Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beam Assembly and things Forgotten

Jasmine is officially gone. Craig called this morning and said this is the worst he’s ever felt about selling a bus. I completely agree with his stance. Jasmine was the bus that taught us that not EVERY bus will immediately require thousands of dollars in maintenance upon initial acquisition. She wanted to run every morning when I got in to start her up. She was amazing in the snow. She started right up the day it was -3 degrees last winter. She really was a great bus…but we’re impatient and are excited about our new project. Really excited.

Thanks Jasmine. It’s been nice knowing you, have fun in Sun Valley—you spoiled rich girl. Party it up with the Kutcher/Willis clan.

Moving on, a couple of things that have excited me about the new bus which I have failed to mention.

1) New ignition switch—which is actually an old ignition switch! Complete with super awesome original VW keys too!

2) Made in West Germany plate. Cool, right?! I love this in the same way that I love my clock which says “Made in the USSR”.

Taking a quick trip back to the wiring harness installation; I actually do have a couple of pictures I want to share. Because we’ve been doing an annoying amount of searching online for pictures that actually show something relevant and tell us what we’re looking at, I’m going to be doing a lot of labeling on pictures moving forward. I hope it helps someone.

I failed to mention earlier that Dawn soap was our savior on the wiring harness project. Also, we had to cut off some of the spades in order to decrease the diameter of the harness (which we had to do anyway since our terminals are old and screw in).

Finally, here’s a glimpse at our work on the front suspension. Our friend Chad has been crucially helpful in getting us started with the correct parts and pieces on our suspension. He came by the other day to walk us through the basic positioning of everything and now we’re actually putting stuff together (which is much more fun than having boxes of VW parts sitting on your kitchen floor…although that is fun too.)

Assembling torsion leaves and control arms:

We started with a 2” narrowed beam and torsion leaves. First, you put the torsion leaves in the beam. There’s a disc in the center of both tubes in the beam. Each is cut to the shape of the torsion leaves when they are lumped together. We found the easiest method of insertion was to start with the widest leave and work our way out to the narrower leaves sliding them in next to those that had already been inserted.

There are three sets of dimples on each set of beams (one at each end and one in the middle. The bolt at the center of the beam screws into the center dimples on each set of leaves to keep them from spinning freely.

Next, install the control arms. You’ll need a rubber bushing for each control arm which slides as far onto the shaft as possible. If there are little pvc/cardboard looking tubes in the ends of your beam, leave those in place and the control arm will push them into the beam as you hammer the arms in (using a rubber mallet).

At the elbow of the control arms, there’s a hole. Hopefully you have four grub screws (they are about 1.5 inches long and are tapered at the ends. They’ve got an allen wrench head. These screw through the holes in the control arm into the dimples at the ends of the torsion leaves. (This all makes perfect sense when you’re looking at it).

Next up—installing spindles. (hopefully tomorrow; wish us luck tonight).

Oh, and we're excited to have a dedicated work space in the garage. We no longer have to move Jasmine in and out whenever we want to work. Look at the bright side, right?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

and our hands are dirty

We started out by sanding like madmen and painted the inside of the front cab. We decided to go with dove blue on this bus—as it was the original color. Dove blue also happens to be my husband’s favorite bus color and I, frankly, don’t like it. It isn’t that I DIS-like it; it just doesn’t do anything for me. Anyway, Craig didn’t have to put up much of a fight on this one because I like to keep history intact when it is feasible.

There was quite a lot of useable paint remaining in the cab so we chose to leave everything we could original VW paint. It looks pretty darn good and I don’t think the transitions are too horribly obvious. It’s a nice mix of clean and patina.

The second project was installation of the new wiring harness. The project took a ridiculous amount of time—three evenings and a Saturday morning. Here’s why: Since the bus is a double door bus, it has a belly pan welded on the bottom, which means that rather than being able to work with the new harness in an open frame channel, we had to string the harness through a big long inaccessible tube that ran the length of the belly pan, accessible only through the frame. That wouldn’t be so hard except for the fact that someone had pulled the old harness without leaving a guide line behind.

First, we had to run a fish puller through this tube. At both ends of the belly pan, there is a plate with a hole in the center through which the fish puller had to go. The problem was, there was no way to see this hole or to know where it was in relation to the fish puller. I say with near certainty that we couldn’t have been successful without my mom’s “SeeSnake” (inspection camera) which allowed us to see the hole and after much labor and frustration, we finally were successful. (I guess we could have cut into the belly pan and frame but I don’t like that idea.) Following this, I started wiring gauges, fuse box, and switches (which was way too much fun by the way). The harness we purchased had matching wire colors to the original harness which was incredibly helpful.

(That's a blurry pic of my mom under the bus. Thanks Mom.)

Now, we’ve begun assembly of the front beam…pictures and info to come!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Bus in Pictures

The other day we told my grandparents about the new bus. My grandma inquired “oh, and does it run well?”, to which my mom chortled and responded “they basically bought a chassis”. Okay, so my mom was more or less right.

By popular request, I present to you, in its blogosphere debut—our new chassis.

The new wiring harness is schedule to arrive today. We should have some hopefully not too exciting reports to deliver next week on our wiring adventures.

Oh, and for the record--we aren't missing the other three cargo doors--they just don't happen to be attached to the bus at present.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Out With the Old, In With the Older.

My father-in-law has grown tired of hearing about VWs on this blog, so today I’m going to start with a different genre of story. :-)

One semester when I was in college, I thought I would major in Statistics. I love numbers and data and thought this would be a perfect field for me. I called my mom (who is a math professor) to report to her my newest choice of path (I went through a lot). Her response to my announcement was: “Statisticians are the whores of mathematics”. Oh…thanks Mom. Her point was that Statisticians sell their skills while REAL mathematicians are poor hermits who go loony and forget to shower and wander the streets in search of answers to numerical quandaries. Something like that anyway. (Back to VWs.)

My real point in telling you this story is that sometimes I worry that readers of this blog will think that Craig and I are the whores of the VW world because we go through so many vehicles. The truth is, that we love to see VWs on the road and we always spend more money on our VWs than we make in selling them. We may be a little anti-frugal at times with our VWs, and we may be a little too passionate about keeping these beasts out of the crushers, but we don’t think we are whores. Hopefully you agree. Also, we have really short attention spans.

You see where I’m going with this, right?

A couple of weeks ago, we started talking about selling BB. Long story short, we listed her just to test the waters and three days later she was gone. Sigh. We’ve got some mixed feelings over here. We’re really disappointed with our timing as we were EXCITED for the Maupin campout in Mid June which now we aren’t going to be able to attend. We’re going to have to wallow in self pity and do some retail therapy buying parts for our new….

’58 double door panel bus! We didn’t think we’d buy another project anytime soon, but one thing led to another and, well, we did. We’re not positive what this baby is going to look like when we’re done (will it be a camper? A 15 window?) but we’re really excited and we should have some serious project blog posts coming up soon. We’re so excited!

In the mean time—does anyone have any friends who would like to buy this beautiful ’65 11 window standard? We love her but kinda need the funds to get the ’58 on the road.

Thanks for reading and for all of your support!