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Winston the Faithful <Verbose>
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:39 pm    Post subject: Winston the Faithful <Verbose> Reply with quote

Hot weekend at the site--new record temperatures, rough going. Survived it.

As usual, I plugged Winston into the house current, but when I went out the following morning to see how cold his refrigerator had gotten, I had a shock. I'd turned the control to 'Minimum' when I was trying to shut the fridge off the week before, and it had taken me at my word. It got FAIRLY cool on AC before I set out, but I felt stupid. This week I just turned off the propane.

Winston has his usual anomalies--this week's include the fuel gauge and the odometer. The fuel gauge read that there was less than a quarter of a tank, the odometer read 250 miles, and I didn't think I'd driven that far. I also didn't think I could GET that far on 3/4's of a tank. Winston's managed 22 mpg highway, I figured that's about optimum.

Well, he only took a little less than 8 gallons. Readings, then, aren't THAT far off, but it'll bear watching. I might take the GPS along and do some speedometer and odometer readings next week. I also have a new instrument panel regulator coming from Van-Cafe, I'll install that on general principles. Nothing looks TOO frightening, but that's an issue. I was able to fix the radio antenna's connections with my Leatherman and the 'gargling' the loose antenna had caused went away.

With the forecast promising the high 90's, when I got Winston to the campsite I decided to rig for hot weather, which meant the hatch extender and the rear mosquito net, and both of my home-made magnetic window screens on the front windows. At Wal-Mart, for $7, I found a little Springfield min/max thermometer/hygrometer that looked interesting, it clipped very neatly onto the tray. I put up my Reflectix window covers as usual. They pretty much block the side windows, but I still think they reflect heat and sun. I checked the amount of list on Winston with the one inclinometer that didn't fall off its mount--7 degrees.

Hurray, the refrigerator lit, and I got away with varying my routine. Slept very well that night--thermometer said it got down to 53 F, and I did have some air movement through the van. When I got back to Winston after the day's work, I found the thermometer reading '105' and turned on the fans I rigged over the refrigerator coils, my thermometer inside the fridge read '50.' Nothing had gone bad, and the refrigerator seemed to cool down again. Dinner that night was instant chicken chow mein, cooked in Winston's microwave--and it was DELICIOUS. That was a pleasant surprise.

With the refrigerator running so well, I've altered my old routine, which was to freeze one of my two quarts of milk and put quite a bit of Blue Ice in the fridge. I didn't freeze the milk and only put in half as much of the blue ice. I still run my little battery fan to circulate air inside the fridge. Well, nothing spoiled, and the ice containers were at least partly frozen at the end of this weekend's stay.

I decided the 2nd night in camp that I'd raise the tent and get that much more airflow through Winston, and it did seem to help until the morning sun started streaming through the window, which made me velcro it closed. We had some scarey wind, thunder and rain as I gulped down my burritos and 'made ready for sea.' Blowing wind and rain, and I think the nuts are loosening on Winston's windshield wipers. They seem to have gone out of adjustment, although they did still work. They just didn't seem to clear as much of the windshield as I'd hoped.

The drive back was... scary. On the drive out, Winston seemed noisier than usual, I realized when I got home that I'd accidentally opened one of the side slider windows that I'd thought I'd been closing. I had an excuse for that, it was pitch black and stormy and the wind was blowing in fairly strong gusts.

To my great relief, Winston started faithfully, the reduction gear starter is a wonder, and he easily rode over the camp's dirt roads that are getting pretty rutted again and are rather far from level. Thank Heaven for those big Hellas, they lit up the countryside in front of him, darkness and rain notwithstanding.

The back road I took home really needs to have new lane indicators and lines painted on it. I could find my way along with the high-beams fairly well, but there are some very dangerous turn-off on that road, and for some reason cars had a habit of showing up every time I was trying to find my way along through unmarked areas in darkness. I may take Winston back to the Interstate.

I think the Agilis tires are doing pretty well, I wish I could come up with some accurate mileage figures. I got some BAD gusts on that road, which does run along the foothills. He'd lurch, a bit, but he held his own. I think my KYB's are doing pretty well, too, in the ruts in the campground they dampened things down pretty quickly. Things to do this week include readjusting the wipers, washing and waxing the poor thing, and installing my new Bosch metal 'post pump' filter.

And I am already tired.

Best!
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Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
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bucko
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Didn't I read recently that you put a different set of rims/tires from DOGPILOT? Could that account for the different readings on your speedo and/or gas consumption differences?

Nice writeup. If it got down to 53 degrees here in Florida at night, we'd have the heat on!!! Big temp drop from the temps you had during the day.
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syncromat
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

well , me too .
my wipers were well out of alignment but i thought i could still use them . then i hit a thunderstorm , torrential rain , no wipers , no tools , stuck until rain stopped (2 hours)
liked the write up .
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2007 3:11 pm    Post subject: Oh, Yeah Reply with quote

I'm almost certain that the rims DO explain the weird odometer readings, although that's a puzzle, because the 15" with the Agilis are almost EXACTLY the stock diameter. My readings should be MORE accurate, not less. It's possible that the speedometer is strangely calibrated, I'll do some checking with the GPS, as I've said.

Winston was an Arizona van, the window tinting is pretty much violet, but I think it helps, and I do what I can to mitigate the Van-be-cue of fluctuating temperatures. But that's Colorado for you--you can die of heat stroke and exposure on the same day, if you are sufficiently stupid. But you can only choose one.

Best!
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'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 2:43 pm    Post subject: Puttering Around, Puttering Under Reply with quote

Today I went out and adjusted the windshield wipers, they were touching the lower edge of the windshield, they are supposed to be 70 mm. = 2 3/4" above that edge. With a ratchet wrench and a ruler that adjustment was easy, and the driver's side wiper arm was loose, indeed. I need to get a good torque wrench for readings such as the one required on those bolts, that being (a la Bentley) 43"/lb. I settled for 'tight.'

It went fast and well, and so I took a quick look under Winston and thought, oh, the heat wave's gone, why NOT go ahead and put on the 2nd 'after the pump' fuel filter. I did duck into Blazer when in the neighborhood and asked Larry what he thought--he echoed tencentlife that the early 1.9's had never had a filter after the pump, but he didn't think it would hurt anything. He didn't have a bracket to hold the new fuel filter in place.

I found some high pressure fuel line left over from replacing the leads to small plastic cube filter. I went to NAPA and bought some high pressure fuel injector grade hose clamps. These are stainless steel and have a nut embedded in the loop of the clamp and don't chew up the hose when you tighten them. You want their biggest size, they don't make them in the larger sizes.

I cut out a length of the rubber lead from the fuel pump and some of the thin plastic line--I thought there was a hole in it, there wasn't--and slipped it all together. Don't forget to make sure you've got the right end of the filter pointed toward the engine! Hose clamping pliers are a wonderful thing, I bought a purpose-built set right after I got Winston that keeps the blades parallel.

I used a nut driver to tighten down the hose clamps, which is a lot easier on your back then trying to get a screwdriver to thread. I had some of that perforated soft metal strapping you can buy at hardware stores, wrapped that around the body of the filter, ran a long bolt through three of the holes and a chassis beam, and had my bracket. It seemed quite secure.

Tested the set-up heavily--turned the key to pressurize the system, scurried back around and under to look for leaks, none, scurried back, started him, a bit hard as the gas started to flow through the new filter, then he settled down and purred as usual. Checked by touch for gas or dampness, found none.

So, that's done, cheap insurance for the health of Winston's injectors, although I've been wondering where everybody's getting those filters for $10. I paid twice that. Might try the AC/Delco my friend recommended if the issue arises anytime soon.

Popped the engine cover and looked over all the usual suspect spots, checked the plug wires, Temp II. sensor connections, O2 reader--everything looked fine. Oil was a bit close to the lower mark, added 3 1/2 cups. Coolant was lovely, engine a bit dusty, I'll clean it with compressed air the next time I get out the compressor. Then I went around and oiled his door and cabinet hinges with some Dupont teflon spray lube, and felt pretty good about myself.

Best!
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'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
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syncromat
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 3:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good on ya Msinabottle. . Have always been intrigued where that name came from .
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 26, 2007 4:05 pm    Post subject: The name... Reply with quote

Thank you for the compliment!

For my 'handle,' look here...

http://tinyurl.com/ywo3yd

Good story, too.

Best!
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'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 04, 2007 10:21 pm    Post subject: Picture of the Post-Fuel Pump Retrofit Reply with quote

Here's how the big metal Bosch fuel filter looks under Winston, with the home made 'galvanized strapping' bracket holding it tight to one of Winston's main beams:

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


He seems to be very happy with it. That's held on some pretty bumpy dirt roads already.

Best!
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'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 07, 2007 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The strapping is called "plumber's tape".
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Belladonna30c
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Winston the Faithful <Verbose> Reply with quote

msinabottle wrote:
With the forecast promising the high 90's, when I got Winston to the campsite I decided to rig for hot weather, which meant the hatch extender and the rear mosquito net, and both of my home-made magnetic window screens on the front windows.


Hi msinabottle:

I'm curious about your homemade magnetic window screens. Do you have pics to share? I might like to make something similar and rather than reinvent the wheel...

If you don't have pictures, could you describe the method you used?

Thank you.
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 30, 2009 10:59 pm    Post subject: The Screens... Reply with quote

Ah, all right... I still remember that pretty well, and I use 'em every time I camp in Winston. What I would do is to go down to the hardware store and get about ten or so earth magnets, the 2nd smallest size, the good quality ones... Some GOOD scissors and a Scotch Tape dispenser, and some fairly stiff paper.

I'd tack the paper in place over each of the front windows with the earth magnets and the scotch tape... And cut away the paper as much as you could and still leave the magnets anchored on the outside of the van's windows and the paper FLAT.

Then I'd go to a good hardware store, or a good cloth store, or both, and buy enough No-see-um nylon mesh to cover both of the two templates I'd just made, and some iron-on mending cloth tape, enough to fold over the edges of the mesh once I'd cut it to size. I'd be careful, 'cause the iron that heats up the mending tape will be hot enough to melt the mesh. But even an idiot can do it. Trust me, I know!

Then I'd glue the the magnets in place on the mesh and iron the tape over that... The tape would grab the tape through the mesh and hold the magnets permanently in place... and I'd have my window screens!

That's not quite how I did it THEN. But it's how I'd do it NOW.

Clear?

Best!
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'Winston,' '84 1.9 WBX Westy
Vanagon Poet Laureate: "I have suffered in
many ways, but never, never, never in silence."
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