It’s real. Over the past few months of traveling, every time we thought of something we needed to fix or that might make our lives in the bus a little better, we wrote it down on The List. From the relatively important stuff like ‘new brakes’ to the mundane like ‘mirror on back of sun visor.’ It’s all there. Our recent holiday down-time has allowed us to take care of some of the items on The List. We didn’t get to finish all of them, but here are a few of the things we’ve been tidying up.
-re-upholstering the back seat
Bode added some character to these seats before we even left the house and they’ve gotten even less love since then. Love has been applied with a staple gun.
– “Oh Sh*t” handle
Just about every modern car has one… but not this old bus. Now we’ve got our own. Very handy when Angela is driving 😉 I drilled it to fit the original door pull, and I’m assuming I’ll find one along the way and replace this nylon strap.
– cup holders
Same goes here. There’s a reason new vehicles have 19 cup holders. Now, at least we have two.
-brake master cylinder
This one is important. Our old one was weeping for some reason. Maybe it wasn’t happy with that descent down the Sonora pass after all.
– door molding
I installed new rubber before we left, but evidently not the best quality stuff and it did make a difference. It started doing funny things in Canada and we’ve endured it ever since. Door slamming was an art. Now, the finest quality German rubber molding adorns our doors that actually close on the first try.
– pull handles on our custom upper bed
More on this later, but now I can slide it out with ease.
– bench seat holder-upper
VW should have thought of this. Now we can get to our stuff without getting squashed under the seat.
-lantern hanger/clothes line thingies
I saw this on the VW Camper Family group and had to make a few of my own. $1 worth of PVC pipe has never been so functional. Now, we just need a more stylish lantern.
– permanent inverter and switch
Conveniently wired into the second battery and tucked away behind the closet. A switch on the 12V line keeps the parasitic load away when it’s not in use. I even drilled a hole in the cover plate and ran a LED up to it so we know if it’s on. Being off-the-grid and on wheels is pretty cool. Christmas lights are feasible.
I hesitated a bit before drilling and sawing into the original closet… then I remembered what the bus looked like when we got it.
– good speakers!
I can’t believe we’ve gone this long listening to the radio through tin cans. I spent an hour (more, actually) evaluating every single unit on the giant wall-o-speakers at the local big electronics store. I even took in my own CD (The Flaming Lips, Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots worked well) in with me for a qualifier. The folks at the store got to hear “Fight Test” 100 times. Loud.
These 4×6 speakers squeeze right between the headlight buckets and the frame and are easily mounted on the cardboard-like front wall. They don’t have grills, but it was a purely auditory decision… and they sound awesome! Oddly, most of the high-end ($$$) speakers I tested weren’t even close in sound quality.
– parcel tray bambooification
I think these trays were original factory options, but our unmatched pair were falling apart. There was a 50% chance anything placed on the trays would end up on the floor. Now, it’s more like 25%. At least it looks nicer.
We’ve gone all this way carrying around the kitchen sink and it didn’t even work. The old hand-pump Westfalia faucets are obsolete and I had tried to rig mine with some tubing and glue. It kind of worked. I found a suitable replacement faucet at the local camping store and only had to drill one hole in the stainless counter top. The damn thing leaked, so I exchanged it for another one. It leaked too, so i took it apart and fixed it.
It’s really an old ammo box, but it’s sort of hidden, mounted to the frame (well) and locks up nice and tight. I think it’s fire-proof. It would probably require a serious crow-bar, a sledge hammer, and a long time to get it out. Shhhhhh!
– solar screens
We really just wanted something with a finer mesh to keep the tiny bugs out. Camping on the beach in Florida, we realized that there were little sand fleas or some other bug that had no problem getting through. These babies are half the mesh size and should keep the sun out in the tropics as well. It’s a good theory, anyway.
– hood ornaments
see the Christmas post.
Sooner or later we’ll have the perfect system for a family of three living out of a VW bus. We’re trying a new one, and we’ll let you know when we nail it.
So many projects, so little time. Fortunately, my brother has a fully-stocked shop that made all of these little projects easy. I couldn’t think of anything to do on the lathe, but next time Bode and i will put it to good use.
Of course, there was more on the growing list (and more horrendous spelling) but it was time to roll out.