Awakening!

24 04 2016

Brilliant spring day in Berlin and I finally got Taiga Lily out of her winter sleep! The engine started after a few attempts and then ran smoothly. It was good to finally drive a kombi again. Last October she was put away in a hurry and without a wash, so today I spent two hours getting last years dust off of her and there she is, all shiny again. Now she is ready for the bi-annual road worthy exam (TUEV). And then the summer can come!

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Out of the catacombs…

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… and all clean again.

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Spring time in Berlin.





Penguins, Wallabies and Koalas

24 11 2015

We spent three beautiful days on a trip to Phillip Island, south-east of Melbourne. We took the ferry from Queenscliff to Sorrento, shortcutting Port Phillip Bay from its western to its eastern end. Saved us from driving all around Port Phillip Bay and through Melbourne traffic and gave the kids the added adventure of a boat trip. Main target was the Penguin Parade where every evening at sunset several hundred penguins come back from their daily fishing business and run up the beach to their nesting places. Apparently there were around 2000 penguins that evening. Awesome spectacle! A visit to the Koala Conservation Centre across the road from our caravan park turned out to be fantastic, too. The sighting of a swamp wallaby (near the penguin beach) and a couple of red-necked wallabies (at the Churchill Island Heritage Farm farm) completed this Australian wild life adventure. The penguin beach, the koala center and the heritage farm belong to the Phillip Island Nature Park. The sighting of a late bay kombi at the ferry on the way back made the kombi nerd in the family extra-happy.

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Father daughter bonding at beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.

Father daughter bonding at the beach in Cowes, Phillip Island.





Taiga Lily’s Fifteen Minutes of Fame

27 06 2015

This weekend, all Volkswagen dealers in Berlin presented the new generation of the VW bus, the T6, to the public. To emphasize Volkswagen’s long history of building the bus, they organized that in each showroom an old kombi, T1 or T2, was present as well. And Taiga Lily was one of the chosen ones! So Thursday I had a long summer evening and night of washing, polishing and vacuum cleaning. Friday morning she went to the VW dealer in Berlin Tegel. I picked her up again this afternoon, together with our eldest daughter, and we had some good father-daughter bonding over kombis. Though our little one was most excited about the large box of chocolate kombis we were given at the very end. We came prepared – check out our kombi T-shirts! What an exciting weekeend!

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Getting all shiny and clean!

Getting all shiny and clean!

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New Front Axle, Part II

14 03 2014

Yay! Taiga Lily is back from the Beetle Clinic and as good as new! The new front axle has been installed, and with it many worn out parts of the steering mechanism have been replaced. New ball joints (German: Traggelenke), a new drag link (Lenkschubstange), a new steering dampner (Lenkungs- daempfer), new shock absorbers (Stossdämpfer), new tie rods (Spurstangen), a new wheel bearing (Radlagersatz) on one side, and a new set of four needle bearings (Nadellagersatz) for the four torsion arms. Hope I translated that all correctly. Will add snapshots of the respective pages of a VW repair manual below, for those who want to look into the details. Also check out this informative blog post by ZeroToSixtyEventually on the steering system of late bay buses and its maintenance. Finally, the main brake cylinder was rebuilt from the old to the new front axle beam and some aged brake lines were replaced. As a result of this operation, a wobbly steering experience has changed into quite a solid feel. Nice! And she also got her new road worthy certificate (German: “TUEV”), so she is legal again for the next two years!

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A New Front Axle!

25 02 2014

I used the sunny weather last Sunday to wake Taiga Lily up from her winter sleep and brought her to the garage yesterday. Was very happy that the engine started immediately, after almost 3 months of being put aside. Background is that her front axle beam (German “Vorderachskörper”) was rusted through. This is an old kombi disease, at least here in Germany with lots of rain and lots of salt on the roads in winter time. Water gets into the hollow outer sections. If the openings at the lower end are blocked with dirt, the water stays in there and the panel rusts from the inside to the outside, as seen on the sad photo below. Once rusted through, the traditional stand of the German Technical Surveillance (TÜV) is that this part may not be welded but needs to be replaced as a whole. Not easy as front axles are not available from Volkswagen anymore, so one has to find an original one in good condition.
I was lucky in December and found one on Ebay for a reasonable price. It was delivered from Freiburg in South Germany to my local garage, the Beetle Clinic, in January. According to the Ebay ad, it was from the same year as Taiga Lily, 1976, and was put aside about 20 years ago for future use. It turned out to be indeed in very good condition (big thanks to the honest Ebay seller!). And the guys at Beetle Clinic did a greatjob in sanding and repainting it, with particular emphasis on soaking the insides of the hollow outer sections first with rust converter (Brunox) and afterwards with cavity sealing. The section with blank metal on the photo below is where the attachment plate for the break booster (Bremskraftverstärker) will be welded to the axle. This booster did not come with all models and was not on this replacement axle, but I was told it is no problem to cut it from Taiga Lily’s old axle and weld it to the new one. Most bearings in the steering system were already quite worn out, so the steering had a lot of play when I bought her in 2010. All these bearings will now be replaced by new parts when the new axle will be built in over the next 10 days.

Taiga Lily woken up from her winter sleep.

Taiga Lily woken up from her winter sleep.

Rusted section on Taiga Lily's original frotn axle beam.

Rusted section on Taiga Lily’s original front axle beam.

New second hand 1976 front axle beam  when delivered ...

New second hand 1976 front axle beam
when delivered …

... and after de-rusting and repainting.

… and after de-rusting and repainting.

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Taiga Lily embroidered…

1 02 2014

I re-discovered this beautiful piece when we sorted our study in the christmas break. Got it as a present from DrJ who stitched it in about 2011, black thread on paper. It comes in our buses’ original paint job, Taigagruen (sage green) and white. For more stitch art of DrJ check out Stitchalicious and her Etsy shop.

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Time for the Winter Break

1 12 2013

Berlin winter is arriving, with gray skys, miserable rain and temperatures touching 0°C. Time for Taiga Lily to retreat to her warm and dry winter quarter. So a week ago I charged her battery over night and gave her a thorough wash so that she will be all shiny and beautiful next spring. I upped the tyre pressure, checked the oil, drove her into her garage and diconnected the battery. While there I used a 12V electric pump to fully blow up the tyres of the our second kombi, the Old Lady. She is stored away in the same garage, waiting for better times. Seeing both of you again in 2014!

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