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Is it just me or does that gear lever look about ten years too new to be in that cab?  I realise it's not really given the actual age of the van, but it just looks oddly modern.

Shameless behaviour ripping off the Afterburner, though I wish I could say I'm surprised.  Always the risk when you put something like that out there in the open domain.

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  • 1 month later...

Well, after 14 years and 75k miles, for the first time this has needed roadside attention whilst on a journey! We're on a minor European road trip after visiting the Field of Dreams, and first of all crossed into France on an eerily quiet Eurotunnel train. This was the restaurant building!

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Managed to find a few quiet spots on the way down, as looking at the rules you are allowed to pass through France, and so long as you don't mix with other people, don't have to quarantine upon return.

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This was a lovely car park next to a river, and had it to ourselves. It go me thinking that we prefer to avoid campsites not because we have to pay, but because we'd rather find somewhere away from people camping next to us! I'd gladly pay double for a spot like the one above! 

Compared to a campsite like this one just over the German border:

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(Albeit with nice views and sunset!) Surely there's got to be some market for a campsite, with individual secluded spots, so it feels like you're the only one there?

While passing through France I was just about to pull over when the engine cut out. Less than ideal when you're relying on it for transport, charging the batteries to power the fridge, and to run the AC. No strange noises, so inclined not to think a catastrophic pump or belt failure, but without a multimeter I was unable to prove whether I was getting 12v at the stop solenoid. 

Rummaging around I found a length of wire so rigged up a temporary supply directly from the battery and it started! But then cut out again, seemingly at random. In the end I removed the plunger from the solenoid which did fix it, although surprised it has failed again in my ownership.

Crossing into Germany I thought finding one for a Bosch VE pump would be simple, but you'd have thought I was asking for a drive belt for an Invacar with the responses I got. Even pulling into a Bosch service centre I was told no, and that I'd have to go to a town two hours down the road!

I've ordered one from Autodoc to arrive at where we are saying for a while (a log cabin in the Black Forest) so hopefully that will arrive in time.

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After nearly a week, the new solenoid finally arrived from Autodoc.de - I'd expected faster with stereotypical German efficiency, especially after paying 7 Euros for delivery! 

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It was a simple job to fit it, and now all is working as normal, so I no longer have to embarrassingly stall it to stop!

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All else seems good under the 'bonnet' - no obvious leaks at least!

Yesterday I met up with an old friend who owns a proper 70 Series Landcruiser, which I unfortunately didn't manage to get any decent photos of!

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But it's a proper solid old truck which he's shipped back from Tasmania where he used to own it. 4 litre straight six diesel which feels like it will go on forever.

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Ever since I've owned this the front ARB bushes have looked a little perished, but never seemed to get worse or have any detectable play. I'm now questioning whether I have been able to apply enough force to satisfactorily check for play against the loading of the suspension!

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I'd noticed a clonk yesterday, so jacked it up to check, and I *think* I may have found the cause. Fortunately it's from an era where you can buy just the bushes rather than the whole link, and at £1.30 for a genuine VW bush I think I may splash out and do both sides.

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The bushes arrived this week, so I set to replacing them. I decided to do the whole lot while it was in pieces, although wished I hadn't when the first fastener sheared off! To be fair it's the first one to do so in my ownership I think. Drilling out wasn't too bad, with the aid of a jack:

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But tapping it again was slow due to limited access. Eventually it was back together though (position has now settled after a few compressions of the suspension).

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Just in time for a trip to one of our favourite spots, which has yet to become overrun by crowds. Only a matter of time before the location is posted on the internet somewhere, and it'll be full of litter, then up will go the height barriers :-(

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Whilst underneath, I noticed one of the front dampers was a bit oily, and come to think of it, the ride is possibly more wallowy than it used to be...

Pattern dampers seemed to be around the £120 mark for a pair, and an eBay search including the word 'genuine' didn't bring up any results :-( However, searching for the VW part number scored two promising hits, each listing a single damper though. One for £40, in UK, and another in Poland for £75. Result! Slightly cheaper than pattern parts to boot! I fired off an email to both sellers to check whether either had a pair available, but both were selling singles - although shortly after their replies they offered me a lower price. £35 and £60, so I hit the BIN button :-)

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Easily fitted last night, apart from the last bolt which sheared off. Managed to get it out by welding a nut onto it, fortunately.

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 Taking it for a drive tonight revealed the old ones were well past their best! It's amazing how you adapt to a gradual deterioration, especially when you don't expect much from the handling anyway. I reckon it's now driving better than it's done in my 15 years of ownership.

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I meant to say, there was no mention in the service history that the dampers had been changed, so I wondered whether these were the originals. After giving them a wipe down, it seems like they could be:

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No idea why they are green, and the replacements (with exactly the same part number) are black though. Here's to the next 280k miles!

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