Author Topic: How do I drive this thing?  (Read 46332 times)

Offline Dj:Eep

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How do I drive this thing?
« on: November 23, 2008, 01:28:51 PM »
A common question among new bus pilots is this:

"Now that I've got it, how do I drive it?  It has no tach, a shaky speedo, and seems it won't climb a 3 degree incline!"

Well, first, as long as you have ears, a butt and maybe a semi-functional speedometer, you don't need a tach.
Second, you need to understand the power/torque curve of your little 40-67hp engine.

Your bus is designed to use the entire powerband of the engine, especially the pre '72 powerplant.  This means no short shifts, and no climbing hills in high gears.

Nothing is worse for a VW than lugging the engine.  This means driving with the RPMs below the lower end of the powerband.  A few seconds of high revving is nothing the engine can't take, a few seconds of lugging may be a few seconds too many.  The aircooled engine needs to be spinning to be cooling.  Combine the heat and pressures of lugging with the lack of cooling from slow fan speed and you get rapid engine death. 

Many people drive too low in the powerband because it pleases their ears.  You just hafta remember that what you hear is all relative.  Driving 25 mph in second gear sounds like hell for the engine, but driving 65 in fourth sounds fine.  Funny thing is, the engine speed is the same.  Only the ambient road and wind noise changes the perception of the sound.  And I know from experience that an early bay bus'll go for hundreds of miles at a time at 65, even 70 mph.  So don't be afraid to scream up that hill in second.   Use your butt to feel the vibrations of the engine, not your ears.  As long as its not getting real shaky or starting to "thrum", yer fine.

Also, remember that many old bus speedometers are fairly inaccurate, often reading 3-8 mph fast, depending on speed.  So that 45 in third is really more like 40-41.  Don't be afraid to push it to 45-50 on the speedo in third.  I push my inaccurate speedo to 55 in third when getting on the freeway.

And most importantly, 4th gear is to be thought of as "overdrive".  It is for cruising only.  NEVER climb a hill under 50-55 in fourth.  If it won't hold 55-60, you need to downshift and hit it a 40 in third or even 25 in second.  People can pass you on the left if they need to.  You can cruise on flat ground or downhill in fourth down to about 30-35, as long as you are just cruising, foot barely on the gas.  Do not attempt to accelerate quickly without shifting to third.

"Well that's all Greek to me! Do you speak English?"


Put simply:

(early bays-pre '72)
1st:  0-17mph, can climb just about any hill you come across.
2nd: 10-30mph, 35mph for a short speed burst.
3rd:  20-45mph, 50mph for a short speed burst.  15mph just puttin' along on flat ground.
4th   40-70mph, 30-40mph just puttin' along.  Never under 45-50mph under load.

(late bays-post '71)
1st:  0-20mph, can climb just about any hill you come across.
2nd: 10-35mph, 38mph for a short speed burst.
3rd:  20-50mph, 57mph for a short speed burst.  15mph just puttin' along on flat ground.
4th   45-80mph, 33-40mph just puttin' along.  Never under 50mph under load.

Good rule of thumb is this:  If you can't go any faster by pushing the accelerator, you're pushing it too hard, whatever end of the RPM spectrum you're on.

Also, be nice to that old cable operated clutch.  Smooth pedal action, no riding it at stoplights, that's what neutral is for.
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Offline zozo

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2008, 02:04:25 PM »
Well said.   thumb7

What's 70mph feel like in a bus?  :102:

Offline Dj:Eep

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2008, 03:00:53 PM »
Fast. :eek:
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Offline Fastmc25

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2008, 04:00:29 PM »
Well said.   thumb7

What's 70mph feel like in a bus?  :102:

Very comfortable...... nice speed for long trips.....  thumb1
"I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to bag some weed....... and now the rest of my life ....just bagging weeds......"

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1973 Adventurewagen  2.8L            "Clyde"
1961 Deluxe Beetle "ALA...Original"   "Christine"

Offline zozo

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2008, 04:09:28 PM »
With RGBs I'd be turning about 5000rpm to make it to 70.


Offline Dj:Eep

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2008, 05:13:19 PM »
IRS Bay-bee! :eusa_dance:
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Offline Fastmc25

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2008, 05:21:40 PM »
I converted my '60 panel to IRS.... i put a 4:12 transaxle in it and it worked great on the highway..... 65-70 no problem cruising.....  It sucked taking off from a redlight after your used to having RGB's.....  :Doh:

I'd stick with RGB's on the old bus and enjoy the ride....  thumb1 :steer:
"I spent the first 20 years of my life trying to bag some weed....... and now the rest of my life ....just bagging weeds......"

Peace,
Paul @ http://Lovemybus.com
www.arklatexvwclub.com

1973 Adventurewagen  2.8L            "Clyde"
1961 Deluxe Beetle "ALA...Original"   "Christine"


Offline zozo

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2008, 05:26:27 PM »
I agree.  I'm cool with it being slow.  That's part of the whole experience.

If I wanted to go fast, I would have bought a fast toy, like a 'Vette or a Porsche.  (Buncha snobs in those clubs anyway.  Sheesh.  You'd think writing checks was some sort of art form.)  VW people are much nicer.  The populace as a whole likes VWs better.  I like working on mine instead of putting it in the shop for a tune-up and oil change.

Offline olylawnboy

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2008, 06:15:23 PM »
Great write Eep ;D You have explained most of this before yet you put it all together this time very well :p6:
And 70 in a bus? That's just too darn fast. In Whinnie (68 panel), 60 just feels great, got a little more if I need it, ok, not much :) but a little more :).
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Offline rastafoo

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2008, 06:35:22 PM »
Janis likes 65, must be those taller 195 Hancooks. Following some splitties back from bug jam made me realize the huge difference there is between going 55 and 65. :Doh:
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Offline GostaBerling

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #10 on: November 23, 2008, 06:45:31 PM »
Great write-up Eep. thumb1

Hey Oly, haven't seen you around very much lately. Good to hear from you. :eusa_clap: :eusa_dance:

I ran Willy 70-75 (speedo mph) for 10 hours through Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin last spring. Now I was probably actually going 60-65 or less real mph. It is important to remember that VW fell really short in calibrating their speedos. I have had two in Willy and they were both calibrated differently. So, keep this in mind when reading about mph.
Check out Willy's blog: Life and Adventures of a bus named Willoughby

http://willoughbus.wordpress.com/


Life isn't about waiting for the Storm to pass... It's about learning to Dance in the rain!


Offline Dj:Eep

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #11 on: November 23, 2008, 07:02:24 PM »
I was inspired by a ride I recently took with a certain high-level member of this forum ( :eusa_think: ) who seems to like climbing steep inclines at 30 in fourth.... ;D

His new exhaust sounds great though! thumb1
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Offline zozo

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #12 on: November 23, 2008, 07:15:05 PM »
Great write-up Eep. thumb1

Hey Oly, haven't seen you around very much lately. Good to hear from you. :eusa_clap: :eusa_dance:

I ran Willy 70-75 (speedo mph) for 10 hours through Missouri, Iowa and Wisconsin last spring. Now I was probably actually going 60-65 or less real mph. It is important to remember that VW fell really short in calibrating their speedos. I have had two in Willy and they were both calibrated differently. So, keep this in mind when reading about mph.



Check it with a GPS and you'll surely be surprised.


Offline GostaBerling

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #13 on: November 23, 2008, 08:41:02 PM »
I don't own or like GPS. They cause people to not know where they are going, how they got there or how to get home. I'll stick to maps and figure my way out.

I know they are off cause the wife has followed me many of times, plus I have gone past those roadside radars. The question is how far off they are at what mph you are going. They tend to be worse the faster you go.
Check out Willy's blog: Life and Adventures of a bus named Willoughby

http://willoughbus.wordpress.com/


Life isn't about waiting for the Storm to pass... It's about learning to Dance in the rain!

Offline Dj:Eep

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Re: How do I drive this thing?
« Reply #14 on: November 24, 2008, 01:15:44 AM »
Yeah, it's a ratio thing, so the faster you go, the more off it gets.

Geri Lou would say 80, but the GPS said 72, whereas she would say 45 with the gps at 41.  Navin is about the same.
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