Skeeter's Vanagon/Zetec Conversion

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hawaiian Vanagons

I just got back from Hawaii. I've never seen so many Vanagons and old microbuses. There are a few rattling around Alaska, including a virtual twin of my own-- minus the Zetec, but I saw about a half dozen a day while on the big island.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back on the road!

The bus is back on the road! I drove it around last week to shake the dust off. I had a problem with a dead battery, but once I got it charged up again to bus tore out of the garage like it wanted to go! I've got to register it since it's been a long time since it's been legal. I'm hoping to take some trips this summer and I'll report on mileage and performance later.

I still have a couple of bugs to work out yet. I want to make sure all the wiring and coolant hoses are routed well away from the exhaust. I also want to replace every centimeter of fuel hose to avoid any problems. There is a squeal coming from somewhere in the driveline that I haven't bene able to find. I dropped the transmission this winter thinking it was the torque converter bushing, but that wasn't the problem after all. I'm thinking of tidying up the electrical connections also. So many wires have to be grounded on the post in the electrical box in the upper driver's side of the engine compartment that they barely fit.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

February Update

Someone pointed out that my blogging has stopped. This is for three reasons:
1. Winter set in and I can't drive my bus.
2. My wife and I had a baby boy!
3. My internet sucks here in Alaska. I am running about 20k/sec. I had faster internet in 1991! Alaska Communications Service SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I also am no longer able to blog on my lunch hour at work since the federal government, in it's infinite wisdom, has blocked all access to blogging sites to federal employees.

So the upshot is that I am still ecstatic about my Zetec! It's the best money I ever spent on an automobile! I am just not able to blog very well living out in the sticks. I look forward to June when I am going to tear up the state road tripping in my bus. I will post more about how the Zetec performs when I am able to drive it.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Load the Engine Into the Bus

Once the engine is on the hoist you can wheel it over to the bus. You need to get the bus up high. Really high. Almost unsafely high. Be careful. I got one side up pretty high on a jackstand and then used the vanagon jack to get the other side even higher. Even so, I felt the van start to roll off the jackstand raising the opposite side. I had to let her down a bit after that and put the other jackstand under the bus. I gave up trying to wheel the engine under the van while on the hoist rails. It isn't shown below, but I ended up sliding the whole engine assembly off the hoist onto the thick cardboard shipping crate on the floor. Then I gently pushed the whole deal under the bus, sliding it on the cardboard. Probably didn't do the pan any favors, but it seemed the only safe way.

Once the assembly was under the bus, I hooked it back up to the hoist as shown below. I double checked the security of the bus on the jackstands and crawled under to position the transmission on a small floor jack.

From there it was a matter of jacking, hoisting, cajoling and otherwise coercing the whole deal into the bus. It went slow because there are a lot of things to be checking on all at once. I did it alone, but it is better as a two person job; one underneath lining up the transmission and the other in back on the hoist. Finagling around the CVs was a little difficult, but overall the engine went in pretty easily. All the bolt holes on the cradle lined up perfectly.

There it is, bolted in and ready for wiring and hosing up! Pretty easy, so go make a cup of Yergacheffe and have a doughnut.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

The Alaskan Bull Vanagon