Thursday, December 31, 2009

Top End Building

We’ve been going to town on the top end of the engine (mostly Craig with minimal assistance from me).

We’re a little stuck right now as the alternator is in the way of the carburetor sitting properly in place. The engine in our splitty has about a two inch spacer between the manifold and the carb, but we can’t seem to find another one of those. Any ideas, suggestions, thoughts?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Cool old Boxes

When we bought Doris (the bus with no rear axle from which we stripped the interior), she came with a whole box of bearings, etc. most of which were rusty and therefore trash, but also most of which were really old and therefore cool. Check ‘em out.

This one is my favorite...

...and here's the one where Otto tried to help...

which ended like this (that's the camera strap he's got):

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

No snow. Just cold.

This is a picture of me. Apparently I get crazy eyes when it is negative three degrees outside and I am driving a bus. I was proud of Jasmine yesterday though--she started right up in the morning and only died twice.
We did a lot of trying to accomplish things on the bus last weekend without actually doing much accomplishing of anything. We put forth a serious effort on installation of our final missing window…but didn’t manage to get it in. In better window news, however, Craig installed the front windows—yea!! We had previously had several battles with the window regulators and I was dreading the thought of another fight but Craig worked his magic and they’re in! Apparently Craig is much more efficient when I’m not around…

We also worked on the new seat covers. Somehow I didn’t manage to get an “after” picture. We got the new covers on but haven’t yet fastened them properly as we seem to be missing some integral pieces—ergo the trying without accomplishing much status of the weekend.

We also got a new carburetor and distributor. Craig mocked me in this photo. He said it was obvious I was being a smart ass. I can't blame him for thinking that because I usually am. Truth is that I’m sincerely excited in the photo—it just turns out that my face is not well versed in a variety of facial expressions and my fake excited face is exactly the same as my real excited face. Seriously though, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a carb this pretty.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Engines and pop tops and seat frames, oh my!

Craig has been working like crazy on our bay window. Last weekend he suspended the pop top from the ceiling of our garage in order to give him room to work on installation.

It was a pretty slick operation if you ask me. The biggest challenge (and we knew it was coming) is our dear old friend Bondo. As mentioned before, BB used to be a camper and then someone started the process of converting her to a transporter, which means that all 75 (I hardly think that’s an exaggeration) of the holes for screws that hold the pop-top and its canvas in place have been bondoed over, which means that as Craig drilled into the roof, bondo pieces chipped away, in turn chipping the paint on BB’s roof. Oh well, we weren’t going for a show vehicle.

As Craig has been cruising through the pop-top project (I’m highly impressed by the excellent work he’s done on this by the way), I’ve been working more slowly on recovering the front seats. So far, no re-covering has happened, but I have successfully removed one of the covers, taking care not to break any of the little metal tabs that hold the upholstery on the frame.

The covers were hashed, but I think that the frames are in pretty nice shape and I’m excited for their future.

After learning that this case was cracked…

We heard about this 1776 longblock which has sat in a box for a few years and was built by Serrano (hopefully before he got tired) and we are really excited. The dorks that we are, we immediately got stuck on our—building of the top end the engine—project when we realized that we didn’t know what size of spark plugs we need. I think we got an answer on this question today and now we’re gonna cruise through this project—I know it. (ha! Yeah right!)

It’s a beauty, eh? We paid extra for the pink Bubble Yumm. (What the heck is that gunk anyway?)

PS I almost forgot to mention that the dude finally showed up to install the windshield and he totally redeemed himself by doing an awesome job and he was really cool to boot.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Eleven Things We've Done.

1) Sanded down Jasmine’s roof in places that were (I thought) rusty metal. Turns out it was just brown primer—yea!
2) Went on vacation
3) Came home. Lame.
4) Sorted through the miscellaneous parts in our garage (thanks for your help Chad)
5) Took the relevant pieces of the bottom end to the mechanic to build engine for our bay window
6) Did emission testing on Jasmine. She failed (big surprise).
7) Changed Jasmine’s oil
8) Changed Jasmine’s belt
9) Called someone to install our bay window windshield…he hasn’t shown up yet…hopefully tomorrow.
10) Painted the bad spots on Jasmine’s roof (one coat…then it rained).
11) Found out that the case we took to the mechanic is cracked. We’re planning on opening a cracked case museum in our garage.

I do want to point out that Craig did about…90% of all of this stuff. I just hung out at work and interrupted with several phone calls. (Thanks honey!)

Monday, October 12, 2009


I’m a bit behind here, so I’ll try to keep this interesting enough that you will actually read through the whole thing. Here’s what I will cover (that way if you only are interested in pieces, you can skip ahead): 1) Dubtoberfest, 2) a book I’m reading, 3) new window seals, 4) my best friend—Wolfsburg West 5) working on BB’s camper restoration 6) Oktoberfest.

1) I went to Dubtoberfest on 10/3. A bunch of the local VWs caravanned up to Richland, WA which was a blast. We had a couple of false alarms, but really only one (maybe 1.5) repair required on the trip. One of the guys had an alternator pulley that broke in half. No one had a spare, but fortunately we had one bus on a trailer, so the pulley was robbed from it and we didn’t have to leave anyone on the side of the road to be towed. There were some sweet VWs at the show. I’m working on this art project for my house…long story short—since I already had photos of our local rigs, I didn’t really take any at the show…so I robbed them from Kelly, who takes wonderfully artistic shots. I love them. More can be found here: Also, I picked up a gas cap in the swap meet. (Everyone has their odd obsessions, one of mine happens to be VW gas caps, okay?!)

Cliff's bug won "best of show".

A BPA group shot.

Amazingly original '65 11-window with 28k original miles.

Type 34 Ghia--super sweet.

James' bus. Won a first place award...can't remember exactly what it was, sorry James. :-(

2) This book is so cool. The campers are listed alphabetically and I think I’m up to the letter H—for Hi-Top (those were a real crime!) Craig finally let me order this baby after lusting after it for about a month. (Thank you honey!) It has been quite enlightening.

3) It rained at home while I was at Dubtoberfest and when I got back, I found a big ol’ puddle on Jasmine’s floor thanks to leaks in the windshields (surprise!) I was going to order new seals and Craig suggested that I check to see if I needed any of the others. Turns out that ALL of the windows leaked. So, I’ve been putting in new seals in the pop-outs. I haven’t taken on the rear or front windshields. Hopefully the new seals will help and we won't break the windows.

4) Speaking of ordering window seals, one of my favorite things about Wolfsburg West is that they are SUPER speedy. We received our last order in approximately 48 hours. I love to see their boxes show up.

5) Okay, so I’m not a purist (no surprise here, right?) We’ve been working on BB’s interior. I knew that the camper kits evolved over time, but what I learned this week is that the passenger seat width must have changed at some point as our sink unit is not quite the right size. It must be from a later model. Oops. Also, the drain pipe is in a different location. We’ve decided to do away with plumbing the sink rather than cut a new hole in the floor. Sigh. Maybe someday we’ll get the correct unit. All in all, we are making good progress. We’re going to try to get the engine pieces over to the mechanic this week and I’m ready to start working on the brakes (or at least getting under the bus to look at them).

6) Yesterday was the BPA’s “Oktoberfest” celebration. Lots of VWs, lots of meat, lots of watching people drink beer. A good time was had by all (I assume anyway). This sweet picture was taken of Jasmine and a twin 11-window.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Getting ready for Dubtoberfest

Craig is preparing for an audit at work, so I'm staying out of his hair this weekend by going to Dubtoberfest up in Washington. I'm not driving a VW, but since everyone else in the club was getting their VWs ready for the drive, we decided to work on ours today too.

We put one of the cabinets and the z-bed in. It was a little depressing at first as we had to remove the seats and the carpet that we had just installed, but I was really excited once we were done. (You'd never guess it, but yellow is my favorite color.)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pictoral Follow Up

As promised yesterday--pictures from last week's work.

I didn't want to make a new mattress cover so I washed the original one and it turned out spectacularly.

Yeah, it isn't exactly mounted or anything yet...we needed the garage floor back.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Camper Stuff

Over the past week, we’ve re-fiberglassed some of the holes in our new pop-top. They’d been done before (really poorly) and hopefully we’ve done a better job this time. I was pleasantly surprised. I did learn that almost nothing takes fiberglass off of your hands once it starts to congeal. Fingernail polish remover seemed to do the trick.

Saturday and Sunday we re-covered the z-bed. After almost settling on some really hotel-ish dirt colored upholstery fabric, we opted for yellow vinyl. I so love it. The seat bottom turned out perfectly. I think the back was a little loose so it looks a little creased after you sit on it, but that’s cool. We also repaired the wardrobe cabinet yesterday so I think that is ready to go in.

For those of you who think we’re being a little backwards by working on all of the cosmetics of the bus before the mechanics, we are ready to have the engine machined, but the machinist is out of town so as soon as he gets back, we are very excited to get that ball rolling. We have yet to totally agree on a size. I’m pretty comfortable with 1776, but Craig wants something manly—1835 or super manly—1915.

I seem to have neglected to upload my pictures to Picasa before leaving this morning, so I’ll do another post later today containing the pictures from our recent activities.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Trip to the Bug Ranch

We got BB’s interior all put together just in time for us to change our minds and decide to make her a camper. So…I guess we’ll be taking those seats back out after all.

We recently acquired this:

(and all of the other pertinent pieces of the bottom end of a 1600 dual port) and are planning to have it machined and bored and all of the other things of which I only partially understand the definitions that involve making this a happy, smooth, 1776 (or 1835, or 1915 we haven’t totally agreed 100% yet) engine. We’ve also got most of the top end sitting in a very unsightly pile of VW parts in the corner of our garage. Since it will take several weeks to get the engine ready to be put back together, we figured that we might as well get going (again) on the interior in the meantime.

We took yesterday afternoon off and made a trip to the Bug Ranch. After hopping in a truck (which incidentally had a shovel in the bed) in the middle of the desert, not a VW (or anything else) in sight, with a rather, how shall I say this…eccentric gentleman, I was quite relieved when we actually arrived at the junkyard and saw that we were going to be able to take home quite a few useful parts and pieces. Rick--the owner of the Bug Ranch turned out to be very accommodating and helpful and we were glad to have made the trip.

We strapped our new pop top onto the top of Jasmine and filled her up with almost everything we need to get BB camper worthy again.

As you can see, the “clean” side of our garage is taking a hiatus from its traditional function.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Words Fail

Some people say that a picture is worth 1,000 words. I say--words are great, but when they fail, use pictures. This post has been due for a week, but I just couldn't write it...

Oh, and if you'd like to purchase any of my amazing illustrations, they're available for 25 cents plus shipping.

So, now our plan is to turn BB back to her original Westy form. I don't know much about bay window Westfalia buses other than that they are wicked cool, so I hope to have some dumb questions as we go along. I'm wondering whether it is going to be a) nearly impossible, b) really expensive, or c) relatively easy to find an old Westy top. The Negative Nancy in me is confident that they're going to be impossible and really expensive. I hope to be wrong.

To our faithful readers: please don't turn your backs on us during this interim period during which we have no working VW camper! We'll still have plenty of poor illustrations, silly photos, horribly written stories, and general VW goodness on our blog. Thanks for reading!