VW Camper Family

A camping forum for VW bus and camper owners.

So living in California means you need to smog your 74+ vehicle upon purchase and because the Dharma van was a non-op, it was my responsibility. I took it to the nearest smog place in Berkeley directly from picking the van up with the new gas tank (see previous post). It is a gas station and the technician was sleeping in his car when I showed up at 8am on a sat morning, he had a rough night apparently. He got all of his books and special tools and after about 1.5 hours, the van barely failed. He told me that it was idling way too low - 600 rpm. NO doubt I was pissed since I just had the engine removed by the local "experts" to replace the gas tank. Went home and realized I only had 5 days to go back and get a free re-test. I called the mechanics and they gave me some half ass answer to the difference in running etc yadda yadda yadda - basically they didn’t re-time it when putting the engine back on - also noticed that they charged me for an extra clutch which was never installed and an exhaust tip which was also never installed - NEVER going back there - I think they have the word "lab" on their name because they carry out experiments rather than execute on work orders. I went to the local Kragens and purchased a timing light, got my manual out and in 15 min had the car purring – the old man would have been proud of me right after telling me that I should have done it in the first place. Went back to the smog place and she passed – granted she had a new fuel tank, points, plugs, cat converter and muffler. Fantastic !

The next task was to install an 80 watt panel and a dual battery controller – 3 hours and I was done- Everyone asks me about the panel and I’m thinking about adding another one – I just got a 105 Ah battery so I think I need more charging power according to my calculations. Our first close road trip is this Sunday and I’ll let you know how it goes!

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Comment by Rodolfo Hendrichs on December 8, 2011 at 7:13pm


I live in Miami and own a Wsetfalia 83. Just read your lines and wanted to tell you that I did all that myself. Anyway, I am a new memeber and I am reading and getting to know the VW CAMPER FAMILY.

All the best and regards Rodolfo


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