Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

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Amskeptic
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Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by Amskeptic » Sun May 01, 2016 7:53 am

Good grief, this was the first visit of the main lap?

"Look," I declared to tnjed," I am not charging you a damn nickel except for the white painted timing scale. If I can't get your damn engine running, what was the value of this day to you? Oh, and by the way, for the past fourteen years, I have never NOT gotten a VW engine to run."

That is where were at about 2:00PM. We already had straightened out a minor wiring problem where fuses #1 and #2 (late model bus parking and side marker lights) were blowing due to a little confusion about the split terminals on the tail and side marker sockets. We had organized the wiring harnesses a bit, put the alternator output wire (B+) back on the starter solenoid post from its recent visit to the battery (+) terminal, and we had installed my recently painted timing scale with a bit too much time spent rustling up washers and bolts to hold the scale and fan guard on, and we had gotten the fuel pump wired up "suitably for now".

Getting the engine to start seemed easy enough. Right off the bat, however, it felt weird. The starter spun the engine over with little in the way of compression stroke loading. I figured the engine had not run in almost a year, so hey whatever. Checked that infernal EMPI carburetor for fuel, and at first it was pooling gasoline on the throttle plates. Tapped the fuel inlet with a ratchet handle and the flooding stopped. Cranked the engine. Absolutely dead. Checked for spark. It had a spark at the coil-to-distributor. Pulled the plugs, they looked dampish blackish, we put in some replacement plugs. Cranked the engine some more. Absolutely dead behavior. Cleaned the points. Cranked the engine. Absolutely dead. Removed a plug. Too new to tell if they were fuel wetted. Sparked right at the plug, though. Looked at the carb. No accelerator pump spray. Primed carb with capful of gasoline. Cranked engine. Absolutely dead. Disassembled carb. Ripped cover gasket. Wanted to cry. Cleaned float bowl. Filled float bowl with capfuls of fuel. Barely got any indication of fuel coming out of accelerator pump. Was ready to blame carb. But engine was so dead that I could not accept that it wouldn't even fire. Began to rain. Humidity effects? Aw come ON! Carefully reassembled carb. Gave customer the aforementioned "this is a free day" speech. Felt the five year-old's sob of indignation welling up, "but I want it to run!"
Got some starting ether from neighbor's porch. It was just sitting there, OK? Sprayed starting ether into carburetor. Cranked engine. Absolutely dead. This is ridiculous.

Pulled spark plug #1. Performed compression test. 20psi.
Pulled spark plug #2. Performed compression test. 30psi.
Battery expired. Pulled NaranjaWesty down for a jump start.
Tnjed utters the Volkswagen Spirit Infusion Prayer and holds Naranja's engine at a nice 2,000 rpm boost.
Pulled spark plug #3. Performed compression test. 60psi.
Pulled spark plug #4. Performed compression test. 80psi.

Well, this is interesting . . . how could an engine just sitting here for a year lose all compression? Just sitting here all year, you know. Just sitting here, right?
"Well, I did remove the engine to install a new clutch."
"That is not going to affect compression!"
"Okay."
"You would have to have some stuck valve from rusting high humidity, but all cylinders are low, not just one."
"We did remove the intake manifolds and upper tins to replace the cooling flaps. Michael had to make some new intake manifold gaskets."
"That is not going to affect compression!"
"Okay."
Oh but let's wait a second . . . the engine is spinning over like it has no compression.
"Do you think he forgot to cut out the intake gaskets?"
"I don't see how anyone could forget to put the big air intake holes in the intake gasket, but if he did forget, you bet you are you are back on the clock."
"Of course, it wouldn't be your fault, then."
Well Hell Yeah:

Image


Here's the At Least It Is Not A Hosed Engine customer portrait. Engine ran pretty nicely, actually:

Image


Relief was mixed with fear. I was relieved, but I was also made freshly aware that we can never make assumptions any more, not even fundamental basic assumptions. We have to verify every single step in the chain of events that make a running engine. This one almost had me.

Am on my way to West Virginia. Pulled off at a rest stop on Interstate 81 in the rain. I was mentally and physically exhausted. Just as I was falling off the sleep at 11:00PM, a car alarm started blasting up the row. It finally stopped, and I dozed off until the car alarm started blasting at 11:45PM. It finally stopped and I dozed off. It began to rain thunderously upon the fiberglass top and as the rain slackened, that damn car alarm came wafting back through the tapering rain. 1:00AM now. Fell asleep. Dreamt of a car alarm going off and trying to find the keys to shut it off. Woke up to that damn car alarm. 3:15 AM. I am white hot with fury. Clamor up to the driver's seat. Start the engine in my socks, engage reverse, did the quarter mile in reverse at an elapsed speed of 12 mph. Coming up in my driver's side rear view mirror, I could see a startled woman in the driver's seat of the offending vehicle and she had the look of "uh oh, a rest stop denizen is about to murder us". Slowed up and stopped 1/2" from the rear bumper of an obnoxious Honda Oddity ( obviously this car had read my unflattering review of its false styling here on the forum two days ago). Pulled forward into the parking space where a befuddled bespectacled bearded bonehead bobbed and babbled about broken sensors under the hood.

"YOU ARE IN A REST STOP WHERE YOUR FELLOW DRIVERS ARE TRYING TO GET BADLY NEEDED REST. GO UP THE INTERSTATE TO A GAS STATION OR SOMETHING . . . OR HEY, WHY NOT DISCONNECT THE BATTERY UNTIL MORNING ( *under my breath,"you idiot" )???

Drove off myself, onto the interstate, blearily furiously half awake (be nice to Naranja) up to the next exit. There is the fireworks mall, remembered from a couple of years ago, across from the closed Marathon station. Yeah, and there is the frontage road that I remembered too. And there is that gravel road up to a gravel lot for Werner truckers. Good, familiar surroundings in the beating rain. Scrambled up the gravel driveway. Parked in the gravel lot. Crawled back to my sleeping bag across the back seat. Let my energy die down. Listened to rain die down. Through the night, emanating from whence I came, a car alarm.
THAT car alarm. They had taken my advice and driven TO A GAS STATION OR SOMETHING.
Colin

Image
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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asiab3
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by asiab3 » Sun May 01, 2016 1:24 pm

There is no more pungent feeling of relief than finding the elephant in the room hidden behind the curtains next to the flower pot. But as far as elephants go, this one was pretty wild! I can only imagine the frustrations…

Colin, I'm surprised your solution to the overbearing speaker of that car alarm wasn't a well-placed awl right into the diaphragm of the horn. I know that would have been mine… Then you could have all gone on your merry ways……

Let this be the year of wild diagnostic conclusions, maybe, instead of the year of playing Dr. Death to expensive rebuilds.
Robbie
1969 bus, "Buddy."
100k miles with me.
279k miles on Earth.

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zabo
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by zabo » Sun May 01, 2016 1:42 pm

asiab3 wrote: Let this be the year of wild diagnostic conclusions, maybe, instead of the year of playing Dr. Death to expensive rebuilds.
Robbie
yes - that does sound better.
60 beetle
78 bus

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THall
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by THall » Mon May 02, 2016 5:42 am

zabo wrote:
asiab3 wrote: Let this be the year of wild diagnostic conclusions, maybe, instead of the year of playing Dr. Death to expensive rebuilds.
Robbie
yes - that does sound better.
yes, yes....please, yes.
'78 Westy 2.0 FI

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dingo
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by dingo » Mon May 02, 2016 10:56 am

hopeful..but in reality, unless the reason/source behind all the expensive rebuilds are addressed, they will probably continue to pop up...
'71 Kombi, 1600 dp

';78 Tranzporter 2L

" Fill what's empty, empty what's full, and scratch where it itches."

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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by tnjed » Thu May 05, 2016 8:16 pm

WhooHooo!!!

Thank you Colin for a great day. After 18 months of cussing, sweating, and bleeding , my bus is hitting the road this Saturday. I hit a wall last fall after I missed my chance to get Miss Penny Lane back on the road again. And honestly, I forgot where I was in this journey of the last 18 months. Windows out, rust retardation, pop top removal, paint, new canvas, engine pull, gas tank removal, fuel gauge sensor, battery tray weld, thermostat flaps, wiring harness splice and so on are all memories from 2015.

I hoped Colin's visit would get me back on track and revive my passion that I lost last year. Colin put me at ease immediately like seeing a good friend after a long absence. The morning went smooth and I enjoyed working on my bus for the first time this year. The cardboard gaskets for the intake runners crushed my spirit for a few moments but the day was just great anyway. Colin somehow smiles and pushes you forward even when you prove how big of novice and idiot you really are. I do feel bad wasting Colin's time. We could have gotten the wiring cleaned up and the reverse lights working and some odds and ends done. But guess what? I have been out in the dark with my headlamp the last two nights after work and I got the reverse lights to work ,the wiring cleaned up, and some of the loose ends tied up. She is almost ready.

I do believe Colin is a genius but he is a great motivator and teacher. Thank you Colin.

I will try to post some pics this weekend of my bus on the road.
1975 Westphalia
1991 Jetta n.a. diesel
1992 Golf
1998 Passat wagon.... yes it shags

"Many hands make light work"

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jimbear
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by jimbear » Fri May 06, 2016 8:37 am

This is just hilarious! :cheers: A total move that I would pull, aka A Jim Jones Move. Glad it worked out.
Amskeptic wrote: Image
'74 Hardtop Westy
Pretty much stock engine setup

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energyturtle
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by energyturtle » Sat May 07, 2016 7:15 pm

That's an awesome debriefing. No one's time was wasted. I remember when we first met, and you said "I finally got a bus. Will you come check it out?" I loved that day, and I'm happy as I can be for you and Penny. Sometimes you rescue the right girl. Great job! Your perserverance is inspirational.

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Happyfolk
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by Happyfolk » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:49 pm

Image

Image

Colin, how many times have you run into the old "totally blocked intake manifolds" situation? It's impressive that you found it as fast as you did!

Tennessee Jed (tnjed) has a Chris Farley-esque glint in his eye! Happy customer!

It's got to feel great to leave vastly improved VWs in your wake as you travel across the country, many that were previously un-driveable!
79 CA FI Westy
Mexico Beige
"Sandy"

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Amskeptic
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Re: Itinerant Air-Cooled Greetings From Tennessee

Post by Amskeptic » Fri Jun 24, 2016 5:53 pm

Happyfolk wrote: A0 Colin, how many times have you run into the old "totally blocked intake manifolds" situation?

B) It's got to feel great to leave vastly improved VWs in your wake as you travel across the country, many that were previously un-driveable!

a) oh about . . . . 0 times.

b) It is my mission.
Colin
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 93,996 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,113 miles

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