Friday, July 28, 2017

Introducing, The Squirrel

I have another VW. I know it's a sickness. I'm cutting and pasting the post that I put on the samba:

The Back story:
My grandparents lived in Redding, California. My early memories are of my grandfather in his Studebaker Hawk, driving on the dirt road while his black labrador retriever chased us. It was his evening ritual when we were around. The dog’s name was Tucker - he was always a car person. I may have gotten the same bug (pun totally intended).

Our neighbors had a 1967 VW Bug, Savannah beige. It was the car that all the kids rode around in. We were small, and 5 of us could squeeze inside. Seatbelts were not required back then, I think we all just drove slower and gave each other some distance.

In 1997, the neighbors moved to a quiet place in the foothills, parked the bug, and there it sat for the next 20 years. I recently reconnected with them, they told me they are moving to Idaho, and they wanted to make sure the bug went to someone who would appreciate it. I’ve been driving a 1970 Westfalia Camper since 1989, they knew I could work on it. So they offered it to me.

My VW friend and I drove the truck and trailer up to their place on a hot day (105 degrees). We cleared the oak leaves off, and tried to push it onto the dolly, it didn’t move. The tires were frozen. We pulled out the jack and removed the wheel. Sitting in the brake drums were dozens of acorns that the local squirrels had been stashing. Sadly for them, they were never able to get them out. In their honor, the bug now has a name: The Squirrel.

The passenger side of the car seemed to be favored, the wheel wells were completely full. A shop vac removed enough of them to get the tires moving, and after two hours of coaxing tires, acorns and dirt, the Bug was now sitting on the dolly, strapped down, and going back to my place.

We didn’t have brakes, so we used blocks to push it down the ramp in small sections and inch it into the garage, return the car dolly, the truck, and pat ourselves on the back for the long drive.

Incidentally - while driving it back down to the SF Bay Area, I looked in the rear view mirror and saw the passenger rear window waving back and forth. I pulled over and carefully lifted it up out of the channel, and placed in on the rear seat. After 20 years of sun and cold, I’m sure the window rubber became hard plastic and just broke apart as part of the vibration of the move. I’m glad I caught that.

My neighbors purchased it in when they were living in Torrance, CA. I still have the license plate frames. It shows 52 K miles, but probably has 152K miles. The engine was rebuilt in 1997 just before it was parked. New tires were also put on it, they still have their 20 year old nubs on them. It also comes with:
Original manual - slightly water damaged
Original radio, a Sapphire AM only, though another one is currently installed.
A copy of the Jud Purvis book complete with dust cover.

Time to get to work - Day 1:

The Acorns were still in the wheel wells, so I removed the front tires and readjusted the brakes. The rear wheel nuts were on pretty tight, tight enough to break my breaker bar, I’m going to have to take care of those later.

I removed the leaves, dust, spider egg sacs, moss/dirt clumps, spare pennies, gum wrappers, lolly pop sticks, old receipts, and any other junk from the wheel well, engine compartment, ashtrays, glovebox, and battery tray.

Speaking of battery tray, this one is rusted through the floor as expected. My first round of things to order are:
Fuel lines
Spark plugs
Battery tray replacement panel
Fuel filter

There is no brake fluid in the reservoir. None. Does that stuff evaporate?

The engine has full compression and moves like it has been oiled recently. The fuel coming out of the fuel pump smells like kerosene - sign of very old fuel. I’ll be removing the tank and cleaning out the old syrup at the bottom before I refuel it.

More to come…

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Introducing, The Squirrel

I have another VW. I know it's a sickness. I'm cutting and pasting the post that I put on the samba: The Back story: My grandpare...