Sep 16 2012

Becoming a grease monkey

I’ve worked on bicycles for years and love them. The simplicity and elegance always strike a chord with me. It doesn’t take many tools to do the basics, a few wrenches and hex keys. Owning an old VW camper is another matter.

Of course I knew what I was signing up for when I bought Babe, the first year was one of getting all the important stuff done so she’d be reliable. That was a bunch of time with a mechanic, learning along the way too. Now that I have a little more time I’m starting to do more work myself and it feels great. Before heading to Quebec for the races I did my first oil change, easy and very satisfying.

Next up was acquiring some oil pressure and temp gauges and matching senders. I got the right parts, didn’t have the right wrench though. The original ones require a 24mm wrench, much larger than what I have. And I think much larger than I think they should need, they are only 10mm bolts. Anyhow, it meant a trip to get Dave to lend me a hand extracting them. It didn’t take long, and in the process Jim (who did the actual work) also installed the new ones. So far so good.

I’ve arranged to get some help doing the final wiring while I’m in New York next week (I’m headed there for Westies at Watkins) and as part of getting ready for that I spent today under my camper running a set of wires from the engine compartment to the front. I made sure to clamp the wires carefully, I used split wire loom to make sure they wouldn’t get abraded from vibrations, and left an extra loop just in case some future mod is needed.

New senders and the new wire coiled and waiting to be connected

What I didn’t do was drill a hole through the front to get the wire inside. For that, I’ll want to make sure it’s in the right spot and done the right way so that will happen along with the final wiring.

Still, it was a good start. And I doubt those jeans will ever come clean so they now are my official “grease monkey attire”.

New house battery and wiring modifications, oil & filter change, new gauges, who knows what I’ll be capable of next! lol

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