Archive for March, 2015

Vanagon – carpaccio flooring

My old floor, shown here in this post, was really getting a bit beat up. It lasted close to 15 years taking quite a bit of abuse so I can’t complain.  When I put that floor in way back when, I had it in mind to face it with cork and I still hope to do a cork floor someday, but I found something at work that tempted me.

The stuff came to us protecting some stainless steel weather bouys. Approximately 3/4″ thick, the material is closed cell foam and quite stiff. I’m thinking its polyethylene, but it sure isn’t soft. It is very tough, the surface seems resistant to catching sharp edges. It also has strands of some sort of fibre embedded, to reduce tearing I guess.

I cut it up into strips and installed between the seat rails.


Pretty bright eh? But most of the time I have some of those interlocking foam pads on the floor.


And all covered by an inexpensive bit of carpet from Canadian Tire.


Here is a close up of a scrap of the foam.


You know, having that bright colour on the floor makes me want to have a brighter coloured throw rug.

St. Paul with sword and Bentley.


Vanagon – the ongoing rear bumper build – back up lights

It’s getting embarrassing, but I still haven’t finished the job. What is stalling me is a latch to hold the swing away tire carrier very tight against the back stop. I’ve made a few latches but none have combined the two key features of holding it tight and being very easy to use. The rest of the bumper is finished but still unpainted. Recently i added back up lights to it.

For the last year I’ve had the bumper installed and a 4″ halogen aux light bolted to the top for a back up light. I put a 100W H3 bulb in it and yes, it does light things up. A bit obnoxious in parking lots, but really useful out in the bush. But that was just a temporary thing, I now have my real back up lights.

They are a pair of 10W LED units bought from Deal Extreme. Here is the link to the product page. They are pretty nicely made little units. I cut a couple of holes in the bumper, welded on some mounting brackets on the inside and installed them.


First the before shot. Note that in this shot I have the stock incandescent bulb in the right taillight,  a new LED bulb in the left taillight.



The aux light covered up, showing the improvement in lighting the LED bulb in stock taillight.


Ok, aux light removed, internal mounted LEDs installed. Daylight pic.


And night shot.


I like them, they work well. I am probably going to wire them to a spare switch I have up front so I can disable them in the city.


Campbell River report

North Island correspondent Phil Z. sent me a few pics over the winter.

Rain and a fairly high tide makes it look like the boats can come right on the parking lot.   


Douglas Squirrel catching Phil’s flash.

Trying not to use the word iconic, dammit, too late.

And the turbo prop Beaver.



Hey Mister, yer missing the Beaver. 

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Vanagon – 85 Doka

Ive been doing little work on my neighbour’s ’85 Doka recently. It was originally white but he did a quick paint job which I think looks very good. The colour scheme works well. He also lowered it and put on some 18″ wheels.

I pulled the dash and heater box to replace the motor and re-foam the heater box flaps. I don’t think the dash had been removed before but it all went easily, even the heater box bolts that go through the front body wall and are exposed behind the grill. Often those bolts get rusty and are a bear to remove.

The heater core was filthy but no leaks.

As a replacement blower motor I used a Vanagon A/C blower. The housing is identical and it fits in perfectly. The actual motor has, to my eyes at least, an improved end bearing/bushing. not as exposed as the stock motor. I added a little lube and then JB welded a bottle cap to cover. Kinda hillbilly, but it stuck on there well.

The other difference with the A/C motor are the electrical connections, but it is easy enough to splice it in. I know in the pic, the wiring looks a little sloppy.

As expected, the foam on the heater box was pretty well all degraded. For a replacement I used truck canopy foam tape found at local RV store. Its open cell foam with a clear plastic face on one side and adhesive on the other. The important thing, well I think so, with the foam is that it should be very compliant. The flaps have to be able to close with little effort. The plastic face on this particular tape reduced that compliance, but I discovered the face could be peeled off. On some of the flaps its a bit tricky to get the sticky backed foam in place, but you can remove one of the flap sets to make that easier. Oh, forgot to say, the heater box had not been touched before this so I had to cut off the tabs that are plastic welded together along the split seam. This time I used an angle grinder with a 60 grit flap wheel (blending disk) to grind the tabs off. That worked the best of all the methods I’ve tried over the years. There were a few metal clips on the seam, strange that wasn’t the full compliment to use when fitting the blower back together. But I had some in my parts stash.

But you’re not reading this, I hope, for a blow by blow description of the heater box R&R.




Old motor in the right, A/C on the left.


A/C motor, note end bushing.


And the old blower. It is tempting to say the end bushing is more exposed.


And the bottle cap glued on 🙂


Foam tape with the plastic faced peeled off.





Dash back in place. Stereo had unit still out, the PO had done a really poor job of wiring, I had to come back a week later and redo do all of it.


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Foggy morning in February

ther’s a company near Sidney that builds fairly large industrial mechanisms, pulp mill and coal conveyor parts for example. They ship the parts out on barges that come in on high tide at Patricia Bay. The parts are transported across the peninsula via the airport’ at night of course. One morning a I took this picture, you can see the conveyor heads at the dock. The water is so still.


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Pork jowl

I like buying a pork jowl now and again and curing it with some salt, a touch of sugar, and thyme. In the fridge like that for a week or so then tied up and left for maybe a month. Italian name is guanciale.

Some sexy kitchen bondage video, about as interesting as those wood fire videos or Norwegian slow tv.

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Vanagon – rear drum brake helpful image

I found this image on the Samba a while back, I think it was posted by Alaric. It’s a very helpful image to have around when you are working on the rear drum brakes. I know I get confused what goes where and in what orientation.