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How I learned to stop worrying and love the slow bus.
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beatles4
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 1:58 pm    Post subject: How I learned to stop worrying and love the slow bus. Reply with quote

It seems that every vacation glosses over the whole travel aspect. Most people hop on a plane and boom they are at their destination, or if they decide to drive they go well over the speed limit to get to their destination. This project is going to be the polar opposite. The vacation is the trip. This car won't go over 70 ever and its cruising speed will be around 60mph. Why be in a hurry? I am currently in College and I am 20 years old. Hopefully I can finish this project by the time I graduate, or at least well enough to be presentable and usable.

6/26/15
After 2 years of searching every day for my project car and after many many getting sold from under me or sold before I could even find one, I have finally scored my car: A 69 VW Bus. Tomorrow morning I am heading out to trailer the car home and to start getting to work.

Plans are to get the car drivable, safe, and comfortable enough to be able to go camping and cross country road trips. I thought my 1.6 miata was slow but this bus on a good day has less than half the horsepower that my miata does and it weighs a good 500 pounds more than the miata. Oh what fun.

Pictures will be coming tomorrow and I plan on documenting every aspect of the build. At the moment the brakes don't work, there is some rust that needs to be addressed, doors don't open, sliding door is rough, speedometer doesn't work, needs a full interior, seats are beyond recognizable, I don't think it has seatbelt, pop top needs a new curtain, hideous wheels and hideous cb antennas on the front.... But let me say what is awesome. The engine and trans are great (and by great I mean it shows every ounce of 50 whp that it might have), rust isn't really that bad and only surface in some spots. It has new floor panels in both the front and back seat area.


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Last edited by beatles4 on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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beatles4
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We loaded the bus up yesterday to the trailer and then had to drive out to the owner to process the information to do the deal. The story is that none of the owner's kids wanted the old family camper van. He had a few people offer him money before but in both his and the mechanics opinions they seemed to want to flip the car for more money, so they never made a deal with those people. Both he and the mechanic really liked me and were glad that it was going to me to be restored and used for its intended purpose. The owner gave me a few extra period correct license plates that I can get registered for the car. The mechanic gave me a 46mm matco impact socket to remove the rear axles if I ever need to. 46mm is a huge socket. Biggest one I now own by a large margin.

The bus had the original owners manual with quite a bit of service history from a dealer in Central Florida. The bus has never left the state for good but I did hear of stories going to the Smokies to go camping and Tennessee.
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beatles4
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

6/29/15

The trip home was interesting. Our vehicle that we were using to tow is rated to be able to pull both the trailer and the bus on it. That sounds fine in theory except that in June/July summer heat trying to go on the highway with the ac on made the car start to over heat. The bus we were towing was just so un aerodynamic and it was so hot (car indicated 97 outside) that we didnt want to risk it. The needle was already higher up than normal. Thankfully we found a Uhaul about 2-3 miles away and we rented a uhaul truck to trailer it the rest of the way home.

This is where the story gets more fun for lack of a better word. At the Uhaul we had to unload the bus from the trailer to swap the trailer over to the uhaul truck. The bus drove fine getting up the trailer but going to start it at the uhaul place we realized it now had a dead battery. We had to push it off of the trailer just barely and then ran around the parking lot with the bus trying to push start it. It was like a scene out of Little Miss Sunshine. Meanwhile this bus has no brakes at all. We finally got the bus started and had a few issues but no serious ones getting it back on the trailer. It is extremely weird putting it on a trailer and the front wheels are behind the driver.

We made it home no issue other than unloading it from the trailer and putting it in our driveway. I mention again. It has no brakes at all so getting it to stop on our rather steep inclined driveway was interesting. I had to match the clutch with the gas to hold it just right while my dad was scrambling to chock the wheels.

This was all day one.
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Last edited by beatles4 on Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
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beatles4
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First step right now is to get the brakes to work and the parking brake. From there I will take a look at making the doors close properly (It is incredibly difficult) and getting the exterior door handles to actually work. Then I will see about getting the pop top to not leak.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Chocking the tires would have done better than chalking the wheel me thinks. Wink

Best of luck with your project, may things go well.
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WhirledTraveller
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 2:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

From what I can see looks like a good project bus. Should be rewarding.

What's with the funky antenna's? Was the previous owner a CB radio guy? And the spotlight is weird and cool also.
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LivinInnaVWBus
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 6:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You'll be on the road in no time, it looks like a really solid first project. Nice score!
Keep us updated.
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danfromsyr
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks like a great start to both a project and a new lifetime of memories.
at 20 yeah you can relax and take your time..
wait till 43 with 2.5 kids in the back swealtering and one needs to goto the potty.. then the real hurry in life begins.

as for towing in hot/heat.. certainly don't run the AC
here's a image from my hot Florida towing experience.. was 98*+ that week and tow'ed a 2nd van with out overheating. the van anyways.. I had the interior heater on and was a big roasting my gas foot.
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ultralite
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greetings from a fellow '69 Bus and Miata owner.

You're spot on with the take it easy attitude of getting there.

While you have the interior out, I highly recommend a sound dampening material. I'm really glad I put it in my Bus.

Check out the "No Dough Bus Show" next spring in Daytona. Lot of folks from Miami come up for it. It's a great show.

Welcome and enjoy!
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Tcash
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2015 7:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to TheSamba!

Tcash wrote:
Here is a little information. Good Luck

Pictures would be cool.
How to post photos/How to post a photo in the Forums

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There is a ton of information located at the top of the Forum section.
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Bala
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 7:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have the perfect attitude for this adventure!

Solid start, and I'm looking forward to seeing updates.
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beatles4
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. I actually have been here on this forum for a bit trying to soak up as much information as I possibly could to learn about these cars. I am pretty sure that I made it to the no dough bus show, I went to the Pasco Bug Jam this last year, a vw show down in South Miami, another one in Lakeland...

I have a good friend who has a 73 Super Beetle with a 1776 and he also has a 1960 Beetle with a 1200 40 Hp motor. I have helped somewhat but not enough to be proficient with these cars like I am with my miata.

I am in no hurry and just taking it nice and slow. First things first I am working on the brakes or at the very least the rear parking brakes so the car can stay still on my driveway. Then the doors.

Today I fiddled with the doors. It seems that the passenger door just doesn't want to close as if it is hitting something before it can get to the latch mechanism. The mechanic I that worked on it for yeas said that it probably has to do with the striker plate but it looks like it is the seals around the door or something.

I also need to do some work on the sliding door. The spring loaded mechanism to pop the door back and then slide it getting stuck. I will probably be taking the door off this weekend and taking apart the mechanism to clean and oil it and see if the spring inside is broken or not.
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Ludwig van
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with the OP that the trip is the destination and there's no need to hurry. For years my rule was that on four-lane roads, I cruised at 90 km/h (55 mph) because other drivers didn't have to stay behind me if they didn't want to. On two-lane roads, I felt that I should drive at the speed limit to avoid slowing up others. After a while, it occurred to me that even if I was doing the limit, everyone passed me anyway - seems like nobody wants to be behind a VW bus. Now I drive 90 km/h on lightly-travelled two-lanes, which makes it easier for others to pass, and step it up to the limit on busy two-lanes. If the shoulder is paved, I may move over once in a while if there's a line of traffic building up behind me. I'd be interested to know how other bus owners deal with highway traffic.
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jtauxe Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 8:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Woo hoo! What a great project!

I got my first bus when I was 21 and in college. 15 buses later and I am still loving the ride!
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sean14538
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 9:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That is a fine looking bus Smile Congrats, I will be following the progress
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ludwig van wrote:
. I'd be interested to know how other bus owners deal with highway traffic.


.... I just quit caring and stopped looking in the mirrors!

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It seems others dont care on the highway, so why should i go mad?
The view straight ahead is much better!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PLF-Blue wrote:

.... I just quit caring and stopped looking in the mirrors!


Ha..I like when my bus is loaded up for camping and I can't see out the rear window!
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

kkjellquist wrote:
PLF-Blue wrote:

.... I just quit caring and stopped looking in the mirrors!


Ha..I like when my bus is loaded up for camping and I can't see out the rear window!


I just try to stick to roads that others don't have the time to take. Wink
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chabanais
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

PLF-Blue wrote:
Ludwig van wrote:
. I'd be interested to know how other bus owners deal with highway traffic.


.... I just quit caring and stopped looking in the mirrors!


Just because you think it's funny is no reason to be a dick to everybody else. I always make an effort to pull over and let other vehicles pass...and in many places it is the law.
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Funky187
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2015 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice starter bus there! My '69 was in far worse shape than that, and it now is my daily driver from april to november! You will be enjoying smiles by the miles in no time flat!

p.s., no parking brake here Shocked , I just bring a pice of 2x4 and leave it in the proper gear.
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