Archive for the ‘VW’ category

International Couple Tour In ’73 VW Hightop Bus

August 5, 2017

I just found this couple on Youtube touring the States in their 1973 Hightop Volkswagen Bus. They are trying to do their bit for the environment  with things like vegan food, but their one weakness is the vintage VW, gas mileage can be as good as 25 MPG…with a tail wind. They seem to have at least one dog which must be a bit of a challenge. However, in the continental U.S. it is possible to follow the sun. Look for them on Youtube, channel name: Wandxr Bus


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

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!

The Ever Increasing Price of the Vintage VW Bus

November 19, 2014

On the one hand it’s nice to know something you’ve invested in is increasing in value, but I can’t help but cringe when I see how much these old beauties are being flipped for. Admittedly the guys at Wheeler Dealers in the U.K. did add some handy upgrades to this old split window bus including a modern steering box. The upshot is they have preserved the vehicle for future owners. I do like the show and have enjoyed other episodes featuring other vehicles, however I did find it amusing how they talked the lady they bought the bus from down on her price of $14,800 to $14,000 , but were firm with theirs re-selling at a whopping £25,000! They turned a profit of more than 8,000 pounds. Then again they had to ship it from the U.S. etc. The obsession some people have for these Volkswagens is incredible leading to a “I’ll pay whatever it takes” mentality to get that special bus. Just a few years ago $10,000 would go far, and it still can, but the new reality is more often a sellers market and the older the bus the higher the price. wheeler-bus

Great Canadian VW Show – Vancouver- 2014

August 17, 2014

Above is a video from the 23rd Great Canadian VW Show (2014) held in Vancouver Canada. Like any good Volkswagen gathering it attracts a huge following, from Bugs to Sciroccos and everything in between, including of course many buses. An awesome group of people. Here’s a video of last year’s event (2013,) take a virtual trip to one of the best shows around.  Video embedded from CanadaCustomsHotRods on Youtube.


Camper Jam Canada 2014 Moved due to Forest Fire

July 17, 2014


Canada has a VW Camper Jam, though much smaller than its British brother the same spirit is there. What could be better than touring through the Canadian Rockies in a Volkswagen camper?  Unfortunately a forest fire necessitated the event to be moved to another location also located in Alberta Canada. This message was on their webpage.

“Due to a forest fire in the area, We are scrambling to find a location for the 2014 Jam. We have a few potential spots lined up we are waiting to hear confirmation. For more up to date information Stay connected through our social media channels or if you have any questions click here

Later according to the group’s Facebook page Camper Jam was successfully moved to Drumheller, Alberta. Great events like that are always too short. Never enough time to meet everyone and check out every vehicle.









I Found A Good DVDA for my Westfalia

July 16, 2014

Left: DVDA before cleaned and set, and Right: After

Ever since my stock Bosch Dual Vacuum Dual Advance distributor (DVDA) failed last year I’ve been looking for a replacement. The problem is they don’t make them anymore so most people use the commonly available new Single Vacuum Dual Advance versions. The Mexican Bosch SVDA is my favorite, I run one with a Pertronix ignition in my other bus, very nice. The DVDA has two vacuum hoses that are fed from the stock twin Solex carburetors. If you run the SVDA you’ll be blocking off the retard vacuum hole on the left carb. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to running things stock so I’ve kept my hopes up to find something in the way of a DVDA that is close to my original. I know the literature says that you should run distributors recommended for your particular engine and year, but if that were true no one would be running 009s or the aftermarket SVDAs, the latter made for Mexican Beetles if I’m right.

Out of the five DVDAs I now have, including my broken original, only one is working to my satisfaction. I’ve been to a few shows and events this summer and whenever I see one I buy it. Prices range from 10 to 20 dollars and condition from rough to usable. They’re inexpensive, which means I can afford to be wrong here and there and keep the bad ones for parts. The most recent one turned out to be rated for a ’75 – mid ’76 Bus with an 1800 to 2000cc engine, and since I have a ’73 1700 I feel it’s about as close as I’m going to get. I took it apart down to the springs and weights which looked quite good. At first the advance plate didn’t want to come out, however a little persuasion in the vice with a gentle tap from a center punch convinced it to come free.  I degreased, cleaned and lubricated the whole works and added a set of gently used Bosch points and condenser.


Now came the moment of truth, I installed said DVDA into the bus, set the static timing at 10 degrees After Top Dead Center (ATDC,) made sure it was out of gear and started it up. It ran at low idle, I adjusted to 900 RPMs or there about and set the timing with a strobe light. By the way, the dwell read 44 degrees, nice. Took the van for a spin, but it seemed a bit sluggish, went around the block straight home and checked the static timing. Went out again, same thing, not quite right. I had noticed I wasn’t getting enough advance when revved, could the vacuum can be finished? I decided to give it one more try. I reset the static timing, then got out the strobe light again. This time it was reading nearly 10 degrees out at around 20 ATDC, weird. At least I had found something to fix. I reset everything to specs and headed out for a test drive. What a difference! It was running like its sewing machine self. I think the trick is to get the idle as close to the recommended 900 RPMs then check and recheck your 10 degrees ATDC setting. I hope this stock set up with the twin Solex carbs will improve my gas mileage a bit.

One thing I should point out. The old green retard vacuum hose began to crumble and rip when I went to connect it back up. The gauge looked a lot like a 5 mm fuel line hose so I grabbed some of that out of the spares box. It seemed to fit perfectly and is functioning just fine, perhaps they are one and the same type of hose.

%d bloggers like this: