New post every Friday…scroll down The Volkswagen Type 2 Owners Club is a UK national club for owners and enthusiasts of the classic Volkswagen transporter van. There are also some most welcome members from outside the UK.
The Club aims to help its members maintain their vehicles both as preserved historic vans and as restored, or otherwise reclaimed, going concerns keeping a family travelling and camping happily.
Our members are spread right across the UK and some overseas members too, and the Club tries to provide activities and events that everyone can attend and enjoy. We have a strong presence at some of the UK’s biggest VW events as well as running our own camps and meeting up at smaller events.
Please allow 21 days following payment for your application to be processed.
If you need your membership more quickly, in some circumstances we may be able to give you a temporary membership number – please email our membership secretary.
If you need your membership more quickly, in some circumstances we may be able to give you a temporary membership number – please email our membership secretary.
One Careful Owner For 44 Years! Continuing the new addition to Transporter Talk magazine from the last issue, the second instalment features Club member Ian Crawford’s van “OTK 666J”. OTK 666J is a ‘71 Bay Window, Danbury conversion with a tin top roof.
Ian bought his camper in 1972 with 9,381 miles on the speedometer for £1,270 and has a current agreed value of £14,000, not a bad investment! The speedometer now reads 92,249 miles, meaning that in 44 years of ownership Ian has covered an impressive 82,868 miles. Ian’s camper has been garaged all of its life and every winter it is “Put to Bed” and then emerges again in April. Maybe this is how he has managed to keep the bodywork and paint completely original! The paint has never been touched up and there is no known rust. All door and window seals are also original, apart from the Windscreen and Tailgate seals as these were replaced when new glass had to be fitted due to vandals throwing bricks! Ian’s secret to keeping the rubbers soft and pliable is Talcum Powder (don’t tell everyone!) The 1600 AD Twin Port engine is still the original that was fitted at build and it has seen some work carried out over the years. In 2000, Ian decided to fit a re-conditioned 34 PICT 3 Carburettor as it would have fitted originally and what a difference this made to the running of the engine, starting first time, every time! The first major service that the engine received was in 2001 at 60,547 miles. This service consisted of a top end overhaul with new valves, guides, push rod tubes, flywheel oil seal and a new clutch. Work was carried out by F Tuthill of Wardington.
In 2003, OTK 666J was back to F Tuthill for more work. This time around work included replacement of all fuel lines due to petrol smell when driving (always worth doing), a new clutch return spring, brake fluid and another flywheel oil seal. The engine was also treated to some fresh Fully Synthetic 20W60 oil. Lastly, despite all of Ian’s efforts with the previous work carried out, in 2014 the engine was out and taken apart for all internal bearings to be replaced. Once again, this work was completed by F Tuthill. The interior is that of an original Danbury, but over the years Ian has tailored the layout to suit his own needs. These personal touches include a gas fridge, 2 ring gas cooker, water supply using a 12v submersible pump, a porta-potti and a 240v inverter for using a razor (no electric hook-up). As well as these customisations, Ian also designed and fitted his own IR Beam security system and in 2001 he refreshed the interior with some new cushions and curtains from Individual Interiors of Upton-upon-Severn. It is clear to see that Ian has looked after his camper during the 44 years of ownership and his efforts were recognised in 2004 when it was voted “Van Of The Year” by members of The Volkswagen Type 2 Owners Club. Well done Ian, we hope you have many more happy years of T2 ownership. With all work completed, we have had another excellent summer of camping and looking forward to a winter where the work required on Bluebell is reduced somewhat! Despite all the hard work and effort, we wouldn’t change our campervan and the memories we have with her. Here’s to more memory making and we wish our members happy memories in their vans too
With the summer holidays looming and everybody planning their travels and holidays, have you planned your maintenance and checks of your VW in as much detail? It is very important to keep your van maintained properly, but with the hotter weather and longer than usual journeys; even the most well maintained engines can suffer problems, such as perished or split fuel hoses. Something such as a split fuel hose could mean really bad news for classic (or even modern) VW camper owners. Every summer there are reports on social media of at least one classic VW that has caught fire and been lost. Although good maintenance and preparation should prevent this, there is always that small chance and a fire suppression system will provide extra insurance against losing your van to a fire.
Fire suppression systems are now readily available and vary in function and cost. There are manual systems that operate using a lever and cable to activate the suppressor and there are also automatic systems. Automatic systems are preferential as they require no input from the driver to activate. Within the automatic suppressor range there are two main systems that prove to be the most popular.
The first one is a cylinder (much like a fire extinguisher) that is mounted in the centre of the engine bay over the engine and if a fire occurs in the engine bay, the vial over the nozzle melts, releasing a gas agent at 240 psi. The nozzle is designed to ensure 360° dispersal, meaning that the gas will completely fill the engine bay. The gas is released at -19°C so will cool down the engine bay helping to prevent any re-ignition of petrol vapour. This system is a small scale version of what is used within oil rigs.
The second automatic system is also a cylinder, but rather than mounting the cylinder directly over the engine, the cylinder is mounted within the engine bay (usually) but out of the way, (usually the left rear side of the engine bay is most spacious). This system uses a linear detection tubing which is installed throughout the engine compartment. This tubing can not only quickly and accurately detect a fire but also extinguish it before it can damage adjacent components. The tubing is connected to the cylinder valve and charged with nitrogen or compressed air. This pressure is utilised to hold back the extinguishing powder in the cylinder. Should a high temperature or fire occur, the pressurised tubing will burst and the powder will be deployed from the burst hole directly onto the fire. Both systems are fully automatic and come with a full fitting kit. Fitting is relatively simple and requires no wiring or electrical input. The first system with the 360° dispersal nozzle can be purchased for approximately £60- £100 and the second system that utilizes the linear detection tubing can be purchased for approximately £180-£250. The design is personal choice and we would not merit one over the other, but The Mechanic has had experience of fitting the second system and found it simple
The next edition of the club magazine has been finished by our Editors and looks fantastic. It should be arriving through your door soon! If you are enjoying the club magazine and have a story about a trip, an upgrade, a restoration or just a tip, send a contribution to our Editor at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In December 2016, Club member Glenn George from Dartmouth, Devon, alerted us to the fact that his trusty 1973 Bay Window Devon camper “Mavis” had been used as a getaway vehicle during the heist of a security van during a Pirate Festival! This was not the usual getaway that Glenn was used to; he preferred the kind that involved camping! However there was no need for alarm as “Mavis” was used for filming an episode of BBC1’s “The Coroner”, now in its second series and with an episode titled “Pieces of Eight”, “Mavis” provided the perfect cover for a robbery during Lighthaven’s Pirate Festival and Glenn has given an account of his experience below. It started with a phone call from Adam at AJs VW in Paignton (where Mavis has been serviced for 43 years), Adam told me that he had been asked if any of his customers had an old camper and were willing to take a couple of days out for filming in and around Dartmouth. As I work just a few miles over the river in Brixham I thought this sounded like an interesting proposition so I agreed. The next few weeks I spent speculating what would be involved, as it is BBC policy to not give too much away. I asked around if anyone knew of this “Coroner” series, as I must admit I hadn’t heard of it myself
When the day finally arrived I headed off to Bantham and was quite impressed with the military precision that had gone into the planning of the day. I was sent a list with details of all 70+ people and where and when they all had to be. I arrived at 9am and found an assistant Director who fetched a couple of wardrobe assistants. I got a bit nervous at this point, but it wasn’t me they were going to dress up, it was Mavis! At this point I was concerned with what they might do to her, but they assured me that they would clean her up afterwards. She was to be dressed as a Pirate Van, she looked a bit funny but they were very gentle.
I was asked to drive Mavis down a very steep hill to a small sandy cove where there is a beautiful view of the river and an old boat house. “Drive her on to the sand a bit” I was told, whilst surveying the green tinged last few cobbles of the socalled road, I didn’t think this was the best idea but was persuaded by the crew. So I drove half on and then reversed a bit to see if she’d get off again and she wasn’t going anywhere, well and truly stuck! This was when I realised how friendly everyone was as they all chipped in with pushing and pulling to get Mavis back on to firmer ground. During the rest of the day’s shoot, Mavis only moved about 3 feet and it took till gone 6pm to wrap the scene which lasts about 90secs on screen! Once this shoot was finished, we had to negotiate the very steep hill again, this proved to be a challenging ascent which was assisted by the 4×4 Mule usually used to transport lighting rigs and camera equipment.
The second day of filming was eventful in a different way, no steep slippery slopes but filming in the centre of Dartmouth. It was here that I learnt Mavis’ role was a getaway vehicle and I also learnt the sense of humour underpinning the show! When I was told that they would hi-jack a security van and bundle someone into the back of Mavis I laughed because I know that all things T2 happen at their own usual relaxed pace. The first take was in progress when the “Pirate” tried to quickly open the door, he used a few nautical phrases that were heard echoing around the Dart Valley. I offered a solution for myself to crouch inside the van and persuade the door to open with my foot as the handle was pulled down. The director agreed to try this and it was a successful 2nd take. Our first experience with the Beeb was very interesting and fun. I’m not sure we get to see Mavis at her best, or any of the really fun scenes, but I will keep my eye out for the out-take shows!
We appreciate that most of our members already own a VW Camper, but not all of our members have taken the plunge just yet and some may be looking for an additional project or a change of scenery. Over the coming issues, we will take a look at the Volkswagen T2 in its various forms and provide some information as a buying guide. This issue, we start with the Split Screen. Driving An early VW such as a split will not be the best motorway vehicle, but if you don’t mind taking it easy there’s no reason why it shouldn’t be enjoyable. They can be like an “old bus” with their huge thin rimmed steering wheel and like a bus, don’t expect it to handle like a modern vehicle. It will be slow, use lots of fuel and will more than likely break down one day, but that’s the fun of VW Camper ownership (or so they say!). Remember also that the split screen buses have smaller engines than the later models and will b less powerful than what you may be used to. Bodywork This is probably the most important part of any potential purchase. All classic VWs suffer terribly with rust and splits are no exception. If you can find one that is pretty original and rust free, you’re onto a winner! But this is highly unlikely due to the age of the vehicles and that previously there wasn’t as much interest in these vans, meaning that a lot of them have been repaired badly. If possible, you want to avoid putting someone else’s shortcuts right, but chances are that most out there for sale has at least one questionable repair. Rust can and will affect most areas of bodywork, especially the bottom 6 inches. This includes the lower front panel, outer sills, rear corners and wheel arches. Other hotspots are inner sills, chassis rails, outriggers and jacking points. It’s worth having a look at the floor, tailgate, bottom of doors and areas around window rubbers. If you come across a van that you decide to take on, repair panels and sections are readily available from many specialists, but before handing over the cash, ask yourself whether you are ready for the commitment that project will require.
Engines Air cooled engines can be reliable when properly looked after, but the stress put on them by the extra weight of a van, especially a fully fitted out camper, can eventually have an effect. As discussed in the last issue’s “Don’t Panic, Ask The Mechanic!” feature on oil temperature, oil is one of the most important components of the engine, so it is good to see evidence that the oil has changed regularly. Oil leaks are common, but some are trickier than others to repair and may require engine removal, something worth thinking about with any potential purchase. Blue smoke when revved can indicate worn valve guides, lack of power could be a number of things but could be a compression problem. When the engine isn’t running, give the lower pulley a tug as excessive movement/end float could mean main bearing wear, resulting in an engine rebuild. Running gear Lots of Split Screen vans have been lowered. If done sympathetically it can improve handling. This is commonly done using adjusters on the front beam. If this has been carried out it is worth checking the quality of the welding and the adjuster itself. The rear is usually adjusted by turning the rear spring plates on the torsion beam or by using adjustable plates, these should also be checked for condition. With regards to brakes, there’s not too much to worry about as everything can be replaced inexpensively, but to check things are set up ok, make sure the van pulls up in a straight line on a test drive. Interior There have been various companies offering camper conversions over the years and generally there’s little to choose between the different conversions. It’s worth viewing as many different vans as you can to see which internal layout works best for you. If you’re a purist, original condition will be important. Otherwise, as long as items such as the sink and cooker are working, the rest of the interior cabinets and upholstery can be easily refurbished. Watch out for home conversions, items such as fridges need to have proper external ventilation, so make sure these are in place. What to Pay As you’re no doubt aware, all bus prices have gone through the roof in the last few years which is good news for owners, and rubbish for anyone interested in buying. Realistically, you are unlikely to find a split screen bus in any shape or form for anything less than £10,000 with the cheapest kombis likely to be £15k-£20k. Half decent bona fide split campers that are ready to roll will be anything from £20,000 right up to £60,000-£70,000. Buying an import from the US or Australia might be the best option to avoid bodywork issues. The key will be to swot up on where they rust and go into the buying process with your eyes wide open. If you do buy a rusty project, rest assured if you are able to do the work yourself you’ll be sitting on a great investment. If you propose to pay someone else, bargain accordingly and bear in mind there’s always going to be more rust than you first envisaged! The opinions expressed here are the personal opinions of the author and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of The Volkswagen Type 2 Owners Club.
Oil is one of the most important components of your engine. Without oil, an engine will overheat and fail. Many Dubbers keep a close eye on oil levels and top up as required, but is this enough? Keeping the oil in your engine at optimum temperature is as important as maintaining the correct level. Monitoring the oil temperature in your classic VW has always been tricky and normally requires the fitment of an aftermarket system that can look out of place, be challenging to install and leave a large dent in your wallet. However, there is a simple yet very clever product called “Save My Bug” that can help you to monitor the oil temperature without breaking the bank.
“Save My Bug” is an oil temperature dipstick that replaces your original dipstick and connects to the oil pressure switch with an 18” wire included in the kit, allowing you to monitor the engine oil temperature without the use of an aftermarket gauge. The oil light on your dash will now not only operate as an oil pressure warning light, but will also become an oil temperature warning. In normal conditions the light will remain off, if the engine oil temperature starts to get too hot it will flash, if the light comes on steady, the engine temperature is excessively hot (or there is an oil pressure problem) and you should pull over and stop the engine immediately. This has made keeping an eye on oil temperature whilst driving a doddle and the installation takes less than 10 minutes for all levels of ability. It is available for both the Type-1 engine and Type-4 engine from most well known aircooled VW specialists for around £30-£40 depending on application
My wife and I had always wanted a Type 2 Bay after spending a weekend in Newquay in 1993, we didn’t know it at the time, but the Run To The Sun festival was on and after spending the weekend watching Campervans and Beetles drive around we had been bitten by the VW bug. However, still being an apprentice and being on apprentice wages there wasn’t much chance. Fast forward 7 years to November 2000, I had heard about a van from a lady that I worked with and she told me that her husband who was a gardener, had spotted it in a barn at a large house in the Cotswolds that he had been working at. When the gardener asked about it, the owner told him that it had been sat there for 2 years and that they wanted to sell it. When I heard about it, I rang the owners and arranged to go and see it.
It was poking out of the barn with one wheel arch split through with rust and hanging off, a damp fusty smell inside of it, some of the brakes were seized, the engine was running on 2 cylinders, there was various rust holes in all the usual places and it generally looked very sorry for itself. The owner agreed to get it taken to a local garage on a trailer to let them have a look and give me an idea of the work required to get an MOT pass on it. After looking at the fail MOT sheet, we agreed a price and the van came home with us.
It was placed on my in-laws’ drive and work started right away. I spent most of the weekends that winter welding and replacing parts with a view to getting the van ready for a trip to Cornwall the following Easter. After lots of cold, hard work, 2 weeks before Easter we got our MOT Pass certificate and had a great first trip.
This issue takes a look at a submission from club member Ian Crawford, who had a problem with his brakes at MOT time, something we all want to avoid! Having owned my Type 2 for 43 years, I have never had an MOT failure, until September 2015. If failed on the brakes being “unequal” from the N/S readings compared to the O/S readings when tested on the rolling road.
The tester said I had 10 days in which to get the problem sorted and return for a free retest. I immediately drove to the garage I have used for 43 years (Francis Tuthill), to see if he could resolve the problem for me within the 10 day window. I showed Francis the above figures and his immediate response was to say “you probably don’t use your brakes all that much. I’ve come across this situation before”. His response was to jump into my van and drive it around the village for about 5 minutes doing numerous “emergency stops” in order to get the brake linings warmed up. On returning he said I should go back to the MOT garage now and get it retested as he couldn’t find anything wrong with them. This I did and when retested the brake figures obtained were now:
My van now passed its MOT. Panic over! So the moral of all this is if, like me, you don’t drive all that many miles a year and you tend to hardly use the brakes “in anger”, make sure you warm them up before going for your MOT as you might end up like I did, with a (temporary) MOT failure.
Spend since last report: £294. Total hours labour since last report: 12.2
What is the key upside of our camper vans over motorhomes? The Type 2, from the first split screen, the Bay, the T25/T3/Wedge/Brick, T4, T5 and even the T6. They can all be driven on a car licence, because they are all small enough to be about the same footprint as a standard car. No need for special car parking spaces.
What is the key downside of our little camper vans over motorhomes? Space inside.
Have you ever been a little frustrated at permanently having to move things around? Or finding that the cupboard or drawer has something in front of it or on top? Trying to navigate the tiny floor space past a loved one?
In general, across all models that are termed the Type 2, we have a similar layout. Seating at the front, sometimes that swivels, a seat towards the rear and maybe boot space behind that. In between all of that is about 5 feet or 1.5 metres each way of floor for the living quarters. That gives you maybe a buddy seat, the sink, the fridge, the cooker, the toilet. Perhaps the removable dining table on a pole, or a cupboard but not much else as there simply is not the room.
During an evening conversation with a T5 owning friends, he mused that it would be great if our little vans had a sliding side like the huge expensive motorhomes and so an idea was planted. Fast forward several months, a lot of thinking and some hours experimenting in the garage. The non-sliding door panel can be seen in some models as a traditional sliding door, sliding backwards and called a double slider. Therefore, Volkswagen are happy that this does not impact the strength of the vehicle and that is good enough for me. As noted in the last write up, Eric’s non sliding panel has seen some accident damage and the repair was not great by me a few years ago and was removed. With that composite side panel and sill gone, I added a new outer sill.
Some extra heavy duty kitchen drawer runners were purchased and the original idea of two runners and two roller bearings has now become four runners at the bottom and two at the top. These runners will slide the external panel of the vehicle including the middle window out from the van. To make it secure and weatherproof, new steel will be added to form the floor on top of the runners, sides of the structure and a roof. The entire unit will be on an electric ram and the entire kitchen will be in there.
In summary, the floor space taken up by the fridge, hob, sink and associated cupboards will move away from the van giving back all of that floor to the inside. In addition, with easy access below the sink, the water bottle can then live outside giving more cupboard space inside as well.
An item called a linear actuator was ordered, which is the gas ram that pushes and pulls. Not expensive and then I also got the controller for it… Effectively an in button and an out button and it stops at any point along the way. Sheet steel picked up from the local ironmongery is hopefully big enough and the project started.
The two outermost runners are within an inch of the B post and C post to give strength at the edges. Then a further pair on the van floor between those runners but only six inches apart which means that one is just under the other side of the fridge and the other is just under the corresponding place for the other cupboard. Under the centre of the whole unit will be this actuator to push and pull everything. The slide out tray then received a little box to hold the worm screw of the actuator plus the whole tray had some strengthening lines pressed into it and the sides folded up to attach to the pod sides in due course.
Now we have a working plan. A tray sits on runners and slides out of the van. Attached to that is the outer wall of the van complete with the window. Attached to both of those are vertical sides either side of the window and the whole thing has a roof that will be inclined not flat, to help water run off.
The tray is the easy piece. Finding exactly where it does against the outer wall when the outer wall is not fitted is a little trickier.
Trying to shape the sides as the outer wall is not flat is quite fun, and the sides need a 90 degree flare to attach to the outer panel as well. After much wasted time, I finally made a template from wood of the inside wall and transferred that to the flat sheet steel.
Having four runners means that to get them working they need to be perfectly parallel for the tray to sit on them. Lots of adjustments there, plus making brackets to attach them to the floor and the tray plus clearance for everything to move.
It is not finished by a long way, but the kitchen takes up around five square feet (3.5 feet by 1.5 feet) or half a square metre (1 metre by 0.5 metres). When your floor space is about 25 square feet / 2.25 square metres, you can potentially gain 25%. That’s a lot of floor space.
Next time, I hope to be able to report that the majority of the box is built. Courtesy of eBay, I have an inexpensive fridge already, and I managed to get a three ring new cooker with glass lid as well for a great price too. “All” that I need now is to assemble it all and hope that it glides in and out!
Bluebell is a ‘79 Bay Window, Devon Moonraker conversion with a full side elevating roof. When we first decided to take the plunge into campervan ownership, we had our hearts set on the Moonraker conversion as the interior space was excellent both in the elevated roof and the interior build.
We spotted Bluebell on eBay and watched her sell very quickly, much to our disappointment. But then, whilst searching further, we noticed that she had been relisted and jumped at the chance to investigate. So after a short phone call confirming some minor details, we were off on a trip to Frome in Somerset for a viewing. When viewing we found Bluebell to be in original condition, apart from some interior wooden surfaces had been replaced for pine and the exterior paintwork had changed from Sand Beige to an unknown Blue. This was perfect, the bodywork and paint had been worked on within ten years, keeping it fresh and clean (with receipts for work). After a test drive through the countryside, a deposit was paid and date set for collection. We had several trips away in the first few months of ownership and during a trip in Wales had our first spot of engine trouble, only firing on 3 cylinders. We spent some time investigating but couldn’t work it out so decided to limp home (back to the southeast!) and investigated further. It turns out that we had a burnt valve and so the start of restoration commenced. We took the opportunity to give the engine a good overhaul and carry out required repairs and paintwork in the engine bay area.
Once these repairs were completed we got an excellent year of camping from Bluebell, including a trip back to Wales for a friend’s wedding and a 20 day trip around the Southwest during the summer. Winter came back around and we decided that Bluebell’s bodywork and paint and needed attention in a few places, with the white, top half of the van needing most of the attention around windows and roof guttering. After talking to a good friend (who also happens to be a classic car restorer) we had set a date to get Bluebell into the workshop to begin the strip down and repairs. These repairs included removing all glass, repairing all window frames, replacing any scratched or dull glass, removing the elevating roof (it is huge!), repairing roof areas and replacing the pop top material.
This work had to be done to keep her looking fresh and clean, but we really needed to give the interior some attention as well as the wood was rotten in places and looking generally tatty and the original upholstery had also seen better days. So we took the decision to remove the interior and started looking for campervan interior design and build companies. So with all top half work completed, Bluebell was sent to The Campershak in Ormskirk to have a new interior fitted in the same Devon design, but with some modern and personal tweaks, including a new overhead side locker. Work completed on the bodywork and interior in time for another excellent year of camping. Winter had arrived again, now phase 2 of the bodywork and paint was to be done. This time the work would incorporate the underneath of the van… this turned out to be around an extra two months of work!
With all work completed, we have had another excellent summer of camping and looking forward to a winter where the work required on Bluebell is reduced somewhat! Despite all the hard work and effort, we wouldn’t change our campervan and the memories we have with her. Here’s to more memory making and we wish our members happy memories in their vans too!