Wednesday, November 30, 2011
Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 25, 2011
Last Friday, headed home from a long week at work, the last thing I wanted was to feel the brakes start to give out on Little Blue - the '63 bug that is my daily driver. But I did. As they started to go, I wasn't sure I was feeling it. Did they seem like I was pushing harder? Closer to the floor? Certainly something was wrong.
After a stop that certainly felt wrong, I decided that if shit came to shove, I'd use my emergency brake. About 2 stops later and I was braking to show my brake lights and using my e-brake to actually stop. I made it home without problem. I decided to investigate in the morning when it was light.
Early Saturday morning, I was out investigating. I started at the back passenger and didn't see any issues. Then moved to the front passenger, removing the wheel to find the wheel and brake drum covered in brake fluid.
Here's what the set up looked like...
Another example of shiny wetness where there should be dryness (the removed brake drum):
You can see fluid on the tire as well:
According to several sources, the most obvious place for a leak in the wheel is the wheel cylinder. It's a simple process, really. When brakes are applied, the fluid provides equal pressure through out the system. In drum brakes, this means the fluid presses on the brake shows (pads, really) through something called the brake cylinder (or wheel cylinder). In the picture below, it's the round cylinder object on the far right side of the picture.
Above is the old wheel cylinder coming out. For those of you who have never removed these, please follow these steps in order:
1. remove the bolt holding the wheel cylinder on (I think it was a 12 or 13 metric wrench)
2. then spin the wheel cylinder while hold the brake hose with something to disconnect the hose. Don't try to twist the hose off the cylinder while it is still attached - it won't work!
The great thing about replacing the cylinders is that you end up with really clean cylinders to bleed once everything is hooked back up.
Here are the replacement wheel cylinders I bought at Viking Foreign Auto in Novato Saturday morning:
The bummer was nobody in the area had new brake shows. And they needed to be replaced (well, you figure while you are in there, replace them, but you would have to anyway as the old ones on the passenger side were covered in fluid that would never allow you to stop).
Enter out friends at Wolfsburg West. These guys are awesome. A call on Monday resulted in the new pads being sent via FedEx to my house on Wednesday. I plan on installing them later this morning. And that, my friends, is a pretty simple fix. We'll be back on the road by noon today!
The cost of the wheel cylinders (above).
Below is how Little Blue has looked all week, waiting for new brake shoes...
Thursday, November 24, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
A year ago, Oak, Big Blue's smallest fan, arrived on a super cold Thanksgiving week. I can't believe a year has already passed. He's a fantastic kid, and we have only begun to show him the fun of camping, campfires and the fun a VW bus can lead you to...
Here's to camping many more years with him!
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
Monday, November 21, 2011
A few months back, I ordered (then later received) a box set (73 discs!) of the entire 1972 Grateful Dead European Tour. It's awesome to say the least. How does this matter for you, dear VW fans? It doesn't. Except one CD had the artwork below. And only those who know what that is know what that is...
Sunday, November 20, 2011
Friday, November 18, 2011
Last Saturday, Little Dude and I headed to the California Auto Museum in Sacramento. We went to see the "Wundercars!" exhibit, which features German cars. The exhibit has 4 time periods (see above). It is Porsche right now. In a week or so it goes to focus on BMW (they will literally swap cars), then to Mercedes-Benz in late January. Finally, saving the best for last, Volkswagen (or Volkswagon as the above states!) is featured in March. Let's hope they fix the poster before then!
This was the first real, "Man's day out" that we had done together. I came armed with a camera, lunch snacks, a stroller, and several toys to provide distraction while driving.
Here is Little Dude in his 2010 Green Chariot:
The California Auto Museum is not big. Nor is it glamorous. But the impression it leaves is of someone that's trying really, really hard. Little Dude and I couldn't have enjoyed ourselves more.
We arrived at 9:45 - 15 minutes before open - and had some snacks (Oak did, I fed hm). And, when the doors opened, we had the place to ourselves. It was a good sign to see a bug sitting in the parking lot...
Right off the bat they have Linda Ronstadt's Porsche (there's a band name for you!). Why? Because this is the German car exhibit and we are in California. It has to start out weird!
This blue 1962 Porsche 365 Karmann Notchback was way cool. One of the best on the floor by far...
Is the car below an original? Who can tell with so many repos out there..
Below we have cars that need anti-freeze:
I've been overheard saying that the early 911/912 is the best designed car ever. I've said that about the 365 as well. But the above 911 is an absolute dream.
And, I must say, a 914 (below) never looked as good as it does when parked on the floor of a museum...
Again, knock-offs have ruined the Speedster (below) for me...
They had some lesser-known brands there as well. Below, a 1958 Zundapp Janus 250. Only 6900 built:
Now, this shocked me. I had always though the "Ampicar" was an American creature. I was wrong. 'Tis German.
Above, a 1966 Ghia represented the VWs very well...
That's a '65 bug. Note the Euro bumpers (US bumpers had the "towel bar")...
Okay, I was surprised to see our friend Bryan's bus in here. This bus attended Bus City 2010. And it was awesome at the time. But this bus cleaned up super well and looked fantastic under the lights. Well done, Bryan!
Above, a 1969 Opel GT from the bay area. I dig it.
Below. A 1958 Porsche 356. Please note: only paint your car like this if you actually have sponsors...
The photo below is courtesy of Little Dude. He would call it, "Fast Isetta" if he could only talk.
Here is my version. A 1958 BMW Isetta 300 from Sacramento.
I heart the BMW 2002 (below). This is a 1975 model. Wicked cool...
And, I found out I have no feelings for Mercedes at all...
The stroller didn't last long for Little Dude. He is just starting to walk. He moves between the quick pace of a wind-up toy to the slow pace of a confused snail. Here he is on the move...
We wandered into the non-exhibit side of the museum. You are supposed to go from old to new. Little Dude decided to go the opposite way...
First cool car was this awesome Celica ST. I think it was a 1977.
Below: A 1971 Star Streak Motorhome. Never heard of it? That's because one of them was made. Apparently a retired Air Force Colonel named Paul Jones decided to build this thing himself. And it is truly awesome. I wish I could have gone inside. It is built on a 1971 Oldsmobile Toronado. And it fits in the garage!
Here's Little Dude with an actually bike from the show C.H.I.P.s. Let's hope it was Erik Estrada's bike!
There was a '61 VW in the permanent collection. This was another local Sacramento car. Very nice shape (and a nice color, no?)
Below, a Studebaker Avanti. A mid-century fan's dream, I'll admit I like it...
On the way out (we saved the best for last!) is Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown's 1974 Plymouth Satellite.
In all it was a really good experience. Little Dude and I will be heading back for the BMWs. We may boycott the VW part of the show if they don't get the name correct. $8 entry ($7 with a AAA discount). Good stuff!