I have found myself in greater problems than being
stuck in the side of the road in my bus. However, it is frustrating-
especially when you have no idea what it is thats causing the engine to stall out. In my search for the answer, I turned to AIRS. After about
fifteen disconnected phone numbers, I finally got ahold of a few
folks in South Dakota who offered a hand. Not much can be done over the
phone but the support was certainly appreciated. I finally got ahold of a gent who was in the area and within ten
minutes offered to have me stop by, or meet up if I couldn't get Vos going.
I did manage to get Vos running long enough to take the short hike
up to the house.Getting to the point, I was welcomed into a home, put up for a
night, fed, and got everything figured out. Thanks justin, I hope the fam
I've got an involved story that involves lots of help from Portland
area AIRS members after a blown engine, getting taken by a local con-man, and more help and friendships from AIRS members as the story
unfolds. You can read about the whole thing starting here:
Not sure what we would have done without the help from folks on this list! THANK YOU!
I'm on my way driving back home to NH from Florida. It's a beautiful
day down in Georgia, my second day on the road. I have to be back
within a few days as I promised to be back to work at the garage.
I've been working as a mechanic since I got my 79 Transporter in order
to be able to afford fixing it!
I trust in my engine rebuilt 12,000 miles ago with new pistons and
cylinders AND the big oil cooler I installed last summer. I got oil
temperature and pressure gauges; I've been driving 70-75 Mph since the
beginning of this trip! Everything seems to be cool.
So, I'm driving on I-85, joyful and fast, turns out to be a little too
fast. Suddenly, I see smoke behind me and pull over. Right side valve
cover is leaking oil onto the heat exchangers! There's enough oil
pressure, so I manage to drive a couple miles to a construction site
by the highway.
The situation looks very much like a blow-by I had before, and there's
that nasty noise coming from the right side of the engine. Cursing
myself and trying to stay calm, I pull out my AIRS list that I usually
carry on road trips and find the South Caroline pages; I'm about 15
miles from the state border. With one of the nice construction
worker's cell phone, I dial Phillip Cain's number. He's a certified
mechanic and he claims to be "retired"! I explain the
situation and my game plan while asking his expertise on the subject.
He thinks I'm on the right track, tells me to check the oil breather
to make sure it is not clogged up and kindly reminds me to call him
back if I'm still in trouble.
I take out the high-temp RTV sealer, clean the valve cover with some
lighter fuel I happen to have, and seal the valve cover. The goal is
trying to stop the leak and driving SLOWLY to the next town. No
leaks now! But, there's that noise, AND after 15 minutes or so I see
smoke coming out of the tail pipe! Smoke is a sure sign of the big
trouble I'm in!
Well, this wasn't a dream I had, it actually happened! I called
Phillip from the next town. He gave me directions to the FULL MOON BUS
CLUB garage. Next day we pulled out the engine. The top of #1 piston
was melted. Phillip, the MASTER MECHANIC, said my injector failed and
it leaned on me! He brought a used one to replace the existing
injector and I safely made it back home. Second day, we installed
new pistons and cylinders. At the end of the third day, I was heading
back home, and drove the last 1000 miles with no problems at all! YOU
GUYS ARE AWESOME!
Dear Chris, it was pleasure working with you. Thanks for all your
Dear Buddah, my home is also your home. Thanks for your hospitality!
Dear Phillip, your knowledge and experience is heart warming. Thanks
for giving away to people!
Of course, it goes without saying how grateful we are to those
who started the Type2 AIRS list AND those who formed the FULL MOON BUS
CLUB. It is so nice to show the world that money cannot buy friendship
and support for our fellow people:)
-Vosvos, 79 Bus
-Nihat, 79 Bus Driver
Stuttgart, Germany, June 2000. We set off in our 1979
custom comfortable interior layout and a fresh MOFOCO 1600cc upright
with .040 heads and 1 1/2 qt. deep sump to the Arctic Bussing paradise
Finland. After an uneventful trip to Rostock, Germany, a 28 hour
to Helsinki, Finland, a stamp in the ol' Passport we were Bussing in
Scandinavia where "every mans right" a Scandinavian law,
dictates "you can
camp wherever you like as long as you bother no one" swings in
This established, let us move on to the tale.
Two weeks into this lusty Bus trip to end all Bus
trips, I overestimated
the abilities of my motor and pointed our fair steed up a mile long
22% uphill grade. First gear was barely hanging on while we held
on to the
dash to prevent us from falling out of our seats. Halfway up
grade, something in the go department said "uncle." A
revealed nothing, but a detailed inpection later revealed a #1 spark
nearly punched out due to excessive cracking in the plug threads.
Experiencing a sever lack of, dare I say "horsepower" at 64
latitude is not where you want to find yourself. All 4 plugs
solidarity, all cracked, all blowing precious compression out the tops
heads in useless gasps of heat and agony. A trip to the local
revealed our doom to us. "You must go to Sweden to seek the
Bus parts you
require" was the gurus best answer to our sorry state of affairs.
good. Sweden was on our plan as the route to return to Germany.
was. We had not planned to limp a very sick bus the 1400
near 950 miles) to the Nirvana known as Sweden. 4 days that
lasted. 35 mph was the average, 12 hours a day knowing that at
the trip could end in a huff of smoke, or worse yet, that spine
"Krunch" of a dropped exhaust valve (shudder).
Finally, North of Stockholm.
We found a sports bar with internet that directed us, via the
AIRS page, to
one John Bellanger (check AIRS SWEDEN) who after a panicked cell phone
let us know that everything would be just fine when we got to
"Honey, find Linkoeping on the map" I said to my
darling wife. "Here it is! Only 200 miles away!"
Was her reply. "Great!
Only 200 miles" Was my reply, "perhaps we should
discuss this with the
The Bus arrived in Linkoeping, with it's
precious cargo of us, arrived 6
hours later to the welcome arms of John Bellanger's more than ample VW
garage! "No problem", was John's answer to the
steaming hot MOFOCO
monstrosity that lay on the floor of his 4 car garage.
"It's too hot to work
on. Why don't you come over for a BBQ while your motor cools
wanting to look at that Bus of mine until I had a few "cold
ones" in me, I
quickly took him up on his offer. Well fed, I broke the engine
discovered my heads were shot! Cracks radiating from the plug holes
twixt the valves and emanating to the valve seats of all cylinders.
the gentleman, took time off from his job to procure the parts we
in a matter of 36 hours had us the most beautiful set of CB
heads complete with stainless steel valves and a vision of hope that
vacation was going to continue at 60mph! 3 days later, after
John's well equipped garage in our lifeless Bus (I tried to keep the
intrusion to a minimum) we were up, and really rolling! My Bus
had never run
that good! Those CB performance heads were just the ticket!
65mph up hill
with a 1600cc motor!?! Our trip back home to Germany come off
hitch! From the depths of depression, Phoenix rose from the
again with a spirit not seen before. The beauty of the Bus.
running, it will run. I am a much more careful Bus operator now.
gauge, cylinder head temp gauge, oil pressure gauge all up front for
pleasure. Without the help of AIRS member John Bellanger, this
have nose dived. Instead, he gave our favorite vehicle a new
lease on life!
My thanks to all the Volkswagen Junkies of Linkoeping, Sweden and plan
pass on the good will when my phone rings and there is another lost
Bussdom on the other end needing a fix of Bus Love!
Eric Linzmeyer Stuttgart, Germany
'79 Euro camper soon to become a U.S. resident.
This morning I received a call from a Bills Downs (from Atlanta,
know him?) who was on his way back home from West Virginia. He's
currently in Statesville, where his engine has evidently given up the
ghost. His 1969 bus is at a garage in Statesville, and he's
a friend's house. The garage is telling him that he needs a new
and is quoting an unreasonable price for the job.
Bill called me seeking ideas on how to get his bus to the Southern
of Georgia, where his trusted VW mechanic is. His mechanic has
supposedly located a good engine and is negotiating to purchase it on
Bill's behalf. Bill, who had gotten back to Atlanta by other
has purchased a used car, came back to Statesville with the intent of
renting a tow dolly and pulling his bus back. However, he ran
ol' "we won't rent a dolly to any one driving a vehicle with less
5,000 lb hitch" deal. Bill has checked and the biggest
hitch he can put
on his car is 3,500 lbs.
I suggested to Bill that if he can obtained a reliable engine, he
to consider just bringing the engine to Statesville where we would be
able to install it for him in short order. This hadn't occurred
Bill, who by his own admission is no mechanic, but he liked the idea.
Here's the question. The garage in Statesville has declared the
dead and told Bill they didn't think it is a transmission problem.
said that prior to Statesville he was gradually losing power, until it
reached the point it would barely move. I can sort of hold my
working on my own bus, but I've never dealt with my transmission, and
am not experienced at diagnosing things over the phone (the right
questions never seem to come to mind). Bill said the engine will
but has no power. He said if the engine is off, and you put the
gear, it will roll. If his clutch is gone, it would roll, but
it then not move at all under it's own power? What problems with
transmission should he/we check for? I can bring an extra
(unknown) with me if we go down to help with the engine swap, and
problems should be readily detectable after we pull the engine, but
like to be able to evaluate the transmission.
Bill's supposed to call me back later today and let me know what
arrangements he has been able to make about the replacement engine.
looks like I might be driving to Statesville Saturday morning.
appreciate any ideas and input.Thanks,--Chad SibertGreensboro, NC
Hey, All -
This bus-venturer looked me up on the AIRS list last week. She
stopped by and
we thought we had fixed her brake challenge, but now, I get this
she is too far out for me to be able to rescue. Anyone out there
that can help? Karolyn can be emailed at ---@---.--- Thanks, a ton, in advance -
Heres what she wrote me:
Hey there, Greg!
Well, bad news. We are stuck on the side of the road down here
Middletown, CA (just under Clear Lake) with a horribly bad caliper.
burned up and now we're in a place that apparently has almost NO
Do you know anyone in these parts who would know a thing or two
about VWs? I was trying to get towed to Santa Rosa, but AAA will only tow me 5
From the webmaster: Anyone have an update on
Thanks for all your help!
just got back from my trip, i've got a ton of digests to read! I
from boston,MA to london, Ontario and back for my cousins wedding.
outside Rochester my generator bearings gave way...a terrible racket
generator light ensued...i was too worried about the pulley
the off balance of the bearings to continue driving...anyway a quick
Ronnie at old volks-who I guess posted to the list, and also
with a list of names from the AIRS site...I called about ten names
got through to Dave and Hilda Dionne outside Buffalo in West Seneca.
was working the night shift and would not be home until 8am the next
But I was more than welcome to bring the bus there to work on it. I
tow to his house(94 miles) and arrived around 10:30 at night. His
wife -Hilda-welcomed me to their house, had dinner waiting, and a
hospitality. The next morning I got up early and started getting
pull the engine to replace the generator-or pullit so that the
could be replaced. Dave arrived shortly after eight, and affter
night proceeded to spend the better part of the day helping me fully
diagnose the problem, and find the replacement parts-turned out the
option was to replace the generator-but I had a 6V, most places were
days. Luckily due to a call from an AIRS member whose name I cant
remember*(sorry-see note below) I got a place in Niagara-Johns bug
they could have the generator in a day (friday night) unfortunately
wedding ceremonies were starting thursday night. so I rented a car,
bus in Daves driveway, went to canada for the weekend, picked up my
generator monday morning, and Dave helped me install it that day.
on the road, and returned to my cousins up on Lake Huron for the
my family and friends were all incredulous at the story of the help
received from the list. I on the other hand was quite proud to be a
of such a great community. I only hope that I may one day return the
to another member.
*The names of all who offered to help is long. After word got out to
list, I was hit with many calls of aid. Unfortunately as it was all
happening so fast I can not remember everyone's name that I spoke
THANK YOU all for your help.
George Lyle responded: This is the reaction that I got from my
friends where I was broken down in
Utah. An email to the list produced in short order the
needed and a nearby source for the part (on a sunday in utah) as
offers of direct assistance.
My friends, who assumed that the lists and AIRS was something like
asked "How much do you have to pay for that service?" :)
Remember folks, the thing that makes the list so valuable is the
We all get an opportunity to lend a hand now and then, even if it is
a ride to the parts store, so when that opportunity comes to you
Well the AIRS list came through for Kevin. I gave him a bunch of
the NY area and one nice bus owner offered his help and driveway.
now in Buffalo, NY with his engine out looking for a small diameter
generator without the regulator mounted on top.
and Peter from Chico found my name on the AIRS list and dropped by
camp last night, in a very clean '71 westfakia. They told me
nightmares that I thought I would share with the list. First
of all, a
beetlemex engine that broke a camshaft after only 10k miles (in
maybe it was the aliens). They are very disappointed that the
crapped out just after the warranty period. The guy who fixed
it for them
just put in a new cam, somehow they had metal shavings that ate up
somewhere in Texas. A German mechanic rebuilt everything
properly but they
apparently were running super hot (~260 oil temp) on the breakin.
timed 009 dist. because his vac advance is worn-out, I offered him
of a few that I have but the numbers don't match (we will look on
site). Only other thing I can think of is lean running, from
vac leak or
Anyhow they are looking for a stock bus muffler in Atlanta today,
leave tomorrow to go to Chattanooga, the Smokies, Asheville, and on
Quebec and return to CA eventually. Nice volks.
'70 Westy "Rebertha"
Dave is now back under way; he just called me from upper NY state.
tapped the hole and put a bolt in with LOTS of loctite and got rolling
He stopped in for a visit at AIRS-member Dave Wolfganger; DW had fresh
cookies waiting and gave Dave a tour of his impressive stash of
goodies. I'll leave that story to Dave when he gets back.
Thanks to all who emailed their concern and advice. AIRS is really a
thing to bus ownership and today I'm especially proud to be on the
Happy trails indeed,
I have to tell you about the best AIRS rescue ever! On the way to
Everybus 2002 I had noticed a little "thump thump"
noise from one of my rear tires. I thought that I had a lump or
"mud in my tires". Got to EB02 and had an awesome time.
Left northbound with the Jeff Stewart/Canadian carabus. All is
well until just south of Lynchburg when I notice that the
thump is now big vibrations at lower speeds. We stop to take a
look at it and decide that if I baby it and keep at higher
speeds I should make it to Round Hill where we can all take a
look at her.
The Loveboat decides otherwise. 10 miles later, just north of
Lynchburg, I realize that I have to pull over NOW. Took
next exit and into a church parking lot with the left rear tire
having a very pronounced wobble. Bearings are shot. Pulled
out the AIRS list that I had printed just before my trip south
and found that Jeff Burks was the closest (at over an hour
away). I left him a message and he returned my call in less
than 5 minutes. He had a brother within 15 minutes! Better yet,
his brother has a fully loaded garage and is a parts
We take a quick poll of what to do and some of the other
drivers offer to stay with me. Then Jeff's brother Ron comes
pulling up in his Westy! We all feel relieved that I am in good
hands and the carabus leaves. I hobble at less than 10 miles
an hour to Ron's shop (about 5 miles away). Take her apart with
Ron's awesome air tools. Inner/outer bearings, seals and
a new wheel hub are in order. I have a set. The Canadians had
given me a set of bearings that turned out to be for a front
wheel,dammit. Jeff shows up and we sit down to a wonderful
dinner and decide what to do. Ron worked the phones to
his distributor buddies and we found that nobody stocks the
outer bearings. Plan B - Make calls in the morning after we
sleep on it. Jeff and his wife drove me the 1 hour plus trip to
Roanoke where they put me up for the night in his Westy.
Slept like a baby. Came in for a cup of coffee and started
making calls. Jeff took the day off to help me! No bearings in
all of Virginia it appea!
rs. Made a call to Salem Imports where Mark said he had the
whole assembly, used. Back in business. Had lunch and
went to check out Mark's shop. This was awesome in it's own
right! I wanted to move in on the spot. If you ever need
any part for any classic VW this is the place to go.
Knowlegeable, friendly, fair and tons of parts. We struck our very
deal and headed back to Lynchburg. Pulled off the old assy and
discover a problem. I got the wrong part. It didn't occur
to any of us to make sure I got a left assy. Oops. Back to
Salem Import. Part is waiting. Back to Lynchburg. Keep in
mind that it is an hour plus each way and I am relying on the
kindness of a stranger that shares an interest. The
brotherhood of busses! Got the part installed well into the
night and I was back up and running.
Jeff and his brother went waaaay out of their way to help a
busted brother. I cannot tell you the gratitude I feel for he and
his families southern hospitality they have shown. If there is
an award for the best AIRS rescue ever I would like to
nominate Jeff Burks for all the help he has given to me.
Last Feb. I was moving from one side
of the country to another in my bus.As I was cruising through N.M./AZ
my bus started running like crap and I was tired so when I got to
Tucson I called up an A.I.R.S. member by the name of Gary and he said
I could come over and check the timing and whatnot.So I made it there
and met him and his friend had some conversation and set the timing
noticed the distributor clamp would not hold.So I got a new one down
the road later on.While working on the bus the plug thing on the carb
flew off ,spent some time looking no luck started fileing down a dime
to stick in there,then found the plug under/on the bumper.He was nice
enough to offer a place to sleep but I went out in the desert on a
recommended spot by him.It was awesome.Thanks again for the help/rest
Daniel San Diego,CA
Last night I got a call from Lloyd Elliot and his son. They
were on their way back to Bezerkley in the son's '71 Dormobile,
when they started hearing a strange noise.
I went out there, and found them easily enough, but had to peform a
daring "wrong way on the off-ramp" manuever to get to
them. I had
him fire it up, but unfortunately, he didn't need a mechanic at this
point - he needed a priest. This poor thing has a serious rod
which sounds like it's going to go any second. There wasn't
I coudl do, but I did hang out for a while and check out the bus, which
is probably the only bay I would have ever considered owning.
I haven't heard back from them, but AAA was going to be giving them a
I got my first A.IR.S. call today. Guy named Ira Bernstein who is
travelling from Houston, Texas to Brooklyn New York with his daughter
Shelly calls me from Cincinnati and he is having trouble with his 74
Beetle. (He called home and had his wife search the internet for
local help, and she found the A.I.R.S. List on type2.com and gave him my
number.) Anyway, Ira's Beetle is cutting out and running rough and
losing power. So I persuade him to try to stagger to my place,
which he does. I discover 1)His fuel filter is Black from dirt,
clogged up big time. He said he had the car for 11 years and had never
changed it! While changing the filter, his fuel lines literally crumbled
in my fingers. So we set him up with a new hose. and 2) The idle
jet cutoff on his carb has vibrated loose. We got everything in
order and he tried it out and said it felt fine. Anyway, the two
are travelling up I-71 to Cleveland tonight, then straight across
Pennsylvania on I-80 tomorrow into Jersey !
and then home in New York. We printed off the list of all the AIRS
members along the way, so if you get a call from these guys, please try
to help them out, they are very nice folks.
1966 Split Bus camper
1983 H20 Vanagon
Mr and Mrs. Dave Luppy, who requested A.I.R.S.
assistance when their 74 Bus broke down this
week while on their honeymoon, traveling from
Manhattan and heading to St. Louis and Seattle.
Mr. and Mrs. Dave Luppy are on their way.
They were towed to a second garage, one
that actually works on Bolts, and had the
broken halfshaft removed and brought it to
me for examination. We found the new inner cv
had come apart, and the cage was cracked
but not broken. The problem was the cv joint
had virtually no articulation, like as if it were
incorrectly assembled, but the fact is it is a
poor quality aftermarket part. it had also slightly
damaged the end of the shaft when the balls
dropped out, and the inner race was damaged.
We rejected the failed part and he is replacing
both halfshafts with good used, cleaned, greased,
original Lobro halfshafts, and should be good for
another million miles.He will be installing them
himself tomorrow morning.
Mrs. Luppy has examined her prenuptial agreement
and acknowledges that the party of the first part has
used up a significant portion of allowable roadside
repair time, but took the afternoon in stride, and was
quite interested in discussions of project vehicles and
They are heading for St. Louis and Seattle.
Happy Honeymoon, Dave and Dasha.
The folks from Canada by
the side of the road did not seem interested in much self diagnosis,
for a shop- I told them Oval's was in the area.
David from Lousiana is in Oly with his 77which had got hot
and Oly and is making a strange noise whistle/chip which may by a
(1/2 side) or an exhaust whistle- one of the studs holding the manifold
under the head stripped out.
Well, it isnt that great of a story, but still feels good. I had to
to the town about 40 miles south of me to pick up my daughters 18th
present we had made. I was in quite a hurry because I had 3 things to
to that afternoon, so I was booking down the interstate at a pretty good
clip. I just happen to look over in the ditch and saw a dark colored bug
sitting in the grass with both ends of the car up. He had parked it in
shade, so it kinda blended in, so by the time it registered, I had gone
football field length passed him. I got off the road and back up
way. Im in my Nissan truck with a topper, so im sure he wondered WHO
fool was and what kind of trouble he could bring. One good thing is, I
a large SEVWC club logo on the back, so as I got closer, atleast he
see I wasnt going to be TOO strange of a person.
He was on his way to Mobil Alabama, so it was atleast another 400 mile
for him. Come to find out, his fuel pump was bad. Even though I drive a
Nissan truck, I always carry a good bit of VW stuff just incase, plus
etc. The bad thing was, I was about in the middle of anyplace I knew
to get a pump from. I told him we could tow the car to the next exit
miles away and maybe there would be a mechanic place there, so off we
Never towed a car on the interstate, so that was a little scary. Bad
was, I always carry my bug towbar, but this was a superbeetle.
We get to the exit and there are about 5 gas stations, a large antique
and a nudie bar. None of the gas stations had service bays, the antique
store didnt have any antique VW stuff and the nudie bar....well, I dont
think what was inside would have been of any help.
I told him I had to leave, but I would get a pump from home and be back
few hours after I tended to a few things. Atleast he wasnt sitting on
side of the interstate with nothing but cars zooming past like rockets.
gave him my card and told him to call me IF anyone happend to come
a pump. I was about 2 miles from the house and on my way to meet
my cell phone rang. He had called the house and got a pump from someone,
my daughter called me to let me know.
Now I have added a fuel pump to my parts I carry in the Nissan....just
My first AIRS call!
After work Monday night the phone rings and I hear from Nick and Jason;
college kids from Nebraska. They're here in Cooperstown with a
problem on a white over red '71 bus. Nick was familiar with the
met Isiah in Wisconson and someone else up in Portland, Maine) but
member of AIRS. (Promised he will sign up after his trip.)
Just like AIRS
is supposed to work, I tell'em to come on over and we take a look at it.
Blown, leaking wheel left rear wheel brake cylinder - one of them had
already diagnosed it and gotten the part - so we spent the evening
up in the driveway and pulling and replacing the cylinder. Only
trouble with drum brakes, no catastrophes.
Got some takeout food, and they slept in their bus and my bus in the
driveway, had breakfast and lunch here and visited our local museum and
were on there way, towards NYC. They're traveling around the
country and I
hope you get a chance to met them.
My thanks (and their's too) for Wade and Charlie and all the other AIRS
Cooperstown, New York US
This story is a bit old but with out it I
would not be the person I am today. For many years I
had dreamed about crossing Canada in a Volkswagen van and after I
finished university I finally had the time to do it. Its a long
way(over 6000 miles there, let alone back) and I had been working on
'Huck' as best as my budget would allow to get her ready for the trip.
I covered most of the maintanence stuff but I did not have time to look
at the larger components. Alternator, Starter, Engine and
Transmission. The first time I stopped for gas, the starter
started going. Arghh! Never a problem before. But this
trip was meant to be and after a dealer stop I was off again.
Continued all the way to Newfoundland with another stop for an
alternator in Halifax (luckily I had a good battery to get me there).
But the trip back would be my challenge. After driving for 16
hours through the Northeast US at an unhealthy speed of 75 mph I pulled
in at my relatives in the Toronto area. The next day I was eager
to get back on the road as I had (I thought) a job lined up for labour
day. It was not meant to be. About 60 miles out of Toronto I
ran out of gas. A common problem since the gas gauge didn't work
but I always had a big jerry can ready. So no problem there but as
I pulled out again and put her through the gears I heard a loud
crack/clunk as I put it in fourth. After looking around her on the
roadside (did not even realize that fourth was gonzo) I started it up
again and came to the horrific realization that I was 3500 miles from
home with a bad tranny. I can't help but think that all that driving at
75mph killed it. Anyhow, I limped back to Toronto and hopped on the
internet, being familar with the list (this is before AIRS). Den,
now an AIRS member, replied to my plea for a tranny in the area and it
turns out that he was only about an hour away. By this time though
I only had 3rd and by the time I got there I only had 1st gear left.
After that, what can I say. Den was the best, having the space
that I could only dream of, he found a spare tranny that he thought
would work (a bit shorter from an earlier bus) installed it for me for a
small fee. I had been despairing that I might have to abandon the
car but I made it all the way home driving over 10 hours a day.
The tranny never failed (though the body did a year and a half later and
sadly this bus became a donor). I think of this as I am buying my
second bus, now with the change in my pocket to restore it.
This morning I got a call from a Karen who was driving
from Oakland California to meet friends in Austin
Nevada. Seems that Karens VW Bus had a seized
generator and she got my name off the AIRS list. All I
could do was give her a couple of phone numbers to the
'good' repair shops in town. I think just having a
friendly voice on the other end of the phone helped
quite a bit as she called me a couple hours later to
thank me. Seems the shop changed the generator in
quick time and charged her a fair amount($194$). Off
she went without ruining her holiday weekend.
I have had the pleasure of helping three VW Bus
strangers in the last year who got my name off the
AIRS list, once for a lady going back east with an
unknown Bus and just wanting to know how it sounded to
'an experienced Bus owner', a couple of weeks ago, I
helped with a guy named Mick from Aspen Colorado on
his way to SF with a engine concern. Let him stay on
my property and lent him tools which he returned when
done (I was already at work).
The interesting about all three AIRS events with me
was ........They were all Bay Window Busses.....
Maybe the Split Busses - which so many people are
afraid to take on a long trip without a trailer full
of spare parts- are the more reliable VW Bus.
Anyways, there hasn't been much discussion of list
members experiences from AIRS related emergency's.
So what say ye...
So I get home a little after 5 from work on Saturday.
A friend of mine
says that some guys called from Green Bay saying they had my name off of
the internet (AIRS) and had some questions
regarding their bus. This got me
curious, and the number on the caller ID just came up as unavailable..
dern. I check my email and a couple minutes after that I get a phone
call from these guys. They had come to town and were at the place
I work as my friend told them I was at work still when they called
before. They said they had a 71 bus and it was leaking some oil and
running a little rough. Thats about all they got out before I said
there in 10 minutes"
I was there 10 minutes later loaded with tools even (took some home from
work that night knowing i was going to work on the 62) They
themselves and we pull the bus around back and get crackin. The bus
running a little rough and not idling just right. I poppled off the
dist cap and noticed by looking at the points that they were not gapped
enough. A .016 feeler gauge and screwdriver later the engine was
running like a top. Now for the oil leak. They said they were
through about a quart a day, but they were also driving 400 miles a day.
Thats a good bit of oil to go through. Upon further
looks as if its coming from behind the crank pulley. Not too much I
could do about it, but I said switch to a thicker oil and that could
help out a bit. They'll do that tomorrow or the next day they say.
we get to talking and I asked if they needed a place to stay or
something. They accepted. We hopped on over to my house and
looking at the 62 in the garage as I went in and got some loot and
clothes and what not. We went and picked up a fuel filter, then
over to our shop (a few guys in town have a private shop where we
store/work on cars, get together, just hang around etc) We drove
a bit and I showed them the town and we went and picked up some
beverages for the night. Got back to the shop and started talking
more and doing a bit of drumming (hand drums are also made at the
shop)... We talked about their travels and their plans and what
them to get a bus. Well, they're two college guys from Nebraska who
wanted to go on a trip for the summer as they had been taking trips up
to canada, colorado, montana etc in a "normal" car just for fun.
wanted to make a big trip out of it and decided to buy a bus for the
occasion. They picked a *nice* bus! Its a red/white 71 bus
moderate amount of gear in it. It has a nice engine and the nicest
looking underside I've seen on a bus in a long time. They got it for
real good price and put an alternator on the engine and did a few other
things before they left on the trip. They had been on the road for a
week. So we pulled the buses around the back of the shop and set up.
They moved their stuff around so they could sleep in the bus, and I
pulled out the bed in my bus and decided to camp there for the night.
It was a beautiful night for sleeping. We went back in and did a bit
drumming and got to talking some more. There were a couple of other
minor things they wanted me to look at, so we agreed to take care of it
in the morning... So a handfull of bottle caps later we went to bed.
Got up in the morning sweating (sleeping bag with the sun beating down
on me, i hate that) and decided to head home for a bit to take a shower.
We headed back to my place and everyone cleaned up, then we headed
around town and met a few of the local bus nuts, picked up some grub,
and back to the shop. I crawl under the bus just looking around and
notice the backing plate on the right rear is wet on the bottom. Uh
me says. I jack up the bus and pull of the drum and sure enough, its
soaked. Real leaky wheel cylinder. Hmmm, called up the parts
town that were open, and nobody can get one until Tuesday. I called
a few of the local bus guys and nobody has a new one on hand. So I
figure that a used good one is better than a leaky one. I pulled one
off of a backing plate I had (67 even) and went back over to the shop,
but not before stopping and picking up some miracle-in-a-can. Some
you refer to it as brake parts cleaner. Personally, I worship the
stuff. The good stuff that is. Anyways, we get back, and I
it and replace it. Then we bleed the brakes, use the brakes some,
tear off the drum again to verify it isn't leaking. No leaks, good
news. Spray the shoes down with the brake parts cleaner, and rough
up with some sandpaper and all is well.
After thats all done we head on over the the engine. It seemed as if
were running a bit rich, so I adjusted the carb per the Bentley manual.
It seemed to help a bit. Checked over the engine, checked the
etc. I also put hose clamps on every fuel line connection (they were
missing a couple) and also put a safety wire on the fuel inlet to the
carb. I've had this come out on me before. It is *not* fun.
We cooked up some burgers in the mean time, talked some more, drove
around a bit more, and checked out each others buses. I took some
pictures even. All too soon they were on their way out. They
headed to Milwaukee, then Chicago, and who knows where from there.
They've just been staying at campground, wal mart parking lots, etc and
loving every bit of it. They have to be back to school the 24th of
August and they plan to travel until whenever they feel like stopping.
They're headed to the east coast and just taking their time and taking
I believe they even posted to the list before they left when they got
the bus. I'm not sure though as I haven't been up on all the posts
list) as of late. Nick and Jason are their names.
If these guys call on you, or you see them in their bus, by all means
stop and say hi. They're great guys. I wish I got more calls
from the AIRS list. Once we got to talking it was like we were old
friends. I could have left $500 cash on the table and left them when
went to the gas station or something and been completely comfortable
with it. These are good and honest guys just out looking to have
fun. Oh yeah, they needed some tunes for their bus, so we gave em a
radio and some speakers. They've just been enjoying the hum of the
engine till now enjoying the sights and sounds and just going wherever
they feel :)
It was tempting to pack up ol Stella and join in on the trip! But,
obviously I didn't. I (and I'm sure many others!) would love to do
something like this. These guys are actually doing it. They've
good bus to go with, and the best of intentions. These are new VW
owners, but they went over the bus pretty well before they left, and
havea pretty good basic understanding of things. They carried a few
spare parts (I donated a clutch cable to the cause as they were without
one) and tools so they've the right idea!
When I came home from work I had nothing but a boring weekend face.
After this my weekend we well spent. Thanks for the company guys,
wish you the best of luck on your trip!!
Sorry if any of this was rambling :)
Just a little update on the guys that stopped
by here a week or so ago
from Nebraska. They and they're 71 bus are in New York today and
be to Maine during the day some time. They're doing well and haven't
had any more problems, but they say something is rattling in back,
probably engine tin or something of the like.
Does anyone have a list of shows coming up on the east coast?
from Maine down to Florida. I'd like to get these guys a list as
were wanting to attend some shows/campouts while on their trip.
Situational Engineer- DBG
This went out to the type2 mailing
My friend Nick Palmer just blew a spark plug out of his engine block --
assuming the plug was mis-threaded and it finally just popped out.
So, he's looking for tips on a mechanic/machine shop in the area where he
can get a heli-coil put in his head, and, if possible, a driveway where he
can pull his engine/head to take it to said shop. Barring a friendly
a reputable VW mechanic to get towed to would suffice.
So, if anyone can help him out with any of the above information, he'd
really appreciated it: Nick Palmer, 916.837.5683 (cell phone)
Call him anytime as he's anxious for any info.
alternately, if you can't get through, contact me via email.
oh, as the subject line says, he's in Coachella, California and he's
driving a '77 Riviera: 2.0L, FI, Manual, Olive Green.
Update: V W TECH made a mobile call to Indo yesterday,
and delivered two brand new
heads to Nick for his 77. He said he was having a local mechanic do
Reply: I just wanted to take a second to say
thanks to Bob for delivering heads
to me the same day I called him, and at a darn good price too!
Indio Dune Buggy installed them for me while I watched. What a treat to
finally see my engine apart and back together! Though I could have done
without the cost! It took them a little longer than I would have liked
(2.5 days) however I think they did a good job, and I certainly learned a
lot. There are a couple of remaining issues that I need to sort out, but I
will post about them in the near future.
Well my wife and I just got back from our first ever
long trip in our
yellow 74 westy. We traveled from our home in Atmore, Alabama to
TN to take our daughter back to college. 1109 total miles. We
AIRS list for the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee with us, but
didn't need to use it. We left last Thursday morning, and returned
this afternoon, Tuesday, August 29, 2000. I was devastated to read
news about Kristin when I caught up on my type 2 reading.
Sunday, on our way back home, we had an encounter with a vehicle that was
quite a bit larger than us, and it kind of put a damper on our spirits
day. We also had trouble that evening locating a campground.
that point we had stayed in three very nice campgrounds, but I never once
considered calling on an AIRS list person. Instead, we stayed in a
In the future, I may decide to call on an AIRS list person. I
know that I
will be far more open to the idea of someone camping in my pasture now
I was before this trip. I am also going to carry far better campsite
locating documents than a map with a green tent by a city name.
Joel Lambert, Atmore, AL 74 westy, 75 bus, 65
type 3 ghia
A Couple called around 9:30
and left about 2:30 am Sunday morning from my house. Their generator
pulley had started to turn freely on them and they where about to loose
their only fan belt. I didn't have a "correct" pulley but the
one we put
on might have worked for the drive ahead of them. The Guys name was
Chad, forgot the young girls name. This is a couple that David at Bug
Junction had also helped.
I hope they will make it all he way, but I doubt it, if you have any
info on them making it to their destination please let us know, we would
feel better for them knowing they are safe and off the road.
Meredith and Debbie
Heres a message from the type2 list a
sent out to get others opinions on a motorist in trouble:
Kristin, traveling on a deadline toward CA just called me about 70
Please read through this note and see what you think. She's had a string
bad luck and now is fighting a "bucking" bus on the way in.
Here's what she
described to me:
Her '71 DP bus is basically bucking between gears. She says when she
shifts, she feels like the bus is pulling back on her. She said the bus
basically no power, but she also told me that she's able to make speeds of
50-60...so there's *some* power there.
I'm actually thinking fuel delivery as in fuel pump, but I could be wrong
here. Hope I'm right, as I'm pretty sure I have a spare fuel pump for a
Here is some of the other info I got from her:
She had a bad mechanic experience where dude didn't tighten the flywheel
right and it flew off into the bellhousing, chewing tranny. She managed to
get it to another mechanic who pulled the motor and made things right. 2nd
mechanic had to turn the idle screw on her 34pict3 all the way in to get
the bus to run, but I guess he thought some of the problem would just work
itself out and let her go on her way, emploring her to take it easy.
he pulled a 30pict off because he thought that was why she had no power.
Maybe mechanic #2 missed something too, but at least he did her right as
far as flywheel fix at a reasonable (what she could afford) rate.
Obviously, the details I'm getting just before midnight here are a little
sketchy, but I told her to come by early and I'll try to help her before
work. Any ideas would be appreciated. Remember, the main symptom is
on the highway, especially between shifts. She also mentioned that she's
having to lift the gas pedal up with her foot to reduce RPMs in traffic,
which I'm wondering about.
Could this have something to do with the brake booster and possibly a
messed up diaphram in that?
PS. If you're between TN and CA (I-40ish, I presume) and you want to leave
contact info (city and phone number) for her, I'll pass it on just in
>>>...I got a call on sunday morning
from a Richard from South Africa who is
touring the states with his wife. he is coming from chicago via I-90 and
just needs a place to park the bus for a night. seemed like an interesting
person, im anxious to meet him.
>>>...so, last might i was working
and i get a call from a guy named john. he
tells me that he's broken down in nashville on hwy 65 and 40. he said he
needed a fuel pump for his girlfriend's 74 bay. i told him that i didn't
think i had a baywindow one, but we could take a look if he wanted to crash
in my driveway. he did so. i got home from work at around 10:00p to find
john and his buddy (sorry, i forgot your name) hangin' out in the bay.
to make a short story long, we looked through my stuff and found a fuel pump
off of my old motor. we compared the top halves of both pumps (which was
really the only part he needed) and they looked darn close. so john did the
swap and it was a successful swap. i think he is going to put a brand new
fuel pump on there asap just to be safe. so all was well. i met some very
cool vw friends, had some good vw talk, and had one vw in and out of my
driveway and john on his way.
john (better known as email@example.com) is a list
member which made the
experience all that much cooler. john makes ther very cool vw stickers that
i highly endorse. he gave me a few in exchange for the pump and i had them
on my bus immediately. my favorite is "don't laugh, your girlfriend could be
chat ya later,
I would like to tell you about an awesome AIRS member. His name is Todd
Thompson from Germantown, Maryland. I have been having the type2 blues for a
couple of months (fuel injection problems, I thought). I contacted Mr.
Thompson from the AIRS list (Todd had 'coffee/talk' marked on his
info)and told him my problems.
He listened with asympathetic ear and gave very good advice. He is very easy going and
and we decided that I needed an engine. Since my bus wouldn't survive a trip
to the junkyard for our quest, he drove me around for several hours on a
Sunday. He went way beyond the call of duty for a virtual stranger. It is
heartwarming to know that there is someone like him that will extend himself
in such a fashion. I would like to thank the AIRS group and a special
"shout-out" to Todd Thompson!
>>>......3 calls in 3 days? Odd,
considering I havent gotten but one call and a
visit from the Millars since the inception (of AIRS). Is it
VW migration season?
1) Got a call from some young travelers from New York staying
Beach. Went visiting on sunday, 71 westy engine sounds a bit rough, like 3
cyl firing rough :(. They saw a mechanic today who said 'rebuild 1100$' so
tomorrow they are off for a 2nd opinion from a pretty highly regarded shop
and well see how it goes. I have to be wary of a mechanic saying
rebuild 1100$ without suggesting a new engine possibility pr explaining
why in some detail.
2) A pleasant girl with an 83 who is preparing for a trip to
hampshire? and just wanted reassurance that things seem cool before she
3) Just a few minutes ago some travellers in a 69 heading for
just asking about the area and crashing spots. May drop by on the
way back through (to Savannah) for a visit.
I guess like the Mortons salt slogan "When it rains, It pours."
>>>....Pulled out of Lenoir a little early, had
plans to meet some folks before I
got to Snoopy's. The Express was grumbling along making all the right
noises as we ran the usual route down I77 between Charlotte & Columbus. All
of a sudden she started missing and backfiring, losing power, then quit
completely. The oil pressure was up as long as she was turning over so I
didn't think we'd suffered internal engine damage. Rolled to the side of
the road, broke out the barely adequate tool kit and VOM to see what the
problem might be.
Oil level was fine, and I couldn't help but notice the absence of a large
gaping hole in the engine case. There was fuel in the filter, a squirt
could be heard going into the carbs when I tickled the throttle. Hmmm.
Just for fun, tried her again and she started right up. No sense sitting
along the side of the road with the rigs and a$$*)!@s er SUV drivers blowing
by at 80+. She was still backfiring and making almost no power but we
managed the 1/4 mile to the nearest exit. Power to the coil, the signal
from the Pertronix didn't follow the pattern points usually show. Must be
the igniter went bad. No problem, put in the extra dizzy with the points.
Always carry stuff like that. Open the spare bus locker and find the extra
dizzy. No points! <insert unkind word here> That's right, helped
else out, gave them the spares, never replaced them. <another unkind word>
There's nothing at this exit but litter. The whole time I was there, nobody
took it from either direction. Probably 1 of those great ideas some
politician had - growth opportunity for Bubbaville.
Fortunately, I had John's phone #. Just looked, he's not on the AIRS list,
but I am so this IS an AIRS story. Called John, he was more than willing to
help. He left his house drove almost 40 miles with 2 kids that weren't his
(they had company), and brought me a set of points. While I was waiting,
pulled the dizzy, then sat and played my guitar for a while. John showed
up, in no time dizzy was back in and timed. the BIG MOMENT was here! Turn
the key, she starts right up idles just fine. Big grin and thumbs up ease
her into gear and KABLAM BOOMITY POP POP she's backfiring again. <yet
another unkind word>. Doublecheck gap and timing, both are spot on. Hmmm.
Random firing, if not timing, must be the coil. But coils >never< go
But wait, I had one go bad after High Country Bus fest a couple years ago.
Pull the coil, put the meter across it, infinite resistance across the
primary side. <even more unkind words>
John smiled, said get in lets go get a coil. We drove a long time before we
saw any civilization. The parts store in town was closed. No problem sez
he, we'll get the coil off my bus. So we went chez John and Anna, get to
see the imaginary bus - yes, the Terrapin Flier is real! John pulls the
coil, back in the car, and off we go back to the Express. Install coil, she
fires right up, running great. John follows me to his exit and off he goes.
Didn't tell me my taillights were out but the really nice South Carolina
State Trooper did. So did the not so nice one later on. But that's a
Mad Uncle Dave
>>>...On Sat. nite about 10:30 the
phone rang. A young woman quickly
introduced herself and told me that she had my name from the AIRS
list. She and her boyfriend had just purchased a bus (1967 Westy)that
day in northern Va. and were on their way home to FL. After they
stopped in Greensboro for gas they could not get the bus to go into
gear. After playing twenty questions I gave them my address and told
them they could have it towed to my house and we would have a look in
They arrived about midnight and we chatted about this and that and
decided that perhaps there was a failure of the clutch or perhaps the
throw out bearing fork. This was their first bus and they had it for
less the 5 hours and did not know a lot about VWs. We all know how
much I know :)
In the morning I called LBC member Chad Sibert and asked him if we
could borrow a clutch off of junk motor and he was more then happy to
do so. After picking up the clutch we proceeded with motor pulling
101. After everything was disconnected and the motor was hanging by
the studs , LBC member John Stainkamp roared up in the driveway in
his 61 DC. Whenever John pulls up I feel like the calvary has arrived
We pulled the motor but much to our chagrin the clutch, fork and all
related parts were fine. The owner of the bus jumped in and tried to
put it through the gears. Many loud clunks were heard. Uh oh! The
plug was removed from the tranny. The magnetic plug was covered in
bright shavings and the tranny only yielded a cup full of brown goo.
The axle boots were in bad shape but there was no major evidence of
gear oil all over the place. The tranny had been dry for some time.
LBC member Roy Nilsen was summoned to obtain the only gallon of
Stalube GL4 that was to be found on a Sunday morning. We hoped in
vain that by filling the tranny back up it might help unstick itself.
We also fussed endlessly with a stupid Hurst shifter that had no
doubt been installed by the same idiot that painted the dash and the
steering wheel brown. The bus would not come out of third gear.
We gave it everything we had. Sadly the bus left the same way it came
- on the back of a tow truck. I am sorry that we could not fix the
bus but I am glad that we were able to try. Thanks to John, Chad and
Roy for putting up a good fight and spending a day trying to help
some strangers in a bus make it home. They truly appreciated it!
Greensboro, North Carolina
>>>.....It happend this past
Monday night. I received a call from a guy who had printed
out the AIRS list to take with him on his trip.
He was looking for a safe place to park for the night..
told him he could park in my driveway, gave him directions and in just a bit he was here..
He is driving from California to eventually Alabama, just taking the back roads and
He came in... borrowed the stove and cooked his dinner and then retired for the night in
his '71VW bus....
and the next morning had breakfast with us and then was on his way.
Not too sure which way he was going. but was headed kind of south to start with...
His name is Kent... he is a really nice guy and hoped to be calling on more list members
during his travels.
Was glad to be able to offer a place to stay,
>>>...Thanks to every one involved in putting on
I had a great time talking with old and new friends.
It was great to see so many buses together.
The AIRS list saved my butt on the way home.
I had a rear wheel bearing go out in Suffolk,Va.
on Monday morning. I pulled out my Airs list and called
a fellow named Jason in Va. Beach. He let me leave my beloved (DHARMA)
at his house until I could return to get it with a trailer.
I could have fixed it there, but I had to be back to work at 2:00 am Tues. morning.
A great big thank you to him and everyone on the list.
>>>...I got a call Sunday
afternoon from a Gentleman on the coast of NC, referred
to me by G. Marv Krupp from the call to him placed by the aforementioned
Gentleman originating from the A.I.R.S. List. Got it?
His daughters 79 Westfalia had ceased operation at Brevard College. It is
her first semester in a new town and they were unfamiliar with the
territory, both mechanical and geographic.
The Gentleman I think misunderstood the nature of A.I.R.S., and seemed to
think that we are a list of mechanics for hire. I had to repeatedly refuse
both his and his daughters offers of money. He found us surfing via the Type
2 site. They are not members and apparently had no knowledge of this entire
Anyway, a bus was in need, so my wife (after some sharp trading, I had to
agree to vacuum after we got back) and I loaded up in the A***a to check it out.
When I got there she wanted to give me the keys so I could tow it away.
I smiled but I did not laugh out loud.
She is a very nice girl, and helped me open it up for an inspection. She
cranked it up and it ran very roughly. First thing, I checked the points and
they were burned moderately, at least enough to run as badly as I had
observed. I showed them to her and asked if she had another set. I thought
for sure that all busses had a spare, but not hers. I carry a set even
though I have the Pertronix, cause, well, you never know.
So we offered her a ride to the parts store. This was a SMART girl. She
immediately begged off to go call her Dad. It took me a moment to figure out
what was going on, until my wife clued me in....
NEVER GET IN THE CAR WITH A
So my wife and I went to the parts store while the girl was calling and
bought the last set of points in stock. I didn't have a timing light with me
so I bought a cheap feeler gauge and by the time we got back she was waiting
at the bus. I put the points in and she started it but absolutely no
improvement. I fiddled with the points but no luck. Then I noticed that the
idle air bypass valve supply hose from the air intake boot to the valve had
a cracked and broken elbow at the valve, leaving the hose to hang free.
That's a lot of air to bypass the AFM. Then out of curiosity I checked the
oil. The bottom of the dipstick was definitely wet, and if I had to guess I
would say that she was at least three quarts low.
I asked the girl if she had ever checked the oil. She said that she knew it
was probably low. Hmmm, I asked her if the oil light had ever come on. She
said yes, it came on during the eight hour trip up to school two weeks ago,
but it went out after a while, so she didn't stop.
At this point my wife volunteered that while I had my head in the engine
compartment holding the throttle to keep it running it was blowing
voluminous clouds of smoke. I asked her what colour and she said, dark.
Driving a bus should be a carefully considered and educated decision. I have
referred the girl and her father to our local ASE Master Mechanic.
In retrospect, I see it could have been much worse for her, and I am very
very very grateful that I had the opportunity to help.
Tom and Dana Cates
>>>I want to let everyone,
especially AIRS members, know that Kathy and I
successfully made our round trip to Michigan and back to Long Island, New
York this past week. Even though I didn't have to call any AIRS members for
help, it sure was a nice to know I could if I had to. Thank you to all AIRS
members, where ever you are.
Our 71 westy ran fine for a little over 2000 miles this past week. We
did experience the hot start problem a few times, so the starter will be
coming out soon for a good cleaning and inspection. One morning the engine
shut down just a few minutes after starting. It was sudden, just as if it
was shut off. Seemed like an electrical problem to me, so I opened the
distributor cap and had a look see. Everything was OK, so I closed it up,
checked for spark and got a good hot one, then tried to start it back up.
It started on the first try and ran fine the rest of the time since. Gas
mileage was 23.7 mpg, and I did have to add 1/2 a quart of oil during the
trip. I guess the biggest problem we had is that the plumbing for the sink
drain started leaking in the cabinet and got the surrounding floor wet.
Most of the driving to get to Michigan and back was on hiways 80, 23, and
75. As you can guess, we were the slowest thing on the roads. Most other
drivers seemed to just go past us and on their way. In western PA we did
have one New York driver lay on the horn as he followed very close behind us
and then passed, but even more people gave us a smile and a wave. Of course
as we were driving around lower Michigan for a week many young people
pointed and waved as we drove by. I'm sure some of them had never seen a
bus before. One young lady had a real laugh as she checked us into a camp
ground. Part of the paper work asked for vehicle make, model and year.
When she asked for the year I said I thought the bus was older than her and
asked what year she was born. Her reply was "85". When I told her the VW
came out of the factory in 71 we laughed for 5 minutes, at least. I've got
to say, that there seemed to be a real lack of buses and a/c VW's in
particular in and around Flint, MI. Yeah, yeah, I know, MI is the
of the US automotive industry.
While we were there we did get to meet John H. , list and AIRS member.
Of course since he too has a 71 westy we each had to inspect the other guys
bus. I sure wish I had his interior. Over a cold beer our wives decided
that there must be some common traits in folks that want to own old VWs.
They talked about making up a questionaire for list members to find out what
it is we all have in common. Personally, I call it class!
Also on this trip our bus revealed its name to us.
Its now called
John Dear. You see, I just gave it a quick coat of paint a few weeks ago,
and the color was called John Deere Green. So when you see us, dont
forget to ask how John is doing.
All in all the trip was a great success and adventure. This is the
farthest weve ever been by bus and were prepared for all sorts of problems.
Im sure glad we didnt have any.
Huntington Station, New York
>>>Chad and Willa (and their dog,
Butter) called me yesterday, about
5:30pm. I swiped a pulley from a spare motor and took my dog with me,
and found them at the Quality Inn off of I-385 in Greenville. Installed
the pulley, tried to find a spare belt in my parts stash for them (I
think I gave my last one away), hung out for a few minutes, swapped
e-mail addresses... They are driving a purple '72 with an upright in it,
bought recently from a bug that had been sitting for awhile. They are
strapped for cash, and the engine compartment looks pretty rough. I hope
they make it, they need all the help they can get... The crank pulley is
pretty rough, and I'm sure it is shredding the belt (evident by all the
black rubber dust in the engine compartment). I advised them to get a
spare belt as soon as they find a parts store open...
Meredith, I have one of your screwdrivers, that Chad found in his
Viva la Airs List!
David F. Martin
>>>We got a call at home this
afternoon from "Shawn" [Sean?] of Spokane, WA.
He was in Tacoma visiting friends. I still don't know his last name.
Seems he came over Snoqualmie Pass last night in a downpour, and before he
reached the summit he lost his 1 [and only] wiper arm. Off his '62 Type 2.
With safari windshields/windscreens. He was desperate to find at least 1
replacement arm and blade so he could return to Spokane tonight, over
Snoqualmie Pass, in a downpour.
My daughter called all over the Tacoma area trying to track down the part,
without success. I discussed the situation with Shawn, covering all
possible scenarios including a large supply of RAIN-X. His friends found a
couple of leads up Seattle way, and Shawn was considering following them up
but his time was getting pretty tight. He promised to let us know how his
journey home panned out.
Tacoma, WA USA
>>>In the middle of a big cross
country trip, I happened to print out some
names of folks off the AIRS list from Seattle to San Francisco, and damn
if I didn't use it. Just 30 miles out of Seattle i threw a rod in my 71
camper bus. Arggh! No worry, I called a few folks off of the list, one
of them (Terry Tacker of Puyallup) towed me with a special bus towbar,
and another (Fred Stoermer of Tacoma?) came just to see how things went.
They recommended Ovals Motor Sports of Federal Way. I had a rebuilt
engine put in, and after several days of diagnosing heating problems,
Oval's got me back on the road. Thanks to all in the area for their help
and concern, and Oval's for being patient with a weary traveler and
helping to solve the overheating problems!
Thanks to terry and Fred from the AIRS list, as well as others who wrote
and called with suggestions.
wink, still on the road.
Daniel Winkert of New Orleans
>>>Just returned from a little
voyage from Clarksville TN to Fort Walton Beach
FL. Everything was going well until I got about 15 miles from Fort Walton
Beach. At that point in time (which was about 3:00 AM), the little noise
coming from the rear of the bus got really loud and then went completely
silent. The bus floated across the road a few times before I managed to get
her to slide to a stop on the shoulder. When I got out to see what
happened, I found that the driver's side rear wheel had come completely off
the vehicle. The axle was shredded, cv joint sheared apart, breaks torn to
pieces, tire blown out, and the back of the bus was resting with the shocks
on the ground.
My wife, a friend, two dogs, all of our luggage for the 4-day weekend, and
myself were now stuck on the side of the road. Nobody we knew was home, all
of the garages and tow trucks we called we're still closed and no cab would
come and pick all of us up (would only pick up to two people and they weren't
willing to do it for the money I had). And then, the cell phone started
dying. So, we set out reflectors, popped the top, and went to sleep
thinking daylight would bring better news. Around 6:30 AM we were still
unable to get in touch with anybody (I spliced the cell-phone power pack
into the bus - ok, so the wife forgot to bring the cigarette lighter
adaptor, but wasn't going to make an issue of it right there - You know).
Finally, just before 7:00 AM, I turned to the last resort and called AIRS
volunteer Victor Cardona (HUGE ROUND OF APPLAUSE FOR MR. CARDONA). Victor
was great. He came right over and picked us all up, drove us all the way
into Fort Walton Beach over to my wife's friend's house, and even
recommended a great mechanic. Thank you so much Victor.
So, we were finally able to get the bus towed to Little Motors off of
Highway 98 near Hulbert Field owned and operated by Jeff (Huge plug for
him - I'll get all the specific data later when I get my other bag back -
another story). Jeff was closed for 4th of July, but came in on Monday the
3rd since he knew we were from out of town and had to get back to work, took
an axle from another bus and had our Bess running and ready to go by late
Monday afternoon. Also, he got us another tire because he wouldn't let us
leave without having a spare. So, he got another axle, fixed the breaks,
new tire, and all put it all together in perfect working order on his day
off for people from out of town and charged us less than $100 (We were
already trying to figure out which one of my organs we were going to have to
sell to pay for this). What a guy!!! Seriously, he did a great job and
helped us out of a very tough spot.
Thank you so much Mr. Cardona and Jeff from Little Motors. You guys are
what makes owning a VW so special. Also, having the weekend that we did
(very tough), it was great to see what great people are still out there.
Great for the soul!
Thank You so much,
Darrin K. Pierce
>>>One Saturday I got call from a
traveling from Washington to Mexico. Their throw out bearing disintegrated
because the return spring on the tranny gave out. They told me that some
guy in San Francisco had given them a print out of the AIRS list. They too
had never heard of any of the mailing lists.
After calling every place within about a 50 mile radius I ended up giving
them the spring off my bug in the garage. It's not going to be on the road
for a while so I have the luxury of looking for another one at my leisure.
I still hear from them via email every once in a while. Last I heard they
were in Las Vegas having CV joint problems.
Chuck & Jan
>>>>"Before I went on my
Texas road trip, I printed out the AIRS lists for
each state I was passing through (geographically, that is). At the time
it was more for "the mojo factor" because this voyage was intended to be
a cruise -- carefully planned and uneventful. Shuffleboard on Tuesday,
water aerobics on Wednesday -- like that. Which it was, until an
apparently despondent deer crossed my path on the first leg of my way home.
So here I am, in the dark, in the middle of Texas hill country, trying
to figure out what this wet stuff is all over the inside of my cab
(windshield washer fluid -- whew!). I didn't even have time to panic, it
happened so fast. Everything seemed to be rolling okay, so I drove on
until I could find a place to camp for the night. This turned out to be
a rest area about 20 miles east of Sonora.
It was a little late to call back to Art Lynch (with whom I'd had dinner
just a few hours before), so I called David S. who is two hours earlier
and ran down my plan to get the bus looked over in San Angelo. He gave
me the number for his friends Rob & Kim (from his Mustang life). It was
the next morning that I called Art and he gave me Rex Rogers number in
San Angelo, who's number was incorrect -- oops!
It was on the way into San Angelo that the bus started running badly and
actually stalled at one point (when the idle solenoid stripped out?).
Jim, a stranger on the side of the road, stopped to help and followed me
on to the next town Eldorado. He and Rob hooked me up with John Talley
at J&O in San Angelo. John got my carburetor hooked back up. He's honest
and nice! And he knows VW's. His dad had the local VW dealer back in the
day and he worked there before starting his own business.
I never did get hooked up with Rex, but Art's assistance was invaluable
-- and I'm still stunned that Mike G. was ready to bring me an engine if
it came to that. David and Art got me through my first valve adjustment.
I was really nervous about getting on the road out of San Angelo, but I
made it home just fine -- another 27 hours of driving! Knowing I had
that support network on the way home made all the difference to me. And
made my parents very happy. Even now, with me at 40, my mom still
worries.... :-) The big difference is that now, I *let* her...."
>>>>"I met Aaron Badertscher of Ohio,
online and chatted about some camping
trips, which led to arrangements to meet up on the way to EveryBus .
Aaron had a chance to talk to John Morris, and John decided to join our
Actually by the tone of his email... he seemed worried that a *split* bus of
his would hold up the tempo of the Bay brigade.....
Well, fortunatly we met up with John and Aaron in PA. and carabused to Va.
to meet with [ Honorable mention] Jeff Stewart on our way to EveryBus.
You can read the trip report on the EveryBus page,, But what I wanted to say
here,,,, We never knew any of these people 2 months before EveryBus,,, But
Jeff Stewart opened his house to a whole tribe of unknowns,,,,
and John Morris did a very kind thing,,,
and For this I think they need a Hip Hip hooray!
When Dave's Bus Finally quit running ,, due to the engine block completely
separating from the trans... we left it in VA.. JOHN was at home
time ,,, Left his house in OHIO and drove to Va. Picked up Dave's Bus and
TRAILORED it to CANADA! Prolly about 15 hrs one way,, then another 5 hrs
He wasn't called on,, or asked to help out,,, but he met a guy who he heard
had problems,,, so he OFFERED to help out!!
He is on the AIRS page .... John Wrote on the Airs page... CAMPING SPOT:
MOVE IN!!! :)
This is My second usage of the AIRS pages,,,,, While in Colorado Springs
last year [ 99 ] Dave Russell helped me work on my Bus in his garage... on
a fuel problem,, [ I don't like working on fuel in my own Garage, let alone
asking someone else to allow me to do it in theirs! ]
And he gladly took a DAY OFF WORK to help me!! Thanks Dave!
Thankfully this time it wasn't My Bus that was in trouble again,,, But ,
back to my point:
I genuinely want to THANK the people....Thank You to The ingenious persons
who thought of the AIRS, Thank You to those that offer their names on the
pages for nothing in return ... helping others.. Thank You to the keeper
of the airs site ...... Thank You to Type2.. and most important here
today,,, Thank You to John Morris of Ohio on behalf of the CANADIAN
contingent in the EveryBus Carabus!!!!"
Cambridge Ontario Canada
>>>My incessant rambling about VW Buses finally caused my
parents to break down
and let me buy one. I chose a 1969 Hardtop Westy that I stumbled apon during
some odd circumstances. The previous owner had thrown a rod, so the engine
I had been working at Dairy Queen for a month or so, and I had saved up
enough cash for a used 1600. I called the local VW places, but none had one.
I finally found an ad in the paper for some VW stuff and 3 engines. I
shelled out $250 for a 1600, and when I got it home I realised that I wasnt
any closer to a running bus. Those mothers sold me a toasted engine. Suffice
it to say, I was not overjoyed about the entire experience, and I was quite
disgruntled about VW's as a whole.
Eventually I decided that the sellers of said engine would have bad karma
forever, and that they would never be happy. I decided to rebuild. This
ordeal lead me to need a head, as all but one of mine were cracked. This is
where the AIRS list comes into the story (finally!). I called around in search of
a head, and Paul Ledbetter told me that indeed, he had one. A game of
telephone tag ensued, and in the end, he told me he would give me a head for
free. 'Hmm does free equal cracked?' i thought. In the end though, the head
is not cracked, and it is going on the bus engine. Thanks Paul! You restored
my faith in VW people as a whole! Much good karma to you!
>>>Chris and Loryn contacted me via the AIRS list and
asked if they
could stop at my place and work on an oil leak to which I agreed.
San Diego has been having a heat wave and it almost cost us an injury
while working on their '72. We had the van up on jack stands when the
stands sunk into the hot macadam and the van rolled off of the
stands. Fortunately none of us were underneath at the time and there
were no injuries to people or damage to the van.
The jack stands would be stable on concrete or similar surface, but
the knife edges of the base can obviously sink into a soft material.
We put the stands on some 2 x 12 pieces of wood scrap and finished
the job. The oil leak was coming from a push rod tube seal.
I am going to shop for new jack stands, and really pay attention to
their safety features this time around. The stands I have now were
bought in 1971 when I was not so experienced.
Chris and Loryn are now making their way up I-5 to their home in
Canada. If you see a blue and white '72 van with British Columbia
plates and surfboard strapped to the roof give them a wave.
Lee Dronick, San Diego California
on the way back
from NY to Nebraska last weekend we were cruisin down
I90 and came across a couple in a red Bug on the side
of the road. I pulled over to offer a hand. The
couple were going to Niagra Falls coming from NY city
and im surprised how far they actually made it.
there vacuum advance hose was not attached to the
dizzy, the carb was leaking fuel from the base but
what actually killed them was i believe there coil was
caput. it had juice goin in but none comin out. So
seeing we could do nothin on the spot i gave them a
ride to the next rest area and broke out my trusty
AIRS list. On my second call I got ahold of Dave
Rogge II and he gave me directions and the phone
number of a good air cooled shop in the area that i
was able to pass on. With tow truck on the way i
headed out with a little extra VW karma in tow. So i
know it wasnt for a bus, but hey they were air cooled
folk and it only took Dave a minute to find a phone
number and address. so i say "Thanks Dave!" by the
way the couple told me they had been trying to wave
people down for help on the highway and we of course
were the only ones who paid any attention.
73 riviera "lizzy"
68 westy "?"
These are all the email exchanges
we had. Anne and Karolyn made it home safely after a multi-month round trip
to Kentucky and back. It was on the last leg of this journey that they got
ahold of me. I got the first email on 11/20/02:
I saw your posting on Type2.com/AIRS and I thought I'd give you a hollar.
I'm returning from a cross-country trip (CA to KY), and we've begun
experiencing brake troubles. The front right one is smoking a bit -
from the looks of the wheel it looks like I need new calipers. I'm
pad is also in need of a change, and I should probably do both sides.
So I've never done brakes before, but I'm hoping to find someone in Chico
who can help guide me through the steps to replacing them myself. After
this trip we're broke, so I can't take her to a shop. Plus after
what calipers are going to cost...well, there's just no way I can pay
labour. I've done lots of work on her before, but I don't really trust
myself to do the brakes alone - at least not the first time.
So I'm writing to ask if you could help me fix my brakes. :) Even
me know a good parts shop in Chico would help - I'm getting pads in Redding,
but since they say to take the calipers off and trade them in - I'll need to
be where I'm going to repair her before I do that.
We're in French Gulch right now, and we'll head down to Chico tomorrow.
We'll probably be around for a day or two, but we've gotta get back home for
Anyway, thanks a lot, and we hope to meet you!
I read my email only a few hours after it was sent to me and replied
Sorry to hear of your travel challenge! When you get into Chico, call me on
my cell phone (530) XXX-XXXX. We'll go from there to get you on your way.
Unfortunately, I will be working all day tomorrow, but I can meet you
anywhere as soon as you get here. There are 2 great mechanics in town and
one of those shops is a gerat parts supply house, too.
Give me a call - we'll get you taken care of!
Be safe -
Anne and Karolyn got into Chico about 6:00PM on 11/20/02 and called my
cell phone. I was working, but only for another hour. I gave them a map of
Chico with some local landmarks (coffee shops, book stores, cool haunts).
After I got off work, we went back to my garage and began work on the
brake. They showed up in a well travelled '71 Westy that pulled horribly to
the right when the brakes were applied. They had new brake pads and a new
rubber brake hose for the passenger side. First, I felt the hub thinking
that it would be warm if the binders were not releasing. It was not overly
warm to the touch, so we did a brake inspection and found the pads on the
driver's side were almost nonexistent while the pads on the passenger side
were nearly new. That explained the pulling under application. Because it
was late and I had to return to the daily grind (to support my own VW habit)
the next morning, we cheated and only replaced the pads on the driver's
side. I made them promise to put the passenger side pads on as soon as they
got some time and space. A test drive appeared that the problem was
corrected. They crashed in a spare room, then headed on their way the next
2 days later I got the "distress" email
that is posted on the AIRS success story board, along with my response. The
following is the rest of the story.
BUMMER!! I am sorry to hear that! I don't know anyone down that way, but, i
did forward your email to me to the Vintage Bus email list I am a part of.
There are hundreds of VW Bus people that subscribe and read this list. From
what I know of the list, anyone who reads and is close will be enroute
shortly. Keep me posted, and if needed, I will get creative.
Good luck -
Awwww...what a SWEETIE you are! :)P Well, this little town has been
nice to us so far. It was hectic at first, but we managed to pull the
calipers off this morning (all by our lonesome...except for two bolts ;) ).
Now we're just waiting for the two new calipers which are scheduled to come
in tomorrow afternoon. So...that will put us in SF by Thanksgiving (we
we hope we hope!). I think we may have found someone to help us out
tomorrow, just in case things get hairy, and from the looks of it I've got a
lot of email replies to look at - so that's GREAT. :)
Thanks so much for your help, Greg. You the Man! (Get it? HAHAHA...
I'll keep you informed, most definately. :)
Sounds like you're going to take this "home by Thanksgiving" theme
to the wire! I'm glad everything seems to be working itself out.
Take care -
How did things turn out? Did you make it home by Turkey day? Is the bus
going to live?
Here's wishing you happy holidays -
Anne here. Thank you for getting in touch-- I haven't checked this account
since we got back. We're taking a VW break to recover from the trip. :)
We arrived safely back in San Francisco the night before Thanksgiving. We
were able to find a bit of local help in Middletown, and got the calipers on
with only a bit of sweating and swearing.
I think the bus will be OK- we need to give it a tune-up and try to figure
out how to get it out of the rain. What are your thoughts on rust
prevention? We seem to have developed a bit even since arriving on the West
Thank you for all of your help. Say hi to the family, and have great
I'm glad everything turned out okay! It's probably good to be home . . .
As far as rust goes, check out this stuff . . . POR-15
® Rust Preventive Paint - Stop Rust Permanently . There has been tons
of discussion about it on my Vintage Bus email - to see some of the
results for 'por 15' just click on the link. Between the official site
and all the talk of personal experiences with the stuff, you should be able
to make it work wonders. I can't put my two cents in , yet, though as I have
not tried it.
Good luck and happy VWing!
I assume everything is still okay with them - I know they made it home
okay and that is the end goal . . .
Greg Reeves -