Sunday, November 29, 2009


It's been a few years since World Rally could be seen on tv in the States and I've been spending the last 6 or so Sunday nights watching it on HD Theater. Mikko Hirvonen (Ford) and Sebastien Loeb (Citroen) have been slugging it out. It doesn't matter what make a car is, they're all killer. It is a bummer though that we don't get to see the Ford Focus in ALL it's glory over here. The Subaru that Mads Ostberg is running is no where close to what we have over here but it makes it easier to root for him. It also doesn't hurt that he's a privateer and that for the last few weeks his girlfriend has been co-driving with him.

Year's ago the Corbitt's and I used to make the trip down to St. James, Missouri for the 100 Acre Wood Rally. At that time it was pretty much a club event but from what I hear, it's taken off and is now attracting some of the bigger boys over here in the states like Travis Pastrana and Ken Block. I'm going to try and take a Friday and Monday and do a long weekend back home watching those guys tear it up. The last time I was there Adam was driving what would eventually become my last Audi before coming out here. We hauled ass doing up to 75mph on gravel roads trying to get to the next point where the racers would pass by. Dave was in the front and Seth and I were in the back and, at the time, Seth was quite sick and I was trying help him change a medecine bag that went into his heart while we were bouncing around. Seth passed away shortly after that but it sure was a fun way to spend one of my last times with him. The Corbitt's have always been like brothers for me.

Friday, November 27, 2009


I went back out to where the van went on strike yesterday and started from square 1. Fuel? Check. Spark? Check. I unplugged the fuel pump relay and the ECU and plugged it back in and Herman came to life. I shut him off and reinstalled the spark plug and the wire and started him again and things were back to normal. At the speed of lightning I threw everything in and told Heather to get moving before he changed his mind again. We made it back to Woodland which is great since towing was gonna run me 150!!!! I'm thinking about getting a tow truck and doin that on the side.

When I got home I took a gander at the Hall sensor coming off the distributor and gave it the stink eye. Upon closer inspection, I noticed that the plastic was busted off around the connector and wondered if the wires were grounding out against the distributor body. So I started it up and jiggled the connector and it died. I think this sensor talks to the computer and lets it know how much fuel to dump through the injectors so if this thing cuts out it would cause the motor to hiccup like it's been doing for several months now. So now I have slathered a liberal amount of silicone on the edge of the distributor body and later on I'm gonna see if that provides a bit of insulation to keep this from happening. It beats spending 125 on a new sensor.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

This is the thanks I get???

After all I've done for Ron Burgundy these last few days and today he decides to leave me stranded?? My wife told me I should go fly fishing while she got dinner ready. Who the hell am I to argue? About 1.5 miles after turning off highway 24, the van stumbles and then dies. I got it started a few more times after that but it died immediately each time. Now luckily, the road was slightly downhill so I just let it roll backwards. I eventually decided to try and turn it around in the middle of this road and was able to do so. Facing the right direction now, I pushed with everything I had (ever try pushing a van on your own?) and then hopped in and coasted the rest of the way back to the highway and parked it in a lot right there. Of course I had no service so I started to hoof it back towards Woodland until I could call. Wouldn't you know it...a student and his mom happened to come by. She works at a local fire station so we turned around and went back there so I could root through their tools and take one slide down the pole.

I went back out there to check the coil before we ate and I think it's ok but it's been so long since I've done anything with a coil. Initially, I wasn't getting spark at the plug I pulled. The second time I had my protoge crank it over, it did spark and I got shocked. I'm hoping there's an intermittent spark issue and maybe that's why the coil kinda tested funny. I suppose I'll head back out to it in the morning and see if there's fuel at the rails and re-check spark and coil again as well as the Hall sensor. Kinda pissed. If I can't get it fixed then I'll have to have it towed home and there's no way they're getting up the driveway let along in the garage. I also don't think I can take it somewhere. Those that know me understand that one. It's not so much the money (although we are broke) as it is just me wanting to fix it on my own.

Hope everyone had a good dinner.

Happy Turkey Day

I wanted to wish all of our friends and family a happy turkey day. We miss everyone back home and are anxious to get back that way.

We don't have too much planned for the day. I did something to my neck the other day and haven't been in this much pain since Adam's daughter's convinced me that it would be a good idea to try and do a flip on their trampoline. It didn't work out but everyone said it looked pretty bitchin' until my rag doll body finally stopped bouncing nand they heard me moaning. I recall hearing the giddy laughter of children saying, "Do it again!!"

Someone fairly local is selling these wheels for $50. Fitting aftermarket wheels on the van is a huge pain but that's a price that I think even my Chief Financial Officer would be ok with. Normally you have to worry about spacers, different bolts/lugnuts, the centerbore usually has to be enlarged, grease caps don't usually fit the new wheels (and those are hard to come up with), I've even seen it where the sliding door hits the tires because they're now pushed out too far. The bolt pattern of 5x112 is a bit odd but Mercedes wheels are pretty popular in the Vanagon world. I've got a friend that specializes in custom wheels for vans and he's checking on how much of a pain it would be to fit them. These may be pretty much bolt-on so I might just grab them and let em sit in the garage until I figure out what I'm doing with the thing. I think if I were to keep it after the move, I'd wanna slam it down pretty low and then these might look cool since they're different.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back when I was in college I had a black Scirocco that I loved. I drove that car hard and eventually cracked the sub-frame and both shock towers. You could stand on the front bumper and watch the car give near the skuttle area. So I needed a new car and didn't have much cash. I found a guy selling an Audi 100 for something like a grand and my pal Adam and I went up to check it out one night. We were surprised to find out that it was actually a 4000 Quattro when we got there and the guy just didn't know what he had. It was pitch black that night and with no flashlight it was hard to see it but I knew it was gonna need work (brakes, exhaust, etc.). The guy told me it needed a clutch but there was a nice puddle of brake fluid under it. The clutch was hydraulic and we were pretty sure that it was just leaking from the slave cylinder and might not be too hard to fix. We drove it and I liked it. It still is one of my favorite cars.

I remember getting it home and parking it in front of my apartment. The next morning I woke up and went to the front window to look at it....and screamed. Someone had vandalized the car. I went out there and was stunned at what I saw. Someone had taken primer and painted the ENTIRE thing without taping anything off. There was primer on the tires, the lights, the windows...everywhere. Then I opened it up. There was fast food containers and countless chicken bones in the car. It was the filthiest thing I've ever seen. Long story wasn't vandalized at all. This is what the PO had done. Anyway...I drove that car for about a year and then sold it to a guy named Russ (who happens to own Mesa Cycles in St. Louis). I think he was gonna use it as a rally car. Don't know what ever happened to it.

What I do know is that Russ used to own a bitchin' white 4000 Quattro. In 1986 Audi made a commemorative edition 4000 that was white with red leather interior. Now I don't think Russ's was this model as his was naturally aspirated and the CE was turbo'd. Russ eventually did turbo the car and dump it with some killer suspension. I remember it being pretty violent. He sold that car to another buddy of mine named Steve. I believe on the way home, Stevie missed a shift and blew the motor. Steve never has less than 13 or so cars and so it sat for years. I recently learned that another bud of mine (Dave) bought it and is going to bring it back to life. These are some pics of the CE edition.

This is a car that I would be very interested in acquiring. I can't wait to see it again...and drive it.


Do you think this is enough firewood for an overnighter down by the river?

One of my neighbors (who looks just like Gilligan....he even has the hat) stopped by yesterday and asked if I wanted some firewood. So I drove the van over and loaded up.
One of the odd things about the van that I really don't get is the headlight switch. Yes...the fact that it contains no relays is strange. They are spendy little buggers and they're pretty easy to fry. But...why is the switch not illuminated? I always have to fumble around with my thumb while trying to turn it off in the dark. The first generation Jetta's came with one of 2 switches and one of them is supposed to be a direct replacement and it's illuminated. If those crazy German's were using that switch in the Jetta's up until 1984 (then they changed to the A2 and used a switch that wont fit the van) why on Earth did they put this one in van in 1988? Doesn't make sense to me. Since I can't find one in a yard out here I've been scouring the internet. I finally found one last night. These switches can cost up to $70 but I scored one for $7. I'm not entirely sure it's going to work but I figure it's worth the gamble for that price.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Play time

I decided to paint the wheels back to their original color. I love black wheels but I actually think this looks better.

I hated the switch that came with the driving lights. It was big and really bright. So I went with tihs one.

I really wanted to mount them inside the lower grill but I was more ok with drilling holes in the bumper rather than cutting up a perfectly good grill that I can't find anymore if a situation arose.

They turned out ok I suppose. Here you can also see Richard Cabessa in the drivers seat.

This is what it looked like with the black wheels.

Let there be light...but no washer fluid

The stock low beams on the van have been killing me. 2 Maglites taped to the roof would put out more light. There's about 1/2 a volt drop from the battery to the headlight connector and that doesn't seem like a whole heck of a lot. I considered adding in 2 relays so that more power (always the answer right?) could reach the lights but I'd have to tap into the wiring harness inside the steering column and that's always dodgy. The real decision was made at the parts store when they told me that each Bosch relay was gonna run me $12. After connectors and wire I'd be close to $45 and I figured I could get some driving lights for that. I'm not a fan of drilling holes in bumpers (particularly this one) but I didn't have any other options. So I mounted up some lights last night.

After messing around with the main fuse panel to get power, I went to button everything back up and noticed one wire hanging there. So in a sea of wires I needed to figure out where it's home was. I decided to call it quits around 10. While having coffee and pouring over wiring schematics this morning, I realized that the wire in question controls the front windshield washer pump. The bugger of it all is that now I have to figure out how to make this work again. This is one wire in a plug that contains 15 different wires for various things in the front of the vehicle and I'm going to have to get the connector out from deep inside the plug and then repair it. I have a few ideas so we'll see how that goes.

Whilst monkeying around under the dash I did find another connector that wasn't plugged together. I have no idea what it controlled but I'm hoping it will equal about 47 more horsepower at the wheels. If so then I might be close 90.

I know you're dying to see pictures of the install so I'll appease you later.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Salvage yard

The van has quite a few dings and dents from the previous owner and probably the worst one is right on a wheel well and would take a lot of work to fix and then you gotta deal with the paint. You can get flares out of South Africa and they would cover this little mishap perfectly but they are well over a hundred dollars. So I walked around trying to come up with an idea that would work. The problem is that the arches on the van are longer (front to back) than the Passat, Jetta and Golf so that's not gonna work. I did find a really nice set of GTI mud flaps and started to pull those off when I realized that the inner lip of the wheel well is different on the van and that these wouldn't fit. The Vanagon is the bastard child. can find flaps out of South Africa but I think the last time I checked they were 50 for one set. Flaps are so Rally though. This yard didn't have one Vanagon! It had a couple of GTI's and about a dozen mid-90's Jetta's and Golf's.

What there were a lot of was ABA 2 liter motors in those Jetta's and Golf's. This is the 115hp motor. It wasn't anything special but it would be more reliable than the 2.1 in the van. I stood there thinking about it for a while because they are a dime a dozen. It could work in the van if you use diesel parts to connect it to the trans. After a bit of research when I got home I found that the 2 liter head sits 17mm higher than the motor that's in the van. and that would interfere with the bed. BUT......if I use a 1.8 head it would shoehorn in the engine bay since the head is shorter. I love looking around the yards at all the older cars that I've owned.

You're also gauranteed to see lots of interesting people at the junkyard too which is another reason to go. Yesterday a guy approached me. This guy was limping towards me and I noticed him out of the corner of my eye. There's a lot of people that limp at the junkyard only they normally can't even pick up said leg so they let it drag on the ground behind them as they approach unsuspecting people. As soon as he got close enough he let fly with the tried and true junkyard banter: "There sure is a lot of junk here". I put this one right up there with being in a sauna and having some jackass comment about how it feel's like a sauna in here. Anyway...this guy slurred like he had already had several pulls off the Ripple or 20/20 and then it came; "Hey brah....can I borrow some tools?" This bothers me. People that come to a junkyard are there hoping to find something for a vehicle. Generally, these parts are not just randomly laying around. There is some disassembly required. Now the only reason this is a real problem for me is that I once had a guy run off with some of my tools and that's just shitty. So in my head I'm thinking, "Fool me twice....shame on me?" So.....I told him no. Immeadiately this was a problem and I was the mean guy which is perfectly fine.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Working it out

This past week I started putting together a workout routine. At this new school, they have a crap ton of free weights so I'll be doing a lot of squat work. The football coach has been helping me out with coming up with stuff to really work the core muscles and the legs. He did call me a pussy because on day one I told him there was no way I was going to try and squat over 300lbs. but that's ok. He also kept staring at my legs until I finally broke the ice and said we could talk about leg shaving if it would help. It's ok...I'm pretty sure I'm a real man.

He's got some interesting thoughts about working out. He's come over to me a few times and said, "That's not doing shit ya know?" I told him I will be his guinea pig as long as he makes my core super strong and doesn't put any weight on me up top. I don't really care if I gain some lbs. on the legs. So he's makig some changes to my routine but he's got me working out Monday and Tuesday and then again Thursday and Friday. He said that Monday, Wednesday, Friday crap is old school. What do I know. I just want him to think I'm cool.

New rubbah

I finally got around to fitting the van with some proper tires. A lot of Vanagon afficianados are a bit like the older air cooled guys. They're a bit eccentric and, while they mean well, they can some times get a bit carried away. The Vanagon originally came with a tire size that is extremely hard to find now and if you do it'll set you back a pretty penny. A lot of guys install Nokian tires but the cheapest I've seen them is a bit over a hundy a pop. To make a long story short...I opted for a lesser expensive tire and while it doesn't have the load rating that some guys think is absolutely mandatory, it is a better tire than what was on there and so that's a good thing. We're supposed to get some snow later this week so I'll be eager to see if they help. They sure as hell can't hurt.

As you well know, I love the van, but I have been mulling over a possible trade. I don't know if either of us are all that serious but if it does happen...I'll be road tripping. Fortunately, it'll happen in St. Louis so we'll get to visit some friends.

These look a bit like Blizzacks with all the crazy siping but they can be fitted with studs. Although that sounds like a pain in the ass it's nice to know I can do it if need be.


He looks like he's actually a good dog.

He's truly a magician though. Somehow...he got this entire sweater into his crate (while he was in it mind you) and destroyed it. It's important to keep in mind that the holes in the side of the crate are maybe 2" in diameter. There wasn't just a portion of the sweater in the box but the ENTIRE sweater. The jury is still out on how in the hell he got it. Dharma and him may be working a scam. I told Heather she could still wear it just so long as she doesn't turn her back to anyone.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Like my rack?

Yesterday was really nice up here. Temps were about 55 so I decided to go and check out some areas that I hadn't been before. I knew about where I was when I hit the third hour. This area is supposed to have a nice population of mountain lions and as I was riding along I caught a whiff of something dead. Normally it's not a good idea to check out a food cache but this one really stunk so I figured it was probably pretty old. I walked for a few hundred yards before I found it. Both of these antlers had barbed wire twisted all around them and there were 2 fence posts that were 6" in diamter that had been broken off. By the way the wood looked, you could tell that it hadn't been like that for long. The bull was 20 yards or so further into a drainage and was mostly gone. I suppose someone could have taken a poor shot and it eventually bled out in the drainage but based upon what the area looked like I almost think a kitty may have been chasing it or even gotten hold of it. Maybe the bull fought as much as he could until the antlers broke off after getting tangled and then he was defenseless? Either way it's sad. After sitting there for 30 minutes or so trying to play out what may have taken place, I headed for home. I came back later in the evening and retreived the rack. They are in bad shape. The barbed wire really did number on them and there's even a few chips where it looks like he was fighting for his life. Nature sure is beautiful but there are definitely times when it can be really depressing.