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GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log
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GoBigEmma
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:48 pm    Post subject: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Hello Sambaverse!

Now that we have started our trip we have decided to make a new thread to document it. We have left Illinois and are headed towards Alaska to start a trip that will take us down the Panamerican Highway (Alaska - Argentina). This will probably take us a few years Smile

Here we will post pictures, keep you updated on our location, and discuss mechanical problems as they occur.

We would also like to send out a big THANK YOU already for all of the support you have shown us on our preparation thread. Smile

We left Illinois two days ago and are now in Sleepy Eye, MN. We went by RegularEmma's Aunt's house in Wisconsin and picked up some cheese, enjoyed a free campground in Henderson, WI, and are happily making our way to the Badlands and then on to Denver. So far, we have had no hiccups in Big Emma! She is doing well and enjoying the drive Smile

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Can't drive through Wisconsin without taking a picture of a giant cow

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Emma enjoying the ride

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Sunset on the first night driving

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We will keep you updated from the road!
-Emma, Sven, and Big Emma
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1975 Bus "Big Emma", 1.8 FI, Hydraulic lifters
Interrupting our Pan-American Roadtrip for post-flood repairs: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=657738
Follow the trip on our blog: http://www.gobigemma.com


Last edited by GoBigEmma on Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:54 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Stuartzickefoose
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 1:58 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Cool beans. Cool excited to meet you all!!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:15 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Nice.. Looking forward to the road updates.

P.S., don't be stingy with the trip pictures! Very Happy
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Abscate
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 4:53 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Finally left behind some decent weather in CU under 100 F... Smile

Safe travels
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 5:45 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Safe travels!!!
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 6:29 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Safe journeys!
Take photos, and lose the expectations of the norm!
#Vanlife begins!
Sam
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vwwestyman
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2016 9:05 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Woo! I'm jealous. Have fun!
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2016 7:36 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Following this thread for sure! Stay safe and enjoy the road!
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GoBigEmma
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 10:53 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Greetings from Denver!

A few exciting days are behind us. We made it to the Badlands with no problems and enjoyed an amazing sunset over these strange and beautiful rock formations. We also had the pleasure of encountering bisons (see pics below) and a fellow bus owner: Dave, his dog Benjamin, and his Vanagon... the car's name slipped my mind. Very cool guy and the most relaxed (and slightly confused) dog I've ever seen. Sadly forgot to take a picture together Sad

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the Badlands! Smile

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The Emmas like it.

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Okay, we are bewaring.

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Next stop was Denver, where we picked up a friend from the airport and then spent the night at Jonathan's, a fellow Samba member. Until here, Big Emma was nice to us, we were nice to her, everything was peachy. Sadly this changed the next day. An AFM stuck on rich made our entrance to the interstate end right after the ramp. Before we could even do much evaluation of the situation, a guy stopped in his truck and offered help. A VW mechanic he claimed he was, he could maybe help us but now had to go to some fancy event next town, but in any case, he could tow us off the highway. Okay we thought, why not. Off we went, and while our rescuer thought it might be a great idea to go 85 with us in tow, I, having never been towed like this before, sat on the brake waaay too much. By the time we got off the highway and were dropped off in a parking lot, our brake were smoking and smelt terribly.
We quickly found and fixed the AFM problem, but our brakes are pretty toasted now (yap, super stupid self-inflicted damage, I know. Rolling Eyes ). So after a few unsuccessful attempts to adjust them, we decided to open the rear drums and have a look at that shoe.. Well, upon touch the brake shoe lining was crumbling to dust like it was an antique. We definitely need new shoes. We are not sure how badly the drum is affected, there are a few grooves in there, but I'm not sure if they are a problem or not (pic coming tomorrow). One brake cylinder seems to leak fluid, so we're going to replace that too.
Right now we're stuck in Denver, but thanks to Jonathan we found a good spot to work on the car. We'll start sourcing parts tomorrow morning and hope to be back on the road in a few days.

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The brake shoe in question. The missing portion of the lining fell off when I tried to point out some smaller holes to Emma.

I'll post a few more pics of the damage tomorrow.
That's it for tonight guys, we'll keep you updated on our repair status. Also, I'm sure we'll have one or two questions along the way. Thanks for reading my long rant. Smile

Sven
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1975 Bus "Big Emma", 1.8 FI, Hydraulic lifters
Interrupting our Pan-American Roadtrip for post-flood repairs: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=657738
Follow the trip on our blog: http://www.gobigemma.com
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old DKP driver
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:07 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Sorry to hear of your brake problems and its kinka common with bonded linings (not riveted)

Feel free to message me when you are in northern Calif. We live in San Jose.CA.

We will be more happy to help while you are here.

Chris
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Xevin Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:17 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

old DKP driver wrote:
Sorry to hear of your brake problems and its kinka common with bonded linings (not riveted)

Feel free to message me when you are in northern Calif. We live in San Jose.CA.

We will be more happy to help while you are here.

Chris


I would go see that guy even if You didn't need help.
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GoBigEmma
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 26, 2016 11:24 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

old DKP driver wrote:
Sorry to hear of your brake problems and its kinka common with bonded linings (not riveted)

Feel free to message me when you are in northern Calif. We live in San Jose.CA.

We will be more happy to help while you are here.

Chris


Thanks Chris, I'll keep it in mind! Won't be until October or so though that we make it to Cali.
For the brakes: Makes me feel a little better that it's a common thing, especially because I hope I can find the parts locally here in Denver and don't need to have somebody ship them.
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1975 Bus "Big Emma", 1.8 FI, Hydraulic lifters
Interrupting our Pan-American Roadtrip for post-flood repairs: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=657738
Follow the trip on our blog: http://www.gobigemma.com
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scubasteve321
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:24 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Quote:
One brake cylinder seems to leak fluid, so we're going to replace that too



Were you pressing the brake with the drum off by chance?

The cylinder will 'leak' fluid as there is no drum for it to be stopped by; put the drum on and press the brakes then look for leaks


FWIW I was in a similar situation with my brake pads and thought the cylinder it got so hot that it broke, due to it 'leaking' fluid as a helper pressed the brakes.. I didn't know at the time that the drum has to be on for the cylinder to operate correctly..learned that lesson the hard way after buying another one!
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richparker
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:43 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Did you use the ebrake to slow you and the tow vehicle down?
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Bulli Klinik
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 7:53 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Call Painters Grinding in Denver if you need parts. If they don't have them, they will be able to get them for you quickly.

http://www.paintersgrinding.com/

Best of luck on your trip!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 9:39 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Sven..I'm sure you are ordering two sets of shoes...one new, and one for your spares kit, right??

Very Happy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 10:37 am    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Let's see the front brake rotors?
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

Popcorn
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:48 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

1. Best you replace the shoes as a set. You will get 4 shoes (right and left.) replace 4 shoes. (There is a good chance you cooked both sides so do both sides.)

2. same goes for the wheel cylinders. just looking at the shoes pictured I'd say the wheel cylinder seals got roasted along with the shoes. that is why you have the leak. (not because you over extended the wheel cylinders with the drum off.) so again replace the rear wheel cylinders in pairs. Not just the one. brakes are friction Devices and friction means heat!

3. If you can have the drums machined then do so. (if they are within spec.)

just these three things will put you miles ahead. brakes are not something to be done in half measures. Never go half ass when it comes to brakes because it can literally mean your ass! (And that of your loved ones.)

Safe travels.
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: GoBigEmma Pan-American Roadtrip log Reply with quote

While you are replacing parts, I'd get a spare set of wheel cylinders for when you get on the real back roads you plan on doing. Don't want brakes going out in the wilderness. They are relatively easy to swap out, also keep a small length of hose to bleed as well.
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