Archive for June, 2012

ATA – Sikorsky S61N

Been a while since last aircraft pic, but spotted this one for first time today. Owned by VIH, but not painted in their colours.

Leave a comment

Vanagon – another use for scrap aluminium

This time a bit of aluminium grating and it couldn’t have been easier to make – I cut it into two sections. Looks like it might work out in the field using rocks or wood to raise one end. BTW, my transmission bash plate seems to have generated a lot of chatter about increased transmission temps due to reduced air flow over the transmission. As with most internet chatter, no data given to support opinions but I hope to be able to do some temp measurements using IR gun (yes Simon, I’m going to ask to borrow it).



Vanagon – syncro bash plate project finished

Well the transmission protection part anyway. I decided to leave the plate mostly rectangular, but I did have to curve the front corners for no other reason than I thought it looked better. I also drilled some drain holes at the rear of the plate. Instead of using the drill press, I used the wrist buster, aka Van Dorn drill.

I made rather ugly holes with it, but I rationalized that (and other goofs) with the “it’s only a skid plate” mantra. I cut out slots for the stock skid bars and bent up the leading edges slightly. You can’t bend up that middle section too much or it will hit the nose cone of the transmission. I also gave the bottom of the plate some DA love.

I found it a real pain in the arse installing the stock skid bars by myself, but installed they were. See how exposed the transmission appears? Like having your goolies hanging out.

And same view with the plate installed.

Front view.

I think the extra width will help protect the inner cv joints and the fuel pump. Note to Simon, will also protect the speed sensor and that big electrical plug on driver’s side. But not sure about fitment around exhaust on your 2.5 Subie.

Next job will be to add some 1/4″ aluminium plate between the propshaft protection bars, and perhaps to extend that protection out sideways and attach to frame rails. That will help protect shift linkage and coolant hoses.

Damn. just occurred to me, forgot to paint the stock skid rails where I ground off the paint for welding the tabs on. I guess the project is not quite finished.



Vanagon – syncro bash plates project

I left the entire syncro drivetrain protection bars off my van after the propshaft business with a mind to installing some bash plates. The transmission is left pretty well fully exposed in the stock set up, and today I started doing a bash plate in that region. I had some scrap yard sourced 5/16″ aluminum plate to use.

Here are the stock skid bars/rails, transmission end. See the added tabs?

I had my first go at TIG welding…I still have a  long way to go.

A real welder (good friend Dave) did the stainless to plain steel weld (609 rod).

Pretty heavy gauge aluminum, but it was cheap.

I match drilled and countersunk holes in the plate to match the nuts on the rails. The tabs with nuts were not located with any special measurement in mind.

Other side view. I’ll offer the assembly up to the van and see how much of the plate I’ll cut away. Rough sketches on plate sort indicates my thinking, “wings” towards the rear to provide a little protection to the inboard cv joints.

Project finished, blog post here.



Vanagon – radiator replacement (mine)

Not really much to add to the previous rad replacement expect that it is my van (’86 syncro) and I thought I’d make it a post just for my documentation/memory aid purposes. I suspected my rad needed replacement for no other reasons than I think it is the original rad and that I noticed the rad fan coming on more often when idling after a hwy drive. The replacement is a Behr unit, made in South Africa. The old rad still had the a/c condensor rad attached in front, probably not helping heat escapement. The new rad did feel lighter than the old one, whether this is due to deposits in old rad or construction details I can’t say. No real details to note except that it is a pretty easy job. I clamped off the coolant lines so a total coolant replacement was not done, I glued on the little rubber washers on the spikes on top and bottom of the rad (so that they didn’t fall off during installation, and I sprayed Fluid Film on exposed fasteners in the general area. After install and bleeding, I have only idled van long enough (took 20 minutes) to get first stage of fan to come on, no road test yet.


Leave a comment

Workshop find – Pug with a Pipe

Another discovery made whilst cleaning up my stepfather’s workshop, a pug with a pipe! Both my mother and my stepfather did not want it, so I snagged it before they changed their minds. Some folk have no taste eh?

It’s hard to get a good shot of it, size and glass working against me, but here is one attempt.

Interesting stuff on the back, label indicating it was purchased in England?

But the paper glued down to seal backing to frame appears to be from an American newspaper, fashion and automotive sections!

My prime evidence of it being at least a North American newspaper.


Leave a comment

Vanagon – GoWesty Wasserstopper rain fly hook issue resolved

I received replacement hooks from GoWesty for the Wasserstopper rain fly. I had complained that original hooks held on to the gutter poorly. Good customer service!

The replacements do hook on to the rain gutter much more securely, but I haven’t had the chance to fully test with them attached to fly.

My best pic of original hooks, they end up hanging on by fingernails.


Replacement hook.