Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Remind me, why do we drive these things?

For many months, and even more money, we've tried to get our 1958 double door bus on the road. Things were going well, then the day before Oktoberfest we lost a tire about 1/4 from home and parked the bus in the garage and walked away.

February freeze-out rolled around and the bus was all ready for its BPA debut, and lo and behold...shifting doesn't work. We got it back to the garage after a wild 1st gear-trip on State Street, parked it and walked away.

Then, somehow, we got excited again and spent more time and more money. We are road-trip people so when things were going well, we decided to plan a trip to make sure the bus was ready for the Classic in June. We got a nice brand new motor and new master cylinder and brake lines (random you say? read on...) We put 400 miles on the motor. Suddenly, I heater is REALLY hot, that can't be good. I take the bus to my friend Mike Allan and looks like it is at 255 degrees. This is after I took the motor out, changed the generator, and another friend, Aaron, came to help put the motor back in. Well, I was a little bummed, but headed for home as the bus temp was topping out around 255. As I get the bus up to 55 mph on state street, and a white honda civic decides to turn in front of me, I grab for brakes, and there is this horrible metal on metal sound... you guessed it.... brake pedal, meet the floor. Why I didn't do the dual circuit master cylinder I don't know, but I can assure you I am looking to buy one before this bus goes again, but I digress. I was able to change lanes at the last moment (not very easy in a panel, with no brakes, and about .5 seconds of warning), change back, slow to 35 mph and take a turn before another car decides to stop in front of the out-of-control bus. I am really glad the bus is so low, I don't think otherwise I could have made that fast that it went slightly sideways before I could recover and finally get it into my garage without hitting the neighbor kids on skateboards. So... it sits, in my garage, and I'm walking away.

Back to the road-trip. Well, never fear, the Squareback can pull the puck and we'll still have an aircooled adventure. So I get the puck wheels off and it turns out that the only wheels that are similar that fit the right profile are on the East coast, and cost $150 a piece... I need 3. Oh, and they are 2 weeks away even if I wanted to expedite. So the Puck is in my garage, and I'm walking away.

Okay, no bus, no Puck, but we still have ole' reliable, the Squareback. I'll preface by saying, I'm glad it had a dual circuit master cylinder. Coming off the freeway, Maryn was putting all she had into the brake, and it barely made a difference. Long story short, dear Bethany helped me change the master cylinder and the Square is ready, right? No, of course it isn't, why would it be ready? The generator light is flickering. Bethany and I look at all the connections, and the next day I call Mike Allan. We ran by his place, got some new brushes, and put them in. Still got a flickering generator light and we aren't about to take a 1400 mile trip with the luck we've had leading to this point and still have a generator light flickering.

Okay, so, lets recap... no bus, no square, no puck, but 2 days off of work. Lets take the "Crapmobile" (1993 Fox). Okay, sounds great, except on the way home from work, it decides that the radiator fan, or switch, or relay, or fuse, or something else isn't working and it is overheating. At this point, ready to give all of our EVERYTHING VW away, we decide to rent a car.

1400 miles, not one incident, the brakes worked very well, the motor never overheated, the steering box never drug, the defrost worked great, the wipers were spectacular, the seats were comfortable, the XM radio was amazing, we got nearly 35 mpg and were able to travel at 5 mph over the speedlimit through 3 states, 2 countries, 3 snowy mountain passes and 1 west-coast beach.

VW's for sale.... cheap!