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Tidy job there. Doesn't need to be absolutely showroom minty on a working vehicle I think.


Sort of what I'm going for on the Lada really - it's the sort of car which actually looks better to me if it looks a bit "lived in" I think. Same goes for a van I think.

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A brief photo-heavy update on the van! A minor annoyance was the lack of a glovebox light, so managed to rig one up with a compact switch.




Then I decided to make the sleeping space a bit longer by cutting holes in the ply lining. Unfortunately I had forgotten about the sliding door rail, so the cut-out on the nearside was eaten into somewhat.








Hatches cover the holes when not in use, so the seat cushions can remain velcroed upright.




I cursed my wonky jigsaw - I thought by screwing a batten to the wall and following that I would be guaranteed a straight line, but no. The blade kept jumping off the guide roller so time for a decent tool I think. Then I'll have nothing to blame apart from myself!


Then I tidied up the rear door frame - before:




And after:




I also changed the rear tyres:




Looks a little precarious up on a jack!




Jobs done and ready to roll :-)



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Nice job on the bed. I have a similar 'across the back' bed in my LDV convoy camper, I'm only 5'7" so won't need to go to those lengths though!

If you're doing that kind of job again you can plunge cut with a circular saw, if you have one, and just take out the last inch or so with the jig saw.

My camper is dark green/blue, it's a change from the usual white but I'm envious of your colour scheme, it really suits the boxy shape.

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We've made it to France now and as usual the weather is scorchingly hot (at least by Welsh standards!) No problems so far, all is going well. And it's true what they say; in bed those extra few inches really do make a difference! I can fully stretch out now without touching the walls.


Could this get any better?




Chod spotted en route:






We have a week staying in a house now - after 1200 miles at 55mph it's nice to have a bit of a base. Not sure the van is entirely in keeping with the surroundings though...



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Back home now, 2200 miles and the only problem is a chipped windscreen. That will be the 4th screen it's needed in my ownership!


A few photos which may be of interest:


Bulldozer in Norfolk



Camping friends!



Living the dream



Supermarket chod



Camper chod



Renault 4 van with its replacement behind



One of only 3 BXs seen in two weeks :-(



Charming little Renault Estafette camper



On Mrs 6C's recommendation we stopped at the derelict Aerotrain rail.









The heat was immense, and although the AC was on almost constantly I reckon it only brings the internal temperature down 10 degrees C or so. So when it's 40+ outside (we saw 42!) it still gets a bit toasty during the middle of the day!




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This was put to use at the weekend, towing a tiny digger for some work we needed to do in the garden. I'd have much preferred a bigger machine, but limited by what fits through the gate and archway. Handily you can even bring the tracks inwards to fit through a normal doorway!




At 1500kg probably a bit too much for stable/legal towing with the Stellar, so the LT it had to be.

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Minor tinkering this weekend, as the front fog lights had seen better days.



Not sure how old they are, but given that they state DDR on the front they would appear to pre-date the van. There is original wiring for front fog lamps, but doubt that VW would fit East German parts? So time for some West German decadence!




These are actually of a driving light beam pattern, which I will find more useful. So I might rewire the original wiring so they come on with main beam.


Then we had a night away over in Shropshire...lovely spot on the edge of a forest overlooking a valley.




Once the sun had set there was absolutely zero light pollution - not a single light was visible anywhere so we could have been the only people in existence. Bliss :-)

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This hasn't been used for a couple of months, but we slept in it last night after a Christmas party. It was a freezing cold night so were glad to be able to plug into the mains, and have electric heating overnight. Even the dog had a heater in her 'bedroom' up front!




It ran fine, part from occasionally dropping the rev counter signal to zero and stopping charging :-( First guess is sticky alternator brushes, as it only did it for the first half hour of the journey. But it doesn't inspire confidence, so I'm half tempted to put a complete new unit on as this one (a *really* cheap supposed new one) has been nothing but trouble. New brushes, bearings and regulator all needed in 50k miles. Maybe a reputable place would be able to rewind it for more output?

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Random question for you..


I've pretty much decided to go down a similar route to you with regards to climate control in the living area of my van.  I just can't handle heat these days...so air con will be a must have.


That all-in-one form factor is ideal for me as it means no cutting holes in a nice waterproof roof, not having to route cabling to Perth and back, and should fit in the storage compartment under the bed/sofa.  There's bags of space down there, even if I might need to move the mains switchgear and the gas heater a bit.  The van being set up for two means that rather than there being a bunk over the cab there's a massive locker - so the one under the sofa is barely ever used.


Plenty of room!






Do you know what make and model yours is, and roughly what you paid for it?  Will be making a start on hunting one down for myself soon, so would be useful just to have something of a ball park starting area...

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Mine is the Truma Saphir Compact, but Dometic do a similar underseat unit. Your van has more volume, so may need a more powerful unit - although is likely better insulated.


I paid £800 second hand, which looks a bit steep compared to the new price. But it comes with the Truma inverter, which I remember was incredibly pricey new! I did wonder about just buying an appropriately rated pure sine wave inverter, but was unsure whether it would handle the surge current of the motor starting - that causes a noticeable 'brownout' even with a 300 Ah battery bank!

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Thanks for that. Going to be pushing the budget a bit, but we'll make it work. I'm not really too bothered about being able to run it off 12V to be honest, as being realistically we're not likely to be spending much time off grid...and being wholly honest, if I put my mind to it I could probably gather the bits needed to retrofit the cab with conventional A/C for not a massive amount of money. Biggest headache there will probably be the heater box if it's different to the standard one. Will be able to see that soon as I need to take my heater apart to sort the blower fan anyway...ventilation in there isn't a massive issue thanks to huge windows that you can have fully open even at speed without horrible buffeting.


I have to admit that the engineer in me is wondering whether a somewhat cheaper solution would be to start with one of the conventional free standing portable air conditioners and hacking that up to make it fit into the available space...Though I suspect I'd need to cut lines so would need to get it vacced down and recharged by a HVAC engineer if I can find one...

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A couple of points regarding the AC - an engine-driven system would be more powerful, and more efficient for cooling on the move. I've rarely felt the need for AC over here, as the insulation and reduced glass area compared to a car mean it is relatively cool. The 12V operation is useful for keeping the dog cool if we have to leave the van somewhere though - but I do worry about well meaning people seeing her unattended in the van and breaking in!


Whatever system you go for, it made a big difference positioning the outlets higher up. So I'd advise choosing a position from where you can easily/neatly run ducting.

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I've noticed a recent rumble from the engine on this, so I reckoned a bearing was nearing the end of its life. I was fairly confident it wouldn't be the alternator, as I replaced the bearings in that last year. But water pump was a possibility, as that was done at 150k miles (i.e. 120k miles ago). But I popped my head underneath and reckoned it was coming from the power steering pump, so I slackened off the belt and sure enough it fell silent. I could feel play in the pulley too, which was a bit of a giveaway!


Unfortunately the only place I've found with the pump in stock is over 500 Euros :-(



Plenty of people listing it for £150-300, but out of stock. So at that price I think I'd be better off getting the original unit rebuilt, but that puts the van off the road for a while - and we're off to Europe in it at Easter. Will it last...?

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Not sure on the belt runs, but could you bypass the pas pump with a shorter belt? if so it might be worth working that out now and taking the right belt with you, just in case. 


On the other hand, I bet it's a fairly standard pump and the exact same one is £69 but with a different pulley on.

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Fortunately the alternator and PAS belts are seperate, so if the pump does fail I can just remove the belt.


Good point re the pump, I hadn't thought of that. Although it appears not to come with a pulley, so may not apply in this case. The 2.4 diesel is basically one and a half of the old 1.6 litre JX diesels, so I wonder whether a pump for one of those would be a good starting point?

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I'm not sure how long this has sat on the shelf, but £100 for a new (albeit dated 1993) genuine VW pump I'm happy with! :-D Plus time for an oil change so picked up a filter.




Still looks pretty much new after 26 years of storage:




I've done the oil and filter, but not the pump yet, as I got sidetracked fitting an undertray which I was given last summer. Anyone at FOTU may have seen this crammed into the back of the Stellar, which was only possible by unbolting the rear seat base and having one of the rear windows permanently open. I was praying it didn't rain!



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The old pump came off without a fight, which is more than can be said for the pulley! First of all I hd to drill out one of the allan screws holding it on (although that was my fault for not seating the bit fully).




Then the pulley itself was well and truly stuck on - had to break out the puller, which even with the tighten/tap/tighten method, ended up bending the rim slightly, so I spent about an hour straightening that out to prevent premature belt wear.


Then on with the new pump - accessed both from above:




And below:




Haven't been able to try it yet, as I drained the oil seeing I already had a container of new, waiting on the shelf. Only when I picked it up I'd for some reason put a completely empty bottle of oil back instead of binning it! I can only think I was keeping it to fill with waste oil for disposal?


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We've just had a very enjoyable Easter over in Holland. Saw the tulips:




Had the first barbecue of the year - the weather was equally scorchio there, so was great to sit outside and eat (although the campsite was a little crowded).




All went well with the van, but have a bit of a plan to help the AC bring the temperature down faster. It struck me that there's a fair about of heat coming up through the engine cover, so the cold air is constantly fighting against this. I've added sound insulation, but nothing thermal so I figured I will try and improve things before the summer.


When we got back to the UK it hit a minor milestone...not long to go now!



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That's one problem I'm surprised I don't have with my T1. The engine cowl seems to be fantastically well insulated - even after three hours blasting down the motorway and then coming to a dead stop.


Looking at that dash intrigues me...what lights are there in there lacking in silk screened legends on them. My Saab was the same. There were three "hidden" lights. Sidelight indicator, shift up, and exhaust temperature.

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Looking at that dash intrigues me...what lights are there in there lacking in silk screened legends on them.


In this case, very little! The standard panel (on the later vans at least) has various unused symbols, which bugged me as a constant reminder of what I don't have fitted:




Note the 3 diff lock lights, one for ABS, one for trailer indicators, and one for a roof fan. A while ago I took the dash apart, and removed the unused symbols with thinners - annoyingly damaging the trailer symbol in the process. So that had to go, and is the only working light which does not have a symbol. As nobody else drives the van, it's hardly a real problem (although I do have another symbol panel to go in...)


A bit off topic, but it struck me how few insects there are over this side of the Channel, compared to what we encountered on the recent trip. I don't regularly have to clean up the front end when on trips over here, but there it was like driving through a hail storm!




Cross the Channel, and bombardment ceased :-(

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Ace! It's a satisfying feeling to be able to just get up and go. Your van looks really smart for the mileage, I'm sure my LDV will be pretty crusty by then!

I've taken to keeping a bottle of Mr Muscle glass cleaner in the door bin, I'll clean the insects off while I'm in the Chunnel and if I stop at services.

Do you have any interior pics?

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I keep a bottle of glass cleaner in there too - partly for flies, and partly for where the dog leaves nose-prints on the inside...


There's a couple of interior photos on the previous page, which show the layout at least.

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One minor annoyance with the AC was turning it on from the cab. You have the switch to start the inverter...


...but you also have to turn on the AC with a remote control. I'd mounted the 'eye' for the remote in the living accomodation, but it quickly became apparent that a) this was a PITA to trigger on the move, and b) if I'd put the 'eye' on the dash it would be perfect to access from anywhere in the rear anyway!

Problem was, there was nowhere to mount it. All my switch blanking plates were full, and there is nowhere flat on the dash to use. So I had half an idea about removing the ashtray (which I don't use), and making up something in that space.


The remote receiver is designed to fit into the CBE range of modular caravan sockets/switches, so I measured up and by some stroke of luck the space left had the perfect dimensions to accept a double frame!


I've got a blanking plate on the left, which I may fit an in/out thermometer into, or something (I dislike blanks!) But overall, pleased with the look.

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Minor update - the front tyres were getting a bit worn so time for replacement. I'd had a fairly short life from the Kumho 857s before the sidewalls perished, and the Hankook Kinergy had worn out in less than 15k miles, so I thought I'd try a new van tyre from Toyo which came out last year:


(sorry for the fuzzy photo)

The MOT was passed last week, with just a couple of advisories:


The ball joint is the only one I've not replaced in 13 years, so I can't begrudge it that, and I had noticed the wishbone bushes had started to speak. Although I changed them last in 2009, it's only 50k miles or so, so I'd maybe have expected a longer life?

Anyway, have got the bits; will do the BJ before summer, but the bushes seem to squeak for a good while - they reckon there's no play as such, just a bit of deterioration. So perhaps that can wait a while.


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On 4/27/2019 at 12:14 AM, mat_the_cat said:

 a bit of a plan to help the AC bring the temperature down faster. It struck me that there's a fair about of heat coming up through the engine cover, so the cold air is constantly fighting against this. I've added sound insulation, but nothing thermal so I figured I will try and improve things before the summer.

First part of this plan was to install some solar film on the cab windows. You can get this in various grades, but the basic idea is that it cuts out a significant proportion of the infra-red rays, but lets through most of the visible light. So given that most of the van is well insulated, I want to cut down on the sun's heat coming in through the windscreen.

Even with the aid of soapy water, manhandling a 2 x 1 meter sheet of sticky film inside the cab was rather tricky! With hindsight I thing I'd have adhered one edge on the glass without the soapy water, then removed the backing film as I went along. But I got it in:


Then I squeezed out the water, to allow the film to stick:


I'm not 100% happy with the end result, as if you look closely you can see imperfections, but not you can notice while driving. I need to replace the screen at some point, so If this makes a big difference I will apply film to the new screen before fitting. Anyway, this is the end result - just waiting for some strong sunshine to test it! You can see how some of the visible light is reflected, the effect of which is magnified at an angle.


We made a trip over to Shropshire this weekend, but although the weather was a lot better than Wales, we didn't get any strong sunlight while we were in the van. Went to our usual spot in the hills, and arrived just in time to watch the sun go down.


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