Thursday, August 6, 2015


I am Larry Campbell starting a new blog mostly about my travels which many of my friends find interesting.  I hope you do to.  One person told me that he lives vicariously through the stories about my experiences.  It was quite a compliment.

I am starting this blog at 75 years old.  I know it’s a little later than most, but I am a little slower than most on these darn computers.  I still don’t have an idea how to make this blog work, so any suggestions will be appreciated. (please be nice to an old man, though.)

As you will see I ride a customized VW Trike.  I will start incorporating some of my trips a little at a time on here to get the hang of it.

There will be more than just my trike rides since I have a lot of interests.  I had a VW and motorcycle shop for over 35 years; I’ve been a long haul truck driver; a SCUBA diver, inventor, singer, preacher, gold prospector, real estate broker, prepper, gun enthusiast, mountain man and retired from GTE as an equipment repair/installer.  There’s a whole lot more, but that’ll do for now.  If you want to talk about any of these interests or many more, just hit me up, Email Me.

Trike Rebuild

This is my VW Trike I call Wyld Chyld.  She sports a type 3 automatic VW transmission and a 1776 cc VW air cooled engine.  To breath she has a single Weber 44 Carburetor.  Her body was built by “The Trike Shop.”around 1992.  Following is the story of her rebuild and upgrading. 

Text and photo’s by Larry Campbell
Contact me at

For BTW's website click on this link:
For some trike videos check out this site:

Keep watching this site, changes happen often.
I bought my trike near San Diego in October of 2010.  As soon as I took it home I joined BTW, Brothers of the Third Wheel.  It was just what I was looking for, a place that I could get a lot of info about trikes and can meet with other members socially and learn more about trikes. 

When I got my first magazine from them I saw that there was to be a Trike-In at Madera, Ca.
That's just about 265 miles from my place, so I made plans to head up there.

I got the trike all packed up and started up on its maiden voyage; actually, both of our maiden voyages since I had never driven a trike before just picking it up when I bought it.  I had been a two wheeled rider for over 50 years, but three wheels takes a little getting used to.

All went very well up until the time I just about got to Madera when somewhere on the freeway my back seat bottom seat pad flew off without me knowing it.  Surprise, surprise; when I saw that I had arrived at the meet without my back seat.  I tried to get an award for having the worst luck, but a lady did have worse than I; she broke her trikes tranny and had to be towed.

I saw so many great looking trikes there.  What a trip in more ways than one.  It was great until when I was going home and going over the grapevine the engine started to miss.  It got very bad, so I told her that if she would get me home I would give her a wonderful rebuild and a face lift.  She got me all the way home, complaining all the way, though.

I started working on the engine right away.  With the body hanging down over the engine I had to actually lift the body up about 6 inches just to clear a way to work on it and get it out. 

While I was rebuilding the engine I thought it would be a great idea to honor my promise to my sweet little lady, whom I call, "Wild Child," and give her a face lift.  I bought chrome everything for her.  She looked great!  I gave her a few other nice things; like a new 110 cam, 90.5mm pistons and cylinders, which made the engine a 1776 cc, and a 44cc Weber Carb.  She runs like a top.

With all that done I decided to continue with the face lift and complete the rebuild giving her all new wiring and upholstery.  I'm not sure when I can complete the upholstery job though, since it will cost somewhere around a thousand dollars.

What a job that is turning out to be.  I am glad that I did that though since most of the wiring was a mess.  It was a miracle that the trike even ran.  Many of the terminals were corroded and many wires were just twisted together and left that way. Some wires were put together with electricians wire nuts. I had to completely remove the body, which showed a lot more trouble spots with rusted through bolts and such.  I am going to attempt to show pictures of the rebuild as I go along with this story.  The beginning picture is what it looked like when I brought it home. Below are pics of my processes as I go along with the rebuild.

Here is the start of getting the wiring out in the open.

 I found that I couldn't get to the rest of the wiring, so, off came the body with the help of my good friend and neighbor, Alex and his son, AJ and I picked up the body so I could work on it with ease.
Below is the rat’s nest that is supposed to be wiring. 

Here is her new engine face lift; lots of chrome

Below is the battery box that swings down from the hinge on the left and held by the bolt and nut on the right side.  When I bought the trike the battery box did not hinge so I had to remove the body to check the battery.  That had to be changed!  Here is the result below.

Above is the battery box swung down so the battery can be accessed. 

The above pictures show the new upholstery.  It turned out pretty nice. I was told that the upholstery would cost around $1000.  I did most of the work by removing all the seats and dash, so it only cost $400, so, as you can see by the above picture I got it done.


Today Robert, the Director of our San Gabriel Chapter of Brothers of the Third Wheel, (BTW) came over with his friend and member, Jim.  They helped me with the trike.  Jim is a good VW mechanic and Robert is a good welder.  Robert welded up a swinging door for my battery that in the past could not be checked without removing the body.  The same goes for the brake fluid reservoir which could not be checked or filled either.  Both were remodeled to give access.  Robert did a good job. 

I have been working on the trike most every day, but just now decided to add the pictures to show some of the work.  Jim has been coming over most every day to help.  Robert has a job so he can't make it quite as much, but he adds his input to at times.  They sure are a lot of help.

The next pictures are of the front forks all torn down and all polished up.  No more rust.  Then I am showing the new springs next to the old rusted ones.

I hope this all goes together okay.  If it weren't for Jim I wouldn't have the springs or the knowledge to rebuild the Springer front forks since I have never had them on a bike before.  I'm learning a lot.  I had to do all the polishing with steel wool and cutting compound.  It's amazing what a little elbow grease can do.

I did find out a new trick thanks to Robert.  To remove rust from a chrome part use a single edged razor blade to scrape the rust off first.  It doesn't seem to scratch the chrome, but removes all but the most stubborn rust.  Then just dip a very fine steel wool pad in some cutting compound and rub, hard and long.  It did a great job for me.

Below are the springs for the front end, which is why the front suspension is called a “Springer.”

The chrome came back, but it had bubbles under the chrome.  That will soon break and cause more rust, so Jim took it back to the chrome company and they agreed to re-chrome it, but it will take another week.  More delays.

We had our monthly meeting of the trike club, (BTW) at the Cowboy Burger in Baldwin Park on Sat. 2/18/11. Robert, our Director, showed us a design he came up with for our official patch.  It looked real good and when it gets completed I will put it on these pages.  Robert also reminded me of the gas prices when I told him about my plans to go to Sturgis this year with the trike.  I may have to rethink my plans and just attend the local trike-ins at Laughlin and Madera.

Our local chapter of BTW, Brothers of the Third Wheel, sisters are also welcome, meets on the third Sat. of every month at 10:00 a.m. If anyone is interested in joining us, whether you have a trike, a motorcycle or just interested, please join with us for some good times and good food.  Everyone is welcome.  It's free, you don't have to be a member to come.  You can contact me if you want more information.  We may change the meeting place from time to time, so if you email me I can direct you to the closest meeting.  I am the Assistance Director of the chapter.  For chapters in your area you can go to the BTW web page.  There you can find out all info about the club and where to meet.  Click on the following link.


Today Jim called me and told me that my chrome parts came in and he would bring them over so we can put the forks together.  It was a hard day, but we got it done.  See our accomplishments below.  It sure does look a lot better than that old rusty thing that it used to have hanging out there in front.

Later today we will put the body on the frame to check out how it will fit.  I am building a lift for it to lift the body up from the back and hinge the front so I can work on the engine and other mechanical and wiring parts easier.  I also think it will look cool when I enter the custom shows.  It will have the purple led lights under there to show it off even more.  

We did get the body on late just before dark, so I have not been able to get anything else done, but it took three weeks to get everyone together to get the body on, so for me it was very exciting.  Now, I have to get to work on all the wiring and build a hoist for the body.  I'll keep you updated on how it's going.

Below is a picture of the body we just put on minus the headlight, handlebars, windshield and more.


I found that some parts will have to be modified to fit better such as the vent tube that goes into the air filter that I mounted on the back of the fan housing.  Unfortunately, the gas tank hits the hose, so I have now rerouted the hose fitting to make the repair.  I am still working on how to raise the body automatically.  I have a lift, but I just have to make it fit.


Finally, the day has come to weld up all the brackets and install the lift jack.  Robert and Jim came over and helped me to get a good start on the job.  We all worked for most of the day. 


Today we continued on the job.  Robert came here today and finished all the welding, so now comes the part where I have to put together all the wiring and do the detail work.  It has to be done in two weeks before the Trike-in comes in April. 

Robert figured out a whole lot of ways to do it better than I thought of.  I am very appreciative of his work and Jim helped so much also getting the chrome for me and working on the tuning of a carb that I was not familiar with. 

Below are the pictures of the jack all welded up.  More will be coming when I get it further along.


I have finally got to ride my machine.  It still has a few "bugs" in it, but I am exterminating them as I go along.  I just got the last of the upholstery, the back seat, done.  It looks very nice.  The engine performs quite well.  In fact, I have to take it easy so the front end doesn't rise up too high. I still have a few engine adjustments to make with the carb and some adjustments to the front forks.  Other than that, not much else needs to be done.

My plans for later include a complete communication system, integrating the radio, GPS, radar detector, CB radio and talk communication between riders.  I'll let you know how that turns out.  Now, on to Madera for the Spring Trike-In.  I hope I win a trophy for all the work I have done on it.  That happens April 15, 16, and 17.


"OOPS!"  A few days ago I pulled my trailer over to Jims place so he could help me with the wiring the lights.  When I got there I found that there was a lot of oil on the trailer front just behind the left exhaust pipe.  That tells me that there is a blow by problem. 

I should be at the Trike-In today, but instead I am at home and have pulled the engine completely apart and still have not located the problem for sure.  My plan is to buy brand new piston and cylinders instead of using the old ones with new rings as before. I knew I should have done just that before, but in the interest of saving money I went with just the rings only.  So, now I don't get to be at the Trike-In.  I'm bummed out, but will get over it and get on with my life.  It should be running again shortly.


As you can see a lot of time has passed, but I have to wait a lot for weekends to come to get help from my neighbor who has all the special tools and a strong back to help me.  Most all my VW tools are in Oregon so they don't do me much good here in Southern California. 

My engine is back to the machinist.  He is the one who did not complete his job that I had asked him to do two months ago.  I found that the case inserts were sticking up too far which held the cylinders cocked to the side.  This caused the compression leak and oil problem.  I asked him two months ago to completely go through the cases and make them ready.  I was at fault by not completely checking them before I installed it.  That's what I get for trusting others and not checking everything myself.  I have forgotten a lot since my old VW shop days.  It should be well when I get the cases back today. 
Below is the almost completed engine which shows the fancy chrome I promised her I would do.


I have now rebuilt the engine and looked at the old exhaust system and said, "Yuck!"  I have to do better than that.  It is pretty rusty and one of the header pipes on both sides runs too close to the valve covers to allow me to remove them to adjust the valves.  In the past I would have to remove the whole exhaust system just to adjust the valves.  They sure weren't thinking when they designed that system.  So, today I took the engine and pipes to Marco at Supertek Performance in Glendora, Ca.  He sure does know his business.  He cut up my pipes, adjusted them the right way, then welded them and ground off any excess.  They look very good now and I have clearance.  Now I am heading to the chrome shop I hope tomorrow to see what damage they are going to do to my wallet.  I'm looking forward to getting this thing on the road soon, but I may have to wait until after the first of next month to afford the chrome.


I haven't updated this for quite a while.  I had to wait some time for the chrome to be done and then pay for it all; a little over $400 for all the changes and chrome; ouch!  But, it looks great.  

I worked a lot on getting the engine running well.  It kept missing and I finally found that the intake manifold was leaking.  It sure runs great now.  You can see the name “Illusion.”   That is because the paint job was painted by a painting procedure called “Chameleon.”  As you move along the trike and the sun hits the paint at different angles it seems to change colors like a chameleon would.  Once I asked how much it would be to repaint her and was told $4000.  I said I’d wait.

I just now got back from taking a trip with it up to Mount Baldy.  It was a great trip and everything went perfect.  I did forget my camera so I don't have any pictures of the trip.  I wasn't happy with myself about that one, but maybe next time.  I am now looking forward to making a longer trip to Oregon and maybe take the trip I always wanted to do and that is go to Sturgis in August.  I'm not too sure that I will have that much money, though, so it may not happen this year, but when it does I sure hope I remember the camera.


The trike has been running quite well ever since I found the vacuum leak in the manifold.  We have been taking many trips to the mountains and beach.  Last Sat. our club, Brothers of the Third Wheel, (BTW) all went to Huntington Beach.  A great time was had and we seen a lot of as close to naked people as the law allows.  I don’t know how we kept our necks from breaking looking at all the scenery.

A few days ago I found that my alternator was not working so I had to replace it with a new one.  That job is a lot harder than on most cars.  I had to remove the intake manifolds, carburetor, alternator stand, air shroud, and many more parts just to get it replaced.  With all the heat we are having now it took me two days to complete a normally two hour job.  I don’t do heat.  Since I can’t sweat I roast inside.  Right now it is over 100 and high humidity.  That’s why I have some time to type this while sitting inside a nice house with the air conditioning on full.  The trike is working very well now, but it’s too hot to ride it much now.  It’s just not fair!  Oh well, here in the Southwest there is a lot more riding time than in a lot of other areas, so I can’t complain much.  I’m having a great time with my trike. 

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