(The following post was from several posts I made on The Samba forum over a couple of months, I decided to move the documentation here as it's easier to just have one place to update.)
Shortly after we bought the van we signed up for our first Portland Vanagons meet, it was at Pacific City, on the beach.
Getting there was also our first real drive, and it wasn't plain sailing. We caravanned down some twisty roads where brakes were used considerably. Once the brakes warmed up they squealed like a banshee. We did have a pre-purchase inspection and it was noted they would need to be replaced soon, but we didn't count on that soon! We'd done less than about 50 miles.
As you can see, we did make it, using engine braking and staying off the squeelers.
So...... about those squealing brakes. We live in an apartment complex and have nowhere to work on the van. I posted on the Portland Vanagons FB page asking if someone would be kind enough to let me use their driveway. Someone quickly offered and a few more offered to help. What a community!
I used Brembo rotors, ATE pads and still have some stainless lines to install.
Thanks E. for letting me use your driveway, and to the guys who came to lend a hand.
A new air filter to help her breathe easier.
We bought the van with the stock stereo that was security locked. No biggie since we planned on replacing it anyway. I located a Sony unit that had a larger amplifier built into the head unit, 4x40 watts RMS, the Sony MEX-XB100BT, here http://amzn.to/29dYQwg. We also bought the accompanying 5.25" speakers to cram into the front door speaker hole. The speakers just about fit, but not with the provided grills, I've ordered some slimmer ones off Amazon, hopefully they fit.
While I was running designated power wires for the larger stereo under the carpet, I noticed the foot wells were awfully tinny, about as thick as an old Coke can. So I laid some Peel and Seal here too. I'll definitely be coming back to this area with some sound insulation.
I'm not a fan of the huge steering wheel, so I bought a Jetta Mk2 wheel and swapped it out. It swaps straight on, the horn works but I'm going to have to do a little more work to get the indicator cancellation function to work.
While waiting for the stereo to be delivered I applied some Peel and Seal to the door interior to try and solidify it a little more.
I was experiencing a pressure leak in the coolant tank, at first I thought it was the cap, but as soon as I got a new cap it exposed the seam had failed at the top of the coolant tank.
A new tank, cap and level sensor later, I tested with about 10psi. it slowly dropped, I got under the van and found the leak at the front of the van. Where the plastic pipe meets rubber hose. I tightened it up, and re-tested with 12 psi. She holds!
It's a pretty easy swap, but those hose clamps are fiddly little buggers.
I'm not a fan of the orange indicators so they had to go.
Here in the Pacific Northwest it can get a little damp. I found I was slipping off the clutch pedal. I'm not a fan of the boy racer look pedals, but needed some grip.
After a while they became slippy. That green funk on the carpet was getting on my shoe and being transferred to the pedal. I think it's brake fluid which at some point got spilt. There's a patch of paint that has come loose under the carpet that I'll have to tackle when I do the insulation.
Time to get out the scrub brush and soap to clean it up.
Well nobody has told me to change the fuel lines but I thought I'd do it anyway.
I bought a roll of Continental fuel line SAE 30R9 http://amzn.to/1sQTHC5
A marine bulk head fitting http://amzn.to/1Z1n9z7 and a couple of large washers from Home Depot
3 boxes of fuel line clamps http://amzn.to/27TbeJs
and this tubing cutter
I also purchased the GoWesty fuel rails.
All in all it went quite well, the hardest part was getting the new line into the old grey protective sleeves.
First I pulled the fuel rails and brought them into the apartment to prep those.
Then with fuel rails ready I went back outside and replaced each line one by one, cutting the new line slightly longer to make it easier to snake it through the engine bay.
The previous owner said they replaced the fuel lines. They did........replace 4 of them, the ones going to and from the fuel rail. The white plastic firewall pass through nipple thing was still there. Not in bad shape, but don't trust anything the previous owner says is the lesson here.
In the above photo I didn't put clamps on the injectors and only had the collars on. This bugged me overnight so I pulled them back out and added the clamps to the injectors too.
After I buttoned it all back up I noticed I had 2 screws left over, after standing there for a while scratching my head, I remembered the white nipple which I discarded. They had me worried for a while.
Fingers crossed this won't need to be done again.
With each trip we learn a little more about the van. This weekend we learnt:-
-We don't like having really hot feet.
-There is no filter to prevent the moon dust from coming inside even when the windows are closed.
The dust got everywhere, the van's going to need a full detail.
We need to get a shutoff valve for the front heater so we can completely close it off. This weekend it's going to be in the 90's and we're headed to the Samba/Portland campout so need it done before then.
I'm not sure how we'll solve the dust issue. Just tape closed the fresh air intake? Fit a filter to it? I'll have to do some research on that.
So last weekend was an absolute scorcher! By PNW standards. I had to do something about the heat coming into the cabin. I tried finding a shut off valve for the coolant locally but didn't have any luck.
So we set about insulating the cabin area. We pulled the carpet, gave it about 8 thorough washes, it was absolutely filthy, and then insulated.
I put some peel and seal on the tinny front sections of the footwells, then cut some reflectix to go down on the floor and the bulge in front of the shifter. I then laid down some mass loaded vinyl to help with a bit of soundproofing and put the nice fresh and clean carpet down on top. It came out looking great. Makes the van a much nicer place to spend time. I wish I had a before shot.
I also put tape over the fresh air intake which sits behind the grill, this prevented the unwanted air from blowing through the heater tremendously.
I reckon all this probably saved me from a more than a few arguments with the Mrs, who was already complaining it was too hot and telling me I need to fix the A/C.
It's been a while so I thought I'd better get up to date.
I finally got around to deadening and insulating my driver door as well as installing the other Sony speaker.
I bought this http://amzn.to/29dYQwg Sony head unit, it pumps out a healthy 160 watts RMS and has these matching 35w speakers http://amzn.to/296xdWy
Unfortunately the Sony grills didn't fit between the door and and the dash. So I picked up some unbranded grills too http://amzn.to/29n7qrv .If you buy them beware, they are sold individually.
Here's some of the sound deadening.
I often get carried away while involved in a project and forgot to get photos of the speaker install both times.
I'll try and describe what I did.
I took the template that came with the speakers and matched the lower most forward screw hole. I then leveled the template so the rearward hole was at the same level as the front.
I then taped the template down and drew inside to mark where to cut as well as the holes to drill for the screws.
The shape I ended up cutting was a crescent shape, using the majority of the existing speaker hole.
I'm not sure you can visualise that, but I'm happy to answer questions.
Here's a picture of the rear of the panel with Reflectix glued to the back.
And just the other day I started to insulate the panel behind the driver seat.
More sound deadening first.
Then I cut a foil backed polystyrene panel into 2 lengths. I cut them to fit really tight so we don't hear any squeaks of the polystyrene rubbing as we drive down the road.
I forgot to get another picture, but I tried to fit one big square over that layer. I couldn't get it in due to the supports on the edges so I cut it in half vertically and installed the 2 halves.
It's tough to test whether or not it's done anything but the panel feels a hell of a lot more solid. Maybe I'll go back and put some reflectix on the back of the panel as I did with the door panels but I didn't have any on hand at the time.
This week I've been trying to install my auxiliary battery.
I initially was going to install it under the bench on the driver side and run +ive from the alternator to this ACR (Automatic Charging Relay) http://amzn.to/29e0CgN from Blue Seas. However due to the way this relay works I felt it vital that it should go between the +ive's of the 2 batteries. The reason being, the ACR will let the starter battery charge, once it gets to a healthy voltage it closes the switch allowing power to run to the auxiliary battery. This ensures that your starter battery is charged with all the alternator power to a healthy level before charging the auxiliary battery.
I know many have run directly from the alternator successfully, there's many ways to skin a cat.
So, I've decided to move the battery to the passenger side, still under the bench, and since I now don't need to drill a hole in the firewall, I'd really like to avoid drilling any holes. Here's where I tell you I haven't actually installed it permanently. I've wired it all up but will wait until we lay new flooring to complete the install. When we install a new wood effect vinyl floor, with insulation underneath, I'll run conduit for the power line to run through. It'll be hidden, protected and no holes drilled.
While thinking about all that, I wanted to ensure I was getting the most voltage to the batteries and so, decided to do what's commonly called the big 3 upgrade. It's slightly different in our van due to the battery being at the other end of the van but here's what I've done so far.
1. I added an extra ground cable to the Starting battery. Less than $4 for the 16" battery cable at Walmart. No picture required.
2. I added a 24" battery cable from the alternator positive output along the existing wire to the starter post. I used a couple of zip ties to keep them together. ( I should have done this in red as it's a positive cable. I now have one on hand for next time I crawl under the van ).
3. I bought the wrong length wire so haven't done this one yet, but I'll install a 16" cable on the driver side of the engine bay along the existing ground braid cable to improve the ground between the chassis and the motor.
I must be honest I was expecting a bit more of an improvement in my voltage reading after installing the alt. to starter cable, before it was 13.96V and after it was 13.97. I suppose that's a pretty healthy reading to start with though.
So in an effort to freshen up the grilles I pulled them off, sanded them and sprayed with flat black. All's going well. I think, why don't I bake the VW emblems to make them a little tougher?
Well, I got distracted. Marshmallows anyone?
A few updates over the last couple of weeks.
The new badge came in from a fellow Portland Vanagons member, I sprayed it and installed. It's amazing what a bit of spray paint on the grills will do for the front end.
I installed some Bilstein shock absorbers last weekend. The install was pretty easy, I probably spent more time chatting with Sigmund the Vanagon and searching for tools than actually working on the van.
I'm a little underwhelmed with the "upgrade". My old shocks were completely blown, I was thinking these would make a big difference to the nose dive under braking and nose lift during take off. They didn't. Perhaps my springs are just too soft. I'd like some a little firmer for a sportier ride, I don't really want a lift, so I don't know what springs to go with. I thought about using some Westy springs as they should have a higher spring rate and not be too tall.
I also got around to making a shut off for the front heater. There's lots of talk about using special plumbing valves but I thought why not just use a typical car heater valve. So I got this. http://amzn.to/2aaNwCC
I installed it as close to the passenger footwell as possible so we can just reach under while we're driving to open and close it if need be. The placement worked out perfect and we now have ambient temperature air blowing through the vents. It's pretty lame we we're so excited about this.
Here's the valve installed.
Works like a charm!