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VDubTech Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:27 am

The rotbox '79 I brought home from Indiana is officially on the road all legal like. I took it for her maiden voyage two nights ago. Yesterday was the official breaking in when I took it from Syracuse to Ashby, MA to deliver a camper interior to TheWalrus. About 300 miles each way.... I replaced the blown out brake lines, put in all new fuel lines, changed the oil, valve cover gaskets and vacuum lines and pulled the foam engine seal out of my '79 Westy and put it in to this Bus. It fires right up, purrs like a kitten, and I'll know by tomorrow night wether or not she was up for such a trip. The heat even works in the thing....it breaks my heart that it's so rotted. I snapped a few pics of what I did to get the slider door back on it using gate hinges and barrel bolts. The track is completely non existant and I need to be able to open and close the door, so this seemed like a decent solution. Totally Ghettoriffic. And yes, that stuff on the rear windows and the roof is lichen. It sat for 6 years under a tree before I drove 1400 miles to bring her home. Without further ado....









VDubTech Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:29 am

We started out just after 6:00 yesterday morning. Brought along a kerosene heater to make sure the Bus was toasty but with all of the Air leaks, it was still a bit chilly. I has sealed off the front vents with duct tape but air was still comin in everywhere. I brought along extra socks which I stuck in the vents in the dash. At our first stop I bought a roll of duct tape for the low low Thruway price of $5, and we proceeded to tape up all of our leaks....including all of the ones around the door panels and the vents pushing air to the back







We carried on and as we approached the VT. border the fuel gauge dropped to zero. Well, past zero...the needle disappeared completely. I stopped at the next gas station cause I didn't have a clue how much gas was in it before it happened. Out of gas--the following gas station--out of gas.




We finally were able to get gas again after we crossed into Vermont. Clear skies, Bus was warm enough that I took my jacket off. Even my toes warmed up. There was no snow on the ground in Syracuse, but as we got up into the mountains in Vt. there were some fairly decent snowbanks. No snow...yet




We crossed into New Hampshire without incident. The Bus had lost no oil, sounded great, and was losing not one mile an hour as we wound our way up steep mountain roads. The dipstick was cool, almost cold to the touch. Gas mileage, who the hell knows....




WE mosied right along and before we knew it, we were crossing the border into Massachussett's. We had officially crossed 4 states by lunchtime and the Bus was humming right along, no problems except a non functional fuel gauge. And no snow....yet.




We made it to Ashby, dropped off the camper interior with The Walrus, checked out his Bus, and we proceeded to haul ass outta there headed towards home. We made it back into Vermont before the snow started to fall and cover the roads. We stopped at a little roadside Maple Syrup and Vermont Cheese store to scrape the ice off the wipers and stretch our legs. The rear wheels had spun a bit as we started going up the steeper grades which was a little scary, especially when I saw just how bad those rear tires were. Yes, VWBusRepairman I made this entire trip on horribly dry rotted tires. Had I had the time to really check em out before I left, I would have switched them out with the ones off my '74. They were in sad shape and the weather showed no sign of letting up anytime soon. Big, heavy, wet snowflakes were falling fast and starting make the roads slick.





Road conditions deteriorated quickly. We were heading up steep mountain roads in third gear trying to keep the tires from spinning, and failing miserably. The rear end of the Bus was sliding sideways and traffic behind is was starting to back up. The people behind us started to fall back faster and faster as the Bus pushed itself sideways up this snow covered road. It finally got to the point that the Bus was completely sideways and we were facing the edge of the road with the ass end in the other lane. Time to forumlate a new plan. We saw a driveway to an small town motel and stopped right there in the road in both lanes going uphill. I couldn't get it any further. I threw it in reverse and got the Bus completely off the road and into the steep (of course) driveway of the motel. We got out to survey the situation. You can see my tracks sideways aross both lanes coming up the hill. The Accord was spinning his tires trying to make it past us.





I remembered the tire chains I found the night before in the Bus. I almost took them out, figuring I wouldn't possibly ever use them. My laziness saved the day. We got out the jack, jacked up the Bus right there in the snowstorm and put the chains on the wheels. I've never in my life used chains, and this was one hell of a ride.






You could barely see the road in front of you the snow got so heavy....



We carried on, about 30 miles until the roads cleared up a bit and the plows had been through and salted. Lemme tell ya what 35 mph feels like going down the road with chains on the wheels. It was loud as hell...





Finally the time came to take the chains off and resume highway speeds....this little snowstorm put at least an extra 2 hours on our trip.





The front of the Bus was frozen. The inside had to be in the 70's. It was downright Tropical. The roads cleared up and we passed through Bennington, VT as it began to get dark.




We drove the rest of the way home at about 70. We hit patchy areas of heavy snow, but the roads were salted so nothing was sticking. There wasn't a hill on the entire trip that slowed this Bus down. Outside of the ones that were covered in snow of course.....This is hands down the smoothest running, most powerful Bus I have ever owned. It used one quart of oil and I think a bit of it was leaking out of one of the valve covers. She hummed along the entire way, never a low oil pressure light, never a stumble, never a protest of a long uphill climb. The trip to Nashville, IN to bring this free Bus home was more than worth it. To those of you who read this entire long story, thank you for your kind words. This is truly an amazing machine. It took every ounce of punishment I could give it without so much as a hiccup. It took longer than I had planned, but we made it. I didn't even so much as look at any of the plugs or change the cap and rotor, but I will now that I don't have a deadline to have it ready. For any of you who missed me this time around, I will be vending at a lot of East Coast shows this year so if you have anything specific in mind you need, let me know and I can deliver it to one of the shows if you can wait, or ship it to you if you can't. What a good day. :cheers:

typesoneandtwo Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:34 am

Sweet! Nothing like a 300 mile test drive! That Bus looks exactly like the one my Little League coach used to drive back in 1983.
Nice slider fix! Keep us posted.
EDIT:
I just saw the new snow pics and DAMN! Snow. sleet or rain, nothing stops the parts delivery.

nebe Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:45 am

I hear barndoor buses are quite valuable :lol:

Townzee Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:56 am

Sweet! Hopefully mine will run that good.

TOWNZEE

MrBreeze Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:12 am

Heh, great story. Damn lucky you had those chains. I remember driving my 73 from Mass to NY in a snowstorm with no heat, I can relate to those frozen toes for sure!

This bus gonna be a parts hauler for you?

VDubTech Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:22 am

MrBreeze wrote: Heh, great story. Damn lucky you had those chains. I remember driving my 73 from Mass to NY in a snowstorm with no heat, I can relate to those frozen toes for sure!

This bus gonna be a parts hauler for you?

The chains saved my a$$ for sure. I'm gonna keep it on the road till Spring, when the drivetrain is going to be put into my '74 Riviera, F/I and all. I'll part out the rest. This thing is just too far gone to be a candidate for any sort of resto. Sucks too, I'm the second owner. I even have the window sticker for it.....

visibleink Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:45 am

Great story - bus - and pics. I love the door job you did.

Looks like a great running beater bus!!!

metalpecker Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:42 am

This story encourages me a lot! I'm planning a big Euro-round trip of about 10000kms (6250miles) this summer on this one:



and here it's been towed (engine is disassembled) 700kms from St.Petersbourg to Moscow by my friend's 4.2L diesel powered Land Cruiser, sometimes 100kmh!



Thanks VDubTech!

PS wait a minute! you said you'll put its driventain into Buick Riviera???

agreendaya Sun Feb 10, 2008 9:43 am

Sweet pics, I love bus adventures!

EZ Gruv Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:04 am

That story just made my day!

Fantastic!

VDubTech Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:12 am

metalpecker wrote:

PS wait a minute! you said you'll put its driventain into Buick Riviera???

Not a Buick Riviera, my '74 Riviera Camper. Riviera Motors was a VW dealership in Beaverton, Oregon that had their own camper conversion.

www.rivieraregistry.com

This is my Riviera:


metalpecker Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:17 am

Now got it! Thanks! I'm newb in buses, but seen lot of weird perversive VW-stuff from guys at kustomcoachwerks.com :oops:

danfromsyr Sun Feb 10, 2008 12:09 pm

Man Vdubtech.. I have some very CHOICE words for you, but I think I'll have to tell em to ya in person over a brew or what not..

let me put it nicely. you are a freakin nut.. :twisted:

if you haven't already pass this along to the Empire VW CNY crew.. I'm sure some of our travel buddies would like to see the what not to do but sure you can pull it off anyways..

it still boggles me how far you go, knowing full well better with next to nothing but use resourcefulness to power thru.
kinda like the utica 71 where a VW 13/10 found wrench saved the day.

Dan..

don't forget our Empire Danzer's dining coming up in March15th.

thewalrus Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:11 pm

WOOHOO!! Ashby gets it's 5min of fame on the Samba!! \:D/ Its just a little spec on the map and finding it was an accomplishment in itself!! Again it was great meeting you VDubTech and I'm still amazed the bus preformed as good as it did!! The interior's amazing for almost 40 years old! But I guess sitting in a warehouse since 1984 slows the aging process a smidge!!!!! Hey, did the fuel neck design change between '71 and '75? Iím guessing it did because the cabinet bumps up against it. But a little tweaking and itíll slide in!! Just need this snow to melt!! Címon spring!! [-o< I'll post pictures when its light out and when its done too!! Thanks again Brain!!

DeathBus Sun Feb 10, 2008 6:07 pm




That rocks!!!

fusername Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:13 pm

was that rt 9 or 2 in vt? I've driven all those roads before on my way to bennington w/ my westy. funnily enough it was a 300 mile maiden voyage for both the bus and me, as it had been on the road for 2 days before i took off, and I had been driving stick for about 18 hours.
lovely roads up there, scenery and mountains are amazing arent they? There is a little overlook which I THINK is on rt 9, basicly the highway is just curving around a gorgeous cliffside, all you can see is green to your left, bloody gorgeous, if you can see it. In all that snow, maybe not.

actually on my first ride thru there i got hit with fog so thick that 10 mph was about the best i could do at times on the interstate. some great weather in vermont it seems.

VDubTech Sun Feb 10, 2008 8:20 pm

That was Route 9....on the way to Ashby we saw a lot of awesome scenerey. On the way home, everything was a cloud of white doom.

Doc1982 Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:36 am



Does anybody else really like this? With some cabinetry on the inside of the door...

DeathBus Mon Feb 11, 2008 4:39 am

I like how perfect the panel for the sliding door is. The hinges also rock, I like how the bottom one had to be redone.



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