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Iron Pots the 1990 Vanagon
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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:15 am    Post subject: Iron Pots the 1990 Vanagon Reply with quote

Hi All,

Thanks to everyone's help a couple weeks back I am now the happy owner of a 1990 Vanagon. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=672572

It got shipped up from Florida and arrived on Saturday.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I couldn't be happier with the whole process. After taking a look around him and getting to know him for a bit, our daughter promptly named him Iron Pots. I have no idea how she came up with the name but it's sticking and we all like it.

We took Iron Pots for a quick spin into town once I had finished signing paperwork from the shipping company and while we had contemplated taking him to a campground for our first night with him, in the end we decided to camp in our driveway. He's so much fun to drive and runs great. He's got an over-sized steering wheel that the sellers had installed and driving him feels like captaining a ship.

We seem to have a propane leak when the main valve is on:

I hoped to test out making coffee in him in the morning so we motored over to nearby Camping World to get the propane tank filled. I'm not sure if the guy overfilled it or what because a puff of white gas came out at the end of the filling and he made us get out of the way. All seemed to be okay after those few seconds of excitement. He was then going to show us how to use the propane power for the fridge but when we turned on the main valve we heard a hissing sound. A leaky valve perhaps or maybe it needs a new regulator? When I got home I did some searching on The Samba forums and discovered this is a fairly common problem. For some people it seemed to be resolved by opening the valve all the way but no such luck for us and it still hisses for a minute after being fully closed. I do not want to be messing around with trying to fix a propane leak even if it is easy to do so it's going back to Camping World on Wednesday to get fixed. Hopefully it will be a quick and easy fix.

Our first night camping:

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We'd been having unseasonably warm weather for a few days so all the snow had melted and while my daughter and I were getting the propane tank filled, my husband was making us a campfire. As soon as we got home a cold front blew in with a thunderstorm and crazy winds. We'd been away for a few days so it was a good excuse to warm up inside for a couple of hours and unpack and settle back into being home.

Storm-be-damned we slept in him that night. The Daughter loved closing all of the curtains and getting him ready for bed and the winds and rain had simmered down.
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We were happy to discover how comfortable the upper and lower bunks were and they even fit all 3 of us in one bunk. The top bunk is wider on account of the kitchen and cabinets down below but we decided to sleep on the bottom one on account of the mold spots on the fuzzy interior of pop top above. It would have been a dreamy night if it hadn't gotten so cold (definitely freezing or below)! I can't say I slept that well on account of the cold and the husband moved inside in the middle of the night but it was still a memorable first night.

Getting him ready for spring:


Yesterday I did some more searching on The Samba forums and followed the advice of many others about spraying the fuzzy interior of the pop top with watered down bleach to remove the mold spots. At first I did about a 1:10 ratio and that didn't quite do the trick so I upped it to a 1:4 ratio and the mold is now gone. I probably inhaled way too much bleach but at least the pop top is clean! Here are before and after shots:
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I got plates for him at the DMV this morning. And I ordered a new water pump for him (which we knew was broken), an ARB awning, a center console so that we've got some cup holders and an additional place to put things like our phones, and a 3 point seat belt for the back seat. Soon as the weather warms up we're going to be ready for some camping!

If anyone is looking for an ARB awning: I just ordered mine from here and shipping was included. http://www.morris4x4center.com/arb-touring-awning-2500-98-43-x98-43.html Makes it almost $100 cheaper than gettint it from Go Westy though I did get the mounting brackets and other stuff from there.

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Last edited by katstan on Thu Mar 23, 2017 8:10 am; edited 4 times in total
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IdahoDoug
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:28 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Very cool, and congrats on joining the fun. I predict Iron Pots will create some of the most memorable times your family will enjoy over the next 5 years. Get out and explore this beautiful world.

Doug
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candyman
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

katstan wrote:





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That's what makes it all worthwhile right there!
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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 10:56 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

IdahoDoug wrote:
Very cool, and congrats on joining the fun. I predict Iron Pots will create some of the most memorable times your family will enjoy over the next 5 years. Get out and explore this beautiful world.

Doug


Thanks Doug. We're really looking forward to it!

candyman wrote:



That's what makes it all worthwhile right there!
Indeed!
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SteveVanB
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:08 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Congratulations!!
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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:15 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

SteveVanB wrote:
Congratulations!!


Thanks especially to you, Steve!
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dobryan Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:20 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Awesome. You all are going to really have some fun. Very Happy
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Jeffrey Lee
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:32 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Congratulations! Sounds like the latest addition to the family has found a very welcoming home. Here’s wishing you all many smiles per gallon.

I can say from personal experience that little girls enjoying treats in their camper vans often become grownup girls enjoying grownup treats in their camper vans.

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termuehlen Premium Member
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 11:37 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Your daughter is the perfect age to start the Westy life style. If your experience is anything like mine, I suggest you start a Westy savings fund for her now. You may want to support her when she grows up and wants to have her own Westy adventures Very Happy
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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:08 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

termuehlen wrote:
Your daughter is the perfect age to start the Westy life style. If your experience is anything like mine, I suggest you start a Westy savings fund for her now. You may want to support her when she grows up and wants to have her own Westy adventures Very Happy


Good idea!

I am just counting down the minutes until I can go home and put the plates on and go for a drive! I didn't take him out at all yesterday since I hadn't gotten him registered yet.
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0to60in6min
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:46 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

very nice... thank you for sharing..

your pics bring back good memories...we bought an 1985 weekender when our daughter was 5 and her brother 3... they now have their own vanagon...

Very Happy
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the joker
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

fuel lines and fire ext first and foremost/ head rest and the three point restraint in the rear
looks like a nice solid van
good luck keep us posted
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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:24 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

the joker wrote:
fuel lines and fire ext first and foremost/ head rest and the three point restraint in the rear
looks like a nice solid van
good luck keep us posted


Thanks for the safety tips. 3 point belt is ordered already. I'll have to look into the head rest. She'll be in a booster with a back so her head will be supported. There is a fire extinguisher mounted near the sliding door. I'm going to order the blazecut for in the engine as well. Fuel lines were replaced 7 years ago and the fuel filter was replaced 4 years ago but I'm going to have them checked out when we get it inspected by our VW mechanic.

I've got all the maintenance history here if anyone is feeling inclined to take a look: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xz4nDh48Zxe8v_gtEIIMX83UpV-yK9Eeazz8a85DKj0/edit?usp=sharing
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dsdunbar
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Kat- awesome looking van! I ordered the following kit from Frank Condelli in canada for the headrest supports:
http://www.frankcondelli.com/staging1/store/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=703

I bought two kits and think it was around $130 shipped. Frank's has 3 in stock as of this posting....sometimes it is out of stock but it seems to come back.

I haven't installed mine yet and something to think about (which I didn't) was: it is hard to find Vanagon headrests, but since you are custom fabricating the supports you can likely open up to more options (and more comfortable options) as long as they have the same OD inserts as the vanagon headrest. I think the most limiting part for finding vanagon replacement headrests is the width of the support bars are so unique(?). Anyways, something for you to consider if you decide to do this mod.

cheers

katstan wrote:

Thanks for the safety tips. 3 point belt is ordered already. I'll have to look into the head rest. She'll be in a booster with a back so her head will be supported.

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katstan
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:14 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Thanks! and thanks for the headrest info. Do I need them if she's going to be in a booster that has a full back that comes up above her head?

Okay I'm going to order the blazecut next. I read the thread on it but still need some guidance... 6', 9', or 12'? What would you do?
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kamzcab86
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 2:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

katstan wrote:
Thanks to everyone's help a couple weeks back I am now the happy owner of a 1990 Vanagon. http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=672572

It got shipped up from Florida and arrived on Saturday.


Congrats! Let the wallet-draining begin! Laughing Razz

katstan wrote:
while we had contemplated taking him to a campground for our first night with him, in the end we decided to camp in our driveway.


Well, driveway camping beats my first night in my new-to-me van... a Wal-Mart parking lot! Mad

Enjoy! Very Happy
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Merian
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 3:25 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

safety tips Arrow
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:03 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

Don’t that just warm my cold little heart...
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the joker
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 6:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

7 year old fuel lines Confused time to replace Laughing as for head rest I think you have a little time (car seat)
Franks a great guy headrest pop up on the samba classified keep and eye out or run a wanted ad Wink


plan a trip this fall an attend Transporterfest in Brookline Ma in early Oct? great gathering of all VW and awesome auto museum too Cool
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katstan
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 8:25 am    Post subject: Re: Happy New Vanagon Owner!! Reply with quote

the joker wrote:
7 year old fuel lines Confused time to replace Laughing as for head rest I think you have a little time (car seat)
Franks a great guy headrest pop up on the samba classified keep and eye out or run a wanted ad Wink


plan a trip this fall an attend Transporterfest in Brookline Ma in early Oct? great gathering of all VW and awesome auto museum too Cool


Transporterfest in Brookline sounds like fun. Definite maybe on that one. p.s. Are you in Providence? I'm from there and was there last Thurs-Sat. Had to get back to Woodstock to meet our new Vanagon though!

I went to put the plates on Iron Pots last night and when I pulled down the plate holder in back to screw it on I discovered he had an empty coolant reserve (but almost full main coolant reservoir). I didn't know where the main reservoir was until this morning so I decided not to take him for the ride I was planning on last night. Kind of a bummer but at least I got to drive him to the shop this morning, which was super fun.

I don't have my Bentley yet and while I do hope and plan to get to know how to work on him by myself I also want to have a relationship with a good mechanic up here who knows what they're doing. The good news is I found one and he's 10 minutes from our house. He's a VW/Audi specialist and has worked on Vanagons and even owned a couple himself, which he mentioned he regrets selling since they've been going up in value ever since he did.

He's going to check over the cooling system for me to see if there's a leak and give it a once over for everything else and do the inspection. Even gave me his cellphone number in case we ever have a breakdown on the weekend and said he'd take a look at the propane valve and let me know if it's something he feels comfortable working on.

Last night I was feeling a little overwhelmed about the idea of dealing with a coolant leak and/or flushing the cooling system if I did need to put water in it temporarily but I feel like this buys me some time to build some confidence as I ease my way into the mechanical end of Vanagon ownership. I'll probably install the submersible water pump and 3 point seat belt myself though! And once my Bentley arrives I'll start studying.
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