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Making your ride Better, or what I try to do.
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mightyart
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Joined: March 24, 2004
Posts: 6179
Location: Portland, Oregon
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 7:55 am    Post subject: Making your ride Better, or what I try to do. Reply with quote

I started working on cars when I got my first one, a tired little 1974 Fiat X1/9. I wanted the nicer things in life and being “Financially Challenged” I was the person who was going to make them better. Since then I have worked on many a car, and also other things that bring me to this point in my life. I bought my Westy with the intent of making a nice little camper. No show car, just a reliable form of transportation and a way for my small family to see the country on the cheap. It is a heck of a lot more fun driving this on a long trip then a cramped little compact car.
I found The Samba like everyone else, just looking for some information. I am no “guru” whatever that is. I just started posting when I thought I had some relevant information to contribute. The more I thought about it the more I realized I had Picked up some good tips in the past and started posting more.
I also realized that what I was doing was working pretty well because my Westy project seems to be progressing nicely. This is an attempt to write it down and hopefully help a few people save a little time and money. Since this is an open forum we all can contribute our own Ideas and methods. All of us stand to learn some new things, and make our rides better.
First off I like to know as much as I can about what I am working on.
When I got my Westy I got a stack of books and folders, from what I could tell this Westy was someone’s pride and joy at one time. I got old receipts, The Bentley, Haynes manual, an old magazine, a bunch of stuff this guy had collected. By reading the old receipts, I guessed the Van gotten old and worn out, the guy stuck a bunch of money in, and then gave up and sold it.
If you lived in Austin during the 90’s had an 81 Westy and your name is Chris,
Then your Vanagon is alive and being well cared for in Dallas.
Of course the Internet is a great place for help, a simple search can give up some good info. Save the good links for later reference.
One of the Best things to have is the Owners manual, one of the first things I did was clean out the inside of the Westy , I found 3 owners manuals, one so water damaged it was useless, and a very good find was the “warrantee and maintained book. I will get back to importance of these later.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

Link-O-Rama:
Basic automotive information
http://www.chirco.com/techart/techart_main.htm
http://www.autosite.com/content/research/auto101/index.cfm/id/23868
Aircooled Sites
http://www.ratwell.com
http://www.type2.com
http://type2.com/library/electrip.htm#3
Fuel injection related
http://www.type2.com/library/fuel/jetronic.htm
http://rennlist.com/techarticles/djetronicfuel.htm
http://members.rennlist.com/pbanders/djetfund.htm
Mostly Vanagon Related
http://www.vanagon.com
http://www.bostonengine.com/articles/hydraulicll.htm
http://www.syncro.org
http://www.cs.rochester.edu/u/jag/vw/
Venders I have ordered from
http://www.busdepot.com
http://www.aircooled.net
http://www.gowesty.com
Camper related
http://mastercatalog04.westmarine.com/intro2.asp
http://www.motorcaravanmagazine.co.uk/content/features.html
VW sites in languages I can’t understand
http://www.busikt3.radom.pl/historia.htm
http://www.10000things.org.uk/t25jargon.htm
These are some of my favorites, there are plenty more in cyberspace.
Now you’re armed with some knowledge, and references for all the questions that will crop up.
What is your goal? I have found that if you set reasonable goals they can be achieved with some degree of ease. I have also found setting one long-term goal, and many short-term goals. This helps you along the path to archiving your long term one. Winning little victories along the way will help when you run into the eventual problem, and don’t kid yourself there will be problems.
I discovered what my good long-term goal was after driving my Westy home for the first time. This was the first air-cooled anything I’d ever driven. I had prepared myself for slow, but this was ridiculous. I thought there is no way this is running right, they would never had sold any.
Someone comes in to take a test drive, takes it out, comes back and states “gee that 30’ Winnebago down the street is faster than this Westy”.
As I got to thinking about it, I wondered what would have been one of the best days in this Westy’s life? Once upon a time all of our vehicles were brand new, all shiny and in the dealership waiting for their new proud owners to come. I Imagine that first drive was the best, a momentary turn of the key, fires right up, all those new parts eagerly humming away. (in case you haven’t noticed I like to let my imagination run, just makes it more fun for me.)
So I found my long term goal, It was to try to bring this Westy as close as I could back to that day in 1981. I thought this was a good sort of vague goal as there where so many variables involved. Now short term goals they are easy, like today I’m going to go find out where the spark plugs live, or I will check all the hoses for leaks today ect. When I first started out and there where so many things that needed attention, I kept telling my wife (and myself) as long as we keep making progress we’re doing good, and I’m satisfied.
Ok let’s take a breath and assess our situation:
We have some knowledge and a reference source. (and of course keep learning more)
We also have a few Goals in mind.
Now we all know that these are a couple of good things to have, but there sure isn’t anything like a little O.J.T. (On The Job Training)for some real learning!
So the biggest Variable of all, the Van now I’m trying to write this so everyone can apply these things to themselves and their Van. Some of the Early Eurovan owners are starting to find that stuff really starts breaking after about 10 years on the road.
Now If you are already the proud owner of a new van you’re now committed so you can skip this little part here,
If you are just starting your quest for a camper or van please read on.
I will just touch on this a little bit. This of course is the make or break part, more so if you live in places where a good solid old car is hard to come by, like the rust belt , be very wary of rust. One thing That I think makes a car worthless and also unsafe is a car with a terminal case of rust, the bad kind from the use of salt on the streets in winter. I’ve personally been burnt twice, and I now refuse to buy any car that has lived up north for any length of time, so please go over the car very carefully. The last thing I will add is not to let your emotions over take your brain when you finally look at your first Van.
I know how it is you’ve done all this research, you’ve decided or a model year range you got the money, and you click on The Samba. Bang! There is Westy in your area, your heart starts racing, it’s in your price range, do you dare email him for a look? When you see it you fall in love and over look the noisy motor, the rust in the wheel wells, the missing parts, and the dents. It won’t take very long to realize that this is cost some bucks to fix, and it could have been a lot less if you had taken a closer look and maybe passed on this one.
Ok smoke breaks over for all you “owners” the rest applies to everyone.
The work area and tools
I live in an apartment, and most of the work that gets done is accomplished right in my parking spot out front, so you don’t need a decked out garage. Your spot should be level as possible, hard concrete if possible and kind of out of the way if you’re going to leave the van immobile for a few days. I you have to work on dirt or grass make sure it is dry, and take extra caution jacking the car up, and place boards under jack stands to prevent them from sinking in the dirt.
A few must have tools are a good floor jack, and a pair of jack stands,
Only use the Vans jack to change tires in an emergency and NEVER get under the van when the tire jack is supporting it.
Now good quality tools are a must, but you don’t have to go out and mortgage your house for a “bitchin” set of Snap-on tools. Snap-On tools are very nice but kind of over-kill for the type of use you will be giving them. Sears Craftsman tools are my choice (the ones that say Craftsman on them and that they will replace if broken). One thing I have found is poor quality sockets and wrenches are sometimes loose and will have a tendency to round the corners of your bolts, which just makes for more work. (Work smarter, not harder). I spent a little money for Socket and Wrench Combo, Regular sockets and deep well, ¾ and ½ Drives. Just about all my “good” tools came from Sears, and some I’ve had for quite some time.
Harbor Freight is my choice for the cheap tools I may need.
http://www.harborfreight.com/
I bought things like gear pullers, a ½” breaker bar, things that don’t need to be made to high tolerances and are going to see light duty.
Here is a list of the basic tools you will need:
Floor Jack, pair of jack stands, chock blocks
Voltmeter, 12volt test light, timing light,
Several screw drivers flat and Philips head
Decent socket set, decent set of wrenches,
Ball peen hammer, ½” breaker bar,
A few pair of pliers needle nose and regular
A good pair of vice grips (the best ones are made by Vise-Grip),
I also have a Vacume pump for bleeding the Brakes and Cluch. (Mighty-Vac),
Remote start button, Tach-Dwell meter and several other odds and ends.
Please add anything I may have forgotten, or anything that you have found useful.
This is getting longer than I expected, so let’s digest the imformation we have.
I’ll start on part II “actually working on your van” which may take another two weeks.
Please post if this is helpful, as writing is not my strong suit and I’ll take all the encouragement I can get.
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TeamSpatula
Samba In The Rain


Joined: February 03, 2004
Posts: 5207
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 8:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! Definitely a good resource...that deserves a sticky...
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sbclayton
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Joined: October 14, 2003
Posts: 484
Location: A place where owning a VW and enjoying life are synonymous
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 14, 2005 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I second that sticky motion! Very Happy

Wow, MightyArt! That post is so good that I'm gonna show it to my wife, the Principle Driver of our beloved '91 Carat. That's the best thing I can think of to do so she can understand where my head is at regarding VW's.

Please, please, PLEASE post the second part soon!

BTW, one of my favorite socket sets is Metrinch. I grind flat the beveled lip on the sockets so the gripping surfaces will bite on anything 1/16" or thicker, which minimizes knucklebusters to nearly zero. Pricey, but Highly Recommended!

WELL DONE!
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NavDog, a 91 Carat
Petunia, an 89 Carat, R.I.P. ("Rusty, In Pieces")

Enlightenment came when I realized that any time in my life I was having fun, it was somehow connected with owning a Volkswagen.
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Rocknrod
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Joined: November 02, 2004
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Location: North Carolina
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 8:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very cool!

Cool
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pocvw
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Joined: November 08, 2004
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 15, 2005 9:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I knew you were a smart guy when it comes to these vanagons. I appreciate your knowledge. Thanks for posting this great info.
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psych-illogical
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 9:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's great that you've posted your basic philosophy and approach to maintaining these wonderful vehicles. Having the right approach and attitude towards keeping the thing alive and healthy is the first and most important aspect of vehicle maintanance. Thanks for the post.
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Mightyart's Wife
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Joined: February 22, 2005
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think that the most glowing endorsement that I can give old Mightyart here is the fact that I am not SCARED to ride in our Vanagon anymore. When we first brought it home, I would tense up every time we stopped at a light, thinking that the thing was going to stall, and I would have to walk home in 105 degree Dallas heat. Now Eric takes me to and from work every day, and I wouldn't hesitate to jump in and take her across the country - hands down the best vehicle we EVER had. Just a (somewhat) unbiased opinion that Mightyart almost knows what he's talking about. It's nice to see that his hard work can benefit others, not just us.
Cool
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 9:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How to Make Your Ride Better
Part II
“Actually working on the Van”
Ok, since we are going to work on the van we really need to know what to work on.
My theory has always been to start on the engine and drive train and get them up to spec. before doing any “cosmetic” work. My thinking is you don’t go blow your entire budget on a nice paintjob if the Van isn’t running right and is not reliable.
You’d think this would be common sense but I’ve seen it happen. Now don’t get me wrong if you don’t spend a little bit on some “toys”, it takes all the fun out of the project.
After I got mine running ok, I got rid of the beat up hubcaps that were on it. There were only three of them and they all looked bad. So I spent $20.00 on a can of black spray paint and 4 cheap hubcaps, made the van look ten times better. Who likes driving a junky car?
Here is where your owner’s manual comes into play, if you have one all the better for you. First let’s take our owners manual and do an inspection, and see what works, what doesn’t work right, and what doesn’t work at all. The owners manual will show you the correct way that everything is supposed to work, so if your blinker comes one when you hit the horn you know that’s not the way it was intended , and you can add this to the list of things to correct.
When I first learned to work on cars I was taught to break your car into systems, like we are taught in school to do with the human body. The Bentley manual does a good job of breaking things down in the chapters they have written; so use this as a guide. Braking things down into “systems” allows you to troubleshoot more effectively. It allows you to think about the parts that are relevant to the system your working on, like the van is not stopping right, you know to worry about the brake system, so then you start testing the components of that system, and that system alone.
Let’s start with the most important stuff. Like the 4-way hazard switch, horn, blinkers, lights, break lights, and wipers. The stuff you NEED to work sometimes.
Let’s take the wipers for instance, I first time me and my wife drove the Westy in the rain, it was sprinkling and we had to go to the store. The distance is so short that we usually walk, good time to check the wipers. Worked fine there, on the way back the passenger one just sort of stopped then it fell off! The PO had glued both of them on! The shafts were broken at the threads (from over tightening I’d guess) so the wiper arms were glued to the shafts with nuts on top then painted black so you couldn’t tell. It was good to find this out at home, not a few hundred miles away in a thunderstorm. Another thing to look around for is bad repairs. After 25 years, various owners with differing mechanical ability, old aftermarket junk, and scores of mechanics my poor Westy had all kinds of bad repairs, some I’m still finding.

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

What is that thing? That is a switch from a cruise control that had long ago stopped working, it came off.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

all kinds of wires that don’t do anything anymore The red arrows show A/C wires and aftermarket cruse control wires that are gone now. The blue arrow is a kill switch the PO had wired to the fuel pump. Would have been fun to figure out if I didn’t know the switch was there and It broke down.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

The PO thought this was a good place/way to mount the radio and oil temp. gauge, I thought I could improve on it
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.

This is better for now, but I’m still not happy with it.

Of course when we got our Westy the wife and I did the dumbest thing you can do with an older used car that doesn’t seem to run right. That is decide to go on a short trip without checking it out thoroughly. Of course we paid the price by having to have it towed home. I knew better than to trust it without checking it out, but we wanted to play with our new toy. It was a beautiful spring day and we wanted to go picnic by the lake, and check out our new camper. We were leaving The Target Superstore (temple of consumption) with all our goodies, we went over a speed bump and it stalled and would not start again. I messed around with it for about 3 hours got it to limp around the block, then gave up and called a tow truck.
Well I figured the VW gods were sending me signs, so that’s when I really started doing things correctly. I found so many things wrong after taking all the Fuel Injection apart I’m surprised it ran at all.
The thing that what finally killed it was a very loose injector, It was an aftermarket injector, and It looked like the person who installed it used an old rubber o-gasket, it was so dry rotted, and had cracks in it so deep, that it wouldn’t hold the injector in place. The injector was just flopping around in the hole letting air in. When we hit the speed bump it came out for good.
You need a Bentley Manual!
My Westy came with a big green manual called “Vanagon Official Factory Repair Manual”. To my surprise I found out this was the fabled “Bentley Manual”. In small print at the bottom is the author’s name, “Robert Bentley”. Without this you are just guessing about how things are supposed to be. The Bentley is expensive, and it has its shortcomings, but what it will save you in time it is well worth the cost. I’ve also found a cheap digital camera is very handy. I take a bunch of pictures, than I have a reference if I forget where something goes, I can see the progress I have made over the months to.
After the Tow truck brought us home I went to work taking all the fuel injection components off the van. I had given them a halfhearted “visual” inspection, because I wanted to drive it. I was at least armed with a good understanding of how FI worked.
I took the air hoses off, and went to the auto parts place and got a few feet of each size, and a bunch of new hose clamps.
I cleaned all the parts, checked that the moving parts worked, checked the parts with a voltmeter per the Bentley Manual and then put it all back together with the new rubber hoses and clamps. I also removed the A/C unit that didn’t look like it had functioned in a while. And looked for any anomalies or missing parts, and of course I found a few.
One thing I have learned over the years if you are fixing up a car to keep, use good quality parts. I have replaced worn out parts after a few years because of how cheaply they were made, sure they had a warrantee but only the lord knows where the receipt for it went. Doing the same job twice sucks to.
Here are a few of my criteria for buying parts. Don’t buy anything important like starters, alternators, and the like from AutoZone, or other cheap retail chain stores. As a rule of thumb I try to only put German OEM parts in my Vanagon. I will pay extra for good quality parts like Bosch. I also try to stay away from any South American VW Parts. I will by parts from NAPA in a pinch, and also universal stuff like hoses and bulbs.
The Internet is a great place to get New parts. Here are a few of the places I have ordered from:
www.busdepot.com Bus Depot has started to slip a little bit in the quality of part that I have gotten. The service is allot quicker if you place your order by phone.
www.bus-boys.com Bus Boys has a good website but no online ordering, but if you write all your part numbers down beforehand the service is quick. On a side note: if you are going to go to their website don’t forget the “-“ in the URL. If you do you’ll go to the bands website and have to listen to the song “the boys are back in town” at a high volume. It starts getting annoying after about the third time you forget.
www.aircooled.net I only ordered a few things thought their website and the transactions went very smooth and the parts arrived quickly. They get an A+ so far.
www.jcwhitney.com Let me just say a few words about a rather strange place to order parts from. I’ve been ordering parts from JC Whitney since the late 80’s with varied results. Because they deal in volume it is hard to pass up some of their prices.
Here are a few rules I’ve got when ordering from JC Whitney:
Only order named brand parts, They carry so much stuff good and just plan crap that you have to be careful.
Of course if you order a “cool” pair of mirrors for $9.95, expect a set of mirrors worth about ten bucks. Don’t expect or take any advice given on your Van from their customer service, know what you are ordering and verify that it is correct for your van. Don’t order anything you may need quickly or can’t wait for, they can be slow sometimes.
Get their catalog in the mail and always take advantage of any “free shipping” or 20% off specials they are running. This is one way you save big from them. Here is an example of what I have ordered: I bought my electronic ignition from them 95.00 + free shipping at JC Whitney, 139.00 at Bus Depot. I did have to wait a month for it to be shipped from the factory, but it was worth the savings because I didn’t need it.
Used parts can be an alterative when some new parts are no longer available, or if you need something that doesn’t wear very much. If you are lucky enough to find a Van like yours in your local junkyard, then get all the usable stuff you can off it. I haven’t been able to find one to cannibalize in a junkyard so I’ve relied on the Internet for all the used parts I have acquired. I’ve ordered a few things and have had good luck with the few sellers I’ve delt with in The Samba Classifieds. I ordered things from the “parting out” ads in the Classifieds I’ve also had good luck ordering things off Ebay. www.ebay.com
I’ve gotten a few manuals and some parts off Ebay. I stay away from buying parts on Ebay, but will snatch up a good deal if I see one, and will pay a bit more for say a hard to find thing like a manual.
So where are we so far?
We need to check the Van over (with manual in hand) to see what needs to be replaced or fixed. While checking we will get a feel for how everything is supposed to work, and where certain things are located. We will be on the lookout for any “bad” repairs to undo or nonfunctioning aftermarket junk to remove. When starting your repairs give yourself plenty of time to do the job correctly, and allow for the inevitable mistake here and there, like getting something almost together and discovering a part you forgot to put in. Should you take another extra hour and take it apart, or just forget about this part?
Take the extra time and do it right, you’re trying to make it better not add to the problems. I would be a good idea to make a list of the items that need attention, and take lots of pictures if you have a digital camera and a little hard drive space.
The other morning with the smell of brewing coffee and the sun just rising above our campsite, the wife and I were discussing how our hard work and money spent were quite worth it. We then had a wonderful breakfast cooked on the Westy’s stove, explored awile, packed up camp and drove back 300 trouble free miles. I’ve still got some cosmetic work to do, it may never be “finished”, but the payback from the labor is worth it.
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BavarianWrench
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mightyart you know somebody has to be negative in regards to your post and it might as well be me. You are wrong, wrong, wrong, that post is way over the top. Nobody should ever lay that kind of abundance on this addict or any others for that mater. If your on the Samba, quit your denial, your hooked on VW's and are an addict. I'm freaking overdosing right now. I have other things I need to do, all I can do is check out the links. Mightyart your going to make me hit bottem and then I'll have to quit VW's all together. Join a 12 step group to find some sort of sanity. I can't even pull myself away to eat. I need more insight into the VANAGON and there is days worth of info, in the links. What the hell am I going to do? Mightyart you are the artist type bad influence, should have known you were the one mother warned me about. Shit I can hear her calling me now. I have to go, ahhhhhh save meeeeeee. Oh yeh and thanks.
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mlf
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

that does it ,my name is mark, yes i'm addict now i know my wife is going to leave me. i tried the 12 step program . it does not work ,i'm on the websites all day long ordering or checking ,than all night working on my vanagon . she might like it when we retire in it. but only if gas prices go down or a different form of power is found . may be electric ??
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Mightyart's Wife
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mlf wrote:
now i know my wife is going to leave me.


Yeah, even I get sick of seeing The Samba, and I actually LIKE Eric's VW hobby and greatly appreciate the significant enrichment it's brought us! Here's the trick, get her to drive an old VW...I know I couldn't leave Eric because I'd have to take the Vanagon, and then I'd need either him or The Samba to help me keep her running. It's a catch 22!

Quote:
Mightyart you are the artist type bad influence, should have known you were the one mother warned me about.


BavarianWrench, if you are wise you will listen to your Mother...that Mightyart is bad news!
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sbclayton
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Location: A place where owning a VW and enjoying life are synonymous
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: SECOND sticky nomination! Reply with quote

Mightyart, thy art is indeed MIGHTY! Wink

But seriously, your posts are thoroughly enjoyable. I re-nominate your posts for a sticky!

I was going to PM you about this, but I figure there just might be some public support, so I am - publicly - going to put my foot in it...

Have you considered writing professionally? Your style is very readable and open, and, having some past experience in the writing business, I think you would find an eager audience.

That said, please allow me to add to your Link-O-Rama:

Ken Wilford of VanAgain has been an invaluable friend to Vanagonheads since forever, and I highly recommend him to all. Great parts and customer service, and a deep knowledge of inner Vanagon workings.

Website is http://www.vanagain.com .

The Vanagon Forum is fortunate in having such a wealth of literate, well-informed contributors; you know who you are and listing all the names would take pages. I have seldom seen such high-caliber advice and support. Well done, all!
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Steve - Tampa Bay Area
NavDog, a 91 Carat
Petunia, an 89 Carat, R.I.P. ("Rusty, In Pieces")

Enlightenment came when I realized that any time in my life I was having fun, it was somehow connected with owning a Volkswagen.
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DanJReed
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 15, 2005 7:00 pm    Post subject: Wow! Reply with quote

That is a damn quality post!
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mightyart
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 16, 2005 10:52 am    Post subject: Re: SECOND sticky nomination! Reply with quote

sbclayton wrote:
Mightyart, thy art is indeed MIGHTY! Wink

But seriously, your posts are thoroughly enjoyable. I re-nominate your posts for a sticky!

I was going to PM you about this, but I figure there just might be some public support, so I am - publicly - going to put my foot in it...

Have you considered writing professionally? Your style is very readable and open, and, having some past experience in the writing business, I think you would find an eager audience.

That said, please allow me to add to your Link-O-Rama:

Ken Wilford of VanAgain has been an invaluable friend to Vanagonheads since forever, and I highly recommend him to all. Great parts and customer service, and a deep knowledge of inner Vanagon workings.

Website is http://www.vanagain.com .

The Vanagon Forum is fortunate in having such a wealth of literate, well-informed contributors; you know who you are and listing all the names would take pages. I have seldom seen such high-caliber advice and support. Well done, all!


Thanks! Embarassed I just hope it helps a few people.
My wife is the excellent writer, she has her own screen name now, so I'm trying to talk her into posting something to. She has been experimenting with the cooking and stuff in the Westy. It's great when you can involve your partner in this project, my wife likes the Camping as much as I do.
So We both have a stake in how well it runs and the comfort level.
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Rick73Super
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2005 10:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for sharing your wealth of information!
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r39o
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gee, I just noticedthe rare front mounted A/C in that van. That is one of the things I wish for my van. Someday the Pick-A-Part Gods will smile on me and I too will find a setup like that. Then I can have another cabinet in the back and have A/C where it will do me some good!
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stumpie
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 1:21 pm    Post subject: better ride Reply with quote

Four (4) Thumbs up Art. Like me you have vw on the brain. (Thats not bad ) Thanks for taking the time to inform us on vw's. Laughing
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mjamgb
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wanted to add a couple of comments (kinda my philosophy).

Mightyart is right-on.

Part I:

Some more things to consider in the purchase of a 10+ year old vehicle or if you plan on owning a new car 10+ years... Best done within a week or two of purchase or on the 10-year anniversary, whichever applies best!

Flush the brake fluid.
Replace the wheel bearings (front, wait for noise before doing the rears).
Replace the shocks.
Replace the tires... probably the last owner cheaped out and you have mush-o-matics on there... get the HD tires.
Expect to replace the windshield.
Clean and repack the CV joints.

Yes, some of those tasks you should have been doing the entire 10 years.

Rust is bad but you may want transportation that is functional, not beautiful for a few years... if so most Vanagon rust is superfluous... it has a very heavy chassis and the most vulnerable places for rust are redundant structural members. If you are considering a ruty Van, jack up each corner in turn and open and close all the doors with each jacking manuver. If any door is recalcitrant (sticky) pass on it as it is too far gone for safety. OTOH, you WILL fall in love with the beast and all that rust will make you heartsick...

Tools... Add a (46mm, I think) rear axle nut socket (3/4-inch drive) and a monster breaker bar for it. Toss in a 6-foot piece of old 1-inch iron pipe and a 6-foot piece of heavy angle iron... you will figure out it's mystical powers quickly!

I second Art's comments on the dead-simplicity of working on these beasts. The ONLY things I can't do are line-bore the mains, R&R the lower ball joint (takes funky adaptor for press I haven't purchased, yet) and bodywork... the latter is because I am too busy to learn the "art."

I do all my work in the driveway. I have a garage but you are likely aware of the nature of garages (junk expands to fill available space regardless of other intended use of said space).

Mike!
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 01, 2005 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, yeah, as a "victim" of stock jack stupidity... twice (wince) I can vouch that the VW jack is for emergencies only or you are taking your life in your hands... or your 4-year old's who wanted a closer look at what daddy is doing (I still shudder).

Drive the car to a better place to jack it up even if it means destroying the rim.

Block ALL three of the tires not being changed.

Still don't go under there!

Mike!
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 01, 2006 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mlf wrote:
that does it ,my name is mark, yes i'm addict now i know my wife is going to leave me.

Lol...one of my ex-wife's most frequent complaints was the amount of time and money that went into our Westy.
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