|Click here if you can't see the image above that hides my email address from spammers.|
In an effort to reduce spam, my email address does not appear as text anywhere on my website. I apologize in advance if this has made it difficult for you to contact me.
If you have a technical question or just want to talk about VW buses, send me an email anytime. I cannot help you find a mechanic or paint shop in your area. Log onto TheSamba.com and you'll find hundreds of people who may be able to give you a solid referral.
Please keep in mind that I do get a lot of email each day from VW owners all over the world so please be patient if I don't answer immediately. I will get to each email in turn. The lead up to summertime is especially busy as folks are getting their vehicles ready for trips/travel.
I welcome all feedback, corrections to this website, etc...
The website was compromised on Dec 26, 2016 and used in a phishing attack on a large French bank.
My hosting provider shut down the website on January 3, 2017 after the bank raised awareness of the attack.
All files have been restored: nothing was lost. Thanks to Eric & Troy for your help and advice.
Please contact me if you find any issues with the website that require my attention...
Progress at long last!!! I have finally been able to locate a 2009 backup CD to restore from.
This disc contained almost a complete backup of all the files including the tricky hidden directories that Apple used as part of its (non-portable) design. There were also a lot of urls within HTML files that used full addressing that complicated matters (rotten Apple).
My sincerest apologies to everyone who relies on these photos to help them with their restoration and repairs (especially the folks preparing their vehicles for summertime use).
The website is now terribly space constrained due to the merging of the two websites and may need to be relocated to a new host. If you can only see the website in the google cache, it is just the 48-hr delay while the domain name servers update to the new host that is preventing you from viewing it.
I'm writing this notice now before I even start the migration process so that it goes it into the cache and you are able to understand why the site is down.
The website will be ten years old in 2012. A lot of VW sites from that era and beyond have vanished as the free web hosts like Geocities and Mindspring have dried up. Hopefully a time will come when I can modernize the website but at least it has survived the iTools->.Mac->MobileMe->iCloud march of progress.
Lessons learned: backup often; restore from your backups to test them; don't rely on incremental backups.
Apple has shut down homepage.mac.com support.
The result of this disruption has been that many links to photos on my website have broken. You can imagine how frustrating this is for members who actually pay for this service.
Please bear with me while I take the time to re-host them...I will ping the VW community when everything is back to normal.
This website started in 2002 as a means to send my dad photos of the family bus I was restoring. It was hosted at homepage.mac.com because I had a free Apple account (boy, those were the days) and it was an easy way to upload and share photos before a lot of the services that we enjoy today existed.
The Type2.com library was a inspiration for me but it lacked photos as the content was largely taken from text based mailing list postings. Not long after I started to resurrect my bus from its long sleep, my site grew into a large photo repository and I began to use the photos in my own postings to help people understand how to do things as I had learned how to do them.
In 2003, I started to write technical articles to go along with the photos and thus the website has evolved to support that effort. The website really took off when my friend Collie offered me free web hosting for a year because he was worried that someone would grab the ratwell.com domain before I did. The website was always intended to give me quick access to my own information and at that point I turned the homepage into a portal containing some of the more useful links from my personal collection of bookmarks.
While I enjoy writing, I made an effort not to replicate the information that already existed on the web that pertained to aircooled VWs (almost 10 years of it at the time). Plenty of info existed but little did that dealt with 72-79 baywindows buses, L-Jet Fuel Injection, Type 4 engine, etc in the level of detail that I desired. The Bentley manual continues to be an excellent service manual and that may explain that earlier situation somewhat but a manual can only cover so much material.
In 2004 I was surprised to discover that no one had written a FAQ for the baywindow bus and so I decided that document was long overdue and wrote the initial version based on popular questions asked on The Samba's baywindow forum.
In 2006, my friend Shannon created the ratwell logo for me while we were taking a break from work. Some of you may even remember this old graphic I used to help identify the website before the rat in well logo.
I trust you will enjoy what I've created here. It was a lot of fun to write as well as do and I hope it helps you with your own restoration project. I have greatly benefitted from the free gift of information that I received from others when I was learning how to fix my bus and it's a pleasure to return the favor back to the VW community that helped me when I needed it the most.
-- your friend, ratwell
08/31/11 - Repair update
01/06/17 - Restored from backup after Phishing attack forced host to suspended account