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Our [new] 1978 Bus!
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:00 pm    Post subject: Our [new] 1978 Bus! Reply with quote

I decided to finally start a thread on this bus, so here goes!

We bought it late July 2014 (about 3 weeks ago), and what I know so far is that it had two owners for most of its life, but spent the last 5 years or so as a parked sign for an insurance agent. He had it painted and put his logo on it and then parked it in the parking lot outside his office, where it baked in Colorado's 300+ days of sunshine every year. In the glovebox I found the original window sticker(!) touting all its factory options and whatnot - photos below. We're excited to get her up and running and on the road again!

It was overall in well-kept shape; it is a dry bus with very, very little rust and the FI system is complete and intact as well as what looks to be all the other OG equipment that came with the bus. When I went to look at it, I brought a battery and a can of starting fluid, and with a few squirts in the intake it fired right up and would run as long as I was spraying fluid in. So we struck a deal and I took it home on the dolly!

Here are pics:
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The underneath is AMAZING. It was undercoated well and where it's flaking off, this is what's underneath:
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I learned to weld this winter, and cut out and repaired the very few small sections that were starting to give me pause. I also opted to delete the reflectors on the sides and the antenna hole for a cleaner look, but did it so it can be easily reversed if need be in the future.

ONe of the small sections before:
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After:
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The nose had a large chipped-off piece, but it was only skin deep. I ground it down and repaired it well with a couple skims of Evercoat Rage Extreme - love that stuff!

Before:
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At the paint shop:
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I popped all the windows out, and all channels were rust free as a baby's bottom. Or is that smooth as a baby's bottom? Suffice it to say, they looked clean, unlike a baby's bottom.

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The original Window Sticker!!

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First shot after paint:
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Mint green two tone! Huzzah!
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Pulled up in front of the house - happy camper!
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Ready to be put back together now!
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New deluxe window seals: (by the way found out that silicone lube, and lots of it, makes the job MUCH easier!!

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We taped everything off and redid the yellowed, clouded, and written-on headliner by prepping it with the SEM prep spray, then using the white vinyl spray (duplicolor). It looks great, and I'm giving it a few days doors-open to air out/off-gas. Stoked how it looks now!

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Engine is the original GE code and I assume it's original to the bus as it seems like it would be.

HERE ARE MY QUESTIONS for the great Sambanistas:
- It runs, but only on starting fluid. I manually powered the fuel pump, then got nothing. So I pulled it, and pulled the filter, and this is what I found:

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So then I decided that I had to drain the entire tank, which was completely full because I thought I'd try to dilute any old gas in there by putting premium, new gas in. I hooked up an auxiliary pump to a battery and fed a long fuel hose into the tank.

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My gosh, the old gas was nasty. Super nasty. And brown. All 300 gallons of it. Took it to the hazardous waste recycler today and everyone was commenting on the smell. Yuck!

Question 1: Given that the fuel filter was literally 100% clogged with a hard gelled fuel substance and the fuel pump froze because of this same crap, is there any possible way that the injectors, being farther down the line, could be OK? Or that the tank could be usable in-situ? Or should I just pull the injectors and the tank out to get redone? The reason I ask is that I'd like to actually hear the engine run and warm it up before starting to dump money into parts like the injectors. Also, how hard is it to remove the tank without removing the engine?

Question 2: This is a bit unorthodox, but I may as well ask. Since this is a '78 with hydraulic lifters that has NOT been run in 5 years, I'm assuming the lifters have all bled down, and trying to perform a baseline adjustment on the valves without it running would just be moot at this point. Is that a safe assumption? I understand the best way to pump them up would be a good highway run or two (right?), but in my situation with the engine not running and trying to ascertain its running condition, it's not possible. Here's a strange thought: What if I put it on the dolly, rear wheels on the ground, in 4th gear, no battery, gas not hooked up, and towed it for a mile. Silly? Absolutely. But would it pump up the lifters? Also, and this is just for theory sake as I'm not doing this, but if you towed a vehicle like this and were able to ride in the back and listen to the engine, would things like rod or main knocks be able to be heard without spark detonation happening in the engine?

[b]Question 3: this one's easy - I had this old VW gas cap and wanted to use it, but it doesn't quite fit. Anyone know anywhere that makes a bigger cap that emulates this VW one, but for late bays?

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Thanks for joining the journey and for your help! Cheers,

[/b]
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1974 Westy CampMobile - the OG!
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Randy in Maine
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Suggestion:

Since you are replacing all of the fuel lines anyway, send the injectors off to Rich at www.cruzinperformance.com and have them cleaned and calibrated. Send the cold start valve off also.

I would try to clean out the metal fuel lines with Gum Out and compressed air. The fuel pressure regulator might need a replacement.

Looks good though!
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SGKent Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

welcome. The gas cap you need is a late cap made by Blau. You'll have to keep your eyes open for a nice one.

In the meantime go to your local Napa and get a Napa Balkamp BK 7031081 cap. As I recall, you can take the funky warning label off by pulling the screws, handle and then and putting them back after it is removed.

Here is a thread on caps

http://www.ratwell.com/technical/EssentialUpgrades.html#gascaps

You will also want to replace all the vacuum connectors on the fuel tank, and check the elbow. Don't forget the one under the spare tire well.
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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.

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wcfvw69 Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.. You've done all that work in only 3 weeks? Nice job. Curious as to what you paid to have it sprayed?

Keep posting your progress. Nice looking bus.
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My 1970 bus refresh thread- http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=598191

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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Randy and Steve, right on - thank you. Any thoughts on the tank and the adjusting the valves/ lifters?
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jtauxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, you just dove right into that project with both feet, didn't you!

It is cool to see the Second Mile Water truck in the photo. I hope you enjoyed summitting all over Colorado in support of the non-profit. I know you did. Good on you!

Given the nastiness of the gas, I would go ahead and do what you know you need to do: clean it all out, top to bottom. Or, rather, fuel inlet to injectors (and pressure regulator). Just knuckle down and do it, and you will know that it is all good.

I can't comment much about the lifters. But you might try, once you get the nice clean fuel system back together, just letting it idle for 20 min or so, without any real load on the engine. The adjust the valves (next morning once it's cool, of course), and take it out for a real drive. Then check them again the next morning. Let us know if any further adjustments were needed.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 4:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The valves can be adjusted just as accurately when bled down as when fully pumped up. You just need to use care in finding the point of zero lash, it can be very subtile. You need to turn the screw in slowly just using your fingers to find it.

To get the lifters to pump up faster, you can give the lifters a little bit of lash, maybe .002-.010". Once they quiet up, then you need to go back and set the preload correctly.
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:39 pm    Post subject: Fuel Tank removal tutorial...with the engine in-situ Reply with quote

Here's the next installment from this evening (the fam is out of town for a week unfortunately, so I'm just going to go madman on this bus and try to get it done!).

Fuel Tank Removal Party: Can you remove the tank in-situ? We'll see...

I started by removing the intake/air filter box and the S-boot, then removed the electronics attached to the firewall and the firewall itself.

If you're doing this, don't forget the two screws that are screwed in from the bottom of the firewall, UNDER the bus. You'll pry all day and get nowhere!

Here's a pic of each side's screw hole for reference:
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And here's the tank almost ready to jump out at you, with the straps unbolted as well. Just kidding about the tank jumping out at you. You will have to dig deep to do this job and wrestle the crusty piece of crap out of there. Maybe it's better if you don't have to writhe around on your driveway under the bus, but I do, so this job is less than fun.

Anyhow, back to the lecture at hand. You've got unbolt the straps from under the bus, and you might need a wobble connector and a deep socket on this (13mm I believe), or some other means of getting your socket up under the bus to where the straps are bolted on each side. And of course, PB Blaster is your best friend if your bus is cRusty. Mine was OK, not too crusty this go 'round.

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Next step was to remove the yellow vapor tubes. Easy peasy with a pair of pliers and a light handed twist. If you haven't drained your tank, by the way, that's step 1. At this point, I almost forgot to disconnect the rubber lines at the outlet/inlet on the bottom, so went ahead and did that. I also reached into the right side of the tank cavity and took a knife to the rubber filler hose. I tried to wrestle it off for all of 27 seconds, then went all steak knife on it and chopped it in two. Man the thing was pliable, but cracked like the Arizona desert. Oh, don't forget to remove the TWO sender wires as well!

OK, then I went to remove the tank. This is a head scratcher every time, and when you have to dig out your bear-wrestling skills. I tried this way, I tried that way, I spit, let a cuss word or two slip out, I walked away, I came back, and tried another way, all the while keeping my eye on the bottom inlet/outlet and the tank filler hole to ensure they're not getting caught and bent.

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Finally I got the tank out and to this point:

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And then to here, which was the beta. Do it this side first:

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I got stuck here for a minute, but then dug deep again and used my Rubix cube chicanery to get it to the next step. Clear the filler neck and the inlet/outlet and you're ready for the next step.

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Which is getting it to here. Anyone getting bored yet? This job gave me a hankerin' for some Big League Chew.

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With the Sender accessible, I wanted to look inside to make sure this job wasn't in vain and I didn't somehow have a pristine tank in there and was just wasting my time....

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...so I unscrewed it, and voila!

Here's the sending unit:
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And here's the inside of the tank!

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My exclamation marks are sarcastic ones, because as expected, the inside of the tank is a roiling mess of rudge, also known as rust sludge. People, this is what happens if you don't drive your bus for years and let the 2 gallons of fuel you leave in there turn to rudge! Don't do it! At least fill up your tank if your bus is going to sit for a long time.

OK, back to the lecture. We're still stuck with a tank halfway out.

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And this, folks, is as far as she goes without lowering your engine.Your mileage may vary, and I've heard people tout that you can just pop that old fuel tank out without lowering or removing the engine, but it ain't true 'pardners. Not on a '78 anyway.

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So now remove your mustache bar mounts, and the two bolts cinching the transmission to the transmission carrier, right by where it meets the engine. Here's a couple shots of the mustachies. I was too fed up and not ready for a 3 hour tour to take pics of the other bolts. Look in your Bentley, and if you don't know what that is PM Desertbusman and ask him.

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Oh, and put a jack under that thing before you remove these bolts or risk crushing yourself under the 2000cc's of raw power that is your engine. Thankfully by now I've got a motorcycle jack, the tool of choice for removing and installing your engine every other day like most Vdubbers have to.

Here are a couple shots of the engine lowered a few inches - don't go too far, just far enough to get the tank squeezed out.

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And, here is a pic of the bus puking the fuel tank out. Yuck! Get that thing to a nunnery! Or get it to the side of the house anyhow.

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I can't say I'm filled with a sense of accomplishment, yet, as the job is only half done, but I'm on my way. Here's the disemboweled cavity....

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Where this fuel tank, from a '79 I had a while back, is going to go! The '79 was a rust machine, but somehow the tank was pristine inside.

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Really pristine. If you didn't know better you might want to brew beer in it.

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That's all for this installment. Next up: Install the tank, and remove the injectors. Yee haw!
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- Travis

1974 Westy CampMobile - the OG!
1979 Transporter
1979 Transporter
1977 Transporter
1974 Transporter
1973 Transporter
1971 Westy


Last edited by guanella74 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:22 pm; edited 1 time in total
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

John - thank you! We were so excited at how well it (The Colorado 54) went. Next year I'd like to put together a VW brigade to go up Mount Evans as a part of it! We'll see...

And thank you both for the advice. Taken to heart, as you can see above. If you're going to do it...do it right, right?

Cheers!!
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1974 Transporter
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, and Gas cap - would one like this, from a type 3 work? Looks like it would, but not sure on the measurements. Anyone know for sure?

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I also found this if I can't do a VW script cap:
http://www.airheadparts.com/vintage-vw-parts/new-parts-past/gas-cap-locking-w-key-211201551-r
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- Travis

1974 Westy CampMobile - the OG!
1979 Transporter
1979 Transporter
1977 Transporter
1974 Transporter
1973 Transporter
1971 Westy


Last edited by guanella74 on Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:25 pm; edited 2 times in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great photos and writing! Very much enjoying following this.
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Eche! Right on.

My next question - if I'm assuming my fuel system is totally gummed, what else should I replace other than the fuel filter, pump, and new injectors/CSV? Regulator for sure or could it be OK? Is the gum out a good solution or should I get all new steel lines as well?

Anything else you guys would recommend to get a proper, clean running FI system? I'd hate to replace the injectors, tank, and pump and then have the injectors get clogged the first time things get warm and work old gunk into them.

Thanks,
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 11:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You might consider not doing the injectors until the everything is back in and you have put some miles on her. First off you might not need to have the injectors cleaned, and second you don't want to risk running crap through newly cleaned injectors. Supposedly the injectors do have screens in them to prevent larger pieces of crud from clogging them up.
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Wildthings - I think that's sage advice. I went ahead and ordered a regulator, but I'm thinking if nothing else that the lines themselves are gummy.

Ratwell says something about soaking them in muriatic acid, and I may just do that and get the whole system clean.

But....boy do I hope this engine is in good shape. If it's not I just sunk a bunch of time and $$ into giving a giant paperweight a pristine fuel system :/.

Question - is it worthwhile to check the compression on a hydraulic lifter-engine that's been sitting for 5 years stone cold? Would the numbers even be close to an accurate reflection of the engine's condish?

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1974 Westy CampMobile - the OG!
1979 Transporter
1979 Transporter
1977 Transporter
1974 Transporter
1973 Transporter
1971 Westy
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

guanella74 wrote:

Question - is it worthwhile to check the compression on a hydraulic lifter-engine that's been sitting for 5 years stone cold? Would the numbers even be close to an accurate reflection of the engine's condish?


I don't think so. If a lifter has bled down then you'll likely have lousy compression in that cylinder. You should run the check to make sure you have hydraulic lifters anyway, just to be sure. Many take them out because they "fear" them or something silly.

Either way, before you finally go to start it after all your maintnence, I like to crank it over for a bit with no plugs just to build oil pressure. If you have solid lifters after all, then you could do a dry (then maybe wet) compression test.
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What if I put the bus on the dolly and put it in 3rd or 4th gear out on a lonely road and towed it for a mile or two? That would pump up the lifters, and get the oil circulating, and then allow me to do a baseline compression test, right? or am I missing something?
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1974 Westy CampMobile - the OG!
1979 Transporter
1979 Transporter
1977 Transporter
1974 Transporter
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1971 Westy
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen a lot of engine seize up after sitting for a long period because carbon flaking of the top of the piston end up blocking the travel of the piston. I would be worried that this might happen if you just went out and towed it around. Maybe pulling the plugs would help to blow any loose carbon from the cylinders. Just don't know. My experience has been that the cylinders will just lock up while you are cranking the engine, so I really can't say how this will apply to towing a vehicle in gear down the road.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just wanted to add a few comments on the injectors and lifters...

I had a set of four injectors sent to Cruzin' Performance about a year or so ago, received them back and put them in a sealed baggie until putting my FI system back together again this past winter. Much heinous frustration ensued and I've only recently resolved it, sourcing it on an Amskeptic visit to a bad injector. IIRC, he said the last 10 or so bad injectors he has come across over the last year or two, have all been Cruzin' Performance jobs. If you do opt to send out your injectors, might be worth considering another shop. Or simply add some FI system cleaner to that first tank of gas.

Also, while I'm thinking about it, I didn't see fuel lines in your overhaul of the FI system. With the tank and filter as bad as they were, I'd definitely do the hoses as well as a matter of course. Even the good quality FI hose isn't so prohibitively expensive as doing a full injector set. Cheap piece of mind to me.

On the hydraulic lifters, I'm not sure the towing trick would build sufficient oil pressure to pump them up. I think you'd need/want the engine to do that work as designed, but I'm not certain that it would fail. Were it me, I'd leave them be or at least adjust them to zero lash until I got the fuel system sorted and the engine running then come back and adjust them to 1 1/2 turns after contact.

All that said, you had it running previously on starter fluid before, correct? That should have given you some kind of indication of the existing adjustment of the lifters.

Recently, I had my bus in the body shop for about a month without it running and the lifters had bled down during that time. Took about 5 minutes or so for them to fully pump up after that long of a rest.

Good luck and thanks for all the details and photos in the thread!
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cruzin performance
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

RONIN10 wrote:
Just wanted to add a few comments on the injectors and lifters...

I had a set of four injectors sent to Cruzin' Performance about a year or so ago, received them back and put them in a sealed baggie until putting my FI system back together again this past winter. Much heinous frustration ensued and I've only recently resolved it, sourcing it on an Amskeptic visit to a bad injector. IIRC, he said the last 10 or so bad injectors he has come across over the last year or two, have all been Cruzin' Performance jobs. If you do opt to send out your injectors, might be worth considering another shop. Or simply add some FI system cleaner to that first tank of gas.


I'm sorry to hear you experienced a problem with your injectors. As stated clearly on my website, "Whether they have been cleaned or not, injectors do not like to sit without being run. If you will not be installing and running the injectors for several months, it's recommended that the injectors not be serviced until you are close to being ready to install and run them." After servicing, I flush the injectors with oil for short term storage.

I guarantee every injector I service to flow as tested when I ship them. Most others that offer this service will offer the same guarantee.

I have serviced tens of thousands of injectors in the past 20+ years from all over the world. If anyone has a problem with their injectors after I have serviced them, all that needs to be done is to contact me. If given the chance, I am always willing to resolve any problem. With that said, I'm not a mind reader. I can't help with a problem if I'm not made aware of it.

Rich Jensen
Cruzin Performance
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sonofamitch
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Joined: May 27, 2012
Posts: 325
Location: Evergreen, CO
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I saw this on craigslist. It looks like a nice solid bus. I'm glad someone from the area picked it up. Looks great so far.
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'77 Westy 2.0L FI

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