Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
To answer some of the questions, yes it has rust. Some on rockers, bit on the outriggers, rear quarters and battery trays. Front floor has been replaced. It was deemed a solid restoration candidate by the shop I had inspect it. We were nowhere even close to affording a rust free/restored example.
Biggest issue at the moment is it will not start without a boost, has two crappy batteries that are not properly secured in it currently. I've been told these things not starting is a common issue, so if anyone can shed some light on that, it would be much appreciated.
It does not have AC.
I do believe it started life as a panel van, I thought Kombi meant panel. Aircooled newb...
From a safety standpoint, I wouldn't want to be in an accident in it. Same can be said for my Ford Festiva
Wind noise was actually minimal. It has a lot of interior squeaks and rattles that need attention.
It has a pertronix ignition in it
I was told that the carbs are webers, though I thought I saw an Empi stamp while I was poking around the engine bay yesterday.
The bus came with new throttle and clutch cables. The clutch/shifting in general is awful, that's going to be addressed before any serious driving
It drives nice, straight and smooth, smoother than I thought (bringing it home from the shipping depot was the first time I've ever driven an aircooled VW), Despite all the shock bushings being shrunk and sloppy ( a set of konis are on the short list).
Drove great in the highway at 60-65mph
The short list of repairs is clean and disinfect the entire thing, get it shifting smoothly, service the brakes, service the wheel bearings, oil change, new batteries, new seats (drivers is destroyed)
If that beast can handle it, I'm sure an aircooled VW can easily handle long distances and will be a cinch to fix if it does break down.
In this case you won't need to worry about the "I" terminal, since that's a stock Ford ignition thing. Some solenoids don't have it, but most do nowadays since it works for both applications.
If the carburetors say EMPI, then they're copies of Weber IDFs but Weber parts will fit them, unless there's some compatibility issue with machining quality. I understand they're pretty good and they cost a few hundred less than Webers, so some people go for them.
The biggest shifter issues are probably the bushing under the shifter and the shift coupler. Those are cheap and easy to replace, but if there's still too much slop then you're looking at getting inside the transmission nose cone. It's not fully inside the gearbox, but it does require the engine/trans to come out since it mounts on that same nose cone. A Scat Drag-Fast shifter will go a long way towards making up for the slop inside the transaxle, though. You'll have the added bonus of actually being able to reach third gear!
Good luck! I'll keep an eye out for questions and such.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
Our golf overheated it's tranny in Omaha, Nebraska, 1700km into our trip. Took it to a VW dealer, who wrongly condemned the transmission (it's a whole giant story after that. We were on a schedule to make it to a wedding in Vegas. Ended up in a Ford Focus rental. I thought for sure the car would be fine, just goes to show you never know what will happen.
As for the no AC, plenty of crappy clothes and lots of water. The bus has lots of windows that open as well.
should have bought this bus.....
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
We plan on purchasing a small vintage toolbox to stock with bus tools and supplies
I spent many miles as a passenger or behind the wheel of my dad's '72 Westfalia. We went all over the eastern half of the USA, and some of eastern Canada, in that thing.
Things I remember about ours:
Heat, of course, was mediocre, and was downright awful if it was really cold outside. Ours didn't have A/C, but this was back in the day where a ton of people owned cars that didn't have air conditioning. So you sweated it out. Not the end of the world. If you're moving at 50+ mph and are sitting up front, it wasn't too bad. Rear passengers had it worse off, less air flow for hot weather, less heat in cold.
I remember ours being happiest at 55-60 mph. It would go faster, of course, but you got the feeling you were hammering it a bit too much at much above 60 mph. 65, yeah, maybe you could do that long term. I probably wouldn't drive one at 70+ day in and day out on a trip. 60 seems to be where they are happiest, and could go on forever at that pace. MPG isn't a strong point at any speed, but again, 60 or less nets you fairly decent MPG, while at 65 or more you really start to notice fuel consumption rise.
Not the best vehicle for windy days. Midwest or Great Plains states, open highway, and windy day make the bus a bit of a handful. Nothing you can't manage, but it gets old after a while. Actually, this is something to keep in mind in general. A 70's VW van does not have handling and braking on the level of the average 2016 economy sedan. You have to drive accordingly, and a bit more cautiously.
Loaded down with people and gear, not the best choice for mountainous terrain, obviously.
My dad was pretty meticulous with maintenance, and had owned many air cooled VWs, so he kept ours in tip top shape. However, despite this, there was always some niggly little thing that was going wrong or needed to be fixed when there was time. As long as you had tools, access to some spares, and a working knowledge of air cooled VWs, you were good to go. Parts are still totally available for the buses, but probably not stocked quite as well in as many places as they were in the 1980s when we had ours. Of course, you now have the internet and next day air combo, so you'll probably be fine in this regard.
This next one is from my Vanagon days (yes I realize this is a T2 not a V-gon), so someone smarter than me here can opine more intelligently on this one, but throwing it out there. Tires are pretty important on these, and people often run the wrong/inferior tires. I know that if you ran higher load rating (C?) tires on the Vanagons, they handled a LOT better in wind, cornering, etc. A lot of people cheaped out and ran straight passenger tires on them, which had sidewalls that were too soft, and the vans handled poorly. The Vanagons I had all drove significantly better when outfitted with proper tires. It's been over a decade since I had my last Vanagon, so memory foggy on this one. I only mention it so that someone else might give you better information than me on the subject. I recall the Buses being similar to the later Vanagons in this regard, but not positive. In other words, make sure you have the proper, good quality tires before your trip.
There is a bit of a learning curve to owning air cooled VWs. Nothing major, just stuff you get familiar with when you're around them for a while. I would suggest taking, at the very least, the Muir "keep your VW alive" book with you, as well as a Bentley Manual.
Interesting anecdote: A black bear once ran out of the woods right into the path of my dad and our Westy. He was unable to avoid it and hit it pretty much dead on. The front of the bus was somewhat concave after that, but repairable. The bear, sadly, was not repairable.
Summary: A late model minivan would be 10x more comfortable than a bus for a cross country trip, far safer in the event of an accident, better on fuel, and probably less likely to break. However, a VW bus has 10x the personality of said modern van, and is a far more interesting choice.
Many, many fond memories of ours.
Very old pic of Dad, myself, and sister long ago somewhere along the Blue Ridge Parkway, if I'm not mistaken:
Last edited by syncro87; 06-01-2016 at 03:51 PM.
OP - I STONGLY suggest you make this your 1st mod:
Pretty much, I've always wanted one anyways. I like how they look, and I'm more of a tinkerer than anything. I fix trucks that run in a steel mill, same things break over and over, it's refreshing from doing that all day to come home and start learning about something new again.
I fixed my first aircooled problem tonight. The valvecover gasket somehow was pushed up in the bottom right corner. A dab of silicone to keep it in place till new gaskets arrive solved the large leak. Now to clean all the oil out of the entire left outside corner that's on everything.
Also replaced one of the dead batteries with my trusty Optima red top that's been in every vehicle I've owned since '08. Fired right up. Plan is to replace both batteries with Optimas when we have the money. Also have to talk to the guy who wired in the solar panel to see what it's all about. There's a digital controller in the engine compartment that doesn't seem to be working.
Congratulations on the Bus.
I do wonder though, how bad does a 57 Chevy drive to make a 72 bus more better for long distance driving?
Next edit by onebadbug; tomorrow at 10:13 AM.
What you get isn't always what you see.
It drove alright, just wasn't for me.
The bus drives really well actually, I can't wait to feel it with new shocks.
Yep. A solid late model drives pretty well unless it's windy. The clutch feels light, the controls are smooth and no power steering is required (and you don't miss it). The early ones are crude by comparison. The heavy reduction boxes at the end of the axles really limit ride quality and how you can put power down (You'd have to look at the swing axle/reduction box setup on the early Type II to see what I mean. It's far from ideal - from a handling standpoint.) While the layout is similar everything is far more refined in the late models. (If I didn't mention it a '68 or later is considered a "late model")
Since its cranking over well now, don't put the solenoid on the starter. I only use that if I can't get good enough connections without a major retiring job. Clean every connection including the ground strap at the front transmission mount. Those often are forgotten and you then have poor grounds or its grounding through the throttle/clutch cable.
Also, you might have a crankcase breathing problem if it's trying to suck up the valve cover gaskets. I'd look into it. As far as I'm concerned Fel-Pro valve cover gaskets are the best. If you have solid lifters (and a '72 should) then you'll need to adjust the valves periodically. The trick I'd use is to glue the Fel-Pro gaskets into the valve cover with weatherstrip adhesive (I don't like silicone) and oil it on the head side just put on a nice coating of oil. The covers will pop right off at your next valve adjustment and you'll just need to re-oil them before clipping them in place again.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
Awesome! I just listened to the DWA podcast where they interviewed a guy who owns Vantigo, an air cooled bus tour of San Fran and the surrounding areas. I can't wait to go on one of their beer tours.
I would caution you against driving that on the salt at Speed Week. That place hammered my Uncles Excurison. They have little wash stations as you leave the salt, but you'll never get it all off. Assuming rust doesn't scare you, go for it, but I was surprised what it did to a modern truck.
Driving While Awesome Podcast. Give it a listen. Assetto Corsa Discord Link. Join us for some sim racing fun.
Originally Posted by Phillie Phanatic