Saturday, June 19, 2010

Parking lot repairs and drive-in time

Note:  I wrote this late at night thus the below events are for Friday.

Guess what Brian is doing?
Yesterday was a busy day for Brian.  Some time around 7am he was up and taking his carbs out of his car for inspection.  The jets were waaaay too big, a float was not set properly, and one of the gaskets was torn in three places.  No wonder it was running rich!
 Sue, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and Rich.
 Brian's informal tech session(s?) always drew a crowd.
So some networking was done amoungst the locals.  We ended up driving down to Joplin to an import parts store/shop, looking for jets.  They didn’t have jets but did have a carb gasket.  After getting back to the hotel Brian got his carbs back together except for the jets.  We saw the front tires and they were now bare, in fact, there was some small holes where the rubber wore through to the steel belts within!  They looked like racing slicks, not good.  At one of the bumps he hit the right tie rod bent very slightly but enough to throw off the toe-in, thus greatly affecting the tire wear.  So he then took off his front tires, threw them in the back of my car, and we drove to the local tire shop for some rubber.  They had nothing in the small size he needed and a search brought up nothing local.
Shawn and Bob's Notches.
 Jim Adney, Fuel Injection Extraordinaire.
We went back to the hotel parking lot and Brian corrected his toe-in…twice.  The first time it was too much out and so he had to re-adjust it in a bit.  Luckily I brought a heavy piece of cardboard and he was able to lay on it instead of the hot, black asphault while under the hot, humid, 95+ degree heat.  It was miserable for him but he got it done.  While that was going on, Dave and Lynden were networking with other dubbers to find tires and jets for Brian.  Hanging out in the parking lot, under the couple trees that were there, was the main gathering point throughout the days we’ve been here.

Later that day, with no luck in finding jets, Keith Park soldered up the jets.  This would allow Brian to ream out the holes to the size he needed since he brought a full set of jet reamers.  We had also gotten a lead on tires; one of the Type IIIers had some he could bring, nice!

 Evening Event
 Matt "Mr. Bubbs" Square-and-a-Half-back.
That evening we all cruised to the drive-in and we got to park before the general public.  This was nice of the drive-in and it allowed us to line up and take pictures.  Brian got to work on reaming his jets and made short work of it.
Whatchew lookin' at, punk?

                            Jim, Cindy and Jill.

Marty, Jill, John, Bruce and Lance

Lined up at the drive-in.

The first movie was Marmaduke.  Brian said it was a good childrens movie.  I passed out within 10 minutes of the movie and slept all the way through it while Brian was the one who stayed awake.  During intermission a lot of us went back to the hotel.  Bri got his newly reamed jets in, dialed up the fuel pressure, and went for a spin around the parking lot.  His status report:  Much better!  There was some deceleration back-firing so the idles were too small but that was no big deal as opening them up would be super easy.

We then went to the patio with some of the other Type IIIers and had our evening cigars.  Bri was in a much better mood now that his engine was running better.  This meant better gas mileage and less gas stops, yeay!  Now he just needed new tires for the front and that wasn’t looking as promising now…

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Brian and I loaded up, fueled up, and were on the hot, humid road by 10:20am.  Yes, it was STILL windy and the geography was sucky (the people in Kansas are nice, I just don't like the location...and the wind).

Around 1pm Brian pulls into a rest stop because his gas gauge needle is right on the reserve mark.  We dump in all 2.5 gallons of our spare gas into his tank.  We talk to some folks with a GPS for a gas station nearby but they can't find one.  I get a general lay of the land with my MotoQ and Google Maps (sorry homies but Yahoo! maps needs improvement in this area when precision and GPS counts).

Right before the 400 and 99 junction we hit a Conoco gas station (about 12 miles way) and fill up, including our spare gas of course.  The further east we travel the nicer the terrain becomes.  A little more hilly, a few more trees, few more ponds & creeks.
The happiest moment of the trip so far.

We missed the turn off to I-71 and needed to turn around so we hit a gas station for Brian again, just in case.  The road was bad in places and Brian hit a buckle in the pavement hard and now his brakes are mush on the first press and he thinks he might be losing more gas.  Anyway, we enter the Precious Moments Best Western about 4:15pm.  Yes, I kid you not, Precious Moments.  And guess what?  This is the place and the week for the Precious Moments convention.
View from our room.  Left to right:  My baby, Jim Adney's, & Brian's Type IIIs
5:36pm More arrivals!

Dang it Toto, we're back in Kansas!

Yesterday was nice and uneventful.  Right before Ft. Collins a trooper pulled up behind me and tailed me for about 1.5-2 miles.  It's funny because people are passing us doing the speed limit of 75mph while we're puttering along between 60-65mph.

At Ft. Collins we hit road construction that makes traffic become stop-n-go and that doesn't make us happy at all.  Bri takes a right and we hit a rest stop for a quick break.  When we leave the rest stop the construction area ends and we're quickly off again.

We fill up in Aurora and drive into Kansas.  Well, it's not really Kansas but geographically speaking it is.  The wind picks up and we have a continuous wind we're driving against, coming at us from the 1 o'clock to 4 o'clock direction.  Our cars were weaving and darting against the wind and the buffeting from passing 18-wheelers.  The temperature is rising.
Leaving Aurora and entering the plains...yuck.

At our stop in Colby I discover that I'm sunburned on the left side of my neck and a tad on my left arm.  We're very tired and decide to take a long break from the cars and also have dinner.  We arrived at 4:39pm CT and left at 6:05pm.

We hit a rest stop at 7:25pm and discover the restrooms are air-conditioned!  Very nice as it's been a much warmer drive.

In Hays we fuel up and the humidity kicks in...I really, really don't like Kansas.  By this point Brian has his fuel pressure set to 1/2psi and still having over-rich issues.  Not nearly as bad as before but they're still present.  Yesterday (or maybe it was the day before) we determine the carbs are the issue and not the fuel pump.  Brian figures he'll try to reset the float levels once we get to our hotel in Carthage.  For the time being he's been turning off the pump when going up hills, waiting a few seconds, then turning it back on.  The car will then have no fuel dumping down it and it will drive much better, accelerating up the hill.  As soon as the car starts to lose power he turns the pump back on to fill the carbs.

The one issue Brian is having with Kansas are the poor junctions where the road meets a bridge or over-pass.  He has to dodge the pot holes and pavement heaves where they meet because if he doesn't his very lower nose will smack the pavement.

We arrive in Salina, KS, at 10:07pm, and unload the cars.  The hot tub is open so we take a nice soak to unravel our muscles.  Then we take a shower and hit Wendy's for a snack. After that we sit outside with cigars in hand and I get to finally open my bottle of Port...mmmm.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Okay, we made it to Salina at 10:07pm at the Days Inn.  Details in the morning cuz I'm tired but it was a good, uneventful day (except we were in Kansas and it was windy).

Toto and I have one thing in common: We both hate Kansas

Okay, we're in Kansas right now, taking a needed break from all the DANG WIND!  It's 5:49pm Central Time (CT) and we ate.  There's a Starbucks Coffee here so I had a iced latté...oooh yeah...civilization...mmmm!  We're gassed up and will be leaving in a bit, just wanted to take an extended break from the cars and wind.  Our destination is Salina, just under 300 miles.  Tomorrow we should hit our destination, Carthage, Missouri.

Kansas is

What happened yesterday, stays in yesterday

Okay, it's 6:30am in the morning here in Laramie and Brian is fighting the forces of Sleep and trying to get out of bed.  So far Sleep is winning.

So, just what did happen yesterday?  Pull up a chair my friend...

Only twice were we not the oldest cars on the road, this is one of them.

In the morning, Brian swaps his fuel pressure regulator for mine.  We are on the road at 9:26am (all times are Mountain Time).  Some time later Bri is still showing high fuel pressure on his gauge and the engine is still running rich (black smoke coming from the tail pipe).  We decide that my regulator must be bad and pull over in Bountiful, UT, to get a clicker-style 1-4psi fuel regulator.  Bri installs it in the Chevron parking lot and then we're off at 11:03am.  Since we missed our exit we have to make a U-turn and head back north, then turn right at Farmington to get onto I-84, then we hit I-80 to Wyoming.

At 12:oopm we hit a rest stop as Bri's mileage is really, really bad..."Dude, I can see my [gas gauge] needle dropping!".  He drops the pressure again on the regulator.

We stop in Evanston for a smaller capacity fuel pump.  It's a good spot since he's low on fuel so if we can find a smaller capacity fuel pump then the loss of gas won't be much.  The AutoZone doesn't have what Bri needs but they let us keep his car there while we hit up Napa down the street.  They have a pump that may work, putting out 4-9psi.  But we would need fittings to convert from AN-8 to pipe thread for the pump to be mated to the fuel delivery system.  So we walk next door to Ace Hardware (AH for short) and check out their brass pipe fittings.  We decide that we need to see the fittings in the car before we buy them so we drive back to Bri's car at AutoZone (AZ for short).

Back at AZ Bri decides to give them another shot at finding a pump since they were kind enough to let us use their parking lot for repairs.  Bri was smart to park in front of the only tree there and his nose was in the shade.  Anyway, they found a Facet 2.5 to 4psi pump - yeay!  Much better!  While inside I buy an in-car charger adaptor for my sucky MotoQ so I can keep it on and use the GPS function...when I get cell service so the maps can download...

While Bri is pulling his fuel pump I go over to the liquor store and find me a nice bottle of vintage Port since I forgot to bring one with me.  Back at Bri's Notch and the pump is out and we get the last gallon out of his fuel tank into our gas cans.  We take a fitting to AH to make an adaptor.

We get back to his car and the fittings don't fit, DOH!  I thought Bri tested them, he thought I did...yeah.  I went back to AH and Bri stayed back to remove the clicker regulator (his Holley regulator stayed in the fuel loop the whole time as it would be too much effort to remove, so yes at times he was running two regulators). 

Bri got the new fuel pump in and connected up to the steel braided fuel lines.  Added some gas and checked for leaks.  Oh yeah, there were leaks.  We spent too much time, it seemed, tightening the fittings to stop one leak and start another.  Bri finally gets the leaks down to just one very small, minor one.  We'll live with it.

We hit the local McDonalds for chow.  I thought the childrens area was pretty dang cool:
We get fuel at Chevron, it's 4:00pm, and we're finally on our way.

Outside of Rock Springs, in Point of the Rocks, WY (yes, it had a post office), Bri is still showing high pressure so we pull over and he throws in the clicker regulator, setting the pressure down to 2psi.

As we're toodling along Brian slowly passes a truck (BTW, there are a LOT of 18-wheelers and they are moving fast!).  There isn't space between Brian and the trucker and I see headlights coming up behind me so I pull behind the truck.  The truck starts to slow down so I begin to speed up, hit my turn signal to pass, and the silhouette behind be suddenly lights up in flashing red and blue lights.  I pull over.  He pulls over.  I crap.

I hail Bri on the two-way and I see him near the top of the hill, pulled over and patiently waiting for me.  "I pulled you over because you were following too close to that truck."  What?  Are you friggin' serious?  So I hand him my license, registration, and proof of insurance...which shows an expiration date of May 10, 2010.  I crap again.  As he's checking for 'wants and warrents' I'm tearing through my glove box and side pockets, looking for my insurance card.  Damn, I threw the wrong one away!

The trooper hands me my stuff and gives me a warning for following too close.  He then gives me a ticket for no insurance, however, he tells me that all I have to do is mail a copy of my proof of insurance and the ticket will be dropped.  Whew.  He then asks me about my car.  We briefly chat about it and when I ask if he'd like to see the engine his face lights up.  I move a couple things out of the way so he can peek at it.  I couldn't open the engine lid all the way because of the Type IV case I'm transporting but he is still able to see enough.  We chat a little more about the car, it's history, where we're traveling to an why, then shake hands and I'm on my way.  I know he has a job to do and he was really nice.

We stop in Rawlins for fuel and are on the road at 9pm.

By 11pm we are tired and hungry.  I lead up to a Pizza Hut that was closed.  That's when Brian reminded me that it was rather late.  Oh, yeah, I didn't even think about that.  We go back to the Pilot gas station, eat at Wendy's, cross the road to the Super 8, and our day had ended.

Passing by a wind farm in Wyoming.

Okay, Brian is getting antsy so it's time to pack up, get fueled, and get moving!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Don't ask!

The day started with this

and a few hours into the drive it went to this

and later on went to this

later followed with a warning and a ticket for Cop Bait at sunset.  Oh, there were a few stops between with more fiddling in Brian's engine compartment.

We were delayed by hours trying to fix the over-rich issue on Brian's car and thus help his gas mileage.  At 11:00pm Mountain Time we arrived in Laramie and are in a Super 8 motel, tired and worn.  I'm going to have to do the blog tomorrow cuz I'm way too tired to do it now.  I'm so tired, I'm not even going to have a well-deserved cigar...drat!  Good night.

I love the smell of gasoline in the morning, ooh-rah!

Brian's car is running rich, partly due to jetting but mostly because the electric fuel pump he's using puts out too high of a pressure, over-filling the carb bowls.  The pressure regulator he has can't go low enough for the carbs (about 3psi) so last week when he drove up to help me with my car I sent him home with mine.  Well, according to his fuel pressure gauge mine wasn't working even though it was when I removed it from my car.  Mine did sit for a year or so, so maybe the diaphragm is now bad...we don't know.

So this morning he decided to try my regulator again and hooked it up in the hotel parking lot.
We're thinking that maybe his fuel pressure sender and/or the gauge is bad (hoping, really) and not giving us an accurate reading.  Once we get going he'll "play" with the throttle and should be able to tell by the engine's performance if the regulator is working and the gauge is bad -or- the regulator is bad and the gauge is good.

We love our cars, we love our cars...

Oh, and no phone call from my manager so I'm guessing the Monday morning reporting processes at work went okay.  I might be a bad boy and see if I can VPN into work and check my emails, shhhh!

Wagons East!

What's lurking behind Brian?
Okay, five hundred and some odd dollars later I have four new tires and we're smoothly making our way east.

There were a couple times when the weather got a tad on the hot side but for the most part the ride was very tolerable.

We made it into the north side of Ogden a little after 7:30pm MT (Mountain Time).

I have an oil leak around my right valve cover and earlier today I put in a 1/2 quart of oil, bringing me to just under the 1/2-way mark on my dipstick.  In the parking lot of the hotel I'm at the bottom mark.  At least I don't have to worry about the right side of my engine and muffler from rusting, LOL!  It's a small leak and it won't slow us down.  Hopefully I'll be able to get a new gasket at our final destination.  We ended the day with a nice cigar and talked about, well, random boring car and guy stuff.  When you're driving alone for hours on end by yourself you have plenty of time to think.

Oh, and I uploaded pictures now and added them to the posts.  It's not as flexible as I'd like in positioning/formatting but, eh, it's free.

Into Idaho and passing the Parma exit, the location of the first Invasion.

Monday, June 14, 2010

And we're off!

It's a quarter to 10am and we're packing up.  I have four new, good quality tires thanks to the friendly guys at Les Schwab.  The one new, good tire that was on the right rear is now my spare so I actually have a good spare.  Also went to the local Big R and got a USB adaptor kit so I'll be able to download pictures and hopefully get some posted tonight.  Later!

What a day

We left the Fye residence at 12:35pm, taking the route north and east towards Bend, hopefully making it to Ontario, Oregon, which is next to the Oregon-Idaho border.  The trip leading up to Diamond Lake, along the Umpqua River, was beautiful.  Winding roads, gorgeous river, and lots of trees.  After that we hit Oregon's high plains and the scenery became quite a bit more drab.  Scrub, volcanic rocky terrain, and gentle rolling hills.  We did see a gray coyote cross the road in front of us, quickly disappearing in the scrub.

Leaving Roseburg and into Glide area.
Along the Umpqua River.
At 3:30pm we filled up in LaPine with 157.1 miles behind us.  Brian's gas mileage about 15mpg.  He's running rich but the engine is running strong and no issues with the spool differential.

After 130 miles I developed a bumping sensation at the rear of my car.  I first thought it was the transition circuit of my carbs but I couldn't stop the bumping by varying my engine speed.  So over the two-way radio I asked Brian to check the rear of my car as I passed him to see if I had  flat tire...nope...but "your left rear tire is bouncing up and down!"  Oh great.  After a few miles it was getting worse, so much so that the engine that I'm transporting began to bounce inside my car.  We slowed our pace down to 45mph and finally found a historical marker to pull over.  We need a large enough area so Brian can turn his car due to the spooled differential -- it's a locked differential so it doesn't allow the rear wheels to rotate independently of each other like normal cars, however, it's great for drag racing.  I checked the constant-velocity joints...all bolts there, good...wheel lug nuts still tight, good...castle nuts still locked in place, good...rolled the car back and checked the rims for missing wheel weights, none missing but, what's this?  Some cracking and bulging in the tire!  Holy cow, the tire was coming apart!!

While we were quickly checking out the car the resident mosquitoes had rung the dinner bell and it turns out WE were the main course!  So working rapidly while being attacked by half a million blood-suckers we moved the front left tire to the rear left, took out the spare tire which had half of the tire separated (explanation in a minute) and put it in the front left since it was in slightly better shape than the bad rear one.  The bad rear one then went into the front trunk where the spare goes.  I was now able to drive at 60mph with some vibration but it was tolerable and it would get us to Burns for a fuel stop.

Right side, how a tire should look...and how the left side looked!
Photo opportunity at a rest stop after putting on the spare tire.

Me praying to the car gods (actually me taking a picture of the bad tire).  Photo by Brian.
Okay, why my "spare" was bad:  Back home I was getting a vibration from my right rear tire.  It was separating so I put a new one in its place and put the bad tire in the trunk as a spare, hoping to replace it at a later date.  Which never happened.  My bad.  So I had two separated tires, two aged and worn tires, and one good one.  Eesh.

So in Burns, at 163.9 miles, we fuel up.  Good news, they have 91 octane gas with ZERO ethanol in it!

So we are now at a DaysInn motel and I have this neat splay of tire belts and rubber bursting from my tire.  It looks like it was shot from the inside except there's no hole.  Les Schwab is a block away and they open at 8am so guess how Toby is going to support the local economy?  Yeah.  At least it wasn't a mechanical failure and it was something beyond my control.

There was a Les Schwab Tire Center there but it was 7:30pm and they were closed.  We had day light and I felt confident we could make it to Ontario to crash at a friend's place.  It was two hours away and they have a Les Schwab.  We begin driving to Ontario.  I notice my front end is starting to bounce more and more no matter what speed I go.  I call up Brian on the two-way and tell him we need to go back.  We sort of find a drive way, turn on our hazard flashers and limp back to town, 10 miles away, at 45mph.

We had dinner at a local restaurant with Brian having a hamburger and I a glorious BBQ beef sandwich with a glass of water and two beers.  We then walked back to the motel (most of the mosquitoes had gone to bed by now), pulled a bench out into the parking lot next to his car and decompressed with a cigar under a starry sky.  I would just love to post pictures of some of the sights -- and offending tires -- but dumbdumb (me) forgot to bring the USB cable to download my camera's pictures to my laptop.  Hopefully there's a computer shop around here where I can buy one.  Good night!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I think I've been here before

I've been across the USA a couple of times in my baby.  Here is our route to the Type 3 Invasion:

View Larger Map

What is a "Type 3 Invasion"?
The Type 3 Invasion is an event that occurs every other year and was started by my buddy, Brian.  It's a gathering of Type 3's and their owners, it's NOT a car show!  It is meant to bring enthusiasts together - preferably with their car if possible but it's not required - to put faces with the names/monikers we normally see on the internet forums and email lists.  Ideally it's alternated between the East and West coasts but the hosting function is voluntary (and a good deal of work) so the destination is where the host is.  It spans a weekend and has tech sessions, silent auction, and cruises!  The fun of it is seeing a line of 30+ Type 3 Volkswagens all cruising together, either checking out the local sights or hanging out at a burger joint.  Here's pictures of the first Type 3 Invasion.

What is a "Type 3"?
The internal designations of VWs fell into types.  The ubiquitous Beetle, a.k.a. Bug, is a Type I (roman numeral one).  The Bus is a Type II.  The Squareback, Fastback, and Notchback (which was never sold in the USA) is a Type III.  Yes, there is even a predecessor of the Type III which is the Type IV.  After that the types aren't as neat and we really don't care about them for this blog.

So why is your blog background a Splitty (Split window Bus)?
Because I can't put my own background so I found the closest thing to an air-cooled VW.  For those who don't know why I specify "air-cooled", it means the engine is cooled by the air and not water like most modern automobile engines.  My Jetta, for example, is a water-cooled VW or "water-pumper".

Every great journey begins with the turn of an ignition key

Drove from my house to my buddy Brian's in three hours.  With so much interstate road I was able to get a feel for my car.  It has been a while since I drove her any great distance - most trips are only a few miles.  With the carbs tuned by Brian last week, new O-rings on the idle jets and the FUEL PUMP PIVOT PIN peened back in where it belongs (thank goodness it fell onto the engine case and didn't bounce off somewhere down the road) she was running well.

The O2 (lambda) gauge was reading 12.5 basically the whole way so she's not running lean, that's good!  Oil pressure was 20-30psi (good).  Coming off the freeway to a stop and no red oil light.  Hooking my oil pre-cooler back up was a good idea.  The front end is twitchy, likes to over-steer.  Brian said the toe-in and camber is not correct for a lowered nose with wider tires.  Acceleration is fine, even up the steep grades.

When my fuel gauge hit the 1/2 mark my trip odometer showed 140miles.  Some quick math, 140 * 2 = 280 ÷ 10gallon gas tank = 28mpg.  However, that's not entirely correct since my tires are about one inch shorter than stock because they are a lower profile but at least the number was above 20mpg.  Everything is looking good for my journey.

For Brian, things have started a little iffy.  At 11pm Saturday night we had to swap parking spots.  During that Brian noticed he suddenly didn't have tail lights.  Then after playing with his push-button switch he lost his left headlight!  Long electrical story short, I was able to do some wiring magic and got it fixed.  The headlight issue was due to some corrosion on the fuse so I had him spin them in place to get some metal-to-metal contact back.  Ideally, a wire brush or steel wool to buff the fuse bases and clips would've been best but Brian had neither.  We were finally in bed after 1am.

Note:  I started this entry Saturday night but due to Brian's electrical issue I didn't finish it until Sunday morning.