Saved by a Flat Iron

There’s a first time for everything.

This morning was cold. Just about everything was frozen. When I went to start the bus, the gas pedal was as hard as a rock. I’ve never had this happen before. So, what freezes on a gas pedal? Nothing. After a little poking around and crawling under the bus, it became apparent that the accelerator cable was frozen inside the cable tube. There isn’t supposed to be anything inside this tube besides air, so this didn’t really make sense either.  Why would there be water in my accelerator cable tube? Oh, right.

Even though the sun came out, I didn’t expect anything to thaw out too soon. We’re ready to get going, so what to do? Find a heater.

I had a soldering iron, but that wouldn’t work too well. There might be a hair dryer in there somewhere, but it would need too much power. Angela had the solution – she had packed (and probably never used*) a flat iron. 80 Watts. And, it can be clenched right on the tube.

We fired up the engine and manually worked the carb until it idled well, plugged in the iron and flipped the switch on the inverter. After about 20 minutes under the bus and working my way up and down the length of tube with the iron, the pedal started to move. Problem solved… for now.

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I think there’s some sort of 75% rule (or there should be). Once you’re more than 3/4 done with something, you may as well be finished. You mentally check out and are ready for the next thing. That’s where we’re at on this drive. We’re over it. The only thing left now is to put the miles behind us and get to Colorado.

We pointed north on some smaller roads that would take us to I-70, but didn’t get very far.  Evidently, all that poking around with the stiff gas pedal bent a few linkage pieces and the circlips that held them together came off and disappeared. Exactly in the middle of nowhere the pedal fell to the floor. Back under the bus, I found a few parts and was missing a few others. I rigged it up with bailing wire and a random spring I had in my parts bag and was back on the road in about an hour. Yet another bus project for another time.

Totally over it.

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*Moral of the story – don’t argue if your wife packs a bunch of stuff. You just may find a use for it later.


4 thoughts on “Saved by a Flat Iron

  • January 8, 2015 at 8:00 AM

    Remove tube when you can, clean out the inside with rifle/pistol cleaning kit (cheap at wally world) and fill with light grease -lithium or moly. If you have time and place drop whole cable and squirt grease or pump oil into whole tube also before re-stuffing cable. (I goo it on cable by hand while slowly pushing cable in.) Make sure rubber grommet on fan shroud (and on front tin piece) is good for holding tube steady and insert carefully. If no grommets insert tube without cable and put a small ideal clamp on the forward part of the tube next to the fan shroud to hold tube solidly in place, re-insert cable, attach, lube ALL levers/moving parts and on the road again. Always do a recheck to assure full 90 degrees of carb arm motion via acc pedal. Home depot has djus clips if no oems available.

  • January 8, 2015 at 9:03 AM

    Remove tube? It’s welded to the frame.

  • January 8, 2015 at 9:05 AM

    Baja 1000 VW Cable, Cable made at a Sail Boat shop with both ends swedged on and and a plastic tube outer sheath from Ace Hardware. Lubricate with molybdenum disulfide dry lubricant.

  • January 9, 2015 at 9:23 PM

    FWIW, when my gas cable broke in the middle of nowhere (the standard place for VW van failures), I ran a line of parachute cord thru the eyebolt curtain rods into the engine compartment & turned the bus into a manual gas adding my camera strap & making it into a sling, was able to accelerate by leaning forward…did this for a couple of weeks until the new cable came in. Those were the days, my friend …(trailing off into song….)

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