Archive for December, 2011

2011 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Syndey Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 55,000 times in 2011. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 20 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Vanagon – rear defogger grid repair

A really minor Vanagon repair here. Recently my rear defogger quit working and it turned out to be a broken wire in the area on the driver’s side of the rear hatch where the wire comes out of the body and into the hatch. Same thing can happen to the wires that power the rear wiper on the other side of the hatch. Once that was fixed I noticed that one of the grid lines was not working (condensation was slow to evaporate from one section). A closer look revealed a section of the grid that was scraped off.

I had an old repair kit in my pile of junk. All it is, I think, is copper powder in a fast drying resin/solvent mix.

Years ago I had done the same repair on my old ’72 Westy and I used the supplied template. I found out then that the slit in the template is way too wide, so I added some masking tape this time.

I applied the paint, a couple of coats, and left it overnight to dry. It worked, the grid conductivity was restored. But when I pulled the template off the paint came with it. So I re-did it but pulled the template off when the paint was wet. Here is the result, not perfect (I might try using a razor blade to clean it up a bit), but it works.


Vanagon – LED dash/control lights – commercial improvement?

You know how I have complained that the beam pattern from my home made and Van Cafe sourced LED gauge cluster bulbs is not optimal. The “standard” type LED projects most of  the light through the end of the diode, and even if you grind the end of the diode at an angle, or have ones that are flat ended (Van Cafe) it does not improve the beam dispersion that well. The stock incandescent bulbs project light from the sides as well as the end, and the bulb holders are designed to take advantage of that.

Well it seems that Go Westy are selling LED bubs that might address this problem. The heater control light looks like it has SMD units on the sides in addition to one on the tip. This should really make a difference. But jeez, expensive little buggers eh?

Go-Westy’s cluster bulbs do not have side mounted LEDs but appear to use a SMD unit. My limited experience with SMD LEDs makes me think that they have a much wider beam dispersion than the bog standard LED.

I have not tried any of Go-Westy’s LED so I am speculating based on the pictures.

Addendum: I’m remiss in not thanking Tom for the head’s up on the Go Westy bulbs. Also, I don’t want to appear to be endorsing Go-Westy’s stuff, I am not getting any kick-backs, sadly 🙂


At the wreckers – sample of JDM vehicles

I concentrated on vans, but there are a few SUV types there too.

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ATA – December 8 2011

Maybe Angus will ID the jets? Update: he did – Challenger 604 on the right, and probably a Gulfstream G450 on the left.

A shot of another VIH Kamov here.


A couple of miniatures

Made back in the ’50’s, couple of examples of the early work of  a long lost relative of mine.  The pistol seems to be chambered for a .22 cal cartridge, a blank of course. The hammer cocks and the trigger and guard act as trigger.

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Vanagon – digital clock LED light improvement

Quick mod to improve the lighting of the digital dash clock. I replaced all of the incandescent lights in the dash with LEDs some time ago, but you know how the light dispersion on a LED is much more restricted than that of an incandescent and it really is apparent in the digital clock. This German fellow thought the same and went to some trouble to fix things. I tried one of the hacks he discounted – installing some reflective material.

Clock apart, some adhesive backed aluminized foil stuck in to reflect the LED output to the 2 light pipes on each side of the clock face.

Clock back together, you can just make out the led close to the peak of the mylar foil.

And how it looks installed. Notice how bright the tach and speedo faces are at the top? I had put some of the same foil in the light housings hoping it might improve  the light from the LEDs up there, but it seems to have just accentuated the poor beam pattern. Camera setting does make it seem worse than it is in reality.

Also not that the little black shade is missing, or slipped, from the tach light housing. Here is the housing with foil.


Still more work to be done with this idea.


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Vanagon – syncro viscous coupling anatomy – part 2a

Some more images of the slots on the slotted plates of the VC. Any burr or ridge is not so clear, but perhaps there is one on the worn side of the plate. The series show the same plate, un-worn, then worn side. Clicking on the pics will bring up larger version.

Un-worn side.

Worn side.

Un-worn side.

Worn side.


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Vanagon – syncro viscous coupling anatomy – part 2

I took some pics (btw, all the pics can be clicked on to get larger image) of the plates in an attempt to see those “burrs” on the holes or slots that are implicated in the hump or STA (self torque amplification) event. I think having my sketch diagram of how the plates and spacers are arranged would be useful here:

Here is the stack as it comes out of the VC. Note that the circlip and shims are not on the end of the shaft. Also note that the top plate is not held in the stack by the circlip, but rather is pressed against the endplate when installed.

The reverse side of that top plate, obviously worn.

And the slotted plate below.

Now remember, these two top plates are not spaced apart. The next plate however, is spaced from the slotted plate you see by approx. 0.025″. Mis-focused on this pic, but included it to keep the arrangement clear. See the wear on it even though it is spaced from the plate above?

Here, with the above plate beside, slotted plate turned over.

Closer view.

Here are the adjacent surfaces of another pair, same arrangement as the worn pair above, ie has spacer separating them. Note that they are not worn.

Now lets get a better look at the punched holes.

Closer, I’d say there was a raised rim, very subtle.

And a shot of worn plate holes. I think you can see where the rim/burr whatever you want to call it has been worn.

I only had time to get one close up of the slots in the other plate type, no rim evident on this side at least.

Well, this exercise demonstrated, to me at least, that there are burrs on the punched holes. As to the role of these burrs, I will deal with that in part 3.



ATA – Nanchang CJ-6

Got a couple of quick snaps of one of the local Nanchamg CJ-6‘s taxiing today. From the reg. # it is a CJ-6a.

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