AIRS SUCCESS STORIES

This is the section where people can relate stories or instances of times when AIRS has helped them or people they know in some way or another. If you feel you have something other AIRS members may enjoy reading, send it to me and I'll post it up. I have put many hours into this site, and would love to see that it is at least doing something for someone. Feel free to contribute your adventure relating to AIRS! Send any stories here  

See your story here and don't want it here? email me

Most recent story added to this page as of: 12/25/2009

 

 

    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 is well.


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:
http://bodeswell.org/2009/09/13/does-not-bode-well/

Not sure what we would have done without the help from folks on this list! THANK YOU!
Jason


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 help!
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:)
Thank you,
-Vosvos, 79 Bus
-Nihat, 79 Bus Driver

Stuttgart,  Germany, June 2000.  We set off in our 1979 Eurocamper, with custom comfortable interior layout and a fresh MOFOCO 1600cc upright complete with .040 heads and 1 1/2 qt. deep sump to the Arctic Bussing paradise of Finland.  After an uneventful trip to Rostock, Germany, a 28 hour ferry ride 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 full effect.  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 climb of 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 this damnable grade, something in the go department said "uncle."  A quick inspection revealed nothing, but a detailed inpection later revealed a #1 spark plug had nearly punched out due to excessive cracking in the plug threads.  Experiencing a sever lack of, dare I say "horsepower" at 64 degrees North latitude is not where you want to find yourself.  All 4 plugs were in solidarity, all cracked, all blowing precious compression out the tops of the heads in useless gasps of heat and agony.  A trip to the local mechanic 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.  Fine and good.  Sweden was on our plan as the route to return to Germany.  Problem was.  We had not planned to limp a very sick bus the 1400 kilometers (d@#n near 950 miles) to the Nirvana known as Sweden.  4 days that infernal trip lasted.  35 mph was the average, 12 hours a day knowing that at any moment, the trip could end in a huff of smoke, or worse yet, that spine shattering "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 call, let us know that everything would be just fine when we got to Linkoeping, Sweden.       Ahhhhh,  salvation!  "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 ailing Bus....      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 off)?  Not 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 down and discovered my heads were shot! Cracks radiating from the plug holes reaching twixt the valves and emanating to the valve seats of all cylinders.  John, the gentleman, took time off from his job to procure the parts we needed and in a matter of 36 hours had us the most beautiful set of CB performance .050 heads complete with stainless steel valves and a vision of hope that this vacation was going to continue at 60mph!  3 days later, after staying in 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 without a hitch!  From the depths of depression, Phoenix rose from the ashes.  Born again with a spirit not seen before.  The beauty of the Bus.  If it's running, it will run.  I am a much more careful Bus operator now.  Oil temp gauge, cylinder head temp gauge, oil pressure gauge all up front for my pleasure.  Without the help of AIRS member John Bellanger, this trip would 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 to pass on the good will when my phone rings and there is another lost soul of Bussdom on the other end needing a fix of Bus Love!   Thanks John!  

 Eric Linzmeyer Stuttgart, Germany   

'79 Euro camper soon to become a U.S.  resident.  Lookout AZ!!


This morning I received a call from a Bills Downs (from Atlanta, anyone 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 staying at a friend's house.  The garage is telling him that he needs a new engine and is quoting an unreasonable price for the job. Bill called me seeking ideas on how to get his bus to the Southern part 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 means and 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 into the ol' "we won't rent a dolly to any one driving a vehicle with less that a 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 ought 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 to 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 engine dead and told Bill they didn't think it is a transmission problem.  Bill 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 own working on my own bus, but I've never dealt with my transmission, and I am not experienced at diagnosing things over the phone (the right questions never seem to come to mind).  Bill said the engine will start, but has no power.  He said if the engine is off, and you put the bus in gear, it will roll.  If his clutch is gone, it would roll, but wouldn't it then not move at all under it's own power?  What problems with the transmission should he/we check for?  I can bring an extra transmission (unknown) with me if we go down to help with the engine swap, and clutch problems should be readily detectable after we pull the engine, but I'd 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.  It looks like I might be driving to Statesville Saturday morning.  I'd 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 email and 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 -  Greg

 Heres what she wrote me: Hey there, Greg! Well, bad news.  We are stuck on the side of the road down here in Middletown, CA (just under Clear Lake) with a horribly bad caliper.  It burned up and now we're in a place that apparently has almost NO resources.  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 miles. :P Thanks! :) Karolyn  

From the webmaster: Anyone have an update on that story??


Thanks for all your help! just got back from my trip, i've got a ton of digests to read! I just drove from boston,MA to london, Ontario and back for my cousins wedding. Just outside Rochester my generator bearings gave way...a terrible racket and generator light ensued...i was too worried about the pulley exploding given the off balance of the bearings to continue driving...anyway a quick call to Ronnie at old volks-who I guess posted to the list, and also provided me with a list of names from the AIRS site...I called about ten names before I got through to Dave and Hilda Dionne outside Buffalo in West Seneca. DAve was working the night shift and would not be home until 8am the next day. But I was more than welcome to bring the bus there to work on it. I got a 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 beer! what hospitality. The next morning I got up early and started getting ready to pull the engine to replace the generator-or pullit so that the bearings could be replaced. Dave arrived shortly after eight, and affter working all night proceeded to spend the better part of the day helping me fully diagnose the problem, and find the replacement parts-turned out the best option was to replace the generator-but I had a 6V, most places were 7-10 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 shop. they could have the generator in a day (friday night) unfortunately the wedding ceremonies were starting thursday night. so I rented a car, left my bus in Daves driveway, went to canada for the weekend, picked up my generator monday morning, and Dave helped me install it that day. got back on the road, and returned to my cousins up on Lake Huron for the week. my family and friends were all incredulous at the story of the help I received from the list. I on the other hand was quite proud to be a member of such a great community. I only hope that I may one day return the favor to another member. *The names of all who offered to help is long. After word got out to the 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 with. But THANK YOU all for your help. 

Kevin Guarnotta '65 kombi '67 sqbk

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 information I needed and a nearby source for the part (on a sunday in utah) as well as offers of direct assistance. My friends, who assumed that the lists and AIRS was something like AAA, asked "How much do you have to pay for that service?" :) Remember folks, the thing that makes the list so valuable is the listees. We all get an opportunity to lend a hand now and then, even if it is just a ride to the parts store, so when that opportunity comes to you jump to it!


Well the AIRS list came through for Kevin. I gave him a bunch of names in the NY area and one nice bus owner offered his help and driveway. Kevin is now in Buffalo, NY with his engine out looking for a small diameter 6 volt generator without the regulator mounted on top.

 ronnie


Robin and Peter from Chico found my name on the AIRS list and dropped by to camp last night, in a very clean '71 westfakia.  They told me their engine 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 Roswell, maybe it was the aliens).  They are very disappointed that the beetlemex 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 the rest somewhere in Texas.  A German mechanic rebuilt everything properly but they apparently were running super hot (~260 oil temp) on the breakin.  Properly timed 009 dist. because his vac advance is worn-out, I offered him one out of a few that I have but the numbers don't match (we will look on the dizzy site).  Only other thing I can think of is lean running, from vac leak or mixture. Anyhow they are looking for a stock bus muffler in Atlanta today, and will leave tomorrow to go to Chattanooga, the Smokies, Asheville, and on to Quebec and return to CA eventually.  Nice volks.

 Will '70 Westy "Rebertha"


Hi Volks, Dave is now back under way; he just called me from upper NY state. They tapped the hole and put a bolt in with LOTS of loctite and got rolling by 2:30 PM. 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 air-cooled 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 special thing to bus ownership and today I'm especially proud to be on the roster. Happy trails indeed, 

Greg Potts


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 supplier!!!   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 fair   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.   

Thanks AIRS! -- Author unknown


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 stop.                                       

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 knock which sounds like it's going to go any second.  There wasn't anything 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 ride home.

Thom Fitzpatrick


Howdy Y'all, 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. Peace,

 John Baker 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 technical ramblings. They are heading for St. Louis and Seattle. Happy Honeymoon, Dave and Dasha. 

Dave \X/  


  The folks from Canada by the side of the road did not seem interested in much self diagnosis, asked for a shop- I told them Oval's was in the area.    David from Lousiana is in Oly with his 77which had got hot between Portland and Oly and is making a strange noise  whistle/chip which may by a loose head (1/2 side) or an exhaust whistle- one of the studs holding the manifold on under the head stripped out.

Clara


Well, it isnt that great of a story, but still feels good. I had to run down to the town about 40 miles south of me to pick up my daughters 18th birthday present we had made. I was in quite a hurry because I had 3 things to attend 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 the shade, so it kinda blended in, so by the time it registered, I had gone a football field length passed him.  I got off the road and back up all the way. Im in my Nissan truck with a topper, so im sure he wondered WHO this fool was and what kind of trouble he could bring. One good thing is, I have a large SEVWC club logo on the back, so as I got closer, atleast he could 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 ride 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 tools, etc. The bad thing was, I was about in the middle of anyplace I knew where to get a pump from. I told him we could tow the car to the next exit about 5 miles away and maybe there would be a mechanic place there, so off we went. Never towed a car on the interstate, so that was a little scary. Bad thing 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 store 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 in a few hours after I tended to a few things. Atleast he wasnt sitting on the side of the interstate with nothing but cars zooming past like rockets. I gave him  my card and told him to call me IF anyone happend to come by with a pump.  I was about 2 miles from the house and on my way to meet him when my cell phone rang. He had called the house and got a pump from someone, so my daughter called me to let me know. Now I have added a fuel pump to my parts I carry in the Nissan....just incase :) 

David


My first AIRS call! After work Monday night the phone rings and I hear from Nick and Jason;  two college kids from Nebraska.  They're here in Cooperstown with a brake problem on a white over red '71 bus.  Nick was familiar with the list, (had met Isiah in Wisconson and someone else up in Portland, Maine) but wasn't a 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 setting up in the driveway and pulling and replacing the cylinder.  Only the usual 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 then 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 volks. 

-Bruce M. '73 auto 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. 

Thanks Den. 


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... 

Chuck Notmeyer Reno  NV


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 where 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 "be 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 introduce themselves and we pull the bus around back and get crackin.  The bus was 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 going 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 inspection it 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.  So 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 they were 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 headed 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 around 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 some 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 brought 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.  They 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 with a 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 a 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 of 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 oh 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 places in town that were open, and nobody can get one until Tuesday.  I called up 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 of you refer to it as brake parts cleaner.  Personally, I worship the stuff.  The good stuff that is.  Anyways, we get back, and I tear into it and replace it.  Then we bleed the brakes, use the brakes some, and 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 em up with some sandpaper and all is well. After thats all done we head on over the the engine.  It seemed as if it 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 timing, 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 were 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 everything in. 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 (T2 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 like this 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 I went to the gas station or something and been completely comfortable with it.  These are good and honest guys just out looking to have some 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 got a 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, and I wish you the best of luck on your trip!! Sorry if any of this was rambling :) Isaiah 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 should 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?  Anywhere from Maine down to Florida.  I'd like to get these guys a list as they were wanting to attend some shows/campouts while on their trip. Thanks! 

Isaiah  Situational Engineer- DBG


This went out to the type2 mailing list: My friend Nick Palmer just blew a spark plug out of his engine block -- I'm 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 driveway, 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. -Tommy Tarka       

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 the install today. Bob

     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. 

-Nick


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 Maryville TN to take our daughter back to college.  1109 total miles.  We carried our AIRS list for the states of Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee with us, but we didn't need to use it.  We left last Thursday morning, and returned home this afternoon, Tuesday, August 29, 2000.  I was devastated to read the 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 that day.  We also had trouble that evening locating a campground.  Up until 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 motel.  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 than 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 Saturday night 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 while back, sent out to get others opinions on a motorist in trouble:  Kristin, traveling on a deadline toward CA just called me about 70 miles outside Memphis. Please read through this note and see what you think. She's had a string of 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 has 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 '71. 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. Funny, 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 bucking 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? Thanks! Joe 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 case.  

Thanks! Joe


>>>...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. 

 Bob Margiotti Cleveland, Ohio


>>>...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 volknut@1st.net) 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 in here" chat ya later, 

  casey


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 helpful 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! Happy trails, 

  Howard Anderson


>>>......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 on South 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 new hampshire? and just wanted reassurance that things seem cool before she takes off. 3) Just a few minutes ago some travellers in a 69 heading for key west 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."  

andy miami fl


>>>....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 someone 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 bad.  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 different tale.  

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 the morning. 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! --   

Chris 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 siteseeing. 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,  

Gail Doles Jonesboro, AR


>>>...Thanks to every one involved in putting on Everybus. 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.

Thanks, 

 Dave Parsons


>>>...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 subterranean vista. 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 STRANGER! 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 Asheville, NC


>>>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   capital 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 it’s name to us.  It’s 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, don’t forget to ask how John is doing.    All in all the trip was a great success and adventure.  This is the farthest we’ve ever been by bus and were prepared for all sorts of problems.   I’m sure glad we didn’t have any.  

  Paul A 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 toolbox... 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.                                 

Fred Stoermer 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 in 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 '74 Westy


>>>One Saturday I got call from a couple 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...."

Nikki Elko

 

 

>>>>"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 carabus! 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 by this 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 home! 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!! WOW ! He is on the AIRS page .... John Wrote on the  Airs page... CAMPING SPOT: MOVE IN!!! :) Wow!  unbelievable! 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!!!!" 

Jamie Rivers 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 was toast. 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! 

Pseudo Mechanic Ethan Simpson

 

>>>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.  shelby 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:

Hey there!

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 - and
from the looks of the wheel it looks like I need new calipers.  I'm sure the
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 hearing
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 letting
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
thanksgiving. :)P

Anyway, thanks a lot, and we hope to meet you!
Karolyn

I read my email only a few hours after it was sent to me and replied immediately:

Hey, Karolyn!

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 -
Greg

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 morning (11/21/02).
    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.


Karolyn -

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 -
Greg


Sent 11/24/02:

Awwww...what a SWEETIE you are! :)P  Well, this little town has been pretty
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 hope
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... ;)P )
 I'll keep you informed, most definately. :)

THANKS!!!!!
Karolyn

Sent 11/25/02:

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 -
Greg

Sent 12/5/02:

Hey
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 -

Greg

Sent 12/20/02:

Hi Greg!

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
coast.

Thank you for all of your help. Say hi to the family, and have great
holidays!

Anne


Sent 12/21/02


Hey, Anne!!

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 discussion,  Search 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!
Greg


I assume everything is still okay with them - I know they made it home okay and that is the end goal . . .

Greg Reeves -
Chico, CA