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My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights...
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Angelus343
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Joined: February 06, 2017
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Location: UK Cambridgeshire
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:22 pm    Post subject: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

1977 Westfalia
Type 4
GD 2.0
53,352 miles
duel Dellorto's 34FRD

M Plate checks out.

Story time.

I got this bus about 2 weeks ago and it's my first automotive project. The plan is to put a lot of love into it and make it something the Wife and I can enjoy now and with future children.

I closed the deal on the bus before I discovered the magic of Muir, the Bently bible, and the power of the Search button here. I knew there was a red light and a green light to worry about, I thought these were the pull out lights below the dash.... ( which of course are the head lights and emergency lights ).

After my terribly noobish inspection of the vehicle, the owner and I talked for quite a while and got on pretty well to be honest. I got some good feelings from the family I'm taking this Bus from and a sense of love that they had for it also. They had the 40 years of maintenance history which looked just fine, seemed like a well taken care of bus from the outside.

He goes through all the controls and assures me that "they're all like this" after I question him about these issues:

- sticky accelerator
- the stone hard brakes
- sloppy shifter
- 2" of clutch pedal play.
- oil under the engine and transmission

Me, the inexperienced noob who only learned what a transmission is a few weeks earlier then that figured that they all seem like pretty simple things compared to other more serious issues... I grew up knowing nothing about vehicles. I figured this was a safe place to start putting love into one.

So here comes the part where I'm seriously kicking myself over after all that i've learned from the idiot book, bently, and ye samba gods that deal with people like me every day. ( you guys are the best )



This thing drove fine when I inspected it and started perfect, I go to pick it up later that week and I got 10 minutes into the journey home when black smoke starts pouring out from the dashboard and the idiot light and battery light are on. Shocked I pull over and inspect the engine compartment and all seemed fine, I took no chances after hearing about fuel line horror stories so I got a tow back home.

Fast forward to now, where I've learned a lot this week about what I should have done during inspection I've come to realize I might have gotten played pretty hard.

Here is what i've found so far, I'm not turning this engine on until I get my compression kit, timing tools, and fuel filters at least.

Pictures:


Beside the large amounts of burnt oil there seems to be a lot coming what I think is the flywheel gasket.

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_____

A closer look.

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_____

I've no idea why the transmission would have this much oil caked on.

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_____

I have no idea what this random hose is doing there.

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_____

This is what the pre fuel filter looks like. The one before the carbs looks a little better, the lines look very old.

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_____

I hope this exhaust system is salvageable. I really don't want to go through the expense and work of converting it to the earlier version.

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_____

Found the cause of the shitty sloppy shifter, damn bushing came off. Not to mention the superb quality of EMPI at it's finest

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_____

I found out that my accelerator pin was held in place with a zip tie in place of the clip....

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_____

More zip tie "fixes", probably why i have no heat/airflow. I've no idea if these ball joints are the early type where i can just replace the boot after some serious cleaning. All the boots are terrible on this bus.

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_____

More shitty ball joints.

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_____

Let's add CV boots to the list too.

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_____

Too bad this bus lost the fuel injection, I haven't even begin to tally how much it would cost to install it back. Or if OS/NOS is even possible to get a hold of.

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_____


I have much more pictures but this is turning into a long post so i'll wrap it up.


So that's just the underside. I think I'll stop here before I rant about the terrible weatherstripping and very questionable interior job. Thank you for reading, I'm sorry if there's too many pictures or if it's too long, but I wanted to put effort into my first decent post.

I just learned how cars work and am learning more every day from reading my Bentley, your detailed posts, and of course anything else I can get my hands on. I really hope I don't have to do an engine overhaul on my first project. But if I have to, then so be it.

My phase 1 tool set arrives in a couple days, wish me luck. More updates to come! Very Happy
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busdaddy
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 7:39 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Congratulations!, that doesn't look as horrible as some, typical things you'd expect on a 40 year old used car.

The trans leak could be a few things, don't panic yet. Does the fresh oil stink like sulpher?, or smell like motor oil?, the greasy scum all over it is typical of a 40 year old trans that hasn't been cleaned or serviced.
The mystery hose is likely a bodge for the crankcase breather, part of the FI removal no doubt.
Those carbs are the better choice when converting to duals, at least they didn't cheap out, could be worse.
The exhaust system doesn't look all that bad, it's got a crappy extractor and muffler but overall it appears to be in reasonably good shape.
The ball joints may be OK, the boots are toast but the internals may have survived.
The shifter looks like a fairly easy fix.

So far it looks like you may have gotten hosed if you paid for a fully overhauled bus, but from what I see so far it's not beyond repair and in the end it's better that you do the work so you know it's been done instead of taking someone elses word for it.

Any findings regarding the smoke up front?
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:00 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Shifter help

at the front of your shifter rod, that bushing should be between the metal and the rod. It will get rid of your play. If you put a rubber band around the inner part of the bushing and then put it in the hole, it might help with the strudiness. This will get rid of a lot of the freeplay. If the bushing is ripped, replace it. See these threads: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=639706&highlight=shift+bushing
and
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=583515&highlight==

Accelerator: Best way to fix this is with a buttys bits (and probably a new accelerator cable). Buttys bits www.buttysbits.com

Rest of it is better left to the pros like busdaddy, etc
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KentPS Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:01 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Congratulations Angelus! You're in for a wonderful learning experience, if you want it to be. Smile

Your engine and trans looks almost identical to mine when I bought it a few months ago. At first I was concerned about all the possible causes, the cost involved with fixing them, and what damage may have been caused due to them. The unknown is scary!

But after stepping back and taking a breath, I decided to wade in from the shallow end of the pool. I started by cleaning out the inside, since I KNEW it's something I could do. Then getting a bit deeper, I repaired a couple of the minor items I found. And then.... took a deep breath and plunged into the abyss by removing the drivetrain. Shocked

With the combined help of Mr Bentley and all the Sambanistas, I discovered all those layers of goo originated from two places, and they helped me fix them. Following a little cleaning (okay, maybe 25-30 hours of cleaning), my engine is sparkling and about to be put back together and go back in the van.

So don't freak out seeing something that looks intimidating at first. As Busdaddy says, it doesn't look that horrible. Dancing
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Cars of today are so bland in comparison. It's.... like driving a celebration!"
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:21 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

And I forgot to mention...
Yes, it is quite possible to convert back to FI. It takes time, patience, persistence, and a bunch of cash... but it's doable! A lot of the stuff is no longer available (NLA), so that's when you search Samba and local resources daily.

In California, I don't have a choice between carbs and FI. The state government won't register it if it doesn't have functioning FI.
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1976 Riviera, my 1.8l FI chrome yellow VAN - "Chloe"

My top favorite Samba quote:
Quote:
"I must say, how can you be in a bad mood driving this vehicle full of vibrant color.
Cars of today are so bland in comparison. It's.... like driving a celebration!"
-WildIdea
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VWSunny72
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

I had a similar experience when I first brought home Sunny and then I read all of the real horror stories posted here. There are tons of posts regarding awful hacks from POs and if the only thing you have is a "zip-tie used as a clip"...be very happy. Here's the thing...by having issues for you to deal with upfront, it will teach you how to maintain and fix your bus when it really counts! Imagine being on the road with your family and you break down...this will happen at some point. Think of this time as training for that day as you learn the in/outs of your bus. The key is if there is significant body rust as that seems to be the kiss of death for most people...

Good luck and welcome!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Enjoyed your post and the pictures. Not all that dissimilar to some of the issues on my bus. Sounds like you have the right attitude and you're finding the resources to tackle the work yourself. Prioritize what needs to get done. When you get frustrated and you will, take a break and get back to it the next day. If you hit a roadblock, reach out for help - there are some amazing people here that really know their stuff.

I keep a saying (really a question) in my mind while I work on the bus. Actually read it here on the Samba. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Very Happy

Welcome aboard!
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

I agree with the others. It's not as bad as you're viewing it. The great thing is your desire to learn and to immediately get a Bentley and other VW materials to learn to work on it. The fact that you know how to navigate around the search feature on The Samba will help you immensely as well.

You've got the fun part ahead of you. Going through the entire buses mechanical and electrical systems to assess each. Start with the brake system first. Don't get overwhelmed either. View this as your new hobby that will take plenty of time to go through to bring it back to shape. Take one system at a time. Attack the brakes first. Then move on to the next challenge.

You should continue to update this thread with your findings. You can also ask questions when stumped. There's lots of nice folks willing to help you out as navigate through it.
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:39 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Your exhaust system is either a 72-74 or a 79. So I would suspect your engine isn't a 77 either. I would guess that you have an oil leak that is filling at least one of your heater boxes with oil and once the exhaust gets nice and toasty the oil in the heater box(es) begins to burn off causing smoke. Once you fix you leaks you can just remove the accordion tubes and let driving and time do their thing to rid the heater boxes of oil.
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 07, 2017 9:46 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Angelus343 wrote:
... I found out that my accelerator pin was held in place with a zip tie in place of the clip....

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C clips go missing quite easily. Here's a hack that will improve the OG linkage. Drill a hole in the rod and use washers and a cotter pin instead of the C clip. For an on-the-road repair I used a small pair of vise grips instead of the gone missing C clip. Was good for the 800 mile trip back to home, tools and parts.

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Aloha
tp
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 2:37 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Invest in some cans of Gum-Out, some rags and a paint scraper to clean all that mess off and you'll have a much easier time finding the source of your leak. In the second picture you posted it appears as if there's a crack in the bellhousing on the transmission. Not sure if that's something that can be repaired with a simple weld, someone else with more knowledge than I should be able to give you better advice on that. My Bus took me years to get on the road because I wanted to have everything just right. If I did it again I think I would just get it so it runs well so I could enjoy it, and start chipping away at everything else. I missed out on a lot of Bus driving time because I got myself in over my head. Yours runs so you've already got one of the major bases covered. Good luck, you have an awesome Bus that you'll be able to enjoy, just takes some time.
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 4:44 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

I agree, things could look a whole lot worse, and it sounds like you have the right attitude! At least you grasp the fact that in the U.K. you can no longer rely on a local garage to know their way around the mechanicals (unless you're lucky and have deep pockets!) but they're simple beasts and if you take it one job at a time, you'll get there!
Part of the pleasure is accomplishing things yourself, so you and Muir and Bentley and Samba are all you need!
Once the brakes work safely, I would say replace the fuel lines, do a basic engine service: valves, dwell, timing, oil change, carbs and then at least you have the joy of a basic running bus and you can work out what to tackle next!
Good luck and keep posting, theSamba will save your life!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 6:10 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Black smoke from the dashboard?

Did it come from the vents on top, the vents in the middle or from wiring?

Looking at the amount of oil, it could be oil fumes getting into the heating system and blowing forward.

As the other guys have said, the bus will clean up, its down to you to invest the time in sorting the issues out. You'll be surprised at how things can be turned around easily.

I note you are from Cambridge, www.thelatebay.com is UK based, there will be someone local to you, if you join up and ask nicely, you will get help for the cost of a beer!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 8:39 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Lots of good info here already...to add..

1. Please post as many pictures as you want. Pics are great. I'm wondering what the interior and exterior look like.

2. I don't think you were "hosed". It appears that everything is presented as is, nothing really hidden....it is greasy and a mess...but doesn't look too bad. The problem is when people by a nice shiny bus with a new paint job full of bondo for top dollar only to find it's shite.

3. You have a great attitude....many of us jumped in first and researched later, that's the fun part about it..don't feel too bad..you will have many good years with your bus...the adventure is just starting.

4. IF you vacation with a significant other...don't make plans, just drive. Just remember as long as point A to B to C to...Z have no timeframe there will be no disappointment. Have fun and enjoy the ride.

5. As mentioned before, the FI is completely rebuildable and recommended. Check out KYLE automotive for new FI harnesses if you're headed that way.

6. READ THE FIRE THREADS. Have more than one extinguisher. Get a blazecut, whatever floats your boat...but be proactive. But a good battery disconnect and disconnect it whenever it's sitting overnight (or when you're sleeping in it)....

7. Sit back, make a list. Go through EVERYTHING, starting with the critical - fuel lines and connections. Brakes (you have to stop)...who knows what the PO did and didn't do.

8. Check out Butty's Bits for the accelerator linkage. Easy fix that works well.

9. Lots of great people here ready to help. Good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 9:41 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Here is a wonderful Tcash welcome!

Tcash wrote:
Welcome to TheSamba, Bay Window Bus Forum!

Tcash wrote:
Every Type IV engine owner should know this!!!

If you over tighten the Oil Strainer bolt, you will brake the engine case!
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There is a Oil strainer in there.
TORQUE THE STRAINER BOLT TO NO MORE THAN 9 FT. LBS.


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

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!
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Type 2/Bus Owner's Manuals
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Early Baywindow Bus Parts Book
Late Baywindow Bus Parts Fiche
Type 2 Wiring Diagrams
Model and Year Variations
Type 4: Secrets Revealed
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PARTS INTERCHANGE MANUAL
Youtube Videos

There is a ton of information located at the top of the Forum section.
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Angelus343
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:36 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

busdaddy wrote:
Congratulations!, that doesn't look as horrible as some, typical things you'd expect on a 40 year old used car.


That's very reassuring to hear, I was a bit scared since I don't have enough experience to tell.

busdaddy wrote:

The trans leak could be a few things, don't panic yet. Does the fresh oil stink like sulpher?, or smell like motor oil?, the greasy scum all over it is typical of a 40 year old trans that hasn't been cleaned or serviced.


It smells like normal oil, no sulpher smells. Which I hope is a good thing.


busdaddy wrote:

Those carbs are the better choice when converting to duals, at least they didn't cheap out, could be worse.


I was actually very confused about these carbs.
I did some reading up and I see that they are not dual 2 barrels but were used more for in single carb set ups.

http://www.aircooled.net/vw-carburetor-options-selection-101/

I don't really know too many details on carbs and their operation but I plan to set assign some time to go more indepth.
But my first impression was that these baby 34mm carbs are maybe not the best choice for a 2.0 litre engine when it come to power and fuel economy. [/quote]

busdaddy wrote:

The exhaust system doesn't look all that bad, it's got a crappy extractor and muffler but overall it appears to be in reasonably good shape.


That's very reassuring, a member lower down mention how they are not a 77 exhaust system which is very reassuring.
Ill look more in my Bentley for details, I would have hated to go through the conversion.

busdaddy wrote:

The ball joints may be OK, the boots are toast but the internals may have survived.


I wrote them off as dead, the Bently goes into some detail that the earlier ball joint boots can be replaced with extensive cleaning, but that the later ones need to be replaced .
I had some trouble trying to figure out how to tell the two types apart, not sure what to order but it's on the list.


busdaddy wrote:

So far it looks like you may have gotten hosed if you paid for a fully overhauled bus, but from what I see so far it's not beyond repair and in the end it's better that you do the work so you know it's been done instead of taking someone elses word for it.


Well I for sure didn't pay a overhaul price, but I did hope for a better condition bus concerning the very old transmission and a decent amount of life in the engine, right now I'm not too sure where the engines health is.
Compression tests sometime this week, no leak down test set sadly. I have no air compressors laying around.

busdaddy wrote:

Any findings regarding the smoke up front?


The wife tells me she for sure thought the smoke was blue, which might be a good or bad thing.
It tells me that either the oil caked heater boxes are really dirty inside or that the engine was running so hot the oil was burning in the engine and being sent up front.
Really nervous to crack open this can of worms.


Last edited by Angelus343 on Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Angelus343
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:44 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

BusPriest wrote:
Shifter help

at the front of your shifter rod, that bushing should be between the metal and the rod. It will get rid of your play. If you put a rubber band around the inner part of the bushing and then put it in the hole, it might help with the strudiness. This will get rid of a lot of the freeplay. If the bushing is ripped, replace it. See these threads: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=639706&highlight=shift+bushing
and
http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=583515&highlight==


I actually have those threads booked marked coincidently! Very useful stuff regarding shifter help, really helped me out in understand more on the operation as well.
"Shifter parts ID" is a thread everyone should have saved.

BusPriest wrote:

Accelerator: Best way to fix this is with a buttys bits (and probably a new accelerator cable). Buttys bits www.buttysbits.com

Rest of it is better left to the pros like busdaddy, etc


I'm actually in an email conversation with him right now, seems like a cool guy.
It turns out Justkampers is selling his product too, seemed to surprise him actually, like he didn't know about them selling his product.
I wonder if that's even legal?


Last edited by Angelus343 on Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Angelus343
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 11:52 am    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

KentPS wrote:
Congratulations Angelus! You're in for a wonderful learning experience, if you want it to be. Smile


I enjoy learning a lot, and getting into automotives is really exciting, I can finally talk to my male co-workers about stuff!
I love the outdoors
and exploration and these bus's fit right into that passion.

KentPS wrote:

Your engine and trans looks almost identical to mine when I bought it a few months ago. At first I was concerned about all the possible causes, the cost involved with fixing them, and what damage may have been caused due to them. The unknown is scary!


Glad to hear you have a similar experience! The unknown is driving me nuts,
I can't wait to get my test equipment to see what's going on with her.

KentPS wrote:

But after stepping back and taking a breath, I decided to wade in from the shallow end of the pool. I started by cleaning out the inside, since I KNEW it's something I could do.


That's literally what me and the wife did the other day! We torn the inside apart, labeled the hardware and did a serious interior inspection so see what we need to redo, which is everything...
Seriously, I've no idea whose great idea it was to remove vapor barriers and drill holes EVERYWHERE.

KentPS wrote:

With the combined help of Mr Bentley and all the Sambanistas, I discovered all those layers of goo originated from two places, and they helped me fix them. Following a little cleaning (okay, maybe 25-30 hours of cleaning), my engine is sparkling and about to be put back together and go back in the van.


I hope I can get away with the same results, I'm looking into degreasers and I see the dawn dish soap, oven cleaner and elbow grease is the popular opinion.
I think ill add some simple green in there too for the heavier stuff.

KentPS wrote:

Yes, it is quite possible to convert back to FI. It takes time, patience, persistence, and a bunch of cash... but it's doable!


I really want to in the future, You think you can ballpark it? I know there are about 10 different parts to it, ratwell has a good amount of info on the part numbers.
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Angelus343
Samba Member


Joined: February 06, 2017
Posts: 51
Location: UK Cambridgeshire
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:24 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

LazyLightning75 wrote:
Enjoyed your post and the pictures. Not all that dissimilar to some of the issues on my bus. Sounds like you have the right attitude and you're finding the resources to tackle the work yourself. Prioritize what needs to get done. When you get frustrated and you will, take a break and get back to it the next day. If you hit a roadblock, reach out for help - there are some amazing people here that really know their stuff.

I keep a saying (really a question) in my mind while I work on the bus. Actually read it here on the Samba. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Very Happy

Welcome aboard!


Great advice, It's hard not to get overwhelmed with everything all at once. I keep telling myself one step at a time, so far it's working.
People here are amazing, I've never seen such a friendly forum before to be honest, and the amount of info stored away in posts is enormous!
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Angelus343
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Joined: February 06, 2017
Posts: 51
Location: UK Cambridgeshire
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 08, 2017 12:26 pm    Post subject: Re: My first Bus experience! Smoke, zip ties and idiot lights... Reply with quote

Tom Powell wrote:

C clips go missing quite easily. Here's a hack that will improve the OG linkage. Drill a hole in the rod and use washers and a cotter pin instead of the C clip. For an on-the-road repair I used a small pair of vise grips instead of the gone missing C clip. Was good for the 800 mile trip back to home, tools and parts.

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


Aloha
tp


That's a pretty sweet fix, seems like such a better and simpler way. I hope to get a ball linkage from Bittys.
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