Friday, 1 December 2017

Christmas came early!

When the virus of restlessness begins to take possession of a wayward man, and the road from Here seems broad and straight and sweet, the victim must find himself a good and sufficient reason for going.
John Steinbeck

Thanks to the lovely people at Just Kampers in the UK ( I received a few lovely goodies for the project. The proper foam seal for the engine bay, plastic seals for the three-part front bumper, exhaust clamps, indicator lenses, new accelerator hinge with spring and pin, and a lovely new carpet for the cab. Sweeeeeet!

We still have a tuning issue with the new carburettor, the jetting seems to be incorrect. But she starts and runs. We are making progress, slowly.

Thanks for coming by, hopefully by early next year we'll be looking at paint again.

Wednesday, 6 September 2017

It's spring time!

Adventure is worthwhile in itself.
Amelia Earhart

Sure as anything, spring came around lovely and sunny and clear after a very mild Johannesburg winter. But we have other springy issues to resolve.

So we have an engine that is fitted beautifully, the new exhaust pipe is sparkly in its shiny newness but we have a sticky throttle, ooer, it won't bounce back after use. Must be getting old...

The extra length and complexity of the accelerator cable have resulted in a lot of friction and the carburettor return spring is now too weak to, um, return.

After a bit of research I reckon we can bodge it a bit - here is a spring that I sourced from the lovely people at Mogale Springs in Krugersdorp for a mere tenner:

We can fit it under the accelerator pedal, on the hinge pin, so as to help raise the pedal back up after a good revving. Cool. Except, after soaking the 44-year-old hinge pin liberally with penetrating fluid we drifted it out, only to see:

Hmmm, this pin has seen better days. Rust never sleeps, as the elders keep telling us. Never mind, a long, new bolt and a shiny chromed acorn nut will do the trick ... bit of a fiddle and ... success! We now have a well sprung accelerator pedal.

Now for the other end, the carb spring. I have tried to source a stronger version of the existing one but it isn't going to be that simple. It looked a bit like this when we started:
To tension it up a bit we cut almost a centimetre from one side and re-bent the angled sticky-outy bit onto it. Don't try this at home, folks, it's not recommended by the manufacturers, warranty may be voided, blah blah blah.

Anyway, it works. We have an accelerator assembly that pulls and pushes like a good 'un. Congrats to us and thanks to all for a another job well jobbed.

Oh, and a final tip - when you are drilling through a thin board, think carefully about where you choose to place your spare hand!

Thanks for coming by, pop in again

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Fire in the hole!

We can always make more money, but we can't make more time.
Paul Jackson of

Right, it's time to get on with things and get this engine back into the gaping great hole at the back of this Kombi.

First of all let's shove it back into the garage so we can work under cover, on a level surface.

Then comes the second scariest chop that I have made on this project (the first being The Big Chop over here), making space for the taller new carburettor and air filter. A big hole in the top of the engine bay / bottom of the rear cargo area must be made.

A little grinding action and...that didn't hurt too badly. What's next? Ah yeah, engine in. Let's line it all up carefully first and make sure that it's going to fit in now with the new hole in the engine bay.

After a bit of jiggling and struggling we remembered that the clutch pedal was depressed so the clutch plate and pressure plate were all akimbo. We jammed a box under the clutch pedal and then engine slid easily into place with no more resistance.

Four bolts fastened and we're dandy. We reconnected the starter motor which we had serviced last month and then we unpacked the new gaskets and started fitting the new Empi four-into-one exhaust recently purchased.

There's nothing for it now but to connect the freshly-charged battery and give it a swing! It took a bit of winding up to get the fuel all flowing properly through the system but she fired up beautifully and sounds amazing through the new exhaust - very fruity! We are going to have to take it easy for a while until everything gets bedded in nicely and all the newly machined parts can get better acquainted with each other, but it all seems just lovely for now. Very stoked to have the old heart beating again.

The accelerator return spring is a bit too feeble to return the accelerator pedal to the upright position as the new, longer accelerator cable is a bit heavier and stiffer than the original. We have a couple of other, very minor issues to resolve but we should be driving Miss Marigold around the suburbs very soon :)

Thanks Marius and Gerry for the continuous help, it's always a pleasure working with you guys.

Thanks for coming by, pop in soon for the next update

Friday, 26 May 2017

Don't start anything!

Beer. Now there's a temporary solution.
Homer Simpson

While the engine's out it seemed like a good time to have a closer look at the starter motor. It has been rather erratic since we worked so hard for so long to get the engine running again. Since then the starter only seemed to "kick out" and engage properly about one in five attempts, producing a clank and a whine for the other four.

A strip down showed the damage, I have not done this before but I imagine that this is probably usual wear and tear for something of this age.

Luckily I managed to pick up replacement bendix assembly from my local Midas spares store, lovely helpful people and good service. The old one is on the left in the pic below, the new one on the right.

Reassembly and testing is planned for the upcoming weekend - onward ho.

Thanks for calling in

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Getting exhausted

Kilometres are shorter than miles. Save gas, take your next trip in kilometres.
George Carlin

As I had hoped, we managed to get an early ride to to the east Rand to Volkspares in Jet Park. They have a lovely selection of after-market goodies for air-cooled VWs, both standard original and custom. I chose a neat, light Empi setup for R2000, others varied from R2500 to R4000 and over.

We also made a turn around the corner from there at Pro Auto Rubber, a fabulous resource for all auto-related plastic and rubber extrusions, mouldings, carpets, mats, plugs, stoppers, grommets, clips, rings and so on. I managed to pick up a seal to go around the engine tin to help to keep the engine bay airtight, as well as a handful of other clips and goodies needed to assist with the reassembly. Happy days are here again.

Once again I owe a debt of gratitude to the ever-cheerful and always helpful neighbour - thanks mate!

Thanks for stopping by

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Return of the lump

A reasonable man accepts the world as it is. One therefore depends on the unreasonable man to change the world.
George Bernard Shaw

I am delighted to announce that the engine work has been completed and the lump has been returned to me, months early and as pretty as a picture. It now has been honed and cleaned and aligned and polished and overhauled and bored and balanced and fettled and lubricated and . . . lots of other fancy words that I can't pronounce. It also has a lovely new carburettor and air filter setup that should be just the job for giving us the extra torque that we need to get this bus up the mountains without too much distress.

There is a two-page, closely-typed list of all of the tasks that have been completed on the job - it's an amazing list that includes a total of 99 hours of labour! I have been exceedingly fortunate to have had all of this work done at a very low price and in super speedy time by a real aficionado of the aircooled VW. Mr van der Merwe, a thousand thanks to you; I shall be forever impressed by - and grateful for - your skills and knowledge.

All I have to do still is organise a new exhaust as the old one has rotted away. Summat to do on the upcoming weekend, I hope.

Thanks for the visit,

Thursday, 11 May 2017

An ugly pair of bumpers

I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to do it.
Pablo Picasso

I have been pretty daunted by the massive amount of work that is still to be done to prepare the body for paint. I have had two quotes by professional panel-beaters, each amounting to R35,000-00. Gulp. That's rather outside my meagre budget so it looks like I shall have to have a go myself.

I figured that I could start with summat small, like the wheels or the bumpers and see how it goes. If I cock it all up then there's no real harm done and it can be repaired by a pro later. A lot later. After I have saved up a mountain of cash. So there's the motivation anyway...

So it's bumpers - here is the pic that I took of the bumpers just after I removed them in August 2010 (2010? Geez this has been going on a bit, hasn't it?):

Pretty rough hey? They are scratched, dented, twisted, battered and generally quite rough; a bit like their owner. I have a lot to do here.

I started off by separating the bumpers into their individual parts and then sanding and wire-brushing them to remove the rust and loose paint. Despite a lot of bashes the metal seems to be in good condition and the rust is only on the surface. After a bit of thought I decided that I did not want to mount the spare wheel onto the front bumper in future - perhaps I'll stack it up on the rear roof-rack or a waist-high bracket stuck on the back. So the welded-on bracket was ground off and smoothed over.

There were many layers of paint which were cracked, worn and faded so I chose to strip it all off of the face sections; those "inside" parts that are out of sight will just be sanded down and primed.

Seems that the old man did some damage to a lot of kerbs and trees, potholes and pedestrians before I inherited this old thing! We got busy with some borrowed panel-beating hammers, sandpaper and wire brushes.

I dug out the mounting brackets from the store. I had cleaned these up previously and given them a lick of good enamel paint. I was also happy to find a selection of brand new mounting bolts and bits which I had forgotten about. Joy, that's one less immediate expense to worry about thanks to my unusual pro-activity! 

So I have loosely assembled them to check for obvious major flaws and missing bits - all looking good so far.

Next jobs will be to fill the few minor dings and scratches that remain, then to bang on a primer coat.

Thanks for stopping by
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