Category Archives: T1

The original Transporter. What a great idea!

Virtual coffee morning – Sunday 5th April

Virtual Coffee Morning brings people together by Events Manager Lorna Williamson

In these strange times, it’s easy to feel lonely. Even the passion you feel for your VW Campervan is not always enough on its own, let alone the frustration of knowing that the open road is still out there, waiting… 

Enter stage right the VW Type 2 Owners Club. This British Club decided to create a feeling of togetherness when people can’t actually get together, with a simple event built around the joy that only a VW Campervan can bring.   

Using the Club’s Facebook and Instagram pages plus good old email, the VWT2OC encouraged its members to take their Sunday morning coffee out to their van, and get a picture.   

“Nick and I had been joking for weeks about camping out on the driveway,” said Events organiser Lorna,  “…we always sleep better in Poppy! Combined with input from a member who wanted to feel connected, and the fact that you can never have too many photos of vans, we came up with the virtual coffee format. We’ll be trying something similar on VE Day!” 

Not everyone had access to their van – some being in storage, in the workshop, at home while people were away caring for relatives, or simply not available on the oil rig where the member was based! But people valiantly entered the spirit of the thing, with well over 100 photos shared, and these are some of the results… 

2020 camps!

Is it March already? I have barely had chance to remember to write the correct year and already we are into March, the clocks “spring” forwards this month and next month was to see our first camp!

April 4-19 – Easter Club Camp, Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, Somerset (Club camp)

Sadly due to the Coronavirus, this has had to be postponed.

Head over to http://vwt2oc.co/wp/events/ for details of other events happening this year. If you are interested in any camp, contact our lovely Events Manager on events@vwt2oc.co.uk. She doesn’t bite.

Wakey wakey!

Yes, it is that time again. Hurray! Finally, after the long winter in our non-mobile houses, we can get out our beloved vehicles.

Checklist

Hopefully you all followed the article Time for bed/ to help put your vehicle to bed for the winter. Now that spring is in the air and we are starting to think about getting out and communing in nature, this is a key time to get things ready.

Doors locks – there’s nothing more annoying than a failed lock. get it fixed now before the season really gets going. Door lock issues can be very straight forward but a simple lubrication can be key. Pun intended. A non residue lubricant is best to move the dirt away as WD40 can leave enough gunk to create issues. We favour silicon spray. A little into each lock.

Windscreen wipers – did they perish in the cold winter freezing them to the windscreen. Inspect and replace now.

Water – check the radiator if you have one. Ensure that the bottles that you emptied in the Autumn / fall have no mice, carefully hidden Christmas presents or mildew. Clean with a weak Milton solution if it is drinking water or food related.

Batteries – check the charge on each battery with a good meter. A flat battery can indicate an earth leak. A failed battery needs careful investigation.

Carburettor – Or equivalent. Check for good operation, no stuck flaps or other deterioration over winter. If you are a professional, this will be straight forward. If you are an amateur, a test drive very close to home will highlight problems! But only after the other checks.

Brakes – your vehicle should roll easily, otherwise this can indicate jammed brakes. Parking in gear for long periods of time can be better for your brake health than a jammed set of brakes. Check the brakes for operation. Check the brake fluid level. If it has been more than 5 years, change the brake fluid as it is hygroscopic and slurps up water incredibly quickly. Water is not a good fluid for applying the brake pads to the disks.

Seals – inspect all door seals for any signs of damage, water ingress or other problems and sort them out now. Glue any loose bits back down with the correct glue.

Windows – ensure that they all open and close fully. Or at least as fully as they did last year if applicable!

Ignition – Once you are feeling confident, get in to your pride and joy and turn on the ignition to number 2. Look at the lights on the dashboard. Check there ARE lights! Are they what you expect / are used to seeing? Have you got fuel (for those with a working fuel gauge)?

Crank it over – don’t expect it to start immediately but things should kick into life within a few seconds.

A little test drive on your driveway will allow you to test the brakes, maybe the steering and other important parts. Softly, softly.

Stay local, take your phone with you and warm clothing. Just in case!

Once you get home, assuming that you have a big smile on your face, make a list of snags, get indoors, put the kettle on and start planning for your summer.

Check out the events page and come and see us at a meeting soon!

Fuel hoses

Anyone with a vehicle knows that fuel is really rather flammable. This is why you do not smoke at a fuel station. Anyone owning or driving an old vehicle should be equally careful with the state of the fuel “line”.

From the tank to the engine, the fuel is permanently sitting in metal pipe, plastic pipe and rubber pipe. There is no off switch, so if this ruptures, you are dumping the entire contents onto the ground, so from a financial point of view it is a sensible idea to ensure this is all in good order. From a heartache perspective, it is imperative as well.

You do not want your pride and joy catching fire due to a leaking pipe spraying fuel onto something very hot in the engine bay.

Taking the Type 1 engine as an example, there are multiple systems in place as primitive fuel emissions systems.

The U shaped pipe number 9 is the one that you can see on the roof of the engine bay in a Bay window just above the number plate.

Red pipe numbered 24 needs a long arm and can be reached by putting your left hand up past the rear light cluster up the side of the bus and is quite a tricky little one to replace. If you can smell fuel always, especially if you sniff the air intake on the left side, that is often missing or perished.

The ones next to the fuel tank in the picture by green 24 are all behind the fuel tank firewall and need the engine to be removed.

My local VW mechanic recommends replacing all of the rubber components at least every 3 years and last time , we found that blue 24 in the middle of the picture on the pipe heading to the right was actually disconnected, causing fuel to spill over the top of the tank when turning right with a full tank! We had a clean section of tank and a lucky escape.

In summary. Ensure that your fuel system is inspected regularly by a competent mechanic and relevant parts are changed. The new fuels have either Biodiesel or Ethanol in them, which are not good on modern rubber pipes.

The spare parts list

Compiled by Ian Crawford

Accelerator Cable
Allen Key
Aluminium Tube (to fit INSIDE fuel hose if leaking).
Battery Earth Strap
Battery Tester (6 x LED’s)
Brake and Clutch Fluid
Brake pedal Return Spring
Bulbs (Various)
Cable Ties
Carburettor Return Spring
Clutch Cable
Coil
Condenser for Distributor
CV Axle Boot Cap and Grease
Distilled Water
Distributor cap + (rotor arms x 2)
Distributor Contact Points
Dynamo Carbon Brushes
Fan belts x 2
Feeler Gauges
Fuel Hose & Clips Fuses (Various)
Hacksaw Blades
Handbrake cable (2 x needed)
Insulation Tape x 4
Magnetic Dish Holder
Magnifying Glass
Multi-Meter + spare PP3 battery
Pill Pot containing
a) Matches,
b) Lighter,
c) Flints,
d) Water Purifying Tablets,
e) Sweeteners,
f) Sewing Kit,
g) Safety Pins,
h) Buttons
Plastic Wire Ties
Rocker Cover Gaskets x2
Shorting Links + Micro Switch & Croc Clips
Spark Plugs
Stanley Knives
Starting Relay + Fuse Tools (various)
Tyre Pressure Gauge
Tyre Valve Cores
Vaseline
Voltage Regulator
Walking Boot Laces (waxed)
Wine corks

Website Manager Nick agrees with most of these. However a wine cork is not something he has ever needed.

Basic servicing of your air cooled vehicle

Step 1 Changing engine oil
Engine oils should be changed at 3000 mile intervals, to ensure that your engine doesn’t suffer from undue wear and tear. Some people even suggest that it should be changed every 2000 miles. If this seems a little extreme just think about how much it will cost to replace your engine should you have a catastrophic failure due to excessive engine wear! The actual oil change interval is up to you, but I wouldn’t recommend that you go more than 3000 miles. Always check you are using the recommended oil for your engine.

Step 2 Tyre pressures
It is important that your tyres are inflated to the right pressure. Your buses ride will be better and its road handling will be much improved, which also means that it will be safer. Check your tyre pressures at least every two weeks and always before a long journey. Make sure you know the correct tyre pressures for your model of VW Bus.

Step 3 Windscreen Washer bottle
The washer bottle on a VW Bus is located behind the front kick panel to the left of the steering column. The peculiar part of the set up is the fact that it needs compressed air to force the water from the bottle to the windscreen. You can attach a normal air line at your local garage and pressurize to 40psi. Warning, do not pressurize it any more than 40psi because you run the risk of blowing the pipes of the washer nozzles. It’s a lot of work to put them back on!

Step 4 Gearbox Oil
Although the gear box should only be changed every 30000 miles it may need topping up from time to time. The fill plug is located on the side of the gear box near to the clutch cable. The official documentation suggests you will need a 17mm Hex spanner, but mine seems to be 18mm! Use Hypoid EP80/90 gear oil and fill so the oil is level with the bottom of the hole. It is essential that you locate your bus on a flat surface when you perform this task.

Step 5 Spark plugs
Cleaning your spark plugs should be undertaken every 5000 miles or so. The electrode gap should be 0.7mm or 0.028in. You can clean the electrode with a little piece of emery cloth or a fine wet and dry. Personally I prefer to completely change my spark plugs every 10000 miles and check them every 5000 miles or so.

Step 6 Distributor Cap
When you replace or check your spark plugs it is necessary to inspect the condition of the distributor electrodes because they can become corroded. If so they can be cleaned or replaced depending on the level of corrosion.

Step 7 Rotor arm
The rotor arm (inside the distributor), should be checked, cleaned or replaced every 5000 miles or when you check the condition of your spark plugs. They are not expensive so I prefer to replace new for old on every service.

Step 8 Ignition points
The Ignition points should be checked every time you undertake the general electrical servicing outline above. The points gap should be 0.4mm or 0.016in and should be clean. If they are pitted or corroded in any way they will need replacing.

Step 9 Fan Belt
Check every time you look in the engine bay! Its easy. 10 – 15mm play is fine, anymore and you should adjust. There are some small shims that can be removed if the fan belt is too loose.

Step 10 Air filter (Oil Bath Type)
The air filter will need to be cleaned and the oil replaced every 5000 miles. Drain the old oil, clean and fill up with new engine oil. Make sure you dispose of your engine oil properly. Your local council will have an oil disposal unit.

Step 11 Fuel lines and hoses
Check the condition of your fuel lines every time you follow this service check list. If they are chapped in anyway replace them. Remember – no smoking! You can get very high quality steel lines if you prefer. Whilst you are doing this you can check the heater pipes for holes or badly fitting joints and repair if necessary. Having holes or bad joints will reduce your buses chance of keeping you warm.

Step 12 Brake fluid
Brake fluid should be checked and topped up periodically. The brake fluid reservoir can be found behind the front kick panel.

Step 13 Brake Pads
The brake pads can be checked very easily on a bus, although you will need to remove the wheels. To do this jack up the vehicle and remember to always use axle stands. You will be able to see if your pads need replacing, they should be at least 7mm thick.

Step 14 Axle
The axle will need to be greased every 5-7000 miles. There are multiple points that need greasing. These are the steering idler that is located in the middle of the axle and the four trailing arm bushes at the ends. So a grease gun will be a great buy!

Step 15 Clutch
Your clutch should be checked for play periodically and should have around 20mm play at the foot peddle. You should also grease the clutch cable periodically to help its ability to work efficiently and to stop it breaking because it gets stuck.

The engine battery

Prompted by a member called Robert who was asking, sharing in case it helps anyone else.

Robert had an issue with his starter battery and wanted to replace it but of course is space constrained in an older vehicle. His 72Ah battery was the right size, but how many Amp Hours do you need?

A standard 1.6 litre air cooled engine requires a starter motor such as the Power Lite one from JK. That one is a 1.4 kilowatt starter. Converting kilowatts to amps you need to change 1.4KW to 1,400 watts and then divide it by the voltage, in our case 12 volts.

1,400 / 12 = Around 120 amps.

For two litre engines, you will need a little more. For a customised engine, who knows?!

If you look at The battery charge quick reference guide you know that you do not wish to flatten the battery completely as that will break it. Ideally avoid going more than 30% depleted.

If you know that you never use more than a minute on the starter motor to get the engine into life, that is 1/60th of an hour. Running that 120 amp starter motor for an hour would be 120 amp hours, so 1/60th of that is 2 amp hours.

As long as you have no current leaks and are not sitting in your vehicle draining the battery with a stereo, a fridge, lighting or other circuits on the starter motor, as you can see, a minute to start the engine on a 1.6 litre air cooled engine will drain 2 amp hours out of your battery. Even the smallest and cheapest car batteries will cope with that, but for peace of mind, don’t buy the cheapest battery in the shop!

How to apply for the Historic Vehicle tax class

Since April 2014 classic car VED exemption has been rolling from 40 years. This is great news for classic petrol heads and will affect over 10,000 classic car owners each year who currently pay road tax.

What is really heartening is that the government has stated that they regard the classic car industry as an important part of the nation’s historical heritage. To obtain the exemption you have to prove that your car was built before 1st January of 40 calendar years ago. If your car was registered between 1-7 January of the year, the DVLA will let you register it as a historic vehicle since it is highly likely that the car was built in the previous year. Don’t wait till your current tax period expires apply now.
How to apply for the Historic Vehicle tax class You will need to go to your local post office with these documents:

• The V5C Registration Certificate – make sure you list the tax class as Historic Vehicle and sign and date the form
• The V10 Application for a Tax Disc (ignore the section on insurance certificates)
• Valid MOT certificate

The post office will keep the V5C and forward it to the DVLA for them to change the tax class to Historic Vehicle. They will also issue you with a new V5C form. All subsequent V11 Renewal Reminders should have the tax class listed as Historic Vehicle. After your vehicle has been taxed as a Historic Vehicle you will be able to get a refund for each full calendar month left on the tax period. The good news is that you won’t need to apply for the refund as the DVLA will automatically issue a refund when they receive the notification that your vehicle’s tax class has changed to an exempt duty class.

A few things to watch out for

If the vehicle date is incorrectly stated on the V5C form then you need to supply contemporary documentary evidence to verify the actual date of the vehicle. This is quite involved and you’ll need Glass’s Check Books for this. You should contact the DVLA or Federation of British Historic Vehicle Clubs for more advice. Also, the DVLA state that all vehicles such as buses or goods vehicles which are used commercially are not entitled to apply for the Historic Vehicle tax class. For more information visit the DVLA site and read leaflet INF34 on taxing historic vehicles.

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!