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Is Raby’s “Camper Special”, Special ?? Must read !!
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Opossum
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Is Raby’s “Camper Special”, Special ?? Must read !! Reply with quote

Sit down and get comfy, this is a long one. I am the original owner of a 1973 tin top orange Westfalia camper (type 4 motor). This bus took my wife and I on our first date, honeymoon (32 years ago), and many trips.

Over the years it has had its problems and I have repaired them with the help of the Bentley (prior to the Internet). When it came time for a new engine (too many problems), I had a Volkswagen dealer replace the original with a genuine VW rebuild (from Canada). The engine was never quite right; it leaked oil and no one could tune it correctly. This was after VW stopped selling bays, but still tried to service them (early 1980s).

Under California emissions laws you had to keep original equipment. It was very hard to get it to pass the smog test every other year. Then one year it couldn’t pass. So I drove it without a license renewal. Anyway, the law changed and no more smog tests. I got rid of the VW 1700cc motor and bought a GEX 2 liter (laugh here). Price was good, sales pitch sounded good, the warranty provided was unheard of. I took off the smog, got a pair of Weber carbs and replaced the motor. Once again the engine leaked and still didn’t run very smooth but, it had a little more power. It wasn’t dependable enough to leave town past my AAA towing range. After about a year and a half, the motor dropped a valve seat. I was going to fix this myself, but I had heard of a local VW garage that was doing some decent work.

I discussed my needs with the owner and he told me he could improve on the other two engines that I had no faith in. He promised me that his motor would not leak and would be a vast improvement over the past motors.

I had him rebuild me a 2 liter and also do the install. Well, two days later, it leaked oil, ran rough at idle, and had poor gas mileage (8 miles/gal.). He said he would fix the leaks and the low mileage, but after leaving it with him several times, I realized his repair attempts were futile. Guess I was one of the guinea pigs for his shop learning how to rebuild a type 4 motor.

I was not happy, just stupid. One day while waiting for a repair attempt to be made on the bus I saw the owner looking at a web site on his computer and asked what it was. He said it was a new site for VW’s called ”The Samba”. When I got home I pulled it up, I could not believe the wealth of information, especially for the type 4 motor. After reading “The Samba” for a year or two and my bus not getting any better I started to research a builder for a new motor. Due to personal and business constraints I did not have the time to rebuild it myself, so I investigated getting a turnkey motor. The name that kept coming up on “The Samba”, “Shop Talk” and other VW forums was Jake Raby.

I read many threads of his research and accomplishments and they all sounded too good to be true. All this had to have a high price. The kit price was not that bad, and is even better now, but I figured if he built it I would not have any more problems and would gain piece of mind/dependability. I called Jake and told him my past problems and what I desired. He worked out a quote and I got on his list in April of 2007.

After Christmas, I got a call from Jake telling me he needed me to ship him the engine. Having had oil leaks in this case, I told him to buy a case and add it to the bill. This case has to better, right? Well, I shipped all the other parts and in about 2 weeks I got a call that the motor would be shipped to me. I got the motor back and installed it. It had a little more power, ran quieter, and a little smoother. Now here’s the bad part of this story: The next day, after I put in the recommended “Brad Penn” oil, I noticed the engine had leaked on my garage floor; WTF am I jinxed? This was before I even started the motor and it had been dynoed at Jake’s shop. I thought, well it’s not leaking as much as it was and maybe it would resolve itself. When I took it for a test drive; ANOTHER WTF!!! My Dakota gauges showed unacceptably high readings for both CHT and the Oil temp. They were higher than I had ever had on any motor even though it was only 80 degrees outside and I was not going up any major hills. Disgusted, I drove it home.

After all my research, where could I have gone to do a better turnkey than Jake Raby? I received an e-mail from Jake asking how it ran. I told him what had happened. He could not believe the oil leak, so I sent him some photos. At that point, he was more upset than I was. Regarding the temps, he asked me to chart some information with my LM-1 AFR meter and the other gauges. He said that the heat/running problems may be due to the California mix of gasoline compared to the fuel used in the dyno setup. My wife and I charted the information on various road conditions and e-mailed it to Jake.

Jake called and said he would come out and fix the problems. What a shock! I knew there was no warranty. It was just a minor leak; I told him to just tell me what to do and I would repair it. Jake said, “No, you did not pay for leaks or a poorly tuned motor. I will come out to your place and fix it.” I have been in the business world for thirty + years. In all of my contacts with companies, large and small, I had never encountered such dedication to customer service. I thought Jake must be crazy to travel 2,000 miles to fix my VW. My wife and I really didn’t expect him to follow through. Yet, there it was, an e-mail from Jake saying he would be at my house the following week. I almost hoped it would leak more and run worse so I wouldn’t be dismantled by him on the forums. I never asked him to come out here and I really did not want him to come.

Well, here is what happened; Last Monday, early in the morning, I got a call from Jake saying he would be a little late arriving. “Yeah, that’s okay,” I said “Traffic is always bad in the morning.” He said it wasn’t the traffic; he had stopped to help a guy with his bus stopped on the side of the freeway. Sure didn’t sound like the “hot head” I had heard about. Later that morning, Jake pulled up to my house ready to get to work. Who has ever heard of this kind of thing happening? After a brief check of the install, we drove down the freeway to San Clemente and stopped at lower trestles/church’s (surf spot). He got out and sniffed the exhaust, changed a few settings on the carbs and we drove away. The bus ran noticeably better, smoother, and cooler. When we got back, Jake offered to help drop the engine but I didn’t want to waste his time. Jake came back 7 P.M. and stayed ‘til 11:00. He examined the engine and replaced the main seal and resealed all other possible leak places.

Jake offered to help reinstall the engine on Tuesday but my wife and I could handle that. On Wednesday, Jake returned with replacement jets (Weber 40 IDF) and other carb parts to help my engine deal with our California overpriced ($ 4.69/gal.) gas. When he was done, we took it for some test drives. The performance of this motor was unbelievable. I was going up fairly good grades at 85 mph and still gaining speed while only showing 360 degrees on the CHT. And the oil leak is gone too. I wanted to pay Jake for his time and the parts; he refused, stating that he had already been paid.

Jake gets a bad rap sometimes for being out-spoken, but if you had put as much of your time/life into the research, testing, and development for the type 4 motor as he has, you would be too. A man of his word, an amazing and innovative mechanic, Jake is probably one of the nicest, most interesting guys you could ever meet. My wife and I are grateful to have met such a talented, honorable man as Jake Raby.

A synopsis:
1. When the engine leaked oil I mentioned it to Jake, but didn’t “complain”.
2. He offered to come repair it and I told him there was no need; he did it anyway.
3. When I offered Jake payment he refused and stated “You already paid me”.
4. Jake drove all over Orange County buying new jets and a few other tuning parts to make the engine run the way he wanted and refused money for those as well.
5. Jake had been on the side of I-5 in the middle of the desert assisting a stranded fellow VW Bus owner the night before.

To answer the question, yes the “Camper Special” is special and so is the creativity and support team behind it. I know this is the last engine I will ever buy for my bus. If only it had been available 25 years ago, I could have saved a lot of money and aggravation; but then Jake was only 8
years old !
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Going on a test drive
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I am not worthy !!! Thanks, Jake
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fukengruvenoval
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Neat story, and kudos to Jake...

I'm amazed the fuel can make such a difference in performance and temperature.

Enjoy your new engine!
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DubKru
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 3:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah, from what I've read, Jake sounds like the man. With all the data taken while running the motor and R&D, He can set you in the right direction with type 4's. I'll be hitting him up for the deluxe valvetrain kit once I get some heads worked.
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420GOAT
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

about two years ago i met jake at bugarama in sacto, me ,him,and the boss went to dinner, very smart dude, and surprisingly cool. so technical my head was spinning!....ps i was faded!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great story! Kudos to you Jake! Nice to see such dedication in the industry. VWs bring out the best in people.

Smile
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

When I first saw the length of the post, I wasnt going to read it.

I'm glad I did.

Great to read such a story. Kudos to Jake!
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CLH
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 6:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is amazingly cool.
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Jake Raby
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim has been an absolute stellar customer who has respected my product, and has been very understanding without demanding anything more than the best thing I could produce for him.

Thats why I helped him and will do the same thing for anyone else that handles a less than perfect situation in a similar fashion.

Jim and his Wife are great people. I went to California to assist a "customer" and I returned with a "friend" that understands who I am and appreciates what we have created for him.

People have a false sense of my personalty because they confuse my intensity for perfection with what appears to be "egotistical" when that could not be further from the truth.

Jim, I don't know what to say.... Except I don't really know what my critics will say about this one, but I am sure they can find some negative aspect of the situation- they always do.

If it starts to leak oil again, even a single drop- I'll fly back, hang out and repair it again!

(Jim didn't take me seriously when I told him that I had ZERO tolerance for oil leaks!!!!)
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busfreak_71
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause Good on you Jake, I'm glad to see that there is still something called "customer service" around. And you went the extra mile (literally) to help someone. Cool
Hopefully if everything works out for me and I get the '73 hightop I'm looking at, I'll save my pennies and order up one of your camper special kits. Smile
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FNGRUVN
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 7:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your bus probably runs as good as it looks now. Nice story.
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 8:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Awesome story.

Thanks for writing it Jim.

Thanks for doing it, Jake!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 12, 2008 10:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jake Raby wrote:
If it starts to leak oil again, even a single drop- I'll fly back, hang out and repair it again!

(Jim didn't take me seriously when I told him that I had ZERO tolerance for oil leaks!!!!)


And here I was thinking that there's no such thing as an old car that does not leak Shocked I mean, everything I've ever owned has leaked at one point or the other. My old 84 Merc diesel leaks. My 74 westy leaks (even though I haven't really driven it much yet) and even my 2001 Chevy Astro leaks!!

Is there really such a thing as an engine that does not leak? Thanks for having such faith in your abilities Jake. In today's world, its hard to find people willing to stand behind what they say. And thanks for telling us all about this Jim! May you and your wife have many happy years with your 'new and improved' bus Very Happy
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 3:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice story. Thanks Jim for sharing. And Jake, wow !! Shocked If I buy you a CS and it runs hot or leak oil, will you fly to my place to fix it ? (about 10 hours flight from L.A). I'm impressed. Seems that you'll have soon an order for a Type4 from my friend Valery for his super beetle here in New Caledonia. You could have another in a year or two for my '78 westy... Cool

Pierre
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Jake Raby
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Is there really such a thing as an engine that does not leak?


Yes, Jim's engine is dry as a bone on the under side and so are all my daily drivers. if an engine leaks a single drop of oil during it's dyno session it won't leave my shop!

The reason VW engines leak oil is the surface prep procedures (if any) coupled to assemblers that believe that one sealant works adequately enough to seal the entire engine. Here we use 9-14 different sealants on engines according to what engine it is and how it is being assembled. We spend a fair amount of time just testing sealants and developing assembly procedures to eliminate oil leaks.

My engine shop Foreman, Brent has an engine that he built in 1988 for one of his buses, that engine was a daily driver until just last year when he pulled it out and replaced it with our "CS Lite" combo for testing purposes. That old engine, built 20 years ago had to have the pushrod tubes changed because it was so leak free that the originals rusted through a couple of years ago!!!

Now, Don't think that any engine that I build would see me flying cross country to repair it... All the Planets must be in alignment and the customer must have been just as deserving as Jim and his situation was for this to occur. Jim was deserving because he was respectful and didn't bitch, moan or complain or state "I paid you XXXX amount for this engine and you are going to make it right!". When people use that statement, they may as well go ahead and write off my future involvement with what ever the problem is because they have forgotten that they have a 30+ year old vehicle and that vehicle is mechanical and can break, despite the amount of "money" that was spent on it.I usually counter their statement made about cost with "My team has 80-100 hours of our lives in that engine, can you put a price tag on that?"

Fact is that things associated with mechanical workings can go wrong at any time, with any amount of preparation, despite how much is spent on them.

My program eliminates most occurences of this happening with proper procedures and more time spent than necessary during the build process, but crap can still occur..

Now, keep in mind that Jim signed a Proposal to engage his project with me. In that proposal there was no fine print and it boldly stated that the engine was covered by NO WARRANTY WHAT SO EVER after it left the care and control of my environment. This did not stop me from repairing the issue without even being asked to do so!! The "paperwork" stated clearly that I didn't have to, even if the engine scattered all over the highway, for what ever reason.

Point is, some people won't buy an engine from me because of the lack of warranty, bu that never bothers me because thats just a red flag that they aren't very smart and can be fooled by a false sense of security that they BELIEVE a piece of worthless paper can give them. I send them on their way and they never realize that a piece of paper can't stop something from breaking and that they are much better off with a builder that works to avoid the issues that cause a "warranty repair" instead of dealing with fine print when something does break.

Oh well, sorry for the rant.... I did what I felt was fair for Jim, considering that he believed in me enough to open his wallet far enough to buy what I created for him.
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barrysmith
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 6:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That bus is breathtaking Jim. How many miles are on it?
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 7:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That was just a phenomenal story!! Great looking bus also. Jake, gotta love the passion.
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Jake Raby
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Jim's Bus is VERY nice and very clean!! It has low mileage, like 130K if I remember correctly.. Most buses are pushing 250-400K these days, my company Bus had 350K on it when I reconstructed it in 2000
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vwbusbusvw
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I expected to see another rant about Jake's temperment, and was surprised by what I read. My opinion has changed about both Jake and his engines. Only someone with a great sense of honor would make the trip out to make those repairs. Definitely someone that I would like to do business with.
Thanks for sharing the story.
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Jake Raby
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 9:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

vwbusbusvw wrote:
I expected to see another rant about Jake's temperment, and was surprised by what I read. My opinion has changed about both Jake and his engines. Only someone with a great sense of honor would make the trip out to make those repairs. Definitely someone that I would like to do business with.
Thanks for sharing the story.


Glad to hear that...

Quote:
I expected to see another rant about Jake's temperment, and was surprised by what I read


Thats because you broke the 12th Commandment, never assume anything!! The reason you did not see what you assumed you'd see is because thats not really who I am.

See, most people never get to meet me.. I am stuck away in a cave called a "control room" on top of a mountain in Georgia, on the opposite side of the Continent from the mainstream VW world. That single reason is why I am most effective and I place myself there for total concentration and maximum effectiveness.

Because of that people only read what I write and that is filled with intensity, because I am an intense person and only know one speed- wide ass open. I make points firm and try to be as fair as possible, but when reading what I write it can be easy to get a false sense of my personality.

That said, when given the situation to be ill tempered, you do not want to be present for the event, and though my temper has calmed a bit as I have gotten older its still there and ready to be unleashed if any person tries to harm my family,foul my business, or disrespect my work.

Thats pretty much the way any Human that walks the earth is, but todays society expects everyone to be poloitically correct and with certain groups of people its not acceptable to ever say or do anything that may hurt someone's feelings, even if they piss you off first! My World doesn't revolve that way.

Anyway, I hope people have learned something from what Jim has posted... I was only doing what I felt was fair concerning the caliber of customer Jim had been and how much he loved his Bus. Jim has had EVERY engine imaginable, so I suppose this post of his should really hit home to the guys that feel that the CS engine or my program is anything that can be bought from anyone else, for a lesser price.

Glad to see that I was able to finally satisfy Jim after 30 ++ years of VW Bus ownership!

So Jim, did it ever drive or perform this good from the factory??? Enquiring minds want to know!!
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airkooledchris
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 13, 2008 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thats the coolest thing ive read in a while now.

congrats to everyone, mostly to Jim, you can finally enjoy your baby!

and really, im starting to get sick of hearing about how great the raby experience is. anyone's thats gone pretty much *any* other route when replacing n motor in the past few years im sure feels my pain. (why didnt I listen?) Wink
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