Friday, February 12, 2010

The Little Vanagon that almost could!

Bobke, our 1980 VW Vanagon, has been going through a big overhaul.  Quite a few years of neglect and several owners who tried to cut corners to keep him running took their toll.  The last owner, unable to get him running, decided to just park him in the back yard for a few years up in Idaho.  Then we came along and decided to bring Bobke back to his original grandeur.  The engine was rebuilt, new hydraulic and fuel lines were installed and a set of new 15-inch wheels complemented the initial rebuild to get Bobke back on the road. 

Air Cooled Engineering of Salt Lake City has performed all work on Bobke to date.  One of the big obstacles we faced was replacing all the mismatched parts used over the years with original parts.  The people at ACE have been great to work with and the owner of the shop has been a great resource of information for us as we tackle this rebuild.   

Last week we were informed that the engine rebuild was a success and Bobke was puttering away at the shop waiting for us to pick him up.  With my parents in town to witness the new arrival home we all decided to go down to the shop and pick up the Vanagon.  Lucy was given the honor of driving Bobke back from the shop while I rode shotgun.  

Even though the initial inspection showed that the transmission was in good shape a big ol' gremlin made an appearance only 3 miles from the shop.  The bearings in the torque converter of the transmission were bad and brought Bobke to a sputtering stop in the middle of four-lane State Street.  There was a bit of confusion and mayhem, but in the end we were able to get Bobke back to the shop via a tow truck.  The transmission was pulled and has been rebuilt.

Chewed up bearing rings.....Bad!

The shop will re-install the engine and transmission on Monday, and we hope that on Tuesday we can drive Bobke home.  We have dreams of adventures when Bobke will deliver us to some never discovered pristine overlook where we can pop the camper top and kick back with a beer in hand and relax.  Unfortunately we know there are quite a few potholes between that vision and right now.  A little bit at a time and some day we will be there.  At least that's what I keep mumbling to myself :-)

Like I stated earlier, my parents were in town for a few days and we really enjoyed their company and catching up on their adventures.  They stopped by on their return voyage from a cruise ship adventure through the Panama Canal. 

Dad and Mom enjoying the evening at The Dodo restaurant in Salt Lake City

Mom delved into the genealogy library for a few days and Dad helped me out with projects around the house, including installation of a gas insert for our fireplace and cutting out wood panels for the air compressor cabinet in the garage.  They had to return home to Pennsylvania so they could shovel walkways and driveways around the house after receiving 27 inches of snow this past week.  It was great to hop off the hamster wheel for a few days and spend time with them.  Their visit was timed perfectly, as Lucy had competent and willing pie eaters to test recipes for her upcoming Pie Smackdown.  No one was disappointed and no one went to bed hungry.

Posted by Drew


  1. It is going to let me post a comment. I am so excited. I have not been able to comment on your blog in 6 months. And now for my comment.

    Roll Bobke Roll.

  2. Blackdog, I wonder what your comments would have been these past 6 months...

    Yes indeed, Roll Bobke Roll.