24 April 2015

Bus Stuff

My interest in writing a blog post right now is roughly nil.  However, we have yet to keep a good record of what we're doing to the bus, so I'm going to throw a bunch of information here and you can read it if you want.  This is coming from someone who spent her last lunch hour mowing the lawn...in dress pants.  This post might be unintelligible.  I apologize in advance.
Right after we got the engine put back together, and then figured out how to solve our vacuum leak problems, we still had one lingering issue that we could NOT figure out.

One of my biggest challenges is these "impossible" problems - I simply do not have the resolve / perseverance to work through them.  Thankfully, there's a lot of VW resources out there, and Kyle has a great tenacity for these sorts of things.

1.  Voltage problem - for lack of a better term because I still don't fully understand this one (see previous paragraph regarding my resolve).  When the bus was cold, it would have a propensity for dying, stuttering, and generally not running well.  Especially if the lights were on.  After it warmed up, all symptoms disappeared.
Ignition switch - old and new
1a.  We got a new battery
1b.  Kyle installed a new ignition switch.
1c.  Kyle installed a new TSII sensor
1d.  We put in all new light bulbs

None of these things solved the problem.  Lots of voltage testing at least showed that something was...um.  Well, there was a thing.  With electricity.  Kyle will have to fill in the blanks here.  I truly tried to follow the Samba thread on this topic, but electrical stuff is not my strong point.  Long story short, Kyle uninstalled the Pertronix ignition he'd put in right when we got the bus.  Problem solved.

2.  With neither a working gas gage nor a working odometer, it was impossible to tell when to fill up with gas (or what our mileage was!).  It was driving me crazy.
2a.  The odometer had a broken gear.  The other piece was intact in the dash, so I epoxied it back together.  It broke again soon after and Kyle fixed it in a more robust manner.  We have yet to run a tank of gas with a fully working odometer so the mileage is still tbd.
2b.  One of the previous owners sliced this lovely access hole above the gas tank, and then screwed on a nasty piece of sheet metal to cover it.  Gee, thanks, buddy.
However, this jagged, tetanus-infested hole does allow access to the gas gage.
Which meant it was pretty easy to figure out that the gas gage wasn't working because all the old wiring had shredded (is that an okay way to refer to wiring?).
I cleaned up the corrosion, took it apart, wrapped a new wire on, did some stuff with epoxy, read this helpful but very optimistic Samba thread at least five times, superfailed at everything, and then let my patient, tireless husband come to my rescue.  It now works.  How well?  That's also tbd.  It tells us when it's full.  It hangs out at a quarter of a tank for a very long time.  The accuracy is anybody's guess.  I don't think too many people actually rely on the gas gage (I should clarify: bus people), most of them use the odometer and fill up every 200 miles.

3.  We meant to fix the shift coupler when the engine / transmission were out, but it was on backorder and of course they don't tell you that until the rest of your parts arrive, at which point it's a little too late.  So we (Kyle) had to do this the hard way: while everything was installed.  Somebody (the internet?) recommends a hybrid of old and new shift couplers.
4.  Stripping the interior latex paint.  It was peeling off the ceiling anyway.  It had to go.
The ceiling was easy - it's not insulated at all, so on a hot day the paint was pretty pliable and most of it peeled right off.
After that, we made some good headway with razors.
Finally, it came down to oven cleaner and brute force.
It is mostly gone now, but there are a few spots that will have to be sanded.  We've got several rust spots, so the current plan is to grind down the rust, rough up the original paint, and repaint the interior.

5.  Kyle was doing a thing and he tried to put a little body weight on the bumper and it fell off.  Not great.  One of the previous owners decided to weld the bumper on (in addition to installing a trailer hitch that made it impossible to install a muffler).  Kyle had ground those welds off a year ago and installed it properly.  I forget what the root cause was here, I think it was partially that the old weld prevented the bumper from sitting flush and there was a bolt that stripped out.  Either way, Sixer got a metric tap and die set in the Easter basket and after the weld was ground down more, the bumper was reinstalled.
5.  What better time to fix those exhaust leaks than when the bumper is already off?  Kyle got new exhaust seals and resealed that system.

6.  What easier time to fix the oil leak in the valve covers than when the bumper and heat exchangers are missing?  This valve cover oil leak has been the only leak that has persisted after removing and cleaning up the engine - but this was at least the second attempt in fixing it.  The latest fix was only done on Saturday so I'm not sure if they're still leaking or not.
Here's Kyle hard at work on the exhaust system, even though he's getting rained on.  What a champ.

Bus stuff.  It's perfect camping weather, yet here we sit in the driveway.  It's also perfect working weather, so...you know.

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