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Messages - dmartin

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So how did it go? Did you find someone with a bus and some extra time? Did she marry you, or leave you for the busdriver?

Vanagon concerns / Re: no hot start
« on: September 27, 2015, 09:01:08 AM »
Problem solved. Battery had a bad cell or two (for multiple years) and did not have enough nuts to power the starter and the fuel pump except for a coldstart. Changed out battery and problem is gone. Thanks to all those with suggestions and advice!  ;)

Well, not much interest here for WVO, is there? I've been burning veggie in my Ford 7.3s for about 6 years - nearly 5000 gallons used so far. Kit I installed is from  No issues, even in winter. Just finished changing driver's side ball joints & tie rod/boot in my '81Vanagon - dropped the oil too. Hope you're having a great spring...  8)

Bus Blog / Automatic '73
« on: May 13, 2014, 08:37:19 AM »
If, perchance, I happen to own a 1973 bus...and if it is supposedly the first automatic bus to come to the west coast from Germany (as the WA dealership told us in '73) would I go about finding documents that would prove this? Thanks for any help...  Dan

VW stuff Available / Car cover for Vanagon
« on: October 02, 2011, 12:23:41 PM »
I have a brand new Coverking car cover for sale. It fits my 1981 aircooled Vanagon, but probably fits all years of Vanagon (but probably not campers). I bought a few years ago from, but it was a hindrance to working on my van each winter in my shop. Only opened once. Has pockets for mirrors, etc. Color is "pearl white". Go to to check out current prices. I'm asking $120, plus actual shipping from Sheffield, VT. Email me with any ?'s at Phone 1-802-626-3480.  Dan 8)

Vanagon concerns / no hot start
« on: August 28, 2011, 03:09:12 PM »
I kinda hate to fix this problem, as it is giving our family great memories of the kids pushing the Vanagon at gas stations/stores while I pop the clutch, but I suppose in the middle of Hurricane Irene, they don't really want to get out to push...
Our '81 Vanagon starts great when it's cold, or even if it's been run several miles. It barely turns over two times (cylinders) and it starts. But if we run it further than that and the engine warms up, it won't start no matter how long you crank it or how much you put your foot in it. The starter is cranking it fine all the time. When I pop the clutch (after a no-start), the engine comes right to life like it's saying, "Huh? What? You were trying to start me? I didn't know that..." I've checked and reset points, and when I rebuilt the engine just 8k miles ago I changed plugs, wires, coil, etc. At this point I'm thinking maybe the fuel pump is getting tired? Getting ready to stow her away for the winter in a couple of months, but it would be nice to resolve this first....Peace.   Dan 8)

Vanagon concerns /
« on: October 16, 2010, 07:59:10 PM »
Sorry I'm not closer - I'm 30 miles from Canada with lots of back roads. I saw your post about burning veggie - way cool! I have a gas Vanagon, but have put a conversion kit in my diesel 2000 Ford Excursion and have burned 960 gallons of WVO (waste veggie oil) in the last 17 months. I tried blending before that, but the N.E. climate does funny, solidifying things to WVO. Back to the radiator.... I hope you can find someone closer...   Dan 8)

Vanagon concerns /
« on: May 20, 2009, 06:39:12 AM »
Thanks for your concern. Don't drive it that much since we got the Ford Excursion 1 1/2 years ago. Don't drive it very fast around here either, with all the hills. Have run Vanagons for 15 years with absolutely no tire issues. Road heat is not an issue up here either. Again, thanks for the concern. I'm more concerned with my kids getting their licenses and finding safe cars for them right now... cya :P

Vanagon concerns /
« on: May 17, 2009, 08:12:24 PM »
I run whatever I can get. It doesn't matter the brand, the wall plies... probably it's like you said, the camber. I'll have it aligned someday. Thanks...

Vanagon concerns /
« on: January 26, 2008, 07:32:04 PM »
Wish I could help, but Burlington is still 80 miles and 2,548 frost heaves from my place of habitation. I've only dealt with my air cooleds, but maybe all it needs is a fuse or new distributor cap... or this time of year a little jug of "dry gas" does wonders...    Dan :cry:

Modifications and Alterations /
« on: January 11, 2008, 08:06:52 PM »
Yes VanagonJr, it sure gives you a feeling of self-worth when a VW rebuild that you've worked so many hours on purrs to life. On this last rebuild I ran into a problem with the counterweighted crank from GEX. I was turning things over as I tightened the crankcase bolts and thought all was OK. But when I torqued the flywheel bolts (5 of them) and then rotated the crank, something inside came to a stop. After some fancy optical configuration involving a flashlight and a small mirror, I could see that the crank counterweight nearest the flywheel was hitting the inside of the case! I split the case and ground off some aluminum, cleaned out the alum. dust and reassembled. All was OK again until I went to start the engine in the Van. I could only get it to backfire and smell of gas. After thinking it over for a week or so, I checked the distributor driveshaft - off 180 degrees! The distraction of the crank was all it took to turn my brain into jelly  :shock: . One other thing: I didn't check tolerances/clearances on the valve stems in the refurbished GEX heads, but from what I remember about the heads I rebuilt myself 10 years before on another engine, the GEX ones seemed a little loose. I should have checked when I had them apart to clean them. It doesn't seem to burn any oil, so I guess I'm set for a while.

As far as the "electric turbo" goes, I'm just hoping the CFM of the fan exceeds the CFM requirement of the engine at say 4000 rpm? I guess it's easy enough to figure: it would be 4000rpm x 2.08 liters/rev x 1000cc/liter x  1inch cubed/2.54 cubed cm cubed x 1 foot cubed/12cubed inches cubed. This would give about 294 CFM. I'm not sure what the fan is rated for, but 300 sounds familiar. I guess maybe if there is any boost it will occur at the slower RPMs.

Modifications and Alterations / Mods to move family of eight uphill
« on: January 01, 2008, 06:35:42 PM »
Here's a honkin hello from my family here in northern Vermont. :D I bought my currently stored 1981 Vanagon on eBay for $1000 (my first Vanagon rusted out and I sold it to a Hippywannabe for $1500). The family got out the sandpaper, and I painted her Regal Red with a cream top - came out beautiful for $7.99. We ran it four summers and it started exhaling blue. I knew I could rebuild the engine since I rebuilt my last Vanagon's engine 11 years ago with great success. So anyway, the kids are all bigger and I felt the need for more power  8) , but not necessarily speed. I've grown up quite a bit and have tired of the snappiness that is so characteristic of Jettas and other liquid-cooled conveyances. Why not tick off the tourists up here and do the speed limit? So to get her done, I tore into the job last spring. But this time I changed a few things. I added a balanced/counterweighted crank and new GEX heads with larger valves. I also junked the 94mm scuffed pistons and jugs, replacing them with new 96mm ones. The GEX guy told me my fuel economy would drop a little, but after running it all last summer it went up about 1mpg to 21 (of course this is running around town with kids and groceries, mixed with the 8 miles of highway to town, and also the mile of gravel - uphill - to get home).  My wife and I went to a sawmill seminar at Woodmizer in Maine and got 24mpg one trip without the kids.

At present, with the mountains of snow we have everywhere up here, I'm dreaming of getting the bus out once sugaring is done. I got an "electric turbocharger" on eBay and have it connected in before the air filter box - I just removed that 90 degree snout and clamped in a short length of 3" dryer duct. I need to rig up an electric switch to the throttle body so the fan kicks on when I'm just starting to go uphill. Anyone out there try this before? It's supposedly going to get me about 2psi of boost - maybe better fuel economy, and definitely more power. With six kids (eight when the Fresh Air kids are here  :shock: ) we wanted a little more than my engine mods gave us on the rebuild - the mods sent us from the stock 67 hp to just above 80 (GEX's guess). That doesn't sound like much, but I've noticed many hills around here that I no longer need to downshift on! Happy trails one and all!!!!  Dan Martin

Vanagon concerns / M-codes
« on: December 12, 2007, 05:20:48 PM »
Hi Dennis! I have a 1981 Vanagon also, in northern Vermont. It's tucked away for the winter. From what I can find, from 1980 on there are no M-codes, just the VIN. Here's a link to explain the VIN:

I got my 1981 on Ebay for $1000 about 5 years ago. Rebuilt the engine myself last spring, adding at least 10hp by changing to larger jugs/pistons and larger valves.  8)

Dan Martin

Vanagon concerns / tire wear
« on: August 29, 2007, 08:56:44 PM »
My 1981 Vanagon tires (like the 1980 Vanagon I had years ago) seem to wear out early on the inside edges, while there is still usable tread left in the middle and outer edges. Why? I'm carrying 2 adults and 6 variously sized children all the time, but the suspension doesn't seem to mind much. Is it something about my alignment? 8)

Vanagon concerns /
« on: July 29, 2007, 08:12:04 AM »
The last time I went into the nearest VW dealership (Montpelier, VT) I inquired about some engine cooling tin I was missing and asked if they could locate a part. They gave me a funny look and said,"What's a Vanagon?" It's hard to believe that noone else out there has had this issue. Maybe someone has an old ratty seat they can rip open??

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