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Westfalia/Bus/Vanagon Restoration Stories
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: Westfalia/Bus/Vanagon Restoration Stories Reply with quote

We write about our favorite oils, cheats and duct tape. So how about the tales of restoration? When Harry met Sally sort of stories. You found Westfalia...you should have ran away...you caved and gave money to laughing man. True love stories.
Okay?
I will start. It will be bad, I promise.
-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it!"
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It must be stated that bringing a forlorn and poorly stored Westy back to life is not only expensive, but time-consuming, knuckle busting and most of all…fun. Every turn of the wrench promises a better traveling experience down the road. I missed restoring these things too.
.
What did it start as? You all know that nothing good can come from sitting under a grove of cedars in Oregon for six years. The PO had passed away, and the family never quite determined what to do with the VW. So they parked it on a corner of the property.
It had flat tires, mildew, moss, mold, slime, frozen hydraulics, rotten rubber, a broken windshield, a caved in skylight and black slime running down the body from a black encrusted pop top roof. It did not want to start; it overheated when it did and 6 years of critter midden blew out from the heater vents (Gotta love acorn shells). Oh, and the smell was intense. My wife told me to run away…fast. Then she said “you have brought home worse”.
What did I see in it? Ten years of looking for a restorable camper taught me what to look for. Good bones, no rust and original equipment with no molestation. This filthy rig had met the basic criteria.
The seller got some coin and gave me a jump start. We scraped the green slime off the windshield so I could see. With fresh fuel, air in the tires and a stuck caliper it was driven 14 miles to a new beginning. All the while acorns, cedar husks and mouse droppings flew at me through the vents. And you know what? With every mile the decrepit camper seemed to be saying “thank you for rescuing me….thank you!”
.
First stop was Pro Auto Detail (Gresham Oregon) where Paul and his crew would tackle one of the dirtiest rigs ever seen. Hey, I had to know what was under all that crap. Meanwhile my first order at GoWesty was submitted and an appointment at Nolan’s Tire and Brakes (Gresham Oregon) set to replace every part of the braking system.
.
The detail shop removed the sludge; pressure washed the belly and blasted out the critter nests. Underneath it all was a very intact, completely original Westfalia. Aside from the initial clean up, I would spend the next 90 days detailing every inch of the rig as seals, screws and trim were renewed. A lot of work commenced as much had rotted while sitting. Yet some nifty finds were had. The kitchen had never been used. The sink drain had been scuttled to allow more storage, and the plastic was still on the stainless steel drain board. The pop top canvas showed no wear or rot, and appeared virtually unused. No mold spores spotted the roof fuzz, even though the skylight had been leaking for who knows how long. This rig was a good find.
.
Forum users write “What I did to my Westy Today”. I can write “what I did to my Westy in four months”. The end result is a camper that drives sweet, camps cozy, turns heads and makes people smile.

-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it!"
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Picture(s) please.
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'09 2.5L Jetta 5 cylinder, 5 spd, super turbo, see thread in H2O Cooled Jetta, etc...
83.5 Vanagon L Riviera Model with 98 1.9L TD AAZ 4 speed Daily Driver 3 out of 4 seasons (sold)
84 Vanagon GL Wolfsburg Westy WBX 4 speed (sold)
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice story!!

One more saved!
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
Two weeks back it drove quite happily to Crater Lake. 730 trouble-free miles.
-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it"
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wish they were all crappy like this Shocked
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice looking van! Other than a good cleaning and detailing, did you have any paint work done? I don't remember you mentioning it Looks real nice.
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'09 2.5L Jetta 5 cylinder, 5 spd, super turbo, see thread in H2O Cooled Jetta, etc...
83.5 Vanagon L Riviera Model with 98 1.9L TD AAZ 4 speed Daily Driver 3 out of 4 seasons (sold)
84 Vanagon GL Wolfsburg Westy WBX 4 speed (sold)
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.

Here are a few more pics. I will finish with the "list" of what was done. In all, the camper is quite a blessing to have.
NOW...write YOUR story!

-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it"
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THE LIST. Free slave labor (myself) unless noted*

Steam clean underbody/wash-remove 6 years sludge (*Pro Auto Detail)
Wax, detail, clean carpets, seats, glass, curtains, all deep-cleaned.
Restore top, new pop top seals
New skylight/seals/hardware
New bumper caps/bumper restoration
New lighting/cig lighter/instrument restoration
Refinish grills/chrome polishing/new gutter moldings/mirror restoration/new antenna
New clutch/plate/bearing/flywheel refinishing (*Clutch Doctors)
New brakes/rotors/calipers/lines/hoses/drums/tires (*Nolans Tire Factory)
New windshield and seal
New decals on top "Westfalia" and side hook up boxes/flaps
Propane tank service
New sink drain assy/ kitchen service/refrig service
Sandblast/Restore all interior metal (bars/table legs/lift assy/stick shift) to matching brown baked enamel, using all new stainless hardware.
New rear table and arm
New battery/Yakima rack clips/GoWesty trailer hitch(for bike rack)
New GoWesty heads/water pump/belt/hoses/exhaust/muffler/filter/cap/rotor/plugs/filters/wire set/tail pipe/push rod tubes/sending units/radiator cleanout/coolant flushed 3x/tune/multiple oil flush-changes to purge. (engine had 68k)
Swepco 201 oil for gearbox (trans had 75k w-some whine)
.
.
What is next?
Slider needs some dent repair, then matching paint. Maybe an awning. Going to start building the next motor this winter. Otherwise, it is my travel buddy. Thanks for the kind comments! Daizee: no new paint. Just polished and waxed all pretty.
Cheers,
-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it!"


Last edited by plummerdesign on Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 1:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can only say how much I envy you. That's a lot of work and re paint, I'm thinking you don't really need a paint job, you should be able to match that paint for spots It already looks like a new van. I'm going to ask but you don't have to answer, what did you pay for it? I can tell you've put out a lot on it but if you didn't pay too much then you got yourself a bargain Cool
_________________
'09 2.5L Jetta 5 cylinder, 5 spd, super turbo, see thread in H2O Cooled Jetta, etc...
83.5 Vanagon L Riviera Model with 98 1.9L TD AAZ 4 speed Daily Driver 3 out of 4 seasons (sold)
84 Vanagon GL Wolfsburg Westy WBX 4 speed (sold)
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

One summer 2004,in vacation in the south west of France with my first vanagon,I saw a 1989 Hanover Edition white star sitting at a garage,no license plates,but I could tell they were german by the dirt accumulated behing:still able to read the numbers.

I stopped by,looked at it:1600TD with crankshaft pinion key broken,50 000 km exchange:broken engin,300 000 km body,rusty,dirty inside but in apparently good condition.5 speed.

The PO left it,couldn't afford repairing it or towing it back to Germany.

I bought it 1000€ and paid 300€ to get it delivered 80km from my home,on the east side of the country:I was lucky,the guy had a scheduled truck delivery there in 3 months,so I had a super good deal on shipping the van.

3 months later,I go at the delivery place to sign papers,a military museum, from work early afternoon :my 1.6TD on the daily vanagon starts to make little knock-knock noise but I couldn't spot it:whatever,f....it!

I went to find the place which was super hidden in the woods,no cell phone reception and no map:"yeah,easy to find:turn here,go there,follow that a couple kilometers and here you are"

Man,I drove so hard on that no end road,couldn't find the museum,so I turned around saying to myself it can't be further,it must be on the other end of that road.
While driving back from when I came,I heard a big "bloank!",I immediately press the clutch pedal,and while slowing down,I see the crankshaft pulley passing me full speed,hitting the side of the country road,and launching itself in a very thorny bush.

Well,that was the noise then.... Rolling Eyes Loose bolts,so it wobbled.

OK,not a big deal,let's find it a putting it back (I always have tool box and replacement hardware for little bit everything in the van)

Damn,it was hard to find in that unfriendly bush.

When I finally found it,horrible it was:
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hex bolt heads went through the metal,taking also a big piece out....

All right,I'm in the middle of nowhere,I saw a mechanic's garage back on the road:let's walk over there with the tool box:every mechanic's garage has a golf 2 crankshaft pulley,right??

I walk about a kilometer,and finally a car stops and gets me onboard:the nice driver drops me at the garage.

They don't have a pulley for me (are you kidding me?there are 3 vw rotting in the back yard!!)
OK,thank you sir,can I use your home phone to call the museum?
No,I don't have their number.
Yes,but I have it!!
No,bla bla (what an asshole!!! I cursed him for the next 3 generations while leaving with my heavy tool box)

I start walking down the road,nobody but a Fedex truck stopped in the middle of the road (flat tire maybe?here's my chance!!A ride to the museum!!)

I start walking faster as I see nobody coming out the truck:don't take off,don't take off!! Man,I was 20 feet away,the truck starts...I dropped my tool box on the ground,and ran after the truck:I yell and jump at the window to stop it:the guy had the fearof his life,it scared me and I had to tell him I don't want to kill him Laughing

The nice guy told me the museum was there,the correct way I was the first time....but he had to deliver stuff to some farms around first:yeah,no problem man,I can help you!!

So we took an hour delivering packages,drove by my van and went to the museum:I kid you not:it was 200 meters after I turned around:I was so pissed!!

Meanwhile,my van has been dropped and the delivery truck has gone for a while now...so I knock at the house on the side of the museum:a nice couple come out,give me the keys and the Farzeugschein paper.

Ok people,can I work on the new van ,won't it bother you?
My idea is to take out the pulley on the blown out engine,hitch hike back to the other van waiting on the side of the road and fix it.

Cylinder head is in a big plastic barrel,so when I try to remove the extra rusty allen bolts from the pulley,the engine just crank...

Damn,was is it so hard today!
I took the cylinder head,put a lash adjuster from the head in the cylinder on top of a piston,and bolted the head back on the block:with such a piece in the cylinder,it blocked the cranking!
Pulley came out pretty difficult,even without bolts.

Looks weird pulley,I don't remember it was like this....nevermind.

I hitched hiked back to the daily van with some fireman truck that I stopped on the road.Cool people watching for preventing fires...

Back to the van,I removed the old bolts from the crankshaft pinion,and try to put the new cranshaft pulley on:doesn't fit:are you kidding me?? Evil or Very Mad

Ok now,it's getting dark,I have to do something.

I need big fender washers to fix the broken pulley so I can drive back to the new van and take the other part of the pulley (it was different because it was a damper pulley with a covering up pulley....only on TD with PS,which is rare in France:never saw that before)

Couldn't find fender washers,so I took the middle seat rails outs,took the big rectangular plates out from the rail (they're used as washers),took a pair of pliers,found a good rock,and cut them with the hacksaw:and that's a thick metal to shape in a round washer....) Shocked

Anyway,"impossible is not french" so I did it,it was wobbling as hell,but enough to drive low speed and having water pump running.

Back to the new van,I took off the needed damper and finally fixed my van to drive back home.


I came back a week later,leaving a bottle of wine in the tenants yard for keeping an eye on my van,and towed it with my girlfriend 80km,by night.

It was pretty easy,we stopped on the road to get a pizza and we ate in the new van,with that nice folding table and jump seats Cool

I spent the new 6 months grating the rust under the chassis,and did some investigation for having it "imported "to France:hell,I'm missing a paper!!!
The garage who sold it to me didn't have the property title either,but the guy told me the PO was talking good english and was a doctor.

Easy breezy:let's find that's guy on the white pages:man,he has the most common german name ever I guess,VOIGT:millions of it coming in the same city,and being doctors too...well,let's call them all!!

I had to call from a public phone,because it's cheaper,I spent days doing many a day after work.
I finally found the guy,so cool that he sent me the papers at home:I couldn't believe it!!

I did a random sellor's signature on the french papers to transfer it to me,put some card boards German plates to go to the equivalent of safety inspection (I didn't have the needed temporary import license plates to get french papers before safety check,so I had to get safety check to get french papers,but you need papers to insure it to drive to safety check:vicious circle:f....k you administration:I put fake plates,and drove with no insurance super early morning to reach the closest station,5 minutes away from home)

I got my french papers,transfered the TD engine from my daily into it,opened the transmission to inspect it:I found a piece of key wire (behind slider).....left by the previous rebuilder:nothing was missing inside Rolling Eyes
I put another 5 speed tranny taken from an English vanagon that has been abandoned after burning on a very jet set beach parking spot,Cap d'Antibes:I crawled underneath it,and took the whole linkage and tranny to make the White Star back on the road,in front of everybody's eye:I was so dirty!!Had to jack up that graffiti covered van to drag out the tranny,to high to fit under chassis beams while being dragged out. Laughing

I've put a Devon pop roof,and later a 1.9TD with a lot of vitamins and later a 1.9 TDI-M also.

I started cutting panels to retore it,and finally gave up one day,grating rust on the face,and went litterally through it:hopeless Sad

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the top right is the white star
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When I finally had it reliable,I was ready to swap a Renault transmission in it,and swap the whole thing to a Magnum shell in absolutely perfect condition,2 minor rust spots,70 000 km,got it for 4 lower springs....but my girlfriend split up with me,and I had to let it in the barn,add the White star with all the belongings and come to Hawai'i.
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the Magnum loaded with all my vanagon spare parts for storage. (the west isn't mine)

I still feel it like a big failure to have been so close to finish it,like my dream van....it's still waiting for me,on 4 jack stands:I'm sure the TDI-M will start right away!!
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DAIZEE
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

THAT is quite a story, I''m exhausted. Will you get back to it?
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'09 2.5L Jetta 5 cylinder, 5 spd, super turbo, see thread in H2O Cooled Jetta, etc...
83.5 Vanagon L Riviera Model with 98 1.9L TD AAZ 4 speed Daily Driver 3 out of 4 seasons (sold)
84 Vanagon GL Wolfsburg Westy WBX 4 speed (sold)
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ALIKA T3
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah,I'll get back to these vans,I'm not sure where I wanna settle down right now.

I'm finishing preparing up the actual Westfalia to ship it to Seattle within 2 years,drive down to South America and maybe have it shipped to New Caledonia,it seems like surf is good out there,less people.

I have good contacts all around the world,I just have to make a decision,the good one;then I'll get these vans shipped where I'll be settled down.
May be do the mechanic swap from the White Star to the Blue Magnum to save some space in the container before shipping,and get rid of that rusty shell.

Bye Wink
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turbotransporter
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

plummerdesign wrote:
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.
Two weeks back it drove quite happily to Crater Lake. 730 trouble-free miles.
-Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it"


Dang, I really like that color. Quite rare color too. Bravo, excellent job.
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plummerdesign
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 04, 2010 11:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ALIKA,

You tell a great story! I dig the Devon roof too. Love the bit about dropping off a bottle of wine with the good folks for watching over the van. It is so true how when you are in an unknown place- you tend to stretch a bit farther to get help.
Sorry about the rust. Rust is evil.
.
Will watch your posts to see if you get these rigs running again. Have a great day.
Cheers,
Jeffery

1984 Westfalia 1.9
"I can always sell it!"
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82WestyMan
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back in the day ('70s &'80s) when I live in NorCal, I was heavily into VWs. Had about 50 total, bugs, buses, type 3s, ghias.
Anyhow, I ended up moving back east, got out of the scene and hadn't owned one in over 15 yrs.
Things had gotten pretty comfortable in my life and I started thinking about getting a bus again.
Spent about 1-1.5 yrs half-a**ed looking but never saw one that really caught my eye.
One Sunday morning, I was kicking back and playing around on eBay and saw a 82 Westfalia for sale up in Winston-Salem, NC (about 175 mi from me).
It was a 'no-reserve / no minimum' auction, ending the next Sunday and the price about about $400. Saved it to my 'watch' list and kept an eye on it all week.
Every night I'd throw $50 at it to see if anyone had a 'auto-bid' going (it didn't seem to be)
Middle of the week, I email the owner and asked if I could come up and take a look at it in person an Saturday and he agreed.
Saturday morning I woke up, checked and the auction was up to $1,250 so I hopped in the car and drove the 2 hrs there and arrived just before noon.
Body was pretty good, the usual 'parking lot wack' at the back of the sliding door, no rust, crappy second paint job, funky interior but all the westy stuff was there, 184K on the body, 40K on a reman engine, 25K on a reman tranny.
Been sitting under a tree for over 3 yrs, top covered in decomposing leaves but it started right up and I took it for a test drive around the neighborhood and except for some looseness in the steering, it felt and drove good.
Long story short, I offered them $1,500 cash on the spot if they kill the auction and they took it.
Asked them if I could just take the paperwork back with me to get plates, etc and come back in couple of weeks and pick it up.... 'no problem'
Two weeks later, my friend Cindy and I drive back up, slap the plates on, drive the nearest gas station, fill it up, top off the oil and head out on the interstate for the drive home.
So soon as I get it above 40 or so, Cindy tells me it start raining dead leaves and crap off the top.
Then when the engine gets good and warm, she has to fall back because the smell of burning oil (from all the oil leaks) is too overwhelming to follow close.
We're up on I-40, about 25 miles from I-77, 100 miles from home and no exits or cities nearby, and the Westy just dies.
Pull over, open up the engine compartment, nothing obviously wrong, fiddle with wires, giggle this, giggle that, wait 10-15 minutes, starts right up.
We take off again and the Westy goes about 200 ft and dies again.
This time I open up the air cleaner and its full of the insulation from the engine cover.
Clean that out, fiddle with the wires again, leave the engine cover off, open all the windows, wait 10-15 and it starts up again.
This time, we make the 100 miles home without a problem and I pull it into my cul-de-sac.
I live in a fairly nice housing development and you should have seen the 'raised eyebrow' looks I got from all my neighbors when I pull in this

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Needless to say, they were 'less than impressed' but I reassured them when I was done, it wouldn't be an 'eye-sore'
The original plan was just to clean it up, get the body work done, put a nice coat of paint on, get it mechanically sound and just have something to take camping occasionally.
So I gave it a good bath, scrubbed the mold and lichens off the roof and backed it into the garage.
Spent 4 months doing the mechanical work and stripped the body and interior down to get ready to send it over to my friend that does body and paint.
I should mention, as I'm going thru the mechanicals, I find as I do each system (brakes, suspension, fuel, etc), instead of just bringing them up to snuff, I figure, 'what the hell', might as well do it right
So with each one, I end up replacing everything... you name it, I replaced it
(see what happens when you're single and there's no voice behind you)
This is what it looked like when I opened the garage 4 months later and got ready to drive to my friend (mind you, no glass in it at all and I had to drive it 25 miles wearing goggles)

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6 months later, I finally get it back like this

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Drive it back home and back in the garage it goes
Now I should say, all the while it was at body & paint, I'm getting ideas, working on the interior parts, buying this and that.... and before I know it, well.... you know how it is....
But when you're single, have 'disposable-income', no real hobbies and nobody to say: "Whoa there, Big-Fella, haven't you deviated a bit off your original course?"... well, things can take on a life of their own and get a little out of control
Four months later, I open the garage door again and drive this out

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Since then, I just keep on getting ideas and adding to it
Now it 16' custom wheels, a Camper Special engine, TruckFridge, Addco Swaybars and more mods from this forum than I care to think about...
the list goes on and on

So much for that original plan of "Just clean it and throw a coat of paint on it"....
oh well
_________________
"The floggings will continue until morale improves"
"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell" - Harry S. Truman
82 Westfalia - w/ a Raby 'Camper Special' engine
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RCB
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks beautiful 82WestyMan....can you post some shots of your engine.
How about some information on the front carpets, I like the color of it and it looks to fit perfectly.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here's the engine
The carpets are from SewFine
(I understand they've discontinued that Sand color)
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_________________
"The floggings will continue until morale improves"
"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell" - Harry S. Truman
82 Westfalia - w/ a Raby 'Camper Special' engine
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 6:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

need a shot with the painted wheels too,yours is in the top five coolest looking vans category.
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82WestyMan
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Joined: December 28, 2006
Posts: 1098
Location: South Carolina
82WestyMan is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2010 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanx for the compliment
as requested
(w/ the smoked tail lights, exhaust is different these days)

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"The floggings will continue until morale improves"
"I never did give anybody hell. I just told the truth and they thought it was hell" - Harry S. Truman
82 Westfalia - w/ a Raby 'Camper Special' engine
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