Wednesday, September 26, 2007

TDI - Day 2

Well, the next 8 hours have been spent on the TDI install, and I'm not really that much further along. Why? Well, most of that time has been spent doing research.

The first few hours were spent thinking and digging on the engine mounts. I found a guy to design and fabricate the engine mounts.... or so I thought. He had experience building roll-cages and building race cars, so he sounded up for it. Unfortunately, he hasn't answered emails, so I may need to find someone else. So, those hours may have been completely lost.

The next few hours were spent making decisions on the transaxle to use. After fielding advice from round the world, I found German Transaxle in Bend. They have been rebuilding and improving VW transaxles for ages. They recommended sticking with the stock 002 transaxle initially. I could get a rebuilt, hopped up 002 transaxle from them in the future for about $1500. That new tranny could get the bus up to 75mph at 3200 rpm. Apparently, there wouldn't be much of a step between gears either, as they would be changing the ring & pinion not individual gears. This was encouraging. Since I have a '84 wasserboxer transaxle with 80k miles on it and a full set of shift linkage, I figure I can sell those ($500) and be partway to the new transaxle.

Next, was finding an adapter solution that would mate the ALH TDI to the 002 transaxle. After talking with a few different vendors and fabricators, I went with Kennedy Engineering Products. They have a 091 adapter ($510) and a 002 adapter ($400). I asked if there was a need to get the 091 bellhousing and larger adapter. They said no, so $440 ($40 shipping) and 3 1/2 weeks later, I have my adapter. Upon inspection, I realize that the flywheel is 200mm and the old bus flywheel is 210mm. I'll have to get a clutch for a 68-71 bus - so my existing clutch that has less than 5k miles on it can't be reused. Maybe I can find someone that wants to buy it after I pull it.

Last, I dealt with some radiator issues. I bought a Jetta radiator from a nice cat in Southern Oregon. I bench-tested the fan with a car battery and it runs nice a quiet. I, then, took many measurements of both the radiator and the underside of the bus where I plan to position the radiator. I took these measurements to the freeware "Google Sketchup" to work through a mounting design. There are 3 mount points on the radiator, and I plan to reuse all of them. More importantly, the radiator, with the fan housing, is around 7 inches high. The body cavity on the bus is 5 inches deep. Even if I wanted the fan housing pressed against the floor, I would have a protruding radiator. I had suspected this would happen. I am still considering how deep to set the radiator, but my current thinking is to have the radiator mounts a-fix just above the bottom of the rails. This would leave most of the fan housing within the cavity and the radiator hanging below the bus, so a housing will be necessary. I had suspected that as well, and had planned to construct something out of sheetmetal to both protect the radiator as well as route air through it.

I'll try to remember to post a screen-shot of the sketchup. I don't know how well it can be used for genuine design, but it did tell me alot about how well the rad will fit without having to lie down under the bus and holding it.
that's it for now. More next time--

Friday, September 21, 2007

Housekeeping and Keeping House

It seems like time disappears in weeks instead of hours lately. I remember not so long ago an afternoon would just melt away and before I knew it, it was time to go to the pubs. I guess with kids, home remodelling and other things going on, time just vaporizes that much faster. Somehow the Summer blew by and I left town only once. I don't feel like I have a whole lot to show for it either. Sure, the kitchen is almost done, but, otherwise, it just was gone in a blink.

Now, with Soccer season starting, I feel like if I don't concentrate I'll awaken from a stupor to find Christmas carolers outside my front door. So, I've resolved to slow time down. No, not like Superman by spinning the earth backwards. I found that time moves most slowly when you do nothing as a routine and every day is completely different. As much as time flies when you're having fun, it rockets by when you're in a rut. Running through the AM routine to get out the door for the bus everymorning may be the most efficient, but not only is it the least inspired, your pre-work morning just got wasted. That's where the title of the post is coming from: who's doing the keeping? Is my house with the chores, errands and tasks keeping me, or and I keeping my house through selective choice?

I finished the french doors last night, and I'll be finishing some trim carpentry this weekend. The list of tasks shortens. The key, to me, is how the time and place of doing the tasks is decided. Honestly, it doesn't matter how hard you try to "get over the hump", because the hump doesn't have a backside - its an endless incline. Dropping everything else to work up the incline harder doesn't actually get you anywhere except further up the incline. Does the list actually end? No. In fact, the quicker items get checked off the list, the faster things get added to the bottom. Meanwhile, your kids are growing up around you, your wife is making career changes, and you're still thinking about some mundane task that "just has to get done".

Not anymore. No more arbitrary deadlines and no more morning routines. Everyone says that life is too short. Well, its even shorter when you aren't paying attention. I promised pictures from the remodel. I'll get to it eventually.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

RIP Robert Jordan

Yesterday morning I learned that my favorite modern author, Robert Jordan, died of a rare blood disease. He had been battling this disease for quite some time, so this shouldn't have come as a shock. For those of you that are not familiar with his work, he wrote many Conan the Barbarian books before starting a new series around 1990 called "the Wheel of Time". It was reading this series that I have become so attached to Mr. Jordan. There are countless reviews of these works, and all of them spent time on the NYTimes Best Sellers list, so I won't go too deep into the individual books. He brought a full-color look into a world of his creation. From inventing oaths like "blood and ashes" to inventing dice and card games, his attention to detail in daily life aspects was rich. He wrote of an entire political system. He created his own mythology and god/devil concepts.
I think what I appreciated most, though, was how he described battles. His education at the Citadel certainly aided his ability to describe battle formations, but it was the individual combatants' actions that really pulled in the reader. He was able to capture the excitement of a first-time soldier as well as the well experienced. He brought the valor and the raw power of a large battle as well as the carnage while propeling individual story lines. He dealt with food shortages, travel difficulties with armies in pre-mechanized times with great detail.
I clearly love Mr. Jordan's books. Honestly, I haven't finished the series to date, but not from a lack of interest, just a lack of time. His series had/has been a constant across my 20's and 30's unlike anything else. I never knew the author, only his works, but the world will miss all the books that he hadn't been able to write yet, including the conclusion to this series. Thank you, Mr. Jordan, and rest in peace.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Queen Elizabeth II: "We lost the American colonies because we lacked the statesmanship to know the right time and the manner of yielding what is impossible to keep."

Mr. Bush (last night): "I will settle for nothing less than complete victory.... when the terrorists and Saddamists can no longer threaten Iraq's democracy, when the Iraqi security forces can provide for the safety of their own citizens, and when Iraq is not a safe haven for terrorists to plot new attacks on our nation."

Clearly, Mr. Bush has something to learn from the Queen beyond simple table manners.

I'll get back to posting regularly. The remodel of the kitchen is pretty much done, and I've gotten some work done on the Benz. I shoudl be ready to switch back over to working on the bus in the next few weeks, weather permitting.