Friday, June 29, 2012

The Vanagon Struggle

I purchased my Vanagon GL Camper (Westfalia) in April of 2002, so I'm now into year 11. It's a 1986, so it was 16 years old when I got it, now it's 26 years old. Even though it's not in bad shape, things like plastic and rubber parts are deteriorating, and the body's seen better days. Even city driving is a gamble, as you don't know when the next break-down will happen. You can do $1000 worth of engine work, only to have it jeopardized by the failure of a $10 hose. Case in point, I was heading across the bridge recently and noticed what seemed to be white smoke coming from the engine compartment . I pulled over and discovered that a short 6" coolant hose had sprung a leak. Coolant was squirting out and hitting the exhaust pipe. I managed to carry out a temporary repair using electrical tape, duct tape, and tie wraps.
The repair held up and got me home, but I would not want to deal with such a thing in heavy traffic. I replaced the patch with a more elegant temporary solution using X-treme Tape. I assumed the hose was rotten but it seemed to be a puncture or hole of some sort:
 . Then I went on the hunt for a replacement hose. To my amazement, I could not find one. All of the usual vendors were out of stock. As I said mine's an '86, and that particular hose was replaced by a new version sometime during the 1986 model year. I was looking for a 251-121-130A and most places only had the "B" version.
I finally found one from Ken at Vanagain in New Jersey. Always happy to help, he threw it in a priority mail envelope and I had it in a few days.
So, off to Canadian Tire for a couple of hose clamps, and I'm on the road again. I think it would be wise for me to inspect things a little better and try to employ as much prevention as I can, but who has the time...STRUGGLE  :)

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