View original topic: My 76 Sportsmobile roadtrips, projects, vanagon interior+mor Page: 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
TweedLinn Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:17 am

I never thought my bus needed/deserved a dedicated thread, but as I do more and more to it, and make more and more trips (3,886 miles, 8 states, and 2 countries last week!), I feel like sharing! It’s been a few years, so fair warning, the first few posts will be long ones…

I did make a few threads of simple things like my new floor, and when I tie dyed my interior when I first got it, and those are here..

rust repairs, kickpanels, laminate floor

tie dye interior panels, custom table, & more to come...

Since then there have been a lot of miles, tailgates, camping trips, shows, and other great photo ops, but at the risk of making this 3000 pages long, I will leave those alone for the most part, and only post newer stuff. Also many small projects like putting in Vanagon seats, sliding door screen door, etc, but I am just going to highlight some of my bigger projects. So sit back.. here we go..

TweedLinn Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:21 am

One small but important thing I did was rebuilding the jalousies, which were held in by rotten wood and caulk.

Not a good scene..

Plus they didn’t work, found a parts supplier online.

Surprisingly, there was NO rust!

FUNCTIONAL!!, Not to mention all shined up, new screws, and I did get new flap seals further down the road to really finish them off.

Around this time I also found a set of correct year JC penny brand black out house curtains, so I whipped up a new set for the bus out of them. Amazingly once the old pleats were removed, and I separated them down the center seam, they were exactly the same size as the old curtains, and needed literally no cutting, and covered every window, and the windshield. Weird.

TweedLinn Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:22 am

Like I said, I’ve done lots of small stuff – but that’s boring, let’s get down to some good stuff. I needed an awning.

I put out a wanted ad for a Trans-awn 2000, or similar, and got a response from a lady that said she had something like it.. In the car I went. Turns out she had a brand new 10 ft Catalina 2500 awning that had literally been set up once, she was alone, it got windy, she got scared, so she cut the fabric out of it. She said her husband was impressed… So I bought the awning-less awning and even the rain gutter mounts for next to nothing.

I then happened to be in a Jo-Ann’s fabric in St. Louis and came across this Sunbrella material. I googled the awning’s dimensions (had never set it up as the fabric is what holds it together, plus it was a few states away) and estimated a bit smaller, because I’m cheap and didn’t want to buy extra material.

I then sewed it together myself, in St. Louis, and carried it in my carryon back to Iowa. Several hours, 10 bloody fingers, and every curse word possible, I got it threaded back onto the awning frame. For those wondering, that was one of the worst thing I have ever had to do. But I think the results speak for themselves, worth it. I then set it up. It pulled out to full extension, clicked in to the “I’m all the way out” grooves and I then realized that somehow guessing how much fabric I needed based on 3 different Google dimensions, then buying less than any of them, folding the ends in 3 inches each, doing some cutting, etc. made it EXACTLY THE RIGHT SIZE?!?!?! A million dollars says I couldn’t do that again if I tried.

Yes it stands up straight, I just put it down for the picture so you could see everything. No it isn’t stretched tight yet in that picture. And no it wasn’t real waterproof yet. I then coated it with several coats of 303 fabric guard. That stuff is amazing. Water runs off it now like a duck’s back. I’m still amazed by that product.

TweedLinn Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:27 am

Ok now here comes a really meaty post… installing a Vanagon Westy interior into a bay.

Yes it can be done! No it isn’t easy.

Here is what I’ve been rocking with for the last few years..

Then I came across a Westy Vanagon in a junk yard, and the work began.

PS – nothing fits right in any shape or form. Dirty pizza box templates are the only way to go.

Lines are where to cut..

And it fit, so screw it, let’s really start hacking stuff up. Out comes the old bench, out comes the floor, out come the saws, and away we go.

Of course not even the backrest support was in the right place

More lines, more cuts

Had to modify the brackets so I didn’t have to drill more holes in the floor..

Bay Westy hinges installed, because of course the Vanagon ones made it the wrong height… and it works!

And fits! The tape line in the first pic is where the current closet would sit, that’s not gonna fly, I want it more like the second pic, let’s do some more cutting.

Closet before..

More lines, more places to cut

Test fit, height’s right, let’s get it a little shallower

There we go


Time to fix some laminate

All better!

Now for the really good stuff. The Bay I got the hinges from, also happened to have some of the cleanest plaid ever. I used the top cushion plaid to do my seats, as I don’t think it has ever even seen the sun… the rear cushion received the almost-as-nice og cover from the same bus

I’m anal, I hate that Westfalia never lined the plaid lines up. Well I did.

Oh and about those pesky holes in the front..

Time consuming. But worth every second to me! I love my new storage, I love my full width bench and bed, and I love that its just a bit different than everyone elses. This probably could have been a costly adventure, but luckily my 2 junkyards I go to are insanely cheap (like 10 bucks for my dash clock cheap) and I actually paid less for everything, meaning plaid, closets, bench cabinet, etc, than I sold my old bench for. And I only sold it for 200!

TweedLinn Fri Aug 07, 2015 11:29 am

Next time I'll throw up some pics of the trip I juist made.. 3,886 miles, 8 states, and 2 countries in a little over a week. I got some good ones...

webwalker Fri Aug 07, 2015 1:32 pm

Awesome work. Yes, it definitely looks like WORK but it is good work.


Boesen Sat Aug 08, 2015 8:09 am

That stuff sure looks familiar... :lol: hope a nice person and you did a tuneup before all those miles. Including a pool noodle... :wink:

TweedLinn Sun Aug 09, 2015 5:13 pm

Road trip time.

I’ve been on a ton of shorter trips – 4ish hours or so, Minnesota, Kansas City, etc, but it was time to really get this bus back on the road like it was meant to be. First things first, I drove 4 hours across Iowa to do some MUCH needed maintenance with the guidance of a friend and VW guru. One who may or may not have just posted right above this... Much needed, as in the front beam took almost a full tube of grease, and my timing was more than 7 degrees too retarded...

Shawn got me all fixed up. I headed home, packed, and hit the road for a jam packed 10 day road trip North and Westward. He clearly is the VW whisperer, because I had literally no problems on the entire trip. The only tool I used the wole time was a screwdriver. Amazing...

I took a million pics, I’ll only post up a few…

I took off Friday night from Humboldt, Iowa, drove a couple hours West to pick up the girl, and we then drove to Brookings, South Dakota where I grabbed a bite to eat with some family. From there it was North to the South Dakota/North Dakota border where we gambled and crashed in a casino parking lot.

Saturday morning was the Red River VW club show in Fargo, North Dakota, and my nephew’s 3rd birthday party.

Sunday, time to get this thing across the border. Customs agents do assume you do drugs when you drive a bus by the way.

Lots of random stops and roadside attractions in Canada. I love random crap, world’s largest crap, kitschy crap. Finally camping and a bit of fishing at Turtle Mountain Provincial Park.

The next day was time to drive back into North Dakota, with a quick side trip through Montana, then back into North Dakota to do some camping and exploring in North Dakota’s Badlands at Teddy Roosevelt National Park

Moving on again. South to South Dakota, West to Wyoming to see Devil’s Tower, then back into South Dakota for a few days of exploring in the Badlands, and Black Hills, while camping in Custer state park, in the black hills. Driving into Wyoming we drove straight in to a 60 mph headwind, which forced us to cruise in second at 20 for about 5 hours… Also, keep in mind this was during Sturgis… Bikers love buses. And there were bikes EVERYWHERE. 2 million was the estimate when I was there…

On the road again. Finished up the Black Hills stuff on the way South into Colorado. With a side trip into Nebraska, A guy’s gotta go to carhenge on a trip like this.

Then spent a few days in Colorado. Mountain driving. Coors plant. Garden of the Gods. Pikes Peak. Friends. Fun times.

After staying in Colorado for a couple days, it was the long, flat, boring drive straight across Nebraska to drop the girl back in Omaha. We again encountered a 60 mph wind, this time from the side, and it brought golf ball sized hail. We pulled over in a rest area and checked the weather, there was a tornado on the ground about a mile away. Let is pass. Drive. Finally get to her place. Pass out. 3.5 more hours the next morning, and I’m home.

Miles. Mountains. Friends. Fun. And the adventure of a lifetime. Time to start planning the next one…

Boesen Sun Aug 09, 2015 6:24 pm

Thanks for the kind words Tyler. I just couldn't let you travel this trip without knowing all was well in your Bay. Was great to get you all squared away and up to spec. Plus then I knew my phone wouldn't ring.... lol :lol: but I would do it all over again. And it was learning for you on some much needed maintenance and knowledge.

Lovely photos... some I'd already seen as you know some I hadnt. Next year it's all 4 of us... and 2 Buses! :wink:

Bala Mon Aug 10, 2015 8:16 am

Love this thread and great bus!

TweedLinn Mon Aug 10, 2015 4:49 pm

Bala wrote: Love this thread and great bus!

Thanks! Are you sure you're not just biased to 76s..?

Bala Tue Aug 11, 2015 7:26 am

TweedLinn wrote: Bala wrote: Love this thread and great bus!

Thanks! Are you sure you're not just biased to 76s..?

I can neither confirm nor deny...shoot, I'll confirm that, no problem! :D

TweedLinn Mon Aug 17, 2015 7:41 am

Since I have an original side step, my jack points are occupado.. But I wanted an outside the bus table like all the cool kids. So I threw this together.. I have a handful of table mounts and parts from junkyard excursions, so I reinforced the corners of my jump seat box and threw them on there. Surprisingly it really is stable and not that tippy at all, as I store all my spare parts in there, and I arranged them so the heavy stuff is on the backside… I kinda like it, now to fix up that table laminate..

adjustable mount for whatever height table I may want

High mount for a tailgating/bbq/drinking/party bar (picture taken before the other mount was mounted..)

all put away

TweedLinn Wed Dec 30, 2015 12:10 pm

Been slacking on posting, so why not skip ahead and show what the bus got for Chritsmas...

A Renogy 100 Watt Solar Suitcase, this thing is Sweet! It is fully height/angle ajustable, comes with a very nice and easy to use charge controller (with over charge protection, heat sensors, and all those necessary bells and whistles), and 10 foot cables with clips on the ends to simply clip on to your battery for off the grid charging. Easy set up, easy tear down, easy to move around and put in the sun without the hassle of moving the bus, like you would with a rooftop mounted panel.

Yes it is angled towards the sun, yes it is in the sun, yes I stood in the sun to make a shadow for a better picture... My battery was low, but not completely depleted, and the solar panel topped it off and kept it fully charged while I had all the lights, radio, etc. on inside. Love it!

And a new set of parcel trays to finally get some of the crap a bit more organized...

Globespotter Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:05 pm

Nice thread, and nice bus. Awesome job on the Vanagon cabinet and bed!

TweedLinn Thu Dec 31, 2015 8:25 am

71Survivor wrote: Nice thread, and nice bus. Awesome job on the Vanagon cabinet and bed!

Thanks! It wasn't hard work, just a lot of work. But I couldn't be happier with it now that it's done!

Boesen Sun Jan 03, 2016 7:06 pm


TweedLinn Tue Jan 19, 2016 8:05 pm

If you haven't gone to LEDs... Do it. Now I can actually see, and I'm not sucking any power doing it. The old girl turned the big 4-0 on January 7th, so I bought her some cheap light bulbs. Holy crap did they make a difference.

16 LED direct replacement bulbs



This is how much brighter it is in there with just one bulb swapped, I still have the pop top light and a rear light to do, but they will take a bit of modification. I should be able to tan in there when they're all lit up... For now I'll just let this be my motivation to tighten up that headliner...

TweedLinn Fri Feb 26, 2016 11:39 am

A quick update, just to show that winning the powerball must be possible, as what just fell together for me must have equally as astronomical odds..

For starters, things I love: original accessories, especially Sportsmobile ones. Things I hate: the thought of drilling 12 holes in the roof of my bus. Which is why when I found this original Sportsmobile roof rack on here a few months ago, I put it away until I could think of how else to mount it.

I've had a set of 4 Quick N Easy clamps sitting around for a few years and my idea was to use them, build a metal frame, put wood slats on it, and then bolt this rack to that, kind of a Westy/Sportsmobile rack mash up.

Then the other night while finalizing my design, I noticed that when mounted, the clamp measurements from hole to hole were very similar to the outside measurements of the rack… For shits and giggles I took the 2 outside legs off, and put the clamps where they were, using same holes, and threw it up on the bus to see how far off everything would be..

And the magic happened.. Not only did it fit perfectly side to side, but the height was perfect too?! How?! My mind is blown, but I now have a roof rack.

Now I plan to put a nice gasket on the bottom of the remaining feet and let them just act as stabilizers.

Boesen Mon Feb 29, 2016 6:15 am


Looking good!

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