Stinkerton and I installed Ludwig's new taillight housingsa long time ago. During Colin's last visit there were more pressing issues to take care of than the fact that the taillights still didn't work. Recently I took off the lenses and realized why.
Man, there sure are a lot of Vanagons in the wild these days. True, we live at the closest Interstate exit to Yellowstone, but it still surprises me to see non-local Vanagons nearly every day. Admittedly, the one below is Gallatin County--local.
Bay Windows must've been more or less skipped over, for whatever reason, in favor of Vanagons by everyone who wanted a Splitty (because kewl) but couldn't afford one anymore. It is easier to chicken out and shove a Subaru engine (because style over substance) into a Vanagon than it is a Bay Window, so maybe that's it. Or maybe there're more less-rusty Vanagons than Bays left to buy, or there're just more Vanagons left, period. Anyway, I like this one's color.
Colin came by for the ninth time a couple Saturdays ago. Ludwig was stuck at the Library so we went down to install what he needed to get up to the garage, then we drove him to the garage. (An extremely helpful local ACVWer and I had installed the engine and transaxle some weeks previous. Thanks Richie!)
Colin drove Ludwig, actually. I drove Colin's bus, NaranjaWesty. It's always weird driving a tight-like-factory VW bus, as all of Colin's which I've driven (3 of 4) have been. The little girl contingent, wearing their dolls, inspected Ludwig's placement in the new-to-us two-stall garage.
They approved, Colin approved, everyone approved. We got down to business. First, tightening up the steering.
This is Colin showing me how to use a ball joint separator.
This is me using a ball joint separator. It's easy. The old (OG in fact) steering drag link came off, a new one went on. Replacing original parts with what passes for new parts these days tears me up a little, but this is the world we live in.
Meanwhile, Colin was attending to a glitch with the Left carburetor. During the build-up at the Library he'd noticed a slight wobble in its choke plate, caused by a loose little screw. Dangling directly above a powerful vacuum leading to a combustion chamber is no place for a little screw.We convinced it to stay in place using a drop of Loctite, but alas a drop proved too much and scared other carburetor parts--parts we want to move--in their places as well. Colin spent some time working on it and through some combination of cannibalization, reaming, nail polish remover, bending, and sheer will, got everything copacetic again.
We were sure that Ludwig's new GoWe$ty gear reduction $tarter would be the cure to an occasional but highly annoying no-start issue--up until now the cure has been to climb under to either jump it or thwack the old starter with a hammer. The new $tarter also helpfully eliminates the need for Ludwig's ancient Ford hot-start relay (readers of Muir will know what this is) and the stupid little bushing in the transaxle bell housing (you'll have to take my word on this one). It didn't work. A new battery did. Lesson learned: seven years is plenty long for a battery that sits through Montana Winters.
We wrapped things up with some minor tuning, happy with what we'd accomplished, regretful there were still plenty of things we'd like to get to (stomping the sliding door straight being near the top of that list).