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1969 vw bus, what have i gotten myself into?


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Some may have see this from my 521 thread... just got her (Betty Jo) home from Georgia yesterday and now the real fun begins..... The previous owner before the one I bought it from named her, my wife is gonna keep the name going too.. We did find it was owned by the cartel at some point in it's life then auction sold to an atf agent who gave to a family member.. they later sold it to the one who named it Betty Jo...

 

Its a 1969 vw bus, mostly original and mostly complete. It's a solid running engine, shifts and drives really nice, suspension and steering are tight, but currently stops like shit.... the brakes were recently worked on but apparently the mechanic sucks.... I don't think anything was adjusted properly. 

She did take an extra 500 off because of it and included a spare master and some extra brake parts.... 

I also found the battery clamps weren't even tight,  not even a bolt in the clamp, already bought new cables for later tonight... also no battery hold down and the sense wire was loose on the alternator.. I pretty sure that's just the tip of the iceberg with the electrical since none of the light other than the dome light seemed to work...  I also have no idea what thing do, I found some wierd nobs or pulls and switches... 

I think the rules to drive a vintage vehicle in Georgia is a lot more forgiving from what Massachusetts is expecting. 

 

 

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1 minute ago, ]2eDeYe said:

That thing is quirky, dig it man. 😄

Exactly why the wife wanted this one, she is already just taking naps in it...

She technically doesn't even really know how to drive stick..... 

I started teaching her awhile ago but that was a long while ago....

She understands what going on from riding atvs and riding with me in the datsun, and she said she been practicing while driving her subaru. Apparently just pretending to clutch and shift....

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Driving a stick and driving an air-cooled VW stick are two different endeavors and driving a bus is something else altogether. 
If you can drive a vw bus you can pretty much drive anything. 🙂

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The best part is the availability of parts and sheet metal.... 

Place called "the bus depot"

 

Full rocker was only $40....

Another panel behind the rocker $20... 

Rockers were the only really rusted spot.... 

 

Other than that I order a bunch of seals for the lights, some lenses, side and rear view mirrors...

I don't know how but the side view survived the whole trip, I hit my head  trying to look out the window and the glass falls out.... the rear view, the plastic was disintegrating in my hands...

Basically ordered what i think I'll need to have it looking a little better and able to pass inspection....

 

I also figured out some of the switches and some of the lights do actually work.. ... found one that didn't and it was missing a seal and rusty inside.... I'll be cleaning that out soon...

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35 minutes ago, ]2eDeYe said:

Driving a stick and driving an air-cooled VW stick are two different endeavors and driving a bus is something else altogether. 
If you can drive a vw bus you can pretty much drive anything. 🙂

It was a fun trip the short ride I took.... 

Felt good in that driving but damn that shifter slop.... we think the old datsun 4 spd is bad.....

The good thing is you have to push down to get over into reverse.... so it should be easy to find the 4 gears somewhere, atleast you know it won't accidentally be reverse.....

 

I hope she understands what she asked for too... her desire to own and drive this van will not let her fail.... she'll get it.. 

She already started becoming a real car girl, she heard the other vw bus in town last night and instantly knew what it was before she saw it....

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Shifter slop is something you can fix. I haven't done a bus, but I have worked on the telegraphing shifter mechanisms and you gotta think outside the box and make some mods to various point along the way if you want it to be anything like modern.

 

My dad has a Renault Dauphine Gordini (two actually) and he restored his shift mechanism to stock and it wasn't any better. We ttok it apart and beefed up some of the pivot points and it made a huge difference.

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Just now, Stoffregen Motorsports said:

Shifter slop is something you can fix. I haven't done a bus, but I have worked on the telegraphing shifter mechanisms and you gotta think outside the box and make some mods to various point along the way if you want it to be anything like modern.

 

My dad has a Renault Dauphine Gordini (two actually) and he restored his shift mechanism to stock and it wasn't any better. We ttok it apart and beefed up some of the pivot points and it made a huge difference.

Ya I saw cables and things under there, completely different... I haven't even looked where it connects to yet on the transmission.... 

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wow. That is one cosmic hippie bus for sure.  Groovy man.

 

While I have not personally worked on a VW, most guys say they are very simple and parts are easily available.  Looks like a fun vehicle, and they are fastly becoming highly collectible, and crazy valuable.  

 

Nice score!

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21 minutes ago, Duncan said:

wow. That is one cosmic hippie bus for sure.  Groovy man.

 

While I have not personally worked on a VW, most guys say they are very simple and parts are easily available.  Looks like a fun vehicle, and they are fastly becoming highly collectible, and crazy valuable.  

 

Nice score!

That's why I told the wife if you want it get it don't think .... not that we have any intention of selling but I know we could make our money back if needed.   

My dad had bugs but I never worked on them.... this will be a first for me...

Hopefully working on it is as easy as getting parts.... I'll be getting into it this weekend.....

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On 6/20/2024 at 8:31 AM, ]2eDeYe said:

Driving a stick and driving an air-cooled VW stick are two different endeavors and driving a bus is something else altogether. 
If you can drive a vw bus you can pretty much drive anything. 🙂

Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

People tell me these are even EZer than a Datsun to work on.

Wiring should be EZ also  Loose connections, corrossion  fuse box with the funky fuses they use.

 

get a Elelctronic ignition would be my first up there with the brakes .

Edited by banzai510(hainz)
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49 minutes ago, banzai510(hainz) said:

Exactly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

People tell me these are even EZer than a Datsun to work on.

Wiring should be EZ also  Loose connections, corrossion  fuse box with the funky fuses they use.

 

get a Elelctronic ignition would be my first up there with the brakes .

I believe it has electronic ignition already plus what look like a 32/36 weber....  

I have already started on the electrical.

Battery wasn't even secured,  and both terminal ends were corroded not even tight... . I replaced the battery ground and the main positive from the battery.

 

Trying to clean and rust proof as I go... 

 

I did find the head lights and front signals do work... turn signal needs attention but I found bad bulbs in the back so that's part of it....

I have new front lenses coming and seals for all the lights... I'll replace the bulbs and clean up the wiring when i put the seals in.

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On 6/21/2024 at 11:46 AM, banzai510(hainz) said:

 

get a Elelctronic ignition would be my first up there with the brakes .

I was wrong, it's still points...

For now the points will do...

 

I have been cleaning up the terminals in the engine bay whill trying to diagnosis the charging issue.... generator passed the tests i performed,  so everything points to the regulator failing... 

 

Also I need to get some new headlights, I had a high beam out on one.. but the other was all scratched up for some reason... so I just grab 2 new ones..

 

First round of parts arrived today...

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I think I need a service manual......

 

Tried inspecting and adjusting the brake and emergency brake yesterday...

The rear axle nuts are apparently installed by Thor.... 

So no inspection of the rear, but they are supposed to have new parks in there..... gave up and tried to adjust and got just as confused.... tried looking at the front and there is no access for adjustments.... 

I see some YouTube videos in my future...

 

As for electrical I had to order a new voltage regulator.... generator passed the tests but wouldn't charge unless reved up a little and then would over charged if reved to high.....

 

And apparently the brake and turn signals are an integrated circuit.... 

I have a plan to correct that.. I think..  

 

Still need to fix the horn and find the wind shield washer fluid bottle..... 

Dash wiring isn't too bad... I did find some questionable things and some loose dangling wires, just started getting into that.....

 

Little disappointed with things but I still think it's good for what we paid..... I just wanted her to be driving it already and not have so much of a project....

 

 

 

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38 minutes ago, banzai510(hainz) said:

keep posting.

I wish I bought a Lowered VW thing back in the day when they were somewhat cheap

I will.... I'd rather post here anyhow..

I saw a few Things for sale, just like the bus, a wide range of prices and conditions.... 

 

Well apparently the brake adjustment is done from the front side.... and supposedly there is an adjustment in the cab for the parking brake.... so 2 good bits of information found.... hopefully its just and adjustment and it does not have to come apart....

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1 hour ago, Crashtd420 said:

I think I need a service manual......

 

Tried inspecting and adjusting the brake and emergency brake yesterday...

The rear axle nuts are apparently installed by Thor.... 

So no inspection of the rear, but they are supposed to have new parks in there..... gave up and tried to adjust and got just as confused.... tried looking at the front and there is no access for adjustments.... 

I see some YouTube videos in my future...

 

As for electrical I had to order a new voltage regulator.... generator passed the tests but wouldn't charge unless reved up a little and then would over charged if reved to high.....

 

And apparently the brake and turn signals are an integrated circuit.... 

I have a plan to correct that.. I think..  

 

Still need to fix the horn and find the wind shield washer fluid bottle..... 

Dash wiring isn't too bad... I did find some questionable things and some loose dangling wires, just started getting into that.....

 

Little disappointed with things but I still think it's good for what we paid..... I just wanted her to be driving it already and not have so much of a project....

 

 

 


Two things I learned the most from when I first started working on cars. My dad and this book.  


How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Volkswagen-Alive-Step-Step/dp/1566913101/ref=asc_df_1566913101/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=693463915385&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5925021952044099946&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033390&hvtargid=pla-435443527123&psc=1&mcid=7e6c251708ac3c9b81a7c8ec56f19d84&gad_source=1


I don't remember if the one side nut is reverse thread, but yes they are tight. 

Bad voltage regulator is typical. I recommend buying Bosch electrical whenever possible. 

The integrated brake turn signal is due to the single two element rear bulb. 

Washer bottle should be behind the front kick panel somewhere, my bus has been gone a loooong time, memory fades.  😞

 

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25 minutes ago, ]2eDeYe said:


Two things I learned the most from when I first started working on cars. My dad and this book.  


How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot

https://www.amazon.com/Keep-Volkswagen-Alive-Step-Step/dp/1566913101/ref=asc_df_1566913101/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=693463915385&hvpos=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=5925021952044099946&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9033390&hvtargid=pla-435443527123&psc=1&mcid=7e6c251708ac3c9b81a7c8ec56f19d84&gad_source=1


I don't remember if the one side nut is reverse thread, but yes they are tight. 

Bad voltage regulator is typical. I recommend buying Bosch electrical whenever possible. 

The integrated brake turn signal is due to the single two element rear bulb. 

Washer bottle should be behind the front kick panel somewhere, my bus has been gone a loooong time, memory fades.  😞

 

Thanks i have that book saved to buy later..... 

 

As for the nut I thought about the left hand thread.... videos and comment suggest it's normal just really tight.....

 

I do have a correct Bosch regulator coming....

 

I figured with the turn signals.... 

 

I am gonna try to separate and just use a 2 pin relay for the flashers, someone already ran a wire for a brake signal. So I'm planning to mount 3 leds in the lower portion of the tail light housing as a brake light.... Picture of that will come when do it....

 

And I'll have a look in the kick panel , I'm just now poking around under that dash....

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