Friday, August 10, 2012

Vanagon Seat Install

Today starts my vacation, yet I'm getting one last post in before I go.  I wanted to give an update on both the Vanagon loveseat as well as the transaxle.  I've kinda wasted the afternoon, so I'll probably keep this short.

Love Seat
what goes with green/blue plaid,
grey, white, and blue?
Why, TAN of course!
Ok, maybe calling it a loveseat is a bit much.  Its a tan 2-seater bench seat from a brown Vanagon.  Once installed, I'll have a '79 Westy folding bed seat, front seats from a '74 and a bench seat from a Vanagon.  It will be a true franken-bus.  Sue me.  I'll be able to carry 5 people (plus me driving), and camp once we get there.  Try that with a stock VW bus.  Anyway, on to the progress report.  In order to fit the bench, I had to pull the stove/sink unit.  That cabinet now adorns my living room floor, but it makes ample room for the loveseat.  Once I made space, I aligned the rails with the seat by aligning the seat mount holes with the mounts within the rails.  I then duct-taped them together and put the whole operation into the bus.  With some wriggling, I set the spot front-to-back by lowering the folding bed and putting the bench up against it.  My thinking was that I may want or need to carry something long while also carrying some folks.  I was able to carry my entertainment center on that folded down section before.  Now I'll be able to bring 3 friends to help me move it.  Last time, I could only bring 1 friend... and he wasn't exactly thrilled at that prospect.

rear left rail location
westy fridge cabinet in
upper right corner
I marked up the wood floor with pencil so I knew where to put the rails and then pulled the seat out again.  Remove the rails from the seat and set the rails back in place.  I then set to measuring all over the place so I was sure that any hole I drilled in the floor wouldn't hit the radiator, the supports, the main front-to-back beams, the brake lines, etc.  I managed to miss everything important on my first try.  Hazah!  I drilled out 6 holes to 3/8" and wrenched bolts through.  From the underside, I lock-washered and nutted the bolts down. Last, I re-inserted the seat the "normal" way by sliding the seat onto the mounted rails.  Done.  All told, it took a few hours, but I move slow.

Well, we're behind schedule a little bit on the transaxle.  The CM code transaxle used the early gear sets and Daryl only had the later sets on hand.  With one of his guys out sick (or following a band around the country), he was behind schedule anyway, so this just put us a few more days out.  Unfortunately, those few days are probably the diffeence between having the new transaxle in time for the trip to Southern Oregon and not.  So, the bus may not go.  We'll see.  If the transaxle arrives tomorrow, there's still time.  I need a few days to do the work (see: I move slow) and we leave in the middle of next week.  Sigh.  So close and yet not quite close enough.
right edge of seat & slider

That's it for today.  The next time we go for a spin, we can carry the whole family.  We'll just be travelling at a max speed of 52MPH for now.  More next time and thanks for following along.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

One Slammy of a Sammie

A few years back, I worked at one of those Internet startup companies.  I had a lofty title and a pile of worthless stock options.  My situation was pretty common in the computer business at the time.  As Wall Street started to figure out that most of these companies were glorified Ponzi-schemes, the one I worked for strove to stay open by moving out of our fancy downtown digs in the emerging "Pearl District" to a zoning experiment in Beaverton called "the Round".  Originally intended for condos, the 4 story building was virtually vacant a full year after completing the bones.  No one wanted to live there.  So, they dubbed it "office space", and we moved in.  Of course, it was still the days of perception, so lots of customization was done to the space including open stairways and the like.  Well, it was still an open sewer compared to our last location, with a junkyard out one window and an abandoned building out another.  When contrasted to the bustle of downtown hip Portland, I was less than impressed.  Driven to find something remarkable, I would foray out at lunch.  One of my greatest finds is the subject of today's post.

Beaverton Sub Station
Front Entrance of
Beaverton Sub Station
Situated against the train line that runs through the center of downtown old Beaverton, is perhaps the best sub shop in the greater Portland area.  Sure, there's Kornblats if you want specialty sandwiches, but for a pure sub-shop experience, there is none better than Beaverton Sub Shop.  Chuck, the owner and main behind-the-counter-operator, hails from Chicago.  From the Cubs hat to the quality of the meat, he's all-Chicago.  He has a thing for trains, and his decor reflects that interest and the rail-side location with pictures and artifacts from railroading.  Even the menu has a train-car metaphor.  6" sandwiches average around $5 and foot longs are around $10.  The rolls are huge.  The dressings remind me of the subs I used to get at the deli as a kid growing up in New York.  Very Yummy.  From the day I found them as an employee at an Internet startup thru today, I try to make the Beaverton Sub Station a regular stop.

Bus middle-seat Update
Yesterday, I drove over to Always VW and picked up some mounting rails for the middle-row seat I got in Eugene a few weeks ago.  Not knowing how they originally installed, I was glad to be there watching it get removed from the donor vehicle.  4 bolts hold the seat to the rails, 4 bolts hold the rails to the body.  Simple simple.  I'm assuming that the Vanagon has a set of nuts welded into the body, and I won't have that in the bus, so I'll need a buddy (or careful vice-grip use) to get the rails bolted in safely.  If I can suffer today's heat, I'll be removing the sink/stove unit and start looking at seat placement.  If things go well, maybe I'll have the seats in by the end of tomorrow.

Daryl at AA Transaxle in Seattle is just completing the transaxle rebuild.  I've had a few questions about what I'm doing for gearing, etc, so I'll lay that out here.  First, we started with a '75-only (CM code) transaxle.  It has a stock 4.86 final drive (ring & pinion) like the Vanagons do.  We're leaving 1st and 2nd gear alone. For 3rd, we are using an aftermarket, hardened 1.14 and we're pairing that with a .73 4th from the same company/family.  This combination should provide the right power (HP) to torque curve intersections.  I intend to run my stock 14" rims and rubber through the Summer.  If money appears, I'll slap some larger (in diameter) tires on the 15" rims I have in storage.  I may just wait for Winter and slap 15" snows on instead.  We'll see.  Regardless, the transaxle should appear this week, leaving me next weekend to get it installed if I'm going to run it down to Ashland for our family reunion.  It feels tight, but do-able.  I just need a place to do it, and to dig through my storage facility to get some specialized tools... like the ATV-jack adapter I built.

That's it for today.  Time to drink some coffee and get to pulling that sink/stove unit. I'll update with some pictures. Posting from an iPad doesn't seem to support uploading photos. Grr...