Archive for the ‘Volkswagen camper’ category

Adjusting the Valves on your VW Greatly Improves Performance

September 4, 2016

Although the bus was running very well at the beginning of spring I felt it had lost some of it’s get up and go by late summer after a number of reasonably long road trips. Certainly I had tuned it to perfection, but I had left out one thing, the valve adjustment. (note: later air-cooled engines featured self adjusting hydraulic valves, my ’74 has the manually adjustable type)

Driving the ‘74 Westfalia seasonally I probably put on about 3,000 miles in the past 3 summers, perhaps a bit more. Three thousand miles is the recommended interval for valve adjustment. To my surprise the valves were quite tight, .004 inch or less when I ran the feeler gauge through the tappets. As usual number 3 exhaust was the tightest as its cooling is impeded by the nearby oil cooler. The stock gap for intake valves on a 1974 Type 4 bus engine is .006 inch. The exhaust setting is a bit more confusing, if the motor still has the special sodium filled exhaust valves the gap should be .008 inch. However, I see debate on the Samba with some people setting them to .006 inch with good results. My personal experimentation found .008 to be a bit noisy and I settled for something closer to .006 or just closer to .007 for the exhaust. The fact is I don’t think I have sodium filled valves as a previous owner gave the engine a top end rebuild about fifteen thousand miles ago.

Then the great joy of sealing up the valve covers, finding they don’t leak, and putting the gas pedal down to find the bus has new found easy glide power. Like an almost new engine the bus is once again making as much as it can out of its potential 70 horse power. There is no need to jack up the car for this procedure. Happy motoring, and don’t be afraid to set your valves yourself.

The videos are from Chris Vallone at Classic VW Bugs dot com though the same principles apply to buses both upright and Type 4 engines.

Beach Wood Wheel Chock for the Bus

July 21, 2016
vwbus-wheel-chock-s

Wheel chock made from a piece of drift wood.

It’s a simple thing but very useful as the parking brake cable on a bus is very long and can sometimes give way enough for the vehicle to start rolling. Call me paranoid, my dad’s bus once rolled down the driveway into a tree, and yes I park in gear. We often head to the beach in our ’74 Westfalia to enjoy an afternoon by the sea. I love looking at all the variations of beach wood, some natural or in this case man made. This block struck me as being the perfect shape and size to become a VW bus wheel chock that would fit easily behind the driver’s seat. I gave it a dash of orange paint from a rattle can and made a grip from the remains of some old lawn chair webbing, and voila!

Jerry Seinfeld Spotlights a Westfalia

June 18, 2016

CICGC-vwvan

Jerry Seinfeld’s “new” show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a simple concept and it works well, especially when he chooses a 1977 Volkswagen Westfalia as the vehicle for his comedy. Here he teams up with fellow comedian Jim Gaffigan in the camper juxtaposed with the streets of New York. It’s ironic that they both claim to prepare for their routines, yet this seems fairly natural and off the cuff. If you’re a fan of both Volkswagen campers and the long running TV sitcom Seinfeld then this is the video for you. Click the picture to watch.

Hasta Alaska – “You could not write this stuff”

June 3, 2016

hasta-alaska060316

Good news/bad news, Ben finally gets his U.S Visa! But…the Kombi is in a bit of a fix. From Vancouver to Haines Alaska, and now Whitehorse in the Yukon, the Kombi Life adventure continues. A must watch video in the series.

At first I thought, why is Fidel Castro putting out that fire? Maybe it’s just the angle, it is in fact Ben’s incredibly helpful friend in Haines who saved the bus just in time. And I really want one of these T-Shirts! You can support Kombi Life by purchasing one here.

1width500height500appearanceid351backgroundcolorfffversion1463806742

Car S.O.S. Restore a Devon VW Camper

February 18, 2016

carsosvwcamperThis is so nice to see. These guys have a great work ethic, all they want to do is give a retired gentleman, who is recovering from a stroke, his dream back. Fun and games as they conspire to sneak the bus away for the restoration. The video is also quite educational for those looking to fix an old Volkswagen bay that might have been sitting, this one sat for 17 years, but thankfully  in a garage. I liked the explanation of the torsion bar suspension and brakes. Let this be motivation for those upcoming spring VW bus projects out there.

Kombi Life: Hasta Alaska on Vancouver Island (Canada)

July 17, 2015

Amazing to think this awesome video series is produced from inside the Volkswagen van they travel in. The sheer amount or stamina and perseverance is incredible, previously in the series the engine was out multiple times. While others would have given up Ben did not. He accepts donations to the cause, but says that a portion of the proceeds goes to charity. If you’re not at liberty to take your kombi on an extended adventure this is the next best thing. Check out their Youtube channel.

Loose Exhaust Spawns Faux Engine Noise

May 20, 2015

bugpack-single-quiet

I’ve been chasing down a phantom engine noise since the end of last season when I put the bus to bed in the garage with what I first thought was simply a worn out muffler. Spring 2015 came and I eagerly set about tuning and fixing the camper for further adventures. The replacement Bugpack single quiet pack muffler went on fine and I also found one of the header to heater box gaskets was worn out too. Much to my surprise when I cranked it over and it still sounded like a box of hammers. I immediately began thinking of how to track down a new 2 litre boxer-motor to succeed the 1800, but I was too hasty.

A few days later while I was lying under the bus in my overalls contemplating its greatness, I began to idly twiddle with various bolts, you know just checking them. Suddenly there it was, a loose exhaust stud on number one at the head. I grabbed a 13 mm socket and popped it out, the nut was firmly on the stud at what I thought must be the right distance to torque up. I cleaned it up with some motor oil and gently, but firmly, put the works back in to the slot. It went in perfectly and snugged up like new. Then the moment of truth, I fired it up, music to my ears, all those crazy phantom mechanical sounds were gone and it drove like the wind with no back fire. It feels like a new engine, I now suspect the loose head bolt was working its way out getting louder over the last couple of years. The lesson here is, what sounds like bad lifters, a loose valve train or the like could simply be odd sounds being produced due to a leaky exhaust system.


%d bloggers like this: