'89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

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MarioVelotta
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by MarioVelotta » Tue Jul 31, 2018 8:59 pm

So many fun weekend trips I'm jealous!
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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Wed Aug 01, 2018 11:37 pm

Hahaha, maybe when you're ready to "slow down", you and Misty will give Van camping a try and see what all the fuss is about :D . It's kind of consuming my VW time in an uncontrolled manner lately, but this rear engine, off road VW has been a lot of fun for me and my wife. We have dogs, but birds are also acceptable Van companions ;-)
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ajdenette
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by ajdenette » Wed Aug 08, 2018 7:12 pm

glad to see you have been enjoying the Vanagon and embracing its life style.
Alex

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Thu Apr 16, 2020 9:04 pm

Seems like it's time for a little update, this Van has been our transportation of choice since it's been on the road, always the right vehicle for any occasion. So, we took it to a local Subaru tuner and put it on the dyno, main focus was changing the fly-by-wire throttle response and feel. We ironed out quite a bit of the throttle problems and I've learned to deal with the rest. It ended up putting 125HP through the BFGs and has a much safer tune now for pulling the load it has. I REALLY want to go MegaSquirt with this engine like I've done with my 2 aircooled VWs, but that's for another day...

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:07 pm

Holiday parades are pretty fun with the heater cranking in the Van 8)

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Started hearing some weird noises from the clutch so I had to pull the trans and have a look. The stock Vanagon clutch disc/pressure plate has been holding the Subaru power just fine, but the clutch does get slipped a bit with the gearing and tires we have. Also, we live in a rather hilly area, and I'm not the only person who drives this beast... :P . It still drove rather normal, but had an odd chirping with clutch engagement. Ended up having a smoked pilot bearing, smoked throw-out bearing and warn pressure plate fingers and clutch disc springs. It was pretty hammered and I have to assume it was due to getting pretty hot. I've only done a small handful of burn outs, power slides and general "drifting" where a clutch poke/slip here and there helps things flow better. So I blame my clutch problems on my Wife's driving :D .

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I also found a problem with my flywheel. This was a re-surfaced unit off a customer's Van back at the shop I worked at, price was right :lol: . Turns out they machined the pressure plate mounting surface too low (probably because they had to cut soo much off the clutch face to clean it up). So when they pressed the ring gear back onto the flywheel, it sat ever so slightly higher than the surface the pressure plate bolts to. This causes the pressure plate to flex/deform as it's tightened onto the flywheel, it's trash, and I put it back together that way (with a new disc and PP for now) because I "needed" the Van back on the road. Have since purchased a complete RMW Suby adapter kit to do it RIGHT next time and get rid of this trash.

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Thu Apr 16, 2020 10:28 pm

Our Van was missing the battery cover door and nearby sheet metal for some reason, so I improvised an aluminum bolt-on cover. We cut a bunch of carpet tiles into strips and made a cover for the floor and seat box . I've also been wanting to have better access to tools and things with the bed folded out, so I built a new face board for the rear bench to add a little room and easy access to things.

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For some reason VW used pressure switches for brake lights in Vans forever. I needed my brake lights to come on with OUT applying pressure to the brakes, like every other modern vehicle on the road for the last 40 years. Just touch the pedal and lights ON. So I rewired the factory cruise control switch on the brake pedal to control the (LED) brake lights, and added a 3rd high mount for safety.

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Karl

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ajdenette
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by ajdenette » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:39 am

Glad to hear an update on your Van Karl, I understand the feeling of being a passenger while the wife drives and thinking about how much sooner I will be performing a clutch job on the van with a Subaru engine based on the wife's driving style.

(Edited 4/18/2020 due to spelling mistake Karl pointed out :oops: )
Last edited by ajdenette on Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:18 am, edited 2 times in total.
Alex

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Steve Arndt
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Steve Arndt » Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:44 am

I like the updates. Keep em coming. Plans for my van include the big front brake upgrade, complete redo of rears w semi metallic shoes and LT wheel cylinders, and get the westy top installed, then build out my kitchenette setup. I've been driving my baja a lot now that it's warming up.

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:00 pm

ajdenette wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:39 am
Glad to hear an update on your Van Carl, I understand the feeling of being a passenger while the wife drives and thinking about how much sooner I will be performing a clutch job on the van with a Subaru engine based on the wife's driving style.
Do you understand the feeling when you're German parents named you Karl with a "K" for a reason and the whole world spells it with a "C" for some other reason?? :D no big deal...
Steve Arndt wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 8:44 am
I like the updates. Keep em coming. Plans for my van include the big front brake upgrade, complete redo of rears w semi metallic shoes and LT wheel cylinders, and get the westy top installed, then build out my kitchenette setup. I've been driving my baja a lot now that it's warming up.
Thanks Steve, sounds like you've got some work ahead of you. We like not having a kitchen inside the Van, but really wouldn't mind some headroom, lol. And I really should be driving my baja more than I am.

Instead, I removed my slow and poorly designed power window regulators, switches and wiring and installed some freshened up manual regulators. Also freshened up the factory door lock actuators and wired them so they operate from a switch on each door rather than from the door lock cylinders, soon to have remote door locks :shock: . Had to cover up the holes I cut in the ABS panels to mount the switches.

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Leatherneck
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Leatherneck » Sun Apr 19, 2020 5:39 pm

Don’t Quit!

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Sat Sep 05, 2020 9:40 am

Little update to start off the holiday weekend. A while back I noticed my dash blower motor fuse #13 was looking a little crispy, so it got my curiosity going. This is a 15 amp fuse where my '89 should have a 20 amp fuse here. I decided to test the current load on this circuit. Using an amp clamp, I found with the blower on high, over 17 amps is pulling through that fuse, depending on mode door positions (restrictions to air flow) the blower would draw as little as 12 amps on high speed. So, no I run a 20 amp fuse and try to avoid using the high speed setting :mrgreen: .

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I managed to get my hands on a 20 year old, used twice, Warn 9500I winch, just in case...

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We picked up a little Traeger Scout and I built a small table with caster wheels for the it. Turns out it fits PERFECTLY in the Van and should work great powered with our small 500 watt inverter. Tried to use it once this Summer but were foiled by a local burn ban where we were camping :roll: .

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I finally put the Wheel Skins wrap on our stock steering wheel, sorta matches the grey "bluestar" interior theme, and of course adds 10 horsepower.

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A few years ago, I posted some pictures of a bumper I was going to try and mount on the Van. It's basically a Syncro 16 nock off design. The local shop I used to work for had a run of these built with a "small" design flaw. I knew it would take some work to fix this correctly, but I had an idea how to do it. Basically the upper cross bar assembly needed to move forward and down about 7/8" to sit in the saddle on the two from ribs. If I cut each corner out with 7/8" length difference, they can be flipped and it should drop the bar right down where it needs to be. I went to work with a couple squares and my eyeballs and put the chain cutter to use. It was close, but the small differences from side to side on the whole bumper structure needed work too. I'm currently in the process of clearancing a few key areas to make this fit over my fiberglass bumper ( was designed to fit the thin metal or no bumper Vans).

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Karl

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turbobaja
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by turbobaja » Tue Oct 20, 2020 9:35 pm

Finally got this bumper done and mounted, took about 3 times as many weekends as I'd hoped, but it's done. I had to test fit this thing dozens of times, so it made sense to build a dolly so I could get the Van up on jacks and just slide this thing into position, then lift about 1" to the mounting surface. The problem was that each side of the bumper wraps around and fits snug against the fiberglass bumper. It ripped the "protective tape" I put down multiple times, and ended up scratching the paint up pretty bad. So, now that the bumper has it's own roll cage, the paint is already jacked up pretty good :roll: . I thought all I needed was a little clearance, so I used some 5" stainless exhaust and cut a couple biscuits out to make these.

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After some more paint damage test fitting, I realized I needed more space. Also, the exhaust was pretty thin wall stuff. So, I found some decent scrap plate steel and made these.

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I needed to mount a couple LED driving lights while I've got bare metal. The lower cross bar had one of 4 sleeved butt-welds from the manufacturer and was NOT straight. So, to get the lights mounted up "true", I used a straight edge (48" level) to hold them in position while tacking on the brackets I made.

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Everything all welded up, last full test fit, free of any additional paint damage 8) . Got the mounting holes drilled, hardware sorted (10) 10.9 flanged bolts, M10x1.5

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Had to clear that little rib in the front bumper too...

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Fitting good, so I got it cleaned up and smoothed out a bit, degreased and sanded. Washed it one last time and hung it up in the garage to spray with some rattle can hammertone. Came out "ok", feels kinda quick n dirty. This is our Go-er, not a show-er vehicle, so focus is on function, mostly. If the paint ever fully cures, we'll be hanging hammocks from the top bar :mrgreen: .

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I wish it all looked this good...

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Karl

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Piledriver
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Piledriver » Wed Oct 21, 2020 9:33 am

Slick.
I'm hoping to get "Shed" back on the road before new years...(86 Wolfie, soon with much better motivation)
Addendum to Newtons first law:
The longer a vehicle rests on jackstands,the more likely it is to remain that way...

Steve Arndt
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Steve Arndt » Wed Oct 21, 2020 10:07 am

Cool progress.
Pyle, make a thread for your van!

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Piledriver
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Re: '89 Blue Star Vanagon Project

Post by Piledriver » Thu Oct 22, 2020 8:47 pm

I will.
Addendum to Newtons first law:
The longer a vehicle rests on jackstands,the more likely it is to remain that way...

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