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).

Upcoming event – Brooklands German Day

Are you going to this one day event? We have about a dozen club vehicles attending!

A day devoted to all things German as Brooklands welcomes a host of German cars and motorbikes. 

Expect a wide range of cars to admire from the Porsche to VW, Audi to Mercedes-Benz – see the best examples of German engineering through the years.

It’s not just German Cars and bikes that will be filling up the site, the Paddock will be alive with German themed entertainment, food and memorabilia. 

Sunday October 1st at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge from 10am to 5pm

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! 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

Tales from the driving seat – Loch Lomond to Fort William and the Jacobite

The drive from Loch Lomond to Fort William is rather pleasant. Along the way It takes in Glencoe, which is a real reminder of the beauty that Scotland has to offer. It was interesting to see how the landscape changes from pine forests at Loch Lomond to the harsher bare landscape of Glencoe.

On leaving Lochearnhead, we swing along the top of the Loch Lomond National Park on the A85. We pass Glen Ogle viewpoint where you can stop to take in the sights of the viaduct and take the opportunity to fill up at Lix petrol station (petrol stations can be few and far between, so it is best to keep topped up, especially when your fuel gauge doesn’t work!).

Continuing along the A85, we reach Ben More and Crianlarich. At this point you can go south towards Loch Lomond on a road that then meanders along its shore, but we head further North passing through Tyndrum, which has lots of opportunities to grab supplies and there is a community woodland with a “Gruffalo Trail”; a woodland walk with large wood carvings from the Gruffalo – a great chance to stretch legs and let dogs have a comfort break too.

As we Continue north, we pass Loch Tulla on the left and as we begin to climb in altitude on the approach to Glencoe there is a decent sized car park and viewpoint to enjoy. Continuing the steady climb, the road passes between Locan na h-Achlaise and Loch Ba, both of which also have layby and viewpoint options for a quick stop to take in this breath taking landscape.

As the steady climb flattens off, the road straightens out and continues in a straight line cutting through the landscape for what seems like forever. The view ahead is stunning. The road eventually bends round the base of the mountains and we pass the Kingshouse Hotel on the righthand side. If you decide to travel this way this is where to make a mental note: the next left hand turn after crossing the river Etive – take it and follow the road for just under 4 miles until you reach a spot that will look familiar if you are a fan of the Bond Film Skyfall. This is the spot where 007 and M stand on the roadside sharing a moment together as Bond reflects on the place where he grew up. We stopped here and took our own version of the infamous shot.

We head back to the main road and continue on through Glencoe towards Fort William. There are several spots here to stop and enjoy the area with a walk, cycle, or even just stop and take it all in. There is a car park (well parking) on the left hand side as the road sweeps round to the left. Stop here and get a picture of the small white house sitting in the shadow of the mountain; apparently it’s the most photographed house in Britain! From here you can also hike the Devil’s Staircase.

Carrying on down the road there is a proper car park that allows a well trodden walk up the mountain and just a little further on from that is Glencoe Waterfall and The Meeting of Three Waters. As the road continues to sweep though the Glen, there are more parking spots and opportunities to enjoy this wonderful place. As the road exits the Glen there is an official Visitors Centre and you are greeted by the shores of Loch Leven. This area also offers several campsites; perfect for spending more time in this area if desired.

We continue on towards Fort William, crossing water where Loch Leven joins Loch Linnhe. It is the shores of Loch Linnhe that play host with our campsite for the night; Bunree Caravan and Motorhome Club Site.

We have stayed here once before in 2019 when we completed the NC500 (I will cover that trip in the future) and so we know that one of the secrets of this site is to book a non-awning pitch (ssshhh don’t tell anyone!) as they are all located on the water’s edge with the best views.

We have a quick cuppa before out to Fort William train station. In 2019 we watched the Jacobite steam train cross Glen Finnan viaduct, as it does in the Harry Potter films and said that we would like to do the route from Fort William to Mallaig.

The route takes in stunning views across lochs, mountain terrain and coastlines that are perfect and unspoilt. Not only that, you also pass Dumbledore’s final resting place, an island in the middle of a Loch where his silver tomb is broken open by Vuldemort. Of course you also cross the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct, featured in several of the Harry Potter films during the train journey to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

On arrival at Mallaig we had just under 2hrs turnaround to have a look about. We spotted a seafood cafe that had outdoor seating and was dog friendly, so we quickly got over there before the rush from the train… We enjoyed fresh local prawns that were delicious! 

Our return journey to Fort William was just as pleasant, seeing the views from the other direction of travel. 

We headed back to Bunree campsite as the sun was setting, just in time for Ruby to have a quick paddle before settling in the camper for the night and watching the rain roll in across the loch towards us. 

Phil Aldridge

“Tales From The Driving Seat” is on Instagram @talesfromthedrivingseat and on Blogspot

Ask The Mechanic – Heater cables

The Mechanic received this call for help from a member:

Dear Mechanic
I am working on the heater system of my 1971 early bay and the heat control levers on the dashboard are seized and will not operate the air control flaps on the exhaust system.
I have disconnected the air control flaps from the control cables and they operate well.
I also have disconnected both the red knob heat control levers from their cables under the dash and pulled both control cables through the bottom of the van and they now go rearwards towards the engine in separate metal tubes. I want to remove both cables and replaced them with new cables.
The heater cables under the dash and up to the metal tubes have seem to have an inner and outer (like a bike cable) and I expect to be able to pull the cables forward through the metal tubes to remove them from the vehicle, but they are stuck fast.
Do you know if the outer part of the cable continues through the metal tubes or do they
stop at the start of the metal tubes and the inner cable continues to the heat exchangers?
Can you provide any advice on removal of these cables?
Kind regards
Bob Hodgkinson

The Mechanic wrote back:

Let’s start with a “how to” guide and hopefully your questions will be answered. That way we can assist any other members also wishing to complete this task.

In the cab of your VW there will be three levers; one blue and two red. The blue lever controls the cold air intake, on and off, the left hand red lever controls the distribution of hot air between the foot well and the windscreen and the right hand red lever controls the amount of hot air entering the cab, location defined by the left hand red lever.
It is the right hand red lever that you are describing which connects to two cables
which travel the length of the van to the heat exchangers at the engine. These cables are readily available from VW parts suppliers and are relatively easy to replace, although you are experiencing the dreaded rusted conduit tube! Before work commences, it is advisable to jack the front of the van as high as possible (that you
can leave for a day or so) and spray penetrating oil down the conduit tubes and leave as long as possible to allow it work. This should make removing the cables (both inner and outer sheath) a much easier task.

To gain better access to the cables, and cab area, it is advisable to remove the steering wheel and is done so using a 24mm socket or spanner. To gain access to the nut, use a small flat bladed screwdriver and prise up the black plastic cover, not the aluminium ring around the cover. When removing the steering wheel, loosen the nut but do not remove it yet, give the steering wheel a few tugs to remove the wheel from the column,
doing this with the nut loosely fitted will stop you smashing yourself in the face with the wheel when it gives way, (TRUST ME!)

If you can avoid removing the part of the dash where the coloured control levers are located, I would. You should be able to reach under and disconnect the cables from levers in situ. They are retained by two clips and the cables loop over each other with a spring clip. Note how it fits before removing (take a picture). Follow the cables down 150mm and you will find the cable outer sheath is retained by a spring clip. Moving underneath the van, disconnect the cables from the heat exchanger flaps (8mm
spanner) and pull the cables clear of the flaps. The nuts are prone to corrosion due the heat and exposed location, so it is worth soaking in penetrating oil (get a cuppa and come back) before removing to avoid damaging the flap on the exchanger.
Staying under the van, head to the front and find where the cables enter the conduit. Now pull the inner and outer parts of the cables back through the conduit, this is where you may have trouble if they are seized, but hopefully the penetrating oil has done its job. Many people have trouble at this stage, but do find that brute force and ignorance does get the job done eventually. Make a note of which cable comes from which side as they are different in length, you don’t want to come up short at the end of the job!
At this stage, if you cannot remove the cables from the conduits at all, you could leave the cables in place, trim them back and fit an alternative conduit directly next to the adjacent one. Not ideal, but a potential fix. This could be done using some kind of plastic water pipe and cable ties, but I have never attempted it.
With the cables removed from the conduit it is time to refit your new cables into the existing or replacement conduit. The passenger side cable has a metal rod bent at 90° on the end and the driver side cable has a loop made from the cable itself. Prior to fitting the cables, it is advisable to grease the inner cables as best you can and also
grease the outer sheath part of the cables to prevent them from seizing within the conduit, should you need to replace in the future.

From under the van, push each cable through the conduit until it reaches the heat exchanger. The opposite end is then passed into the cab area through the grommet in the floor and reconnected to the heater control levers. The retaining clips on the levers are very tricky to hold in position whist you tighten the screws, but keep persevering and you will get there. If you have it, another set of hands to assist you may help at this point (and probably another cuppa!)

Now that you are done in the cab, move the RH heater lever to the down position and return back to the rear of the van. Connect the cables to the heat exchanger mechanism, making sure that you replace any grommets from the end of the conduit. Move the flaps to the maximum open position against the spring pressure and thread the cable through the retaining nut. Complete for both sides. Now check that when the heater lever is moved up, that the heat exchanger flaps close. An assistant is handy here too to save keep getting up and into the cab and back down on the floor again!
If all is working well, the job is complete and you can refit the steering wheel and any
underneath panelling removed for access. Now drive and enjoy your heating in the
colder months and ability to turn it off in the warmer ones.

Upcoming club event – Busfest

Our most popular event with around 100 club vehicles, our own club field, the marquee, the BBQ, Lorna James singing, kids looking after each other and the occasional glass of wine.

To get on the club field, you need to be an active member and book through selecting the correct club and using the discount code. Sadly bookings for 2023 have closed some time ago, but we hope to see you in 2024!

Ask The Mechanic – Fuel problems By Robert Girt

Reports in Transporter Talk Issue 148 of Club Members having blocked fuel lines chimed with us as our 1970 Bay has recently suffered similarly and others may wish to benefit from our experience.

The MOT was due 2 weeks before our ferry was booked for a 3 week holiday in France. I cast my eye over everything and found nothing wanting so went off to my friendly testing station with confidence. However, mindful of repeated warnings in Transporter Talk of the fire risk from perished fuel lines I asked Roy, the tester, what his opinion was of my fuel hoses.
All seemed fine, but with the engine running Roy uncovered a small leak between the pump and the carb. It hadn’t been evident to me or Roy when the engine was still and there had been no smell of petrol. I was grateful for Roy’s experience. He replaced all the rubber pipes and the in-line filter (£90!); the MOT was secured and we were set fair for our holiday. Off we sped (?- well 55mph!) down the A1M, but approaching Peterborough we ran into a congestion standstill and discovered that tickover had disappeared. Crawling in thick traffic was a real pain, constantly having to juggle the clutch and the accelerator, but otherwise we could make good progress and we reached our overnight Dover campsite OK.
I took out the slow running jet; that looked clear, but I baulked at taking the carb off, with diminishing daylight and without the resources of my garage at home. We considered soldiering on to France but the prospect of trying to access the ferry without slow running decided me to seek professional help. If I tackled the carb myself we were going to miss our early morning ferry booking anyway.
We phoned our predicament to DFDS Ferries and did a quick internet search on the smartphone which lead us, with Satnav guidance, to a likely garage in Dover. They
could tackle the problem, but only in 3 day’s time and directed us to another garage.
They immediately redirected us to Cowens Motors (Unit 11, Holmestone Road, Coombe
Valley Industrial Estate, CT17 0UF Tel 01304 207743) where we received a warm and
friendly welcome from Ian, the proprietor. He was enthusiastic about tackling our problem, having cut his teeth on Beetles and early Transporters, but he already had a Bay for that day’s work. We killed a day visiting the White Cliffs, very interesting and were back early next morning at Ian’s garage. 2 hours (and £90 later) we were sorted, carb cleaned out and engine retuned; it had never run so sweetly in the 41 years we have owned it! Definitely recommend Ian! Off we raced to get the next available
ferry, an extra £50! and the holiday was really under way.

All went well for the next 1000 miles: the van ran like a Swiss watch! However, leaving Albi and following a slow lorry up a hill with a tail of impatient French cars behind us, the engine suddenly cut out and we kangarooed to a halt.
Initially we had tickover, but nothing more unless I pumped the accelerator jet. Then
tickover disappeared too. We limped in to a lay-by and thankfully the shade of a tree and rang the rescue service. Although they were initially somewhat slow to understand our predicament, they eventually cottoned on and 2 hours later a friendly French mechanic in a rescue truck hauled us off to the yard at Garage Pradelles Roland in Lisle sur Tarn. Language was a bit of a problem as our schoolboy French was not quite their Occitaine dialect. They called in a neighbouring Madame who spoke some English and we got talking. Again they were too busy to start our job until the next day and it was late afternoon by now. We rang to advise the rescue service and they went away to organise a hotel and taxi for us , although the garage kindly said we could camp in their
yard and have a key so we could use their toilets overnight. Communication with the
rescue service became problematic due to our not having registered our trip for voicemail purposes, but before our accommodation needs could be sorted one of the mechanics strolled out of the garage and indicated I should start the engine while he diddled the carb. He raced and raced the engine and eventually, after much dying and starting, it ran on its own, though still not on tickover. He then started fiddling with the points, took them out to reface them and put them back, but to no avail. Finally, he thought of the slow running jet, removed it, declared it “merdoise” (a rude French word we did understand!), dragged an airline from the garage, blasted out the jet and its socket, and “Sacre Bleu”all was well again! He then took us for a hair-raising trial run where the Transporter French Land Speed Record was broken before handing the keys back in to my trembling hands, and relieving me of €89 (say £82). Worth every penny just for the experience!
So we were able to move on and camp nearby that night, much to my wife’s disappointment at missing a night in a posh hotel! And much to our dismay as that night a frightening thunderstorm in the early hours brought down large bits of shading trees all over the campsite, enough to make a small dent in our roof! After that, what else could go wrong? Thankfully nothing did and we were able to enjoy the rest of the holiday on the Loire and Somme, but with some apprehension the carb would block
again: but it hasn’t in a further 1,000 miles. So what lessons to draw?

  1. Check your pipes with the engine running.
  2. Make sure the new pipes are clean inside before fitting them.
  3. Consider cleaning the carb when you fit new pipes.
  4. Sort your voicemail before you venture abroad, BUT don’t be afraid of going: your problems will get sorted and you will meet some really nice people. Well, we’re already planning next year’s trip.
    Robert Girt

Ask The Mechanic – Split Charge with Leisure Battery

A leisure battery allows you to use 12v appliances such as fridges, lighting and heaters etc whilst camping without running your main vehicle battery down, so you can still start the engine the next day!
There are several ways of keeping this leisure battery charged, the most popular is using a split charge system, this system charges your leisure battery and main battery whilst driving, using your engine’s alternator.

There are kits available online for split charge systems. Once again, Just Kampers sell these kits at reasonable prices and comes prewired for easy installation.

When installing a split charge system, before you start work, remove the earth (marked negative) lead from your main vehicle battery. Depending on your type of van, your leisure battery will need to be located in varying locations. The design of the Bay Window makes it ideal for a leisure battery install as there is a spare tray on the left hand side of the engine bay. So for this quick guide, we will use the bay window as an example.

From the spare battery tray on the left of the engine bay, where the leisure battery will be fitted or is already fitted, lay the pre-rewired wiring loom across the back of the Bus, routing from left to right.

A good place to locate the relay itself is on the left hand d-post inner structure. Hold it in position and mark the top locating hole. Drill this and mount the relay using a suitable self-tapping screw. The wiring loom for the rear lights runs along the top of the inner engine lid hinge panel, held in place with metal tabs. Carefully prise these open and locate the new section of loom within.
Alternatively, use cable ties to hold the new loom to the existing wiring.

Remove the positive lead from the main battery and secure the new power lead under the battery clamp nut.

There are just two wires on the split charge relay. The brown wire goes to earth (we utilised the existing tail light earth for this) and the red (positive) wire needs to go to a switched live. For this, we routed the cable under the engine bay tar board and piggy backed it to the switched live terminal on the ignition coil.

With the leisure battery in place, install the auxiliary fuse box loom under the battery clamp nut. Then locate the fuse box on the rear inner wheel tub.

Next, install the leisure battery earth lead. This must be bolted to a good earth point.

Finally, you don’t want your new battery sliding around, so we used a universal battery clamp to secure ours in place. Once installed, connect the positive leads on both batteries, then the two earths. All should now be up and running, just leaving you to wire any accessories forward from the new fuse box.

New product offer

Our friends at Just Kampers have reduced the price of the excellent and regularly recommended Propex heater.

Make Heat While the Sun Shines (or tries to).

Save money on the Propex HS2000 heater unit at Just Kampers and install a new gas heater in your camper before the weather really takes a turn for the worse. The JK Team are offering £55 off their Propex HS2000 bundle kit (J19842), which gives you the super popular Propex heater as well as the gas fittings you’ll need to get it installed.

While they’d always recommend you get gas appliances like this installed by a registered professional, fitting a new heater is one of those jobs that’s better done in the summer, and you’ll be able to enjoy off-season trips in your toasty new camper!

Propex Heatsource HS2000 12V LPG Gas Heater with Fitting Kit


£518.78 – Save £57.68