How to Service Your Type 2 Bay Window Bus!
Author: Paul Gadsdon
Servicing your VW Bay Window bus can see like a bit of chore in the excitement of the new spring season all ready upon us. Often there seems too much to do in terms of Volkswagen Camper meets, events and the inevitable road tips that are planned for the summer, to think about getting ones hands dirty, serving your cherished Volkswagon bus. Some or even most of us will take our cherished bus to a non Volkswagen garage to have it serviced, get charged through the nose for what’s essentially no more than a regular car service. Even Volkswagen appointed garages will only undertake a standard vehicle service and not consider the unique requirements of a 30+ year old air-cooled Volkswagen Bus.
It is also too easy to forget that VW Bay Window Campers need frequent servicing; in fact some servicing tasks will require your attention at a frequency of as little as 2000 miles! It is incredible to think that most modern cars have service intervals of 10000 miles or more. The high operating temperatures of Air-cooled Volkswagens’ for instance require oil changes every 3000 miles to protect vital engine components from heat and wear related damage.
Take my word for it! I am no mechanic, so I have written this article not as a definitive DIY servicing article but more as a simple 20 step guide that you can either use yourself or help your local mechanic to ensure your bus remains on the road for years to come! I have scavenged I lot of the material from the web and rehashed it to suit Class Campers. And I have subsequently referenced at the end of this article all the sites and printed material that I used.
Changing engine oil
Engine oils should be changed at 3000 mile intervals, to ensure that your engine doesn’t suffer from undue wear and tear. Some folks even suggest that it should be changed every 2000 miles. If this seems a little extreme just think about how much it will cost to replace your engine should you have a catastrophic failure due to excessive engine wear! The actual oil change interval is up to you, but I wouldn’t recommend that you go more than 3000 miles.
It is important to your tires are inflated to the right pressure. Your buses ride will be better and its road handling will be much improved, which also means that it will be safer. Check your tire pressures at least every two weeks and always before a long journey. Make sure you know the correct tire pressures for your model of VW Bus. I will be adding standard tire pressures to Class Campers technical section soon but probably after the publish date of this article.
Windscreen Washer bottle
The most peculiar set up I have ever seen! The washer bottle on a VW Bus is located behind the front kick panel to the left of the steering column. The peculiar part of the set up is the fact that it needs compressed air to force the water from the bottle to the windscreen. You can attach a normal air line at your local garage and pressurize to 40psi. Warning, do not pressurize it and more than 40psi because you run the risk of blowing the pipes of the washer nozzles. It’s a lot of work to put them back on!
Although the gear box should only be changed every 30000 miles it may need topping up from time to time. The fill plug is located on the side of the gear box near to the clutch cable. The official documentation suggests you will need a 17mm Hex spanner, but mines seems to be 18mm! Use Hypiod EP80/90 gear oil and fill so the oil is level with the bottom of the hole. It is essential that locate your bus on a flat surface when you perform this task.
Cleaning your spark plugs should be undertaken every 5000 miles or so. The electrode gap should be 0.7mm or 0.028in. You can clean the electrode with a little piece of emery cloth or a fine wet and dry. Personally I prefer to completely change my spark plugs every 10000 miles and check them every 5000 miles or so.
When you replace or check your spark plugs it is necessary to inspect the condition of the distributer electrodes because they can become corroded. If so they can be cleaned or replaced depending on the level of corrosion.
The roter arm (inside the distributer), should be checked, cleaned or replaced every 5000 miles or when you check the condition of your spark plugs. They are not expensive so I prefer to replace new for old on every service.
The Ignition points should be checked every time you undertake the general electrical servicing outline above. The points gap should be 0.4mm or 0.016in and should be clean. If they are pitted or corroded in any way they will need replacing.
Check every time you look in the engine bay! Its easy. 10 – 15mm play is fine, anymore and you should adjust. There are some small shims that can removed if the fan belt is to loose.
The air filter will need to be cleaned and the oil replaced every 5000 miles. Drain the old oil, clean and fill up with new engine oil. Make sure you dispose of your engine oil properly. Your local council will have an oil disposal unit.
Fuel lines and hoses
Check the condition of your fuel lines every time you follow this service check list. If they are chapped in anyway replace them. Remember – no smoking! You can get very high quality steel lines if you prefer. Whilst you are doing this you can check the heater pipes for holes or badly fitting joints and repair if necessary. Having wholes or bad joints will reduce your buses chance of keeping you warm.
Brake fluid should be checked and topped up periodically. The brake fluid reservoir can be found behind the front kick panel.
The brake pads can be checked very easily on a bus, although you will need to remove the wheels. To do this jack up the vehicle and remember to always use axle stands. You will be able to see if your pads need replacing, they should be at least 7mm thick.
The axle will need to be greased every 5-7000 miles. There are multiple points that need greasing. These are the steering idler that is located in the middle of the axle and the four trailing arm bushes at the ends. So a grease gun will be a great buy!
Front & Rear Drums
The front and rear drums of your VW bus will require adjusting at lease every 6000 miles. To do this, you should insert a screwdriver in to the drum adjustment whole under the hub cap of your bus. More to follow
The handbrakes on VW buses are notoriously bad and often hardly work at all. This is usually because they haven’t been adjusted for years. This isn’t a difficult task – more
Your wheel bearings will to be checked every 10000 miles or once a year which ever comes first. You should re-grease them every 20-30000 miles or two – three years. To check them jack up your bus (don’t forget to use axle stands), and grasp the top and bottom of your wheel and push the top and pull the bottom of the wheel. If there is any play they will need to be replaced. If there is any grinding when you spin the wheel then it is likely that the bearing will need replacing.
Your clutch should be checked for play periodically and should have around 20mm play at the foot peddle. You should also grease the clutch cable periodically to help its ability to work efficiently and to stop it breaking because it gets stuck.
I cant think of any more but if anyone has any other tips please let me know.
Frequently Asked Questions
Made a mistake on installing new brake pads and adding brake grease.?
I recently just installed new brake pads on my 2000 ford and put something on the pads called synthetic brake grease. I actually put the grease on the brake pad itself, which i just found out I wasnt supposed to do that. What can i do to fix the issue or beter yet remove the grease. It came in contact with rotors and brake pads.
get a can of brake clean spray area and clean with clean cloth repeat several times
What is best or proper type of grease to use for brake pads on the Schwinn Indoor Cycling Bike? I just purchas
I just purchased a Schwinn indoor cycling bike and I need to grease up the brake pads. Should I use lithium or silicon?
a very unique quetion indeed, i would contact the manufacturor for ideas on what they recommend, good luck
Is brake grease necessary when installing new brake pads?
and if it is, does it go on the side that touches the rotor or the side thats facing the tire?
Synthetic brake grease goes *only on the brake slider pins, nowhere else! For gosh sakes, do not but any type of grease on the steel side of the brake pad either. Pad temperatures will melt brake grease turning it to oil.
If the replacement pads have no vibration shims on the steel side, use CRC Brake Quiet. It’s a high temperature silicone compound to eliminate brake squeel.
NAPA and Carquest has both of these products.
I put brake pad grease on pad fronts?
I put Brake pad grease on the front of the pads. Now what? Will it burn off?
To be safe, buy brake cleaner (It comes in an aerosol can) It can be had for about 0.89 at walmart.
Changing brake pads–grease?
I recently changed the front rotors & pads on my RAM. I forgot to add the grease to the slots where the pads go. Do you think I need to go back in & add the grease so they slide more freely?
If they were clean (no rust buildup) and slid free when you took them apart you will be fine. If there was rust buildup and were difficult to remove you need to correct. All contact surfaces that the pad touches need to be scraped or sand down to clean metal. Then add a wipe of high temp (no graphite products) grease. just a little covering of grease with no extra globs that may fall off onto the pad or roter.