Wednesday, May 21, 2008
The hardest part of the conversion for me has been the brakes. My bus had been sitting outside for a while and the brakes were locked on. A new brake job had to be done and I had to do it. New calipers, new pads and springs, new rotors, new pads, new bake lines, new master cylinder.... and the reason I went with a 73 bus instead of the earlier versions is that 73 was one of the first years, if not the first, which had vacuum assist brakes.
No combustion engine means no vacuum,so I bought a vacuum pump from http://www.electroauto.com and attached that to the front underside of the bus. Unfortunately I have had no luck in getting it to work properly. When I turn the bus on with the key the pump gurgles loudly for 6-7 seconds until it creates a vacuum in the system and an additional chamber made out of 4 inch PVC pipe. But, the instant I touch the brakes all the vacuum is released on the other side of the brake booster through the air port. I asked a question about this on http://www.thesamba.com and I am thinking I have a bad booster valve.
Not much money left at this time for my bus, so replacing the booster will have to wait a while. The brakes work very well as they are anyway, they just take a bit of muscle to get them to really lock up. My right leg may end up twice as big as my left, especially with no clutch action.