Category Archives: Stories

Another one in the bag! Club camp completed – Banbury

The Club on tour – Barnstones Caravan and Camping Park, Banbury, Oxon

May 12th to 16th 2022 saw the Club’s annual AGM, BBQ and Club Camp (ABC camp) in Great Bourton. Convenient for the M40 allowing many people to join us, we had nearly 30 vehicles after some late dropouts due to mechanical trouble. Over 60 people spent the weekend together with a lot of laughter, plenty of burgers and maybe the odd glass of something.

In addition to the AGM and BBQ, we also had the FA cup final televised in one gazebo, Eurovision later in the evening and some singing from our resident jazz singer Lorna.

On the plus side, 5 people joined the Committee. On the minus side, Derek Leary stepped down from the Committee after several decades shaping the Club into what it is today. We’ll miss you Derek (and Christie).

Another one in the bag! Club camp completed – Cheddar

The Club on tour – Petruth Paddocks, Cheddar, Somerset
April 22 to 25 2022

The first club camp of the season saw us down in the pretty down of Cheddar at Petruth Paddocks, hosted by the wonderful Jules.

What did you miss? Burgers, fire pit, marshmallows, bacon baps. Cheddar village, Cheddar gorge, the caves. Locally made cheese, 16 club member dogs, 33 adults, 2 children, live singer on Friday and Saturday and a lot of laughter.

Here is some feedback from a member:

“We have been VWT2OC members for a few years but had not previously got involved in meetings or attending camps. What have we been missing? The St George’s camp at Cheddar over the weekend was a fantastic event. The campsite was beautiful, clean and friendly; the club negotiated camping rates that could not be beaten; the Saturday evening social around the firepits, with burgers provided and lovely entertainment from Lorna was fantastic; and the coffee, tea and bacon rolls provided on Sunday morning was very welcome. I had nothing to do than enjoy myself. Big shout out to Lorna Williamson, Nick Gillott, Malcolm Marchbank and Val Lewis for all the hard work planning, organising and delivering the camp. You are stars. We were already booked in for the May BBQ & AGM, now we are looking forward to it more than ever.”

Here are some photos from the weekend:

Member’s Motor – Rachel – Skype

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look
at Rachel’s Bay, called “Skye”. This is what she
had to say about it.

We have a blue T2 called Skye. We originally
found her in May 2018 when someone local to us
used to hire her out, so we hired her for a trip to
Scotland. We took the van around the highlands,
including to the Isle of Skye. My husband Kyle
(then boyfriend) proposed to me on the trip,
which was a total surprise, so that trip and the
van had some very special memories for us.
In June 2019 we got married and I was waiting
for my wedding car to pick me up, instead of the
car arriving with my dad in it, Skye the T2 arrived
with our friend as the driver! I was shocked as I
had not seen Skye since we had got engaged
and I thought “How lovely, he’s hired her again as
a surprise”. He had decorated her with wedding
ribbons and bunting inside etc. When I got in the
van (with my dad inside) Keith our friend who
was driving, passed me a note which had the
typical wedding phrase:
Something old: Skye is from 1975.
Something blue: Skye is blue.
Something borrowed: She is borrowed
for the wedding.
Something new: actually she’s not borrowed,
Skye is yours!

Unbeknown to me, the guy who owned
Skye was selling her and Kyle bought her as a
surprise for our wedding day, so that’s how we
came to get her! What a surprise. Since then
we have had a lot of trips away, even in current
circumstances. We took her to Glastonbury 2
weeks after our wedding and then managed to
do the NC500 in September last year, as well as
lots more local weekends to the Lake District and
Northumberland where we got married. We have
a rescue fox terrier called Delilah who loves van
life as much as us 😍

We learnt a valuable lesson in September when
doing the nc500; we broke down in one of the
most northerly areas of Scotland and had to
wait 8 hours for recovery to be towed back to
the campsite, which was so embarrassing. The
problem was a snapped clutch cable, which we
have since learned is quite common and should
have carried a spare!

Typically the day we had to wait for 8 hours at the
side of the road was also the sunniest, warmest
day of our whole NC500 trip and we spent it at
the roadside! By the time we had been recovered
we were just grateful to get back to the campsite
and get it temporarily fixed, celebrating with a
big glass of well deserved wine!
We have been having problems finding someone
decent and reputable in the north east to fix our
van, there’s a few things we needed done and
ideally wanted it done before this summer. We’ve
been trying to find someone since last year, but
no one wants to touch it, so it’s getting a bit
stressful.

Members Motor – Helen Brown – Delilah

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look at
Helen’s Bay, called “Delilah”. This is what she
had to say about it.
Why would any sane person want to buy, let
alone suffer the ongoing trauma of owning a VW
T2 camper van? Firstly, as well as the initial hit of
buying the thing, they cost a ridiculous amount
of money to keep on the road. They simply do
not go uphill unless they are in 2nd gear and
labouring at 10mph. They break down in the
most embarrassing and inconvenient of places
and no matter how many gaskets and cables and
bits and bobs you carry on board – you never
seem to have the part you need to get them
going again.

Then there is the small matter of hypothermia,
induced as you’re trailing along the road at
22mph. There are indeed two sliding things on
the dash for hot air – a red thing and a green thing

but what do they do? By the time the warm air
gets from the back to the front to warm you up,
it’s gone stone cold anyway and you end up
chugging down the road in a vintage refrigerator
wearing a full ski suit and matching bobble hat.
The exception is when it’s a baking hot day. On
baking hot days, your air-cooled engine serves
as a stifling sauna and even reaching for the air
conditioning that exists in the form of a window
winder, you definitely still get a good sweat
on. Not only that, but on hot days, you have to
pause your journey, not for a coffee or even a
toilet break, but to let your engine cool down!
Generally, this happens about ten miles from
your home! Perhaps these monsters were indeed
designed for travel on the back of a low loader!
The answer is that T2 owners tend to think
‘outside the box’. Perhaps we are slightly insane,
but T2s’ tend to be driven by ‘freedom seeking’
folk with such a sense of adventure and love of
more simplistic times gone by, that even the
hours spent on the side of the motorway waiting
for the low loader to arrive are an experience to
be cherished.

It’s like owning a grown-up’s Mechano set.
Everything on your beloved T2 can be taken apart
with a spanner (or some tool or other) and easily
bolted back together again. Rusty panels can be
cut out, replaced and lovingly repainted to match
the original colour. Everything can be restored
to original. Who would even want to travel at
70mph and be nice and warm, when you can
pootle and be freezing and wave to folk at a top
speed of 45mph? And as an added bonus, when
you do stop, your gorgeous T2 leaves behind it
a gloriously, glossy puddle of oil. Nothing could
be better!


I’ve had the best adventures in Delilah. Delilah is my pride and joy.
I can’t even look at her without grinning maniacally. She is a 1973
Westfalia Continental. Everyone has a story about how they ended
up owning a T2. I ended up single at the tender age of 50 and rather
than trawl through dating websites looking for a new fancy man, I
decided to push the boat out, fulfil my pipe dream and get myself
a VW camper instead. Delilah was being stored in a garage and
although sad and rusty, she was in ok shape for her age and was
fitted out with most of what turned out to be a Westfalia Continental
interior. The interior did have denim and Barbie pink fluffy fabric
glued all over it and it did smell of mould but nothing that couldn’t
be sorted out.
The basic restoration to get her back on the road took around ten
months. I wanted to keep her as original as possible but also needed
her to be reasonably practical and reliable. With that in mind, I had a
new air-cooled engine fitted with the larger twin Weber carbs, jetted
correctly. It gives just that little bit more oomph going uphill and
on motorways I can pootle at around 55-60mph. Everything else
mechanical wise was cleaned up, checked and put back. A must
have, is an oil temperature gauge. It is definitely worth having one.
The needle only ever moves on hot days, but it gives peace of mind!
The bodywork was stripped back, rusty panels replaced and a full
respray and triple Waxoyl underneath had her looking ship shape.
The next step was to get the interior restored and put back. I love
the look of the 1970’s original interiors. Westfalia literally thought of
everything. To have a full-sized double bed, a wardrobe, sofa, cooker,
sink, kitchen cupboard, overhead locker, storage cupboards, a “not
quite a fridge” and an upstairs bedroom with a double bed in such a
tiny space is a remarkable piece of interior design

The interior all got scraped, cleaned up and put back in. New
cheerful orange canvas completed the pop top. Sadly, the original
mustard upholstery did not survive restoration.
My travel companion is a crazy collie called Dobbie. He likes sitting on
the furniture with muddy paws. Therefore, I took the furniture to be
covered in dog proof pale grey vinyl and I did give strict instructions
to keep the mustard fabric on underneath. The poor lady doing the
stitching job couldn’t cope with the rancid smell of the mould and
removed the mustard fabric….and burned it! I had to agree with
her that it did smell awful! Over the course of the following year, I
acquired a door for the wardrobe, a primitive hand pump, water
tap contraption for the sink and even a table to sit and work at
and eat my beans on toast off. (Martin Dorey would be horrified at
my campervan cookery.) Original Westfalia Continental items are
difficult to find, so I was really chuffed to have been able to source
some of the pieces I was missing via the T2 forum on Facebook.
Finally, just to get it completed, I actually bought a complete interior
and sold on the pieces that I didn’t need.


In 1973 people must have been hardier or perhaps we had warmer
weather back then. I could not cope with the cold journeys. It was
no fun rolling out of the van in a frozen lump at the end of a long
drive. So, after looking at the various options including the diesel
heaters, I finally went for what I felt was the safe option and got a
Propex heater installed in the cupboard under the buddy seat with
a digital thermostat fitted to the back of the wardrobe unit above
the driver seat. It is a real game changer. Pricey to buy, but it doesn’t
seem to be desperately greedy with the Camping Gaz and having
heat when driving and when camping without electric hook up has
made it worth every penny. Even on the coldest of days, the van
is beautifully toasty in a matter of minutes and it keeps everything
onboard dry.
Whilst on the subject of comfort, I like my comforts. I can live without
hot running water in the van but there were a couple of creature
comfort things that I needed to sort out. Sleeping on a bed with
gaping cracks in the mattress where the cushions fit together isn’t
great. Nor is waking up tied up in an impossibly twisted sleeping
bag. The back of my van stores a memory foam mattress topper,
decent pillows and a goose down duvet. I slumber in comfort, all
nicely tucked up between the dog and the spare wheel!

I learned the hard way not to sit up and crack my
head on the overhead locker. I keep my bottle
of gin in the wine rack under the driver seat.
And as for a toilet, I decided that being on my
own, I needed a toilet on board. I very accurately
measured the space between the two front seats
and after some diligent research found that the
smallest chemical toilet that Thetford makes, fits
perfectly. It was the final thing I wanted. Imagine
my joy at finally having onboard toilet facilities
and my despair when I realised that although the
toilet fitted in the space between the two seats,
my backside would not!
Naïve, I was at the beginning. I thought after this
wonderful restoration and new engine, there
would be no further problems and I’d just sail off
into the sunset. This was far from the truth. Delilah
had lots of little problems. One of the rocker
cover gaskets was loose, resulting in oil dripping
onto the exhaust and rancid smoke belching
everywhere. Being a newbie, I thought I was on
fire! Thankfully not! I eventually limped home and
replaced the spring cover with a bolt on one and
by tightening everything up every few journeys,
the oil leaks are a thing of the past. Then she was
pulling to the left. Every little problem takes a bit
of investigating and trial and error to sort out, but
it turned out that the pulling problem was the
brake callipers binding. New brake callipers were
fitted to keep her on the straight and narrow and
new Spax shock absorbers made the ride more
comfortable. Her battery died and no sooner
than I replaced it, her starter motor gave up.
Fortunately, some kind soul pushed me and her
down a hill to bump start and we managed to
get home.
To be honest, I lost confidence in her. I could
never figure out what was wrong with her and
I did consider selling her. Then I realised that my
VW coping mechanism was relying on the RAC.
This was no good! I bought ‘How to Keep Your
VW Alive’, navigated the Haynes manual and got a
genius mechanic to do the impossible and teach
me! To own a T2, you have really got to have some
understanding of the mechanical side. Although
my knowledge is somewhat limited, it has meant
that I now know enough to have confidence in
what needs to be done to keep the old dear on
the road.
I love to hike, so Delilah is a welcome sight for me
and Dobby at the end of a long day of walking.
Somewhere to sit and chill, cook, eat, watch
beautiful sunsets and sleep. You are always
guaranteed to meet other VW owners to chat
to. Just being able to jump in the van on a Friday
night and go on an adventure. What’s not to love
about owning a T2? I’ve had so many absolutely
wonderful adventures in mine that I could write a
book! It keeps me sane

Helen Brown

Tales from the driving seat – Wonderful Wales Part 1

With the UK’s first Covid lockdown lifted in July
2020 and some travel restrictions relaxed, we
decided to make the best of the situation and use
the time we had booked off for our now cancelled
wedding, to travel some parts of the UK in our ‘79
Bay. You can’t get much more socially distanced
than travelling and sleeping in your own vehicle.
We started our road trip by following the Welsh
coast from the Gower Peninsula in the south, to
the Isle of Anglesey in the north. The countryside
on the Gower is beautiful. Unfortunately we don’t
have long to explore as we have some miles to
cover before our next stopover and other sights
to see on the way but have just enough time
to head to the far point of the Peninsula to a
spot called Rhossili. Rhossili Bay is famous for an
excellent beach and beautiful views over the bay
to Llangennith and Worm’s Head. The beach is
popular for surfing and the surrounding area with
walkers. Rhossili is also famous for sunflower fields
that engulf the area during the summer months.
After a quick stop to appreciate the view, we head
off and make our way to Pembrokeshire. There is
some fantastic countryside here and it reminds me
very much of Devon and Cornwall. Having done
some research, we head to a spot called Martins
Haven in the hope of some seal and dolphin
spotting, maybe even some Puffins.


We walked Ruby (our Springer Spaniel) down to
the seafront, but don’t spot any Seals, or Dolphins,
or Puffins! But the trip wasn’t wasted, on our
way out of the area we spot farmers digging up
Pembrokeshire New Potatoes, also known as
Pembrokeshire Earlies, which are famous for their
distinctive, delicate and almost nutty flavour.
We come across a handwritten sign advertising
them for sale at the side of the road. We like to buy
food for our travels in this way, it’s a great way to
support local business and get an authentic taste
of the area you are visiting. We stash the “earlies”
with a plan to enjoy them with some fresh, local
fish – the search is on!
The next day, we decided to have an early-ish start
and hit the road, setting off on our route up the west
coast of Wales towards Aberystwyth. I had scouted


a few places using Google Maps that I think might
be picturesque but quiet and with somewhere to
park. One such place was Abercastle; a beautiful
bay with fishing boats bobbing on the sea. With
a break in the rain, we headed down to the water
and did some coastal foraging whilst Ruby had the
run of the beach to herself. We didn’t find much to
forage, but Ruby found part of a lobster’s head that
she paraded proudly for a while!
WONDERFUL WALES PART 1
Jumping back in the camper, we continue our
scenic route, climbing higher and higher towards
cliffs where we can see the weather rolling in from
the sea. Our destination is a working lighthouse
at Strumble Head. The lighthouse was erected in
1908 and replaced a light-vessel that moored in
the nearby Cardigan Bay. The tower is 55ft high
and one of the last lighthouses to be built in Britain.
When we arrive at the lighthouse there is one
other Motorhome there that looks like it spent the
night, the rocks under their wheels are a giveaway…
I don’t blame them though!!
The cliffs here are shear but beautiful. We watch
the lighthouse flash for a few moments before
continuing off along the coastal road to Fishguard.
Fishguard has a lovely little Harbour (presumably
the original fishing harbour) in an area called
Lower Town and you are able to drive all the way
along the harbour edge which is lined with pretty
houses and yachts bobbing gently in the water.
We park up and make a cuppa, watching the
surroundings for a while; there are gulls preening
on rocks and a cormorant fishing too. On our way
out of Fishguard, heading towards Cardigan, we
pass a dairy farm that is selling milk direct to the
consumer via vending machine! Another roadside
food purchase, perfect!


We decide to take the back roads between
Fishguard and Cardigan and end up on roads with
grass growing in the middle, the best kind for slow
paced Campervan driving, allowing you time to
appreciate the views and surroundings. On arrival
at Cardigan (and still in search of fresh fish!) we spot
a fish restaurant… closed. Ending up at a nearby
chippy for lunch, our search for fresh fish continues
as we head off from Cardigan to our campsite.
The next leg of our journey takes us further
North along some beautiful coastline and into
Snowdonia. Join us next time with more tales from
the driving seat

Member’s Motor – Kirsteen Creasey – Mou

For this edition of Member’s Motor, we look
at Kirsteen’s Bay, called “Mou.” This is what
she had to say about it.


June 2015 – Mighty Dubfest, Alnwick,
Northumberland… unbeknown to me, my
brother (at the Dubfest with his T4 Autosleeper)
informed Ron (my other half) that “she would
love one of those” – a T2. My parents had owned
a succession of 5 bay windows and a T25 in
the ’70’s, ’80’s and ’90’s, so I had grown up with
VW Type Twos! My 50th birthday was looming
and we started looking, we thought we would
have to head down south on holiday to be
able to actually view some. However, a chance
conversation at the classic car show at our local
heritage railway and I heard of a van for sale in
Alnwick (5 miles from home). It was RHD with
a pop top – my two must haves – only possible
issue – it had a Subaru Impreza engine! My eldest
son (petrol head) was concerned that as I always
hear a water cooled engine approaching, I might
be disappointed with the van. I decided that
as my daily drivers for 20+ years have been
Subaru Impreza turbos, that wouldn’t be an issue
(can’t imagine where my son gets the petrol
head from!!)
So three weeks later Mou arrived, bought from
the mechanic who had put the Subaru engine
in. She needed lots of TLC inside, her Devon
furniture had seen better days, but we cleaned
and scrubbed her up and used her as she was
for Summer 2015 whilst we decided what we
would like to do with the interior. Externally
she was painted ‘Landrover blue’ – the previous
mechanic owner had done a lot of bodywork
repairs which he then painted with what he had
in his workshop.


In October 2016 we stripped out everything –
furniture, panels, floor, roof bellows, passenger
seat etc and I had a very noisy drive south of
the Tyne to get her re-sprayed back to original –
Orient Blue and Pastel White. We then replaced
the roof bellows, the metal rods needed to be
taken out of the old bellows and slotted into
the new ones, I did this on the living room floor
(the only place in the house big enough) during
my Christmas holiday 2016. I had to cut the new
bellows to put the metal rods in – I measured
many, many times before making the first cut!! I
laid the floor tiles whilst Ron was recovering from
a knee replacement (that meant I could escape
to the garage!) Stephen, my eldest son, as well
as being a petrol head, also likes turning his hand
to anything, he made the cupboards and table (not bad for a scientist!). The cab seats, bed cushions, panels and
headliner were all completed by a local upholsterer and we fitted
them in.


I have taken Mou to a number of local classic car shows, in various
states of completion, people are always interested in what you have
done. We have enjoyed many holidays and weekends away – The
North Coast 500, the Welsh coast, annual visits to the Lake District,
to name a few. Hopefully we will get to Skye in 2021 (postponed
from 2020). We have been to the Mighty Dubfest, Beach Gathering,
Volksfling and Volkspower festivals regularly as they are relatively
local. Tagged on the end of a holiday to East Anglia we went to
Viva Skeg Vegas in 2017. On the end of our holiday around the
Welsh coast we went to Volksfest Wales in 2019 where Mou won
‘Best Bay’. After 17 years of living together, Ron and I got married on
27th August, we were already booked to go to the Budle Bay Beach
Gathering on 28th August for the bank holiday weekend so that
became our ‘campermoon’ obviously!


Whilst looking through photos on Northumberland Transporters
Facebook page I spotted a van for sale that had belonged to
my parents in the ’70s – it wasn’t the original colour anymore
but I recognised the number plate, so not content with owning
one T2, February 2020 I bought a second; but that’s a story for
another time….

Ask The Mechanic – 168 – Replacing the brake master cylinder

For this installment of The mechanic, we welcome a submission from Jonathan Bruton. You may recall his submission for issue TT166 concerning brake overhaul, this is the second chapter of that story.
Not long after I had put my tools away and given
myself a smug pat on the back for having successfully
installed new callipers and discs on the front wheels
of Mortimer Henderson (TT Issue 166), my ’73 Bay, I
happened to see a Facebook post from Nick Gillott
to the effect that the master cylinder also needed
replacing at regular intervals. The master cylinder, as
its name suggests, pushes brake fluid through the
lines to the slave cylinders at the wheels when you
hit the brake pedal, operating the brakes through
hydraulic pressure.
Anyway, I tried to ignore this unwelcome piece of
advice but could no longer do so when it became
obvious that the pedal was getting spongier by the
journey; when I finally got around to checking the
level of the reservoir, it had gone down quite sharply,
and I could see brake fluid dripping out of the hole
in the front pan beneath the pedal assemblies. So,
action was clearly needed.


Once the pan was removed, the first thing to do
was to locate the cylinder, which I had never looked
for or seen. As you would expect, it is bolted to the
frame beneath the brake pedal assembly, and the
brake pedal rod fits into it through a rubber boot,
which itself fits through a hole in the frame and is
designed to keep out dirt and debris. Two brake lines
lead away from it – one to a T-piece which then feeds
the front wheel brake assemblies, and the other to a
pressure equaliser bolted to the offside edge of the
frame, which feeds the rear brakes.
The main fluid reservoir crouches on it piggyback style and is attached via two nozzles that run
through rubber grommets. Finally, the brake light
switch screws in at the back (on my replacement
cylinder, there were two holes for the switch, and
a video I watched for the same job on an early Bay
showed two brake light switches, for reasons I’m not
clear about).


At first glance it was immediately apparent that all
was indeed not well. The boot was in shreds, and the
assembly was clearly leaking, presumably because
dirt had penetrated the seal. But replacing it looked
pretty straight forward, and I naively anticipated that
it’d be done in a single afternoon! It really needed
to be as well, because we only have one parking
space, which has the charger for our main car, a fully
electric Nissan Leaf, which we can’t use if it’s blocked
by a hulking great immobilised van! This has been a
point of friction between me and my long-suffering
partner in the past, but I blithely assured her that
there would be minimal disruption.
In this optimistic spirit, I ordered the replacement
part from JK and offered it up to make sure it was the
same as the one on the van, which it was. So now it
was a matter of whipping off the two 13 mm nuts
holding it on, unplugging the brake light switch and
undoing the two brake pipes, emptying the fluid
reservoir in the process. Yeah, right!
For some reason best known to themselves, VW had
opted for nuts and bolts rather than studs to hold
the cylinder on. Which would inevitably mean that
the whole bolt would just start rotating. Which both
of them did. With one of them, I could get a wrench
on the bolt head and get the nut off no problem.
The other one, however, was conveniently located
in a recess, making it impossible to access with a
wrench, so there was no way to hold the bolt still. In
the end I had to resort to a mechanical nut splitter to
remove the offending nut. With a bit of persuasion
by hammer, I was then able to loosen the cylinder
and start moving it backwards.
The next issue was with the two brake pipes. When
new, of course, the nut rotates freely around the
pipe. After 47 years of exposure to God knows what,
however, muck and corrosion do their worst, and
the nut sticks fast to the pipe. Once I’d been forced
to buy a new 11 mm wrench (inevitably, the only
wrench missing from my set was the one I needed), I
ended up doing what the guy in the early Bay video
had earnestly warned me I really didn’t want to do,
which was to shear both of the nuts right off. After
a few seconds of panic, however, I realised that both
sections of pipe were relatively short and could
easily be unbolted from the other end: at the abovementioned T-junction and the pressure equaliser.


Perhaps this kind of damage is more consequential
in an early Bay. Whatever, I then relaxed and let the
brake fluid drain out through the fractured pipe ends
into a handy receptacle below. My advice would be
to assume that these pipes are going to be toast and
simply order replacements when you order a new
cylinder; it’s no big deal.
So, having broken both pipes and removed the
retaining bolts, I took the cap off the brake light
switch and pulled the cylinder out, complete with
fluid reservoir. Now, this is attached to the secondary
reservoir in the cab by a length of plastic pipe held
in with two plastic hose clips, themselves secured by
two tiny cross-headed screws. These are a bit pesky
to reach, but I got the lower one out easily enough,
assuming I wouldn’t need to move the uppermost
one, and removed the whole assembly.
The reservoir plugs into the cylinder in two places, as
I said above, and it’s a very tight fit – which it needs
to be – so I had to use a screwdriver to exert some
leverage to get it off. No problem there. It was in
good nick, with no cracks or splits, so I could simply
reuse it. The new cylinder comes with the sealing
grommets, so you just have to use some elbow
grease to push the reservoir on. Just make sure you
get it the right way round! Once it was all in place,
I bolted the cylinder in place, having replaced both
nuts and bolts.
Annoyingly, I missed the delivery driver when he
came with the new brake pipes the following day.
That day being Friday, it meant that the van would
have to sit on the space until at least Monday. I
averted a charging-related roasting by offering to
take the Leaf up to the nearest charging station,
so harmony was restored. Monday came and
the eagerly awaited pipes with it. As they have a
diameter of 3/16 “, they’re very easy to bend without
kinking. The only issue here was that the length of
pipe that went to the pressure equaliser was only
just long enough, meaning that I had to carefully
plan the shortest possible distance.
Having removed the old pipes, it was then something
of an epic task to get the nuts to engage with the
threads at both ends – I would get one in place, only
to find that the other end simply wouldn’t oblige. In
the end, I had to loosen the cylinder body again, and,
after rather a lot of swearing, the nuts were finally in
place, and I could reattach the cylinder to the frame
and reinsert the brake pedal rod into the boot.
Surely it would now just be a simple matter of
reattaching the plastic pipe to the bottom reservoir,
refilling it with fresh fluid, and bleeding the brakes.
Ahem. Not quite.
To start with, there was the second hole for the
missing brake light switch. Not much point putting
fluid in for it simply to run out again through a
great big hole. As automotive bolt threads seem to

be narrower than their DIY counterparts, my local
hardware store was unable to provide a suitable
blank. Happily, they directed me to a garage round
the corner, and the chap there fished around until
he found a bolt with a nipple, which looked like it
came from a carburettor assembly, that had the right
thread and would do the job. Now, it would surely
all work.
With great lightness of heart, I tightened everything
up and started to refill the cab reservoir – only
to discover that the fluid was dripping out at the
bottom almost as fast as it was going in! Yes – it
was the hose. Leaking at both ends. Meaning that,
to investigate, I’d also have to undo the topmost
clamp, which was virtually impossible to reach
from underneath. Filing that away as a problem for
later, I replaced the pathetic little plastic clip at the
bottom end of the hose – where it joined the lower
reservoir – with a proper jubilee clip and tightened
it nice and snug. I then had the blindingly obvious
realisation that it would surely be possible to undo
the reservoir in the cab and lift it out to get access
to the clamp immediately below it. But I couldn’t see
how to release the reservoir. Fortunately, the Samba
came to the rescue, and I was soon undoing the two
little screws that held it in, which enabled me to lift
up the reservoir and shed light on the problem.
Sure enough, the hose at the top end was split, so I
trimmed it and replaced the plastic clip with another
metal pipe clamp. I also realised that the nozzle (I
can’t think of the proper word for the protruding part
the clamp attaches to!) and was supposed to have a
plastic sleeve around it to aid the seal, but this sleeve
was missing from both ends, so all I could do was
make sure the clamps were located on the slight
bulge in the nozzle and done up nice and tight.
And then – glory be! – the leak was finally sorted!
I filled her up and fetched my handy little Draper oneman bleeding kit, which is a bottle with a one-way
plastic hose that fits snugly over the bleed nipple
and doesn’t permit any backflow. When you’re lying
under the van, you can operate the brake pedal from
underneath and watch as the air bubbles shoot out
of the bleed nipple and disappear into the bottle,
to be replaced by a lovely golden bar of brake fluid,
which is a fine sight.
So, there it was. All done. Except that I couldn’t find
the cab fluid reservoir cap. Anywhere. I’m sure many
of you will know what it’s like not to be able to find
the tool you’ve just put down and to have to spend
ten minutes searching for it until you find it in your
pocket or somewhere. Anyway, as my frustration
and incredulity increased, I resorted to rummaging
through the recycling until I found the top of a
squash bottle which could be made to fit. Better
than nothing! Anyway, I could finally triumphantly
drive the bus off the parking space and swap it for
the Leaf, which I plugged in, thereby ensuring that
domestic harmony would continue without a ripple.
And then, there was the reservoir cap. Perched
on top of a wheelie bin, where I’d left it. Laughing
at me.
Jonathan Bruton

Dubside Summer Solstice photo event – together while apart

Another wonderful turn-out from the Club! Dressing up and Stone Henge appeared in many of our members’ photos, to celebrate the Summer Solstice, in lieu of our planned Isle of Wight Club Camp. That’s been put off till next year, but you can spend a few enjoyable minutes looking over these photos instead. No ice creams, though, I’m afraid…

See more on our private Facebook page, or on our Instagram page

Barry Paxton

On the ferry
Ann Eaton dressing in style
Derek and Christie’s one owner Bay window “Daisy” enjoying the Solstice sunset
Staying safe!
Ian Jennings with the BBQ going (jealous)
Kirsteen’s stunning interior
A mini dubfest!
Lorna and Nick and “stone hinge” (yes, we need to get out more)
Dressing up for Lulu Wright
Susan Drake enjoying a drink
Malcolm and Val (and Lottie) enjoying Stonehenge in their garden
Complete with their T25 Connie and the club trailer

Renewing the front brakes on my ’73 Bay, Mortimer Henderson

By Jonathan Bruton

CAVEAT: brakes are obviously safety-critical components, so only attempt this job if you are confident that you can do so safely! This is a personal account of a process and not an exhaustive set of instructions; the author cannot be held liable for any injury arising from accidents caused by a failure to carry out safety-relevant tasks properly.

Some while ago, in that pre-Covid world in which we could drive places (remember that?), I started to become aware of a tell-tale grinding noise coming from Mortimer’s nearside front wheel. There still seemed to be adequate braking power, nor was the van pulling particularly in either direction when I applied the brakes, so I wasn’t unduly concerned. But I thought I’d take advantage of the lockdown to jack him up, whip off the wheels and take a look at the callipers and brake discs.

The old caliper

You can imagine my horror when I saw that, in the first assembly I looked at on the nearside, the calliper pistons were frozen in such a way that the brake pads must have been forced up against the disc surface. The pistons normally only protrude slightly from the inner surfaces of the calliper, allowing enough space to snugly fit the two pads with a tiny bit of clearance. But as  you can see on the picture, the dirt seals – concertina boots that should move in and out with the piston and protect it from contamination – had long since perished and the pistons had accordingly seized up in extended position. On closer inspection, it also became apparent that there was zero friction material left on either pad(!) – what I was hearing was metal on metal. Whatever braking performance there may once have been was obviously a thing of the distant past! The disc surface was as scored and uneven as you would expect under those circumstances, and the disc was obviously beyond redemption. Things were a little better on the other side, with some wear left on the pads – although the fact that van wasn’t pulling to the right suggests that that brake wasn’t functional either. I toyed with the idea of trying a rebuild but, when it became evident that there was no way I was going to get the bleed valves free, I thought I might as well save myself a lot of bother by buying new callipers for both wheels along with two new discs.

The worn brake pad

The first job, of course, was to get the old callipers off so I could remove the discs. This was relatively straightforward. I first had to undo the two 17mm retaining bolts on the inside of the assembly. I then used a pin punch to knock out the two pins that hold the retaining spring in place before tugging out the old pads. It was then a question of pulling out the clip that holds the hose in place and removing the whole assembly from the disc, being careful not to place undue strain on the metal brake pipe that attaches to the calliper. I also needed to bear in mind that the topmost bolt has an unthreaded section on the shank closest to the screw head. The nuts were pretty tight, however, and I needed a torque wrench to get them off. According to the BUSARU guy, the torque is about 110 lbs.

The top bolt

The tricky part in getting the discs off was removing the two button head Allen bolts. Stopping the drum from rotating was an issue until I had the brainwave of clamping the disc to the backing plate. I managed to free up one bolt on each side by conventional means but soon found myself in danger (of course!) of irredeemably rounding off the holes in the other two in my desperate attempts to get them to budge. I even resorted to cutting a groove into one of them (and the surrounding metal) with a grinder to create a slot for a screwdriver. But nothing could persuade it to move! A quick appeal to the Samba revealed a range of opinions on the subject, from just drilling the heads off (the logic being that the thing was securely held in place by the wheel anyway and wasn’t going to go anywhere) to using an impact driver. I like to do things properly if I possibly can, so it was off to eBay to get myself an impact driver (can’t believe I’ve never owned one!). And, hey presto, a couple of whacks on each side got the troublesome little critters out. I took a quick look at the condition of the bearings, which seemed fine and well-greased, so I left them alone. I then fitted the shiny new discs to both sides.

The shiny new disc

The next job was to disconnect the old callipers from the brake lines. Now, as the brakes are safety-critical parts, I’d always shied away from doing anything that would involve having to refill and bleed the fluid. But, having watched a number of YouTube videos on the subject, I concluded that I had nothing to fear but fear itself and went ahead. It would have been a good idea to apply some WD40 to the nuts first, though: on one side, the pipe started to twist with the nut (which should normally spin freely around it), which promptly sheared off. So it was back to Just Kampers for a new 24-cm brake pipe (I swear I’m keeping that company afloat single-handed at the moment!).

Offering the caliper to the disk

With the old units out of the way, it was just a matter of fixing the new ones in place, torqueing up the bolts, and sliding in the new brake pads and backing plates, having first applied some anti-squeal gunk to both sides of the plates. Once they were both in, it was the turn of the retaining spring and the two pins (here I reused the old ones because the new pins supplied with the kits resisted my efforts to tap them into the holes). I used a pin punch and hammer to tap them home.

The new caliper in place

Then it was just a question of bleeding the brakes, replacing the wheels and venturing out for a short road test (keeping an eye out for the police – strange times!). Job done!

Kit acquired for the job:

From JK:

Front brake kit (discs, pads, fixings) £94.75
Calliper (nearside) £99.75
Calliper (offside) £99.75
Brake disc screws: £21.00
Morris brake fluid (1 litre) £11.00
Front brake pipe £15.00

From Amazon:
Impact driver £23.94
Holts brake cleaner £5.25
Ceratec anti-squeal paste £3.30
Starrett pin punch £4.39

Total for job: £378.13