Thursday, 30 August 2012

Out With The Old

Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can never learn from books.
John Lubbock

The frame for the forthcoming roof is taking shape. Just a few more cross-pieces and I can start covering it. I have just a few sheets of galvanised, corrugated steel, not enough to cover much area, so until the finances improve I shall cover it with a large piece of shadecloth.

 A lot of the cabin equipment in the original bus has deteriorated horribly as it's all open to the elements. We've removed most of the old parts from the dashboard and surrounds, including the steering wheel and column. I hope that many of the bits will still be usable in the project. Other parts that are duplicated will either be kept for spares or sold, traded and given away.

The Blaupunkt radio was working fine when I parked the old girl on the slab so I'm expecting it to be servicable still. It certainly looks better after a wipe-down. The steering wheel was badly cracked in two places around the centre boss and I damaged it a lot more when it was removed from it's splined position on the steering column. Very brittle and too difficult to restore, methinks. Other parts such as the windscreen wiper motor and assembly still look like new and are well-greased and have very little play in the moving parts. I expect to test and re-use some of this stuff.

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Thursday, 16 August 2012

It Lives!

Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
Kahlil Gibran

Last night after dropping the engine . . . again . . . we managed to realign the misaligned rear section of the cooling tin correctly and slid it back into place. It seems to get a lot quicker and easier every time we move this engine about - we had it out and back in under 40 minutes!

Unfortunately the lower-right bolt of the four main mounts came out with a bit of damaged internal thread attached to the main thread. It's stripped so the engine will have to come out yet again :(

Never mind, we nipped up the remaining three main bolts and the four that attach to the cross member support. Stuck in a battery and hotwired it for a test of all of our mods. And she runs! Not idling correctly but it's running pretty smoothly with no obvious rattles or squeeks other than the normal air-cooled noises. A major milestone reached and really monumental to me - luvverly stuff!

There is a nice steel bash-plate that protects the front of the underside of the gearbox . I imagine that it works quite well because it is rather battered but the gearbox beneath it appears to be unmarked. I've removed it to clean and straighten it up a bit.

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Monday, 13 August 2012

O-Rings Made

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.
Albert Einstein

I bought two outsized O-rings from my local hardware store for a few pennies. I have trimmed them to size and glued them with a drop of super-glue. Not ideal for maintaining contact with oil, I guess, but 'twill have to do for now. I'll smear them with a bit of Vaseline before I fit them, whoopee!

I had to modify my original idea as the larger O-ring was too thick and the whole filter would not go together. I cut a substitute from thick gasket paper and fitted that instead. The original, flat rubber gasket is still there but compressed a little a allowing seepage. The paper one should fill that gap. I topped it up with about half a litre of oil (up to the red line visible in the top picture) and reassembled it. All looks good and no obvious leaks are apparant. I decided not to bother repainting it as it won't be seen by many people and I kinda like the slightly battered look that it now carries with 41 years of wear and tear. (Update, March 2014 - I changed my mind and gave it a lick of paint, click here to see )

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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Clean Air

If the sight of the blue skies fills you with joy, if a blade of grass springing up in the fields has power to move you, if the simple things of nature have a message that you understand, rejoice, for your soul is alive.
Eleonora Duse

I have worked on the air filter and pipe today. The filter is a heavy duty jobbie that is part-filled with oil. This is designed so that the air through the oil and solid particles should be extracted and stay trapped. According to the M Plate it was chosen and fitted as an optional extra when the car was ordered. It seems to be in pretty good condition, apart from some gooey sludge and a missing gasket it is all there. Somebody during a previous service (long, long ago?) has replaced the gasket that divides to two main parts with a soggy trail of silicone sealer. I shall make a rubber O-ring to replace this as I cannot source the correct gasket locally. I don't think that rubber is the correct material for this but will check it often and carry on looking for the correct part.

I have also repaired the moulded rubber pipe that connects the air filter to the carburettor. It had split half way around. I made up two thin rubber O-rings from a larger one that I had bought for the swimming pool filter. I glued it up with the O-rings and lots of contact adhesive. It aint pretty but it should do fine until I can source a replacement. Of course the pool filter is still leaking but, och it's still wintery and far too cold for swimming...

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Thursday, 2 August 2012

Engine Serviced

You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.
St Bernard

We finished giving the engine a full service last night. I fitted new high-tension leads to the new spark plugs, Drained the old engine oil and removed and replaced the mesh oil screen and all the related gaskets underneath. Chopped out the rusty tailpipes and partly fitted the new/second-hand ones that I got from Beetle Beauties last month. New tappet cover gaskets fitted and all of the electrical connections were remade. We topped up with lovely clean, new oil and were daydreaming about perhaps trying to fire it up later this evening...

We were just fitting the rearmost piece of the engine cooling tin that forms a near air-tight seal between the engine bay and the outside air when - BUGGRIT! We discovered that the piece that we DID remember to fit when replacing the engine is actually not fitted correctly and is stuck fast in the wrong position! Oh dear. We turned the air quite blue in frustration which of course did not help one bit. This means that the engine will have to be unbolted again so that we can slide it back slightly and re-fit the panel of cooling tin. Rather annoying but unavoidable so I'm afraid that the beastie will have to remain dormant for a little while longer.

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