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End of an Era

The blue 89 Vanagon Carat has now found a new home.  In a way, it was sad to let it go because I had spent so much time bringing it back into good shape.  The Vanagon has gone to an experienced owner who needed an automatic transmission.  But, with the end of any story, there is an opportunity to begin a new one.

So, in its place we have acquired an 86 Vanagon Wolfsburg Westfalia.  Although a bit older, it is in really good shape and better suited to our uses (camping, etc.)

This is a “fond farewell” to the blue Vanagon and a hardy “Welcome!” to the white one.  Now, I need to drop the transmission to address a flywheel seal leak…..the saga continues.

By JPugh | Posted in 89 Vanagon | 2 Comments

Vanagon Auto Trans - WTF?

Okay, as those who have perused this blog know, I have been fighting a leak on the final drive side of the back to back seals.  This is following my transmission rebuild and seal replacement.  The first leak was caused by the differential side folding upon installation.  The fun thing about that was it manifested in a nasty leak during my 2000 mile long summer vacation.  Although annoying, everything survived with only minimal problems other than that.

So, I return home, drop the differential and transmission, split them and replace the seals.  This is after working through the details of how to ensure that the seal doesn’t get folded or nicked again.  Fast forward a week, I’m driving around and it appears that the replacement seals aren’t working and I purchase another van to perform an auto/manual swap.

Winter rolled in before I could get the swap completed, so I have driven the van only sparingly.  Christmas vacation arrives and I’ve got to haul 5 people (including myself) and a dog across this great state of Kansas to the in-laws.  So, we pack up the Vanagon, fully expecting to have to add gear oil periodically on the trip.  (It’s cold and snowy outside)

First stop, 60 miles into the trip, check the level and it doesn’t appear to have dropped.  There are no tell-tell signs of oil on the pan or dripping off the engine.  Odd, but in a way I’m a little hopeful.  So, we head down the highway to the next scheduled stop.  No leaks yet again.

The rest of the 480 mile round trip, no leaks.

WTF?!!!???  Is this Vanagon trying to drive me insane?  Could the earlier “leakage” have been the “Trans Lube Gold” heating up and liquifying?  Does it take time for seals like this to “seat”?

I’ve done a bit of mechanic’in in my time and I must say, I fully expected it to continue to leak.

So, all appears to be well with the Vanagon at this time (minus the “ghost locks”) and I have a spare 1990 GL sitting in the driveway.  Hmmm.  What to do with it?  I could sell it or I could chop the roof off and make a nice summer “Van”.  There is another local Vanagon owner who might need it as his was damaged.

By JPugh | Posted in 89 Vanagon, Transmission | 2 Comments

Vanagon Auto Trans - the Saga Ends

Well, after battling with the back-to-back seals all through my 2000 mile vacation and a second set of new seals, I have decided to stop fighting this sluice box  and convert the Vanagon to a manual transmission.

Luckily, as fate would have it, I was able to locate a 1990 donor van with a relatively fresh manual transmission and clutch.

I’ll be posting some images of the conversion process in the near future.  I have only been able to remove the dash and shifter.  The next steps will be to remove the pedal cluster/brake booster/brake and clutch master cylinders from the donor van.  Then the heavy lifting begins with the removal of the engine (future rebuild) and transmission.

I’m actually pretty happy having a donor van given the lack of available parts in the local area.

More to be posted soon.

By JPugh | Posted in 89 Vanagon, Transmission | 1 Comment