Rain, snow, freezing temperatures, blistering sun, dark of night, or even pleasant weather, owners of old VWs experience it all while trying to troubleshoot the unexpected malfunction. A lot of these incidents make for great stories and are often told time and again around the VW show circuit or campout fire. “Remember the time when…. used bubblegum to…. repair lasted for…. miles.” “Had to drive…. hours…. head out the window…. eyebrows frozen…. then had to go all the way back home.” We all have heard them, laughed at them, stood amazed at the luck or lack thereof, or shook our heads in bewilderment. Maybe we even filed some tidbit of information away for potential future use to save our own bacon. “Well if that ever happened to me….” The odd tale, here and there, becomes legend, taking on a personality of its own as it spreads not just by the person front and center in the story, but by people who heard the story from a friend, who heard it from their friend and so forth. For me, these anecdotes are as enjoyable within the VW community as are the barn find narratives or the technical discussions. They demonstrate the ingenuity, humor, patience, and persistence that we all must possess to deal with such old machines. If nothing else, these accounts tell me that I am not alone and that, yes, others “suffer” too – there is comfort in company.
Last weekend, my son and I took some time for an overnight camping trip – and some quality father/son time.
A few weeks ago, before spring blossomed across Virginia, we took advantage of some free time during the weekend and hit the road in Moby. Not a major trip, just really an excuse to get in the bus and go, we headed out for a family lunch in Culpeper, Virginia. The day was a bit on the cloudy side, but it was good to be bussin’ again after the winter break. We also took advantage of the drive to have some fun with a GoPro camera Martha gave me for Christmas. Now, after a few weeks of learning (and some procrastination), I present my first video project and, hopefully, begin a new presentation format for this blog.
Well, almost. With today’s windy, cold weather, my thoughts turned to warmer, VW-friendly temperatures so I am sharing a friend’s photo of Moby on Assateague Island, MD last summer.
In June of 2014, Moby developed a flat front tire on the driver side while en route to to Maryland. The cause, as it turned out, was a faulty valve stem that cracked where it passed through the tire rim. Then last summer, on the way home from Assateague, MD, the front passenger tire lost its air less than 15 miles from home on our return journey. The cause? Again, a faulty valve stem that broke in the same place as the first. I never encountered valve stem failure before, not even heard of it in fact, but I certainly understand that all parts fail sometimes, even those that seem to encounter so little stress. The first flat I chalked up to this type of failure; just a possible defect in the part, perhaps something struck the valve, or I was a little overzealous in cleaning around it when washing the bus. But to have two fail on the same vehicle? That seemed a bit odd.
The guy at the tire shop informed me that in many cases, when new tires are installed, the stems never get changed and eventually succumb to dry rot. It is possible that this Continue reading