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wcfvw69 Tue Jun 17, 2014 5:54 pm

I posted some photos of my new to me bus I just purchased yesterday. I thought I'd start a thread documenting my findings as I go thru this bus, inspecting/repairing the different systems. We've all enjoyed the 'thrill' of discovering what's good and NOT so good after purchasing a used VW. I'm hoping I can get some feedback, advice or suggestions as this thread goes on.

Here's the beast



So, on todays agenda was the scary as hell brakes. Something was seriously wrong with the front brakes.

I lifted her up and put her on jack stands. I spun the RF wheel and the bearings felt ok but there was no drag from the brakes at all. I pulled it down. Everything looked good. No leaks, good brake pads, drums looked good, no leaking wheel cylinders.
I went to spin the LF wheel. Oh boy.. Frozen solid. Wouldn't move. I took the wheel off it. The drum was frozen solid. I cracked the brake bleeder to see if they would release since it had the original, 44 year old rubber brake lines. No luck. I was able to get inside through the adjustment hole that was luckily simi lined up to the star and back the brakes off and the drum came off. Again, everything looked ok in there as well. The wheel cylinders looked fairly new as well. I was suspicious of the rubber brake hose so I went and bought a new one. I installed it, bleed it and the brakes where frozen again. Damn.. I fought to get the drum off. I then had my son gently push the brakes down and one wheel cylinder moved and the other didn't. I took it off. The piston was frozen solid. I hooked up 110psi to my air gun, pointed it away from me and it wouldn't budge. Here's the offending POS.





I've never had much luck with Brazil parts, Varga in particular. This piston is frozen solid in there. :shock:

Well, tomorrow will find me going to PU a new upper wheel cylinder. The owner had a new lower one already. I wonder why.. Hum..

nodrenim Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:09 am

X2 on the Varga parts!

wcfvw69 Wed Jun 18, 2014 1:24 pm

Todays update-

I chased down the upper L/f wheel cylinder this am. Scary how few national parts chains carry any parts anymore for our old VW's. I must be getting old as I still remember the early 80's and buying anything I needed from any parts place I walked into. I found the wheel cylinder at an air cooled parts place for $20 dollars more than I could of bought it for online. Oh well, i try to support the surviving local shops.

My 12 yo son and I installed the wheel cylinders on the L/F, bleed the brakes on it and the R/F and adjusted the front brakes. This obviously cured the stuck drum as the old top wheel cylinder was frozen. I adjusted the front brake up good, re-installed the wheels, and took her for my real first test drive.

First real test drive

I had only driven the bus around the previous owners neighborhood due to the scary brakes. This was my first extended drive since the purchase. I looked over the engine compartment, checked the oil, looked for any obvious issues and away we went.

I haven't driven a bay in 25+ years. I REALLY liked it. I forgot how high up you sit and how comfortable it is. I noticed neither of the front wheels had ANY wheel weights on them. The no wheel weights was OBVIOUS at about 40 miles an hour when the shimmy started :shock: . This shimmy was amplified by the worn out tie rod on the drivers side. The engine ran smooth but I noticed it has the killer combo of a new EMPI carb and an 009. Maybe I'll get lucky and find the 009 is from China! :lol:
It was hesitating, stuttering and loading up when starting off from a dead stop. It ran "ok" under acceleration and idled decent.

Questions- How well do the drum brakes work on a Westy when in tip top condition? These brakes work "ok" but not as well as I expected. My drum brakes on my 67 work GREAT. I think I figured out why they went to rotors in 1971? What's involved in swapping the drums for rotors?



Tomorrow's project is to look over the engine compartment. Adjust the valves, remove the fuel filter from the engine bay. Take the lovely EMPI carb off and see if I can clean it out and make it run decent until I get a rebuilt 34-3 PICT for it. Also, see if I can locate the exhaust leak.

Other big rocks- order some parts. The shifter coupler in the cab has to be bad. Very sloppy and hard to find gears at times. I'm going to inspect the rear coupler as well. Also, see if I can get all the gauges to work on the dash.

Desertbusman Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:14 pm

'70 drum brakes work just as well as '71 calipers. Only difference you would notice is more foot pressure without the power booster.

Sounds like you need to closely follow your service manual and go thru the entire brake system to at least inspect and make sure it is done right. Evidently the O.P. didn't flush and change the brake fluid and rusted a wheel cylinder.
As far as Varga I've had absolutely no problems or concerns.


Is there a reason you never mention where you are? :lol:

asiab3 Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:59 pm

Well-maintained Varga parts will probably outlast neglected German VW parts.

I keep my 4-wheel drums adjusted and they work great. Your bug is much lighter, stopping should be easier, but a properly function bus SHOULD NOT scare you. Yes I've driven bugs and later buses that don't stop as well as my '69, but those needed TLC, so get yours in tip top shape before making any judgements or swaps.

wcfvw69 Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:14 pm

Desertbusman wrote:


Is there a reason you never mention where you are? :lol:

Honesty, didn't think about it. I'm in Gilbert/Metro PHX. :D

Good to know that these brakes CAN work decent. They just take a fair amount of foot pressure to stop the bus. Maybe I'm just not use to drum brakes with a 3k pound vehicle. Along with the checking the carb/distributor/valve adjustment, I'm going to pull the rear drums and check them as well. I found the hammer the rear axle nut tool in the bus so I'm not confident they are torqued correctly. I have a torque meister tool that will get them right.

I did drive it a second time and it's running like ass. Stalls, does not idle well, smell like its rich. Hum.. wonder if the quality EMPI carb has anything to do with it?




Can someone tell me what this is? I found it loose in the bus

wcfvw69 Wed Jun 18, 2014 5:26 pm

asiab3 wrote: Well-maintained Varga parts will probably outlast neglected German VW parts.

I keep my 4-wheel drums adjusted and they work great. Your bug is much lighter, stopping should be easier, but a properly function bus SHOULD NOT scare you. Yes I've driven bugs and later buses that don't stop as well as my '69, but those needed TLC, so get yours in tip top shape before making any judgements or swaps.

Hey, thanks for your feedback. I'm hoping I can get them to "feel" as good as my stock, drum brakes on my 67 bug. The front brake pads looked fairly new. The drums were turned as well. They just don't seem to "grab" as good as my 67 bug brakes do. I haven't crawled under to see if I can identify what brand master cylinder is on it.

As far as the Varga parts, I'm hoping they will work out ok. This cylinder that was stuck/frozen didn't appear to be that old, so that was odd. I took it to the parts place to insure I got the right one. He said he also likes Varga, runs them on his bus and thought this one must of rusted up inside. The fluid didn't look too bad when I bleed out the lines. I had some Varga brake parts in my 69 bug and the wheel cylinders and master cylinders both started leaking pretty bad. These parts only had a few thousand miles on them though they were 10 years old. I had flushed the fluid one time during those 10 years but perhaps that wasn't frequent enough. I should probably do it every two years. :oops:

Kirk Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:19 pm

When I redid my drum brakes on my 69, they would lock all four wheels and screech to a halt. Ive never had issues stopping with well maintained, well adjusted drum brakes. Love the new bus!

wcfvw69 Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:27 pm

Kirk wrote: When I redid my drum brakes on my 69, they would lock all four wheels and screech to a halt. Ive never had issues stopping with well maintained, well adjusted drum brakes. Love the new bus!

Thanks Kirk! :D

Any chance you know what that piece is I posted above? It's some kind of channel??

Kirk Wed Jun 18, 2014 8:37 pm

I have no idea what that is. how long is it?

kreemoweet Wed Jun 18, 2014 9:40 pm

Your photo only shows a portion of the "mystery part". It could possibly be a rear channel for a front door window.

wcfvw69 Wed Jun 18, 2014 10:01 pm






Here's two additional pictures of the part. It's 18" long.

Thanks for the help! :D

Desertbusman Wed Jun 18, 2014 11:31 pm

I figured you were in the PHX Metro area. Eastside no less, that's great.

So where do you get your parts? Smaller or more urgently needed parts closest by might be Doug's. And BAP has the majority of parts with decent prices to keep these things going. John at BAP Mesa is the good dub guy. AutohausAZ was the super good place for next day delivery, the lowest of prices and a selection of the normal bus service items (brakes, steering, suspension, etc.). But they recently upped the min. purchase price to get the free delivery and that was a real bummer.

I got a Monday order from Wolfsburg West early today with the normal ground shipping. Airhead would probably take another day. That's the cool thing about driving both a bug and bus is just so one is running is all that matters.

Drums versus discs? Only difference you would notice is the power booster assist for the calipers that your drums don't have. As far as the actual brakes both stop the same. Comparing a bus to a bug in regards to brakes just won't work. With brakes in good condition the big variable between the two vehicles is how much force needs to be applied to the pedal. Bus weighs twice as much so it would take twice the force on the pedal to have equivilant stopping. Amount of force input determines stopping force at the wheels regardless of the type of system. So yes, plan on pushing twice as hard with your bus. That's where the power assist booster comes in on later buses. Unless you are a frail girlie it won't really matter. And it's not just the brakes as about everything involved with bus driving is about double as compared to a bug. A bus is a truck, get used to it.



As far as your mystery part, I do know what it is. But the problem is that I can't remember.

EDIT wait wait, Memory kicked in. It's the retainer for the rubber wall seal for the dropdown Westy table.

wcfvw69 Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:58 am

Desertbusman wrote:

So where do you get your parts?

I bought the wheel cylinder from Doug's bugs and bunnies. I use to go to BAP on Country Club a lot but they are shifting away from VW's. John is a good guy. I buy most of my parts from Wolfsburg West.

Thanks for identifying the table part. Does anyone have pictures of it connected to the table and how it hooks up? I need to find a parts breakdown of the westy interior. [/b]

Desertbusman Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:19 pm

John at BAP says that there are and will be more ACVW parts then before the new ownership. It just doesn't look like it since we can't see parts hanging on the walls.

No good pic but your mystery part attaches to the bus wall right under the window and in the gap between the wall and table when the table is up. Look for the 3 matching mounting hole locations. The part secures and backs up a plastic or rubber piece that fills the gap between the wall and table.

wcfvw69 Thu Jun 19, 2014 3:28 pm

Desertbusman wrote: John at BAP says that there are and will be more ACVW parts then before the new ownership. It just doesn't look like it since we can't see parts hanging on the walls.

No good pic but your mystery part attaches to the bus wall right under the window and in the gap between the wall and table when the table is up. Look for the 3 matching mounting hole locations. The part secures and backs up a plastic or rubber piece that fills the gap between the wall and table.

Funny, I was just at BAP, returning some front brake lines they said were correct and were not.. John is usually VERY good w/his VW parts but missed this one. He has TONS of VW experience, for sure.

I'd love to see a pic of how this table hooks up. I saw a picture of a table for sale that looked like it had hinges that where screwed into a 1-2" board the length of the table. It appeared the board was secured to the wall of the bus? Maybe it was for pre-bays?

wcfvw69 Thu Jun 19, 2014 4:04 pm

Alright, so, todays adventures in bus system discoveries was on the engine. It was said to have been rebuilt roughly 3k miles ago. It was built as a 1776, is full flowed w/an external oil filter and oil cooler that stuffed up near the drivers side rear bumper bracket.

When I drove the bus a second time yesterday, it was running like crap. It was stalling, not idling well. I decided to turn right around and put it in the garage before having to deal w/a potential break down.

This am, I pulled the valve covers off and adjusted the valves. Whoever built the engine didn't put the distributor drive in the right place. The rotor points 180 from where it should. It has an 009 distributor w/an electronic module. The valve adjustments were all over the place. Most were tight, especially the exhausts. Some were 4 thousandths. I should of put a magnet on the push rods to see if they were chromoly but forgot. I was wondering if they were since most were tight. I decided to adjust them to 4 thousandths and call the builder of the engine as I have the receipt. I'm curious as to what cam is in it too.

I then took off the brand new EMPI carb for closer inspection.



I took it apart to check it out and see how it was jetted.





Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of it. Someone changed the fuel insert nipple to a screwed in barb style. It only had a minor amount of dirt/crap on the bottom of the fuel bowl. I checked the jet sizes and saw it had a 127.5 main, 55 idle, 70 air correction and a 26 venturi. It wasn't very tight on the manifold and I changed the gaskets since I had some. I blew the jets out and re-installed it. I changed the fuel lines since they were old, dry and smelled.





I guess hose like this is why we see bus/bugs burning on the side of the road.

I then fired it up and set the timing to 30 degrees BTDC. It was off a bit as the distributor clamp wasn't tight. I then hooked up my tac and adjusted the carb. It was a bit finicky but it adjusted to where it was idling around 1k. It was running MUCH better but still had a pronounced flats spot off idle.

I took it on a couple or errands. It was running decent except for the lovely flat spot from the 009/34-3 combo. I then stopped and picked up one of these.



Its an SVDA by Kuhltek. I did some research on these 034's and they all appear to be made in China. I got a price from Antonio who sells the Mexican parts but it was going to be $275 shipped to me. I didn't feel it at that cost! I'll post up how this distributor does when I install it tomorrow. I hope it alleviates the off idle hesitation/flat spot.

I'm hopeful that I can keep my wallet shut for a month after these recent parts expendatures and the $400 dollars I spent yesterday with Wolfsburg West! [-o<

wcfvw69 Fri Jun 20, 2014 1:20 pm

My mission to make this a drivable, reliable VW continues. I couldn't take the nasty shimmy anymore. When I bought the distributor yesterday from the local VW shop, I asked what they charged to balance the wide 5's. He said about $100 buckets for all four due to having to bolt the adapter to the wheels. Ouch..

So, I drug out my trusty 60's Snap-on tire spinner. I found my wheel weights and hammer and started balancing the fronts that had not been balanced (no wheel weights) when the tires were installed.



So, for those that have never balanced tires on a car, here's how you do it. You spin up the tire. You get a feel for how badly they are out of balance. You then decide on what weight to hammer to the rim. In this wheels case, I started with a 2 ounce weight. I usually start at the valve stem. I spin it up. If it much worse, I them hammer it on 180 from the first spot. You then move it around in 90 degree spots until it get much better. Then you move it side to side an inch or two till you find the sweet spot. Then you add more weight. Sometimes front wheels like all the weight on the inside. Other times they like all the weight on the outside. I got lucky on my first try. I hammered it on, spun the wheel up and it was much better. I then moved the weight an inch, spun it up and it was worse. I then moved it the other way and it was better. It was still shaking pretty good. I then added another two ounces to the outside of the rim. I moved it back and forth (spinning it up each time) till I got it pretty close. I did this on the R/F as wheel. On front tires, you have to balance both static (up and down vibration) and dynamic (side to side).

The RF rim was slightly bent and the tire was a bit out of round. Since it's balanced now, I'm going to check the rear tires for a better rim and relocated that tire to the rear where I don't have to worry as much about the side to side. All in all, I hammered on 1/2 pound of lead between the two tires to get them balanced :shock: The good thing about balancing them on the car is you're balancing the entire rotating assy. The drum, wheel and hub cap.


I then installed my freshly made Chinese 034 DVDA distributor. It looked ok quality wise. The points were set right. I pulled the German made 009 out. The one thing I noticed about this new distributor was it was tight going into the hole on the engine. I had to line up the tongs on the bottom to get it to slip in to the distributor drive. It fought me for 30 minutes. I hooked up the vacuum
line, set static timing to about 8 BTDC. I hooked up my timing light and fired it up. I set the timing to full advance of about 30 degrees. I tinkered with my EMPI 34-4 carb adjustments and then went for a cruise.

OMG.. The HORRIBLE flat spot off idle is about 95% gone. It is so much smoother than before. I don't understand how anyone can tolerate the 34-3 carb with an 009 distributor! The bus drove much better though I'm still suspicious of that Empi carb. It's not as smooth or responsive as my German 30-1 and 30-2. I've read other who threw the Empi away and got a nicely rebuilt original from the guy on this site who rebuilds them.

I need to keep driving this to get use to it. Maybe it's just the way bus's drive? The are certainly heavier that the bugs I'm use to driving.

Overall, I'm pleased. The shimmy is gone! It rides smooth now. The HORRIBLE flat spot is SSOO much better.

asiab3 Fri Jun 20, 2014 4:56 pm

Glad you're enjoying it :D


Did you lube the points rubbing block in the new distributor?
Did you time the 30* with the advance hose off?

Can you please post a pic of the part number of the distributor? Also a picture of the inside, top down with the cap off? I ask, because some of us have had great success with a 009 and 34pict3. That being said, the distributor and carb were both clean and made in Germany, so I'd like to see yours.

wcfvw69 Fri Jun 20, 2014 5:28 pm

asiab3 wrote: Glad you're enjoying it :D


Did you lube the points rubbing block in the new distributor?
Did you time the 30* with the advance hose off?

Can you please post a pic of the part number of the distributor? Also a picture of the inside, top down with the cap off? I ask, because some of us have had great success with a 009 and 34pict3. That being said, the distributor and carb were both clean and made in Germany, so I'd like to see yours.

Oh $hit.. :shock: I didn't set the timing with the hose off and blocked! DOH! I guess my thinking is I wanted all the timing in, vacuum and centrifugal. Oh well, won't take a minute to double check it tomorrow. Thanks for the tip! :D

Which distributor are you asking for photo's of? I'm assuming the new 034? I'm surprised to hear that some are having luck running the 009 and 34-3. This thing really fell on it's face off idle. You'd have to rev up the engine when you were about to let out the clutch. The guy at the parts place said he's running that combo but has the carb running really rich. I think he said he had a 135 main jet.



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