Monday, March 30, 2009

Are we there yet?

Changed all four shocks (destroying 5 lug nuts in the process); sanded and painted the wheel rims; fixed torn boots; re-greased a CVC joint; removed remains of old heater system and plugged the holes; and fixed the front passenger side floor pan (it was starting to look like something from the Flintstones with your feet hanging out and peddling really fast). And with that, other than some minor tweaks and bleeding the brakes, the hardcore mechanical work is done! Now it's on to the painting, carpeting, and interior tweaks. Yeah!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Whoop! Whoop!

Rather a busy weekend! Got the Mike on the sander doing fine work in prep for painting the inside. And...drum roll please... I fixed the oil leak! Had to remove the fan housing (which was a real pain with studs being rusted) to get to the oil cooler (who designed this thing?), but as soon as we pulled the cooler, it was obvious where the leak was coming from. It probably would have been a 2 hour job, but with all the oil that had leaked out and been blown around and sucked through the fan housing (the bottom of which looked like an oil sump), I spent the rest of Saturday cleaning (again!). Sunday I put it all back together and fired her up! No leak! It was really kind of weird. I kept looking underneath to see if the steady "drip, drip, drip" was there. Nope. It seemed really strange to have Belle idling away and not leaving a stain!
This week: continued work on the interior. Recover the bench seat. I think I'm going to rearrange the layout to keep some of this new found room I found when you have an empty bus. Maybe put in a dance floor.
Next weekend: Replace torn CVC boot. Replace torn Ball Joint boot. Remove old heater system. Install new shocks front and back.

Nothing like good union work!

Seat Repair. Before, then recushioned and covered.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

This could be a problem. But with a little Lab metal and new paint? Good as new!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Well, how about that...

Busy weekend, but got most of the engine work done. In fact, I thought I was all done, until I discovered where my oil leak is: it appears to be a bad seal on the oil cooler. Good news is it is a straightforward fix, just a matter of taking half the engine apart, changing the seals, and putting it back together. :-)
Oil leak aside, it is now fair to say that Belle has never run this good. I fixed an exhaust leak that, until last weekend, I didn't even know I had. I had no idea my motor could be this quiet! Also installed a battery my father purchased for his boat, but never used. Big deep cycle bugger with tons of cranking amps. Now all I have to do is LOOK at the ignition and she starts right up.
I've also started working weekdays on the interior (saving the long, tool intensive projects for the weekends). Currently, I have Belle completely emptied out down to the bare metal. This week I'll be finishing up repainting the interior (going with a nice Sage Green), and refinishing the seats. Next week will hopefully be the new carpet and the modified sink and refinished stove.
Is it May yet?

Sunday, March 8, 2009


Ah, the sweet, sweet sound of "putt, putt, putt, putt, putt...."
After playing amateur forester on Saturday with Mike (we knocked down some of the trees in the front yard), it was back to work on Belle this Sunday. I got and installed another Pertronix ignition (and wired it right this time!), as well as a Flamethrower coil (Postive on the top, Negative on the bottom the way it's suppose to be). Some minor tweaks on the valves, and voila! Set the timing, adjusted the idle, and she's there! Engine work... done! (Well, mostly. There's always something.) I also repaired the tin cuts done previously to access the top of the fuel tank, adjusted the alternator belt, cleaned up some of the wiring in the engine compartment, and painted the exhaust pipes to prevent any more rusting. There are still a couple of wires coming into the engine compartment that aren't hooked up to anything, and I haven't the foggest idea what they're for. So I'm going to have to follow them back and see what they are connected to.

Lastly, the (or I should say, an) oil leak is still there, although it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as it was before. So I'll probably have to do the pushrod seals on the right side too. I may just have to live with it for a while. Like they say, it's not that the Volkswagen leaks oil, it's marking its territory.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Lets see... That wire goes...Hmmm!?!

Well, that was interesting.
With Mike's help I was able to get the gas lines and new fuel pump installed. I assembled the carb and installed that. Made sure the wire spring holding the push-rod tubes in place was set properly (it wasn't), Installed a new oil cleaner screen gasket and put fresh oil in (thanks Mike). Cleaned the oil breather (which I now call the sludge collector). Installed new coil: and there begins the problems! The new coil was a Bosch blue-coil. The old coil was a Standard. On the Standard, the Positive is on the top, and the Negative is on the bottom (the way I like it). On the Bosch, the Negative is on the top (lame) and the Positive is on the bottom (really lame). So installed my distributor with my fancy new electronic igition system instead of points. I looked on the coil to find the Pos and Neg, and then proceeded to wire everything backwards. Keeping the fire-extinguisher handy, I proceeded to turn the bus on....and, being wired backwards...completely fried my electronic ignition. Grrrrr.
I've ordered a new Pertronix unit and will try again when it arrives. In the mean time, I may see if she fire's up using points just to see if the oil leak was fixed. It appears, presently, that it is fixed. After several attempts at starting her, no oil leaked out. But I won't know for sure until she's actually idling.
Oh, and it was raining this weekend and I'm fighting a cold. Grrrr.
Ah well, if it was easy, it wouldn't be a Volkswagen.