Live Chat from Jan. 1, 2005


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bobsvan

New member
I'm looking for opinions of the well seasoned vanagon travelers out there. I am going on a cross country trip from NC to Yellowstone, down to the Grand Canyon and back to NC. I've got an 86 Weekender thats in pretty good shape. But I've also got a 94 Honda Oddessey. I'd hate to have to drive that Honda but I'd also hate to have my van die trying to make it up one of those BIG mountains out west. So I guess my question is: What car would you take bearing in mind the hills and 6-7 hours of road time per day over a 30 day period!

Thanksbobworrells@yahoo.com
 

icarus

Moderator
I guess it begs the question of why you have the weekender if you don't want to use it. I would have no hesitation taking the weekender. provided I have looked it over well. (the biggest issue in my mind is the cooling system, condition of hoses, age of water pump etc)

The "Big mountains" of the west are somewhat over rated in thier dauntingness. Sure there are long grades here and there(shift down, go slow turn the 4 ways on and enjoy the view), and higher over all alltitude, but if you are reasonably aware of how you drive (ie speed, temp, etc) you should have no trouble.

On the other hand it sounds like you have some time for the trip, so that if you ran into trouble you could spend a few days finding someone to fix things for you. Unlike old split window buses, vanagons rarely "blow up" with little notice. Water pumps start to leak, or hoses blow or fuel injection systems get funky, but I have heard of few people stranded in strange towns due to catastophic failure. (Assumming you have checked things out before hand.)

We routinely drive from Vancouver B.C. to Maine via Northern Ontario (2-3times a year) in our 86 syncro, 130,000 miles. We have never been stuck, and in fact we have only done 2 un scheduled repairs on the road in all these trips.

I'd suggest AAA plus membership, remember that summer is hot, and drive accordingly, but go forth and have fun. No point in having the rig if you can't use it.

Have fun, Icarus
 

A. Cooper

New member
There is nothing particularly daunting about the Rocky Mountains that is especially hard on a vehicle in good working order. That is, assuming your brakes, drivetrain, engine, etc. are all in well-maintained form, any vehicle should be able to make its way over the mountains and back. Even our 1983, 48HP (!) diesel Westy:
http://www.vanthology.com/1Layout/Gallery/GN2.html

As Icarus says, however, any weaknesses in various components--especially the cooling system--will probably manifest themselves sooner on hard grades. My Vanagon puttered around near sea level for nearly 20 years without a boilover, but as soon as we started climbing the mountains south of Denver, that original factory pressure cap started blowing its top and had to be replaced. If I had replaced it sooner as routine maintenance, or carried a spare, I could have saved myself a half day of messing around in the desert. Now I do both, in the comfort of my driveway.

Give the Vanagon a good inspection (either personally or hire a good mechanic); carry some spares, tools, the Bentley manual, and the Westfalia.org list of recommended shops along your route; make an offering to the Westy gods and hit the road. Enjoy. There is nothing else quite like the versatility and independence offered by the Weekender or Westy, especially for the traveller who enjoys getting off the beaten path.

To check out a couple of western mountain roadtrips, please feel free to visit my website:
http://www.vanthology.com/1Layout/Journeys/journeys.html

Happy Travels!

Jeffrey "Cooper" Earl
 

bbflyer

New member
If this double post's I apologize in advance. We just got back from the Lake Michigan circle Tour. It was the first time we took Kermit our 79 Westy camping in the midwest. He was orginally from the west coast, biggest difference was the lack of Westies of any year. In the west you could always count on seeing many of them especially older models, and look forward to a friendly wave and or honk as you pass by. Five days only one weekender until the last day heading back to Chicago we passed two type 2's parked on a side road off the expressway. We are happy to say we got a wave as we went by at 70 MPH (we had a good tail wind.) Made me question are there any westy owners in and around the Chicago area? By the way Michigan was great especially the Upper Pennisula.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Admiral, our daughter and I went to see Herbie: Unloaded the other day. I think this is the 3rd or 4th edition of the Herbie movies but was still well worth seeing. It's G-rated for the kids but I saw an awful lot of adults there by themselves. I think there's still a secret VW cult amongst us!

OK, don't watch the tech stuff too close. They're a little hokey, but funny. Yes, it hurts we VW-philes to see some of the "stunt doubles" get crunched, but we can enjoy seeing the bad guys and bad cars get theirs in the end.

The theme is all Disney -- pseudo bad guy (NASCAR driver), teen heart-throb for the girls (Hebie's mechanic and eventual love interest), pained Dad who lost his wife and won't let daughter fulfill her dream. And cute-as-a-bug star. The car's cute too! OK, I've got a weakness for freckle-faced redheads and Lindsay Lohan is cute. Or was back then before she went Barbie-skinny-blonde on Letterman.

Herbie falls for a new-age Bug, puts the bad guys down in hilarious style, and shows what we knew all along -- VW's have personality. "When I was a kid" 25¢ matinees are gone, but as long as you smuggle in your Snickers bar to avoid the concession stand, it will be a fun, family afternoon.
 

shaggz

New member
Silly Hebie falling for a new age bug. I've only watched the trailer. The one thing I did see that caught my interest was Herbies front lights. Wouldn't it be sweet if we could make our 7" Lights open and close so we could wink at other westies passing by.

Shaggz (Kris)
72 van.
made for the German Market.
Not to be sent to US/Canada
Somehow made it To Canada
 

icarus

Moderator
I know that I get admonshed from Mike for responding to posts that are put in the wrong section. A bit of advice for newbies looking for answers. I think that many people are initialy unaware that there are topics within topics. For example if you are looking for engine questions, instead of clicking on the latest post (which may be about pistons) click on the general engine forum and you will see that in addition to a piston section there are threads about oils, or camshafts or cyl. heads etc. This is true in all the forum sections. If you look through all the relavant sections you will most likely find your answer, or at the very least find the section that is most appropriate for your question. Post your question there and Capt. Mike will be very grateful.

I know it it a bit of a hassle but all kudos to Capt. Mike and John for keeping this site clean and useable. As our treasures get older and there are fewer profesionals out there to work on them, the ordered, consise and valuable information contained here becomes ever more important. This site represents the collective experiance of 50+ years of Westy experiance, multiplied by 600+ members. There is no Guru out there that has it all.

Keep them in good health.

Icarus
 

Chuck (CA)

New member
It doesn't get any better....having this great site to read for fun and to get factual information....is there anyway to transfer the contents to CD/s for reference on the road...I was thinking that a basic CD his could be done and sold for $XXXX....then....updates could be done as needed or desired....WOW! What do yall think about this idea?

Wonder how difficult this would be? Could somone outline the necessary steps to accomplish this?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I've copied your post into the JUST CONVERSATIONS forum, "New Boards . . . " topic. I did so because we have received other requests and John hasn't come up with a way to do so easily, yet. Also, the Chat room is meant to be temporary, and I wanted this discussion to gather some permancy because I think it is a natural evolution.

There is a response in that topic. I'd encourage any readers with comment or suggestions to "reply to" that topic instead of here.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Having spent a 21-year career headquartered out of New Orleans and also called at many of the ports of the region like Baton Rouge Gulfport, Pasquagoula and Mobile, I have an extra feeling for those suffering from the effects of Hurricane Katrina. I know many of my friends and former employees are among those who have lost so much. Our prayers go out to them with a little extra PS for our fellow Westyites.
 

sunmeister51

New member
I too wish to express my gratitude for the hard ongoing tasks done by Capt Mike and others to keep this board active and accesible! It has been a wealth of information and guidance during the last month during a MAJOR remodel of my '82 Westy"-new canvas, upholstery, curtains, 2nd battery, headlights upgrade, fancy yacht brass reading lights strategically placed, and on and on!

My wife and I are taking a three week 'move/trip' from Bend, Oregon to Durango, Colorado via Salt Lake City, Capital Reef, Moab, and a 6 day canoe trip on the Green River.

The van is purring, our vehicles will caring all (hopefully!) our belongs.
I have been living in the van for the last 4 months doing desert outings for painting, drawing, and naturalist studies. My Gypsy blood is deeply fed by this way of life!

I look forward to meeting Westy-ites along the way.
If anyone knows a good mechanic in Durango, sned me an email!!!

sunmeister51@yahoo.com

Safe travels to us all,

Sunny
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The August 21, 2005, Pebble Beach auction had a 1966 VW Westfalia sale. A42 (no pop-top) all-original, 21,000 miles. A woman was the high bidder at $99,000. No, that's not a typo. I've written it up a with little more detail in the GETTING A WESTY forum, "Pricing Guides . . ." topic.
 

Marolt

New member
Hi all, I am brand new to this wonderful site you all have put together (I wish I would have found this sooner!) Well, I have one week left here in Iraq till I redeploy back to my home station in Germany, then off i go with my 84 Westy on a tour of Prague, then down Austria into Slovenia. Gotta love the European Campgrounds... or should i say... luxury resorts... I was just wondering if anything ever came of the cd that Chuck mentioned a couple of threads up.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I haven't heard anything from the site owner. I think the will is there, but not the technology or know-how to convert the tech boards into a CD and then there's always the distribution questions. I keep hoping some computer guru member will pop up with a simple solution.

God speed on the remainder of your assignment and thank you for all you've done for our country and freedom. As a 'Nam vet, I commend you.
 

Chuck (CA)

New member
A CD shouldn't be too difficult...there is a printer friendly feature....from there you can email or save as....seems it would take a day to work thru each topic from the main page...then work thru the subjects inside each topic...if someone could look inside the forum software...there may be a batch feature...this allows grouping...it should allow you to batch anyway you want...
 

Chuck (CA)

New member
Need an opinion from Capt Mike and Others...would you say that most Westy questions have already been answered on the forum...I have an idea...but...need to consider the update question...would an inital forum CD need to be up dated...maybe an edited annual "best of" CD would keep things current...input please...!
 

mlf

New member
If not on cd ,how about a pdf format that uses a date set up .with a upload to update the files?
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
With the premise that anything is better than what we've got . . ..

I don't speak for John, but I'd be quite happy with the ability to download the entire file to CD and then repeat every year. We have reached the point where the vast majority of questions have been addressed so the need to update is not as critical as in the early years. There are 40 forums -- even if the downloads are one each, that's an acceptable burden as one could dowload just those desired -- for example when facing a particular problem -- or the entire library as a reference source.

Probably one thing that would be needed is the ability to retain the forums/topics format so that one wouldn't be forced to page through the entire CD to find a question area.

.PDF is a convenient format because it is available to everyone and allows selective printing. We've got a number of members who print out topics and have made a supplement to their Bentley. I've downloaded other catalogs and manuals in .PDF and they had the ability to show index pages and thumbnails.

Thanks for any input to this project. I'm pretty far down the totem on computer-eze.
 
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