The engine didn't break down but as I said felt a little tired, and after doing a compression and leak-down test and finding out I was pretty much running on 3/4 cylinders I decided it was time to refresh the engine to give me some added power and confidence to get me all the way to South America.
Just around this time, a fellow Canadian by the name of Scott, sent me a message via a VW forum called The Samba. He said I should get in touch with a guy by the name of Jim Hayden if I needed any work done on the bus before crossing the border to Mexico.
I got in touch with Jim and we rebuilt the motor from top to bottom. The tear down and build took about 13 days all together. We could have done it faster, but we were taking time to smell the roses (cough* drink piss water american beer cough*) and there was really no rush. Jim was awesome about letting me be involved with the process and teaching me tons along the way. He was also nice enough to host me at his home.
Jim works from his home, building VW engines from bugs to buses and off-road race buggies. He is definitely knowledgeable and I would highly recommend considering him if you need an engine rebuild. He is located near the town of El Centro in Southern California. He can be reached via email at: type4busguy [at] earthlink.net (no space and replace the [at] with @. Tell him Aaron aka Hippie Van Man referred you.
When we first started it up it was running a touch rough and after closer inspection it turned out the #3 wire was disconnected (Dohhh! *face/palm). After connecting it it has been running incredibly. The engine is running about 50 degrees cooler than previously. I'm getting better gas consumption, a noticeable amount of more power (I can easily hit 130km/hr now if needed, where as before I would struggle to get it up to 115km/h). And it runs super quiet as well. Also not loosing oil like I was before.
All in all it was a great investment and an equally valuable learning experience. I can't thank Jim enough for the great job he did.
Music Credits (If you like the artists, support them):
SmokedBeat - The Island
Shuffle Jack - The Big Jazz
Funky Notes - Comeback Bump
Slivanoë - Holiday
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14 days of blood, sweat and beers. Rebuilding my engine from the bottom up.
The engine in my 1979 Volkswagen Baywindow bus was feeling a tad tired. When I bought it three-years ago the tachometer had around 48,000km on it (probably due to the fact that the tachometer only has 5 digits in these old things, so I really had no clue how many kilometers were on the bus or the engine).
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