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.
We live near Oxford so Calais was not practical as we wanted to hit Bordeaux, so we went Portsmouth to Caen and Le Havre to Portsmouth as the return due to pricing and availability. We got a good rate through the camping and caravanning club discounts that more than paid for this year’s membership fee. We also took out AA European cover, although it was about £80 a week on top of the annual cover charge, expensive but reassuring! In theory every town in France has a mechanic and they are all the older fashioned mechanics who know our simpler engines extremely well, chances are this extra insurance would have been unnecessary. Prior to setting off, we had been having some engine issues and multiple mechanics locally had looked at it, most recently a half day that resulted in a cable tie forcing the air filter to always run with warm air intake not cold. A very expensive cable tie! Our latest tank of petrol showed running figures of just 18mpg which wasn’t good either. We decided that actually the real issue was the carb and since we have a second van and that one has the same original carb, we could swap them over and see what happens. One quick read of the Haynes manual and a bit of Internet research and the swap took around 10 minutes! What a transformation! Poppy had more power, better idling, no cutting out, no holding back and the problem was solved just before the trip. Following the advice from our illustrious President Malcolm at a recent AGM weekend, we also bought a split charge relay and fitted it, total price £7 and that charges the leisure battery when the engine is running, the solar panel keeping it going when parked. Other prep work for a big long trip was to make sure that on board were the bits that we might need. Spares – Rocker cover gaskets, throttle and clutch cables, set of plugs, points, condenser and coil. Some wire and termination plugs, electric tester (even the screw driver with the light bulb from the pound shop), set of bulbs, some fuses and a fan belt. We also took 2 litres of oil, checked it each day and in fact only used about 300ml across the whole trip. Then we packed the tools – Set of sockets, adjustable spanner, screw drivers, feeler gauges and of course a cork screw! Other useful stuff – torch, you need a high-vis jacket per person and they fit under the passenger seat along with a cheapo (we paid £2) plastic triangle also under there as they need to be accessible from the cab area. We didn’t bother with the breathalyser, you are supposed to have two but there is no fine for not having one. If you wear reading glasses, you are supposed to have a spare pair in reach of the driver too. We took the log book, MOT, insurance doc and a photograph of each one just in case and we needed them to get out of the UK as a lot of stolen vans used to get driven out of the country. We also kept our passports with us at all times even when out for a walk, just in case. The Michelin 2017 map of France and a sat-nav for those times when the map just doesn’t do it were essential. We stayed at the camping and caravanning recommended site on the Saturday night in
Caen as the ferry docked around 9.30pm and it was literally half a mile from the ferry port but expensive at £26 per night. The morning was bright, the sky looked promising and the van was running well, our ultimate aim was Bordeaux but given the breakdowns of recent years, we were just going to enjoy what fate brought us. Maybe Sunday would see us stay over in Nantes? Well the motorways are for fast cars and you can pootle along in your van on free roads and they are all deserted, beautiful countryside and clean villages and towns. Nantes came and went before we stopped at the supermarket for bread and cheese and by late afternoon we arrived on the west coast at a village called Jard sur Mer about 200 miles from Caen, Poppy running better than ever, the site found in the Aires book was six euros per night and was right by the sea, a little village for strolling and they had an ice cream shop too. Monday morning waking up hearing the ocean and we still had no plans or sites booked for the rest of the trip. We bought a book from Amazon of the Aires Camping Car Europe version, there are signposts all over too of big camper vans signposting a place to stay – often a car park in town but most are free, pretty, clean and have CDP and fresh water, although some charge for the water. That evening we were in St Emilion, on a vineyard having a BBQ and drinking wine made from the grapes that surrounded us on all sides. We had never done the exciting bit of setting off with no booking for the night and just looked at the map each night for where to head the next day. Sometimes the Aire that we aimed for just didn’t cut the mustard, often we found something better on the way, vineyards being our favourites and along the way we stayed by the Dordogne, the Charantes, on vineyards, distilleries and in pretty villages. Sum total cost apart from the first night was twelve euros site fees and we came back with a lot of wine bought from the people who make it. We visited Bordeaux, Bourg, Cognac, Bergerac, Monbassilac and other places making wines plus cultural places like Oradour sur Glane (a village retained as it looked after a 1944 massacre) and Arromanches les Bains (scene of the Normandy landings) amongst others. Day time exploring towns, villages, medieval chateaux places of interest. As usual, at each fill we log the fuel consumption as we have done since purchase and we managed to get up to 29.7mpg averaging 26mpg across a 1,400 mile round trip which alone saved us £100 on petrol. Since June 15th this year your mobile works in Europe on your UK mobile contract so there are no extra charges which meant we were online and able to make and receive calls without worry. The overnight ferry from Le Havre meant a full day of fun and exploring (and ice cream) before getting on the ferry as it took us home. Docking at 6.30am, we zoomed through the English countryside and were home by 8.30 just before the locals started heading off for their Saturday shopping trips. What would we do differently? Well for sure we loved it so much that we want to go back soon. We would know that on Bastille Day the shops shut at lunchtime making our last afternoon’s trip to the Hypermarket to fill the van before getting on the ferry a fruitless venture! We’d go for longer and spend more time practicing French before heading off. What a fabulous time was had by all. There were a great deal of campers sharing their experiences, one from a Dutch couple who annually drive their modern van down to Italy, take the ferry to Greece and have 3 weeks wild camping on deserted beaches. Maybe once we retire that will be possible! There were no flights involved, no hotels, we did eat out quite a few times but plat du jour gives you great quality food with lovely ingredients for a set price meaning that the whole trip was really very inexpensive and we arrived home with 20 bottles and a whole lot of memories. Anyone know the nearest place I can get moules et frites?
Nobody really seems to know where the customary “VW Wave” originates from, but as much as we might like to think, it is not exclusive to VW’s. A cursory nod or wave amongst same classic vehicle types is commonplace. Maybe it’s because we own them, but the acknowledgment shared between owners of VW’s feels friendlier and more genuine. The wave seems to further connect us as owners through shared experience and therefore respect. There are different types of wave to consider, some of the more popular ones are: The Shaka (Hang loose dude VW wave) – Originating in Hawaiian Surf culture, this one is reserved for the super cool, laid back types who are confident enough to pull it off! The “I have the same!” – Reserved as a note of respect for owners of the same types, a “Good choice! I feel your pain but I get it” level of recognition. The “I love all VW’s” – An unashamed acknowledgement of all VW’s no matter what type. The nod – For the slightly non-committal types. The afterthought day dreamer’s wave – The one that happens as the other vehicle is already passing you and you realise that they had waved. The overly enthusiastic wave – Coming from non VW owners who love your VW and the life they think you have because of it, or those of you who have forgotten that for whatever reason you are not driving your VW that day! And finally, the “non-wave” – For those moments when you realise mid-wave that there has been no response from the other vehicle and you try desperately to nullify your embarrassment by pretending it never happened! Despite the differing types of wave available to us, there seems to be a developing trend that has classic VW owners worried, the VW wave is dwindling. Some call it snobbery, some think it’s the growing number of work/play transporters (those that make it increasingly difficult to discern whether you are waving at a slightly bemused tradesperson or a campervanner!) However, as daft as the wave may sound to some, it is all part of VW ownership. There’s nothing quite like the little smile that spreads across your face as you share a moment of recognition with a fellow traveller, or watching the look of surprise as your non VW owning passenger tries to ascertain what just happened as you share a wave or a flash of lights with another driver. We already feel pretty special driving our VW’s, no matter what age, shape or condition they are in, so we are encouraging you all to put aside the snobbery, leave the air-cooled verses water-cooled and new verses old differences at home and drive and enjoy your VW’s, waving manically at every owner you pass! What’s the worst that could happen? Maybe you’ll be left hanging, maybe you’ll wave at a person who subsequently thinks you’re nuts, but we guarantee you’ll leave a smile on their face. So keep waving and we’ll be helping to keep a tradition alive that is yet another reason these vehicles are so special! If you see us on the road, give us a wave, we’ll be the ones waving manically back at you! 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.
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.
Yes, it is that time again. Hurray! Finally, after the long winter in our non-mobile houses, we can get out our beloved vehicles.
Hopefully you all followed the article Time for bed/ to help put your vehicle to bed for the winter. Now that spring is in the air and we are starting to think about getting out and communing in nature, this is a key time to get things ready.
Doors locks – there’s nothing more annoying than a failed lock. get it fixed now before the season really gets going. Door lock issues can be very straight forward but a simple lubrication can be key. Pun intended. A non residue lubricant is best to move the dirt away as WD40 can leave enough gunk to create issues. We favour silicon spray. A little into each lock.
Windscreen wipers – did they perish in the cold winter freezing them to the windscreen. Inspect and replace now.
Water – check the radiator if you have one. Ensure that the bottles that you emptied in the Autumn / fall have no mice, carefully hidden Christmas presents or mildew. Clean with a weak Milton solution if it is drinking water or food related.
Batteries – check the charge on each battery with a good meter. A flat battery can indicate an earth leak. A failed battery needs careful investigation.
Carburettor – Or equivalent. Check for good operation, no stuck flaps or other deterioration over winter. If you are a professional, this will be straight forward. If you are an amateur, a test drive very close to home will highlight problems! But only after the other checks.
Brakes – your vehicle should roll easily, otherwise this can indicate jammed brakes. Parking in gear for long periods of time can be better for your brake health than a jammed set of brakes. Check the brakes for operation. Check the brake fluid level. If it has been more than 5 years, change the brake fluid as it is hygroscopic and slurps up water incredibly quickly. Water is not a good fluid for applying the brake pads to the disks.
Seals – inspect all door seals for any signs of damage, water ingress or other problems and sort them out now. Glue any loose bits back down with the correct glue.
Windows – ensure that they all open and close fully. Or at least as fully as they did last year if applicable!
Ignition – Once you are feeling confident, get in to your pride and joy and turn on the ignition to number 2. Look at the lights on the dashboard. Check there ARE lights! Are they what you expect / are used to seeing? Have you got fuel (for those with a working fuel gauge)?
Crank it over – don’t expect it to start immediately but things should kick into life within a few seconds.
A little test drive on your driveway will allow you to test the brakes, maybe the steering and other important parts. Softly, softly.
Stay local, take your phone with you and warm clothing. Just in case!
Once you get home, assuming that you have a big smile on your face, make a list of snags, get indoors, put the kettle on and start planning for your summer.
Check out the events page and come and see us at a meeting soon!
The Mechanic then received a question from Club Member, Peter Rogers, who asked: I have a T2 Bay 1978 model, and want to fit reversing parking sensors. I was planning on fitting the sensors to the rear bumper, but the installation instructions state that they should not be fitted to metal. Is it possible to fit the sensors in the metal bumper with insulation around the sensor unit, or will the sensors still not work?
With no previous experience of fitting parking sensors, this one got The Mechanic thinking. From research, it would seem that parking sensors work more effectively when mounted into plastic bumpers and most retro-fit instructions seem to state this also, however due to the age of the vehicle, there is a lack of plastic to mount the sensors on the rear of the vehicle (or anywhere!), but there may be some possible solutions, although they have not been tested and are advice only. A late bay rear bumper has a centre depressed section for an optional rubber centre strip. The sensors could be mounted into this strip and that may stop any interference from the metal bumper, they would also be virtually invisible due to the black strip and black sensors. These strips are available from Just Kampers for £45 or you can buy the pair for the front and rear so the bumpers still match for £85. Another idea could be to make holes in the bumper with larger diameters than the diameter of the sensors. Then fit rubber grommets into these holes and then fit the sensors into the grommets, thus providing an insulated mounting point for the sensors that should be minimally distorted by the metal bumper. Grommets are available cheaply in most DIY stores or online
This instalment of The Mechanic looks at how you can protect your VW for years to come using Dinitrol products. The biggest threat to any classic vehicle is rust and unfortunately our beloved Volkswagens seem to suffer badly. Rust is an iron oxide that forms by a reaction between iron and oxygen in the presence of water. With the British climate being renowned for its rainfall we need all the help we can to keep rust at bay. There are numerous products on the market to help combat rust, if you do your research there are various opinions on the most suitable solution. Waxoyl and Dinitrol seem to offer the best results and the choice of which product to use comes down to personal choice or ease of application. WAXOYL is a long established and proven method for combating rust. It is a petroleum based wax product with self-healing properties that contains oxidation inhibitors that slow down the growth of rust. It works by covering the treated area, thus preventing water and air contacting the treated area. DINITROL is an oil based product that contains rust inhibiting ingredients to treat and stop rust after it has been applied. It also forms a barrier that prevents further corrosion occurring. Dinitrol is supplied in several different forms, a cavity wax for use in inner sills etc. and an under body wax that dries to a flexible tough film to withstand rain and salt. Waxoyl is generally suitable for use on vehicles that have been restored and have fresh metal welded into them, whereas Dinitrol is designed for vehicles with existing surface rust due to its rust killing abilities.
Guide For a Split, Bay or T25 The range of rear engine transporters are all unique in their own way, but all suffer from corrosion in the same way. One problem that is particular to a Camper is that we create more moisture due to us living inside, just boiling a kettle will produce large amounts of rust inducing steam, sleeping in the van presents its own problems as we sweat and breathe out moisture. The underside of any Van is straight forward to protect. The usual suspect areas such as inner sill, front valance etc are easy to access from underneath, but the inside structure is more challenging. The front and side door cards are easy enough to remove but the rear will require removal of the interior furnishings and panels to gain access, a time consuming exercise but worthwhile!
Sitting by the log burner one cold winter’s eve, my wife Suzanne and I had a very uncomfortable chat with decisions to be made just after Christmas last year; Delilah our 1970 Early Bay had become the problem child all VW parents hope won’t happen. After several years of happy times, forgetting all the damp nights from the leaky pop top and refusals to start after a weekend away, the steady drip of cash to keep her going turned into a deluge when we found out her engine problems, whilst not terminal, were not good news. Our soul searching kept coming around to the inevitable; we’d have to let her go, listen to our heads and not our hearts. We’d toyed with the idea of getting a T4 a few years ago but air-cooled was always the previous winner. Who couldn’t fail to love the look, the sound and the feel of the old Bays and Splitties?… Only the hopeless romantics and the ones with deep pockets! Everything happened in a whirlwind shortly after the New Year. Delilah advertised and sold within a matter of days to a wonderful fellow from Kent who would have the time and expertise to return her to her glory and just days after and several viewings of vans in all conditions and specs, we picked up a T4 2.5TDi SWB short nose, new conversion from Will at Coast Campers near Bognor. Will had turned around an extremely sound, low mileage work van, fitted her out with a ¾ rock n roll bed, swivelling double passenger seat, Dometic twin burner and sink, 240v/12v fridge, split charger, hook-up and plenty of storage by Evo. Suzanne soon had her named Lola (think The Kinks / trans-porter) and we began adding the personal touches. We are Pagans and into our Nordic heritage and culture, so we set about sourcing decals to make Lola look that little bit different to your average camper. It’s surprising how much you can save by not looking at camper/vehicle stickers and decals and look at interior decorating instead! We traded in our Skoda estate and downsized to a Fiat 500 and I immediately began using Lola as a day runner, something I’d never even contemplated with Delilah, and as soon as the weather picked up we started to get away for weekends and day trips. So far, we’ve travelled the Hampshire countryside, done Dorset and Wiltshire, and sailed over the Solent for a long, long weekend at the Isle of Wight Festival. Our first weekend away was to Eype/West Bay near Bridport; Highlands End campsite is on the cliff tops and has excellent facilities to suit all needs and pockets. We love Dorset as it’s so
close and it offers everything for a weekend as relaxing or active as you’d want. We even took Alfie the pug with us but the pesky rabbits occupying the campsite on the clifftops kept him alert all through the small hours with their thumping and such. The luxury of having a van that was guaranteed not to leak helped with the relaxation but missed having a pop top, meaning we had to bend double or kneel down to cook. The ease of shifting a lever and pulling out the bed was fantastic, especially putting it away again in the morning rather than the near IKEA building process we needed with Delilah’s bed. I’d never got around to finishing the hook up on Delilah either so having power to the van took away that modern day first world anxiety of smartphone battery watching and also meant we could take an electric kettle with us for that lifesaving morning cuppa just that little bit quicker. Soon after the Dorset trip, we were off to the Stonehenge Camping site at Berwick St. James. What a wonderful site, with big communal fire pits, small but spotless facilities and only a 4 mile walk from the hallowed stones themselves. They even have VW only pitches! We’re already looking to book there for next year’s Summer Solstice so we can fully appreciate the atmosphere and meet up with other like-minded V-Dubbers. 6 months in and Lola has given us back our freedom to get away when we want and know we’ll get back without the worries we all have when on the road in a 47-year-old air-cooled. We just did the VDub at the Pub festival at Wimborne with friends who hired a T6 camper (we’re in the process of getting friends hooked on campervans). It’s a great little family friendly weekend and there was every type of VW under the sun there. As always you get to wander around the campsite and arena being nosy and chatting to other owners (shout out to Steve and Dee with Matilda) comparing interiors, engines, colour schemes and everything in-between and always come away with ideas for the next addition or modification. When time and money allows, ours will be to get Lola a pop top to save our aching backs and knees. I know we’ve lost some of the kudos and glamour we used to have but in their own way, T4’s have character and can be whatever you want. Reliable and versatile, Lola will hopefully last as long as the originals with the same amount of dedication and TLC and will give us many years happy ‘vanning in the future. We’ve already got the next weekend sorted, Somerset with our latest campervan convert friends (keep it quiet though, they’ve got a Renault – we tried!
It all probably began when I was at university back in the seventies and my supervisor had an early 60’s Split Screen in which he drove most of his students on course visits. I was the proud owner of a black and chrome Honda SS50Z motorbike, which I would take along and I used to race the VW back from our trips. The result was always the same: I easily out-accelerated it, but then on the long straights it gradually hauled me in with its 60mph top speed. Once it was ahead I hung on in the slipstream until gradual asphyxiation forced me to fall back to watch helplessly as the speeding Kombi slowly slipped away, laying smoke like a WW2 destroyer. It was in those days that a love was kindled, and it lay unrequited through many dalliances with big Citroens, British sports cars and assorted Land Rovers. Then a couple of years ago, my Defender betrayed my trust one more time. I knew instinctively that it was over and what I had to do and that was to seek out my first love: My wife, Jenny (different sort of first love) and I decided we would look for a Camper. We knew we could offer it a good home because we had already had a garage able to accommodate the Defender. Jenny, for different reasons, was equally keen to enjoy a break. Not long ago I had to drive a borrowed and stricken T25 at night in rural South Africa and met lots of friendly people every time I stopped, the problem being that I couldn’t persuade them ever to get back out again! We knew we would forgive an old Camper for breaking down because we knew that’s what they do and also because everyone says it’s how you make new friends. So here are some experiences and tips we picked up on the way. I hope not ALL of it is obvious. First was to go to shows and flatter owners into showing us round their Campers, asking to see their best welding repairs. Then I turned to websites where I found most on Car and Classic, Auto Trader and eBay. Split Screens were out of range, so as is so often the case, I went for a younger model and was easily seduced by the softer lines and less expensive tastes of Bays, especially early ones. So began the long phone-calls and longer, fruitless trips from which, to summarise, I learnt to be very suspicious of: anything selling near a canal, anyone poor at maths or grammar (body 110%, drives excellent, etc.), anything just painted, anything wet and trader jargon (got to be right, good clean motor, first to see will buy, etc). Now for some hopefully practical tips, especially if like me, you are not mechanically talented :
Find a local specialist you can trust. I was extremely lucky to come across Jez and Lou at Dubtricks near my home in Harrogate, who actually spent ages humouring me and looking at photos of possible purchases which I took to show them, even though I wasn’t even a customer. They were just really prepared to take an interest and offer advice – though I suppose they might have reasoned that if I turned up one day with a basket-case, I might try to persuade them to work on it!
Best tip – Take a camera with a powerful flash and photograph every inch of the underside of as possible. Holes appear through Waxoyl as if by magic when you get the pictures onto your computer and I could easily have bought a lovely looking late Bay from its confident owner if my photos hadn’t shown it to have a chassis with a LOT of extra ventilation – holes show as jet black against the reflected wax surface and weld lines show up like a relief map of the Yorkshire Dales.
Take a WEAK magnet, like a fridge magnet. A professional-looking heavy magnet has expert pose value but it’s more like a metal detector and will find metal deep beneath, whereas a fridge magnet will fall off if there is filler under the glossy paint. Also take a powerful led torch. Used at an angle, paint texture changes and panel ripples show immediately.
VW in the sixties and seventies had OCD and plastered their vehicles with ID plates. The Camper we bought has to date revealed plates next to the windscreen, behind the driver’s seat and deep under the carbon on the floor of the engine bay. It is good if these match and even better if you check it all out on the internet from the m-plate codes behind the driver’s seat (on our U.S.A. import). It is also fun because of what else you find. I dug up from under the front seats an anti-Vietnam war badge, something to do with a rabies clinic, a strange-looking cigarette end and a scary looking dead spider.
Documents – Ideally import documents and UK log book which all match up. Historic vehicle status is great for forty year-olds and apart from free road tax you should still be allowed into London freely once new emission zone rules come into force in 2020. This could spread to other cities, so it’s a thought.
Choose your van based on the seller and where the vehicle lives, as well as the Camper itself. Ours had lived in a big garage in a big house in the country with a Porsche and the owner’s kids all loved it, so maximum points there. I should add that my wife does say I am easily fooled!
Beware the prices of spares. Ours had a broken jalousie window from a break-in attempt and it took me six months to find another and that basic-looking little Westy folding table top will set you back around £200 on eBay in mint condition. I thought I might need a new front-hinged roof as mine was warped into a pagoda impersonation (I wondered at first if it was a rare Japanese import) and they seem totally unavailable. Luckily Jez and Lou with a combination of a super hot day, probable extensive sunbathing lying on top of the roof, lots of leverage and remarkable skill, have returned it to shape without it cracking. I still don’t know how they did that, but it saved me over £2000 on a non-original replacement.
In my view, don’t worry about left-hand drive or right-hand drive. There seems to be a premium for right-hand, but you are never remotely going to overtake anyone so it’s just not an issue. I’m OK with my German VW having German left-hand drive (OK it’s American, but same point, sort of).
Lastly, to come back to the beginning, it’s really all about rust. European vans will probably have been restored, but a recent paint job will stop you knowing how well, despite photos – I am a photographer and can make ANYTHING look good! USAs, South Africans and Australians may be rust free, but may not if they lived near the coasts (most South African ones) or in salty winter cities (lots of USA ones). Conversely, European interiors are more likely to be in good condition, but at least you can readily see if the hot climate ones have baked themselves to biscuits and dust. So, after it all, we have a lovely Early Bay Westfalia Campmobile, with an original interior in amazing condition. It has never had any welding and it’s recently been to Dubtricks for a new engine, clutch, dynamo (though it’s ended up with an alternator as the Hella recon dynamo was faulty), replacement fuel lines, rewires to make it less likely to immolate itself and some UK headlights (despite passing its last mot with USA lights!) The thing is all this is incidental to having good bodywork and a good interior, everything mechanical can be fixed and there are clearly specialists out there who are enthusiastic, expert and a pleasure to work with. There are also excellent parts suppliers, such as NLA, Just Kampers and VW Heritage with prices for moving bits reasonable, far less than for modern vehicles, though if anyone knows of a LHD early bay steering box for less than the average mortgage, do please let me know! We can’t wait to get it back on the road.
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