To Simplify... the pursuit of happiness through simple living on the open road

Monday, November 24, 2014

Bone Dry

As planned, I managed to get my freshly overhauled fuel tank reinstalled in the van yesterday, and I'm not exactly sure which to be happier about – that I actually filled it up at a Los Angeles gas station for under three bucks a gallon, or that it didn't leak a single drop in the process.

A day off today, and the pit stop resumes tomorrow.

Saturday, November 22, 2014


The Technomads and Wheelingites rolled out of the Pinnacles a couple of days ago, so with the resulting hang factor having degenerated so severely, not to mention my having run out of both propane and beer, it was finally time to pack it in and drive the remaining three hours down to Q's compound.  

Which is precisely where I'm writing from, and after several months of the open road, it feels pret-ty good to be back on such familiar and welcoming turf. With a modest list of van-related issues to address, it also feels good to be back where no day is complete without multiple power tools getting put to good use. And thanks to the super-cool duds that I picked up way back in Pendleton, Oregon, I've really hit the ground running so far. Behold:

After changing the oil yesterday along with a few other menial items, I dove into the job of resealing the van's fuel tank today. The Vanagon fuel tank setup is a horribly convoluted mess of German engineering gone wrong, involving a ridiculously-shaped tank and several rubber gaskets, grommets, and hoses that apparently do not agree with the additives used in modern gasoline. So it is that removing the tank and replacing all of the rubber is inevitable after several years. 

My tank had started leaking after fill-ups a couple of months ago, so I knew the time had come for this repair. While I've been able to control the problem just fine by simply not filling up the tank all the way, that got old quickly and also prevented me from accurately tracking my gas mileage, so I've been looking forward to this pit stop at Q's to finally address the situation. Out came the van's fuel tank late this morning, and I found myself confronted by still more bits of Colorado...

Fast forward a few hours, when after giving the tank's exterior a good solid cleaning, spraying it with a thick layer of protective rubberized undercoating, installing the new rubber along with new aluminum T-fittings to replace the original plastic jobbies, the transformation was complete:

Clearly, the natty coveralls are working. Tomorrow, I'll get the tank installed back into the van's underbelly, and assuming it passes the fill-up test, I'll start in on diagnosing the mysterious front-end clunk that has stumped more than one VW mechanic in the past few months. So like I said, it feels good to be back.
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