The Volkswagen Whisperer…

9 10 2015

So I’ve made a few updates to Louise.  Inspected and adjusted brakes all around.  Wired in a new Negative Cable from the battery.  Mounted and wired a new harness out of the ignition key cylinder (which I believe now to have been not needed) and cleaned up some wires in the back connecting to the coil and carb.

Louise was staring on a dime… I think that’s a saying.  If you can stop on a dime, you should be able to start on one too.

Here’s some video evidence of my victory…

I drove her in to my new mechanic today – Jake at Riverwest Automotive.  I’ll tell you right now – Jake is the man.  We took it for a test drive and he noticed several items that needed adjusting.  Lots of sputtering, stalling and bucking coming out of a gear change was the main concern.  I spent some more time behind the wheel and became more comfortable with finding the gears.  Jake spent 5 minutes under the hood and we took it for one more loop.  It’s like the bus was in the shop for a week getting a tune up!  Ran so smooth, I thought we were in a dream.  Still stalling out just a bit from time to time.  Gas pedal becomes basically unresponsive if you hit it too hard.  Again, Jake goes under and finds a small gas leak in the carb.  With the diagnosis in hand, I just need to wait for some free time in Jakes schedule to book my next appointment.

I was awoken from my dream on my way home when I stalled out in the middle of the busiest intersection in town.  Dead in the water.  No power.  Just darkness and sorrow closing in all around me.  Again, Jake to the rescue.  He sent a tow truck in minutes and Louise is back at the VW Ranch.

She’s in good hands now and as soon as we get this electrical glitch ironed out and a new carb, I think I’ll be in good shape to start some body work.  *I think…

jake shop

This mechanic knows a thing or two about VW’s




2 10 2015

Change is in the air.  Louise has arrived.


Louise is a Sierra Yellow/Gold, 1972 Volkswagen Type 2 Bay Window, Low Light Bus with the Westfalia Camper Conversion.  She’s a beauty.  Purchased from a really cool couple in Minneapolis, Minnesota (Kyle and Katie) and delivered here on Thursday evening.  She’ll be my new pet project as Lavera travels to retirement in Texas.  I’ve already made my first draft for the fix it list.  Rear tires have been removed and brake inspection has begun.  This comes after I coasted into a nearby intersection at the end of my street.  Note to self – inspect breaks prior to speed tests… got it.

New break shoes all around
Oil change
Carb clean up
New tires (ordered)
Sliding door repair
Negative Battery Cable Replacement – I think this is why it doesn’t start sometimes…

This brief list will keep me busy over the next week and a half.  If things are looking good, she’ll be my vehicle of choice for an upcoming fishing trip to Sheboygan.  Otherwise, it will be an upcoming tow truck trip to Sheboygan…

Also – site news.  I don’t think I have any regular visitors to my site (other than you mom – love you). But if you are interested… will soon be  Make a note of it.  I’m a cheapskate and I won’t be paying for the extra “site forwarding” extension thingy.

Now… off to the DMV.


Cha Cha Cha Changes

29 09 2015

Never really thought this day would come.  I sold Lavera.  Owning this little truck has been a dream come true and I don’t regret a single decision, flub up, fuel gauge fix or Napa Auto Parts bill.  Ok, maybe I regret a few of the hours I spent on the fuel gauge, but other than that… it’s all good.  Even the decision to sell.

I’m not selling because I HAVE to, it’s just time to move on to another project and get behind the wheel of a car that an go a bit farther down the highway.  Lavera is a local, round the town joy ride.  I’ll miss her dearly.

I didn’t actually think it would all happen so fast.  I never posted on Craig’s List or Ebay – just a post here on my blog and I got a couple of hits.  In the end, my SISTER of all people said she’d top any bid by a dollar.  Sorry other people (you know who you are and I appreciate your interest and offers) but family is family and I’d be a heartless fool to turn her down.

So I’ll be in the process of packing her up over the next few weeks to see if I can get her on the road to TEXAS before the snow flies.


Lavera will love the warm weather and probably be topless for the rest of her life.  Sounds good to me.  I’ve only visited Texas twice and both times I grew tired of seeing people that think it’s a good idea to hang metal gonads off of their rear hitch.  If you’ve never seen it, don’t think that I’m kidding here – it’s just what it sounds like.  Nuts on a truck.  I hope the Texas folk will get kick out of seeing what a classy truck really looks like.

So what’s next?  Time to rename the blog I guess.  I’m torn between Cream City Kombi and Cream City Camper?


Stay tuned…


The 2015 Milwaukee Scout Rally

3 09 2015

The first annual Milwaukee Scout Rally was a smashing success with 100% attendance!!!  That’s right – we were BOTH there!!  I met Scott last year when he followed me home to check out my Scout.  We chatted, exchanged emails and he expressed interest in buying a Scout.  Well, a year later, Scott is now the proud owner of BEAST.  BEAST is an amazing 1969 SR2.  I’m not an expert by any means, but I do believe the largest engine IH ever dropped into a scout is a 304 V8.  That’s a lot of power for a small metal shoebox.  But BEAST has earned his name (Yes – I’ll continue to write BEAST in capitol letters – and for good reason) because someone has managed to squeeze in a 345… you know, it might have even been a 392… I’m not sure.  But it was huge and loud and powerful!  Popping open the bonnet on that bad boy was jaw dropping.  Imagine seeing 4 engines in the same amount of room as what your ONE engine fit’s into. It’s just… Dolly Parton in a push-up bra.

I drove BEAST around the neighborhood and said things like “holy s**t!”  and “this is awesome!”

Scott drove LaVera and said things like “it’s so quiet” and “it’s so quiet!”

Scott has lots of work to do to get BEAST roadworthy.  Some turn signal issues (been there).  Choke not adjusted (been there).  And the fuel gauge doesn’t work… but I wouldn’t know much about that…


But cosmetically – this is a sweet ride.  No dents, dings or cancerous rust.  The BEAST has arrived in Milwaukee.



So let’s see if there are any other Scout or IH owners in the Milwaukee area?… Drop me a line and we’ll see if we can have another meetup before the tops go on for winter.


Here’s a Thought

8 08 2015

So we’ve had a great summer in the Scout.  Top is off and we’re hitting the local ice cream shops as often as we can when it’s not raining.  But a recurring theme has begun… Dad – let’s take the Scout to the lake (55 miles away) … Dad – let’s take the Scout camping (2 hours north) … Dad – let’s take the Scout to Grandma’s house (even farther…)  Let’s be honest.  The Scout is a great, fun, head turning truck everywhere it goes, but it doesn’t go far.  I’ve been 55 miles per hour in it this year, and it wasn’t too bad.  Maybe I could have pushed it harder, but I just don’t feel the need.  That’s not why I own it.  But with my boys getting older and wanting to drive to Duluth and Chicago and other freeway necessary locations, I’m now asking myself… is it time to let go?

Maybe I’ll buy a V8 Scout, maybe I’ll buy a Travelall.  Heck, maybe I’ll buy a VW Bus.  Not sure yet, but I’ve decided to test the waters.

Scout for sale.  $10,000 – OBO.  Shoot me an email at if you’d like to make me go to bed tonight sobbing into my pillow.


If you’ve read my blog, you’ve already seen LaVera in all her glory, I have nothing to hide, but here’s a quick summary…

I *think* it’s a fair price given the condition and the fact that the right hand drives seem pretty collectible in the Scout community. She only has 30,000 original miles. I had just assumed the speedo had rolled over once, but the guy that replaced my leaf springs said “I’ve lived under old cars all my live, and that is a 30,000 mile car – not 130,000.” So I’m taking his word for it. Here’s a list of recent upgrades (between myself and previous owner in last 5 years):

Rebuild carb with a 2 barrel Motorcraft 5200 (Weber 32/36 clone)
Pentronix ignition
Replaced hoses
Recored the radiator
new front and rear U joints
newer shocks (previous owner)
new water pump
new clutch master and slave cylinders
Switched out old vacuum wipers with modern (vintage looking) electric
New wiper squirter
New leaf springs
Previous owner did a light restoration and replaced a few rusty floor boars with heavy gauge sheetmetal. Body is original and virtually rust and dent free! But if you want to find some rust, you’ll find it underneath 🙂
Interior sprayed with bed liner
New body bushings
replaced front and rear brake shoes
New fuel pump
New exhaust system
rebuilt the front steering knuckles.
Rewired and functional turn signals, brake lights, interior “courtesy” light and back up lights.
It has the D27 axles front and rear, four wheel drive high and low operate. The heater works and the glass is all intact. It doesn’t leak any motor oil, nor has it used any between annual oil changes
I also have a white wall spare tire and vintage rear tire mount that has not yet been installed.
The odometer reads 30xxx miles.

Here’s the bad:

needs upholstry! I have cheap seat covers on it now.

Gas gauge doesn’t work. Oh don’t you even get me started on this one. This is common on Scout 800’s and just pisses me off!!!
Front and rear differentials have replaced gaskets, but still drip a bit.

That’s all I can think of for now. Here are a few references to back up my estimated price.

2wd Right Hand drive sold last year for $10,100. It was just a half cab and had 60,000 miles. Missing hood emblems and no wipers, etc. but if I remember, it still looked pretty good.

Here is the recent sale of a 67 on ebay. Same engine. milage is 112,000 and has visible body damage from being in a fender bender… regular left hand drive.


Ok that’s it.  If it doesn’t sell.  We’re all good and I can take a deep breath.  We’ll go camping in my wife’s car.

Paddle – Part 5

12 05 2015

I added some material to the sides (more cherry) and then just did a jig saw cut and started sanding.  I was a bit concerned about how to shape the shaft, since it seems that most people do that on a routing table and I don’t have one, but I found that an angle grinder with a 60 grit sanding pad does the job quite nicely.  After working my way down to a 220 grit sander and then some hand sanding… I’m ready for fiberglass.

The paddle weighs exactly 2 lbs right now.  I’m fine with that.  The glass and finish won’t add more than another pound.  In hind sight, I should have used cedar instead of hard maple.  I also should not have ordered the Chicken Shawarma on Sunday night.  Long story…




Paddle – Part 4

28 04 2015

Wow – I actually received an email the other day asking why my blog wasn’t about repairing my Scout anymore.  That means, someone actually reads this.  Cool.  The answer to the question is: Not much to say when there are no repairs to do.  The only update I can think of is that the gas gauge still doesn’t work.  Done.

So back to my canoe paddle. I created a make shift router jig to start thinning the Blade and it worked great.  I quickly learned that I didn’t need to build up the sides of the blade so high.  Lesson learned.  I need to ad a few more 3/8″ pieces to the blade to make it wider and then it’s time to start shaping the blade.

Paddle currently weighs in at 3 lbs.  My goal is 2.

And here’s a picture for you Bill… my paddle sitting next to my old beaver tail template… on the Scout!