Archive for October, 2011

Trip – curtailed short trip in Sooke

I thought I could make a circle route coming back on the north shore of the Diversion and Bear reservoirs, but active logging and an unexpected gate foiled me. Ran out of daylight and camped in slash. Next day was raining and I had brought the wrong fishing rod so I had no real excuse for not coming home.

Still had skinny summer road tires on (Agilis 81). They look like train wheels.

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Vanagon – syncro viscous coupling replacement

I pulled the front diff. on the syncro today to replace the old failed (weak) viscous coupling (vc) with a good used one. Dropping the diff. is in the Bentley manual so I won’t describe that part except to say that it takes a bit of wiggling to get it out. I used a motorcycle lift as a transmission jack. Once out I set it on a container to drain.

See the dark dirt on the input end? Looks like the oil seal there is leaking, need to attend to that. Once most of the oil drained out I humped it onto the bench, just to look at it.

See the speedo drive sticking out? Then it’s on to the floor and off with the 13mm bolts holding the skinny end on.

Some tapping with soft faced hammer to break the seal and it comes apart.

Yup, that’s the vc sitting there, with a spacer on top.

The vc just lifts right off, exposing the speedo drive gear on the pinion shaft.

Closer view of speedo gear.

With the case separated I drained the remaining oil, applied some sealant to the mating surfaces, put the new vc on the pinion (and didn’t forget the spacer) and the skinny part of the case re-installed and torqued down. All well and good, refill with oil in the morning. Now the interesting bit. I had to take the end plate off the old vc, I was dying to see the inside first hand. The big C-clip came out easily.

That end plate should then pull out, but it wouldn’t come. I thought maybe if I drained the vc and also run an awl around the edge of the plate to remove gunk it might help matters. The silicone flowed out, not as viscous as I have seen in those German videos showing refills, and looking like it might have some gear oil in it. BTW, didn’t smell bad.

Got the end plate off.

Removed the C-clip on the shaft (barely visible in above pic) and pulled the first two plates out to look at the adjacent surfaces. Need any more evidence that the plates do come in contact during hump? Upper plate in pic has been flipped over.

Close ups.

Accepted wisdom is that a weak vc is due to the silicone fluid leaking out. One could expect an O-ring to fail with time, but what I found was something else. I had a look at the X-ring that seals around the central shaft (there are two, one on each end, the one shown is in the end plate). It appears that the X-ring is twisted in the groove, look.

Out it comes, yes, it is twisted.

Another view (damned cat hairs, get everywhere).

This surely must have happened at the factory, a lip of the X-ring getting caught on the shaft during assembly. Tsk, tsk,  Steyr-Puch.

Addendum: I’m assuming the vc had leaked some fluid, but even with that folded X-ring I have no proof. The “dirty” fluid from the vc could be gear oil contaminated or it could be metal particles from the plates. Perhaps I can use a magnet to determine?


Foals and chicks

We have a few hens who have escaped their confines and have been hatching chicks here and there. This is the last brood, October 9. Plus a couple of pics of foals and mare.

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Vanagon – nice find at the wreckers

No heating element for the seat, but the switch and the relay/controller (and wiring). I understand the 2 seat switch will fit in same hole in the steering column upper cover, but of course will need an additional relay/controller.

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Vanagon – A viscous coupling

Thanks to good friend Simon, I have, in my hot little hands, a used viscous coupling. It might be on its way out, getting aggressive after a long hot drive, but it will be great for me this winter.

Here is a view of the front, the front differential end.

A couple of things to note:

-the punch mark up there on the rim between the circlip ends. It aligns with the casting ridge between that screw port and the rim.

– the paint on the screw ports and on the circlip ends.

Closer shot of the punch mark on the rim

The punch marks and the paint on the circlip must have something to do with registration on end cap for balancing. I doubt they were there to help rebuilders, but rather I am guessing the unit was balanced before filling (there are spot welded balancing tabs on the side of the body) and the marks are there to be sure it went back together balanced.

Here is the other end, the one closest to the propshaft.

Coming soon, the install, and perhaps (if I can get my act together) some sort of bench test of the VC.


Sad news



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Vanagon – power mirror repair

I have manual mirrors on the syncro and they are less than satisfactory. They are small, don’t stay adjusted very well (I have gone through all the tricks to keep them adjusted), and they frost up in winter. Now I finally have collected enough used parts to get 2 power mirrors installed, as yet not powered, and not without having to bugger around to make them work.

I have one white one, complete but the heating element connection broke, and one black one which also had the same broken connection plus a broken stem. I’ll deal with the black one first. By the way, the mirror had been “repaired” by its previous owner using duct tape and lots of shoe-goo. What a pillock.

Here is a shot of the socket showing the broken stub.

And here is the part that was broken off.

The bracket that receives this stud looks like this.

The stud passes through that bracket and is held in place with a nut and spring arrangement. The lumpy end of the bracket fits into corresponding divots in the socket on the mirror arm, you can see them in the first picture. Here is the spring and nut on the broken stud. The white thing is a plastic washer, but it was cracked and not reused.

A new stud had to be made and affixed to the mirror. I had an idea and, not surprisingly, I discovered that someone else had the same idea before. SpitsnRovers posted his fix on the samba. As an aside, his website has some pretty useful Vanagon info on it. It is just a matter of  tapping for a new stud to be screwed in. The stud has a 13 mm X 1.5 thread  so if I had a bolt with that thread and the corresponding tap, I would be in business. But I didn’t so I wasn’t. I did have some 1/2″ NC bolts and the right tap, why not use that instead?

I used the die to make the threaded portion of the bolt a bit longer. The bolt was chucked up in the lathe and drilled out (passage for the electrical wires). Oh I am so clever eh? Well, no. I drilled the hole a tad to large.

Found another bolt and drilled the right sized hole. Shown below is the drilled and cut bolt, a 1/2″ Nyloc nut, the stock nut, the broken plastic washer, and the spring. I feel like I am becoming even more pedantic.

I then enlarged the hole in the socket and tapped some threads. Not much meat there though.

I cut the drilled out bolt to the right length, actually a little longer than the broken stud, and threaded it in with some locktite and set it aside overnight. To be honest, I had my doubts whether the stud will hold, there are so few threads engaged. Righty-oh, next day I put it back together. I used a 1/2″ Nylok nut instead of the stock slotted nut, but here it is assembled onto the bracket with plain nut (that broken plastic washer was discarded later).

It withstood cranking down on the nut, the threaded stud did not pull out. I set that aside and had a look at the mirror glass itself. The glass is glued onto a molded plastic backing, with a metal heating element sandwiched between. There are two tabs bent up from that metal that connect to the 12V power supply wires. Here is an intact tab.

One of those tabs was broken (same thing with the other mirror). I tired to solder on a new tab, but no luck, the solder would not flow onto the metal. Time for the cheesy fix, I could lift the plastic backing up from the metal enough to slip the bare end of a wire in. It helps of you heat the plastic with a hot air gun. The wire was trapped and it made electrical contact. I tested it by popping the mirror into the freezer for a while then connected a 12V source to the tabs and watched the fog disappear from the glass. To make the cheesy fix even more obvious, I dolloped a bit of silicone onto the area. This picture is of the repainted white mirror (Krylon Fusion satin black) and you can see the same repair on the back of the mirror.

I routed all the wires (mirror motor and heat) and put the darn thing together. I’ll post more about the wiring when I get around to connecting the electrics to the van, I’m happy right now to have the bigger mirrors. The repainted white mirror was put together, minus that broken white washer.

Not quite the right sized screwdriver, but close, and German. So you know it has to be complaining about my lack of mechanical skill.

And a final shot.

A word about the electrics. The heating element supply is connected to the rear window defogger circuit, so it gets power when that is switched on. That will be a simple connection. The adjuster motor (and its little magnetic clutches) is wired to a control switch mounted on the driver’s side door. I have to find a switch. I believe some mid ’90’s cabriolets share the same switch? I’ll document that sooner than later, I’m keen to see the mirrors move and de-mist.