Saturday Sept 26th –
Got back down to wrenching on the Bus this afternoon. Not the most productive day as I have run into some hurdles to overcome. Started by trying to adjust the timing with my whizzy chrome inductive timing light that arrived the other day courtesy of Ebay. The gun worked great but the Bus is proving to be a bit temperamental. First the starter wouldn’t crank (loose wire), then it did fire up and I got it to idle, warmed up fooled with the distributor and stalled. now nothing… Seems the key mechanism gave up the ghost, no detent at start and no kickback spring to return to the run position. No response at all.
Several screws and a few pair of bolts and the steering wheel is hanging by its wires on both vehicles. The wiring harness is close but not an exact match between the 70 and 71. Hooked everything back up as best I could figure. Brrrmmm!, started right up. Then dead again. The wiring is proving to be a bit of a nightmare. Replaced the turn signal housings on two corners and got them working with both running lights and headlights too. Mystery no hazards and, more concerning, no brake lights. The wire connectors are quite brittle and oxidized so I might have to run some new wire to the back. Maybe it’s the brake switch on the master cylinder, I’m not sure. There have been some ‘repairs’ done to the wiring harness over the years and several of the connections are a bit janky. The generator light is also glowing at idle which is an indication of increased resistance in that long wire. The joys of working on an old vehicle…
I’ll study the wiring diagram and try to sort out which connects to what.
Sunday Sept 27th –
I’m starting to remember why I walked away from these bloody vehicles, so long ago. The thing is, I’ve been fully expecting this to happen, what’s most surprising is that I’ve gotten as far as I have without a major roadblock. Until now. Mechanically I’m feeling pretty good about the Bus. The chassis and running gear are reasonably solid, it’s the electrical system that’s giving me the shits. I spent the first spell changing out the voltage regulator which cured the glowing Gen light on the dash. The rest of the day, was spent trying to get the brake lights to work. Nothing I tried worked. I had the signals and running lights this morning. Then they stopped working. I swapped and tested and cleaned contacts. Everything good then half fucked again. Eventually I resorted to powering up individual contacts on the lights themselves, even that drew mixed results. Really frustrating. The more I messed with the wires the weaker they seemed to become. So, I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m probably going to have to do a rewire from the dash to the back bumper, all of the long runs are suspect. Most everything at the front end seems to work well enough, but the rest has to push the spark way too far through old crusty wire. Nuke It From Orbit, it’s the only way to be sure.
My dream of hitting the road in the old Frankenwagen will be realized eventually but it’s not going to happen as soon as I had hoped. At some point I have to, while not conceding defeat, make the tough call and step back from this battle. I’ve been concentrating on getting the priority items done first in order, to get it on the road. This goal looks increasingly unlikely to happen at this point. The re-wire will have to be an indoor project tackled over the winter, so for now I’ll change tack and install the furniture and finish stripping the Rusty Westy so I can get the hulk out of my yard.
Two more days then it’s time to enact Plan B(MW). The Coast beckons…