View original topic: My '77 Kombi
77whatsit Mon May 18, 2009 10:35 am

Hey all!
I just aquired this gem(?) from an old woman here in Austin, Tx.
Got her for $450 cash money. This is my third VW but my first bus and boy... this thing is a horse of a different color compared to my '58 and my '72 super.
She's a 1977 Kombi, 2.0 liter fuel injected with air conditioning.
She's been sitting in the driveway of the house the woman used to own. She had since sold the house and the bus stayed there due to losing the key at least two years ago.
The woman is in a retirement home and I went to see her on Saturday to give her the cash.
What a sweet, sassy woman she was! Told me stories of trips to Dallas for cat shows and how the A/C blew nice and cold.
Unfortunantely she was in a car accident that left her with a bum leg and after losing the key to the bus, she never drove it again.

So, today, I went over with my tools and a jumper battery. I pulled the plugs and took a look. They look like they were getting a good burn the last time it ran. No rust on them or anything out of the ordinary.
I hooked up my jumper battery, pulled the plug from the ignition switch and crossed the wires with a jumper.
Lo and behold, she cranked over :shock: ... albeit, slowly. My jumper battery is an old used jetski battery so I didn't expect much.
Anyway, I got a little WD40 into the spark plug holes and letting it sit till this evening when I can get back there with my buddy and a real automotive battery.
Guess that's about it for now.
Enjoy the pics.
More info and pics to follow.

busdaddy Mon May 18, 2009 10:46 am

Very nice, you should clean out the tank and swap all the fuel lines before you try to fire it up, no need for extra work from bad gas in everything or worse yet a fire!

77whatsit Mon May 18, 2009 10:56 am

Very good advice Busdaddy.
You think I will need to get the injectors cleaned or maybe they'll be ok?
Also, what actually works with the key turned off. Like I said, I hooked up my jumper battery but the only thing I could get to work were the running lights. No headlights, no horn, no turn signals.
Does the key have to be "ON" for these things to have power?

busdaddy Mon May 18, 2009 11:02 am

Yes, the key has to be on for everything but the hazard lights, running lights and dome lights.

It's 50/50 on the injectors, many still work after sitting but if you don't know thier age sending them to cruizin performance or any Bosch service center for a cleaning and flow test is money well spent (approx $100).

jtauxe Mon May 18, 2009 12:07 pm

Of course you'll be wanting a key. Perhaps the easiest way to get the right key is to find the key code and have one made to code. The easiest way to find the key code is to find it stamped onto the door lock mechanism, though it requires some disassembly. Remove a front door panel (you'll need to remove the window crank, door pull recess thingy, and pull strap from the inside), then you can remove a door handle with a 4 mm (IIRC) hex-head Allen key. You will find a 6-digit code stamped on the little lever that manipulates the door latch. That is the key code.

77whatsit Mon May 18, 2009 5:14 pm


Ok, so today my buddy called me and said he was getting off work early.
I met him where Lolli (the bus) is parked and we proceeded to pull the front door locks.
Found the codes to be matching from side to side so thought... "Well, looks like we may be in luck. Just need to get a key made and we'll be in BUSiness." :D
We take the passenger side lock down to the nearest locksmith (arriving 10 minutes before closing) and they gladly cut a key to the code.
Of course, it doesn't work on the lock we took them. :roll:
Turns out, that lock had been rekeyed in the past and the old tab was put back on with the (now) incorrect code.
So we decide to take the key anyway and see if it works on anything else.
Doesn't work on the rear hatch or slider (not even the right style of key apparently) nor does it work in the ignition. BUT... it does work on driver's side door. :?
After that, I pulled the ignition lock, disconnected the fuel injectors, pulled the airbox and put some raw fuel down the intake.
I know, I know. This can be quite dangerous but I'm used to doing it and have put out my share of fires on motors.

Anyway, put the fuel down there, hooked up some jumper cables and turned the ignition switch.
1-2-3-4 cranks and she fired up! :shock:
Holy cow!
Poured some more fuel, turned the switch and had her running for a good 10 seconds. Sounded fairly healthy too. :D
So now, I have a bus that starts at least.
My buddy pumped up the tires with his li'l electric pump and we pushed her out of the weeds and onto a concrete pad that seems it was put on this property just so I could work on her.

I brought the ignition lock home and will take it to work tomorrow to rekey to the key I have then move on to cleaning the tank and so forth.
Shouldn't be long now.
Took a few more pics of her.

Rear panel is where I wiped her down with a little WD40. That's why it looks so much greener compared to the rest of her.

Pinetops Mon May 18, 2009 8:37 pm

Nice job! I would sandblast that roof and POR-15 it and paint over that and see how it holds up.

dirtydan Tue May 19, 2009 9:13 am

Man i like that bus. I have the same exact bus, A 1977 hard top bay with a fuel injected 2.0 with hydrolic lifters (1978 motor) with a fresh rebuild. Has air conditioning but i ripped it out. I bought my bay not running for $1,800. the previous owner said the engine was rebuilt with about 40 miles on it, it quit running one day and he never messed with it again. It sat in his driveway for 5 years. The only thing wrong with it was the coil wire come unplugged. I got it running in his driveway. He was sick :oops:
Congrats on the new bus, I say you ran across a good deal!

Kirk Tue May 19, 2009 9:27 am

Nice! I love to see them brought back from the dead.

77whatsit Tue May 19, 2009 10:20 am

Thanks guys. She is a lovely creature.
I am having a problem though. Ok, so I got the ignition lock pulled but can for the life of me get the actual lock cylinder pulled out of the lock. I drilled the little hole, released the spring and got the lock from the ignition housing... then I removed the little roll pin and figured it the cylinder would come right out but it's not.
Key in, key out - makes no difference.
I thought I saw a thread on this specific ignition lock but can't find it.
Already checked Atwell's page and it doesn't cover pulling the actual cylinder.

Help please...

VDubTech Tue May 19, 2009 10:30 am

The key has to be in the on position for the lock cylinder to come out.

77whatsit Tue May 19, 2009 10:43 am

How do I do that without the correct key?
The key I have only works on the drivers door.

77whatsit Tue May 19, 2009 9:11 pm

Ok, so I finally figured out how to get my ignition lock cylinder out of the dang housing.
Here is what I did for MY particular ignition lock.
Your mileage may vary.

So, you don't need to have the correct key to turn it to the "ON" position or take it to a locksmith. Just study the part and use a little ingenuity.
Hope this helps others.

77whatsit Thu May 21, 2009 7:33 pm

After much fighting with Lolli, she finally gave up the fuel tank so I could give it a good cleaning. She REALLY didn't want to let go of it though. I ended up having to cut the hose that attaches the filler to the tank because it just would not come loose.
Just another new piece to buy now.

Emty space where tank was. Quite a bit of dirt and dust in there.

Another shot form behind. Trying to get it up over the motor was definitely a PITA!

Lastly... the tank loaded up onto the scooter for transport to work in the morning. I'll give it a good cleaning at the shop and re-install once I get a new hose.

SGKent Thu May 21, 2009 7:47 pm

little old ladies can be dangerous, I hope you got the title signed off and the DMV cleared the transfer.....

glad to see it is running

busdaddy Thu May 21, 2009 8:46 pm

Looking good, now's the time to do the filler neck rubber at the top as well as the obvious pipe at the tank. The vent lines should have new rubber hoses too.
You are going to be on the road in no time at this rate.

77whatsit Thu May 21, 2009 9:24 pm

busdaddy wrote: You are going to be on the road in no time at this rate.

Yeah... right now, it's the only vehicle I own that has more than two wheels. :roll:
I'm pretty eager to get her going. Work 9am-7pm then go straight to Lolli with my tools packed on the scoot and work another two hours or so.

I looked in the tank and it doesn't look all that bad. Not too much varnish in there to clean out.
I know a lot of ppl like the POR15 but I use "Poor4-4".
Poor me pressure washing it at work to get the big, loose chunks out then pouring about 4 quarts of brake cleaner into the tank, sealing it up and letting it sit for 4 days.
I have done this on several motorcycle, scooter and generator fuel tanks.
The brake cleaner pulls all the moisture and other solvents out of the varnish (old fuel), turning it from sticky and gooey to dry and flakey. Drain the brake cleaner and a lot of the varnish will come with it. Pour in a bit more along with a 12" length of chain and slosh it around a bit and that usually gets the rest out. I'm usually left with just a little surface rust on otherwise clean metal. Pour in a little tank sealer that we use at work and voila! A fresh tank with no out of pocket expense.
Gotta save the money for a new fuel pump and all new lines anyway. :)

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