Author Archives: Nick Gillott

About Nick Gillott

Website Manager and General Committee member of the Owners Club. Owner of Eric the Viking (converted panel van with Viking roof) undergoing complete restoration. Tinkerer to Poppy the camper van (1972 Crossover dormobile).

Busfest has started

The biggest show on the planet in terms of numbers of Transporters attending together. Yes, Busfest is under way. www.busfest.org.

The VW Type 2 Owners Club have their own field. Experience the buzz of the premier event of the year and also return to a tranquil oasis of calm when it all gets too much.

The club have their own marquee complete with complimentary tea and coffee mornings. The marquee is open to all club members and those in their vans and dogs are always welcome. Here is our Chairman with Abbie in the marquee:

This year like last year, we are planning to do evening burgers and morning bacon butties – veggie options available, on a first come, first served basis. Once they are gone, they are gone!

We hope to see you there!

To oil or not to oil

The age old question, which oil. If you have an air cooled engine, the air is cooling the engine, but that is not the end of it. To get the heat out to that air needs a conductor of heat, namely oil.

A thin oil will not transfer the heat and as the heat rises, it becomes thinner, conducting the heat less effectively. Use a top quality mineral oil, Volkwagen recommend 20W50. Ensure that it is topped up to the correct level, checked regularly and that the filter is changed every 3,000 miles.

Add up how much oil you add in between oil changes, an air cooled engine is supposed to burn oil. If you are exceeding 1 litre / 2 pints of oil every 3,000 miles (see the VW handbook which confirms this), then look for visible leaks and smokey exhaust gases. It may be time for a rebuild.

Viva SkegVegas

The family show just outside Skegness in Lincolnshire is only two weeks ago, are you going? http://www.vivaskegvegasvw.co.uk/

Lincolnshire’s largest VW show is at Revesby Country Park starting on 16th August 2019. The VW Type 2 Owners Club will be there with the club stand, do come along, say hello and have a natter.

This is a laid back, family oriented classic car show, not a festival!

Busfest – last call!

This is the last Friday for tickets for Busfest, the world’s largest VW transporter show. The pinnacle of the year and the largest event for the VW Type 2 owners club as well.

If they are already full then you have missed out, but last chance to buy tickets from https://www.busfest.org/tickets/. As always, club members get an exclusive £20 discount to this exciting and fun event at the Malvern Showground near Gloucester.

Our club has a dedicated field, so that you can come back from the bustle of the show into our enclave and relax with other club members. Last year we had 60 vehicles and expect to have more this year. Our club field will be offering baps for Saturday and Sunday breakfasts (bacon and egg) and the club BBQ will be out in force on the Saturday night with burgers, both meat and vegetarian with cooked onions.

We also have the tea urn in the large club marquee and this is used to shelter from the sun or rain of the day and huddle up in the evenings for a natter over a glass of something.

In 2018, we had a George Formby singer, kids playing together and a lot of laughing. We did also get out and see the show!

All of this is free of charge to club members and those in their van in the club area.

The next club magazine is on its way

The next edition of the club magazine has been finished by our Editors and looks fantastic. It should be arriving through your door soon!

Meantime, a number of members have just been to Volksweald. If you went and enjoyed it, please let events@vwt2oc.co.uk know so that we can include it in the plans for next year and expand the club camping area for the club.

Busfest 2019

As we enter June, the club committee are working hard finalising the plans for Busfest 2019 at the Malvern Showground. This is one of the premier events in the transporter calendar and usually sees 7,000 people attending.

If that number fills you with dread, you are in luck! The Type 2 Owners Club has our own dedicated field holding 60 vehicles that means you can stay small, spend the weekend with just club members or go large and venture out to the many stalls.

The early bird catches the bargains and also the quiet times. Everything is organised with military precision having been run by the same group for over 25 years. It is a brilliant show to look for parts for Type 1 (Beetle, Ghia, Thing) and Type 2 (Split screen, Bay, T25, T3, T4, T5, T6) vehicles. Or just kick back and enjoy the atmosphere.

Just 4 of the vans from the 2018 club field at Busfest!

The owners club will have a large club marquee for members only in the club field. Last year we served tea, coffee, burgers and sausages. We had a ukulele performance from “George Formby” and about 50 vehicles were there. Plenty of dogs, children, stories, fun and laughter were there – everyone is welcome and the field coped well with mobility scooters.

You don’t even need to bring a van – come in the car and a tent. Bring a (small) motorhome.

Book early to avoid disappointment and book using the club link on the web link above. Discount code available from the club secretary if you did not find it in the club magazine.

Poor man’s metal fabricating kit

 

Did you know that for very little money, you can shape metal and the sky is the limit.

Basics – a vice

Get a metalworkers vice – see the heavy duty jaws. Bigger but not thick jaws are for wood. Get the biggest that you can find, car boot sales / second hand shows are often a good place. It should be bolted to a strong surface and will hold metal safely.

Intermediate – a metal folder

To bend metal accurately, you will ultimately need to get a metal folder. It does what it says on the tin and folds the metal along a line. These start around the £50 / $70 area and go up to more than $10,000 each. If you are folding body panel thickness, a “poor man’s metal folder” is less money! Find your local metal working place that sells metal and buy 2 lengths of 25mm (1 inch) angle iron that is 3mm thick (1/8 inch).

Sit both pieces of angle iron in your vice upside down compared to the above picture. Then place your metal to be folded into the newly created wide jaws of your “metal folder”. Now clamp it all together – this takes a little practice to get the metal to the right position without something slipping. Measure twice, cut once as they say – keep moving it slightly until you get it perfectly aligned.

Once in there, push the metal in the direction of the required fold. If you do not need 90 degrees, add something as a guide.

Assistance – a hammer

A little pin hammer / tack hammer / small hammer will cost a few dollars / pounds. Its flat nose means less damage to the metal compared to a normal hammer that has a rounded end. Use the other end and experiment. Remember that you are not looking to shape the metal with a single hit! Slow and steady wins the race.

Once the metal has been folded mainly to shape, finish with the hammer until you get it how you need it.

First clever trick – a roll

If you need a small roll in your metal, open the jaws of your vice to reveal the part that needs to bend / roll. Now take that sharp (ish) edge of the above hammer and tap the metal between the vice jaws. Remember to clamp the metal first!

Tapping it with a hammer will allow you to shape by hand, nice and slowly / carefully. Sometimes that is not smooth enough.

Advanced – a socket

If you need a fold in the metal that is part of a circle, find a socket the size of the fold required. Keep the jaws open to the width required, clamp one side of the metal to one of the jaws. Place the socket on the metal between the jaws and allow the metal to shape itself around the socket with a hammer. Please do not use your best socket and any damage to your equipment is down to you!

My first example

I needed a piece to join the bottom of the wall behind the sliding door on my Bay window, down to the floor. I folded the 90 degree in my metal folder. I sliced a little way along that fold then used my hammer to tap the curved section (no socket used this time) before welding it up. Then I added the end triangle as it was going to be tricky to add later and welded it in.

I was rather pleased with that.

Once in, I was even happier.

I am now a fabricator, you can be one too. The paint was a short term measure to keep the rust at bay and yes, the bottom of the C post still needs work!

My second attempt

From the first picture, you can see that the bottom of the rear wheel arch is missing a common section where it has rusted, been patched badly and is in need of attention. Again, I took some cardboard, made a template, used some Zintec lightly galvanized steel and using just a 4 inch vice, a hammer and a little time, I came up with this:

And here it is zipped in:

Yes, I will sort out the ugly weld in the corner before I top coat the inside!

Front suspension

Following on from a conversation with one of our members, it is time to talk about harsh rides. Remember that ride comfort is a personal choice!

Simple rule:
Low = less travel on the suspension = more likely to be a harsh or bumpy ride.
That’s the simple story though!

Anti-roll bars

Some people call them sway bars, but of course they are designed to STOP the swaying as you go around a corner, therefore sway bar is a bit of a misnomer.

As you drive round a corner, the weight moves (Newton’s Laws start to apply) due to conservation of linear momentum and the outside of the van will drop, with the inside edge of the van lifting. To stabilize this, you can attack a bar under the vehicle that restricts both of these movements, leaving the van itself much flatter. Because this is effectively adding stiffness / restriction, going overboard on this bar can make cornering less comfortable.

Above is an anti-roll bar with the graphic borrowed without permission from the Just Kampers web site. Before you head over there with your wallet open, remember that an anti-roll bar is not the answer to the handling question.

Step away from the credit card….

Shock absorber

The shock absorber….erm….absorbs the shocks of the uneven road. It did not take them long to come up with the name I suspect.

It is an oil filled tube with a round disk on a rod in the tube that lets the oil move past it slowly, damping the ability of the tube to expand and contract. One end effectively bolts to the vehicle and one to the wheel (yes, I know that’s a massive simplification, bear with me). As the wheel hits a lump in the road, the oil filled tube contracts and absorbs the impact, expanding again afterwards but not with a jolt.

These are consumable parts and do not last forever. The can deteriorate over both time and usage – just because it has only done 10 miles does not mean that your vehicle does not need them replacing. Do not replace them just for the sake of it though.

Testing

Taking the shock off the vehicle is quite simple. Jack up the front using the front beam and your trolley jack, settle it down on axle stands safely and securely. Remove the wheel. Depending on suspension height and shock length, you may need to shorten the shock to remove it by just removing the bolts at each end.

You are not strong enough to test it like this, so don’t do it. Those of you who did the above, please have a cup of tea and stop called me names.

Approach the vehicle with the shock absorbers still attached. Grab the rain gutter or open the front doors and grab the B post or A post and wobble the van from side to side. Does it stop wobbling pretty much immediately? If it keeps moving for more than about 1 second after letting go, probably old shocks and they need replacing. If it just keeps on wobbling, definitely change them.

Have a test drive on an uneven surface but don’t speed. If pot holes are unpleasant with a crashing or jarring feel, that could also be shocks.

Find someone with the same ride height as you and the same model. Have a go in theirs. If theirs is noticeably smoother, it can be shocks.

Replacing

As above, you remove the wheel safely, unbolt the shock, fit the same length shock from a reputable manufacturer and reassemble in the reverse manner. Only ever replace both left and right at the same time. Expect to pay about £50 per shock plus around an hour labour for the pair. If you buy a cheap pair, expect that you pay for! We bought Sachs Boge heavy duty ones for our Crossover which fixed our crashing ride. Kyb and other manufacturers are available from leading stockists.

Next steps

This should now give you a good ride on bumps and generally. If you also have problems with body roll on bends that makes things a trifle hairy, now start thinking about anti-roll bars.

The “standard” anti-roll bar is around £20 and will make a small difference. The heavy duty anti-roll bar is about six times as expensive but can make a significant difference to the roadholding and stability of a vehicle, especially on corners.

Handling kit

If you prefer a bigger delivery of parts, you can opt for a suspension handling kit which is a new shock absorber in all 4 corners plus front and rear anti-roll bars. This is a LOT more money – last seen over £400 but will transform tired suspension. Remember that this will not address problems with the beam, torsion arms and other standard parts that need reviewing first.

Going off piste

For the ultimate in change, you can remove the front beam, the shock absorbers, steering and replace it all with twin wishbone coilover suspension and rack and pinion steering covering a lot of bases in one brand new kit. This however makes your bank manager cry and means that you have to hide your bank statements for a while. Last seen at £2,800 fitted for a Bay window, £4,000 for a Split screen, and later vehicles work differently so cannot get this option.

Non-standard

If your ride height is not standard, please consult a professional as the above is a guide based primarily on standard ride height vehicles. Lowering a vehicle is something that I want to learn about and will feature in a future article if I complete that little task!

The next club magazine is on its way

The next edition of the club magazine has been finished by our Editors and looks fantastic. It should be arriving through your door soon!

Meantime, a number of members are en route or have already arrived to Great Bourton for the first club meet of the year. Are you coming?