View Full Version : Dulce the GL Bus

December 27th 2015, 20:05
Long time lurker and occasional poster here. Digging my heels in again to get the old girl back on the road. 1966 11-window, non-deluxe T1 bus.

Brief high points of my history with her:

Bought her back in 1998 in Tucson from some hippy, earthy chick. It ran on 3 cylinders and the body was decent. I paid $2500 back then and I thought that was a lot!

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/000_0150.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/000_0150.jpg.html)

In 2001 she was a rally support vehicle for a pro-rally team (Galant VR4) based in Phoenix. We went to hell and back again keeping up with large diesel trucks in the mud, rain, gravel roads at 75mph, and a foot of snow at the North rim of the Grand Canyon...she never once broke down on me

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/Oct0706.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/Oct0706.jpg.html)http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/Oct0701.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/Oct0701.jpg.html)

Several mods. over the years, '75 front bus disk brakes with booster, hydraulic clutch, rear air suspension, two fuel injection systems (CIS then L-jet), won a "VW spirit" award at a show in Lafayette, LA one time

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/S5001512.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/S5001512.jpg.html)

Finally got tired of the old swing axle leaking, ripped it out to replace it with later bug IRS trans. and bus components and Mercedes CLK rims

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/S5001755.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/S5001755.jpg.html)

December 27th 2015, 21:12
I'd buff the paint and it'd look OK for about a week, then would fade again and finally got tired of the goofy fender flares a PO put on there and put my bus in jail--the paintbooth for 1 1/2 years which was 1 year and 3 months longer than that crackhead promised me it would take to repaint the bus.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/S5001948.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/S5001948.jpg.html)
http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/S5001949.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/S5001949.jpg.html)

It turned out pretty good though.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/IMG00377-20110907-1705.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/IMG00377-20110907-1705.jpg.html)

Moved a few times over the years from Tucson to Lafayette to Mandeville (Louisiana), then put the girl in storage for a couple of years while we were overseas in Ecuador, which brings us to Houston.

I stuck with the T1 engine I built a few years ago which has a 110 cam, 1.25 rockers, straight cut gears, etc. I swapped to MS before we moved to Ecuador, but really didn't have a lot of time to master the learning curve.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/S5001822.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/S5001822.jpg.html)

Towed her over from storage here earlier this year and I've been busy doing welding on her here and there plugging up holes from all the years. :)


My neighbors, friends, and family think I'm a bit off for not get it running first than doing all this metal work the last couple of months, but there's still no windows in it and I wouldn't risk even driving around the block with the Texas cops here.

Anyhoo, my welding has been getting better and better over the years as well as my orange (HF junk) tools being traded out for decent (American) ones as well as getting into metal work the last couple of years.

I welded a work table for myself and my father-in-law helped me get the 3 in 1 machine on top of it over the weekend. We used a couple of pulley blocks I bought from a nautical supply place in Galveston. Man, it's so much easier to do stuff with a workspace now. Sorry for the crappy pics.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/1220151922_zpsx8hlyqqj.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/1220151922_zpsx8hlyqqj.jpg.html)
http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/1226151654_zpsznhhavxt.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/1226151654_zpsznhhavxt.jpg.html)
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December 27th 2015, 21:15
I've been lightening and fitting some 944 seats a friend of mine gave me a while ago. Again, I've learned a few things over the years and hacking, cutting, and drilling more holes than is necessary (actually on the bus) is like nails on chalkboard to me. I used the stock mounting points to fit the seats.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/1227151635_zpskzqsgdpe.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/1227151635_zpskzqsgdpe.jpg.html)
http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/1227151635a_zps4lprxjod.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/1227151635a_zps4lprxjod.jpg.html)

December 28th 2015, 11:24
My old GL bug I at the autocross in New Orleans a few years ago next to my buddy's S4. I sold that bug before we moved to Ecuador.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/IMG00564-20120108-0925_zpsykacznue.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/IMG00564-20120108-0925_zpsykacznue.jpg.html)

Last summer I spent some time putting the front bumper back on the bus, mounting and wiring up with a relay the fog lamps on the bus.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/IMG_1693_zpsz0i4pt8x.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/IMG_1693_zpsz0i4pt8x.jpg.html)

December 28th 2015, 11:44
The MS installed. It was running like poop. I spent a couple of weeks of evenings just trying to figure out why the EDIS wasn't working then wound up going back to the 009 just so it would run. It then ran, but barely. The tune was so far out I couldn't tell if I was making it better or worse.

I know people have had a lot of success with these, but MS has been by far the biggest headache system I've ever dealt with over the years and I've dealt with at least a dozen FI different systems. You get what you pay for though. Cheap ECU and scattered information in all directions.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/IMG_3972_zpsjj7igxxj.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/IMG_3972_zpsjj7igxxj.jpg.html)

Some of my welding. I've been doing thinner materials the last few months.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/IMG_1603%201_zpshac8im29.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/IMG_1603%201_zpshac8im29.jpg.html)

The front passenger sheet metal plug welded. I was responsible for maybe two of those holes drilled in my younger days, the rest were POs.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/1228150927_zpsty3q9vwk.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/1228150927_zpsty3q9vwk.jpg.html)

January 4th 2016, 22:17
Looks good so far. Keep pics coming.

Steve C
January 5th 2016, 19:29
great read, keep us informed

January 5th 2016, 21:52
Thanks Guys, I appreciate it ;).

Not too much to report, but I've been steadily working at getting the rear bench seat mounted. It's out of a pickup truck and has been trampled on by various dogs and kids (shop helpers sometimes) over the years. It's just a little dirty now, but all three seats will be recovered in grey leather at some point.

I popped the sliding track off the bottom of the bench seat as there's no need for it to slide and I'm fabbing up a different frame and straight posts on the underside to tie into the two rearmost stock mounting holes on the floor.

Sorry for the crappy pics:

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/0105160956_zpszaexdotg.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/0105160956_zpszaexdotg.jpg.html)
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January 10th 2016, 18:50
That's better. Up and off the floor and at a good height to look out the side windows and not block the rear view.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/0110161623_zpsdvbhki8b.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/0110161623_zpsdvbhki8b.jpg.html)

January 21st 2016, 13:06
I've been welding the middle area and all the holes. Some PO did some pretty good drilling back there. A lot of the holes were plugged with caulk about 3/8" big. Some pretty good rot waiting under the passenger side middle row seat mount as you can see here also.

http://i52.photobucket.com/albums/g30/jadewombat/0121161102_zpszgtizpor.jpg~original (http://s52.photobucket.com/user/jadewombat/media/0121161102_zpszgtizpor.jpg.html)

January 23rd 2016, 22:24
Shifting towards the drivers' side...more holes. I'm pretty sure the bus didn't leave Hannover 50 years ago that way.


January 25th 2016, 18:31
So somewhere in the history of my bus near the passenger side in the mid-section someone used a giant hole saw, decided that wasn't where they were going to put Daisy's sink or flower stand or whatever it was, then cut a new hole all the way through right next to it. Probably took about 2 minutes to gouge that hole and the half moon piece of 16ga. metal you see here took me a little over an hour to fab. up. At least I have the metal working tools at this point in my life to do this kind of stuff.


January 27th 2016, 20:31
Metal work is fun to me. Looks like you're doing a great job so far.

February 2nd 2016, 15:53

The metal under the passenger side middle seat row 2 mounts was completely gone. I debated trying to save those mounts, but I have no plans to fit a middle row seat anyway. I replaced that area with a rectangular portion of metal, but easily reversible if the next person another 50 years from now decides they want to go that way. :):D This section is pretty much patched back up and the rusty areas back under control Just some stuff up the cab floor area that needs to be gone over again.


February 15th 2016, 21:36
More stuff up front in the cab area. Water dripped down the inside of the door and ate away the lower pillar and floor here.


February 15th 2016, 22:16
Nice work! How do you like that 3 in 1 metal working tool? I have been thinking about buying one.

February 16th 2016, 11:34
Nice work! How do you like that 3 in 1 metal working tool? I have been thinking about buying one.

It's been a good machine overall. When I was shopping I searched "Made in the USA" and "3 in 1" or something like that and Baileigh's website popped up. The made in the USA was referring to other, more expensive stuff they make.

Anyhoo, this unit is made in China and sold under a dozen other brand names like Jet, Bolton, Central Machinery, etc. but it's pretty much identical.

Enough of that though.

The slip roller I don't use much because I don't need to but it does work well. A can of brake cleaner will take the yellow shipping goo off that they coat on these machines. Fuel pump baffle box for an older Nissan I made out of 22ga. aluminum:


The press brake is pretty good although just eyeballing it you can see the lower edge of the dies don't line up exactly. Left to right they're OK, but the dies are just a hair uneven. I tried adjusting them but not much changed. If I was really ambitious I could grind down the higher spots, but nothing I've bent so far requires that sort of precision. It will do bends up to and a little more than 90 degrees.

The shearing action is great on this machine. I've really been impressed how well it works. You can do razor thin cuts and there's no deflection of the piece. 16 gauge is the absolute limit you can cut and I welded the machine to the work table because you have to pretty much stand on it to get it to shear metal that thick.

The plastic handles and set screw on the side are pretty cheap, but nothing has broken yet.

February 17th 2016, 02:45
Sweet! Thanks for the info I really appreciate it. Sure would be nice to shear sheet metal instead of having to cut it with my band saw.

February 17th 2016, 16:38
Yeah, I know what you mean. I do a lot thinner metals and I hate how hand shears distort the piece along the edge. I was able to do most of this weird piece on the machine. Weird angles to weld at and a shot of the piece in place before I grind the welds down smooth.


I really like straight lines, bends, and cuts when I can do them. A glove box delete panel I made for my truck.


March 2nd 2016, 22:08
Doing a lot of grinding and sanding prep. in the inside cab. area getting ready to paint it. Some water was collecting under the drivers' seat and made some surface rust.

I also bought an old used South Bend lathe today so I can make (among other things) some spike center caps for the CLK rims.


March 15th 2016, 09:21
Not much to update, but I keep finding out how deep the rabbit hole goes. I was finding pinholes here and here that I went back and plug welded them and then uncovered a lot of weak metal spots on the underside of the cab I'll have to get back to later after I get the right paint to coat the inside of the frame.

Did a test fit of a shelf yesterday for setting beer on at car shows, etc. The bigger one mounted here I bought maybe 4-5 years ago because I liked the steampunk feel to it. I don't plan on making the interior of the bus completely steampunk, just a few things here and there. So fast forward about a month ago, and I bought the two smaller shelves in a secondhand store here in Houston. They match! I'll mount those in the back on either side of the bench seat.


I'm cutting my teeth learning the new (to me) lathe. I started by cleaning up the centering piece on the tail stock. I then cut down the round rod for the spike center caps into a more manageable piece to work with.


March 15th 2016, 21:00
Turning the center caps is a lot of time, but pretty fun and I'm learning quite a bit about machining. It's 3" aluminum round rod and the rims are of course metric, but easy enough to work with. I need to hollow out the area facing the tailstock here, then test fit on the rim hub before turning it down to a pointy section.


March 18th 2016, 21:49
Hollowing out the inside of the cap takes a long time. I'm using a 2 1/8" (54mm) forstener bit which I know wasn't made for cutting aluminum, but I don't really care. It works and would take almost infinitely longer if I tried to just hog out the center with the carbide cutter.

Pulled the cap off and checked it for fit on the rim. Looking good and the dog approves. Just have to remove a little more to clear the axle nut, then open up the inside bore 1mm to clear the front rotor dust caps.


March 18th 2016, 21:58
Nice! Im jealous of your south bend. They are great little machines. I am lucky enough to have access to a small lathe at work but I sure would like what you have for home use. Enjoy!

March 19th 2016, 14:33
Thanks Man, I'm glad a 53 year-old lathe can produce stuff like this that fits so well with an amateur machinist like myself. It fits on the rear good, just need to open it up some for the front hubs then cut it down to a pointy section.


March 22nd 2016, 15:13
I got one center cap done and it looks great on the bus. It took me just short of 10 hours labor here and there, but now that I have the measurements and a feel for the machine making the other 3 caps should go a lot quicker.

It weighs 0.7lb (or about 330 grams). I just need to drill and tap the holes for three allen screws to secure the cap to the inside of the rim hub.


March 22nd 2016, 22:25
Caps looking great man!

March 23rd 2016, 13:43

5mm blind allen screws drilled and tapped to hold it inside the hub.


March 31st 2016, 20:31
Got some paint laid down today in the cab area. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's a very even coat, but the lighting and camera are crap. Just need to wetsand and clear coat it.


April 4th 2016, 17:47
I fabbed up an ashtray and radio delete. Again, some PO cut a bigger hole in the dash to accommodate their Pep Boys radio blasting through some cheap 6 by 9s I'm sure. The ashtray was decorated by the hippy chick and not going back in. Even if I cleaned it up, I don't smoke and one of the clips is busted on it. It's easier to just make a smooth panel the same size than trying to fix it.

Got everything wetsanded and ready to put some clear coat on it.


April 5th 2016, 22:18
Clear coated and everything refitted just shorty after I took these photos. Gonna mount the front glass next, then try to get it running.


April 7th 2016, 21:35
The front glass and seats back in. Cleaned up the front end with a good scrub and some clay treatment.


April 11th 2016, 15:11
OK, I have a question for you guys. I installed one of the side windows, new seals, etc. It is super tight. As in, I broke one of the latches trying to close it. Eyeballing it, it looks like the alignment is a little closer to the lower edge of the window frame than the upper, but it didn't seem like there is any room for adjustment up and down or otherwise with the tiny screws on the hinge which holds the window frame. Thoughts/suggestions?

Do I need to just let the rubber set in place for a while (days or weeks) until it conforms to the frame, then try to latch it shut? I can't imagine Hanover having to do this, but I don't want to bust another latch again.


April 20th 2016, 19:46
Anyhoo, got another center cap cut, polished up the wheel and mounted it.


August 20th 2016, 16:31
It's a been a long and too hot summer. Haven't had as much time to put into the girl as I'd like, but still getting stuff done. Got another spike center cap fabbed up and doing a test fit here on the left rear wheel before I pull the wheel off to secure the screws on the inside. Got it running also. Megasquirt has had a whole world of challenges for me (headaches really--corrupted firmware, it stopped recognizing the ignition signal, a quite a few other little things not in the books), but it seems to be fairly good now. Will go wasted-spark eventually, but still tuning the fuel just for now.

Took the bus around the block today. First time in almost 4 years she's been driven. Pretty smooth so far.


September 24th 2016, 11:41
Putting all the parts and pieces back on her still. Got the bumper on and I had to adjust it four times. When I did the IRS swap it shifts the engine down and to the drivers' side about 10mm. I didn't think much of it until the tailpipes didn't line up with the cutouts (those were cut back when it was S/A).

Anyhoo, several "adjustments" to the brackets shifted everything over to where the pipes lined up.

Looking more like the old rally support vehicle she was (which she was twice back in 2001 for a Pro GT team in Arizona!).


September 24th 2016, 16:20
Love the rally Look...

October 4th 2016, 15:36
Thanks Man.

Back to plug welding some holes on the interior. Not too pretty back there, but all the small holes are filled up. Going to either work towards painting the rest of the interior or lower the front end a little.


November 5th 2016, 15:35
I lowered the front end a little. And by a little, I mean 5mm. I know this sounds tiny, but I'm not trying to slam it just make it level with the rear end. It's almost there I just need to do another 5mm. Also finished the last spike cap. I tried a different approach with the cutter and the finish turned out a lot smoother.


April 5th 2017, 14:45
Not too much progress. I got some seatbelts out of a 924 and fabbing up the brackets to get them to work in the bus. A neighbor and his kid helped me get the rear window in also.

We got for rides around the neighborhood every now and then, but that's about it until I get some things squared away. Also in the process of redoing my garage as I hate this ratty old one I have now.


June 21st 2017, 18:53
That's a bit better...and a lot cooler inside the shop now with the sun hitting the cedar instead of the shingles on the walls. Going to soundproof the back wall next as the neighbors behind us were complaining. The speakers I put together and the rest of the sound system isn't too big and everything is pointed towards the end of the driveway, but I don't want to piss those people off if they can still hear it in their house.


December 17th 2017, 01:02
Any updates?

December 25th 2017, 00:06
Very little. I put some Porsche style door pulls on the front doors and have been sanding the interior mid- and rear-sections getting ready to paint them. That's about it though. I've been too much of an audio whore the last few months. I'm going to take a break from that soon though.

May 6th 2018, 22:30
I've been steadily sanding and prepping the rest of the interior to paint it.

August 1st 2018, 21:15
Got some welding done this week on a bar for the rear seatbelts before I clean up the last of the firewall inside and the floor. Powder coated it today and did a test fit. I ran out of CO2 gas a while ago and have been using flux core wire. Doesn't look quite as pretty, but not bad. Took me a while to put speed holes in the bracket with my bench punch, but of course would've taken considerably longer drilling the holes.

You can see the paws of my helper there up on the shelf, :).

December 23rd 2018, 22:48
I got a break from graduate school and managed to get the rest of the interior painted and clear coated. Onward.

April 24th 2019, 09:16
I have two more side windows restored and put back in. Going to pop the rear wheels off and replace the e-brake cables and go through the rear brakes.

June 19th 2019, 13:45
I was in France with my family on vacation last week. We rented a Twingo. Damned thing couldn't get out of it's own way, but the rear-engine configuration was kind of cool as a balanced car through the mountains. No torque steer at all. Also went to a shop near Montpellier and bought a rally t-shirt. The shop owner was a sponsor of a recent rally there (I just missed watching it) but he gave me this plastic sign which was cool.

Anyhoo, also been sweating it out here in the dead of the Texas heat getting stuff done on the girl. Got some parts on order and put in a few interior panels, did the base of front seats with wicker, side door seals, my wife helped me sew a red limit strap for the side door, and put in one of the rear back-up lights (which are a bitch to put in!!!).

June 19th 2019, 13:48
A funny story about the two little wood and brass rail shelves here, the one that sits behind the passenger front seat I bought years ago from I don't remember. Several years later I was in Goodwill and found two smaller shelves of the exact same design. :D

All three are finally getting mounted in the bus.

June 22nd 2019, 20:53
Looking good.

August 16th 2019, 23:09
When I did the IRS swap years ago the lugs torqued down almost bottom out. I got some cheap 3mm wheel spacers, but figured it was time to cut some new spacers out of 1/4" aluminum plate with speedholes, powder coat the wheels lugs dark grey, then more panels and interior stuff.

Almost to the point hopefully when I have friends over and they look inside the bus they won't ask, "Are you gonna fix it up?" Sigh.

Anyhoo, also made a polished wooden shelf for phone to sit in the dash. Also saw this '54 Chevy wagon in Midland, Texas (Godforsaken place :rolleyes:) this week.

August 18th 2019, 21:55
Got a little more done this weekend on the panels as my wife and daughter are out of town ;). Messed with the two interior lights for a long time yesterday until I could get them to work by cleaning up the connections and re-running some of the wiring.

Also picked up this afternoon the 2nd most powerful analog receivers Pioneer ever made in the late 1970s and sounds awesome in the shop now (it weighs almost 80lbs! :eek:).

August 18th 2019, 22:13
More pics.

September 4th 2019, 21:42
Seems to be almost no interest in this so going to find another forum. Probably because my bus doesn't have 6 pot calipers all around, turbo whatever, and carbon fiber ashtrays.

Anyhoo. It's been real.