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A Black & Blue Su-BUS-aroo Build Thread...
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 8:43 am    Post subject: A Black & Blue Su-BUS-aroo Build Thread... Reply with quote

Howdy All!

I am now the proud owner of a 1978 Baywindow Westy powered by a Subaru EJ22... I just have to go pick it up. Things arenít perfect by any means. Thereís some normal+ Bus rust, but I can weld and have some steel to fab up patch panels. The front windscreen is cracked, but I have a new seal on the way and have sourced some new-to-me glass. Conveniently, that glass is located in a PA boneyard which is pretty much on the same road Iíll be taking when I go to fetch the Bus from North Carolina.... Yup. North Carolina. Itís gonna be a little bit of a road trip. 1500 miles round trip or thereabouts. Glad I bought the Bus Tow bar from JeremyRockJock last year! Doubly glad I have a delightful side-seat navigator to road-trip with. Sheís a golden hair, and a cute one at that!

On the Subaru side of things, Iím going to have to re-plumb the radiator. Iím told the Bus runs a little hot, but then again the radiator is still in the engine compartment and surely isnít getting enough airflow, despite the giant STI air scoops grafted onto the rear. With the VW shrouding and seals thereís just nowhere for the hot air to excape to. Shouldnít be too difficult a challenge, though I may need to source some parts and fab up some others. In a few minutes Iím going to send a check to Tom Shiels for his thermostat housing as Iím certainly going to need to run a heater here in the snowy north country (http://subaruvanagon.com/tom/Thermostat%20housingk.htm). I may also need to have an expansion tank fabricated. Not sure yet. One thing I know for sure is that I need to re-fab the throttle body reverser. Thereís a noticeable vacuum leak in the videos the PO has sent me causing the engine to idle poorly. Again, not a horribly difficult task, but one that needs doing.

Other than that... Stuff will mainly be cosmetic interior stuff. Oh! I guess I should mention that this isnít a TRUE Westy. The owner previous to the previous owner (yup) installed the pop top and a full westy interior from a 1971. From the looks of things, he never plumbed in the sink. But it & everything else seems to be there. So with the help of the lady, weíre gonna gut the interior, patch whatever needs patched, re-paint & Insulate everything. Weíll make new headliner panels from 5íx5í Baltic Birch. Make matching door panels, etc. Stain everything a Minwax Cherry, and then install a matching Pergo floor I picked up for cheap. Iím kinda going for a real rich, woody sailboat interior feel set off by blue plaid, which is surprisingly impossible to find. Depending on how motivated I am (might just need to do some medium distance adventuring first) I might build cabinets more in line with the late model Westy floor plan. So if anyone has any interest in the current interior (minus the bed) PM me. That might be all the motivation I need!

Eventually, Iíd like to make a bull bar for the front with some Hellas. Source a Thule rack for the top so we can trip with some Kayaks. Find some larger rims so that I can upgrade to larger disk brakes front and rear. Upgrade the suspension with front and rear sway bars. Koni shocks on all four corners. Third brake light. Electric squirters and variable speed wiper control. Hang the spare off a swing gate on the rear. Stuff, stuff, stuff. Some of which is FAR down the line. The immediate goal is to get her running well, stopping on a dime, fixing the most glaring of the rust and making a habitable interior the lady can be satisfied with.

Any questions, comments, concerns? Any advice? Iím all ears! Long ago I learned to listen to my betters, and I know the good folk on TheSamba are laden with good infoís! & just so everyone knows, I already daily drive a 1974 SuperBeetle that I resto-modded from the ground up so Iím not new to VWís, just new to Busses. Iím not entirely devoid of Subee swap knowledge either, as I spent a portion of last summer tearing apart a donor Legacy, creating the wiring harness, sourcing random parts and just plain-ol doing research on how to convert said SuperBeetle. Hopefully, what knowledge & skills I have will see me thru to the end and leave me with a reliable Su-bus-aroo.

Cross your fingers and wish us luck. We leave at ungodly in the morning tomorrow, roadtripping to get this bus. Weíll take pix of course, but to tide you over, hereís a silly quick fotochop:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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Last edited by Nepenthe88 on Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:52 am; edited 1 time in total
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Red Fau Veh
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It looks ready to ramble, cool bus, now lets see this golden hair beast. Cool
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Red Fau Veh wrote:
now lets see this golden hair'd BEAUTY. Cool


Evil or Very Mad There, fixed it for ya. And I'll let her introduce herself at some point. In fact, I'll probably let her run the majority of the build thread. Post pix. Keep everyone updated and whatnot. Then I'll chime in and talk the wonky stuff when necessary. That'll free me up a bit and give me more legit wrenchin' time... & more wrenching time means the bus'll be on the road sooner rather than later, which is a GOOD thing!
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, lets kinda catch up on what's happened so far. In 2010 the PO found the bus right here. It'd been sitting since '99. You can see some decent cancerous rust to the right of the engine compartment. By the looks of things, this is some of the worst of it:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here's her after she got pulled out. Pretty grungy! Tho kinda cool with all that lichen growing everywhere. You can see a bit of rust behind the rear wheel well, and on the passenger door. Open the door and both steps are fairly cancerous. I'm not stressing any of these patch panels so far.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Here she is after her first real bath in forever. Goodness knows what I'm gonna find underneath that front window seal, but it doesn't LOOK horrible. Here's to hoping I just need to make some small patches here:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And here's the last side. There's some grungy rot in front of the rear wheel well and again on the driver's door and step area. All in all, I didn't think she was too rotten for salvage. The subee conversion pushed me over the edge tho. That's exactly what I would have done to any bus I bought, so having things in running / driving shape-- even if not perfect-- saves me all sorts of time and cash. Besides, up here in the snowy (& salty) north country, I can't touch a bus of this condition for the price I paid. Much less a "Westy", and certainly not one with an EJ22 crammed in her backside Very Happy

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Skoolieman
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You say its not a Westy, and obviously that top is pre 73. Can you post pics of the pop top conversion when you get it? Nice looking bus so far. Are you planning to roll it on its tires all the way back? Good luck on your trip.
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 07, 2013 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the only pop-top pic I have at the moment. I can take more when I get it. You looking for anything specific?

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Also, YES I'm going to flat tow it back with one of JeremyRockJock's Bus Tow bars. It's a nice product. Here's a link to the feedback page:
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=7...;start=120
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 10, 2013 7:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

16oo amazing roadtrip miles later and,
Ah! ... Home Sweet HOME!!

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Here's the rig we used to trip to North Carolina and get the Bus. It's a dodge ram 1500 with a 5.4L hemi and Jeremy Rock Jock's tow bar. Real comfy. Towed the Bus no problem, and lemme tell ya, If there was ever gonna be a problem flat-towing the bus like this, it would have happened on this trip. I was NOT gentle at times. 500 feet into the trip, I took a speed bump at full go. I dunno... I didn't see it. No prob! Then we stopped for the night in "Insanity Hills" West Virginia. I'm pretty sure WV road engineers were banned from making any straight roads, so there we are weaving back and forth while climbing foothills that would make the steepest hills in San Francisco blush... in the dark... in monsoon thunderstorm rain... Thru a construction zone with suicidal deers bolting here, there and everywhere. It was some pretty hairy driving, but the tow bar bested the test and again, no probs.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


The other real test was on the border of North Carolina and Tennessee in the Great Smoky Mountains. We decided to visit a little swimming hole before making the long trek Northward-- our first real Bus Adventure, Whoooo!! Only issue was, getting there required taking a hairpin left hand turn transitioning into another insane hill. This particular hill was so bloody steep that on the way back, I couldn't get up it again on first go and the weight of the bus pulled the entire truck backwards (at a pretty good clip too) all while in gear. The second try I said, "F-it" Floored the truck & squealed my way up successfully (though barely). And if that wasn't test enough, the road to the watering hole was an un-necessarily narrow, gravelly, potholed "road" snaking its way next to the river. The edges were washed out at times. It was an exhilarating drive Confused but well worth it! Just look at that swimming hole! Thank you Tow Bar!!

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And last but not least, I need to thank my amazing golden hair'd navigator! She kicked butt!! Made me sandwiches and spoon fed me Home-made pasta salad when I was hungry. Navigated and Googled stuff when we needed Google. DJ'd me up some Dance music when I needed some extra energy. Took pix of the bus being towed thru some amazing countryside. Entertained me with stories and even rubbed my shoulders whenever we stopped. She's a KEEPER! And she's super cute too!! I can't wait to see her get dirty disassembling the bus! Wink

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BumbleBus
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 12:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'd love to see a bunch of photos of the EJ22 install if you can sometime. Thanks!
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

BumbleBus wrote:
I'd love to see a bunch of photos of the EJ22 install if you can sometime. Thanks!


@BumbleBus -- Absolutely! It's coming, for sure. I'll go thru everything and answer any questions I can... and then probably ask YOU guys a bunch of questions when I get stuck and need some troubleshooting help, haha! Only, it might take me a couple days to get around to it as I'm trying to go thru things in a logical way to keep the project rolling forward.

If you're interested in doing a conversion, a good place to start collecting info is my (unfinished) "EJ22 in the Flatback Bug" thread. There's a link to it in my sig and should help explain a lot of the work that's already been done on the bus. And.. there's a bunch of links to other great subaru swap build threads. Most of them are Bug specific, but a lot of the info is the same.
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok...
So to keep things rolling in the forward direction, I started by tearing the front windshield out. I needed to see the condition of the steel at the bottom, so I could plan for any needed patch panels, get things prep'd and painted, etc so I can get new glass installed with all the proper fixes.

I can't be happier right now. Sure, there's a little bit of surface rust and a little pitting in places, but the steel is still SOLID. Not even a pinhole. I figure if I prep things well and give it a nice coat of paint, it'll be good for another 30+ years. And to be honest, making these patch panels here was one of the only things I was worried about, as they're complex & would curve in multiple directions. I'm really glad I don't have to do that!!

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also spent the day running around buying materials. I got fake dynamat, Pergo, rattlecan Primer, undercoat, a thing of truck bed liner, and Rustoleum Enamel to paint the bus. I'm doing an experiment. I'm gonna let the lady roll the bus a-la Rickwrench & his $50 corvair paintjob: As long as the bus is protected from the elements and is blue, I'm all happy
http://www.rickwrench.com/index79master.htm?http://www.rickwrench.com/50dollarpaint.html

I also bought 2 sheets of 5'x5' birch, and another 2 sheets of 4x8 birch (all 1/4") for the headliner, door panels, etc. Got stain and Polyurethane. Refilled the argon bottle. I dunno what else. I just bought a lot of STUFF

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I also made a pair of 3/16" throttle body flanges and machined all the necessary holes into them, and got 2.25" pipe bent into 90* elbows so I can fabricate a proper throttle body reverser tomorrow. Pix of that coming soon
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 11, 2013 7:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While you've got the windscreen out it's time to refresh the wiper mechanism! Very Happy

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=445921

Wish I'd found this article when I had my windscreen out not that long ago. Embarassed
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Interesting bus. Is it a sunroof model, or did the PO chop a hole in the roof for poptop access?

Are you looking for blue Westy plaid? You can get it new from Busdepot and several other suppliers.

http://www.busdepot.com/fabric5
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
While you've got the windscreen out it's time to refresh the wiper mechanism!

@mnskmobi -- I'm here to make my life as easy as possible, but... At some point in the build I'm going to need to tear the entire dash out so I can fabricate and install a heater core and blower motor to the stock heating vents, so I think I'll wait till then. I will probably regret this decision & think about you while cursing myself, but glass is going in on Monday and I'm not sure I have the time anyway. That is an awesome tutorial tho!! Thanks for sharing!!

Quote:
Interesting bus. Is it a sunroof model, or did the PO chop a hole in the roof for poptop access?

Um, I dunno. All the PO said is that it WAS a transporter that had old Westy stuff grafted to it. I'll go out in a bit, take a look at the hole & see if there's any clues one way or another

Quote:
Are you looking for blue Westy plaid? You can get it new from Busdepot and several other suppliers.

Haha, YES!! We ARE looking for plaid!! But in our never-ending attempt to be different, we're looking for a large patterned white and baby-blue and silver/grey plaid to go with the paint scheme. OH! almost forgot. We were talking about it on the drive back and there's been a little change in plans. Since we have to re-paint the top anyway, we've decided to skip the black and go with silver. So much for the title of the thread d'oh!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:07 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Question:

Does anyone know if I can use the current '71 folding westy bed, slide it to the other side of the bus and attach it in the same position as the late bed? or are there some sort of differences in the mechanism precluding me from doing so?
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ok, prepped stuff around the front windscreen today. i need to get everything done by Tuesday am so the glass guys can do their install, and I have a BLS re-cert class tomorrow, and an interview on Monday, so I gotta keep things rolling. It's gonna cost me $160 for new glass, installed. Not terrible. And it's guaranteed if they break it. Only caveat is that I need to get the bus to my buddy's garage. Oh well, what's another couple miles of getting towed?

So, wire wheeling the windscreen steel did reveal a couple of pinholes. I welded then up, ground them down and prepped the entire upper front area of the bus before putting a first coat of aluminum flavored paint on. I'd like to do at least one more coat on the visible stuff and two more (if not three) on the under the seal areas.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Oh! And while I was at it, I prepped the top of the dash and sprayed that in flat black. Things are looking better already!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 12, 2013 4:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Congratulations. I love EJ's. I just pulled one out of our legacy after 300,000 miles of service. After a rebuild it's going into our brat. Can't wait to see some pics of it.
Likewise we towed our bus from Norfolk VA to Savannah with the same tow bar. Great experience. I've had it for about 10 years.
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Nepenthe88
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@shiningstar76
300,ooo! Thems a lot of miles, wow!

And since I've had some requests to see stuff, here's a pic of the current (Leaky) throttle body reverser that also doesn't fit under the top hatch:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Why the PO decided to make it dogleg off to the passenger side is a mystery to me. It causes all sorts of problems, most notably with the throttle cable. If you look carefully the cable goes from the throttle body to the bracket, then does a tight 90* turn downward, then there's another tight 90* turn towards the front of the bus. All this snaking around causes the gas pedal to be so tight the bus is pretty much un-driveable. Making one like RJES does straightens everything out and should be a much nicer solution (http://www.rjes.com/html/throttle_body_reverser__-_99_.html). That and Here's to hoping mine doesn't have a vacuum leak! The sound isn't great, but if you listen closely you can hear sucking air. and though it takes me a second of searching to find the leak you can hear me plugging and unplugging it right before I blip the throttle.


Link

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PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Also did some welding! Not only is this the scariest part of the bus rust, but it's also the most difficult patch panel to make. It's not perfect, I know, but in time and materials it only cost me about $10 and was actually much easier to fabricate that I expected.

Anyway, we went from this:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


to this:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And while I THOUGHT The floors were solid, I took the wire wheel to the driver's side and found a couple pin-holes (you can see them in the 2nd pic), so It looks like I'm gonna have to weld a small patch on the floor too. Maybe 4"x6". Oh well, no biggie. If I can get that done, and do both J shaped pieces underneath both doors, the bus should be pretty much rust free from the sliding door forward. Yay!
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yesterday was the greatest VW restoration day ever! Lady came over and together we gutted the interior. Actually, no.. SHE gutted the interior-- removed all the panels, tore out the carpet, worked the wrenches-- while I assisted and did some of the more obnoxious tasks. I showed her real quick how to disassemble the door hardware (how to peel the plastic shield off the window crank, and remove the other plastic shield from the inner door opener handle) and she was off and running. She's amazing! And the bus is pretty nice too, as it's incredibly clean on the inside. A little bit of flaking paint on the floor and a hole from where the sink drain ran thru and that's it.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Yes, the blind spot westy cabinet is still in there. After we got the headliner panels out we kinda got distracted catching tadpoles and eating wild raspberries in the back-back yard. When we came back (and after discovering that the coy in the pond have a taste for said tadpoles) I set her loose on the 1/4" birch ply with what she calls the "Power-cutter". And not only did she slice out every panel in the bus, she did a great job of it too! She can cut a straight line, & navigate the curves like a real professional. And to add to my being impressed, this was the first time she'd ever used power tools!!

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Unfortunately, we stained the rear hatch panel and it doesn't quite match the rich cherry color of the pergo I picked out (which if you're interested, is an EXACT match to the original westy interior). I might have to pull the spray gun out and tint the panels with something red. Birch-- despite having a similar grain pattern to the cherry-- just isn't the same.

So I won't get anything done today, as I have an interview this afternoon, but tomorrow I'm going to tow the bus to my buddy's shop where we'll get glass installed. I might also get sweaty and dirty gross inside the bus, sanding everything down and putting a nice thick coat of enamel down. Heck, I might even recruit someone at the garage to weld up the throttle body reverser (time crunch, still haven't gotten to that yet) and maybe have my buddy put the bus on the lift after-hours & look at radiator relocation. I'm gonna try and follow Tom Shiels' latest coolant diagram:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

http://subaruvanagon.com/tom/Cooling%20System.htm
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