I’ve noticed a familiar pattern in VW bus blogs. They all start with excitement – the purchase of a bus with big plans for camping and tooling around. A minor (or major) cosmetic restoration then occurs, followed by perhaps some actual driving around or camping. Inevitably, the next step seems to be engine problems, followed by an engine removal and rebuild. And that is where Gus is now.
I’ve started removal of various engine hoses and pieces in preparation for engine removal, following Richard Atwell’s excellent guide on his site ratwell.com. If you haven’t been there before, it is a wealth of knowledge for the Bay Window VW Bus. I’ve labeled each connection with tape and a corresponding letter designation. Ratwell doesn’t say to do this, but in the past I’ve found this is an invaluable aid in reassembly.
Here is the spare engine I picked up awhile ago. I’ve got it on the Harbor Freight jack so I can clean it up and reinstall the valve covers. I’m not sure this engine works, but I’m going off of what the previous owner told me about it. I’m going to tighten the cylinder head bolts to spec first, as he said it was leaking oil where one of the cylinders meets the block. I’m hoping the gasket is still intact, and tightening the cylinder head bolts will stop the oil leak. I realize I’m basing all my hopes and dreams about this engine from a tale told to me by a complete stranger I met after answering an ad off of Craigslist – a man who seemed credible despite the 5000 cats roaming around his yard. I did have to endure his tales of his ex-cop girlfriend tampering with the brakes on his truck. This resulted in him crashing and then getting snagged for a DUI, which was totally bogus as he had only had a few drinks with dinner. He seemed like a nice enough fellow though. The engine looks to be well cared for, so I’m hoping the story of the engine is true.
I recently picked up a new (used) muffler off of Craigslist also. Alas, it didn’t come with any tales, just a normal guy selling a muffler. He did live in a gated community though, which was a nice upgrade pickup spot from the spare engine’s location. I’m going to use this muffler with the spare engine, since Gus’s engine has a catalytic converter with the muffler. So that’s where Gus is at – I’m hoping to get more done on the engine removal and hopefully get the transmission from Gus hooked up to the spare engine so I can do a compression check to see if the spare is any good. Stay tuned!