Friday, July 27, 2012

Wandering off

Sunday we set off on a two week wander. We only have two firm dates. We are meeting friends at Lake Easton State Park for a couple of days at this end, and are meeting family at Sandpoint Idaho at the other end. In between we are wandering around in Idaho, starting at Emmett to see our daughter,SIL and grandkid, then going up Hiway 95 N all the way to Sandpoint camping and fishing our way up the spine of Idaho.
Two weeks in the Westfalia. We will probably stop at a motel here and there depending on the facilities along the way. We can go two days without a shower, but three is a little much. I can do it, but Mrs A. couldn't without being very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


I love the Westie, but there are a couple of things I want to improve yet.
I had talked about doing a syncro conversion, but the bill is around ten grand. Not really justifiable in my book if I want to retire any time soon.
The rear gearing in the vanagon automatic is way low, so at freeway speed (70 MPH) you are doing about 4ooo RPM. It is not approaching the redline of the engine, but is still higher that I would like. It affects both the gas mileage and the wear and tear on the engine and transmission.
I currently get around 17 mpg with the Subaru engine transplant, Not terrible for a camper/SUV, but not all that great.
While surfing the net last week, I found a site where they just completed a couple of years of experimenting and testing to put together a higher gear ratio set for the Vanagon automatic. The gears are 3.27 as opposed to the stock 4.05 gears. According to them this translates into much better gas mileage (21 as opposed to 17 MPG) and lower RPMs at speed (3500 versus 4100 RPM). The downside is of course the cost. The ring and pinon set is $1200, and figure another $1500 to put it in.
With the price of gas where it is, it will pay for itself in the long run.