Thursday, March 25, 2010

Doin some work in the sun.

Hey constant reader, welcome back. Well, we had some sun on Tuesday, after a weekend of snow, I get 75 degree days. Welcome to Texas and I say thankya. Well, I decided to spend a little time on the bus, so I took an afternoon off. Previously, I mentioned that Doodle needed a new engine seal. Well, I didnt feel right driving him with all that hot air getting in all around the motor, so I spent a mere $40 (not really that much to protect the heart of ole Doodle) and bought me a new seal.

Well well. Not bad I'd say. So I started taking out the old one, which was mostly missing anyway, and it came out in little bitty greasy clumps. But eventually I got it all out.

Yep. Quite a bit of difference from old to new, huh? Well, if you know anything about buses, the engine seal is the most important thing to have. So, I spent about the next 30 minutes installing it. Not that it was hard, just that getting it around all that fuel injection stuff was a pain. Not that I'm complaining, mind you, it was a labor of love. And, I think it turned out pretty good, and his motor is safely sealed off from the outside hot air, which is okay with me. What? You want to see the finished product? Well sure.

What's that? Why yes, yes it does look better, thanks for noticing. I still need to get a screen and timing scale for it as you can see by this pic, but rest assured, its on the way. So, that major major (not so major) bit of maintenance out of the way, I took a look at Doodles tired tires. Hmm. Thats sad.

Hmm. Thats pretty bad. Luckily for me, I had just bought a set of correctly load rated Vanco2s for my other bus, and had kept them when I sold it. I think I'm gonna go ahead and install those suckers. First, a gratuitous upper canvas shot for absolutely no reason whatsoever, other than it was nice and I felt like it.

Ah. That out of the way, lets look back at the task at hand. Now as far as the dates on the wheels say, all of them are the originals. So those will be saved and powder coated silver in later episodes of the Doodle Chronicles, but for now, I am mounting them just like they are, on freshly painted white wheels. Sound good? Great. You know I need your approval Constant Reader, so thanks for having my back.

Hell, I dunno about you, but that looks pretty good to me. Me and Doodle then took a stroll, and man. You can sure feel the difference on these brand new tires. Awsome. Maybe its just that I love driving him that much. Hmm. Dunno, but either way, I'm all smiles. What? Another superflous Doodle pic for no reason? Why yes indeed.

He's handsome, right? Go ahead, admit it. I already know. Until next time Constant Reader, if there are troubles in this world that tinkering on a VW Bus in the warm sunshine wont fix, I dont know what they are.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Having some Sonic.

Ever had one of those nights when the wife works late, and leaves you in charge of the kid? Meaning you have to manage the entire routine by yourself. Feeding, homework, playtime, the whole nine yards. Well, if you're me, and you own a super fly Westfalia that doubles as a rolling dining room and you really dont want to cook, you roll to Sonic. Kid loves it, you love it, car hops love the bus. Sonic it is. Just earned three dad points, kids stoked.

Well, when I can get her off the phone shes pretty stoked about the bus. I think shes just happy to go to Sonic. Never mind, I'm stoked.

So we roll up to the Sonic, place our order, swivel the passenger seat around, and BAM! Instant dining room for two. The only thing missing is the interior table, but I plan to remedy that in future episodes of the Doodle Chronicles. Stay tuned.

So we get some food, and have Zippy the wonder clerk take our picture. He sucks at it unfortunately, but this is what wes be for havin.

Anywhoo, Zippy's terrible photography aside, we had a wonderful time. Got lots of looks, laughs and peace signs. (Which reminds me to order that "not a hippie bus" bumper sticker I saw. Somehow, I imagine I'm going to need it. Funny that. But all kidding aside, we had some wonderful father daughter time, courtesy of some not so family oriented Germans. Well, we ate until we were stuffed....

And then did a little posing before we went home. Everyone was jealous. We could tell. Your Yukon can't hold a flame to us. Even Hannah noticed it. We have the coolest ride at Sonic according to her, and I tend to agree. Until next time, Constant Reader, go eat in your car. Bet its not as fun as doing it in mine. :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I have long wanted a late Westy in Sage Green. I have watched, and wanted, drooled and dreamed but could never pull the trigger on one because they were usually too far out of my price range or the affordable ones were too far away for me to go look at. Well last week me and my wife were doing our normal after the kid goes to bed routine, sit on the couch and watch TV and surf around. Well I surfed around and found something I thought I had to have.

1977 Sage Green Westy.

Not too far, not too expensive, and looks great! So I show it to my wife. Normally, she frowns, asks if we need more VWs, etc, but she knows how bad I want to take her and my daughter out camping in one of these before my daughter is to the "parents suck" phase that is rapidly approaching. So fearing the worst, I start to beg. Thats right Dear Reader, I aint ashamed, I turned into a 16 year old boy pestering his father for the keys to the family car for a date. Please please please. Made promises and pleas.

Now you have to understand. My wife is very understanding in all regards. She understands my love of all things VW, and for the most part is agreeable. There have been times when the backyard VW count reached an all time high of five that I could see the limit being reached, but she never looses it. Much. Even left our wedding in a VW. Still feels bad about me selling my first bus to buy her ring. I used all these things to my advantage.

And she said yes.

I had to sell my 78, and promise to tile the floor in the laundry room but I could have it. (Insert joyus dance here.) I emailed the ad that night, and again the next day and finally talked to her about it, and she sent me about 7 pictures. It was love at first sight. Rust free 1977 Westfalia Deluxe (does that mean stove?) rebuilt motor, still FI, currently in possession by the fourth owner, and had service records since 1984.

Was I interested? Why, yes, yes I was. So I went by and took a look with my wife to see what it was all about.

When we got there, we met a super nice lady, (who refused to have her picture taken), who told us about "Doodle" her '77. She bought it in Colorado in late 1999 and drove it around camping in the mountains  before driving it back to Texas. Under her care, Doodle traveled to Colorado again, Canada, and various places in Texas. He had recently been retired to the garage in favor of a two wheeled toy, and she was looking for a good home. Other than a dead battery, and a mostly deteriorated engine seal, he looked complete, and super nice. Inside was just as nice. Still complete with the stool, dash table and childs cot, amazing. She handed me the keys, and I slid them in the ignition. It took me a second to realize the noise I was hearing was the buzzer letting you know you forgot your keys. Wow. Even has bus rated tires already (even though they are dated, and getting replaced with my new Vanco2s.)

After a little (very little) persuasion and a new battery, he fired right up and idled fine. We made the deal on the spot. I and was happy. Title signed, money changed hands, tearful goodbyes were said, and inside the bus I found:

"Prayer and the Art of Volkswagen Maintenance". So far its a pretty good read. I'll have to thank her when I see her again.  She also has lots of pics from campsites with the bus, and I really hope she sends me some like she said. Anywhoo, I didn't want to drive the 90 miles back to my house without going over the bus first, so I hooked it up to my Jeremyrockjock towbar, and went to the house. A little manuvering, and I got him into the garage. Been garage kept his whole life, and I plan to continue that. More pictures when the rain stops and I can get him outside. I called up a buddy who was looking for a camper project, and promptly sold my other Sage Green Westy to him, recouping half my costs on this one. I can't stop grinning.

Service records, dating all the way back to 1984. And both original manuals. This thing is the most beautiful thing I have ever owned. Its everything I have ever wanted in a camper. I plan to keep it in the garage, keep it maintained, and continue keeping the records. Otherwise I plan to drive it, love it, and camp in it with my family. More as it develops.