Monthly Archives: January 2008

Things to Look For . . .

The book How To Keep Your Volkswagen Alive – A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures For the Complete Idiot – John Muir, was recommended to us by Gene. He has been a tremendous help with all our questions. I personally want to thank him for keeping Marilyn from buying every bus she sees! If not for Gene, we would probably own 6 buses by now.

This book has a section dedicated to checking many mechanical items before buying a bus. This included checking the compression. I agree that this is good information to know, but are sellers really willing to let a potential buyer run this test? Most of the other tests that John recommended are less intrusive and at least I would feel more comfortable performing,

Anyway this is a great book and it receives 5 bus BusJunkie rating!

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Posted by on January 30, 2008 in the begining


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Research Continued – Sundial, Westy, S023

Sundial Campers, by Josh Rodgers

Sundial –Edgemont California
Also based on Panel Van distinctive features were 5 Jalousie windows. Kombi & Microbus were also converted. Walls paneled in Ash Plywood (like Westy) Vinyl Flooring.

Type 2, T1 “Camper”
Westfalia Campers
Leading the Way – Westfalia Werks was founded by Johann Knobel in 1844, as a blacksmiths & agricultural tool factory. They made harnesses and horse-drawn carts. At the end of the 1920’s, Westfalia begain producing caravans & multi-purpose trailers. In 1953 the first Campng Box was introduced, it was basically a self-contained unit that fitted against the front bulkhead, with bench seating, a uni was in 3 sections.

The unit could double up for guests in the house, too!

From 1955 a full camping interior was available and by 1957 Westy had produced its 1,000th Camper conversion.

Beginning in 1959, a very different kind of camper was produced by Westy and quickly became the standard in design and fittings. There was a Standard and Deluxe version – the Deluxe included the rear cool box unit. They both included:

  • Cabinets finished in plywood veneers
  • Upholstery was in black check plaid, w/ matching curtains
  • Seating arranged round the table
  • 2 back cushions laying out on the dropped table to form bed
  • Child’s hammock hooked around the back of the front seat
  • Bottom bunk was the front seat
  • A toiletry/washing unit was sited to the left of the loading doors
  • The front of the unit was a shelved cupboard for storing the bowl & kitchen utensils
  • On the side of the this unit was a flap-down shelf to hold a washing bowl
  • The first cocktail cabinet had spun colored aluminum drink set: 6 oz cups & shot glasses
  • 2 clamshell design side lights
  • A wardrobe with dressing mirror was sited just inside the rear loading door
  • Cargo net for shoes across the ceiling of the rear area
  • Sisal carpet flooring was fitted in the load area & attached in place with press studs
  • Marble mat (brown or green linoleum) was on the rear deck
  • Tent awning was red & white stripe, held n place with special mounts on the roof & front bumper
  • Roof rack was also available

That’s all for now folks, this is fun, fun, fun! I haven’t done a research project like this since I lived in the Yoga Ashram in Denton, Texas

Kundalini Yoga Ashram

and I was researching Buddism:)



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Posted by on January 29, 2008 in the begining


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Engine & Gears

I’m feeling kinda bad that we didn’t work on this yesterday…. I need not get too anal about his…Marilyn is going to finish the campers so I moved on. I feel like I need to understand the different engines, gears, and such. We see a lot of ads with terms such as “highway gears” so we can cruise at 70mph. Very confusing. I did do some research and found that buses after 1963 will cruise at 65mph. I’m ok with that. It is the 6 volt thing that worries me. Not from the VW side just entrainment point of view. We are 12 volt dependent. From the ipod, to the stereo. We have heard of converting to 12v, but then that takes a different transmission, so is that compatible?

One thing that is a concern to us is the fact that these things are historically bad for heat. Not that we will be doing any winter traveling, but there may be some early and late trips no Mississippi. I found this page, which was resurrected from WayBackMachine, (which is a cool page too.) We found this on, this page is incredible. It has a wealth of information and I’m sure the answer to all of our questions. Anyway . . . . We hope this procedure works. It looks like it’s the real deal. Anyway it has put our minds at ease that heat will not be as difficult as it was when we used to ride in VW’s. We know everyone has a COLD VW story.

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Posted by on January 29, 2008 in the begining


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VW Camper Research

Well… Marilyn found a book at the Chicago Public Library it is called VW Camper – The Inside Story by David Eccles. This comprehensive book helped us sort out the Westfalia from the Sundial to a Riveria.

From that book we learned . . . .

In 1951 Westfalia introduced the first VW camper. This camper had removable parts that could be used in the home for house guests! By 1955, Westfalia was producing fully converted buses and in 1959 brought the SO23 to market.

Other companies that were also doing the bus conversions were Devon (1957), Moortown (1958), Dormobile (1961), and finally the Danbury (1964). One thing we found interesting is that during the 60’s only Devon, Dormobile, Danbury, and Westfalia were officially recognized by VW. Other conversion companies had separate warranties.

In the 1960’s, the popularity of the Westfalia out sold the supply in North America. This led to other conversion companies entering the VW camper market such as EZ Campers, Sundial, Riveria, and Road Runner. These companies based their designs off of the Westfalia interiors.

EZ Campers began converting panel vans in 1963/64. There is also a webpage that out lines the history of the EZ Camper that is quite informative. This fellow even has replacement ID tags for your conversion. One of the models, the El Viajero looked very similar to the Sundial, however, the EZ was more luxurious. The 1965 EZ was based on the Kombi. This conversion featured 6 “pop-out” windows and birch panels instead of the EZ grooved style panel

Riviera / ASI


This dealership in Beaverton Oregon partnered with ASI (Automotive Services, Inc) in Vancouver Washington in 1965 to product a VW conversion to help offset the tight supply of Westfalia buses. These buses were .. just like te EZ Campers, based on the Westfalia. Since there are no serial numbers on these conversions it is unknown how many were produced. Most of the buses produced by this partnership were walkthrough panel vans. ASI also allowed customers to bring in their own buses for conversion, which would explain Riviera’s that are pre-1965. One of the obvious characteristics of these buses were the long “picture window” in either a slider or jalousie. The single windows were different that the Sundial and the EZ in that they were sliders instead of flipping open. The interiors were made from lightly stained birchwood. Some of these buses came with “pop-tops” from Sportsmobile in Elkhart Indiana. The Riviera Registry has more information on pre-1968 buses


Posted by on January 27, 2008 in the begining


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Pursuing the Quest for the Family Bus

It has been about a week since we caught the “bus fever.” We all have it, Marilyn and I email stuff back and forth all day, Taylor is looking for buses on his PSP, Clay is helping me. We thought that since the SUV is on its last legs that we needed a road-trip vehicle. The bus won.

This week we have been trying to narrow down one that we like. So far we have decided that we want a 1960’s Splittie that has a dinette and 2 bench seats. This way when we leave for the south, the boys can have a bed to continue sleeping. When they wake up, they will each have a bench seat and a table to use for the trip.


The Junkies . . . .

Mom_McgeeMom & Clay (McGee)

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Posted by on January 26, 2008 in the begining


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