Thursday, June 28, 2018

End of an era: YBP 581

For last 49 years, my Bug was registered in California with the original black with yellow letter license plates as "YBP 581". Those plates, combined with the original dealer ("Riverside Econo") frames, were just part of what of my Bug's identity. 

Today was a short workday for me, so I went out and removed the plates and frames this afternoon. It's been a long time since I last removed them....

The "after" shot. The next set of plates she will have will be Wyoming plates. I'm contemplating the plate frames to use. I could very well use the Econo plate frames, as she was first sold by Econo. Another option I'm considering are the new plate frames from HotVWs magazine

I've still not made up my mind, so stick around to see what it ends up with! 

-- the VDub Geek

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Finding some cool stuff in my parts stash

The wife and the kids are at work today, so I headed to the garage this afternoon to enjoy this beautiful weather and start going through the parts I brought back and do some light wrenching on the Bug. As you can imagine, I've accumulated a lot of "stuff" over the years. Most of stuff I left in California, but I did have a few "must haves" that came back with us, and few "oh cool I have room for these". 

The main project for this afternoon was to take a closer look at these wheels. There wheels were sold by many vendors back in the day, but most people refer to them as "Gurneys". These wheels can be found in three different forms, all related to the center  wheel cap.

1. Bolt on center caps
2. Center hole with bevel
3. No bevel in center hole.

My wheels have the bevel. You can see the bevel in the photos of the back of the wheel. I have the lug/studs/washers, but eventually I am going to embark on finding a set of center caps.

At the moment I only have one set of matching wheels here in Wyoming, these Gurney/Western aluminum wheels. They are 15" x 5.5" cast aluminum, so they aren't the lightest, but they aren't a common sight. In fact I have found very little information about these wheels.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Her day will come in 2019

Tragically, the one bummer part of this trip was the fact that I could bring my Imp back with me. The funds were available only to bring one car home, so I had to make a tough decision: Bug or Imp. After a lot of thought, I felt that the Bug would be easier to get running and the roof/doors would allow me to drive her even when the mercury dips outside. 

So the Imp has to stay another year in California. I downsized my storage unit, so my brother, dad, and I pushed her out of storage and to the new unit. My phone was still in my Flex, so I asked my dad to grab a few photographs of her. She looks sad right now, but rest assured, she will be coming home next year! 

Friday, June 22, 2018

The Bug is home!

Time to hit the road has come! It has been quite a crazy past couple of days. Monday my brother, dad, and I worked to get the Imp and my "stuff" into a smaller storage unit (save some cash so that I can buy parts for the Bug). Yesterday it was about last minute packing, getting the Bug loaded, and getting some sleep for today. 

My brother and I started the day with an early breakfast with my long time friend Wilt. Wilt was out of town for the time we were here in California, but we were able to get together this morning for a great breakfast talking about cars and bicycles! 

There she is, ready to hit the road! Chris and I did a walk around to make sure that all of the tie downs were tight, that all of the lights were working, that the tires were properly aired up, and that the connections to my Flex were all good. Everything was ready to go! 

At this point, I have to admit that I was nervous. There was a lot riding on this trip. First one was the fact that I had never towed anything of this weight before in my life. The extent of my towing experience was a small U-Haul trailer a few years ago with my step-daughters stuff and of course many trips towing Bugs with a small tow bar. 

I was confident that my Flex could handle, but I still had my fears. We had some "nice" grades to scale before we made it home. This included the "Baker" grade in California as you approach Primm and Jean along the state border. There would also be a good grade on the way to Park City, Utah. I had to believe that I did my homework and that my Flex is in top shape! Let's hit the road! 

So how did the Flex and Bug in tow make the Baker grade? Well here we are in Jean, Nevada and everything was looking great! The Flex did great, doing about 60 mph at 4500 rpm up the steepest sections! As I expected, the Flex was using more fuel than usual, so we were taking more frequent fuel stops along the way, but I have to say that we were still averaging about 16 mpg so far. 

Done for the night! We arrived in Beaver, Utah for the evening. Chris and I were looking forward to dinner at Beaver Taco, so Mexican food was the menu for tonight. By the time we were ready to leave the restaurant, the sun was disappearing on the western horizon. The sight gave me the inspiration for this cool photograph. The journey was half way over yet, as we had about 650 miles to go on Thursday. 

The next morning, we got ready, had our free breakfast (thank you to the Best Western Paradise Inn hotel!), fueled up the Flex, stopped by at the local Dairy Farmers of America store to stock up on some of their delicious cheese curds, and then got back on the I-15. We had a lot of driving ahead of us and we were ready to get home as soon as we could. 

We made sure to make a fuel up in Orem, Utah, as this was going to be the last stop before we headed up into the mountains to the east of Orem, on highway 189. The last thing I wanted to do was the fuel tank get low in the middle of nowhere. As we did at every stop, we check the trailer, the Bug, the straps, and the trailer connections to the Flex. Everything was looking great! 

We made it!! We were back in Laramie and all was well! My house doesn't have much parking space, so we briefly double parked in front of the house and unloaded the Flex. We had our luggage, along with some VW parts from storage, birthday gifts from my parents for my grandson, and a few things my wife and step-daughter asked us to bring back. By this point, Chris and I were tired from a long day, so we agreed that we would park the Flex and trailer up the street. 

Due to the long length of the combined Flex and 20' auto carrier trailer, I had to park up the street where the curb space was more available. She would be safe there overnight and we would unload her the next morning. 

The next morning, after a good breakfast, I walked up the street and got into the Flex. I drove her around the corner and after some discussion with my brother, we decided it was best to back up the trailer onto my driveway. As I stated earlier, I have little experience with trailers, so backing up a trailer isn't on my resume. After a bit of backing, turning the wheel, going forward to correct, repeat, I had the trailer up on the driveway. 

We had used the Bug also as a transportation container, so the first step was to empty the inside of her, which included yard tools, my Yakima roof rack, Berg traction bar, three original EMPI Spyder GT (8-spoke) wheels, four Gurney/Western wheels, my small air compressor, low profile floor jack, jack stands and whatever else we could stuff inside. 

At the end of the day, we got her off the trailer and in her location in my driveway. One of the front tires, a 145R15, will only hold air for about 10 minutes max, so the first item on my parts list are two new 145s. 

I also got inside of her and cleared out any remaining trash that had accumulated in there. She doesn't look as bad as I had remembered, but I do have my work cut out for cleaning her up and assessing my plan of attack to making her driveable again. 

Well stay tuned for update from the VDub Geek's Garage about my WyoLook Bug!!

--the VDub Geek

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Packing it all up and getting ready to hit the road

Well the day has come! Today my brother, my dad, and I are heading over to my storage unit to get my 69 Bug out of storage. We are going to get her loaded on the trailer and bring her home to Wyoming.

We spent all day yesterday at storage. Since I was going to bring one car back with me, I was hoping that the storage place had a smaller unit to keep my Imp safe until I can take her back in 2019. I lucked out and was able to secure an unit that was half as deep, perfect for the Imp and my stuff, and still save about 30%  on my month cost. So that meant three of us spent the day moving the boxes, the Imp, and the rest of my stuff to the new unit. 

This is what my Bug has been living like. Hiding in the corner behind the Imp, numerous boxes, and who knows what else.

At the end of the day, we had gotten her unburied and ready to be loaded on the trailer tomorrow. We went home tired that's for sure!

That leads us to this morning! A few unexpected errands got me off to a late start, but after about an hour and a half, we had the Bug loaded on the trailer. Of course it wasn't as easy as pushing her out, turning the wheel, and then up on the trailer. No, we did have an issue: flat front tires. It turns out the front right tire wouldn't hold air for more than 10 minutes. The lady at the storage office was able to get me an a/c receptacle so that I could run my small air compressor.

This was enough to get the tires aired up enough so that we could get her up on the trailer. Once she was on the trailer, we were able to tie her down for a safe trip home.

I have to give a big shout out to these guys! My dad (left) and my brother (right) worked really hard to make this all happen. I couldn't have done this without these two!!

Along with bringing the Bug home, I also had a list of parts that I wanted to take. At the top of this list was this beauty, my Gene Berg shifter. My brother acquired it when he bought a Bug in the early 90s. When he sold that Bug, he repurposed the shifter to the Imp. I have acquired a stock shifter that I'm restoring, along with a stock accessory locking base and metal shift kit. This modified stock shifter will have more of the retro appeal.

The Berg shifter will be a better fit with the Cal-Look, er WyoLook, style that the Bug is being built like. Before she goes into the Bug though, I am going to rebuild it, clean/detail it, and repaint the background of the "Gene Berg" logo on the top of the shift knob.

Stay tuned for more posts about my WyoLook Bug!!

--the VDub Geek

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My project for next winter...

For the last three weekends, I've been driving down to Fort Collins, CO (about a 70 mile one way drive) to help my brother move. It has been a laborious project, but it feels great now that we have everything completed.

Probably one of the biggest highlights from this move was when it came time to move his Porsche 914 from the garage. He was going to have to drive it across town, but one of the fuel injectors was leaking (fire hazard!!!) so a replacement was sourced. Luckily the 914 injectors are easy to replace, so a quick swap out in the morning and it was alive again after being in hibernation for a few years.

To play it safe, I followed along as he drove the 914 across town. It was so great to see the 914 running and on the road again. I have to say that I hope that maybe this drive will help motivate him to drive it more often, as it was a blast to see going down the road!!

The other high point of this move was a discovery that my brother made in his garage. As he was pulling down boxes and inspecting the contents, he made an interesting discovery. The first box he pulled was labelled "VW parts". It contained a nice original Type 1 doghouse fan shroud complete with factory stamps. It also contained a set of German dual port Type 1 head tin. We both recognized this as my stuff! I had VW parts up here and didn't even know it. 

The second box was actually a plastic storage tote. We popped the lid on it and guess was in it? The Kadron carb set from my old single port 1835cc Type 1. The tote had the carbs, steel single port manifolds (with AN fittings for the balance tube), original one-piece linkage, and the aftermarket gauze element chrome aircleaners. There were a few other items, but that sight had me in shock!! I thought I had lost those many eons ago. 

During my free time, I've thought about what I can best use these Kadrons for. I think eventually they will end up my '70 EMPI Imp on a "retro"-style 1679cc (88x69) that I intend to build, but in the mean time they will be seeing duty on my Bug. This summer will be about getting my Bug running with the stock carb, but next winter, when it is too COLD to be crawling on the asphalt up in Wyoming, I will take that moment to disassemble the carbs, freshen and rebuild them, update the linkage, fuel lines, etc., and detail everything to the max. 

As usual, I will be sharing everything here on in the "VDub Geek's Garage"! Stay tuned!!

--the VDub Geek

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Plans set for their arrival!

Well it's been a while since I last posted here, but I want to correct that today with this post. My family and I are still getting settled into our new lives here in Laramie, Wyoming. Things are looking good too. Our careers have finally taken off. What does that mean for my VWs? That they need to join the VDub Geek Garage up here in Wyoming! 

During my winter break from work (perks of working for a school district), my wife and I sat down to discuss our 2018 plans and goals. After a lot of discussion and analyzing, we have decided that my brother and I are going to be heading down to southern California this June. Our mission is to clear my storage unit, load up both the Bug and the Imp, and relocate everything back to Laramie!

We are going to drive down in my Flex with a co-workers' car trailer. After we get there, we'll pick up a U-Haul truck with trailer. All of my "stuff" that currently resides in storage will be loaded into the U-Haul, the Bug will be loaded on the U-Haul trailer, and my Flex with trailer will get the lighter Imp. This will close this chapter and start a new chapter with my VWs with me. I'm looking forward to being to wrench on my VWs, to drive them around town, and to bring one to my VW club events.

Of course I will be taking photos on this journey and I will be sharing them on Instagram and my other social media platforms. It is going to be so exciting and I can't wait!

-- the VDub Geek