M-16 Studebaker working…

Fired up the studebaker for a trip to the gravel pit a couple of days ago. Needed to get a yard of gravel for patching potholes in the driveway. Should have got 2 yards actually but it makes for a good excuse to take the M-16 out for another short trip sometime soon.

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August Camping Trip

We got out for a little trip up Vancouver Island in early August this past summer.  Vancouver Island has so many beautiful places to explore. This trip we saw the picturesque Buttle Lake, gorgeous Myra Falls and Horne Lake Caves all for the first time. Westy ran flawlessly as usual.


Camping at the Mount Washington parking lot (free and not at all crowded) on the way ‘up-island’.


Ralph River campsite on Buttle Lake


Myra Falls near the south end of Buttle Lake is pretty spectacular.

Beautiful BC has so many lovely places, one could easily spend every summer exploring only this province but now that the kids are getting older we are planning on venturing further afield in coming summers.

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Finally, a westy trip (Pachena Bay)!

Happily, we got out for a short trip in the westy this past week.  We traveled to Pachena Bay (near Bamfield) on the west coast of Vancouver Island. The first 2 days there were for a class school trip for our eldest daughter. Our family stayed on for an extra day to cycle around the area and visit Bamfield and then traveled to our old favourite camp spot at Rathtrevor Provincial park.


Pachena Bay near Bamfield, BC

The beach at Pachena Bay is gorgeous. The kids had fun in the waves and the beach was almost deserted except for people we traveled with. The campsite there is excellent too: nice staff, clean facilities, great sites, some right on the edge of the beach.


Pachena Bay campsite



Near north end of the west Coast Trail

Next time we get to the Bamfield area I want to try going up the logging roads circled in red in the image below as I suspect the view would be incredible. We were a bit short of time for that this trip.


Westy was well loaded down… I need to find a more convenient method of stowing eldest daughter’s bike. I may add another rack at the back once I have the high capacity oil pan and engine skid plate in place. (soon hopefully)


Westy with 4 bikes and lots of stuff…

The beach at Rathtrevor Provincial Park (on the East coast of Vancouver Island) didn’t disappoint either although it was interesting to notice the differences: sand at Pachena was noticeably finer and the waves much bigger, more people of course at Rathtrevor, and the view of the coastal mountains.


Beach at Rathtrevor Provincial Park with coastal mountains in the background.

All in all the westy ran nicely although I decided that given as at present I only have a dirt/gravel driveway to work in I am going to pay someone to install the new HC/HC oil pan (Bostig’s high-capacity, high-clearance pan for the Zetec engine). After that I can install the Bostig engine skid plate and then possibly a 2″ receiver hitch that I saved from a previous syncro. It mounted to the factory syncro skid plate thing so I’ll have to modify it somewhat.

We are planning a few more ‘westy trips’ this summer although where to remains to be seen…

Oh, one somewhat sad note: Rathtrevor Provincial Park no longer has an “over-flow” camping area. Until this year, one could arrive any day in the busy summer season and still get a place to stay but now they have turned the ‘overflow’ lot into more regular campsites (in pursuit of more revenue I suppose). All sites are reserve-able so the net effect of that is that if one wants to stay there in the busy summer season you best make your reservations in January. So much for spontaneous trips including a stay at Rathtrevor.  Sad as it has been our favourite place to camp for close to a decade (and we certainly don’t plan our camping trips 6 months in advance).

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No salty roads for the Syncro


After all the work that has gone into the drive-train and body of the syncro, at this point I can’t bring myself to drive it on salty roads. I know in some ways it is sad to take the van off the road during winter as it is such a capable vehicle on snowy roads but my thinking is I want it to be around for many years of (mostly summer) trips so… I have canceled the insurance for now and I will sacrifice other vehicles to the salty roads instead.

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Syncro Westfalia with OME Shocks and syncro.org Springs on Washboard Roads

Last week we went for a short camping trip on Vancouver Island. We ended up at Nitinat Lake which involved driving about 100 kilometres on gravel roads which included some washboard and rough/pot-holed sections.



Forestry campsite at Nitinat Lake – right next to the beach.

This was the first time I drove any distance on a gravel road since rebuilding the westy drivetrain and suspension and I must say I am very happy with how the van drives over both washboard and rough roads (at least when loaded up with 4 people and our bikes and camping gear). I am pretty sure with no load the ride wouldn’t have been quite as smooth.
Nitinat Lake is known for its wind and kite surfers but when we were there the winds were calm so consequently, the beach was super peaceful.


Nitinat Lake: our campsite was right by that very large stump on the beach.

Forestry Campsite near Caycuse on Cowichan Lake

Forestry Campsite near Caycuse on Cowichan Lake

I haven’t gotten around to installing the front mud flaps yet so it will be interesting to see how much difference they make to the amount of dirt/mud that gets splattered all over the sides of the van on roads like this. Only other ‘issue’ was the power steering pump is getting noisier so I’ll have to make time to install the new one I bought a few months ago.


One note: albell (of shufti.wordpress.com fame) told me about an app called Canada Maps which lets one download topographical maps for use even when you have no cell service and that really is a great thing to have when exploring back roads. Thanks AB!


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Bostig Zetec in westfalia = Great!

Just got back from a short camping trip to our favourite camping beach (Rathtrevor Provincial Park on Vancouver Island) and even though I hadn’t fired up the westy for months before the trip, all I needed to do was install the new battery, check fluid levels, wash it, load it and go.


The Zetec fired up instantly and ran flawlessly for the trip. That would have been unlikely with the tired old waterboxer. ( I realize a well maintained water boxer could do the same, it is just that ours often didn’t.)

A view of the westy I rarely get, courtesy of BC Ferries:


While in Parksville we just happen to see a really big car show with a huge variety of vehicles, including this ‘oddity’ which we saw again driving down the road in Errington a few days later.


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’46 M16 trip to the big city and update

A couple of weeks ago I took Clem (1946 Studebaker M16 ) from the farm to North Vancouver. This was the first trip of any distance I have taken since bringing the truck to the farm.


Overall the trip went well, other than running out of gas once. Here are some updates to some of my previous posts:

Front suspension low speed shimmy: after replacing the front leaf spring bushings (all 12) and repairing the right front leaf spring mount on the frame there is no more low speed shimmy. I am very happy about this as it was really bad at somewhere around 25 or 30 miles per hour (no speedo so not exactly sure).

Loose throttle shaft: previously the looseness in the throttle shaft bores in the carb body was causing bad drive-ability problems (basically a big vacuum leak causing huge hesitation and sometimes stalling just off idle) so I slathered a bunch of never-seize around the ends of the throttle shaft (from the outside) and after a few minutes this appeared to have got sucked in enough to temporarily seal up the sloppy fit between the throttle shaft and bores. The truck is much much easier to drive now. I don’t know how long this will last but it seems to be a good temporary fix.

Gas tank leaking: I found the source of the gas fumes in the cab – when filled over a certain amount the tank leaks. I am not yet sure from where, but it runs down and the entire bottom of the tank gets wet and a lot of fuel continuously evaporates making the truck stink badly. This is the number one priority to fix. Funny thing is the previous owner had the tank removed and all cleaned up and new lines installed so I guess they just missed something. I plan to fix the fuel gauge at the same time.


Exhaust leak: the truck is noisy! Major exhaust leak sound coming from the manifold area. The only leak I can detect for sure is around the bores in the manifold for the heat riser butterfly valve. I can feel the exhaust blowing out of there with my hand (just after start up when things are relatively cool down there). It is so loud though I wonder if there could be a crack somewhere or maybe a broken gasket. I may have to pull the manifold off to see what is going on. Hopefully I won’t end up breaking off any studs and making my problems worse.

The most enjoyable part of the trip was “cruisin” the old neighbourhood in North Van with my brother. He hadn’t been for a ride in the truck so we drove around for about 1/2 an hour on a nice summer evening. Wow, this thing gets more looks and smiles than any vehicle I have ever owned.


back at the farm… (those timbers wouldn’t have fit in my regular pick-up, making for a good excuse to take Clem to North Van where they were stored)



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