July 18, 2016

Hail, Ludwig

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.

My favorite boots have probably finally arrived at their last day.

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).

See Colin's version of events at this link.
Thanks, Melissa, for taking all the pictures and everything else.

May 24, 2016

Fuzzy Picture from a Phonecamera

Seen in Livingston. 47 is the code for Meagher ("marr") County, county seat White Sulphur Springs. Either I'm having a memory lapse or that thing has the wrong license plate light housing/hood latch combo.

April 14, 2016

How to Glue the Nosecone to the Transaxle

March 4, 2016

How Works the Front Part of a VW Bus Transaxle, Abridged

To recap: one day late last Summer Ludwig wouldn't come out of first gear. The video below, much moreso than the picture at the relevant post, clearly shows both the proximate and ultimate causes for such.
Thanks to Jeremy for the video

After discussing the situation with a local machinist, he installed thread inserts in both of the bracket's mounting holes (it's obvious from the video that the upper one was shot, but the lower one was about to give way as well). Those little tangs you see down in the holes, those tangs are part of the insert and are normally removed after you insert the insert--by knocking them off with a screwdriver. We'd rather not knock two little chunks of steel into Ludwig's gear carrier with a screwdriver, so the tangs will stay where they are. At Amskeptic's advice, the bolts were quadruple-checked against contacting them.

There're the new bolts, mightily (knock on wood) holding that bracket to the body of the transaxle.

Up is right. The abovementioned bracket holds that shaft in place. The gear selector fork rides up and down the shaft (keep your dirty remarks to yourself). The fork itself is linked by an unshown mechanism to the shifter in the cockpit; the driver shifting up there makes the fork move back here. The tabs on the fork push in or pull out those shafts marked 1/2, R, and 3/4, putting the transaxle in gear. 
This transaxle is in neutral, but if the fork pushes in the 1/2 shaft from this position, it'll be in 1st gear. If the fork pulls the 1/2 shaft out, 2nd.

Still in neutral but in position to select 3rd (in) or 4th (out).

Finally, ready to select reverse (out, I think).

Brief pondering helps one realize that for proper operation, the fork's movement must be restricted to movement up and down the shaft, and twisting about the shaft (that's what she said (sorry)). If the shaft isn't held in place by its bracket--owing to the bracket's mounting bolts being stripped out and free to move (see: the video above)--then the driver's moving the shifter up front moves the fork in all kinds of wacky directions, none with the force to put the transaxle in to, or out of, any gear other than the one it was in when the failure occurred.

The next step is to clean the surfaces and glue the nosecone on.

March 3, 2016

Drive On, Don't Mean Nothin'

This tan Westy sailed down and Eastbound past us on I-90, a little ways Atlanticward on Homestake Pass, a couple years ago. Ludwig was disabled in the uphill, Westbound lane. The operator didn't notice us, as far as I could tell (no wave, honk, etc.). It had New Mexico tags.