Live Chat from Jan 1, 2007


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Capt. Mike

Moderator
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Jan 1, 2007: Happy New Year and best wishes for a safe, prosperous, travel through Westyville.

Continue the 'chat' by using the "Reply" button, whether you are responding to or starting a new comment. See the site Guidelines; this forum is for miscellaneous thoughts that are temorary in nature and not technical questions or related to the established message boards. "New topics" will be removed; tech topics and other posts that have existing topics will be removed or moved.

This is one forum that contains archives and they are full of good stuff -- spend some time browsing through them.

Please read the site Guidelines (bottom each page) and Disappearing Posts links (top right each index); have a great Westy year!

Here's a couple of carry overs to start with -- and some valuable info for new members.

The Bentley

The "Bentley" is the VW Official Factory Shop Manual and is far & away the best. It is expected if you want to use this site. The site book store sells them at discount, they are available from all VW dealers, and there are numerous other sources. Bentley is the name of the publisher that produces them for VW and they have their own topic in the SUPPLIERS forum.

Although there are used versions out there, I'd suggest you get the latest you can obtain as it will incorporate VW's revisions, updates and tech bulletins. For example, the Bentley for Vanagons was published annually from 1980 through 1991 with those updates for each new model year.

The Bentley assumes a basic knowledge of automobiles & mechanics and a proper set of tools so doesn't contain step-by-step instructions on many common procedures. There are others that may be more user-friendly but accuracy has been a problem with them and they often do not have the important specifications and testing references of the VW.

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Happy Birthday, Westfalia.org

In commemoration of Westfalia.org's 10th anniversary, and as an expression of my appreciation for all I have learned here, I have made a monetary contribution using the "Make A Donation" button which appears on the top of the main pages.

Let's face it, a Westfalia camper van -- of any era or type -- is a bit of an oddball vehicle. And running and maintaining one is an oddball pastime, performed by oddball owners. So the luxury of being able to visit here and converse with other oddballs, learning new things and exchanging tips or just chatting, represents a sense of community I have come to value quite highly.

Upon reflection, it occurs to me just how much I have learned from the likes of Capt. Mike, and how much I appreciate the efforts of site owner John Babiak, and other members here. The advice, the knowledge, the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others, even the humor are things a Westy-owner can find nowhere else.

Even from the perspective of cold, hard cash, I cannot calculate the money I have saved over the years by preventing mechanical breakdowns, and by doing many of my own repairs to avoid expensive shop bills, thanks largely to the advice offered here on westfalia.org. If I can return even a modest fraction of that money to the site, to help pay for its operation and maintenance, I will feel I have done at least something to help it continue. And I hope to do so again in the future.

If other members feel the same, if you appreciate the well-organized information, the guidance and advice offered here, please consider making a donation. It is a small price that will go a long way to help "keep those Westies rolling."

A. Cooper

I was recently posting some of the many comments passed on to me about the site. TWO of those posters commented on site support & intentions to make donations.

It kind of brings home that the Free Internet is not FREE and there is no Free Lunch. Somebody (Site owner John Babiak) bears the cost of this site out of pocket. Rest assured any sponsorships or donations received do not line staff pockets -- it's all plowed back into license, software, server time or reference materials. As it is, most of the volunteers still invest large amounts of personal money into reference materials or the computer & shop expenses that provide you their shared knowledge. Not to count their time & labor!

So let me ask you this question? Has this site saved you money & time on your Westy & Westy repairs? If so, how much have you reinvested? Then ask yourself if you have used the Paypal Donation link top of the main index page to put just a tiny bit of that savings back in?

In most places, if you took a job to a shop, besides higher cost, you'd pay some sort of sales tax or VAT. And not think twice about it. What if you put that "tax" back into every savings this site has given you? Ex: You just replaced the torn boots and repacked your CV joints; you saved $80 over OEM parts from vendors you learned about on site and about $300 in shop labor. (You probably also saved a healthy tax.) 5% would be ~$20. Think about it while you get ready to break out your Westy for a summer of Westyville. Thanks.

Capt. Mike

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We're a big boy now!

The Westy site continues to grow in size and reputation. It is now considered one of the leading technical resources for VW vans anywhere. We're no longer a 'small club'. The site has over 12,000 members and receives 40,000 or so hits a month. Congratulations go to site owner John Babiak and the many volunteers and members that have made it so.

Capt. Mike

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Unhappy first time user . . .

i was upset that my post was removed all because we are just buying our first westy and thought this was the place to talk to other owners and to get some advive as to what to look for and what not to thanks for the help everyone and keep your little club all to your selves because i would never recomend such ingnorant people,,,,very dissapointed with web site and super mike

vw lovers

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. . . and a member's response.

Before trashing Capt Mike, this site, and the entire membership, you might want to consider a few other possibilities about whatever happened to your post:

1) Technical glitch which resulted in an inadvertant deletion of your post;

2) The possibility that your post was moved from one section to a more appropriate section;

3) That your post was not in alignment with site guidelines;

4) Post redundancy. You repeated your post in several sections. The guidelines address this phenomena and the resulting consequences.

5) That your question required a purely subjective answer; and

6) Any other possibilities that you can imagine which does not include trashing Capt Mike whose selfless dedication to this site has made it the invaluable cost and time saving resource that it is; nor the trashing of an equally generous and knowledgable membership community.

Be advised: this is NOT a little club, nor are the legions of members ignorant, by any stretch of the imagination.

You might think about staying with this site, it might be worth your while, it might even result in a positive attitudinal adjustment.

zookz
'87 Westy

Moderator: Or that he violated several of the guidelines in a post already answered in detail in its respective forum AND posted an invalid email so I couldn't tell him!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Hunting season, my tree therapy, ends today. I'm not going out -- too many g..damdoghunters (hereafter gddhers) and nuts out there on weekends and holidays, even though I hunt private land. I did go Friday but for therapy -- the freezers are full. I watched a big, beautiful buck with large rack walk right behind the stand maybe 25 yards away. Even stopped and listened until a pack of gddhers' mutts came charging through the posted land I was on. Tempted, though I just enjoyed the magnificent sight!

I've been asked by the local paper to give a 200-word 'opinion' for publication. We don't allow Sunday hunting in NC and a recent poll supported continuation of that ban by 77%. I had given a columnist double-H for a tirade about religion and how we should also outlaw NASCAR & the NFL. I am having trouble keeping it to 200 words.

Some of the poll respondents, mostly hunters, (it was not the majority) cited religious grounds; mine was to give the deer and land-owners rest from the gddhers. 77% cited non-religious grounds such as property rights. The usual routine for gddhers around here is to let the pack out on one road, then drive like maniacs around to another where they sit on the side of the road and blast away at anything that comes out. That road hunting, running dogs across another property without permission, and hunting private property without permission is all illegal never slows down this segment of unethical hunters. I think they should outlaw gddhers except on their own property tied together with a leash. Then the fat lazy gddher gets his excercise, too, and there is no excuse for the dogs running off his property! When they make me Emperor . . ..
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The "Manual Transmission Problems" topic in the TRANSMISSION & CLUTCH forum has been cleaned up and reduced. Many of the posts were individual problems that hadn't done the checks of the Bentley or elswhere in the forum so lacked sufficient information to diagnose accurately. Others were linkage or clutch problems that have their own forums. Unfortunately, most posters also failed to come back with the cause once found so their complaints didn't add substantially to the site. I hope you will find it easier to use. -- Westy Tech
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
The Main Batteries & General Battery Questions topic in the BATTERY, CHARGE SYSTEM forum has been cleaned up and reduced. Many of the posts were individual problems that hadn't done the checks of the Bentley or elswhere in the forum so lacked sufficient information to diagnose accurately. Others were starter or alternator problems that have their own forums. Unfortunately, most posters also failed to come back with the cause once found so their complaints didn't add substantially to the site. I hope you will find it easier to use. -- Westy Tech
 

brecka99

New member
I searched the archives but couldn't find any info on buying directly from overseas.
Since I can't get my old Trumatic propane heater (that was in my '90 Westy)fixed, I am thinking about buying a new one directly from one of the vendors in the UK.
The response to my inquiries to their sites have been not too helpful.
TracFone (my cell) has just said I can now make international calls at no extra charge, so I think I may call the vendors directly.
I have no experience buying overseas, so if anyone has any hints, tips or suggestions about paying with charge card, exchange rates shipping times, air or surface and charges, etc., I would appreciate it. The heater weighs about 10 LBS.
One site I have looked at, The Camping Store in UK, does allow for enabling prices to be displayed in USD, shows a charge for international shipping and the US is included in the list. They just haven't answered my e-mails.
Thanks for any help.
Jerry
 

icarus

Moderator
I bought a collection of Webasto coolant heaters from Germany, on German E-bay I think. The transaction was fine with credit cards etc. The problem was that the shipping was VERY expensive for small items. I have thiis memory that 2.5kgs (5Lbs+-) was close to $100 usd. I think it helps if you can find someone who can do it through the mail rather than DHL, FEDEX, or UPS. It takes forever by is much cheaper. I had poor luck getting business's to ship that way.

You might consider buying a Propex domesticly. They aren't cheap either but they are reliable and service is available.

Good luck.,

Icarus
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I think you'll be surprised how much faster overseas mail has improved -- at least from developed countries like UK & Europe. Even surface mail now goes intermodal. Dock-to-dock from Europe to US is probably within a 10-day window. 2-3 weeks should be routine. The days of mail going on a slow frieghter between developed postal systems are long gone. I don't get much from overseas but I used to routinely order books and they would take 2 weeks. My last from the UK was a CD, also about 2 weeks. Admittedly, not big parcel post, but the system usually doesn't differentiate beyond classes of surface mail.

If you want a comparison, stop in for a chat at your dealer and ask his parts manager how long it takes to get ground special-order parts from Germany (not a Back Order, but from Germany stock). Even throwing in 'weekly' ordering, mine often has the part within a month. Yes, they are going outside the mail system, but they are going intermodal. Intermodal doesn't differentiate between container contents.

If you're curious, I've posted acouple of photos of the M/V Emma Maersk, the world's largest (container) ship at 1,200 feet long with 108,000 HP 2-cycle diesel engine. On the Tech links, in the <My Photos> folder are 2 photos of the ship plus two photos of marine diesel engines I think you'll find interesting. Now if I could stuff one of those in a Westy . . .!
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Last month, a short month at that, posted over 52,000 page hits; that's one every 44½ seconds 24/7. Membership now approaching 12,300. We must be doing something right. Congratulations, John.
 

tonyreid

New member
I recently moved from Canada to Brussels, Belgium and brought my beloved 1988 Westy with me (I know, Coals to Newcastle), but I'm going to be here for a few years and it's better than having it rust away in a barn somewhere.
I wonder whether anyone has any links to information here in Europe re how to get Westy parts and solve problems. There are precious few in Belgium and I'm having trouble connecting with knowledgable people.
Any leads out there?
Thanks.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Although air-cooled oriented clubs are more common, I found several. Der Autobahn Scrapers Club is based in Belgium. UK based Volkszone has links to dozens of VW clubs in Europe. Like any VW group, they are probably open and welcoming to others. Put "Owners Club Europe" in their search engine -- it brought up 47 links when I tried it. Contact any and ask if they have or know anything about later Westies or other areas of your interest. One of them listed a dozen or so VW parts sources in Belgium. Don't be intimidated by the language barrier, most Europeans now speak several fluently.

What is discouraging -- and you have the ability to break that -- is that we get dozens of inquiries from the UK & Europe to our tech boards but rarely any input. There has never been a UK or European recommendation of either shops or parts sources. (We don't allow 'mechanic wanted' or 'parts wanted' posts.) I see photos of European bus events but never any links to the sponsors. We get lots of compliments from European members, but rarely any input. Few list their clubs on our site or have links to us but scanning their forums we see nothing but rave reviews.

You might check the ETOS parts manual CD source referenced listed in "Illustrated Parts Manual" topic in the PARTS forum. It lists European models and could prove valuable when you do have to cross over to Eruopean versions to purchase parts.
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
Congratulations to site owner John. The March figures have just come in. We had a new high in useage, 63,889 page hits last month. Folks, that's one every 40½ seconds 24/7! We added 52 new members, bringing us to 12,327. And VW doesn't think there's a Camper market for it's vans! Hello MBA idiots in the ivory tower -- there is a market out here!
 

icarus

Moderator
My wife just bought hereself a Prius. Seems a good thing to do for the planet. Roaming around a bunch of Prius forums, I come to value this site more than ever. On the Prius site there is no organization, endless chats and replys. One topic has 132,000+ replies! It took me hours to find much of anything.

Kudos to John and Capt. Mike for keeping our site clean.

Icarus
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
I had an intersting conversation recently. I ran into a '50s era VW Bug at an antique car show. I talked with the owner (British) about VW's in general and then that I wrote for westfalia.org. He comment, "Wow, those folks are hardcore VW fanatics." Guess we're known for what we are -- VW junkies, in its good way.
 

jasonhoffmann

New member
Hi there. Taking our first trip in our familys new Westy this weekend. Just came across this site, really excited. My parents had a Bus when I was a kid, now they got the Westy. Brings back good'ol memories!
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In Pa., and not sure exactly where to go. Gonna wing it. Any suggestions? I saw that next weekend is a thing in Hazleton, but thats a week away. What places would you recommend in Pa, or Jersey or Deleware??? Prefer Pa....Thanks in advance
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Capt. Mike

Moderator
Read the site Guidelines linked bottom of each page. You failed to follow several including #1, 3, 4, 5 & 8. See the Dissappearing Posts link top right of every page. Since your email is blocked, you won't receive the usual courtesy message telling you why a post was cut or moved, where you question may have already been addressed or suggestions on where/how to repost.
 

zookz

New member
I really don't know where to post this; please feel free to relocate it, and thank you in advance and sorry if I've caused you more work, Capt. Mike.
I came across this link recently and want to share it with all y'all. It takes a minute to load. Be sure to click on the "Design" tab at the bottom of the page fora complete tour of this VW Westy based vehicle.

Oh! And if you check out the specs, just avert your eyes if they tend to wander toward the price tag.
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The price tag makes it more like a Ferrari with a hood ornament.

www.verdier.ca
 

Mike Robinson

New member
Capt Mike -

I am not sure where this should go on the site so if you could move it accordingly.

I have just had an interesting experience importing into Canada.

It is a very odd process, one that can lead to shipments being held at the boarder for extended periods of time. Warehousing costs at the boarder can be huge, so I think anything that may help should be concidered.

Importing as an individual into Canada does not need an Import License. Most shipments go under a blanket number that the shipper uses, however Canada Customs may decide that you need to get one just because. This will delay your shipment 7-10 days.

So to get one just in case - and give this to the shipping people and the customs broker if needed - phone Gov of Canada 800 959 5525 and ask for a personal import license. It takes 2 minutes, is free (requires your SIN number). The number ends in RM0001.

US Postal service seems to be the best people to ship with as they do not charge a brokerage fee. UPS has a standard $40 charge. For larger items that UPS does not handle a custom broker will have to be found to handle your shipment. The shipping company will call you with a recommendation should it be needed. This is a good time to have your import license number!

Costs

Most auto parts have a 7% duty on top of GST and PST. It is dependent on contry of manufacture and worth checking with your local Rev Canada office. It is worth checking country of origin of parts before you buy them. If you have to work with a custom broker service they will need documentation of this (get the supplier to put this information on the invoice - you will need to give a custom broker service a copy of this too)

Custom broker service costs $180

If you shipment is delayed at the boarder and needs to be warehoused it can cost $75 per day!

Hope this helps

Mike
'82 Westy diesel
 

Capt. Mike

Moderator
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Tech Drawings!

I've just found out Yahoo Photos is being discontinued. This is the site where I have all of the Westy Tech Drawing folders. Like Briefcase before it, everytime Yahoo gets something half-way right, they discontinue it.
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Yahoo suggests another account called Flickr. I've set up their transfer order, but they say there is a long queue and it may take a week. Obviously, we'll pray it actually works and we don't lose the sets. I'm not sure I could duplicate them again as they've been gathered from many sources.

The official closing date is September 20th, 2007, but I hope to have the alternate Flickr site in operation before then. I don't know if the Photo site will remain open after the transfer until closing. I've registered for a unique URL and will post that once Flickr is up & running.

I'll keep the site posted on progress on the Westfalia Community Photo Album forum. Sorry for the inconvenience. Idinnadoit! -- Westy Tech
 
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