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Advice needed on mechanical issues

Discussion in 'Bay Tech Clinic' started by Matthew, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Matthew

    Matthew New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Hey guys, this is my first post to the forums so a little bit about me first:

    So I bought my first Kombi about a month ago. It's a '75 camper, half finished project Overall the condition of the body is pretty good, there are no major rust issues, the pop top has been replaced with a second-hand one, a few small dents that the previous owner didn't get around to fixing, but most of the body work seems to have been done. It definetly needs a paint job, but that is another matter.

    The engine was reconditioned by the previous owners uncle, who was the previous previous owner. Since then (6 years ago) it has mostly been sitting around and only used for a few small trips (about 500km in total).

    Now for the negatives. I noticed (before buying) that there were a number of issues that I would probably need to deal with: petrol fumes leaking from somewhere, car swaying pretty badly when driving, lots of oil leaks etc. I bought the van knowing that I would need to spend some thousands on it to bring it up to a reliable/safe condition. I don't want to have a show quality van, just one that I can go on trips in and feel safe and know that it will be reasonably reliable.

    Ideally i'd like to go on a trip pretty soon (within 1-2 months) as i'm starting a full-time job at the end of summer and want to get some travel time in before then! So rather than mess about with doing any resto myself (for now) I decided to take my Kombi in to a VW mechanic to do a thorough search to find any problems that may need fixing. Let's just say he came back with a VERY long list, which is unfortunately going to cost a little bit more than I had hoped to spend initially.

    I have minimal mechanical knowledge so basically my question is whether some of you guys who are more knowledgable in these things would be able to look over this list and point out whether some things are more important than others. What are the essential things I need to fix before say a 2-3 month trip, and what things can I leave untill after I get back (if any) and possibly work on myself with the assistance of a mechanic friend + the advice of veterans on this forum :)

    Thanks heaps in advance guys!

    Here's the list (with prices):

    2 DRUMS $254.00
    SUPPLY & FIT LININGS $189.00
    SUPPLY & FIT 2 WHEEL CYLINDERS $226.00
    FREE UP SEIZED ADJUSTERS & LUBRICATE $30.00
    SUPPLY & FIT 2 DISCS $406.00
    SUPPLY & FIT PADS $120.00
    REMOVE 2 CALIPERS, STRIP, BLAST, WASH, SUPPLY
    & FIT KITS, REASSEMBLE $440.00
    ADJUST BRAKES, FLUSH FLUID, BLEED & FLUID $60.00
    SUPPLY & FIT IDLER PIN/BUSH KIT $122.00
    SUPPLY & FIT 4 BALL JOINTS $575.00
    SUPPLY & FIT SPEEDO CABLE $117.00
    SUPPLY & FIT DRAG LINK $145.00
    SUPPLY & FIT FUEL FILLER ELBOW $111.00
    SUPPLY & FIT IGNITION SWITCH $99.00
    SUPPLY & FIT VOLTAGE REGULATOR $80.00
    SUPPLY & FIT ENGINE BAY SEAL $82.00
    SUPPLY & FIT NEW R/H TIE ROD WITH ENDS, SUPPLY &
    FIT GOOD S/H L/H TIE ROD WITH YOUR TIE ROD ENDS $225.00
    ADJUST, REPAIR, LUBRICATE SLIDING DOOR LOCKS,
    ROLLERS, ETC $50.00 TO $100.00
    SUPPLY & FIT CLUTCH CABLE & CLEVIS PIN $133.00
    REMOVE FRONT CLUTCH LEVER, WELD UP ELONGATED
    HOLE, DRILL NEW HOLE & REFIT $30.00

    CLUTCH OUTER TUBE IF NEEDED $18.00
    SUPPLY & FIT 2 x REAR BRAKE HOSES IF NEEDED $120.00
    SUPPLY & FIT 2 x FRONT BRAKE HOSES IF NEEDED $68.00
    SUPPLY & FIT MASTER CYLINDER IF NEEDED $206.00

    OIL LEAKS
    REMOVE ROCKER ASSEMBLYS, PUSH RODS &
    PUSHROD TUBES, REMOVE OLD SEALS, CLEAN &
    INSPECT TUBES FOR DAMAGE, CLEAN ENGINE &
    HEADS FOR NEW SEALS,SUPPLY & FIT 16 NEW SEALS,
    REFIT TUBES, PUSH RODS & ROCKER ASSEMBLYS,
    RE-SET TAPPET CLEARANCES $375.00

    SUPPLY & FIT NEW PULLEY SEAL & "O" RING $75.00
    SUPPLY & FIT NEW OIL COOLER SEALS $195.00

    IF OIL GALLERY PLUGS ARE LOOSE & LEAKING,
    DRILL OUT PLUGS, DRILL & TAP CASE FOR SCREW IN
    PLUGS, SUPPLY & FIT 2 PLUGS $60.00

    SERVICE $98.00
    TUNE UP $105.00
    TAPPETS $38.00
    OIL FILTER $19.00
    SUMP GASKET KIT $6.00
    4 LTS HPR 30 $36.00
    2 ROCKER COVER GASKETS $8.00
    AIR CLEANER ELEMENT $20.00



    TOTAL $5000ish :(
     
  2. splitbus

    splitbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Put it this way, if you brake down miles from the next town that will cost you $$$$, looks like he has doubled up on some things so ask for a firm quote, or are there some members down there that could do with some extra cash and do some of the repairs for you
     
  3. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,988
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    hey Matthew, that's quite a list. Check the Services sticky for a mechanic that has been recommended by KC members in your area. he should be able to "rationalise " the list. Obviously brakes are important. Wheel cylinders, however, are not expensive & easy to replace - as are disc pads & drum linings - shoes. You have said you have minimal mechanical knowledge.....I'd recommend you get hold of any VW manual for your model engine & start reading.Get a hold of John Muir's, "How to keep your volkswagen alive" - it's almost mandatory reading for an air-cooled enthusiast. If you're prepared to have a go, you could knock over at least 70 - 80% of that list yourself. VW parts are surprisingly cheap compared to those for modern day cars. Have a good read through the different Sections here - heaps of valuable info. from lots of people that started out like yourself....minimal VW knowledge & have learned heaps along the way & shared their experiences.
    Just remember to maintain your sense of humour, swear every now & then & if necessary, walk away for a little "rest" :lol:
    You have to accept that if you aren't prepared to get your hands dirty, or choose not too, a kombi can be like a boat......& everyone knows that boat stands for:
    Bring ....Out ....Another ....Thousand...........Good luck & stick with it, you'll appreciate the feeling when you get it right. Cheers, Mark
     
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2011
  4. Sheriff

    Sheriff Active Member

    Messages:
    1,560
    Location:
    Warburton - Yarra Valley
    Good advice Mark!
     
  5. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,570
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    Ditto Marks comments.

    a good list from mechanic. good starting point and worth the money spent.

    we can talk you through most of this list
    couple of jobs at a time.
    Also look for bits at the right prices[not cheap bits]
    often specials. members can talk you through this as well.

    First job is fix the petrol smell. this is number one before you go ANYWHERE. easy job and cheap

    will post the links for this later tonight but bet someone will beat me to it

    cheers
    col
     
  6. Matthew

    Matthew New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Thanks for the replies guys!

    I felt a bit down after seeing a big list like that, but i'm feeling a bit better now, thanks for the encouragement! So i've decided that I'd definitely like to do some things myself! I'm keeping in mind a couple of things, firstly lack of tools (I only have access to some basic mechanical tools), and secondly time frame (starting full-time work in Feb so would like to get away for a trip before then).

    I think i'm gonna go for a combination of both DIY and professional mechanic work. The question is: what things out of this list are relatively easy to do and will give me a good "bang for my buck"?

    Thanks in advance :)
     
  7. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,570
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    A few basic/reasonable quality tools are necessary for an on board toolkit anyway so start buying /scrounging these.

    1.For the trip you need to get there and back.
    [so kombi must continue to run ,preferably without damaging itself]

    2;You need to do it safely.
    [Ie brakes n steering must be ok short term][first job is fix the fuel smell]

    3'You dont want to donate to additional govt taxes [ie be roadworthy and avoid getting booked]

    4'join RAC and strongly suggest have at least 3rd party property insurance


    Have a chat to mechanic and ask what safety related items are urgent.[brakes/steering]

    Do oil change yourself

    get mechanic to do first tune up and tappet adjustment
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  8. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    13,570
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    rechecked list.
    This is a very basic starter

    First up.
    Like Mark said,Look at manuals/sites on what needs to be done so you have a picture what needs to be done
    Chat to your mechanic mate to see how bad each item listed is get his input.
    A lot of this can be done with his help/guidance. [you may owe him a few cartons by the time its done:)]

    few sites for starters
    http://www.ratwell.com/
    http://www.netlink.net/mp/volks/

    Ratwell will have schematic to fix fuel evaporative lines
    You will also need to change ALL FUEL lines. good quality hoses.change fuel filter.
    look for fuel weeping around carbs. Tighten screws holding tops of carbs if ness.
    check where fuel lines connect with carbs , ensure the brass tubes that hoses go on are not loose.
    Unsure of anything ask or get mechanic to check it.

    you mention kombi wanders a lot
    This probably related to steering items and wheel alignment as theres no mention of needing shock absorbers.
    Check
    http://www.justkampersaustralia.com/
    http://www.thebusstop.com.au/busstore/

    compare prices for all parts quoted. Make sure you have the right year/model.
    Quote may be for genuine parts where available.
    possible that not all parts need to be done immediately.



    Oil leaks
    clean engine yourself and do an oil change/filter change.

    change rocker cover gaskets

    check where leaks come from after a few days driving

    A bottle of engine stop leak[the one that swells up old seals] added to engine oil MAY?? help if leaks not bad. I doubt this tho as there is a fairly full list and this may suggest the leaks are considerable.
    Determine if you can realistically live with these leaks for a few months.
    Keep a close eye on dropping oil levels. Bad leaks need to be attended to


    You should have a brake adjustment. Seems some parts will need to be fixed /replaced to be able to do this. Do a sudden brake test by locking brakes up on a dirt road.
    Check car has not pulled to one side .
    check all tyres skidded on road.

    if any issues with either check then you need to get enough done on brakes to do an adjustment and also replace dangerous worn parts
    Your mechanic will give a better evaluation what needs to be done short term.

    Things like sliding door s you can do yourself.

    Top level RAC may be a good insurance. I have it even tho I can fix most things myself.HATE being stuck on the side of the road in crap conditions.:)

    good luck
    col
     
    Last edited: Aug 28, 2011
  9. 6621104

    6621104 Member

    Messages:
    66
    what to do??

    Matthew - I note you are in Adelaide - who evaluated the car, is it currently registered and driving? Does it wander all over the road? Does it stop when you want it to? And in a straight line? Are you loosing brake fluid? Can you see evidence of leaking wheel cylinders on the backing plates? Has it ever had a hit in the front?
    Oil leaks you can put up with and if it is a driver you need to get an idea of how much oil it is loosing by how much you need to replace over time. Not stopping and wandering all over the road are different matters!
    For kombi's in Adelaide I recommend GHR!

    Steve
     
  10. splitbus

    splitbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    3,361
    Location:
    Brisbane
    The wandering is most likely tie rods/ends, so fix them first, then take a drive
     
  11. Matthew

    Matthew New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Location:
    Adelaide
    Hey guys, again, thanks for the replies.

    So I picked up the van last week and had a chat to the guy (I've been going to Bob at VolksCare who has been reommended here). He said that in particular the ball joints needed to be replaced and warned against going over any large bumps (I drove home very carefully).

    Fixed a few perished fuel hoses and that seems to have reduced the fuel smell alot. I think fixing the fuel filler elbow should fix that probblem for good!

    I believe the tie rods/ends are bent and so that is most likely the wandering issue.

    I've spent the last week or so just getting my head around all the different issues. Read over my service and repair manual and have ordered Muir's book. I also plan to organise a day soon with my mechanic friend to take some things apart to get an idea of what I'm looking at in terms of repairs needed. Also been online looking at prices for various parts and comparing it against my quote. Looks like I can save alot on some things and less on others. I guess some are alot harded to fit and replace than others? For example I can get a set of 4 ball joints from JustKampers for $108, but to have them supplied and fitted by the mechanic it's gonna cost $575.

    From your experience do you think that my quote is reasonable, or am I being overcharged for certain tasks?

    Also is it worth me doing certain tasks myself if I can't fix everything that needs to be done to do with that "system" (e.g. front brake system). For example if I replace my front discs and pads, but decide not to refurbish my calipers, the mechanic is still going to have to get in there and dismantle things and is he going to charge more because of this?

    Right now I'm thinking that most of the brake related issues seem relatively easy to DIY. Can probably do the few miscellaneous tasks such as engine bay seal, sliding door etc. Engine related stuff seems like it would be best to leave to the mechanic, so I don't stuff anything up and also so he can check for any issues! Suspension and steering? I've heard ball joints may be best to leave to a professional, how about tie rods, drag link etc?

    It's a whole new world out there. Just trying to get my head around everything. Lot's to learn!

    Matt
     
  12. 6621104

    6621104 Member

    Messages:
    66
    Diy

    Matthew- first thing- dont second guess your mechanic. If you get the feeling you are being taken then talk to them and try and understand things from their point of view. If you want safe but not perfect let them know! If you want -"do what is necessary" but not "do what is sensible" while the front end is being worked on tell them. It may cost you more in the long run, but sometimes we can only afford so much at any one time.
    Get a priority list - maybe : what needs to be done now, what needs doing in the next year and what we should do before a long trip as headings.
    You need more info to decide the next move.
    Bob is a good guy and knows VW's.

    Steve
     

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