhile, my daughter has wheels again so she's happy too!   

The bizarre thing that happened though (and really, nothing surprises me anymore), is as I was tightening the bolt that holds the distributor in place (i.e. to stop it from turning on it's own after the adjustments were complete), I inadvertently hit the fan that forces air for the heating system (the one attached to the top of the engine bay with the two air pipes coming out of it) and it fell onto the top of the engine.   How the heck did that happen?   At first glance it looks like three bolts hold it up there but that may have been some previous mod made by someone but I'm looking at it and cannot for the life of me see how the bolts held it up there.   So, bring in my better set of eyes, my daughter and she looks at it and says "I think it was glued up there....."   Sure enough, that's what it was and me jostling it made the glue binding give away and down it came.   I'll compare it to one of the other buses later and figure out how to fix it properly but meanwhile I was running out of time to get to AirCare so I zip-tied it back up there.   

Everything went fairly smoothly at the AirCare inspection station.   The only moment of confusion was when the tech got out of the car at the end and asked me "Why do you have a bungee cord attached to your brake pedal?"........

Yep,  I'll admit there has been the odd case of me applying a very quick fix until I get a chance later to do a proper one.  What can I say?   Just keep it going.   

Good night for now.

-George

 
Learning from my mistakes I'm clearly going to be a genius one day!

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #40 on: April 21, 2014, 08:30:37 AM »
A little work on the 1978 white bus this weekend.   This bus arrived via flatbed several months ago (from Squamish) as it had not run for over a year for the PO.   Someone from some VW club had been working on it with them periodically and I can see clues of the work he did as he went through a plan of figuring out why it was not starting.  But they never finished as the owner just gave in to frustration.   

After a cursory look around the engine bay and most everything looking like it should, and looking inside the distributor (Pertronix "points', just like the 1975 Orange bus), I figured I'd give it a turn over and see what it all sounded like. 

However, with a fully charged battery (and even replacing that battery with a spare good battery), the engine cranked over really really slowly, like it was a huge struggle, barely turning over.   Exactly what I would expect to hear from a near-dead battery but since I used two that were both in good condition and fully charged, it could not be battery.   I'd guess it was turning over less than 1/4 of the speed of what I would expect and sounding like it would just stop turning at any second.   I would imagine there are not a lot of common things that would cause this.   

My #1 guess from reading lots last night is that there is a main ground strap that is rusted/corroded that is not allowing the maximum current to flow to the starter.   Next I will check the voltage at the starter itself as my helper turns the engine over to see how it measures as well as cleaning up all the heavy ground strap connectors (the main one off the battery, the one from transmission to body, etc).    I would have loved to get to that step yesterday but my bus work is out in the open on my driveway and the rain started coming down a lot right in the middle of this diagnosis.   

I will write more when I get to the next steps.   In the meantime I did make myself a little happier with getting the old cassette stereo and Grundig equalizer going as the PO had it wired incorrectly (but the main problem was a broken wire).  Certainly not the highest priority or the most urgent thing needing to be done but now at least I can have tunes when working on that bus!   Just having music playing in a bus when I'm working on it makes it seem like it's got life and just needs a bit more work to get on the road......

-George
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #41 on: April 28, 2014, 09:11:00 AM »
So made progress on the orange 1975 and the white 1978 buses this sunny weekend.   Never the speed of progress I plan, but progress nonetheless.

I decided this weekend would be a good day to tackle replacing the orange bus's drivers side door as the first step of doing the bodywork needed after my daughter's accident a couple months ago.  As mentioned earlier, the entire bottom 1/4 of the bus on the driver's side from bumper to bumper is badly dented in/torn/squished/missing with the door and the back of the wheel well in the worst condition.   The window would never go down again.   I had managed to acquire two driver's side doors over the past two months, both in fair-to-rough condition (one was missing some or much of the window crank assembly, missing window trim, lock/latch frozen, missing inside door panel, etc and the other door had minor damage but the hinges look like they were pretty much pried/torn from the body of the donor bus so the body part of the hinges were still attached and would have to come off).    Both doors, given time and effort are quite salvageable.   

So, first was to remove the damaged door from my orange bus.   Looked simple enough: 4 hex-head bolts for the two hinges and a metal pin with a c-clip on the bottom for the mechanism that stops the door from opening too far and dampens it's movement overall.    The metal pin and c-clip came off perfectly.  Into the plastic bucket for cleaning before putting it all back together.  Now the hex-head bolts on the hinges.   So yeah.........just like I always fear, frozen in place, and in severe danger of suddenly stripping the hex-insert part as I put dangerously high torque into trying to unseize them.   They were painted over so nowhere to put in penetrating oil.   So........out comes the propane torch.   Let me tell you, those hinges are bolted on to a very thick, substantial hunk of metal (for obvious reasons) which, of course, acts wonderfully like a giant heat sink.    After going at the top hinge for a good 10 minutes or so, there was no give, no change.    So I went at the bottom hinge: anything to get at least one bolt loosened so I would have at least the theoretical hope that they could actually be taken out before I stripped the heads and had a real major problem on my hands.   

10 minutes later and try again on the bottom hinge.  Not a freaking hint of any give at all.  I could see minor denting in the hex head of the bolts, so I knew I was courting very close to stripping them.   I felt I just was not getting it hot enough with the torch.  So......out comes the propylene cylinder (burns hotter than just propane) and I go at it again.   This time I used a little physics in my head:

1.  I wondered how much side-stress is on those bolts with the door hanging off of them.  I wanted as little friction as possible so I put a bottle jack on 3 pieces of 2x6" boards and jacked it up under the fully-swung-open door until it met the bottom of th door.  Just a wee bit more to take some of the weight off the hinges but not so much that it would start putting strain on those threads in the other direction.   

2. I figured I want the outside threads of where the bolts screw in to expand with the heat more than the bolts themselves so tackling the top hinge, I concentrated the very tip of the blue flame on the metal all around the bolt and as much as I could on the backing metal where the bolt threads actually screw into.   It was darned hot this time.   Not a trace of paint or burnt grease as the metal was getting nice and clean as I burned everything off in the process.   Then, with it still super hot, work gloves on, I gave the giant allen key a strong pull and YES, it gave that wonderful little "snap" feeling as it broke the bond and the bolt turned.  I gave it another 1/2 turn to make sure and tackled the 2nd bolt on the top hinge.    Slowly I worked my way through all four bolts, doing the exact same process, spending a good 4 - 5 minutes per bolt with the hot tip of the torch flame.   

Happy days, the door finally came off.  From start to finish it only took me.......a good 90 minutes to do what I'd hoped would be an under 10 minute job.   And the bolts were still in very good condition and other than the paint on the hinges themselves, everything was nicely intact.   

The best spare door I had was a completely different colour but was pretty  much completely intact.  However, now as I looked closer at it, I had a much great appreciation for what had happened to it's hinges.   Whoever had taken it off had faced similar challenges (and maybe worse) than I had.   Remember that this door still had the hinges (bolts) attached to the heavy metal side that used to be welded to the frame of it's donor bus.   Those metal mounts clearly had been pried/broken off, likely with a giant crow bar or pry bar.    And now I understood why.   All four hex head bolts were no longer hex heads.....they were round heads.   Any sign of the original hex pattern for my allen key to go into was long-gone.  Damn.   Ok, so now what?   I could use my 3" air-powered cuttoff wheel to try and cut them off.....and I'll admit, I did try that for a few minutes but that metal is THICK and there was just no way it was going to come off like that, especially trying to save the door-side of the actual hinge itself.   10 minutes of cutting away got me..........nowhere fast.   

I then brought out my trusty old but little dremel tool and put a small cutting disk on it and cut new slots into the hex heads so I could use my largest standard, slotted screwdriver to get a way to try and turn them.    I then gave them the same propylene torch treatment but with the home-made slots, a screwdriver that does not have the torque of a 6" long allen key, none of them were moving.   I then tried the ridiculous attempt at grabbing the screwdriver from the side with my largest vice-grips and using that to provide torque to the screwdriver..........and for the first time of owning that particular screwdriver for over 20 years, I could see I was actually bending the blade of it's slot-head.   Well.....crap.   At least my dremel-cut slots held up.   So then I started drilling out the bolts.   I've never had to do that before but I understood the concept.   Well, I did get through the bolts with a couple of smaller bits but as I got to the larger ones, I was just not able to get enough cut away to get those bolts out.    I stopped to think a while.   

Maybe it was time for Plan #2: use the other spare door that's missing major parts of it's door including the window lift mechanism.   Since we were going to junk the original door off the orange bus that was now removed, I had my daughter tackle removing the entire inside panel off the door and then the vapour barrier.  My idea was I could take out the parts I needed from that door to fix the 2nd spare door, which had good hinges, ready to go.   

I'll try a lot of stuff but I gotta say, that window mechanism scares me.  You cannot see most of it due to the large pieces of welded-in structural metal on the inside side of the door and I decided it was quite possible I was not going to be able to figure it all out and very likely spend hours trying to get it put together only to find I did not do it properly and the window would no longer work at all.   Sigh.   I stood there and stared at the original door laying on the ground, panel and vapour barrier removed and I started thinking: what do I have to lose?  I can see much of the inside part of the smashed in bottom half now.   So, being the expert body-work guy I plan to become one day, I went and got my 10 pound sledgehammer.  Not that I needed a giant sledghammer, but other than some small body-repair hammers, it was all I had that would ever have a hope of moving all that metal.  I started hitting it in the worse places from the inside-side as it laid on my lawn.....as gently as I could considering how much damage that size of a hammer could do......

15-20 minutes later, using the sledgehammer, some wood, my smaller body-work hammer and a lot of flipping the door over to see the progress and I'd hammered it  more or less back into shape.   Sure, it looked like a dimpled, pockmarked nightmare but it was at least close enough that I could likely have a decent chance of finishing it with body-filler to smooth it all out.   So, we put the door back on, pre-oiling those hinge bolts and then doing them up plenty tight.   On first try, miracle from the heavens above, the door closed and latched.  The handle properly unlatched.  Over and over again, without fail.  The window slid up and down (had to do a little more small-hammer work on the structural parts inside the door to get that as smooth as possible).    For fun, I went at it for a while with my circular, orbital air palm sander to at least make it look like all that damage was more or less on purpose to move towards ultimate repair.   

You may be asking yourself why did I not just plan to fix the original door in the first place instead of getting those other doors and doing all that work?   Well, I firstly thought that original door was so damaged and bent, I'd never get it proper again.   Secondly, I thought one of the spare doors would simply go on without a ton of work and all I'd need to do is minor tweaks and repaint.    But there's always something else that you don't see at first with our little 40 year old vehicles and as you get into it, the work effort changes and decisions have to change to follow different routes.   

I will post pictures tonight and write the update on the 1978 white bus.   
Learning from my mistakes I'm clearly going to be a genius one day!

Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #42 on: April 28, 2014, 09:59:17 AM »
Wow !!!! That sounds like an epic weekend !!!! To bad you weren't closer , I would have just given you a set of doors from a 77 here ;) hehe
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #43 on: April 28, 2014, 12:12:58 PM »
Hi Westy69.   Yeah but then my story would have been written with the entire last 7 - 8 paragraphs replaced with:

"Got a door from that great Westy69 guy and popped it on and we are on the road again".   

I've resigned myself to the fact that my little hobby will never go that easy. 

Good times!

-George
Learning from my mistakes I'm clearly going to be a genius one day!

Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #44 on: April 28, 2014, 03:13:45 PM »
Hahaha , well one of two things , you would be done that project sooner and the other is your story is way more interesting to read ;)

I'm goin with the story , kept me laughing and understanding the struggle as I have been there done that  ;) good on yah man !!
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2014, 08:31:55 PM »
Ok here are the pictures I said I would post this evening of the orange 1975 bus fun yesterday removing and reinstalling the accident-damaged door.   You can read the previous long post of that fun.

Picture one is getting the weight off the hinges.
Picture two is my poor hinges heated to a crisp to get the bolts unstuck.
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2014, 08:35:47 PM »
More on the orange 1975 bus door removal/re-attachment

Picture 1 is the door finally off!
Picture 2 is cutting new slots into the stripped hex bolts with a dremel
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2014, 09:17:47 PM »
Ok so lets move on to yesterday's adventure with the white 1978 bus.  Again, I brought this to Langley on a flatbed from Squamish where it had not run for well over a year (18 months now) and the PO had someone from some VW club helping them out some weekends working on getting it going.  I've seen many traces of his repairs including (thankfully) all new fuel lines and various other new parts.   

Other than getting the stereo going (can't fix things without music), the only thing I knew from cursory looking at the engine and inside the distributer cap, etc, was that even with a fully charged battery with cleaned terminals, when I went to turn the engine over, it was incredibly slow, like what an engine sounds like just before the battery completely dies, making a small chug sound every few seconds as it barely (and I mean barely) turned over.   Far, far slower than any other bus I'd heard.   I had tried a 2nd battery but same results exactly.   And zero sounds of life from the engine other than the almost-dead cranking.   

As I wrote previously, my plan was to go after a couple of the questionable ground points and I'd also check the positive voltage connections on the solenoid attached to the starter itself.  Open to the elements they usually look like corroded, rusted, green, black, brittle and questionable under most buses I've worked on (all three of them.....ha ha).   Two were heavy current ground returns and one was the ground for the bundle of wires that run overtop of the engine and go to the ECU.  That ground is one or two wires bolted right to the top of the engine block.    I located them and cleaned them first with electric contact cleaner.  They were plenty gummed up with dirt and oily muck.  (see pictures below)  I knew the connectors and terminals on the battery were already bright and clean as I'd done that a few weeks ago.   The ground wire from the battery and bolted to the body looked clean and solid and not mucked up or corroded so I decided to just leave that be as it's tricky getting at it with that giant bundle of wires to the ECU stiffly right in front of it.   

So under the bus I went to look at the solenoid connections.   I sprayed them with penetrating oil and loosened off the two nuts that hold on the main current-carrying positive wires (one from the battery and one to the starter, both located on the solenoid end).   I took them apart, cleaned them off, liberally sprayed them with electrical contact cleaner and then put them wire connectors and nuts back on and just as they started to tighten, I moved them back and forth to extra-wipe the connection metal-on-metal and then I did up the nuts good and tight.   (See pictures below)

Lastly I located the thick ground wire from the transmission housing to the frame of the bus.    Its near the nose cone of the transmission and I took pictures but I'm not sure they help much with showing how to locate this important ground strap but at least you can see what it looks like.   Again, I sprayed with penetrating oil, got the bolts on each end loosened off, cleaned them off, sprayed them like crazy with electrical contact cleaner and as I got them starting to tighten up, I wiggled them back and forth a bunch, cleaning off a better connection and then tightened them down.   

Now the moment of truth.   Did one of those things work (It dawned on me that second that I should have tried the starter after each fix to see which one, if any, made a difference).   But I heard two things when I turned that key.   First I heard the engine cranking over, nice and strong, nice and fast, just like the other buses sound.   And that brings me to the 2nd sound.  The sound of no signs of happy cylinders firing away at all.   Like not a single puff or belch.  Just the engine happily spinning over and over driven 100% by just the starter motor.    But I was very happy.   I was certain whatever else wrong with the bus, that slow cranking it had when I got it there was no way it was going to start.   So now all I have to do is figure out is it electrical or fuel related?   I kinda go my own way at this point.   I know there are lots of fun, logical steps to take to start to figure this out but I like to leap ahead and just see whats up in the grander scheme.   So I pop open the air cleaner box and spray quick-start right into the opening that goes into the throttle area (i.e. I don't spray it into the air cleaner itself).  Quickly close up the air cleaner box with it's little clips and hop I into the drivers seat, quickly glancing at the fire extinguisher behind the seat and wondering how my house insurance would work if that bus went up in flames 6' from the side of the house.  No matter..........let's see what happens!   So I turn the key and with a wary eye looking in the rear view mirror for smoke or flames, it starts its happy cranking.    Now I'm not a super-religious guy but I swear I heard the angels singing as the engine roared to life for a good 3 - 4 seconds until the fumes from the quick-start ran out.   Happy, happy day!   

So I figure that tells me several things:  The timing is probably more or less ok or close enough.   The spark plugs are all firing ok.  The fuel injectors are working.   What it also tells me is very likely no gas going to the engine.   For fun and I'll admit just the joy of hearing that engine run even for a few seconds after a year or two of not working at all, I did the quick-start spray into the air cleaner box again and it ran again for a few seconds.    So now I start to check the fuel supply system: filter, pump, hoses, and whatever else I need to get into.  The good news, I think, is that it's 100% getting no fuel so that seems to be easier to diagnose than those intermittent/rough/stalling problems that happen time to time.   I'll keep in touch as I work through this.  Meanwhile, here are few pictures.   

Picture 1 is the two (or three) ground wires coming from that bundle of wires across the top of the engine from the ECU.   Not the easiest place to see them or get to them.   Picture 2 shows with an arrow where they are on the engine, under the various hoses.
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2014, 09:23:02 PM »
Continued pictures of the repair process of my white 1978 bus.

Picture 1 shows the two main positive voltage connectors on the solenoid that carry most of the current for supplying the starter.
Picture 2 shows (poorly) the ground strap that comes from the transmission housing to the chassis of the bus.  This picture is the bolt on the chassis end.  The ground strap is that wide/thin piece coming out from the bolt and wrapped in old rubber.  You can sort of see how it goes up towards the transmission housing above.
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2014, 09:25:23 PM »
My white 1978 bus repair progress.  Final picture for today.

Picture 1 is a really difficult to discern picture of the heavy ground strap going from the transmission housing to the chassis.  This picture is the bolted end of the strap to the transmission housing.
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #50 on: April 29, 2014, 10:57:45 AM »
Ok I hate sounding like a greenhorn on this stuff so I will correct my story specifics of the orange 1975 bus doors (earlier post above).    The bolts that hold on the bay doors are actually "hex socket head bolts" and not the "hex head bolts" I referred to them as.   Hex socket head bolts have the hexagonal socket IN the head and require a hexagonal driver such as an Allen Key (aka a hex key) to turn them whereas hex head bolts are a more typical bolt head that the hexagonal shape is around the outside of the head and you use crescent wrenches, adjustable wrenches, socket sets, etc to turn them.   

Ta-da!

-George

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Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #51 on: April 29, 2014, 07:24:00 PM »
So you did it !!! You managed go greenhorn ur way from newbie to semi pro !!!way to go George , when I'm over next , a visit I think is in order :)
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #52 on: April 30, 2014, 06:29:43 AM »
Hey Westy69, absolutely.   When the sun is shining I'm usually out there playing with the buses and the coffee is always on.   

You almost missed the opportunity of seeing the white 1978 bus though as last night I decided I was getting suspicious of any fuel being in the tank whatsoever.   This is the bus that now cranks over nice and fast but zero signs of firing anything.   Spraying quickstart into the air box gets her going for 3 - 4 seconds.    So I figure no gas getting to engine.    The fuel gauge says empty but who knows if it's correct or dead.   So I put in a gallon of gas yesterday.   I checked under the rear right tire area to ensure it was not pouring out from some bad connection in the filler sections.   

I jumped into the drivers seat, wondering if it would be that simple now that I had the grounding problem resolved.   Well, after 3 successive 6 second bursts of turning the engine over with the ignition key, there was still zero response that would give me any hints of fuel to the engine.   I get out of the bus and........

OH BOY:  a 2 foot wide puddle of gas under the left rear tire, right below where the fuel pump/filter would be......and widening fast.  I look underneath.   The ignition key is off (out, actually) and there is a steady stream of gas literally pouring out onto my driveway.   Out comes the fire extinguisher as I plan to fight this to the death, out comes the garden hose and I grab a bucket.   No, the hose is not to fight a gas fire (as exciting as that would be), the hose is to water down all my driveway and gravel under and all around the bus so I don't make an inadvertent spark and have a bad end to the day.    I then get my open bucket under the streaming gas.  I need to get this leak stopped so no choice but to grab my little hose-pinching tool and my creeper and under the bus I go, wondering what level of crispy-fried I will be if things go really, really wrong.

I look up with my LED flashlight and the gas is frigging coming out of the middle seam of the white box filter.   Who the heck has ever seen one of those split open?  Not me, that's for sure.    Well, it's damned tight under there and I cannot for the life of me get both arms/hands up there (the bus is not jacked up at this point) so I have to feel my left hand up around the small approximately 1.5 inches of hose between the metal gas line form the tank and the filter.  I get it on, gas pouring down my arm, and I start to tighten it's little wingnut.   For a moment I crazily think I'm the wingnut for being under there.    Finally it starts to tighten and 4 turns later and the fuel stream completely stops.    I get the heck out and go wash my hands and arm.   Stream in lots more water to get that gas off my driveway as much as possible (there's gonna be a section of grass there I won't have to mow for a while, I suspect).   

So before it got too dark, I got the bus jacked up and got the old filter out and ready to put my spare new one on but holy crap-on-a-stick, that hose between the filter and the fuel pump is freaking thick and whoever worked on it last put one of those crimp-on hose clamps that I had to cut off and I have no hose clamp that big (it's apparently the only 10mm ID hose in the whole fuel system, the rest being 7mm ID which I have lots of clamps for).   So today I will go buy a larger clamp (3/4 inch it looks like) and finish putting in the new filter today and once again try to fire it up.........without actually firing it up, if you know what I mean!

Good times!   

-George
« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 06:49:14 AM by kinggeorge13 »
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #53 on: April 30, 2014, 07:02:12 AM »
This is the fun little hose clamp (pincher) I put on with one hand, unable to see exactly what I was doing, crammed under my bus with gas pouring down my arm.....  Tricky but effective little tool and supposedly won't damage/cut the rubber hosing.
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Offline WESTY69

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #54 on: April 30, 2014, 08:05:03 AM »
Hmmm , water and gas , hahaha , I remember way waaaaay back when I started out my electrical apprenticeship , the company was switching there trucks from gas to propane , one day at the shop , the boss man suggested that I go empty the 6 or 7 gas tanks into gas containers , you know recycle it !! Well , lifting a large gas tank and getting it into a funnel to go into a gas can isn't the easiest task , needless to say , I had a massive amount of gasoline streaming down the parking lot , of course it was a hot summer day , couldn't leave this mess of gasoline there , so out came the water :)
Thinking I was safe enough to have a cigarette , the parking lot was douced with gasoline  , out comes my smoke , a match and ahhhhh the taste of relaxation , hosing down a parking lot and getting paid for it even :D then I tossed the match :O
Well , the WHOOOOOOSH OF FLAMES , shot straight up and down the lot , I swear they reached 15 feet in the air , whoooooooly shit , the drain , THE DRAIN , the city drain , the fricken flames are going towards the drain !!!
Well by this time , the secretaries are all looking threw the window , none of which are on the telephone , staring in amasment at this long haired kid is racing around with a hose to keep the flames away from the drain and the cars , THE CARS , ohhhhh shit , cars have gasoline !!!
Ok so I have a 50 foot hose and the drain is at least 100 feet away , I'm so screwed , this is going to be an epic explosion for sure !!!
Well flames are everywhere and the last person I wanted to see was the boss , he is on the road trying to get into the parking lot , flames , water shooting everywhere , he gets out of his truck and runs up into the shop , comes out with a couple bags , at this time I'm screaming , THE DRAIN , the gas is goin into the drain !!!! He opens a bag and spreads it around , he screams and says grab the other one and get it around the car there , the main fire goes out with a few little ones remaining , what was this magical stuff !!!!
Well of course I had the WHAT HAPPENED ? Question , I told him and he looked at me and , I thought for sure I was fired , no pun intended , fired !! He started to laugh , what the heck was so funny , I just about died here !!! He said he got a call from one of the secretaries , that I had the parking lot up in flames and the play by play he was hearing as he was racing back to the shop was the funniest thing he had ever heard , better then Abbot and Costello , the Anti spill bags that he had shown me to use in case of a fire or oil spill where right by the fire extinguishers , that he had also shown me about a year ago to say the least where right , and he pointed to the sign that said FIRE EXTINGUISHER & the lower one , spill kits , beside the eye washing station !!!
Ohhhhhhh that stuff I proclaimed out of young innocence , he said yeah , the water will lift the gasoline and float it on top , oil product , and when you threw your match into the water , you were actually throwing it into gasoline , ohhhhhhhhh now that makes sense eh ;)
He looked around and saw that I at least had the smarts to have loaded all the old truck gas tanks into one of the trucks and all the gas cans were tucked away in the shop before I lite my smoke :)))

Sooooooo the point of this story is even though the gas wash washed down and diluted , the chances are still high that if sparked , like I did , you might have an epic ending ;)

My tool of choice for gas lines ;
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Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #55 on: April 30, 2014, 10:51:36 AM »
Westy69: I never thought of how much more fun it would have been had I thrown a match on all that water.  You one crazy guy.  I may not be young anymore but I still have the long hair.   

By the way, I thought all the purests say to never use vicegrips on fuel hoses cuz they may cut them?   I gotta admit though: with my life potentially on the line I probably would have been smarter to just pinch that hose off with my needlenosed vicegrips and save myself a lot of dangerous time under there.   

Great story!

-George
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Offline finkmobile

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #56 on: April 30, 2014, 11:00:26 AM »
One year after a fuel hose sprung a leak at Thetis Lake on me I bought those hose clamps just in case that ever happened to me again.  I didn't have anything at the time that would have worked to pinch the hose, so I had to sit there with my finger pinching the hose closed while my friend cut off the section that had a pinhole with a steak knife so we could stop the leak! Scary stuff seeing that gasoline puddle forming under your bus....

Offline Hansk

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #57 on: April 30, 2014, 11:01:25 AM »
Great stories guys . Good lessons and reminders for all of us.  I know when I look back at my younger days , I had many fuel incidents that could have gone very bad.  Just pure luck that I'm alive today. 
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Offline Trevor P

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #58 on: April 30, 2014, 11:46:53 AM »
OK, it turns out I'm a bit bay curious after all. Picked up this deluxe on the weekend. Now I just need to find some time to give it a bit of love, but it is a runner/driver right now.


« Last Edit: April 30, 2014, 11:48:32 AM by Trevor P »
'53 Barndoor single cab
'57 Cal-look oval 2332cc / Berg 5
'70 911T

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: How are the Bay projects coming along?
« Reply #59 on: April 30, 2014, 11:52:56 AM »
Now that's a serious back bumper!!!!
Learning from my mistakes I'm clearly going to be a genius one day!

 

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