So I’ve had this tumblr site sitting for a while collecting dust and realized I needed to get off my duff and begin posting photos of all the amazing places I’ve seen and journeys taken from behind the wheel. Tumblr is a really nice format photos – so check it out at http://motelwestfalia.tumblr.com/ hope you like it. Cheers
If you are like me, you are not overly obsessed with safety. ( if you are, you drive a Oddessy with 10 airbags , or alternately, never leave the house.) In my experience as a driver and motorcyclist, I believe your driving skills and habits are your best primary safety net.
When it comes to the secondary saftey net, a Vanagon, due to its size and ride height does offer pretty decent crash protection for occupants.
However the rear bench only came with lap belts and there were no headrests to prevent whiplash. Not great for someones internal organs or neck in the event a collision was unavoidable.
Given my kids were out of thier 5 point booster seats it was time to put in some adequate safety equipment.
I looked at the Go Westy for the belts but did not like the cost. So I sourced a company online that does custom belts made for old cars, made to order. (http://www.seatbeltsplus.com/) You even get to choose the color to match the interior which I did, a nice dark chocolate. I did purchase the Cabinet Sleeve from Go Westy however.
Next was the Headrests, which were bought used off Kijiji, taken of another 1982 Vanagon, and a perfect match.
Here are the results, I am pretty happy with the end product!
Bluebirds old muffler finally rotted through on a recent trip. So after doing a roadside fix I ordered a new muffler. I did some research online and heard the ones that last the longest are German made and found a local dealer “German Supply” in Toronto. I wanted stock configuration and no catalytic converter is required. Which makes for a pretty simple muffler. and a very reasonable pricetag of $309 CDN. The kit includes all gasket and the very important spacers. The hardest part of the job was grinding off the old bolts that were rusted. It took me an hour to grind the old muffler off and an hour to put the new one on. It is important to put locktite and or retighten the bolts after the first drive. I am very happy with the result, as it has a nice quiet sound. My only complaint is that I did have to spray on some grey exhaust enamel as the pipe quicky discolored from the heat. With the new heat resistant enamel on the exhaust it looks great.
German Supply Air Cooled Vanagon Exhaust Kit. Highly Recommended http://www.germansupply.com/home/customer/product.php?productid=17425&cat=332&page=1
My wife, the doll that she is went all Martha Stewart on me on my 40th birthday and produced this beauty:
I had found these scanned images on the web (can’t locate the source…sorry) – it was a good reference for keeping my van as original as possible. I did change the plastic spoked hubcaps for the Go Westy ones – wire wheels just did nto suit the van and now the pop-top tent is a 3 window version, again an definite improvement over the original 1 window canvas while retaining integrity of the overall design.
I used to get high oil temps on the highway on my 82 Air cooled Vanagon on hot summer days here in Ontario. 240-250 degrees on a flat highway was normal for me. The head was always steady temp. The previous owner had placed an oil cooler in the D above the tin ware (*&!) so the engine would never get cool air.
I recently relocated the external oil cooler into the front of the bus behind the grille. Now my van runs 30-40 degrees cooler, it is more relaxing to drive, my oil temps are more like 200-210 and dont fluctuate as much. Oil pressure is better and more consistent now as well.
My mechanic ran 16 ft of hydraulic rubber hose (rated up to 1400 psi, and 400 degrees) .My van always ran well and I trusted it but I would be constantly looking at the gauges. Now I drive and its much less stressful… well worth the expense!