Quasi-specialized tools for your Volkswagen transporter

brake spanners



Compiled & Written by Nigel A. Skeet


Although many DIY mechanics, will already have assembled a reasonable kit of basic tools, for both regular maintenance and emergency repairs when touring, there are a few more specialised items, that might be needed, which are not so readily available, at reasonable prices.


XZN Socket-Screw Tools


During the early-to-mid 1970s, Volkswagen (now includes Audi, Seat & Skoda) introduced the use of XZN 12-pointed-spline socket screws (aka triple-square | so called, because the 12-pointed star shape, with 90º corners, can be created by rotating three superimposed, identical concentric squares, spaced by 30º ), where Allen socket-head (hexagon-shaped socket), conventional hexagonal bolt-head, conventional slot-head or Philips-head screws had previously been used, because the XZN socket screws can tolerate much greater torques, without damaging either the screw-head or the tool. Other German car manufacturers, such as BMW, Porsche and Mercedes, also use XZN socket screws.








On the 1972~79 VW Type 2s & 1980~92/93 VW Type 25s (aka Vanagon, in North America), the XZN socket screws, have three important applications, but they are much more widely used on the post-1992, VW Transporter T4s & T5s; being used for quite diverse applications, such as brake calipers, suspension and door locks. So far as I have been able to determine, it is only XZN socket screws, with an M8 thread, which are used on the 1972~79 VW Type 2s & 1980~91/92 VW Type 25s; having the following applications.


(1) Drive-shaft, constant-velocity-joint securing screws (total of 24), factory-fitted, from circa 1973/74 onward and now sold as replacements, by Just Kampers et al.


(2) Two securing screws, for the mechanical fuel pump, on VW 17/18/2000 Type 4 style air-cooled engines, factory-fitted with twin carburettors.


(3) Single alternator-adjustment screw, on VW 17/18/2000 Type 4 style air-cooled engines


Many of the earlier-model vehicles, were equipped with the more commonly used Allen socket-head screws, but these might have since been replaced with XZN socket screws; especially if the constant velocity joints have been renewed or screws had been lost by careless mechanics.

socket screws

Replacement XZN 12-pointed-spline (triple-square), socket screws, for fastening constant-velocity joints.



Several years ago, towards the end of a closing-down sale, at a local tool & general hardware store, I bought a job lot, of good-quality SUPERSLIM-brand, 1/2-inch drive, 8 mm sized, XZN socket tools, two of which I have kept for my own use; stored permanently in my garage and touring-emergency tool kits. Over the past few years, I have since sporadically sold more than a dozen of the remainder (at least two to members of the motor trade), via classified advertisements, posted on various VAG related Internet forums.






Brake-Service Spanners


If in the future, you need to replace either your VW Transporter’s four flexible brake hoses or 3/16-inch (i.e. 4½ mm) rigid brake pipes, you will need to unfasten the 11 mm AF brake-pipe unions. A conventional fully-enclosed ring spanner, cannot be used for this task and an open-ended spanner (i.e. crowfoot wrench in North American parlance) or adjustable spanner, will typically fail to provide sufficient purchase; damaging the union in the process. However, special brake-pipe-union spanners are available, which resemble ultra-heavy-duty ring spanners, with a circa 6~7 mm cut-out, to fit over the brake pipe.




Brake-service spanners


Top – Williams Superslim ADJ 45, Imperial (1/4-inch & 5/16-inch) square-hole brake-adjustment spanner

Middle – Williams Superslim UNIMIL 110, metric (10 mm & 11 mm AF) brake-pipe-union spanner

Bottom – Williams Superslim UNI 78, Imperial (7/16-inch & 1/2-inch AF) brake-pipe-union spanner



I possess both metric (10 mm & 11 mm AF) and Imperial (7/16-inch & 1/2-inch AF) brake-pipe spanners, for use on my 1973 VW “1600” Type 2 and 1974 BLMC Triumph 1300 Toledo-Dolomite hybrid. In addition, I also have an Imperial (1/4-inch & 5/16-inch) square-hole brake-adjustment spanner, for the Triumph’s rear-drum-brakes’ snail-cam adjusters, which I suspect might also be used, for unfastening the 1968~79 VW Type 2 gear-selector linkage’s square-headed bolts. Other sizes & specifications of brake-service spanners are also available.