Archive for April, 2020

Vanagon – Bilstein shock perch spacers

Update, if there is any interest I’ll upload a drawing and fusion 360 model of the spacers.

Got a full set of the 16″ Syncro Bilstein shocks. I’ve already installed the rears but delayed the front install until I made up some sort of spacer to raise the spring perch a bit.

Made two sets, from some scrap aluminum which either 2024 or 7075. Im leaning to the former, but either one is a good choice.

Two sizes, 12 mm and 19 mm. With the correction for the suspension geometry, that’s about 18 mm and 25 mm of lift. But I’m not completely sure about the 1.33 X multiplier of the geometry.

If the weather cooperates, I’ll install the shocks this weekend.

Comments on the pics. First machining shot is of the shorter spacers, the second machining shot is the taller spacers. I used the tormach to do the majority of the machining as it allowed me to use the scrap I had. I didn’t have suitable round stock. Plus I could do other things as the machine did the work. The other end machined manually on lathe.

And yes, you can stack the spacers. That stack way too much but one could. I did play around with a designs that would allow adding spacers without removing shock. But I gave up, my ideas were clunky and I lost patience.

Leave a comment

Vanagon – inside the rear window defogger switch

It’s to do with a thread on the vanagon mailing list. I took apart a spare I have.

Not sure what that broken plastic bit was meant to do inside switch. Maybe a shade in the illumination system?

The two teeny incandescents provide light the translucent white plastic for the rocker switch icon, and the amber light pipe.

Leave a comment

Other vehicles – new shoes for the Howard 350

It was a barn find over a year ago. Original tractor tread type tires were flat and badly cracked. They pumped up ok and used the tiller for a season with those ancient Avons. Best substitute at a reasonable price (42 bucks a piece) were snowblower tires.

It’s a Howard 350, English made, with a Canadian made Kohler K141T engine. Apart from new tires I’ve:

– took apart carb and and fuel filter and ultrasonically cleaned

– took apart conical clutch and skimmed surface on lathe, trimmed friction band to fit better

– new oil in gearbox

– removed the spring loaded recoil start. It was breaking ropes and I just gave up after numerous attempts to fix. Simple rope start around crank now. Usually cold starts on about 2-3 pulls. Sometimes even one!

– cleaned and checked points

What’s needed:

– fix a brake shoe to clutch actuating lever to stop clutch freewheeling when clutch engaged ( still very usable without this)

– tear open gearbox to see why second gear ( highway gear ) , won’t stay engaged

– new clutch and throttle cables ( they work but ratty)

It’s a great, bit of a beast, rotovater.

Some clutch pics .

Pdf of manual

howard-350-manual.pdf

Pdf of parts list

350-rotavator-parts-list.pdf

Kohler engine manual

kohler_k91_k141_k161_k181_k241_k301_k321_serv_man_0472.pdf

Oh and why not show the fekkin annoying recoil start assembly

5 Comments

Vanagon – ecu failure and fix

First off, I’d like to thank the vanagon mailing list members for their outstanding support and help. They were right there beside me all the way.

List info here http://gerry.vanagon.com/

Last Saturday as I was turning into the alley way that leads to my work ( doing plague induced alternate hours working) my van just died. No stumble, nothing.

Cranks fine, no start. I pushed van rest of way into work parking lot.

Then I started the diagnosis. Long story short, I found…

Fuel pump works key on

Ecu gets power key on

Coil gets power key on

Harness continuity to hall sensor and ground and power checks out fine

You get the idea, it all checked out. All the tests we would think of doing, including the Bentley manual ecu harness checks. Had work to do so that’s that for Saturday.

Sunday going over the same. Hall sensor failure was brought up. Well it was a candidate from the get go but I was putting that off. But I had to check if I was getting spark. Listmember suggested loosening distributor enough to raise it is shaft would turn and trigger hall sensor, watch for spark on grounded sparkplug. For some reason I was hesitant to do that but I was doing this alone and really needed to check spark. And I had no remote starter switch. I ended up with spark plug on case and video it when cranking. Yup,no spark.

Monday afternoon, evening. Back at it. Yes, the van still at work and I’m doing my evening shift. List member Geoffrey suggested brilliant idea of using timing light to determine if spark. I could cable tie trigger on and see the gun from drivers seat. No light flashing, No spark.

Swapped in a spare distributor. I had no idea if Hall sensor on it was good. But yet again no spark.

Tuesday, I took ecu out of its box, again. I had done that on the weekend to look for, oh, I don’t know what.

This time i found something. A bad solder joint on a power transistor middle leg. Bad enough that the leg would move in the joint. That must be it, I hoped. Mark and David on the list gave me hope that indeed it was the issue.

I reflowed the solder around that joint. Back up to work that late afternoon. Ecu in, and van starts. Not great, but starts.

I swapped the original distributor back in, and the van, after a bit of cranking, started. subsequent starting extremely snappy, much much better than before this event.

Poor pic of the bad joint, circled.

And in the other side of the board, the power transistor screwed to heat sink.

7 Comments