BBT Travels

With my “Big Brothers”

Today I delivered a rear clip from a bus to the port for shipping, the warehouse we use is huge and they ship a lot of cars for the military…  so I found myself unloading next to the “real” car haulers…

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but that was the end of the day… let’s start with the beginning… I had this rear clip sitting in the bay area… but it’s too large for our car containers as it takes space up from a car, so too expensive, so I had to bring it down south so we could ship in the BBT parts containers once space allowed…

So I gassed up…

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…. fed myself well….

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…. and hit 101 fwy south…

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101 is one of my favourite Freeways especially this time of the year, when all is green along the road…. unfortunately traffic was bad….

Every year You see here the ever-growing grape farming expanding… for the excellent Californian wine off course, every year there’s more and more land turned in to  wineries….

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This is the last real oil field along 101 that I know off, there used to be way more!

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Past Ventura You gonna hit traffic, You never know where exactly, but I never drove from Ventura to the 405 (that goes to Los Angeles) without hitting traffic, except during night-time…

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Pacific Volkswagen, that was the first Volkswagen sign I ever saw along the freeway my very first time in California… a mere 27 years ago….. orso…..

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and once arrived at the shippers I had to unload along the big car haulers, quiet in impressive for a guy out of the country side of Belgium!

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So now I have an empty trailer, guess what???? …:)

Stay tuned and You will know!!


Drive hard, life hard and have a lot of fun!

The road from Phoenix to Reno was hard and long, I was pulled over by a brave bored trooper in one of the sleepy towns down the road for speeding… You know why I stopped you? he asked … Because you did 67 where it was 50…. btw are You a VW guy? (he saw my license plate “WBUYVWS” ) I said; yes, I am, I do buy old Volkswagens here and ship them over to Europe... turned out he was a VW guy himself! he start talking about his off-road bugs and engines etc etc, and let me go! My plate did wonders!

Down the last stretch to Reno I saw this nice billboard!

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Long straights…

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Once in Reno I visited some friends that are VW guys, one was selling a mango bus he just got out of California, very nice bus with very little work, and yes it was for sale, if you should be interested? I can broker the deal, no problem!

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Oh, and what was peeping out of the garage????

That looks nice, right?

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Having lunch with my buddies!

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cool place, with a cool painting…:)

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Next stop was a guy that just had too much… at arrival I was greeted by this Notchback… interesting to anyone?

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This guys backyard was better as Disneyland! (to me at least!) Full with American and German iron… most was for sale, as he needs space and cash to build a larger shop… if you see anything? Just let me know!

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6 door Thing anyone?

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and we move to the next… a small back yard from another friend with some cool sheet metal…:) Real cut up buses, and not just one!

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and a cool split window bus trailer, he has forever!

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This was a super nice bay window that crashed hard in the front….

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…. I mean real hard… the 80-year-old driver did survive, but nobody understand how! This was the cabin of that bus…

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Last legs in Reno… passing by one of the “beetle spiders” in the Reno area… This one is super cool and has lighted “eyes”!

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Bye bye Reno, we leave now…

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I’m on my way back to the bay area to pick up some very interesting stuff “down south” as they say…… the rest of my trip will be in the state of California… so stayed tuned! If you keep on readin, I keep on writen!


Sao Paolo skylines… time to say goodbye…..

Many people ask me what I think about Brazil and especially about big city Sao Paolo… well its huge… but… its way more as only favelas. Don’t want to minimalize the favelas but in the western world many people think Sao Paolo is only about favelas and that’s NOT the truth!

Sao Paolo is a rather modern city and has many and very beautiful skyscrapers… on my way back to the hotel earlier this week I took a couple of “impression” pictures to share with all of you!

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But there’s many more!

It’s a vibrant city as well, with lots of nice restaurants and especially very friendly people, everywhere!

And many trendy places.. like this biker bar, burgers, beer, motorcycle wash & barbershop, all a biker needs, definitely one of our favourites!

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They even have Belgian chocolate here!


And they have beautiful VW collections, (Thanks to Camillo to let visit his collection!)

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Time to say goodbye for this trip report of last two weeks I like to finish with a beautiful sunrise out of my hotel room… time to fly home now…


Bye bye Sao Paolo, hopefully till anytime soon!

A very special Thank You to “Uncle” Sammy and “nephew” Ricardo who, without any doubt, made our life in Sao Paolo very easy!! Thank you guys, I own you big time!

The cilinderhead and engine case machining plant, and a visit to our voltage regulator manufacterer

Our Brazil trip go full force… we’re still here till end of the week and the schedules are just overfull!

Yesterday we paid a visit to the machining plant of Hübner (Auto Linea) to see how our engine cases and cylinder head been machined after the casting yesterday.

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Hubner is a massive factory (I’ve been here several times before) that works real hard on larger diesel applications… The owner, by everybody known as Mr Nelson, is a Fusca lover hence he provides so many of us with high quality products to keep our Volkswagens alive…

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The factory is al split up in departments what they call “families” here, well here is the VW engine and cylinder head “family”

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The machining of the two cases has to be equal (both sides the same) so only can be done simultaneously…

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Jerry was pretty impressed here!

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After machining the cases been assembled with the necessary studs and center pens by these lovely ladies! Believe me or not they’re crazy about Fusca!

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Full pallets of engine cases everywhere,

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We also came here to discuss the new Magnesium case they have in the pipeline. till now all of their cases been made from aluminum.

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The improvements from the original case are many… where under more material behind the pulley…

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and a reinforced area behind the flywheel, where the original cases tend to crack.

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as said Hübner makes a lot of heavy-duty diesel engine blocks and heads so the machines here are out of proportion… a (little) tour for your service!

Here a couple of Sunnen honing machines…

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Just a drill? These run all together to drill a cylinder head at once! imagine!!

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This is an alignbore machine…

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Many machines need many tooling right? CNC tooling are not cheap at all, this is the capital of the company! A team of 5 people take care for only these tools!

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a new CNC machine was installed, for a production for Scania of a certain motorblock for the assembly line!  is this big enough to be impressive, I used Jerry as a refence…LOL…:)

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at the end there is the shipping department off course!

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Mandatory lunch… and yes we still love the Churascheria (Brazilian BBQ) Thanks for the invitation Alison! I think the only vegetarians in Brazil are the cow really…:)

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Alison drove us to the factory of our 6 volt voltage regulators… they gave us a very warm welcome!

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Some even have  BBT sticker on their computer here, are we friends? You bet!

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These are the internals of modern voltage regulators, a whole package of technology!

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Production is almost clinical here, no dust allowed!! Some areas are even restricted for visitors…

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Test, test, test!!! The number of test equipment here is enormous, every little step needs his own control!

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In product research and development department we got simulations for our next production run of 6 volt voltage regulators, as we’re about to run out of our first production. We discussed the improvements and gave it a GO!

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This is research engineering (for modern cars) unbelievable what these guys put on just a mini mini circuit board!

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But also the production work is here… this is the printer of the circuit boards!! Very extremely high specialised!!

2018-02-28 21.41.28_resizedand more testing!

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This is the assembly of the circuit boards, they get so small now it’s hardly impossible for humans to put them together, this machine is crazy amazing, it goes so fast! The rolls in the front are the little components….

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and more testing… end control is all control as they say…

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That was another day… we fly back to Sao Paolo now, for a drive to several larger factories tomorrow..

Our uncle Sammy with a big smile in an old 1951 Plymouth… Sammy is not a real Uncle, but for BBT he is… we go back a long way and Uncle takes really good care for us!!

Hey Uncle, can we drive along to our next adventures?

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Tomorrow I leave the Blog for the BBT Friday product update team but will try to make another report for You on saturday and sunday!

stay tuned!!


How they make Vw Engine cases and cilinder heads…

Yesterday we visited the foundry of our trusty cylinderhead and engine case supplier Auto Linea. BBT and Auto Linea go a long way back now!

We visited their aluminum foundry, and again, this was an impressive operation!

These are some samples of products Auto Linea cast in this plant. In total Auto Linea has 4 plants..

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Let’s start with the raw material, comes in like this..

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and is severe tested, also with a spectrometer before it goes in to their storage… also the liquid aluminum from the foundry is tested in this lab…

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Let’s start with the cylinderheads first..

This is the machine, or one of the machines to be more precisely, that make the insert sand castings.

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These are those castings! Yes, its sand!! Unbelievable how nice they can form this! Do You recognise in and outlet ports?

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Ok the (aluminum) soup is cooking… ready for action!!

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They put the sand casting in the steel (outer) tooling and close the tooling on this machine…

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and they “serve” the hot (aluminum) soup!

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What they pour in the tooling…

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When they re-open the tooling they get something like this…

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Off course there’s massive differences in tooling, left You see an export cylinder head (like we sell) and on the right you see a way cheaper cylinderhead for the Brazilian domestic market!

The better the tooling, the better the product…

The first batch of the new tooling arrived @ BBT HQ just before we left, so anytime soon You can read on this Blog about the new Cylinderhead that’s way better as the old one…

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The “cleaning” happens here before shipping the head to another plant for machining a mere 250km up north…

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In the next building we could follow the process of the foundry for the engine cases.

They been made in a different way what called “a cold box”…

These are the forms…

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That been filled with sand…

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Very special sand that becomes hard when they spray it with a certain gas… this is how the open sand castings look… before they close them…

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The (aluminum) soup is also here cooking…  time to pour it in the moulds…

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and this is how it comes out of the moulds… half an engine case at the time…

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after that they been shot blasted for 15 minutes in this huge machine, with stainless steel bullets…

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and finally they get sorted and stored in the transport boxes to be transported up North for machining…

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on the way out we spotted this TL right before the factory door…:)

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The aluminum foundry of Auto Linea is in a city called Blumenau… it’s a very Germanized  city and they have the second largest Oktoberfest in the entire world. this is where the Auto Linea export team brought us for lunch…

Just wanted to share with all of You this little old German town…

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Jerry seems to like serious German food…:)

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and as many beers on tap as You can dream off, no, we didn’t tried them all…

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For the sweeties between all of you, these was the desert buffet…:)

yes, the food is very good in Brazil…

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The afternoon we had a harsh 5 hr trip up north to the city of Curitiba, we faced quiet some heavy tropical rainstorms what delayed our travel time enormously… but we did arrive safe and and sound, ready for the next…

Tomorrow we report about the machining plant of Auto Linea, been there before, but its is a massive operation I don’t mind visiting every Brazilian trip.. also to discuss production, new products and quality issues…   so… stay tuned