Category Archives: Technical

Items of a technical nature relating to mechanical, electrical or bodywork issues

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

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.

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.

Ask The Mechanic – Gas use

There were no questions for The Mechanic
this issue, but with the weather tuning cold
and some members continuing to use their
campervan through the seasons, that means
heating. There are gas heaters on the market
and these are becoming more affordable. Gas
is also used for cooking in many campervans,
so it’s time to talk gas safety!

Types of Gas
Let’s start by looking at the different types of gas
available in the UK and beyond.
All European countries have their
own gas bottle suppliers and each
of these have their own regulators
and adaptors. Campingaz is
available all through Europe in
small bottles which is great for
quick trips or for solo travellers. We (Editors) use
campingaz 907 bottles as they’re fairly readily
available in the UK and abroad and they fit nicely
in the cupboard under our storage trunk!
LPG (or Liquid Petroleum Gas) is the most
common kind used in campervans and motor
homes and it comes in two types; Propane
and Butane. Without going into the differences
between them in chemical structure, here are the
main differences:
Propane
‹ Usually used in vehicles where multiple
appliances will be running off it.
‹ Ideal for cold climates as it operates down
to -40°C!
‹ It’s much lighter and less dense than Butane.
Butane
‹ Operates more efficiently than Propane.
‹ It’s denser than propane, so a bottle of the
same size will hold more gas.
‹ Butane can’t be used at temperatures below
0°C (It cools down to a liquid state).
Different appliances may need one or the other of
the main LPGs to operate effectively, so it’s always
worth checking that before you buy.
Gas Safety Rules
‹ The standard that applies to campervans is
BS EN 1949: 2001 + A1:2013. If you ever want
more information, it is worth looking that up.
‹ There isn’t the same level of regulations
for fitting gas and gas appliances to motor
homes and campervans as there is to houses,
but would still recommend that anyone
installing an appliance is registered.
‹ If you’re installing gas appliances into
your campervan, the British Standard isn’t
mandatory, unless you’re going to be hiring
that vehicle out.
‹ If you are going to be hiring, ensuring that
everything is compliant with the law is down
to you, just as it would be if you owned a
house or flat that you were renting out.
‹ You’re allowed to undertake work yourself
if you’re not a registered gas engineer, as
long as you’re competent. (The definition
of competence is vague, but you’ve got
to ask yourself whether you’d be happy
to undertake the work and have the
responsibility on your shoulders).
‹ There’s a lot that could potentially go wrong,
and the stakes are certainly
high, so it may well
be worth getting a
registered engineer
to fit it.
‹ Registered gas engineers can charge
anywhere between £30 and £100 an hour,
but it’s worth looking around in your area if
and when you need one.

Top Tips for Gas Safety
‹ Ensure the gas is turned off before you travel.
‹ If you’re using your vehicle for work purposes
and carrying compressed gas, you must show
a sticker to alert people.
‹ If you’re not using your vehicle for work, but
still carry compressed gas, it is advised to have
a warning sticker displayed whilst carrying
the gas.
‹ Unless your campervan or motor home has
a rotating rooftop device, you’re limited to
carrying two 10 litre bottles of gas in the UK.
‹ All flammable gasses must be carried upright
at all times.
‹ Make sure you’ve got a Carbon Monoxide
alarm. They might not be stylish, but they’re
potentially lifesaving.
‹ Note that LPG gasses are heavier than air, so
will form a ‘puddle’ on the ground in the event
of a leak.
‹ Floor vents must be kept clear.
‹ If parked up in snow/mud/etc then ensure
that the vents aren’t blocked.
‹ Changing the bottle is the most dangerous
time, always make sure that you know how to
remove and fit the regulator and keep
well away from naked flames when
changing the bottle.
‹ Don’t use a naked flame to look for a leak
(sounds obvious!) and check for pipe leaks by
using water and washing up liquid solution,
bubbles will appear at a leak.
‹ Make sure you have a fire blanket and/or fire
extinguisher, as well as a fire alarm.
‹ If you’ve got an older VW it is recommended
to carry an extinguisher any way, in case of a
dreaded engine fire. Can you really have too
many extinguishers in an old VW?
The rules and tips for gas safety aren’t
complicated and if you keep to them, the use of
gas in your campervan is perfectly safe and an
excellent resource.

Ask The Mechanic – Windscreen wiper condition

This issue, The Mechanic takes a look at
an often overlooked but important issue,
windscreen wiper condition.


Windscreen
wipers are an
invaluable part
of any vehicle,
providing
the driver
with a clear,
unobstructed
view of the
road when it
is needed most. Whether it is rain, sleet, snow or
leaves covering your windscreen, the wiper blades
will quickly and efficiently clear the obstruction,
meaning you can continue your journey in safety.
However, of all the parts of a car which are subject
to wear and tear, windscreen wipers are perhaps
the most fragile. Manufactured from thin rubber,
they are designed to operate smoothly on the
windscreen without damaging the surface of
the glass, yet despite their fragility they are often
required on a daily basis, possibly for long periods
of time during wet weather. In winter they
become frozen to the glass and in summer they
are used to help to clean the windscreen, while
being subjected to high temperatures. It is hardly
surprising then, that windscreen wipers do not
last indefinitely and require regular replacement.
Often the need to replace wipers is overlooked,
although regular servicing and MOT testing
should identify if they are becoming worn.
However, rather than relying on these tests to
assess the condition of the blades, car owners
should be aware of the common signs that the
windscreen wipers are failing, especially with
autumn upon us. So what are they?
Streaking: blades that are in good condition
should clear the rainwater from the windscreen
effortlessly, in one complete action.
This means there should be no streaks of water
where the blade has failed to make contact with
the glass.
Unusual noises: windscreen wipers should
operate with minimal noise or ideally should
be silent. Sounds such as squeaks, screeches
or scrapes could indicate that the blades have
become worn.
Irregular movement: wiper blades which are in
good condition will move smoothly across the
windscreen. As they become worn over time,
you may notice that the blades judder
on operation which is an indication that
replacement may be necessary.
Ragged or distorted blades: visually inspecting
the condition of the windscreen wipers should
be a weekly task for all vehicle owners. By
lifting the arms of the wipers away from the
windscreen, you can quickly assess the condition
of the rubber. Ragged, jagged or distorted edges,
where the blade makes contact with the glass,
should prompt you to replace them immediately.
Worn blades may not only hinder your vision, but
can also damage your windscreen, which will in
turn not only cost you dearly in a replacement
screen, but also hinder your vision even more,
making it dangerous to drive with the vehicle in
such a condition.
Replacement blades can be picked up very
cheaply for all types of van, so there is no excuse
not to check yours and change if required, but
remember… “Buy Nice or Buy Twice”.

Ask The Mechanic – T4 CLUTCH PEDAL SUPPORT BRACKET

The Mechanic features some technical
talk every issue and welcomes member
submissions.
This issue, The Mechanic takes a look at a very
common problem for the T4 Transporter and
how to fix or prevent it from occurring.

A common
problem that
T4’s and their
owners’ suffer
from is the clutch
pedal mounting
bracket cracking.
This in turn then
causes the clutch
master cylinder
to become loose
and move. This may not be a huge problem
in the beginning, but it will eventually break
away completely, leaving you without a
working clutch in your T4 van. As well as the
damaged pedal, it can also damage the master
cylinder beyond repair and/or crack the pipe
work, covering your foot well and footwear in
corrosive brake/clutch fluid.


There is a quick
and affordable
repair/prevention
method by fitting
an additional
angled bracket
that strengthens
the existing pedal bracket. The kits are readily
available online and can be found with a quick
search. The kits contain an angled bracket, three
M8 bolts (one longer than the other two), an M8
nyloc nut and four washers (one larger than the
other three).
Fitting Guide
1 Start off under the bonnet and locate your
brake servo unit. It is the big round unit below
the brake master cylinder and brake fluid
reservoir.
2 Remove the M8 bolt (13mm head) from
the lower right side of your brake servo and
replace it with the longest of the three M8
bolts supplied in the kit, along with the largest
M8 washer.
3 Now move inside the car and into the driver’s
foot well. Locate your clutch master cylinder,
located between the clutch and brake pedals
and remove the two M8 mounting bolts
(13mm heads).
4 Place the new clutch pedal support bracket
into position, ensuring that it goes over the
protruding bulkhead bolt you first fitted. Now
loosely fit the bracket to the clutch master
cylinder using the two remaining M8 bolts
and small M8 washers supplied in the kit with
your support bracket.
5 Now fit the other small M8 washer and M8
nyloc nut to the longer bulkhead bolt you
fitted earlier and tighten.
6 Now tighten the two clutch master cylinder
bolts you fitted loosely earlier.
7 Job complete. Enjoy a strong clutch pedal
and relax knowing that this failure has been
repaired or prevented

Ask The Mechanic – Fitting a hot start relay

If you have an air-cooled van and experience
the dreaded “click” when trying to start your van,
it could be that the original wiring and ignition
switch now has a higher resistance than it did
back in the 70’s and cannot cope with the current
required to turn the engine over using the starter
motor.
One way to counteract this is to fit a relay that
takes the current load and the ignition switch
activates the relay.
A relay sourced for this application can be
purchased from Just Kampers; JK part number
J12928.
Parts required
‹ Suitable cable for wiring the relay – suggest
Halfords 12v 17A cable sold in 4m reels
‹ Several crimp connectors
‹ The relay itself – JK part number J12928
Method
It is advisable to always disconnect the vehicle’s
battery before carrying out any work on the
electrical system.

  1. Mount the relay in a safe place as close to the
    starter motor as possible.
  2. Take the existing wire from terminal 50 on
    the solenoid and extend it to reach the relay
    position.
  3. Connect this extension from terminal 50 on
    the solenoid to terminal 86 on the relay.
  4. Now connect terminal 85 on the relay to a
    good earth on the vehicle body/chassis.
  5. Connect terminal 87 of the relay to the live
    terminal of the vehicle’s battery.
  6. Now connect terminal 30 on the relay back
    to terminal 50 on the starter solenoid.

Whilst every attempt is made to ensure that
these instructions are as accurate and clear as
possible, the author or club itself cannot be
held responsible for misinterpretation of these
instructions or for any subsequent accident or
damage caused through mis-fitted parts.

Ask The Mechanic – Aircooled engine cooling

The summer is here and that hopefully means that
we are experiencing warmer air temperatures.
With warmer air temperatures, comes warmer
engines. Those using aircooled engines will find it
even harder to keep the engine cool during the
summer months and we have all seen the odd VW
at the side of the motorway! Don’t let that be you
(not through overheating anyway!)


Although it may seem like a small detail, to ensure
cooler engine temperatures, it is absolutely vital
that the tinware and engine compartment rubber
seals are all present and intact. This ensures that
there is cool air above the engine and hot air
below it. These are known as the cool and warm
zones. If tinware parts are missing, or the seals
around the front and back of the engine are torn
or broken, hot air will be drawn from the cylinder
heads and exhaust back into the cool zone around
the top of the engine and then sucked in by the
cooling fan and re-circulated over the cylinders
and heads, causing the engine temperature to
rise, potentially to a critical level. This can cause all
kinds of problems over time, some of which may
not be immediately obvious, from hot starting
troubles, to cracked cylinder heads, up to and
including a seized engine.
If you’ve just bought a car/bus, it is well worth
checking the condition of the tinware and seals
and also making sure that there are no foreign
bodies stuck in the cooling fan (remember to do
this with the engine turned off!)
If you are fitting a reconditioned or new engine,
don’t just rely on refitting the parts that were on
the old engine, as they may not be correct either.
The thermostat is another vital piece in the cooling
system. There is a set of flaps inside the fan shroud,
that actually block cooling air when the engine
is cold, in order to warm up the engine more
quickly. These are opened by the thermostat,
located between the cylinder barrels and if this
part is defective your engine will very quickly
overheat. Check the function of the thermostat
and flaps and if required, replace. The alternative
is to completely remove the thermostat and
flaps, which while it certainly simplifies matters,
is not ideal. It means that your engine may never
reach the correct operating temperature in cold
weather conditions.
The last few points to consider are your ignition
timing, air leaks and fuelling. Poor ignition timing
can cause your engine to run too hot, it’s unlikely
to be visible if it’s wrong but you should hear
it. Fuel mixture is equally important, so ensure
the carburettor jetting is correct for the size of
the engine, fuel starvation will raise the engine
temperature internally. Your fuel system could be
setup perfectly, but if your engine is sucking air in
elsewhere through a split hose or a broken gasket,
then the whole fuel/air mixture is compromised
and the chances of running lean and therefore
hot, are increased too. Spraying the intake system
with Wd40 whilst running will help to detect this,
an air leak will suck the spray in, using it as fuel and
changing the engine note at the same time.
I hope there are some helpful tips for members to
help stay cool this summer.

Ask The Mechanic – Checking spark plugs

An article from Chairman Malcolm Marchbank

Spring has sprung and those classics will be
starting to come out of hibernation. After months
in the garage with the occasional start up to
keep it ticking over, your engine can suffer. I have
personally experienced this after months of an
engine sitting during restoration work and being
moved from one side of a workshop to another.
Once the work was complete, trying to drive
away from the workshop, my T2 Bay Campervan
wouldn’t accelerate down the road. Reason –
fouled spark plugs.

I have also had a spark plug with a closed gap
(don’t even ask how that happened, but it
involved losing part of the carburettor through
the engine… lucky it didn’t do any other damage!)
The condition of your spark plugs can make a
massive difference to the running of your engine,
so it’s worth checking them every so often,
especially after a period of time unused.
Hopefully the following information will help to
make you a spark plug expert.
Before starting work on checking your plugs, it is
helpful to have the right tools to hand; accessing
the rear two spark plugs at cylinders 1 and 3
can be a real fiddle, especially on later twin-port
engines where access is further compromised
by the inlet manifolds. A short 21mm socket and
universal joint may give you a bit more flexibility.
When checking the plugs, it can help to remove
each lead and plug individually so that you don’t
get them mixed up. This will cause an incorrect
firing order and your engine will not run.
When removing the ignition lead from the plug,
be sure to pull it off by the connector, not the lead
itself, as you’ll run the risk of pulling the lead off
the connector (trust me!)
If you notice any damage to a connector or if a
lead is a lose fit, it is best to go out and buy a new
HT lead set.
Make sure you have the socket on the plug
properly when you’re undoing them and it’s also
best to do all this while the engine is cold to avoid
burning yourself!
Once the plug is out, take a good look. Is it brown,
grey, sooty or oily? If the engine is running right,
it should be light brown or grey. If it is sooty but
dry, your engine is running rich and not burning
all the fuel. If the insulator is white and flaky then
your engine is running too lean. Either way, you’ll
need to tune your carb to adjust the fuel/air
mixture.
If the plug is wet and oily, there are a couple of
possibilities. The first is that you’re not getting
a spark, in which case you may have noticed
a misfire. If this is the case, check the HT lead
connection at the plug and also where it pushes
into the top of the distributor cap.
A worse scenario is that your engine has worn
piston rings and/or valve guides, which means a
rebuild is on the cards. If there is serious carbon
build up on the plug, or what looks like molten
bits of metal, chances are your ignition timing is
out.
Whatever their condition, while the plugs are out
of the engine they will benefit from a good clean
up using a brass wire brush. While you are at it,
check the spark plug gaps using a feeler gauge.
For most air cooled engines the gap should be
0.024” or 0.6mm, however check your workshop
manual because the gap will be different on
some engines. If the gap is correct, the gauge
should slip in and out without much resistance.
If it is too loose, you can adjust it with a gentle
squeeze in a vice to close it slightly, or if the gap is
too tight, carefully prise open the contact with a
flat bladed screwdriver.
Spark plugs should be checked every 3000 miles
and replaced every 10,000 miles as part of your
service routine. If you suspect a poor running
engine there is no harm fitting new ones sooner,
they are relatively cheap for a set.
When refitting, always start screwing the plug
back in by hand, only using the socket for the
final tightening, otherwise you risk forcing a cross
thread. If you feel any resistance early on, unscrew
and carefully try again

Ask The Mechanic – 171 – E10 fuels

The mechanic has noticed a recent uplift
in questions and concerns surrounding the
upcoming introduction of E10 fuels. The
following is information provided by the
Federation of British Historic Vehicles Clubs
that we hope members will find useful.
Federation of British Historic Vehicles
Clubs – Introduction of E10 petrol
After an extensive consultation process, the
Department for Transport has announced that they
will legislate to introduce E10 petrol as the standard
95-octane petrol grade by 1 September 2021. They
will also require the higher-octane 97+ ‘Super’ grades
to remain E5 to provide protection for owners of
older vehicles. This product will be designated as the
‘Protection’ grade.
The introduction of the 95-octane E10 grade and the
maintenance of the Super E5 protection grade will be
reviewed by the Government after 5 years to ensure
they remain appropriate to the needs of the market:
In relation to the E5 protection grade, such a review
will examine market developments over the period.
HM Government have sought to reassure FBHVC
members and historic vehicle owners that, without
a suitable alternative becoming available, it is highly
likely the Super E5 protection grade would continue
to be available.
Filling stations that stock 2 grades of petrol and
supply at least one million litres of fuel in total each
year will need to ensure one product is the Super E5
protection grade. While not all filling stations meet
these criteria, almost all towns across the UK will have
a filling station that supplies the ‘Super’ grade and
currently one major retailer, a national supermarket
group, has committed to offer the product. The main
exception to this is in certain parts of the Highlands,
north and west coast of Scotland, which will be
covered by an exemption process and allowed to
continue to market the 95-octane E5 grade.
The Federation therefore recommends that all
vehicles produced before 2000 and some vehicles
from the early 2000s that are considered noncompatible with E10 – should use the Super E5
Protection grade where the Ethanol content is limited
to a maximum of 5%. To check compatibility of
vehicles produced since 2000, we recommend using
the new online E10 compatibility checker: https://
www.gov.uk/check-vehicle-e10-petrol .
It should be noted that some Super E5 Protection
grade products do not contain Ethanol as the E5
designation is for fuels containing up to 5% Ethanol.
Similarly E10 petrol can contain between 5.5%
and 10% ethanol by volume. Product availability
varies by manufacturer and geographical location
and enthusiasts should check the situation in their
location.
Latest News:
The federation’s fuels specialist Nigel Elliott has
received some new questions with regards to
ethanol and the use of E10 in historic vehicles and his
thoughts are as follows:
There are three key areas of concern with Ethanol
compatibility with historic and classic vehicle fuel
systems:
‹ Corrosion of metal components
‹ Elastomer compatibility – swelling, shrinking and
cracking of elastomers (seals and flexible pipes)
and other unsuitable gasket materials
‹ Air/fuel ratio enleanment
Corrosion of metal component
Ethanol has increased acidity, conductivity and
inorganic chloride content when compared to
conventional petrol which can cause corrosion
and tarnishing of metal components under certain
conditions. These characteristics are controlled in the
ethanol used to blend E5 and E10 European and UK
petrol by the ethanol fuel specification BS EN15376 in
order to help limit corrosion.
Corrosion inhibitor additives can be very effective
in controlling ethanol derived corrosion and are
recommended to be added to ethanol in the
BS EN15376 standard. It is not clear if corrosion
inhibitors are universally added to ethanol for E5
and E10 blending so as an additional precaution it is
recommended that aftermarket corrosion inhibitor
additives are added to E5 and E10 petrol.
These aftermarket ethanol corrosion inhibitor
additives often called ethanol compatibility
additives are usually combined with a metallic
valve recession additive (VSR) and sometimes an
octane booster and have been found to provide
good protection against metal corrosion in
historic and classic vehicle fuel systems.
Elastomer compatibility
As the ethanol molecule is smaller and more polar
than conventional petrol components, there is
a lower energy barrier for ethanol to diffuse into
elastomer materials. When exposed to petrol/ethanol
blends these materials will swell and soften, resulting
in a weakening of the elastomer structure. On drying
out they can shrink and crack resulting in fuel leaks.
Some aftermarket ethanol compatibility additives
claim complete protection for operating historic and
classic vehicles on E10 petrol. The FBHVC is not aware
of, or has tested any additives that claim complete
fuel system protection with respect to elastomer and
gasket materials for use with E10 petrol. The FBHVC
therefore recommends that elastomer and gasket
materials are replaced with ethanol compatible
materials before operation on E10 petrol.
Air/fuel ratio enleanment
Ethanol contains approximately 35% oxygen by
weight and will therefore result in fuel mixture
enleanment when blended into petrol. Petrol
containing 10% ethanol for example, would
result in a mixture-leaning effect equivalent to
approximately 2.6%, which may be felt as a power
loss, driveability issues (hesitations, flat spots, stalling),
but also could contribute to slightly hotter running.
Adjusting mixture strength (enrichment) to counter
this problem is advised to maintain performance,
driveability and protect the engine from overheating
and knock at high loads.
Modern 3-way catalyst equipped vehicles do not
require mixture adjustment to operate on E10 petrol
because they are equipped with oxygen (lambda)
sensors that detect lean operation and the engine
management system automatically corrects the fuel
mixture for optimum catalyst and vehicle operation.
Operating classic and historic
vehicles on E10 petrol
If you should decide to make the necessary vehicle
fuel system modifications together with the addition
of an aftermarket additive to operate your classic or
historic vehicle on E10 petrol. The FBHVC strongly
recommends that you regularly check the condition
of the vehicle fuel system for elastomer and gasket
material deterioration and metallic components such
as fuel tanks, fuel lines and carburettors for corrosion.
Some plastic components such as carburettor floats
and fuel filter housings may be become discoloured
over time. Plastic carburettor float buoyancy can also
be affected by ethanol and carburettors should be
checked to ensure that float levels are not adversely
affected causing flooding and fuel leaks.
Ethanol is a good solvent and can remove historic
fuel system deposits from fuel tanks and lines and
it is advisable to check fuel filters regularly after the
switch to E10 petrol as they may become blocked
or restricted. If your vehicle is to be laid up for an
extended period of time, it is recommended that the
E10 petrol be replaced with ethanol free petrol which
is available from some fuel suppliers. Do not leave
fuel systems dry, as this can result corrosion and the
shrinking and cracking of elastomers and gaskets as
they dry out