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1979 Deluxe Campmobile: a Visual Documentary
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:11 pm    Post subject: 1979 Deluxe Campmobile: a Visual Documentary Reply with quote

I wasn't going to document my refresh, but as 3 months have passed since I started, I had a change of heart. I learned quite a lot along the way, and as much as it is nice to document the experience, there will be some tidbits in here that might help the next guy.

The Bus:

1979 Deluxe Westfalia. Under 50,000 original documented miles, with original paperwork to support it. All numbers matching engine and transmission. Almost all original except for some previous engine work.

It has always kind of worried me that I could not personally vouch for 25 years of this bus's history (despite the paperwork), and it also bothered me that it had stock AMC heads. I plan to travel far and wide in this bus in a few years, and I just had to bite the bullet and get a clean bill of health. The good news is, the bus has been torn apart and had no issues of note. I have spent a fair bit of money on the refresh, and some of it out of an abundance of caution, but I will be able to drive in peace for many a mile, and that is priceless in a bus. I did not replace parts that did not need to be replaced, and I opted for keeping as many good original German parts as possible.

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The start:
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The Engine:

Some new re-worked AMC heads from Len Hoffman. The 7 year old AMC heads showed no issues whatsoever. In fact, they looked great. But as they say, better safe than sorry. I'll post some pics of the old heads in the near future.

The new heads:
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The engine is almost back together. Everything was in fine shape and within specs. All bearings were replaced, all seals were replaced, and the rings were replaced. Much more on the engine in future posts. I have been blessed with expert assistance with the transmission and the engine.


Some little refreshes along the way:

Rebuilt the distributor:
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Refurbished, re-painted the original coil:
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Cleaned up and re-painted the starter:
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Sandblasted and powder coated all the tin. This is just a sample of the 55 pieces:
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Re-furbished, painted, and re-greased the drive axles:
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Re-furbished the heater bellows. Got rid of all the old fluff in there and the asbestos collars:
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Blasted the fan shroud and purchased some copper chromate which will allow me to restore the original finish to the shroud if all goes according to the plan. Still in progress:
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Sandblasted and ceramic coated my exhaust at home. There was no commercial ceramic coat offering in western Canada or the Pacific North West of the USA, with a color close to the original VW color, so I used VHT and mixed my own color to get this. It is fairly close to the original VW exhaust color:
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Here's a picture of the original exhaust color from EZGruv's library. Not a bad match:
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Scuffed the gas tank and ground off all the surface rust. Treated it with Rust Mort, and laid on a nice coat of Valspar rust paint. That stuff is the toughest paint I have come across in a while. Hard as rock. All new filler neck, vent lines, and rubber fuel neck connector. The inside was boiled and treated at a radiator shop:
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Had the transmission serviced and partially rebuilt. My guy was a real pro, and has worked on thousands of these transmissions, which were used in the Golf and Jetta until 1992. He said that my low mileage transmission was like new inside. I changed my fluids every two years and used synthetic; it seems to have paid off. All new pistons, seals, and a couple of upgrades that are very worthwhile mentioning for the automatic crowd. Here goes:

The final product. $633 including parts, labor and fluids. So affordable and reasonable:
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Old parts
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The upgrades:


First upgrade: 2nd gear servo piston
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Note the circlip. These can get pounded out, and then mwah, mwah, mwahhhhh......
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Upgrade: replace with a 1980 Vanagon piston that is secured with a very large rivet as opposed to a circlip
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Second upgrade: New piston kit

So, as luck would have it, my transmission was the first year that VW upgraded their pistons to a vulcanized rubber / steel combo (below). Problem was that the rubber and steel expanded and contracted at different rates causing hard and / or slushy shifts. In fact it was possible to be in 2 gears at the same time. The solution was to go back to the composite pistons that each have their own replaceable seal. Both upgrades were the subject of TSBs, and have been addressed in my transmission. Of course, I kept all of the original parts if I should want to revert back for any reason. As my transmission guy said, this transmission is better than when it was new. He also said that it showed no signs of wear. One thing worth noting for you automatic transmission guys out there: the torque converter seal is worth replacing if you ever get a chance. The steel clad seal is better than the rubber clad seal, as the rubber clad seal can pop out much easier. When the rubber on your torque converter seal gets hard, it can actually cut into the torque converter shaft, and make a groove. Once that happens, it is junk, and needs to be replaced. Apparently, this isn't cheap. Here is an example of the pistons that were replaced; this is the second gear piston:
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New curtain. An honorable mention for Mrs Westfabulous. Using the original fabric from front windshield curtains, she made me new curtains for the bus. just a couple left to go. Every detail was replicated, including the snaps, the stitching pattern, the hems, etc. This was the worst one; it was completely faded out:
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There is so much more than this, but these are a few items for now. More to come as we progress to re-assembly. It doesn't look like much, but there has been a lot of work done, and only a few key items have been featured here so far. There have also been hundreds of new parts purchased, including some treats like these:
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[img][/img]
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Last edited by Westfabulous on Wed Jun 27, 2012 2:39 pm; edited 16 times in total
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curtis4085
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im just in love with your bus and the time and dedication you put into making everything look as close to original as possible. My hat is off to you sir. Applause Keep up the great work!
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

having gone through a total restore on our 1977 we know what you went thru. That is a great job you have done and it looks like maybe you were able to bring it in under budget. Awesome job.

Steve
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*You can do it right the first time, or do it over, the choice is yours. It is a free country. As to brakes, steering, tires, axles etc. - you may only get one chance at doing those right.

* VW Buses and VW cars share many of the same systems but if you haven't owned a bus and maintained it for awhile, you really don't know how different it is.

Bus Engine Cooling Issues? https://kentcomputer.com/77VW/BusEngineCooling.pdf
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Collie
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PostPosted: Mon May 14, 2012 10:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dang....makes me miss my '79 Auto Westy that had 53,000 km on it when I bought it.....

Excellent job sir, you should be proud!
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sneakyjack
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice stuff!
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HD3
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fantastic bus! I too have a 79 mexico beige westy that looks nothing like that but this give me hope. ha. Bookmarking this one.

Great work!
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You know how I feel about your bus Dan. Well done. Smile
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 8:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice Bus!

I am curious, where there any odor/fume issues with baking the VHT paint in a home oven?

Also, how did you mix your own color with spray cans?

I am jealous, my bus has a long way to go!
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank-you guys for all the kind words.

highlandmurf wrote:
Also, how did you mix your own color with spray cans?


My VHT ceramic coat story is detailed here:

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=507350&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=0

I wrote the following about mixing the 2 colors:

Westfabulous wrote:
As mentioned earlier, I took the two cans; taped them side by side; angled the spray nozzles to converge at about 14 "; and hung my parts at about 20". I pressed both nozzles, and sprayed like I was shooting a pistol two handed. The streams converged and the paint floated on to the parts, and I am very happy with the final product.



highlandmurf wrote:
I am curious, where there any odor/fume issues with baking the VHT paint in a home oven?


There was definitely some odor, but it was not too bad. We opened the windows and turned on the furnace fresh air fan, and let it rip. The oven stunk afterward, so I ran a cleaning cycle and it cleaned up just fine. This really wasn't an invasive process, although each batch requires a total of 3 hours to cook, cool, cook, cool, cook, and cool. So it helps to have some free time on your hands.
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ashley1
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dan, you have been coaching me on my '78 Westy (DAKOTA BEIGE) for several months,,lastly being the fuel line hoses and vapor hoses adventure with Mike DBM.....Your bus is everything I want ours to be...our restoration pictures will be coming..just keeing them in digital albums at this point Fantastic detai! Bob Thank you for your help and knowledge!!!!
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ashley1 wrote:
Dan, you have been coaching me on my '78 Westy (DAKOTA BEIGE) for several months,,lastly being the fuel line hoses and vapor hoses adventure with Mike DBM.....Your bus is everything I want ours to be...our restoration pictures will be coming..just keeing them in digital albums at this point Fantastic detai! Bob Thank you for your help and knowledge!!!!


Thank-you Bob. I really look forward to seeing some pictures of your bus. Start a build thread that we can follow along with. I'll bet she's a purdy blonde. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 12:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello Westfabulous,

great work an a really fantastic bus!

But some questions:
why it is called "Deluxe Westfalia"? Is this a special US Version - or only your naming? What is the difference to a not deluxe Westfalia?
(The German Luxury Versions have chrome trim etc.)

What cooling liquid have you used in your A/C?

regards
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1979 VW luxury bus to camper conversion (Type 22, T2b)
1982 Eriba Pan camping caravan
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsbadura wrote:
Hello Westfabulous,

great work an a really fantastic bus!

But some questions:
why it is called "Deluxe Westfalia"? Is this a special US Version - or only your naming? What is the difference to a not deluxe Westfalia?
(The German Luxury Versions have chrome trim etc.)

What cooling liquid have you used in your A/C?

regards


Deluxe had a sink, stove (with propane tank) and refridgerator. Non deluxe had a sink and ice box.




Looking sweet, Dan!
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rsbadura
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 5:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

poptop tom wrote:
Deluxe had a sink, stove (with propane tank) and refridgerator. Non deluxe had a sink and ice box.

ah... thank you - the stove is regular in German Westfalia "Berlin" SO 76/1 - and the refridgerator (instead of ice box) is only an option. No special Deluxe version in Germany.

@Westfabulous: what kind of SO number stamped on your Westfalia plate?

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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What an awesome job. Your bus is super nice! Great stuff
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rsbadura wrote:
poptop tom wrote:
Deluxe had a sink, stove (with propane tank) and refridgerator. Non deluxe had a sink and ice box.

ah... thank you - the stove is regular in German Westfalia "Berlin" SO 76/1 - and the refridgerator (instead of ice box) is only an option. No special Deluxe version in Germany.

@Westfabulous: what kind of SO number stamped on your Westfalia plate?

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Mine is different from yours, and doesn't have a SO number. It reads as follows:

CAMPMOBILE 709 * 00445
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Westfabulous:

Does the black mat for the front passenger seat cover the entire pedestal? If so, is it original, or a replacement? If the latter, where did you get it?

thanks

Keith
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 9:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Who is your trans rebuilder person? And do they take on ship-in and ship-back projects?

Also, love that your bus still has the original (I assume) tape around the perimeter of the cloth to wood seam on the back of the rear seat. That stuff is always missing or curled up.

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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 12:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great thread. Love your bus.

That looks like Dakota Beige if I'm not mistaken. Mine is the same color. I'm about to repaint the nose and wanted to know what the white emblem looks like with that color. Now I do! I like it.
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Westfabulous
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kmmcdonald wrote:
Westfabulous:

Does the black mat for the front passenger seat cover the entire pedestal? If so, is it original, or a replacement? If the latter, where did you get it?

thanks

Keith


Hi Keith. Yes the entire pedestal is covered. Everything you see inside that bus is original, except for the over the fridge cushion and the black mat that I put over the front carpet. The pedestal mats are original too.


mattcuddy wrote:
Who is your trans rebuilder person? And do they take on ship-in and ship-back projects?

Also, love that your bus still has the original (I assume) tape around the perimeter of the cloth to wood seam on the back of the rear seat. That stuff is always missing or curled up.


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Haven't heard from you for a while brother. If you want to PM me, I will send you the info on my transmission guy. I spent weeks calling around, and everyone I spoke to was pretty stunned. The moment this guy spoke, I knew that he was informed and was very familiar with my transmission. His business was formerly owned by his father who apparently gave him an 010 transmission instead of a Teddy Bear when he was a baby. If you want any help facilitating a ship and repair scenario, feel free to let me know, and I will call him on your behalf and work out the minutia. Please keep in mind that the transmission has not been tested yet; he did give me a 2 year unlimited miles warranty on the work though. In my case, I will rack up all of about 2400 miles in that time Confused .

And yes, you are correct, that is still the original tape on the back of the bench seat.
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