Connection Done, Tested, and Passed!

So for those that weren’t attending SOAK, you totally missed out.

That aside, we got to take Buszilla II for its first shakedown run. Wild Bill and Mary graciously helped put on the finishing touches to get it road-worthy just before connection. Once connected, we checked a few things, threw some stuff in the bus, and hit the freeway for SOAK. 😀

Along the route the following happened:

Hydraulic Clutch master cylinder lack of return spring wouldn’t allow gears to be shifted smoothly or into any gear while coming to a stop.

Battery was weak so shutting of the engine to put it into gear was not a good idea.

Combination of the above two and being stuck in traffic on the freeway resulted in Buszilla blocking the center lane of I-5 southbound in rush-hour traffic for about 6min while jumper cables, dinking with stuff, etc. was tried until finally Bill and Mary brought Captn. Puget around and gave us a tow off the freeway. Nice bumpers BTW!

I installed the return spring in a parking lot after a couple failed bleeding attempts and got it mostly working. Drove another 30 miles and then the oil filler plastic part fell off and started spraying the engine compartment/fan/engine down with oil. We figured it was just burning off some oil on break-in…but turns out it pumped a quart of oil through the fan and all over the engine block. Yummy….

Found that problem in Salem…pulled into a gas station and let the oil drain out of the fan housing. Hot oil burns ensued. Threw in another quart of oil and started motoring on. This time much more successfully. All the while the AFM (dirty and worn out) causing the bus to shake/buck at mid/low RPM’s on cruise. Yay! Brought one to swap in for the ride home. 🙂

Once we FINALLY arrived, parked the bus and had some beers. Then the weekend of testing started. 🙂

At various occasions through the weekend, the bus was loaded to 8-10 persons (no seating installed yet or pass-through built) and it worked quite well (although required some goosing to get up the hills at SOAK!). Nothing broke/fell off…and for flat ground the 2.0L engine has PLENTY of power with passengers and cargo. Drives very nice!

At one point we actually jumped the bus uphill off a small hill along side the road with some passengers. Very fun. Very strong!

We obviously have to do some trimming on the body parts to make everything happy and work together but the main structural component is there and operation. w00t!

Now it is time to start the articulating section build out and also start investigating lighting. We will most likely bump the rear torsion springs up and possibly pick up some spring type shocks to help the center section stay somewhat happy while lightly loaded. Fully loaded it is expected that the vehicle will just ride on the bump stops (at 10MPH or less).

Need to do some lighting connections and whatnot…but overall VERY happy with the installation and looking forward to finishing up the interior and starting on the exterior!

Thanks for checking in!

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2 thoughts on “Connection Done, Tested, and Passed!

  1. typ4 says:

    Glad it hung together, I would loved to seen some of the looks going down the road.

  2. J. Isaacs says:

    Whoa what a cool concept. Stumbled across this as a related link to the video of my 1985 all-battery-electric Vanagon rolling this summer. Will be checking back to see your progress in turning your articulated bus into a monster lizard!

    We’re hoping to run a third EV conversion workshop here in PA next summer and convert another Vanagon to electric. West Coast VW-heads are of course welcome!

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