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mouseflakes

L300 Delica - Roof Repairs

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We moved house a year ago last May. It was only a short hop up the road from where we were renting, so I thought I'd get myself a vehicle to move stuff over a period of time (while we ran out the tenancy) rather than renting a van and having to do it all in a day or two at the end. I could even sell it afterwards and get my money back. The new house needed work (still does) so I wanted something big enough to take an 8x4 sheet in the back too. It had to be cheap - most vans seem to be over-priced (if you're used to operating on a tat-budget). I noticed that, while providing all that a van does and more, the Delicas seem to be a fair bit cheaper than the L300/L400 vans they are based on (export potential seem to push the price of the vans up).

 

The nice thing about the Delica was that it fit the bill for the move and we could keep it for 'family fun' days out afterwards, if it was any good. As it happens, the L300 I bought has been great so far...

 

 

P7080069-2.jpg

 

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It seems there are a few common (minor) issues that usually need seeing to on these. I'll probably mention a few of them that I've attempted so far later in this thread.

 

Ebay listings for these things usually say 'seats can folded be down into a bed - would make a great camper'. In all honesty, I've tried this and it doesn't. As a child, I once slept on the floor of a Wolseley 1500 travelling from Somerset to Surrey. From what I can remember, it was more comfortable than the one night I spent on the 'folded down into a bed' seats in the Delica.

 

I decided I should make a few mods so it could provide a reasonable night's sleep. Needless to say, the results of my efforts are really quite shite, but more comfortable than the floor of a Wolseley. I'll post some more about it later.

 

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As can currently be seen elsewhere on this board, I spent long enough living in a 2wd one of these - it was rather more 'Iranu' than the oh-so-plush 'Uvavu' spec Delicia, but it did the job.

I'd imagine a well cared-for Delicia is a most useful weapon, and not one to be kicked out of bed.

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These are nice but i keep getting warned off them because of 'chocolate head gaskets'. However its probably an itch i need to scratch at some point as they are cheap enough and way way cooler than a normal camper.

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These are getting mega value at the moment. Nice buy, I have a 2WD LWB van of 2001 vintage. Currently converting to a camper. If you come across a delica that's being broken let me know as I'd like to upgrade thefront of the van to more comforting place. Oh and if you need a rear bumper I have one spare as decided to keep the standard van bumper.

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Head gaskets aren't too bad on the L300 I don't think, as long as coolant is changed frequently. Downsides are a 2.5-litre diesel auto is not exactly swift and they have a timing belt. 

 

The much uglier L400 has a timing chain, but these can snap and they also crack cylinder heads. From what I've seen of the one my mate owns though, they will lap up abuse. 

 

L300s do have stability issues (unsurprisingly) but I'd still like one. 

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Headgaskets are only an issue because the radiators silt up and sit below the level of the engine- feel the rad when the engine is hot and make sure the temp is even all over, top to bottom. You'd be amazed in the difference in weight between a new rad and an old one, flushing helps but wont get all the crud out.

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On the drive home after buying it I was quite concerned by the lack of power. It was an Ebay purchase - sold as seen, so not much I could do (I was in a rush and have seen many better examples come and go for less since this one :sad: ). I checked the MDOCUK Forum and it turns out that the turbo wastegate commonly sticks open. I fitted a turbo boost gauge (I say 'fitted' - it just rolls around the dash on the end of a bit of tubing) which was showing exactly ZERO boost. Since I freed the wastegate and adjusted the actuator so it doesn't open so easily it has improved things no end. It'll never be quick, but at least I've no longer got queues of pensioners stuck behind me in their Civics. I also removed the EGR valve as that seems to be a recommended mod. Can't tell what difference it has made TBH, but doesn't seem to have made anything worse.

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Quite like the look of these (& the Mazda Bongo) ... see a few locals have them here ... does remind me of a Toyota Model-F

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I've never driven a delica (4wd) but remember the auto shoguns and they were dire. My l300 van is non turbo but is a manual and to be honest it's quite nippy. What it will be like when I have the camper stuff in - Who knows, look forward to seeing how you get on with this.

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Well - I've not made it so much a camper as a day van - with a bed.

 

My criteria were as follows...

  1. Must provide a comfy bed (well - more comfy than the 'folded-down Delica seat'-style bed)
  2. Needs some means to make 'a brew'
  3. Would be nice if the 'flexible seating' arrangement is retained in full (most Delica campers I've seen tend to do away with at least one row of seats - though admittedly many such are 'expedition' vehicles).
  4. All fittings should be temporary - primarily so the van can still be used to shift great stacks of 8x4 sheeting an 'ting - when needed
  5. Must cost less than a turnip.

Here's the list of things I wasn't too bothered about...

  • What it looked like
  • What it weighed (mmm - should've paid more attention to this really)
  • How easy it is to pick up splinters from the 'fittings' (mmm - ditto)

 

Here's what I've done (if you're a quality control inspector, I suggest you treat the following as NSFW)...

 

I built two big 'boxes' for the boot. Well - one small box (on the left, with the bog roll kitchen paper roll and water bottle in the bottom) and one big box (on the right, with the two big bits of dowel down one side (more about this later) and the tatty lump of orange sisal on top (ditto)). The smaller box holds the 'cooker' and has an extension to the far side panel, which slots into the end of the rear seat runner. This holds the unit in place all on its own - so I don't have to load the big box if I want to 'travel light' or take the dogs with us when we go. Both boxes are just dropped into place - the small one just has to be 'snuggled' into the seat runner and it's located nicely, the right one is just pushed in beside it and is then wedged in place quite snugly.

 

PB090003.jpg

 

From the inside, the rear seat looks like this...

 

PB090007.jpg

 

'Fancy a brew?'

 

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Yay!!! Breakfast bar!

 

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Next instalment  - '...and so to bed....'

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There seem to be a lot of conversions from 'sunnier climes' where all the facilities are accessed from outside the van like that. With our weather a post-walk tea break would see you with rain-soaked legs and chasing wind-blown family packs of Monster Munch across the countryside. That's why I opted for the 'Cosy-Cuppa'* indoor cook station.

 

**can also be used for 'instant noodle snack in a pot' type meals

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Bit of a compromise on the bed front.

 

As I didn't want to lose a row of seats to add a bed, I decided I'd need to store it at the front rather than at the back - where the rear bench seat remains.

 

Looks a bit cack like this. I might Velcro some carpet on it so it looks less like a make shift notice board. Would make it a little more comfy too. The bed is in two sections, hinged in the middle. It folds back on a pair of gate hinges (black steel thing in the bottom left of the photo). The hinge pins are bolted to the top of the engine bulkhead. One of the bolts holding the bed panel to the gate hinge can be removed, allowing the hinge to swing off the pin so the bed/notice board can be removed. The two sprung latches do a good job of holding the folded bed in place - and the seats in the cab prevent it from moving at all. You can also rotate the middle row of seats and push the backs right up against it if you're really worried about it jumping about in an accident.

 

PB090002.jpg

 

So, when it's time for bo-bos, you first have to level up the rear bench seat (you'll see why later). Note the 'squab' part of the bench seat normally slopes backwards. That strange wooden dowel contraption in the big box in the boot can be slid back through the box. Behind the box the two rods are attached to a big chunk of wood. You pull the orange sisal to 'unlatch' the rear seat (the latch itself is inaccessible with the box in place) and tilt the bench forwards. Simultaneously you push the dowel thing forwards to wedge the big wooden block under the back of the bench.

 

dowel.jpg

 

Hey presto! You now have a level rear seat squab (and a small hernia). This is important as it makes up the rearmost third of the bed (the seat squab, not the hernia).

 

Next you rotate the middle 'Captain's Chairs', fold them flat and slide them back so they butt up against the 'Tennille's bench' at the rear...

 

PB090008.jpg

 

 

Now, gird your loins once more (surgical truss advised) and 'unlatch' the folded bed (I should have made it lighter). This unfolds in a graceful arc and crashes down onto the prone seats, making the front two thirds of the bed.

 

PB0900x1.jpg

 

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...and yes, those are my soiled Y-fronts cast off between the front seats (I told you that bed was heavy).

 

Add scatter cushions and rustic curtains (and tidy away underpants) </KirstyAllsop>

 

PB090013.jpg

 

Resulting bed is well over six foot long and about 4 foot wide. Yay! Comfy(ish)!

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Brilliant ! Happen you should make it into a full time job - modifying the interiors of 7 seaters.......                  

 

:)  I'd end up with a full time job dodging lawsuits from customers for the injuries they suffer when preparing to bed-down...

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Oo sorry beko - missed this.

 

Those knobs and buttons are part of the 'Audio Stage'. Apparently it only works with the original head unit and, like most vans, mine has lost that. It has separate volume controls for the rear passengers, loads of headphone sockets and switches for different sources.

 

Since it seems unlikely ever to work, I might swap it out for a condiment cubby hole and ketchup dispenser to match the breakfast bar. I might retain the switches for different sauces.

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Right-oh. I'm being slowly driven insane by a mystery 'hum' from the Delica (audible rather than olfactory). I wonder if anyone might have any thoughts or similar experience that'll help me get to the bottom of it?

 

Initially it seemed pretty clear to me that the front (offside) bearing needed changing. Now, I've never actually experienced a worn wheel bearing but imagined this is how it might manifest itself. Basically it's a 'cyclical' hum in time with the wheel revolutions. I say cyclical because it's not a constant pitch at a constant speed but rather it's a 'wu-wu-wu-wu' - each 'wu' corresponding to a new revolution of the wheels. Bit like a washing machine on spin cycle.

 

So, I checked the front offside wheel for play - none at all in the vertical plane, but a fair bit side to side. This was due to a worn inner track rod - I could see the movement there quite clearly. So - I replaced the track rod and had the tracking checked and adjusted as I guess one should. This eliminated all play in the wheel, but the mystery noise was still there. So, I changed the front offside wheel bearings (inner and outer, races too) but the noise remained. I really thought the bearings would do the trick :(.

 

I know there's also a bearing where the front drive shaft passes through the hub carrier, but I don't use 4WD on tarmac surfaces (no middle diff so you can get wide-up in the transfer case apparently). I've checked, and the drive shaft definitely doesn't rotate with the wheel when in 2WD, so the noise can't be coming from this bearing. The only component where there's some 'rotation' in this situation must be inside the free-wheel hub thing that locks the shaft to the wheel when in 4WD, but allows the wheel to rotate freely in 2WD. In 4WD the free-wheel hub is 'locked' (i.e. the wheel rotates with the shaft) so that must mean there's no rotation inside the free-hub. So I tried a brief run in 4WD to see if the noise stopped but I'm fairly sure the noise was still there (it was only a brief check as I didn't want to bust the transmission). So - I don't think the sound comes from the internals of the free-hub thingy.

 

Brakes - well, They work nicely and there's no pulling when bowling along, so I thought they must be OK. However, the more I 'obsessed' with the noise, the more I noticed about it. It certainly seems to change tone when you apply the brakes. In fact - when pulling away from standstill the sound is not apparent until you build up some speed, but when braking to a stop it seems to become more noticeable right up to the point that you stop. So far I've removed the calliper and cleaned up the sliders. I've removed all the old traces of copper grease here and used plenty of the recommended silicon lube instead. I've also removed the rubber bellows from piston and run it in and out and generally cleaned it up until it rotates quite smoothly in the seal (was pretty tight originally). Now - I realise this is hardly a brake overhaul of any sort, but I figured if there was some binding going on this would have altered it at least a tiny bit, so a change in the noise would indicate I might be on the right track. But there was no change.

Now I'm wondering if there could be some slight distortion in the disc. Would perhaps explain the noise being in time with wheel revolutions and the behaviour under braking?

 

Well - this is the point I'm up to now. Other things I've checked - greased up the CV joints on the prop, run it with all four wheels off the ground listening for noise from the rear axle, put another set of wheels on in case it was tyre noise (now - the tone changed a bit with less aggressive tyres, but the noise was still there). I've asked other folks' opinions as to which corner it comes from. Most say 'what sound?'  :roll:  but my son agrees it's from the OSF. It changes tone when you run over undulations as the cab undulates up and down and also on left-hand turns when the weight bears on that corner.

 

So - sorry for the great long ramble. Basically I think I'm down to it being related to the brakes. I've no really accurate way of checking the 'trueness' of the disc, but wondered if this sounds like a likely culprit to anyone here (that hasn't given up and gone to look at 'Ebay Tat Volume 3' already). I've also read on the Delica forum that folks have changed their callipers and mystery noises have vanished, but discs are a lot cheaper so I thought I'd start there and come back to the calliper if no joy. It's a shame since I'm avoiding using the van in case the noise is something that's going to leave me stranded if it finally breaks. :-(

 

Right - I'm done, thanks for bearing with me - back to Ebay Tat with you now!

 

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Have to agree with Mr Shitpeas, had a similar mystery noise on the Princess that turned out to be a directional tyre (just one, all the rest were remoulds and other appalling horrors) pointing in the wrong direction.  Took me ages to figure it out.

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