It lives!

My first step was to (try to) get the bus running. In the past I had somewhat decent success with fixing various jalopies I owned, but I’d never owned an aircooled Volkswagen. So the first book I found was John Muir’s How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive; A Manual of Step-By-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot. If you haven’t seen this book, it really is a kind of forerunner to all of the “BLANK for Dummies” books that are out there. Since then I’ve learned that this book has some inaccuracies, and the better book to own is “the Bentley,” or at least have a combo of the two. (I’ve picked up several other manuals by various authors/publishers along the way – it never hurts to have too many!)

But I didn’t own the Bentley manual yet, so the Muir Idiot Guide would have to do. The Muir book has tons of intricate, beautiful drawings by artist Peter Aschwanden. It’s written for the layman to understand, which was perfect for me. So book in hand, I started to dig in.

I had asked the guy I bought it from about the running status. He said it hadn’t been running in about a year. The last time it was running in his driveway, and it just stopped running. I asked him if it was out of gas (kind of jokingly, but not…) He said, “Oh yeah, it’s got plently of gas.” So, I started my troubleshooting with the Muir book. I discovered the aircleaner was disconnected, so I put that back together. I tried turning it over…nothing. I then checked the distributor cap, and discovered the points were missing. I got it all hooked up correctly, and tried again. Nothing. But it was turning over. Hmmm, let’s try pouring a little fresh gas in the tank. As I did, I could hear the gas hitting an empty tank. Oh yeah, it’s got plently of gas. I decided to try again, and…VROOM! It started right up!! There’s nothing like the feeling of awakening a vehicle that you’ve figured out the problem to yourself. In this case it was a few problems, but I figured them out with the help of the Muir manual.

My next step was to start changing all of the fuel lines. As of this date three and a half years later, I am almost finished with that task…. :) The important ones on top of the engine were completed long ago, but there are a few under the bus I haven’t finished. I haven’t driven the bus really at all in those three years, and have had numerous “bus won’t start” incidents since then. I’m pretty sure my gas tank is filled with crud. I recently replaced the fuel filter and fuel pump, and the filter end was full of nasties. So, hopefully soon, I am going to pull the engine and clean/flush/reseal the gas tank.

Cool sidenote – this week one of the previous owners found me on Facebook! We have been corresponding back and forth, and I am learning the history of Gus. He called it the Bull Bus, and he was the one who painted the spots. Great quote from him, “Truth be told, that bus has NEVER been what one would call “reliable.”

(this is what it looked like when he had it – love it!)

I’ve since found the owner after him on Facebook, who was the owner before the guy I bought it from. I’m hoping to learn some funny stories about the bus. This bus has been EVERYWHERE.

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