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).

Eric the Viking – a restoration in many parts – December 2021

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!

Member’s Motor – Phil and Sophie Aldridge – Bluebell – Part 2

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!

Ask The Mechanic – Vehicle Security

With classic car vehicle theft on the rise classic
car security systems are more important
than ever.
The Mechanic has noticed some members
asking some questions on the Club Facebook
page about van security and what different
people use, so has decided to cover some
options for security to help members understand
what products and services are available to keep
your van as safe as possible.
Starting with the basics, your vans already
has some built in security features from the
factory that you should utilise and ensure are
working effectively before even worrying about
additional security measures.
Firstly check that all of the doors lock securely,
including the tailgate or rear doors in later
transporters. Full lock sets can be inexpensive
and a doddle to fit, depending on the model.
If the doors aren’t locking as expected, there is
plenty of adjustability with the striker plates and
latches, don’t be afraid to give it a go.
All van windows, whether they are manual
windup, electric windup, louver or sliding, should
close fully and latch where possible. Anything
short of this is an invite to an opportunistic thief.
All types of Transporter have a standard steering
lock fitted which is activated by turning the
steering wheel with the ignition key removed.
This stops anyone from being able to turn the
steering wheel and drive off without the ignition
key. The ignition key and barrel is another
standard security feature that should be present,
older vehicles can be modified over the years
to work in several ways depending on whether
there have been problems in the past, but the
ignition lock is something extremely basic that
you want to ensure is working.


Some other very basic things to consider are
where you keep your van parked when not
in use. Do you have a secure location such as
a garage or a lockup? Do you use a driveway
or park on the road? If you have a safer place
available to you, use it.
Now we have covered the basics, we can move
on to additional security devices. There are
various additional security devices available for
vehicles and they can be mechanical or electrical
and very affordable or expensive, depending on
the product and the application.
A basic additional security device that many will
have used at some point is the steering wheel
lock/clamp. These are a mechanical device that
fits to the steering wheel to prevent the wheel
from being turned in the event of you vehicle

being stolen. They vary heavily in application
and price and the choice is a personal decision,
but whatever you choose, a steering lock is a
visual deterrent for potential thieves as well as
a physical mechanical hindrance. I personally
always use a steering lock, even if only leaving my
van for a short period of time, it gives me peace
of mind that it would take longer for someone to
steal my van with it fitted than it would without
it, which should help to put off the opportunistic
types. There are many different types of steering
lock on the market, but “Stoplock” has been a
well known name for years.


Another basic, internal fitting mechanical device
is a pedal lock. These are not as common as
steering locks as some people find them fiddly
to fit and not as quick as simply fitting a steering
lock. These are more common when leaving
a van for a longer period of time and work by
locking the three driving pedals together. These
are more expensive than steering locks and
obviously need to be tailored to the application.
There are several available on the market such
as the “Safe-T Pedal” and “Clutch Claw” that we
looked at in the last issue of Transporter Talk.
These are less visual than a steering lock, but
if someone gets into your van and sees one
of these fitted, there’s a good chance they will
decide to leave it or will need to make noise
and spend time removing it in order to get your
van easily.

That’s not all for internal mechanical locks as you
can also buy devices that lock the gearstick to
prevent any gear changes. On some VW models
you can buy gear sticks and surrounds that have
locks built in. Or you can find devices that lock
the gearstick into position using a part of the
interior, such as seats or steering wheels.
Much like the steering wheel lock and pedal
locks, these are a visual deterrent and will also
slow down any thieves if they’re intent on taking
your van.
Use of these mechanical devices may be time
consuming, but can prove to be a very effective
and wallet friendly means of adding security to
your pride and joy.
Another simple mechanical locking device is the
use of an external wheel clamp. If you use your
van on a daily basis then this could prove to be
an annoyance, but if you use the van on the odd
occasion then using a wheel clamp is a cheap
and effective means of additional security. There
are various designs and styles of clamp available
and they vary in price, but the main thing is that
this extra security device is another problem that
any would be thieves need to break through in
order to get what they want.
With mechanical devices covered, we can now
move on to the electronic advancements that
can help to keep your van in your hands. Some
more modern vehicles already have electronic
devices fitted as standard, but those with older
transporter models will be lacking in this area.
Immobilisers are fitted to modern vehicles as
standard and are fitted to prevent the engine of
a vehicle from running unless the correct key or
chip is present. Those who have ever owned a

car that has an aftermarket immobiliser with
problems will tell you how eff ective they are!
Immobiliser kits can be purchased and DIY
fi tted fairly cheaply these days and there are
companies out there that off er fi tting and after
sales services too.
As well as immobilisers, alarms are also now fi tted
to most modern vehicles and these can now be
added to older vehicles as an additional security
measure. Alarms can be much more complicated
than immobiliser kits as there are more areas for
problems, such as doors and movement sensors.
It is highly recommended that alarms are fi tted
by a qualifi ed alarm fi tter and ensure that you get
some kind of warranty too.
Another excellent and worthy purchase in
the category of electronic security devices is a
GPS tracker.
A GPS tracker is a location device that will track
your vehicle if it’s taken without your permission.
This is the best way of locating your vehicle
quickly to have it recovered and so reducing the
chance of damage or loss.
There are several types of GPS Tracker on the
market, some are standalone devices that are
completely user operated and some utilise
a subscription service where a company will
monitor the tracker and can off er diff erent
levels of service. One such GPS Tracker service
is Skytag, which has been covered elsewhere in
this issue and now off ers VWT2OC member’s a
discount on their tracker service.
Other methods of additional security could
include kill switches or battery isolators, these
are cheap to acquire and simple to fi t for most.
These are best used when leaving the vehicle
for longer periods and can be operated with a
key. One problem with this is that if you have
a vehicle tracker fi tted, the battery isolator will
likely disable the tracker.
Some other diff erent and interesting ideas include
fi tting an electronic fuel pump that has a hidden
switch somewhere inside the van, no fuel, no
running engine! Or you could go very extreme
and remove the steering wheel from your vehicle
for longer periods of storage and would be much
easier on earlier transporter models.
Others have suggested removing the rotor arm
from the distributor as this disables the engines
ignition system, but again is probably best used
for longer periods of storage. To aid with tracking,
some also suggest fi tting a number plate to the
roof so that the vehicle can be identifi ed from
above in the event of it being stolen.
Hopefully some of these hints are useful to
members for helping to think about security
options, but remember that the most important
thing is to keep the basics working.
Without these, any other additional security
device loses eff ectiveness

Daisy has a classic bank holiday

From the archives, this is taken from Issue 143 from November 2016.

From Publicity Manager Derek Leary

With less than a week away from the start
of this year’s August Bank Holiday, a request
popped into my email inbox; “Wanted –
Volkswagen Bay Window Camper Van with
original livery for a photo shoot with 99 other
classic vehicles”. The request was from Practical
Classics Magazine.
Requests such as these are either deleted or
farmed out to a fellow member, however it
was a chance to fly the VWT2OC flag and I was
looking at the bus with the required spec in
my driveway.

Since retiring Daisy from camping duties, her
role in life is the classic car scene. So with
picnic, flasks and camping chairs packed,
we set off at some unearthly hour to get to
Millbrook by 10am.
On arrival, the outer car park was filling up
with various “Pride and Joy’s” and Daisy’s
bright bitter-sweet orange colour meant she
did not arrive unnoticed. Christie and I felt a
bit conspicuous parking up against more
subdued coloured classics but were soon
joined by a bright green beetle, not a standard
VW green but defiantly a tone to be noticed.
All mobile phones had to be presented to
security and the camera lenses sealed. NO
PHOTOS inside the facility were allowed,
what a shame, but hey ho go with the flow.
We were then escorted into the facility a few
cars at a time and each vehicle photographed
individually with and without their owners.
Daisy was called to go in with the third
batch just as I had nipped off to inspect the
plumbing…! However Christie got Daisy into
line picking me up on the way. Once that part
of the shoot was over it was picnic time and
the sun came out, adding to the jollity of the
occasion of 99 other classic cars to look round
and their enthusiastic owners to talk to. We
were given an extended lunch break to make
the most of the occasion and were so relaxed
that when we were needed again, the officials
had a job to get us going.

There was one final shoot of the day where
all 100 classics were driven onto the famous
Millbrook test track; a 6 lane super highway
with a velodrome style embankment. Daisy
was near the back of the line up but can be
seen with a magnifying glass as an orange
smudge. Not to worry, we had a wonderful
day out and Daisy had lots of admirers. We
have subsequently been sent a PDF file of
her portrait as a thank you and there is a
chance for any member wishing to buy the
December issue of Practical Classic Magazine
at a discount.

Time for bed!

As the long season comes to an end and following on from last week’s winterizing, some owners may elect to cover their pride and joy with a cover.

Please. Pretty please. Pretty please with little chrome covers on. Don’t cover your expensive paint work with a tarpaulin that will get condensation inside it, press that moisture onto your bodywork and accelerate the attack on the paint and the metal underneath.

If you don’t have access to a garage or a car port that will keep most of the weather off, try to invest in a good breathable cover. Get the right one for your vehicle and make sure that the material is not flapping around, abrading where it touches.

Ideally park on hard ground that will not have standing water. Parking on grass at the bottom of the field will collect water underneath which will evaporate upwards into your van and its little cover. A breathable cover will let some or most of that collected moisture out but ideally you should remove the cover over winter every month to let things properly dry out and then put it all back to bed once more.

If possible, get a cover with straps that go under the vehicle from side to side, so that the wind cannot lift the cover off the vehicle. It is disheartening to get home from work in the dark and find your expensive van exposed to the elements and a wet cover wrapped across your hedge.

For those of you lucky enough to have a garage, a dust cover is optional but again, think about the possibility of trapped moisture pressing against the bodywork. Does a quick dusting or a nice spring time wash and wax give more benefit than the winter cover?

Yes, it is that time again, winter is very much heading our way. For anyone with a vehicle, VW or not (apparently other vehicles are available!), winter in the UK is the worst time for metal on the roads.

Some suggestions:

Inside

Water

If you have anything containing water, drain it all out. Water tanks, boilers, kettles. Don’t just empty the tank, drain the whole system including the pipes. Remember that water in pipes still expands when it freezes, not just in the tank. It also goes stale after a period of standing. If possible take the tank indoors to keep it above freezing and/or clean it thoroughly.

We use a mild Milton solution to thoroughly clean ours including the impeller that sits in our tank and its associated pipe and electric cable. Then we rinse everything and air dry it all. Other options are available too!

Power

Leisure batteries like ambient temperatures and extreme cold will reduce their operational life. Keep them above freezing by removing them and keeping them in the garage or similar. Remember to keep the electrical contacts in the van safely insulated if applicable.

Keep those batteries charged using a trickle charger that is fit for purpose, which will also prolong their life.

Gas

Butane or propane tanks and bottles should be removed from your vehicle and stored safely with their openings closed properly – don’t leave the regulator open relying on the gas tap on the cooker as these can fail. Now is a good time to weigh them against their empty counterparts to know when you need to change them!

Boring cleaning

Now that you have opened up your van, removed the relevant tanks and bottles, you can get all misty eyed and miss the peace and tranquility of your van by getting in there and cleaning it all. It gives you a great sense of personal achievement as well as going into the winter with a nicely clean kitchen area, the fridge has been bleached and rinsed, and if applicable the bathroom, the shower and maybe the hot tub are all clean. Leave internal doors slightly ajar to keep mould and mildew at bay.

Soft furnishings

If possible, remove curtains, bedding, that emergency woollen blanket from Granny and take them indoors for a good wash or airing.

Ingress

Don’t be tempted to leave doors open or windows more than cracked open. All sorts of miscreants can get in and eat your lovely interior.

Outside

If possible store your vehicle in a garage. If that is not possible, a car port will do a similar job. A breathable cover can be good but make sure it is listed as fully breathable otherwise moist air gets under the cover, rises when things warm up and the vehicle will get wet, holding that wet against the bodywork. Avoid a heavy cover for sure!

Tyres

Tyres degrade from extreme temperatures and long periods of standing still. Winter does that very well! Inspect the tyres, check the pressures and consider putting the van on axle stands if you are not using it for a very long time, taking the wheels into the garage or shed. It also makes theft more difficult!

Moving parts

Lubricate everything. Hinges, moving parts, sliders, mechanical parts. Check the oil level. Use the right lubricant for the part in question. It will pay dividends next year and will keep water away, which is good for the life of the part.

Boring cleaning

Again, give the outside of your vehicle a proper clean, ideally by hand. Dry fully including the fiddly bits inside doors and between panels. Give it all a good quality wax polish. This also keeps water away and prolongs the panels and parts. It also makes you happy as you pass over the cold season when you don’t want to be away.

Underneath

If you are an advocate of underseal and waxoil, get the old visible stuff removed and apply new underseal to dry clean parts. The jury seems out on the benefits of underseal against the downside of it trapping moisture but waxoil or similar applied hot into cavities must be better than not applying it?

Engine

Some texts state to start your engine once a month and run it on idle for 30 minutes. More than that is not necessary and I don’t touch our air cooled engine at all.

An oil change just before the winter alongside a fuel-storage additive in the fuel tank if you like that sort of thing.

Main battery

We leave the main battery connected and the solar panel bolted to the roof of a van in a car port for the leisure battery. If that was not the case, we would trickle charge the main battery once a month over the winter. Again, this just makes sure that you don’t degrade the battery and end up having to replace it all of the time.

Got to dash, I think my van might be snoring.

Eric the Viking – a restoration in many parts – August 2021

Spend since last report: £471. Total hours labour since last report: 31.3

Recap

For those who had forgotten and for those who have joined as new members recently, I will start with a recap. My name is Nick, I am 50 and since I was a teenager, I have always wanted to restore an old vehicle. My previous experience and skill until I bought this first project was minor tinkering with renovating a set of brake disks, and replacing an alternator. My wife Lorna bought a 1972 Volkswagen called Poppy back in 2011 and that gave us the bus bug and we joined the committee of this club back in 2016, you may have met us on the club stand at some point.

Six years ago this month, I put in a bid on a 1973 converted panel van online having never seen it and I knew nothing about which is a good one to buy. My offer was accepted and Eric the Viking came to live with us. Named after my comedy hero Eric Morecambe, the panel van came with a plastic full length roof called a Viking roof and the most famous Viking being Eric, it all seemed to work and Eric was born. At that point I owned minimal tools and had never used a welder. I went online, started reading, bought a book on restoring Volkswagen Bay windows and started having a go. If you try woodwork and make a mess of it, you throw it away or glue new bits on. When working with metal, if it goes wrong, you take the angle grinder, chop out the wrong part and have another go. No-one knows! Well they know if you write about it at length in a club magazine.

The more recent story

Apologies for the delay in further work, you may have heard of this COVID thing. I spent the first month of lockdown in the garage every day then I was asked to help dig some footings in the garden. 6 months later, every weekend had been spent building walls, foundations, a sun terrace and a lot of new lawn planted. Winter came, spring came, then more gardening and Eric was left languishing. Finally in July, I decided to get back to the grind (literally).

Pull up your drink of choice and join me on my next journey of discovery about how badly treated Eric was under previous ownership.

Rear brakes

Rear brakes on my Bay are drum, and with Eric spending a lot of time rotting outdoors, they were in a shocking state. The castle nut in the middle of the rear wheel was so rusted to the end of the hub that no amount of leverage would shift it but an hour with an angle grinder got it off in pieces! Then the drum refused to budge until a lot of heat and persuasion on the bench freed it off. Inside looked ok at first but a CV joint bolt was jammed and needed cutting off which meant that I had to chop through the brake back plate to access it!

Rear suspension

The rear offside was dismantled last year, stripped and primed. That left the driveshaft (whatever that is) and the CV joints (vaguely heard of them) attached to the gearbox somehow. In other words, I was vaguely familiar with the concept but that was about it. Everything was filthy covered in rot, rust, grease, grot and generally in need of love.

Front suspension

Waiting on parts deliveries from Just Kampers (don’t forget your club discount), I turned my attention to the front suspension and brakes. Calipers are expensive to replace and generally only need a good clean, reassembly and new rubbers on the ends of the pistons. I did that job 15 or so years ago on my Matra Bagheera as the only job I really did on it. Quite pleased with the bright green caliper paint finish and you can follow 2 articles on how to do it that are on our club web site (thanks Jonathan!) as well.

Starter motor

The starter motor was in the way of getting to the underside of the fuel tank to restore that, so I unbolted it, separated the two cylinders and cleaned them before spraying them black.

Underside

Eric has been on his side now for 20 months and I finally got him ready for the topcoat on his bottom. I chose to use L90D synthetic enamel as I wanted hard wearing and easy to apply since I am a novice.

Front suspension

Attached to the front beam are the front suspension arms. Pressed into the tops of 2 of these on each side of the Bus are the ball joints. I dutifully borrowed a ball joint press, inserted the arm and ball joint but could not work out how to press it out. I tried various options, I made a little jig out of 10mm steel railing, I watched Youtube videos and eventually with the help of friends, I found out the trick. The ball of the ball joint sits in the cup of the joint, if you angle grind the shoulders off the ball joint, you can remove the ball, once that is done, you angle grind from the top, cutting just the top of the ball joint and not the arm holding it.

Once the top of the ball joint is ground through into a hole with the angle grinder, you need to cut it with a hacksaw to split the ball joint cup into 4 pieces being careful not to cut the arm at all. It is back breakingly tiring, hot and dusty. Each one took an hour and I have the other 2 on the other side later this year – if anyone has any faster ideas do please get in touch! FINALLY the 2 ball joints were clear of the arms allowing those to be cleaned up ready for top coat and with their ball joint holes ground back of dirt and rust ready for the new ball joints to be pressed in using the borrowed press.

More another time, hope to see many of you at Busfest!

Ask The Mechanic – Stay Safe During The Winter

How to Keep You and Your Van Safe During The Winter
Those who are brave enough will “carry on
camping” through the winter, here are some
handy tips to keep you and your van safe and
warm this winter.
Insulation
An important step to keeping your camper
warm is to stop the heat escaping from the
inside. This can be done by insulating the van
as best you can.
The windows are one of the first areas to
look at when insulating as they will lose a
substantial amount of heat and will also create
condensation when sleeping and cooking
inside the van.
To insulate the windows, there are ready made
thermo-screens that can be purchased as a
set for most variants of the T2. These are very
effective and not too much hassle to fit and
remove.
The other (cheaper) option is to make your
own thermo-screens, although these may
not be as effective, depending on how far
you go with them. I had planned to trial this
using radiator foil insulation between the
glass and curtains on the side windows, but
unfortunately haven’t had a chance yet. If a
member has successfully managed to make
their own window insulation and wants to
share this, please let us know!
Other vital areas to insulate are the side panels,
floor and roof. These are best done at anytime
you may have the interior removed. There are
several forms of insulation on the market and
some can be used as sound deadening too,
helping to stop panels from resonating and
reducing road noise.

If you have a pop top roof, there are now pop
top wraps available that insulate the material
on the outside to stop heat escaping from this
obvious weak spot.
If you are able to, an easy way to keep the heat
in is to keep your roof closed overnight!

Heating
Now you have insulated the van to keep
the heat inside it, what ways are there to heat
your van?
VW campers are small spaces to heat so do
not require systems such as those in larger
motorhomes.
When camping, most people will have at least
one fuel supply available to them, whether
mains 230v from campsite hookups, or a gas
supply for cooking.
The gas can be used to supply a heater called
a Propex HeatSource. These can be fitted
to all variants of T2, as long as you have a
12v supply. It is recommended that they are
fitted by a professional.
The Propex is very popular, offering high
efficiency and flexibility with fitment location.
The Propex HeatSource tends to retail
between £450-£800 depending on the vehicle
and the model.
Cheaper alternatives are available, but these
will require a 230v mains supply.
Heating appliances such as fan heaters,
halogen heaters, convector heaters and oil
filled radiators are very good for heating the
small space inside your camper and are readily
available at very competitive prices.
Personally we have observed that fan heaters
are good for a quick blast of heat, but the heat
inside the camper tends to drop very quickly
once turned off and we wouldn’t recommend
using them overnight whilst asleep as they are
noisy (and we wouldn’t trust it!).
Halogen heaters are good for heating awnings
as they don’t physically get hot, but you need
to be directly in front of these heaters to
benefit from them, they don’t actually heat
the space around you, therefore again not
recommended for overnight use.
Convector heaters are very efficient and
cheap to buy. They will heat a small space
effectively and can be set up with a
thermostat, making these good for overnight
use. However, if anything is placed on them,
there is a risk that the item will get incredibly
hot, causing a fire risk.
Oil filled radiators are essentially a convector
heater, but they store heat in the oil making
them very efficient and can also be used with a
thermostat. They can be used safely overnight
and the other advantage of these heaters is
that items of clothing such as socks can be left
on them to warm up

The disadvantage of these heaters is that
they are standalone and will take up additional
space.
Driving
The following are some winter driving tips,
however if in doubt, don’t go out!
 Watch weather reports prior to a longdistance drive or before driving in
isolated areas.
 Make sure your vehicle is in good
operating condition.
 Keep at least half a tank of fuel in your
vehicle at all times.
 Take a mobile phone in case of a
breakdown or becoming stranded.
 If you become stranded, stay with your
vehicle as it provides temporary shelter and
makes it easier for rescuers to locate you.
 Accelerate and decelerate slowly.
Accelerating slowly is the best method for
regaining traction and avoiding skids. Don’t
try to get moving in a hurry and take time
to slow down.
 Drive slowly. Everything takes longer on
snow-covered roads, accelerating, stopping
and turning!
 Don’t stop if you can avoid it. There’s a big
difference in the amount of inertia it takes
to start moving from a full stop versus how
much it takes to get moving while still
rolling. If you can slow down enough to
keep rolling until a traffic light changes,
do it.
 Don’t power up hills as this can start your
wheels spinning. Try to get a little inertia
going before you reach the hill and let that
inertia carry you to the top.
Storing Your Camper
Those who prefer to store their camper
through the winter can take extra measures
to ensure their camper is hibernating well and
is snuggly tucked away to keep it in a tip-top,
reliable condition.

Storing Your Camper
Those who prefer to store their camper
through the winter can take extra measures
to ensure their camper is hibernating well and
is snuggly tucked away to keep it in a tip-top,
reliable condition.
Inside:
 All water should be drained from any
storage tanks. If it freezes, it will expand and
could split the tanks and/or any associated
pipe work.
 Any propane and butane gas tanks should
be removed and stored in a safe location,
such as a garage or workshop.
 It’s a good idea to thoroughly clean the
inside of your vehicle, paying particular

attention to the kitchen or cooking area,
food storage cupboards and fridge. Mould
can grow, creating all manner of problems
and rats and mice could be attracted to
forgotten food items.
 If possible, remove bedding or bedding
covers for cleaning and then store indoors
until next required.
 Consider the use of mousetraps during the
winter to stop vermin in their tracks. While
your van hibernates, rats and mice can ruin
that lovely interior of your camper van.
 If you store your van inside, leave the
windows open an inch to allow for air
circulation, this should prevent damp and
mould from developing.
 If you store your van outside, when possible
on those dry days, open the windows or
leave the side door open for the same
reasons. (Don’t forget to close them again
and lock up!)
Outside:
 Generally, it is advisable not to store your
vehicle under a tarpaulin. They can stop the
air from circulating around and can cause
mould to develop inside the camper.
 If you are desperate to use a tarpaulin,
maybe create a frame to stretch it over
to prevent it touching your camper and
allowing air to circulate underneath.
 The ideal place to leave your camper van
is inside a covered building. However, this
isn’t always practical or possible! Could you
rent a building or borrow a friend’s garage
for the winter?
 Check the tyre pressures before storing and
consider placing your camper van on axle
stands to stop the tyres from deteriorating.
This is pretty extreme though and
would generally be for storage over
long durations.
 Moving parts such as door hinges and
mechanical parts should be lubricated
which will keep them
moving and repel water.
 Make sure your camper van is clean
before you store it away as dirt retains
moisture that can lead to rust.
 Don’t be tempted to regularly start your
engine which can deposit moisture in the
engine oil and exhaust system. Start it at
least once a month and ensure the engine
runs for 30 minutes on idle and rev the
engine periodically.
 Consider changing the oil just before you
store your camper and if leaving the vehicle
for an extended period of time, try and
keep the main vehicle battery charged.

Member’s Motor – Bex Randall – Florence

I have always dreamed of owning a T2 VW
Campervan, but until last year (2016) I had
never been in a position to do so. Being a
complete novice when it comes to anything
mechanical (I can just about do the tyres and oil
on my car), I soon realised that buying a T2 was
a complete minefield, for which I was woefully
ill equipped. I wanted one that I could drive
and enjoy straight away and not a renovation
project, so it had to be in very good condition,
both mechanically and bodywork wise.
This meant I needed help; Hubbie is not
mechanical either, so luckily my help
came in the shape of a friend’s husband,
who not only is a trained mechanic but owns
his own racing car business (featured on
Dragons’ Den), AB performance Ltd.
So in 2016, the hunt began in earnest and after
several failed missions with Andy telling me
“NO!!” because of rotten bodywork or needing
too much interior work, I spotted Florence. She
was for sale in Gloucestershire, a long way from
home and too far to extend the good will of
Andy to help inspect her.
From the advert and pictures, Florence looked
perfect.
She was born on 01/09/1974 in Australia and
only had one owner whilst over there. She was
originally an 8 seat micro bus, with an 1800
petrol engine but when imported to the UK
in 2005, she had been extensively refurbished
with fresh paintwork and an engine re-build
with new twin Solex carbs. Florence has a no
fuss camping set up, with sink, gas cooker, rock
‘n’ roll bed and 12v leisure battery. There were
only two previous owners in the UK, making me
her fourth proud owner.
In the interest of not wanting to buy a duffer I
decided to use the services of Type 2 Detectives
in Burwell. They acted on my behalf and went
to inspect Florence, carrying out a full external
and internal examination. Paul’s words to me on
the phone were “I’ve never seen such a good
example of a T2 and if you don’t buy her, we
will”. There was some work that needed doing
and bearing that in mind, Paul negotiated a
price at £21,500, £3,500 off the asking price
of £25,000. The owner was very reluctant and
sad to sell her, keeping her in a garage with a
dehumidifier, but needs must. So Florence was
brought back to Suffolk by Type 2 Detectives
on a trailer, where they then did some work on
her. They completed full rust proofing as her
under carriage was perfect, rewired the choke,
fitted new shifter couplings, new front discs and
brake hoses, new clutch conduits and a few
other bits and pieces. Florence has the added

bonus of a roll out canopy, which has proved
invaluable for doggy events!

So on 29th June 2016 I became the very
proud owner of Florence, a dream come true!
I purchased her with 54,772 on the clock and
she has averaged 120 miles a month from her
importation date to the UK in 2005. So what do
I use Florence for? I run a Doodle club with two
friends called “Doodles Do Splashes N Dashes”
(any poodle cross). We currently have 345
members and me and my chocolate doodle
PERCI have so much fun! We organise doodle
dashes (walks) and splashes (swims) and also
fundraise at our events for our local hospice “St
Nicholas Hospice” with an aim to raise £1000
this year. Florence is used as our base camp at
these events and we use her as a stall on our
fundraisers. This year we are going to Doodlefest
for 3 nights – a kind of Glastonbury for Doodles!
I just love every minute we spend in her, making
us and lots of other people happy. I have now
finally got her interior exactly as I want her. A
lady in our club Christine Winkless who owns
the Doggy Cookie Company has made all the
doggy accessories, campervan designed dog
bed, leads, collars etc. I feel privileged to be
able to own and thoroughly enjoy a piece of
history. Florence has clearly been cherished for
43/44 years and I will continue to do so. She is
currently having her winter health check with
Mark at M&J servicing and repairs. Mark is a
VW fanatic and air cooled specialist who will
continue to cater for Florence’s needs in my
mechanical ignorance!

Members motor – Phil and Sophie Aldridge – Bluebell – Part 1

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look at
how our Editors’ Bay “Bluebell” played a key
role in their wedding day.
On December 21st 2018 Phil proposed to Sophie
at Chatsworth House, somewhere they had been
visiting traditionally at Christmas for most of their
relationship. So when they were looking for a
wedding venue, it’s no surprise that Chatsworth
won the day and began to plan for their wedding
in August 2020.


With almost two years to plan, they had most
major parts of the day organised by early 2020
and then in March, the world was turned upside
down. The Coronavirus Pandemic hit the UK
and just like that, all social gatherings were off,
including Weddings. As the year progressed, it
became clear that the wedding would need to
be postponed until 2021. With April set as the
new date, 2020 passed and with the situation
still unimproved in January 2021, the date was
postponed again to August 2021.
With plans now underway, it was only right that
Bluebell would be used as the main wedding
car on the day and on 21st August this year,
that is exactly what happened. The wedding
successfully took place.


Bluebell was decorated with flowers from the
Chatsworth estate by the Chatsworth house
florist and then used to drive Sophie and her
Father to the church (on time), driven by one of
Phil’s best men and then Phil and Sophie drove
themselves from the church to their reception.
On arrival Bluebell then took pride of place in the
middle of the courtyard at the Chatsworth House
Stable Block.
Bluebell did Sophie and Phil proud on the
day and they then had a week away after the
wedding camping together in some of their
favourite spots in the UK, still decorated with the
flowers!