VW Restore ("SEN"-91 Westy) A Vehicle worth saving!
SEN as I've called my '91 WESTY is a solid GL model that I looked long and hard for. He needed some immediate attention after purchase in July of 2009 and a long list of items was devised, some that could wait until money and time allowed. The name SEN comes from the abbreviated letters of the date that I took possession. Sen spent most of his life in Japan from what I can gather so I have chosen the Japanese translation of SEN="Wizard" as the true meaning of the name. There are several meanings to the word SEN so Wizard seems to be the most fitting. I think he has some sort of Wizardly power to have avoided virtually any serious rust since her conception in 1991. Although the Vanagon is the farthest thing from it I think SHINKANSEN (Japanese Bullet train) is a worthy long version of the name SEN...

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Recently replaced the voltage regulator and main battery.  I had been having issues getting my starter to engage. I suspected a charging system issue due to the fact my battery failed a load test and I've never addressed my alternator since owning my van.

Since changing out the battery I ran into a starter problem again sporadically.  I've since determined that it is the neutral safety switch (automatic transmission) being the source of the problem.  I've seen a great YouTube video regarding fixing the striker plate by soldering material onto the worn area to save it.  I will be trying that soon as it doesn't seem difficult to do and it saves finding replacement parts if not necessary.

Also recently I was running the van in warm temps (around 30+ degrees Celsius) and having stalling symptoms while travelling at slow speeds such as intersections or gridlock highway traffic.  I changed the distributor cap as it had signs of external arcing (not OEM cap).  Also changed the fuel filter all with the goal of troubleshooting the stalling tendencies...  so far that hasn't solved the problem so will next move onto checking grounds and various sensors to see if I can keep my engine running when that engine bay gets smoking hot.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Starter failure

Only about an hour after picking SEN up from the shop for its Vanagon syndrome issues, I experienced my first started solenoid failure in this van.  Fortunately a quick fix.

More engine running issues.

Had some stalling lately at stop signs or lights;  dropped off  SEN at the local shop to diagnose the problem.  Apparently the AFM failed so had a used one installed.  Friday of last week I picked up the van after having replaced the gas tank, fuel filter, tank seals, catalytic converter and used Air Flow Meter with Tantulum capacitor.  Drove home, changed oil for first time since engine overhaul, then drove downtown and experienced the same "Vanagon syndrome" symtoms of stalling out.  ...So back in the shop; Apparently the used AFM failed too as well as my Idle Control Module.   Also, in diagnosing the running problem it was determined that my Ignition coil was way too hot to touch and as a preventative measure I had that replaced too.  Also had the Go Westy Transmission cooler installed, alleviating any fear that the original unit could fail and toast both my newly rebuilt engine and transmission.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Charging ports and voltmeters

Recently I've added some useful USB and dc power (cig lighter-style) ports. First one is in the dash, replacing the two decommissioned a/c switches.  The voltmeter here monitors the main car battery.

Friday, July 8, 2016

CV joints replaced again.

I had my first set of CV joints replaced after I had one showing failure on a road trip in April 2010.  At the time I didn't realize that I had the cheap, Chinese version of axel and cv joints (assembled unit) installed.  I then, also had the other side replaced that summer as a preventative maintenance measure.  Both, unfortunately, were of the cost efficient, but cheaply built Chinese CV joints. Recently I had both sets of joints replaced with the German OEM joints.  I couldn't stand the constant faint clicking from one or more of the relatively new joints...  Never, ever cheap out if you don't like unnecessary annoying noises in your Vanagon!
Recently added the South African style mudflaps.  These came from CP1 Imports in Vancouver and come with very poor instructions for the front set and no instructions for the rear.  The front set use three clips to hold the flap to the wheel well.  I was very sceptical about these clips staying in place on rough roads.  So far, however they have not fallen off, even after travelling about 25 miles over very rough logging road.  I may still, use some silicon or epoxy to reenforce the holding power of these clips for my own reassurance.

Air conditioning decomission.

I decided to remove my air conditioning from the van;  Since I've owned SEN, the A/C has not worked and I have never regularly needed it.  There is quite a weight savings from removing the various components and best of all, I've gained some much needed storage space above the rear bench seat.  There is a routed groove that remains where the plastic a/c ducting sat against the vertical panel.  I saved the rubber seal that joined the plastic ducting with the wood panel and warmed it up, placed it back in, in reverse order to cover up the routed groove the best I could. Not having door on this storage compartment has proven, so far, not to be an issue.  I also replaced the rear vented (grated) wall that originally protected the condenser.  This serves to separate items like my car jack and jumper cables from more delicate items in the forward section such as clothes or games, etc.