You need to be sitting down for this – the bug passed its MOT with no advisories earlier this month – amazing! This has never happened before in approximately 22 years (combined) of VW ownership history! Admittedly the speedo in the bug has stopped working again, but that’s not material…….

In the last seven or eight weeks we’ve seen some substantial relaxing of the lockdown restrictions. Not before time either because – and I’m sure I won’t be alone here – I was starting to lose it a little. It’s meant that I’ve been able to get out and about a bit more and, as we’ve been given the green light to use the underground car park at work, I’ve been giving the bug a run into the office once a week for the last few weeks.

My punt of booking the campsites for August seems to have paid off too, as a couple of weeks later it was announced that they would be able to open from the 4th July. Fingers crossed all the Covid processes are nicely bedded in by the middle of August. And hopefully it’s stopped raining by then! Looking at the availability at Coniston Park Coppice now (or lack thereof) I think it’s likely to be busy up there!

Yeah, thanks Clarence

Less than a week after I brought Clarence back from having had his clutch cable replaced, I had decided on having a little lunchtime trundle over to Halfords in Guiseley to pick up a click and collect order. All was fine on the way over there, but on the way back the gear change got even more vague than normal. As in I couldn’t find second kind, and there’s so much travel I can’t get it into third because it’s hitting the dash kind of vague!

Fortunately I managed to nurse it home, but was worried that this might be seriously expensive to fix. After a reassuring chat with Johnnie at the Herbie Hospital, we figured it would most likely be a bushing that had gone. Whilst I was giving the coupling at the front of the bus a waggle, something fell on the floor towards the back end of the bus. It turned out that it was the rear coupling that had essentially disintegrated.

Think before ordering….

Seeing that it was the rear coupling, I just cracked on and ordered a very nicely engineered part from Limebug on their eBay store. Feeling pleased with myself I then gave Johnnie another quick call and he suggested that I could actually get away with just replacing the bushes rather than the whole coupling assembly and it should be pretty straightforward. Happy days!

Obviously it wasn’t that straightforward (but then, what job in history has been straightforward on an old VW?). When the new part arrived, it looked like a really nicely engineered piece and I couldn’t wait to get it on the bus. Bear in mind that I was going to be trying to do this job one handed (my left) whilst lying on my back, trying to squeeze under a lowered bus. Anyway, I think I probably spent about 15 minutes or so trying to get the new bushes into the old coupling.

They just didn’t fit though. Comparing them with the originals, they were quite a bit bigger and also more of a square shape. I did wonder if I could take a Stanley knife to them, or a bit of sandpaper, but figured it was probably just better to buy and original style part and use the bushes from that. So I ordered another, standard, coupling from Just Kampers and a few days later I was back under the bus completing the fix. And it actually works!!

In other Clarence news

I’ve also finally finished the polishing of the outside of the louvered windows and I’ve done most of the inside too. It did occur to me the other day when I was giving Clarence a bit of an internal clean that his curtains have seen better days. Dying them blue back in 2012 was only ever meant to be a temporary measure after my mum broke her wrist, so I recently successfully negotiated with her to make some new ones for me. There’s some reasonable looking fabric available at Ikea, and that should work out significantly cheaper than buying a ready made set. I think I can also persuade her to make on for the inside of the cab area, so can ditch the silver one I normally have on the outside of the windscreen.

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