Category Archives: Public

Anyone can see these items

Events 2020

Welcome to the first post of the new year!

We are well on the road to completing the final pieces of the events for the year, most of which we have been working on for at least six months!

Take a look at and see if you are free to attend some of the fun – either as part of a larger event with a club presence or just some club members getting together in a field.

Ageing your vehicle

If you have a Type Two, here is how to identify the age and type of your vehicle as it left the factory:

2 1 2 2 1 5 7 4 4

First digit – T2 (Bay window)

Second digit – Type of vehicle:

1 -Delivery / Panel van
2 – Microbus
3 – Kombi
4 – Microbus
6 – Pick up
7 – Crew cab

Third digit – The year (2 means 1972 and 9 means 1979 etc)

The rest is your individual serial number for the vehicle.

Replacing a sliding door seal without fully removing the door

by Mike Hobson

In October last year, I replaced the sliding-door seal, on my “crossover” 1972 VW Type 2. Despite being 71 years of age, I did it on my own, so younger members should find it a doddle! The tools needed, were a wooden spatula (as used by my wife in the kitchen), a selection of screwdrivers and an axle stand.
(1) Firstly, set the height of the axle stand, at as near as possible, to the height of the underside of the door. Pieces of wooden packing might be needed.
(2) Remove the cover plate from rear panel (covers sliding mechanism). This is where different types and lengths of screwdrivers are needed. You have to slacken the tightening bar (the screw can be difficult to get to). Once off, I drilled and tapped with the original thread right through, so can be filled with grease.
(3) You can now see the runner, about half way along is a cut-out. Line up with block on sliding mechanism and lift off rear of door and place on axle stands. Once done, presumably old seal will be out. Just hook new seal over projecting runner and then over door, move seal into position and door can be lifted back on to the runner.
(4) The wooden spatula is shaped as required and used to push the new rubber in. Adhesive can be used as required. It is a bit fiddly, but can be done. Adjustment to the door might be needed for it to shut, due to the thickness of the new rubber seal. It will eventually settle down. Job done.
P.S. I am no mechanic or engineer, just an old Joe Bloggs.

Experiences of overhauling a Volkswagen air-cooled engine

Compiled and written by Nigel A Skeet, previously published in the club magazine.

Sometime in early 1983, our 1973 VW 1600 Type 2’s AD-series engine, developed a major oil leak, which we were unable to trace; leading us to completely dismantle the engine and renew every conceivable oil seal and gasket, plus the steel, pushrod tubes, which were noticeably rusty. Although by that time, I had quite a good selection of tools, including two click-stop torque wrenches, none of them were suitable for removing the 36 mm AF, flywheel gland bolt, which is tightened to a very large torque.
Fortunately, one of my engineering-student colleagues at Cranfield, named Jonathan Wells, loaned me his ¾ inch drive T-bar and 36 mm AF socket tool, which he used for the rear wheel hubs, of his VW based, autocross space frame buggies. Even with this tool, one needed to slide a long steel pipe (being several feet long, it is referred to in some quarters, as a scaffold pole), over the T-bar, in order to produce sufficient torque. When we later refitted the flywheel bolt, we were faced with the problem of how to obtain the correct tightening torque (which is critical for this engine); not having a torque wrench of sufficient capacity. This was finally resolved by weighing myself on the bathroom scales and then standing on the T-bar, pipe extension, the appropriate distance from the socket centre; ensuring that the pipe was horizontal.
Ten years later, in 1993, when we sold the 1600 engine, second-hand, in favour of a VW Type 4 style engine (the virtues of which, Jonathan Wells had extolled to me, in 1983), the buyer recounted a tale of woe, about his supposedly “reconditioned” 1600 exchange engine, whose flywheel bolt had not been adequately tightened. The flywheel subsequently came loose, resulting in a severely damaged engine, which was effectively written off.
On the whole, removing, dismantling, rebuilding and refitting the 1600 engine (my first ever attempt at such things) was child’s play (in many respects, simpler than doing a 200 piece jigsaw puzzle), but removing some of the cover-plates was a nightmare. Many of the cheese-head, slotted M6 screws had rusted in solid and needed to be drilled out very carefully. Noting that the screwdriver slots of conventional and Philips head screws were easily damaged, I later replaced them with 10 mm AF, hex-head M6 bolts, which would withstand higher torque. At a later date, I took the further precaution of coating the screw threads, with anti-seize copper grease. These days, I would also be inclined, to substitute stainless steel bolts and/or Allen socket-head screws, which are what I am using, on my transplanted VW Type 4 style engine.
Many of the cover-plates had corroded where they were exposed to the elements; having been given only a thin coat of paint at the factory. In some places, the steel had become wafer thin, necessitating repair. All the cover-plates were comprehensively treated with D-Rust (a phosphoric acid based rust treatment solution), to etch all the rust out of the pits, and repaired as necessary, by brazing on reinforcement sections, before repainting them with several coats of Finnigan’s Hammerite. When I sold the engine in 1993, these cover-plates were still in excellent overall condition, which I have since sold off piecemeal, during the following years; some as recently as 2010~12!
Removing the old exhaust silencer, proved to be no picnic either, and it was necessary to use a hacksaw and cold chisel, in order to disengage it from the heat exchangers. Had removal of the exhaust silencer not been necessary, it would probably have lasted a few more years. The original exhaust-manifold nuts, incorporated HeliCoil™ thread inserts, which did not rust, but the hexagonal outer portion had corroded badly and no spanner (neither metric nor imperial) would fit them snugly, so “copper exhaust-manifold-nuts”, were purchased as replacements.
We did initially obtain a stainless steel replacement silencer, from the local branch of Qwik Fit Euro, but this would not align correctly (may have been intended for a VW 1200 engine!?), with the cylinder head exhaust ports and/or the heat exchangers, so it was returned to the suppliers. Ultimately, we fitted a Scat ‘Monza’ style silencer, with two integral twin tail pipes, from the USA, purchased from the German Car Company, in Hadleigh, Essex. This lasted well, for nearly 8 years, until Easter 1991, when one of the twin tail pipes dropped off, somewhere on the M40 or M25 motorways. The so-called “copper exhaust-manifold-nuts”, which had been fitted nearly 8 years earlier, proved to be merely copper-plated steel nuts, and had rusted onto the screw studs; one of which sheared off and resulted in the need for an expensive repair to the cylinder head.
I had never been impressed with the standard, single-piece, exhaust-silencer clamps, intended for the VW 1600 Type 2, so instead I used a pair of two-piece, VW Beetle tailpipe clamps, which are more fiddly to fit (see Transporter Talk, Issue 27, February 1997, Pages 24~25), but provide a better seal between the heat exchangers and silencer. To be sure of a gas-tight seal, I also used a liberal quantity of Holts Firegum; a well-known brand of exhaust system sealant.
During the engine strip down, it was discovered that the valve guides were excessively worn, so the cylinder heads were taken to a local engine reconditioning workshop, in Basildon, Essex, for refurbishment. This proved to be yet another encounter with shoddy workmanship, resulting in one of our cylinder heads being consigned to the scrap bin. It was alleged that the damage had arisen, as the result of some earlier bodged attempt at replacing a single valve guide. The workshop manager disclaimed all responsibility, and showed us a cracked exhaust port, together with a rough-hewn valve guide, which had supposedly been removed from it. In our own minds, we were convinced that this was a deliberate falsehood, but could not prove it!
The cylinder head also exhibited deep bruising of the cooling fins, consistent with violent blows from a large ball-peen hammer; marks which we knew had not been present, when we submitted our cylinder heads for refurbishment. As a consequence of this episode, we were obliged to purchase a new, replacement cylinder head, from another supplier. Although this was for a VW 1600 engine, with the same sized valve heads as the original, the exhaust valve stem diameter was 9 mm, rather than 8 mm. I suspect there may have been other, more subtle differences, which were not apparent to my then untrained eye.
Such differences, may have contributed to cylinders 1 & 2, running hotter than cylinders 3 & 4, which I noticed some years later. Since then, I have learned that there are at least nine different VW 1600 ‘twin-port’ cylinder heads, with three different, standard combinations of valve head sizes, plus probably various differences in combustion chamber shape, volume and deck-height (i.e. squish or quench) clearance too. With hindsight, we should have noted the part number, cast into the rocker box of the defunct cylinder head (assuming it was originally ours!), but in those days, we believed there was only one type of VW 1600 cylinder head and were unacquainted with the significance of the suffix letters, in VW part numbers.
Whilst the engine was still out, it was a good opportunity to remove and inspect the petrol tank, which exhibited some corrosion around the fuel outlet, beneath the vehicle. Although there was slight pitting in places, the thickness of the steel had not been significantly compromised, so it was sufficient simply to etch out the rust pits, using D-Rust and repaint the refurbished surface. Other areas of the petrol tank were also showing signs of superficial rusting, which were similarly treated.
Having removed the bulkhead plate to gain access to the petrol tank, it was apparent that this too was rusting in places, so this was also refurbished before repainting. In common with the engine cover plates, the petrol tank and bulkhead plate, had received only a thin coat of paint at the factory, so all items received several coats of Hammerite; paying particular attention to those areas, which previously had rusted.
Prior to painting, I had twenty one, captive M6 nuts (with hindsight, M5 nuts might have been better!), welded onto the back of the bulkhead plate, coinciding with the top, middle and bottom, of the seven vertical ribs; anticipating that at some time in the future, I might wish to fit, electronic ignition and perhaps other accessories, which would need to be mounted in the engine compartment.

1973 VW 1600 Type 2, removeable fuel-tank compartment bulkhead, with nineteen M6 nuts, welded onto the back of the seven vertical ribs.
Note also, the additional holes in the bodywork, on either side of the bulkhead, for supplementary electrical cables, pipes or hoses, to enter the engine compartment.
Any accessories could then be fitted, using custom made mounting brackets; avoiding any later haphazard drilling of holes in the bulkhead (which might penetrate the petrol tank), to accommodate self-tapping screws. About ten years later, a local VW Type 2 owner of my acquaintance, who sadly lacked this kind of foresight, somehow managed to drill three holes in the forward face of his petrol tank, when fitting secondhand motorcaravan furniture, in his Microbus. Fortunately for him, I had a secondhand petrol tank for sale!

Fitting a Voltmeter

In many campervan conversions, keeping an eye on battery voltage can be a very handy feature, especially if you are camping without electric hook-up and have an electric fridge, lighting etc.

You can connect the voltmeter to either the main vehicle battery, used for starting the engine and supplying the vehicle’s 12v electric systems. Connecting the voltmeter to a leisure battery will enable you to see the voltage remaining in your battery for auxiliary accessories such as lighting and fridges. Or you can purchase a switchable voltmeter that enables you to see both battery voltages at the flick of a switch, like the one sold by Just Kampers (J11477).

• Before installing the gauge, disconnect the earth terminal from the main battery in your vehicle and from the leisure battery, so that you do not create any short-circuits which may result in damage or fire.

• Choose a location to mount your gauge, allowing enough room at the rear of the gauge.

• Connect the negative/earth wire on the back of the gauge to an earthed part of your vehicle, such as a bare metal part of the chassis.

• Run a fused wire from one of the positive terminals on the voltmeter to your vehicle’s main battery live terminal or a live terminal on your main fuse box.

• Run a fused wire from the other positive terminal on the voltmeter to your leisure battery live terminal, or to a live terminal on an auxiliary fuse box connected to your leisure battery.

• Reconnect the earth connections on your two batteries that you removed earlier.

• When you have selected either switch position, the gauge should now read the correct battery voltage for that battery.

• Sit back and enjoy the luxury of being able to monitor your batteries voltage levels.

Aircooled engine cooling

When summer is here 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!)

The tinware on a 1.6 Type 1 engine

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 fueling. 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.

How to keep warm in your vehicle

With the topic of gas still fresh and the colder camping season just around the corner, let’s talk a bit about keeping you and your van warm this Autumn and 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.


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 VW Camper. 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!


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.

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 Phil at

The fuel gauge

How many of you struggle with fuel as your gauge does not work? You fill up, note the mileage then fill up again at 200 miles and hope for the best. Actually, the fuel gauge is almost certainly working, but the sender unit is at fault.

If you put a test meter on the sender, you should see about 73 ohms (Beetle and late bay) or 100 ohms (early bus with a balance coil gauge) across the rheostat when the tank is completely empty. As the tank is filled, the heater receives more current, moving the needle upwards on the gauge / dial until the tank is full sending the most current to the gauge at which point the tester should read about 10 ohms.

At the back of your dashboard you will find the wiring to the speedo. On top of the fuel tank behind the firewall, behind the engine, you will find the sender.

Where is the fault?

The simplest check to find the fault is to remove the wire that is NOT brown from the top of the sender. The brown one is an earth on a late bay and an early bay only has a single wire. The gauge in the dashboard should go immediately to empty. Take that same wire and earth it (but not to the tank). Now the gauge should immediately jump to full.

If you have a brown wire, double check that it does actually go to earth and makes a good connection.

If the gauge went to empty and full during testing and the earth is good then the sender is faulty and can be replaced from the normal stockists. Bad news is that the early bay ones are about £60 and late bay ones are about £30.

If the issue is intermittent, tighten the hex bolts on the back of the gauge and check the fuse supplying this circuit has completely clean contacts and good cable.

Eric the Viking – October 2019

Spend since last report: £625.59. Total hours labour since last report: 23.2

In the last exciting episode of “Eric and the halfwit”, the rear had been mainly finished, Eric was pushed into the corner of the garage and the front was started. Three years ago this month, we had removed the bulk of the front panel, exposing the A posts (the structural pieces in the front corners). I already knew that the bottoms of the A posts were rotten, the deformation panel that sits behind the bumper was also rotten and the inner valance behind that, which is welded to the chassis, was also rusty or rotten.

Here is how it looked in October 2016.

Removing the nose was a case of cutting around the air intake and down the inside edges of the A posts then along the bottom around floor level. Once the majority of the metal is out of the way, you can see what is going on and peel the edges off the A posts. That was how I discovered that the bottoms were in need of help. That was 3 years ago!

The inner windscreen panel sitting just above the air intake was in poor condition caused by the regular problem of a leaking windscreen seal. A lot of it was ok but the key piece is the top which had rotted. As I removed the dashboard, I could see that the mounting brackets forming part of the inner windscreen were also in a very bad state. The dashboard came out a lot easier than I expected, two bolts on each side visible when you open the doors and a couple underneath the middle. Getting the knobs for the switches off the dashboard to keep the wiring together took longer!

Once the inner windscreen was measured to see exactly where it fits to the A posts and once I had worked out whether it sits in front of the air intake or behind, the angle grinder got it out quickly.

Removing that panel gave a good feeling as it was cleaner and tidier. A good clean up of all retained surfaces and the Just Kampers replacement panel was scoured, primed and top coated on the inside in the L90D pastel white that I plan for the inside of the whole van. Welding that panel in early means added strength as I move down the front removing rot.

And just as much as removing the old panel helped, adding the new one gave me a lift as well.

The multi-part A posts are thicker steel (circa 2.5mm) giving a huge amount of strength when not rotten. Taking out the rotten A post pieces a section at a time, I made cardboard templates of the missing metal, angle grinding the replacements to shape. Once into the right shape, they were clamped into place and welded in – for whatever reason, my welding ability, confidence and end results are significantly improved in the last few months, no idea why.

I was able to chop out the rot knowing that there is enough strength to move one section at a time without the shape changing. With a hole cut, I can get into the inside of the A post with the rust killer and the primer to give extra life and I prudently stopped the repairs near the bottom as I do not know the exact line of some of the metal.

You can buy a full replacement A post but removing it is just too worrying and not required, so I laid on the garage floor looking at the construction of the rotten originals, angle grinding tiny bits to peel back the metal to see how it fits. The new repair section is about eight inches tall in two parts for the A post on each side plus a further piece to hold the inner valance. Those three themselves took some time to figure out how they connect.

Once the mental work was completed, the physical work started. Grinding out the old rust, leaving the door hinge intact makes access difficult and lying on the floor looking up means metal dust in the hair. Eventually the rust was all out, and the area cleaned and prepared for the new metal. Part of the new metal needed trimming since I was retaining the A post behind the hinge. Deep breath, put the new against the old, clamps and rulers to ensure it all lines up and a tack weld first. It all looked good and was zipped in. Then the front of the A post could be put on confidently as it folds part way around the rear. Careful welding was needed to ensure that the valance hanger was not obstructed by weld. Then finally welding-in of that hanger which also fits specifically to the front repair piece. All zipped in with seam welds for strength and being nice thick metal, I can crank up the power to get lots of penetration.

This is the offside, note the missing pieces at the top left which can now be added as I have both top and bottom to use as a template. Having removed part of the step to chop the old metal out, that was welded back in as well and plenty of red oxide anti-rust paint was added to hopefully keep the rust gremlins at bay for a while.

The confidence that comes from completing a job yourself means that the nearside was much less time consuming since the concept is the same, just mirrored. Hack out the old bits, save the hinge and the A post under it, chop out the step, accept that the angle grinder makes heat which means underseal starts smoking. Once out, cleaned and the repair piece trimmed since I am keeping part of the original again, it was time to weld it in place. As previously, a few tacks to allow the clamps to come off and I seam welded the old to the new all the way along. The rear half of the repair completed, I painted it with anti-rust paint then primer.

Allowing that to dry, I started attacking the inner valance that runs behind the deformation panel which sits behind the bumper on a late bay (early bays don’t have a deformation panel which was part of the added strength for crumple zones). Again, the outer foot or so was toast and there is no sense leaving the middle and grafting new ends, the whole lot needed to come out. This also allows access to the four chassis sections behind that I know are paper thin and can be removed using your fingers! A job for another day.

Cutting disks do not last long with the removal of a lot of thick metal / rust / rot but I have plenty. It took about five disks to remove the bulk of the valance. Sitting on top of that is the panel you see in front of your feet when driving, which comes down vertically then turns horizontally and is spot welded to the inner valance keeping the weather out. Unfortunately, as is common, water gets in, sits on top of that horizontal bit and it rots out. Chop, chop and all the rot comes out. Once the new inner valance goes in, I can make up the little L shaped bit to join it all back together.

The paint was still drying at the bottom of the A post, but I did not have time to add the second part of the repair, Editor Phil cracked the whip and in the immortal if modified words of the narrator of Mr Benn, “as if by magic, a deadline appeared”.

This edition’s spend of more than £600 was primarily caused by the purchase of a rollover frame, as well as a list of bits picked up at BusFest. You take off the wheels on one side of the van, make sure there are no liquids like petrol, washer fluid or whatever that will come out, and then you jack the other side up until the van is lying down. It will need to be done in a controlled manner but a very nice chap called Neil Higgins was selling it, and it seemed like a time-saving way to get something I planned to make next year that will make underside cleaning and detailing a simpler task.

By the next edition, I aim to have finished the front, attached the front panel / nose and get Eric on his side to replace the chassis rails under the cab floor. Maybe Eric will be snoozing for Christmas. Whatever you are doing between now and then, have a great deal of fun, my next write-up might be done when full of roast Christmas dinner!