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Almost have a Bus -- My Story
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mechanicjay
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:20 pm    Post subject: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Hello,

Long time lurker, first time poster.

I almost don't want to post for fear of jinxing a not-yet-compltely-done-deal, but I'm too stoked to keep it in, so here goes.

I've been away from the aircooled scene for about 15 years, pining away for another aircooled VW. I've been looking around at bugs the last couple years but with 2 kids, it just didn't seem practice. I've also seriously considered a Type 3 Squareback for a bit more room, but my 5 year old keeps vetoing that idea. For some reason he just doesn't like them (bugs and busses are great however).

With the family (and dog) it became clear a few months ago that I should concentrate on Busses. My Wife was supportive and the kids were excited. I wanted the next project/classic to be something the whole family could enjoy and be a part of (which is the big drawback to my F100). So, with everyone on board with the idea, I started looking around. I also did a lot of thinking on if I wanted to go straight up passenger van or camper. For versatility, adventure and kitsch, I decided a camper was the way to go.

So I've been looking around casually at Bays and Vanagons. I've found a lot sub $2000 basket cases (more project than I want) and $12K+ stuff (less project than I want). Nothing really spoke to me.

This past Friday, I found myself in REI in Seattle and saw Ernie there:http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=657618 .
I sat in Ernie. I admired Ernie. I lusted after Ernie. I said, "WTF are we waiting for on this whole bus thing?" My wife said, "For you to make a decision". "Oh yeah."

As she did some more shopping, I sat in the camping display chair next to Ernie and did some bus shopping.

Again all, the listings showed stuff that was too rough, or too pricey or not appealing for one reason or another. All except one. I found one on Craigslist, listed only a few hours prior. Complete, no rot, running camper, $4500.

I emailed the guy and we setup a time for me to go check it out. 10 am Saturday morning, was looking at a Bus. We drove the bus. The kids bounced in the Bus. I crawled under the bus. I talked with the owner and admired his gorgeous '72 Westy, his Thing, his Show Winning Splitty...

We left. My wife and I has a serious talk on the way home, peppered with questions from my 3 and 5 year old about why we weren't taking the bus home. I had to do a little bit more research on some stuff, specifically the Riviera conversion, which is something I wasn't aware of as a thing that existed.

A few hours later, I called him back to make an offer. Later in the afternoon, I stopped by with a deposit and will be completing the transaction on Thursday after work...I'm counting the minutes!

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So, it's a 1973 Riviera Camper. The interior is all original. The engine, recently tuned and whatnot, has about 5K miles on it. The Body is a bit rough in spots, but no rot anywhere. Though, the driver's step and the floor under the passengers feet are thin, with daylight showing through in places. For comparison, there far far less rust than our '06 Wrangler, if that means anything Wink.


It seems to drives well, even power delivery through all the gears. We were on local county roads, so only had it up to about 45 mph. It stops, though it takes a bit more pedal pressure than I might have expected. Basically it feels about how I'd expect a 45 year old vehicle to feel. Nothing jumped out at me as being out of sorts (strange noises, vibrations, pulling etc)

I'm going on Thursday after work to complete the transaction and drive it home!

At that point, the fun begins.
There are a bunch of safety/reliability things to tend to first:
1) Seal around the engine tin.
2) Go through the brakes as they are of unknown provenance (You can go as fast as you want, but it's all worthless if you can't stop).
3) Seat Belt update.
4) Fix wipers, (seems like the wiper transmission is seized).
5) Fix the horn (it appears to be missing)


The engine bay is a little sloppy. There is the aforementioned missing seal. The throttle cable looks like a complete bodge job. The safety cage on the fan is missing. There are some loose wires and connections that I need to trace and try to figure out what they go to.

All-in-all it's a drivable project, which is just what I was looking for. The best part for me is that it's going to be a family project. My wife is ready to dig into and refurbish the interior. Smile

In a former life I paid the bills as a mechanic, now as a software developer. I'm an intrepid DIY'er and have been looking for a new automotive project (this certainly won't be my first). So there you have it, after thinking about getting a bus for way too long, I became inspired, searched for and found one that met my criteria.

Here is a link to a bunch of other pics:
http://archives.smbfc.net/uploads/bus
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busdaddy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 3:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Welcome!, sounds like you already know just how deep a pile you've stepped in, you are doomed! Razz

That's not too bad looking a bus there, some engine compartment issues and a 411/412 engine, but overall not too rusty or butchered up and far from beyond repair, with a few fixes for reliability it'll be ready for adventures that the kids will never forget, worry about the scratches and rips later.
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Tcash Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Welcome Back!

Here is a little information. Good Luck

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

Pronunciation (Samba) English

I am thinking of buying a VW van
Cleaning+Rodents+Hantavirus
Up in smoke... Bus fires... don't let it happen to you!
M-Plate Location
M-Plate Decoder Volkswagen Type 2 Bus
Bus VIN / Chassis Numbers
Type 2/Bus Owner's Manuals
Bus repair manuals
Bus parts manuals
Early Baywindow Bus Parts Book
Late Baywindow Bus Parts Fiche
Type 2 Wiring Diagrams
Model and Year Variations
Type 4: Secrets Revealed
Distributor Parts & Specifications
PARTS INTERCHANGE MANUAL
Youtube Videos

There is a ton of information located at the top of the Forum section.
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Tcash Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Tcash wrote:
url=http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=7488157#7488157]Type 4 oil strainer[/url]

Every Type IV engine owner should know this!!!
If you over tighten the Oil Strainer bolt, you will brake the engine case!
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There is a Oil strainer in there.
TORQUE THE STRAINER BOLT TO NO MORE THAN 9 FT. LBS.

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RONIN10
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 4:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

mechanicjay,

Welcome to the Bus community and more specifically welcome to the Seattle bus community. There's a lot of good people around here that you'll get to know and can be relied on for help. Just off the top of my head: both Bleyseng and I are in Seattle proper, Stuartzickenfooze (if I spelled that right) is in Everett, notchboy is Kent/Covington, Zelten is in Bellevue, and there are many others community you'll get to know over time. Take a moment to add the Greater Seattle Bus Gathering thread to your watch list. We get together once a month or two for beers and to talk VWs. With summer up, the activity will pick up.

The other thing - especially being new bus ownership - is to get on Amskeptic's itinerary (google Itinerant Air Cooled for more details). It's too late for this year itinerary (sign up is in late winter/early spring), but he will be at my house on 16 July and I'm trying to arrange a meetup/beers/barbecue/whatever for the locals to chat with him and each other while he's in town. Watch the GSBG thread for details in the next day or two.

Don't hesitate to ask for help if you hit a sticking point, theSamba or one of us in the area - probably Stuart Laughing - will do our best to help you make your bus better.

EDIT: a couple items that just came to me...first, I'll be buying a new bus on Thursday too! Selling my old one on Saturday I hope. Second, if you think you want to go back to the stock dual carb setup, I have some cores floating in my garage from a salvage operation a couple years ago. Their yours if you want them and will put them to use. Consider it a welcome to the bus life gift.

Cheers!
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mechanicjay
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

RONIN10 wrote:
mechanicjay,

Welcome to the Bus community and more specifically welcome to the Seattle bus community. There's a lot of good people around here that you'll get to know and can be relied on for help. Just off the top of my head: both Bleyseng and I are in Seattle proper, Stuartzickenfooze (if I spelled that right) is in Everett, notchboy is Kent/Covington, Zelten is in Bellevue, and there are many others community you'll get to know over time. Take a moment to add the Greater Seattle Bus Gathering thread to your watch list. We get together once a month or two for beers and to talk VWs. With summer up, the activity will pick up.

The other thing - especially being new bus ownership - is to get on Amskeptic's itinerary (google Itinerant Air Cooled for more details). It's too late for this year itinerary (sign up is in late winter/early spring), but he will be at my house on 16 July and I'm trying to arrange a meetup/beers/barbecue/whatever for the locals to chat with him and each other while he's in town. Watch the GSBG thread for details in the next day or two.

Don't hesitate to ask for help if you hit a sticking point, theSamba or one of us in the area - probably Stuart Laughing - will do our best to help you make your bus better.

Cheers!


Thanks for the heads-up about the GSBG thread, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on that!

I was planning on heading over to the swap meet in Shoreline on July 16th, hopefully to pick-up some of the bits and bobs I'll be needing without breaking the bank.

--Jason
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RONIN10
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:22 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

mechanicjay wrote:
Thanks for the heads-up about the GSBG thread, I'll definitely be keeping an eye on that!

I was planning on heading over to the swap meet in Shoreline on July 16th, hopefully to pick-up some of the bits and bobs I'll be needing without breaking the bank.

--Jason


Good idea. Get there early. It's a pretty good one and you'll see a few buses there that will inspire you. I was hoping to go as well, but then Colin (Amskeptic) dropped his appointment coincidentally on the 16th.

Another worthwhile swap is the Portland Bug In on 7 August. Lots of fantastic parts there. Good luck!
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Oscar: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper, 2.0L FI, Manual Transaxle
The Lump: 1979 Sage Green/Mexico Beige Transporter, 2.0L FI, Automatic Transaxle
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:29 pm    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Yeah welcome aboard. We are here to do as little or as much needed in most cases. Im glad Ernie spoke to you Wink

Looks like you are off to a great start.
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Ernie Punkin Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 3:13 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Good boy Ernie! *pet* *pet*

Good luck with your project. So special to create life-long memories with your family and to inspire your kids too. Maybe go with orange paint to carry on the Ernie inspiration?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:19 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Nice Riv! but I think It may need another fuel filter Wink
If you get the bus, you need to do something about the plastic multiple fuel filters in the engine bay
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 6:46 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

That's my buddies rivi. I've worked on it for him. Call or text me sometime. Smile


Gonna need engine seal before you go driving it to far now....
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mechanicjay
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Stuartzickefoose wrote:
That's my buddies rivi. I've worked on it for him. Call or text me sometime. Smile


Gonna need engine seal before you go driving it to far now....


Neat, I was wondering if someone would recognize it. I'll definitely reach out at some point.

It has a 23 mile journey to come home, mostly freeway. I was thinking of trying to get a seal and doing it in the guys driveway before leaving, but that may just be extra paranoid?
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 7:37 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Spencer will happily let you do whatever you want in the driveway once he has cash in his hands hahaha


Do the seal there and have fun with the clutch pedal on the way home. I still can't drive that thing smoothly because it kicks back so suddenly....haha

But no doubt it should be fine for a 23 mile drive. valves are good to go, runs like a top and new starter. Fuel lines were good last I checked but you'll need new ones once you get her home. Plus your already rocking hankook ra08 tires so it'll be a sweet smooth drive home Smile


And the interior is partially original but spencer did the floor and I think some light wood work repair to it. He did a good job! But not original particle board now since that was water damaged, he replaced it with plywood and such. Still well worth what he's asking though, don't get me wrong. Smile

Talk with you soon!
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:17 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Welcome aboard, Jason!
Stop being a “lurker”. Not cool dude. Not cool...
Wish I had a giant, knowledgable network of true-blooded bus guys, along with the awesome scenery of the PNW. Have fun man, look forward to photos, it’ll help me the sell the idea of another bus or two to the lady since they are indeed “family friendly” Cool
Sam
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mechanicjay
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 8:23 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

SamboSamba22 wrote:
Welcome aboard, Jason!
Stop being a “lurker”. Not cool dude. Not cool...
Wish I had a giant, knowledgable network of true-blooded bus guys, along with the awesome scenery of the PNW. Have fun man, look forward to photos, it’ll help me the sell the idea of another bus or two to the lady since they are indeed “family friendly” Cool
Sam


After 30+ years mid-Atlantic scenery, the PNW is just magical at every turn Smile

The only detriment to being Family Friendly is figuring out how to get good 3 point harnesses in the back to secure the kids car seats.

Been doing a ton of reading on that point for months, lots of ideas, but no clear solutions. I'll have a better ideas once I see what mount points are there.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:30 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Indeed a great network of bus folks up here in the PNW. Look forward to meeting you some day. I split time between PDX and Olympia so I'm sure it will happen. Just look at all the fine folks in the area that have reached out. That's just the beginning Cool
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:42 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

Nice looking Bus. Not trying to jack your thread, but busdaddy
Quote:
That's not too bad looking a bus there, some engine compartment issues and a 411/412 engine,
Is there something wrong with a posche motor in a bus?
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RONIN10
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

mechanicjay wrote:
The only detriment to being Family Friendly is figuring out how to get good 3 point harnesses in the back to secure the kids car seats.


GoWesty has these, but I'd be hesitant to drill into my bus. Although page 3 of this thread has some good, stock looking options.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

jefflewis wrote:
Nice looking Bus. Not trying to jack your thread, but busdaddy
Quote:
That's not too bad looking a bus there, some engine compartment issues and a 411/412 engine,
Is there something wrong with a posche motor in a bus?

It depends, if it's a wrecking yard find that's still fully set up for a car it'll likely have too high a compression ratio for a bus, it'll require premium gas and careful driving. If it's just the case and the pistons have been changed then no worries.
A peek inside with a borescope to see if the pistons are dished or domed might clear that up.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 28, 2016 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: Almost have a Bus -- My Story Reply with quote

I would guess it's likely swapped in not rebuilt. But I didn't have the heads off can't say
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1980 Westy~Corkey

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