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Rusty VW bothering - on the road again


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On 4/17/2020 at 5:18 PM, Zelandeth said:

I so totally dodged a bullet with that on my current van.  The silencer is basically an empty box as best I can tell with zero baffles.  It's...throaty.  However pretty much the only point in the rev band it's quiet is precisely at 60mph in top.

...On the motorway at 70 (honest...) It's not...though in full juggernaut mode at that point it's just one more layer in about 50 major contributors to the racket!

Also here's a photo of my old van.  She was an utter rot box (definitely repairable, aside from the outrigger under the offside tail light the underside was virtually immaculate), but it took me less than 30 minutes to get it running and driving after being abandoned under a tree for ten plus years.  Even the brakes worked fine!

The bodywork would (and one day might, she's apparently still patiently waiting in dry secure storage for restoration) take a huge amount of time to sort though as basically every panel was shot.  If I'd been sensible I'd have broken it for parts as soon as it arrived on my drive...however being such an early one I really wanted to do what I could to save it.  Basically everything from the sills (inclusive!) upwards though was rotten.

Aside from being so underpowered that she couldn't get out of her own way she drove really nicely actually...only real sign of disuse was an obvious divot in the brake discs once she'd cleared her throat after a mile or so.  Hopefully one day she might be restored, who knows!








Was a good fun diversion at the time though and I reckon I passed it on to the next owner with far more chance of survival than it arrived with me.  If I hadn't wound up with a certain other German van from the same era...


...I could definitely have seen me having another - though now I remember the cost of some of the parts I do somewhat question that logic! 

Would love a proper shot of one though.  Obviously mine never really saw the road in my ownership - only brief trip out was to a local welder to assess whether a couple of bits were actually repairable.  Their assessment was "Absolutely if you've got a few years."

Main thing I recall was that it rode astonishingly well for a van.

that brought back some memories! although I never really paid that much attention to the car side (although I do recall reading the odd entry here and there!) of your website back in the day, (I was in it for the lightbulbs :))

I do remember coming across the entry for that campervan and reading it with interest on how you unearthed it from the tree it lived under etc

(I think because it was the closest thing you had to a bus on there, and thats where my automotive interested were pretty firmly situated, at the time)

heres a link for those wondering :) 


I also seem to recall it had a couple transistorised fluorescent lights somewhere that struggled to strike their tubes when it was cold?


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  • 1 month later...

So I shut my door on my keys the other day, and rather than chipping the paint and bending my keys it just punched a hole straight through the wing, which appeared to be filler rather than metal. Bother. 

Out with the wire wheel:


hmm, wing seems to be held on mainly with filler. Needs a new wing really, but in the meantime:


some vactan and BIG BOY fibre glass and filler.......

Results to follow (assuming rain holds off!) 

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2 hours ago, bunglebus said:

Mine was ok in that area but lifting the rubber mats next to the seats revealed tyre rather than metal. 

All the panels are available for these if you feel like some angry grinder action

My seatbelt mounts are okay, but wheel arch and step need cutting out and welding - just bodged until I’ve moved house and have a drive, as welding in the street is strangely stressful. 

Totally smooth* and fixed*:


blended paint skillfuly into existing, invisible join


next I @TheDoctor matt blacked the bumpers




and then tinted the rear windows, coz I’m from Watford and a little bit chav inside


also undesealed the whole lot, but no photos as it’s just sticky black goo.

Next on the list, brakes. 

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18 minutes ago, TheDoctor said:

You see, I just think it tidies the car up so much when you do the bumpers. 

Van is looking good all round too. 

It really does - I haven’t bothered in the past, but it’s really made a difference. Thanks for the inspiration, although I couldn’t find any Poundland black! 

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So Father’s Day, and what better way to celebrate than to lay back, relax and fiddle with your nuts. In the street. Under the van. Because exhaust leak on the new exhaust ffs. 

It was supplied with those gaskets made of two layers of perforated metal, and a bit of board stuff in. Except apart from a few crumbs the board stuff has vanished:

so no clamping force left meant it had leaked a little* 

rummage in my box found a better gasket, and a smear of magic sealer and I think we’re back in business. 

Not massively impressed how stained my stainless steel exhaust already is


assume it’s meant to do this. 

whilst I was underneath I picked at a little scab of dangly underseal


 can poke my finger through the metal* so think that’s my next task....

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  • 5 months later...

Hissssss hissssss..... [clouds of steam] hissssssss etc etc 

hmmmm, so that’s either a bastard big snake with a monster vape pipe in the engine bay, or I have a water leak. 

A quick look shows a fountain coming out of the low water sensor in the header tank. To hot to see if it’s the tank or sensor. Both are new, so bit pissed off whichever one it is!!! 


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Today’s fascinating update. New sensor purchased and installed. Whilst fiddling with the coolant system I thought I would fix the small leak I had on the right cylinder head - access was easy* with just the alternator, oil filler, dipstick, engine mount, another hose and the crank pulley in the way:


It’s the sort of access where you can maybe do 1/16 turn of the nuts at a time. Plan was just to split joint and bung a new gasket in and tighten it back up. Gasket paper at the ready but:


arse - not a gasket but a bespoke shaped o ring thing. Closer inspection showed there was a bigger issue, the joint is plastic with metal inserts that go over the studs, which had corroded slightly, swollen and split the joint:


So new bits on order, including the proper tool to release hose clamps as there’s no access for mole grips, pliers or similar. 

slidy bit goes over the prongs on the clip


squeeze the handle bits


awesome. Cannot believe that I’ve never got these before especially as they were only 9.97 from eBay. 

I’d taken bits off to improve access, and on refitting made a slight error with the fan belt and fitted it in the spacer rather than the pulley, 7F120BEA-2E5A-4911-9BB0-B3D3562F4CBA.thumb.jpeg.2613842853eee338543a4633e4aba3bb.jpeg

and in 30 seconds shredded all the little lumps off. 


Fitted the spare one, filled up with water and ragged it round the block. No more leak, all good. Just need to add a bit of antifreeze now I know it’s not leaking and change the oil. Then it’s MOT time......

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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - it’s a big fat MOT fail

So MOT day is here. New tester, new MOT station. Top bloke, but it’s a fail:


he had it up on the ramp for me to have a good poke around which was handy.

Both front jacking points have gone from a bit crusty to too crusty, and the outer ends of the outriggers have holed. Not a massive surprise, been in the watch list for a while. they are a chronic mud trap so even under sealed and washed down frequently they are a weak point.

Front offside calliper has partly seized, looks like the sliders have rusted up so it’s worn a curious groove in the back of the disc, easy enough to fix, just needs sliders cleaning up and new pads and discs. Bit pissed off I missed this, looked fine around a month ago when I last was under having a poke around.

No idea what’s up with the handbrake, suspect that the auto adjuster has seized on one side TADTS.

So not a massive list, just need to find a few days now to crack out the sparkly stick. Just been told though that Christmas is family time, and not to get any ideas about doing it then!! Best hope that Santa brings me some sheet steel, two jacking points and some brake parts.....

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On 11/28/2020 at 4:12 PM, rusty_vw_man said:


Looks familiar. This is the breather off my Passat that I replaced in an attempt to fix a small oil leak (which didn't work)


Trouble is it's a really tempting thing to lean on when you're in the engine bay and it's too brittle for the job really

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  • 4 months later...

It’s been wet and miserable and I’ve been busy so time for old shite fiddling has been short. Finally got time to have a look at the MOT fail rust. 



Angry grinder shows it’s nasty inside:


Access hatch:


and now the rots gone along with a fair bit of van:5FA99C59-9A24-4E35-A052-A8B4D1A96510.thumb.jpeg.a5656e82fde8e3edbe67fb08c7f399fd.jpeg

the off cuts:


just waiting now for the postman to bring me some 2mm and 3mm steel and some more MIG wire and I can start making good.....

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  • 2 months later...

So long time waiting for the time to get onto this, but finally pulled my finger out and got on with it. 

I have no photos of this painful process as the welder was playing up, it just wouldn’t feed consistently so it was all splatters and uneven, plus gas less as outside and the new wire I’d got was cheap, but made mainly of smoke. The rage set in, but did finally find the ferrule on the wire liner had managed to kink in it which was the main problem. I then blasted through it all and only managed a few burns down my sleeves, in my ear (sizzly) and in my boot. 

This was quickly followed by new pads and discs and another test, which ended up as another fail as the callipers having been pushed back for the first time in years seized and created ‘excessive binding’. In no mood to mess around I got two new ones, and lines and flex is and whipped all that on. 

found why headlight adjustment was proving tricky as well, although the MOT man was willing to turn a blind eye - the PO had used some hidden wood screws to hold the lights in, which rendered the adjusters ornamental. Nice. New adjusters (HOW MUCH!?!) fitted and pointed vaguely forward got me this:


only took seven months. several hundred in parts plus £280 spunked to the men from the ministry to remove the SORN and I’m away again.

On the way home from the successful test it rewarded me by the speedo stopping working and the radio refusing to tune….. 

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Congratulations on the pass and kudos for working on cars in the street. It takes brass nuts these days to get out the big trolley jack and get under a car on a public road.  
Are you doing your welding on the street as well?

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1 hour ago, Skut said:

Congratulations on the pass and kudos for working on cars in the street. It takes brass nuts these days to get out the big trolley jack and get under a car on a public road.  
Are you doing your welding on the street as well?

I was until recently, but moved to a house with an area I can get it off the road. I’ve been lucky everywhere I’ve lived in that people have clearly viewed my car antics as endearing rather than annoying! 

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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - whoo hoo - road legal again
  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - why must you brake again?

So, MOT Monday go out on Wednesday to buy petrol and brake failure. Pedal to the floor, but some residual pressure so limped it home. Diagnosis: master cylinder.

Only trouble is that having got an MOT I have made plans to actually use it as a van, and these plans aren’t that flexible (taken leave to start some building work).

So thanks to 24 delivery, a new one arrived - it’s only money. Plan was to start straight after tea, but then the 5 year old bought head lice home from school, so spent a happy few hours nuking everyone’s heads because once I’ve seen one I can’t leave it a minute, horrible little things….
So when I finally got ‘me time’ it looked like this in my yard - dark. Yay. Could hear the local bar doing karaoke, sweeeet Caroline, do do do something sweeeeeeet Caroline…… followed by annnnd after allll your my wonderrrrrwallll 


New fluid went in last week, but it had turned to this, yummy:


New one fitted - yes it’s deep inside the dash and it’s impossible to work in without flooding everything with brake fluid:A5660A4E-F1B7-44C4-AEEF-7A53FBB1BAB4.thumb.jpeg.d17c7c9c1dfad84888b8afd1a797c5cb.jpeg

this while footwell was awash with brake fluid  - nice* but at least the floor is clean now:


Took an age to bleed as this bastard nipple was letting in air - so it was bleed fine, it just looked bubbly - if everyone could frown at this one dissapproveingly for me i’d be grateful


did find that an old bike inner tube was a great source of air for the power bleeder though, much handier than the spare tire. 

Just need to rebuild the dash first thing in day light and go and road test it, but I think I’m done. Best night out I’ve had since lock down….. 

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1 hour ago, bunglebus said:

One of my few irritations with VW design is tiny nipples. I like nice big nipples.

In all seriousness, 9mm bleed nipples are crap, especially when they have decades of rust on them and just round off. Hateful things.

These are a whopping 7mm nipples. The fronts are new, but the rears are old, didn’t even bother with a spanner, straight in with a set of baby mole grips. 

I’ve only done VW brakes, so until your comment I’d never thought there might be a bigger better way!! 

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Up again at 06:30, tidied up, refitted the dash, one last safety bleed (woo goo no bubbles) and test drive I had a firm and consistent peddle. 

More driving later to check further but it might be fixed. 

I hate working on brakes, can never shake that feeling of how critical they are and have a nagging fear for miles and miles that they aren’t fixed or might stop working!! 

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  • 2 weeks later...

So the brakes were sorted on the van and it’s been doing builder merchant duty for some diy for the last week, but today was a trip out - 80 mile round trip to see friends for a walk in the forest near Dolgellau. Drive there fine, but on the way back a tapping started - gentle at first, but progressively more aggressive. Matched road speed not engine speed, so started thinking CV joints, those newly replaced front wheel bearings or possibly a calliper coming astray.

Quick stop in a lay-by, scruffy clothes on (always carry scruffy clothes!) and a quick poke round. Culprit was finally located - wheel nuts on back wheel were a little* loose, looks like my tactic of never putting the hubcaps back on without a final tweak to check had failed me. 

Nuts done up we were away again, tapping all gone. 

Near home my wife congratulated me on all the work done, the quick fix and how well it was running and how good it felt to be using it again, but then spoilt it all by asking me what I thought would break next…..

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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - tapping driving me nuts!
  • 1 month later...

Been pottering around locally, DIY supplies, the tip, that sort of thing and it’s been fine. 

Middle sprog’s birthday treat was pepper pig world at Paultons park, a mere 480 mile round trip. Van was selected over the modern due to more space, more fridge and “a run will do it good”…..

It did very well, except the brakes developed a bit of an issue. From cold they work fine - inch or so of pedal movement before nice firm progressive braking. After about 90-120 minutes driving the amount of movement increased to quite a few inches, much less progressive pedal, quite a wooden feeing,  and slight* feeling of unease. However at this stage a second application returned a very firm and progressive pedal.

Checked for leaks and fluid level, all fine. Stopped for lunch, all cooled down and they were like new again. Pattern repeated all weekend. No fluid lost. No worse on long descents. No smells, hot wheels or signs of dragging. 

No idea what’s wrong, but figured duration must equal heat, lack of performance due to heat must be boiling fluid, so must have a bit of old fluid somewhere that needs seeing out - thought I did this when I changed the master cylinder, but may be not…. As above it’s got new master cylinder and calipers, plus new flexi hoses so there is a limit to what can be wrong.

Otherwise it used 500ml oil, did 22mpeegees and achieved a top speed of 71 mph (briefly!) 

Nothing at Paultons Park was quite as exciting as the first time the pedal dropped a bit further than I was expecting whilst doing 60mph towards the rear of an Aldi lorry stopped at some traffic lights…… 

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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - braking again?
  • 7 months later...

Been nothing much doing, just been driving around in it. However, we’re off on a 4000 mile road trip to see family in Finland in it, so some prep required. 

First, heat as it’s chilly in Finland, and the sprogs whinge it’s cold in the back.  So there are petrol heaters that would work nicely:

how much? Ex vat? You taking the piss?

Right to eBay - no petrol ones, but diesel ones for a much more shitter friendly price, which looks very very similar, almost like the webasto patent had just expired


it turned up looking looking suitably Chinese. The manual is hilarious. 

the fuel filter was possibly the ropiest item, and will need replacing


I have a raised area in the rear above the engine bay, which was full of tools and my special things (like rusty old nuts and bolts) so a quick clear out, a play with 127mm hole saw and it’s in:


heat out goes through the cavity and pops out into a little box I knocked up at floor level


I then converted a 5l Jerry van into a fuel tank - popped a tank pick up in, modified with a second pick up to act as a breather. Breather (the green hose) vents up through the rear pillar to the engine vent, clear hose goes to a pulse fuel pump behind the panel. It now sits in a neat cut out, easy to fill.


just need some diesel, but had just stuck a replacement solar panel to the roof so couldn’t move it as the adhesive was still wet.

Next up was the poxy exhaust leak. Been plagued by exhaust leaks at the head to exhaust joint since I fitted a stainless system a while back. One joint had been fine, but that started blowing. Hoiked it out


I see the problem, the middle has gone, and the metal bits also in poor shape. New gasket in, of a different type, let’s see how long that lasts. 

Next up is rear brakes, service, tyres and a quick bit of fibre glass action to ‘repair’ a split in the front wheel arch….. 6 weeks to holiday, not too stressed yet….


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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - feeling hot hot hot.
  • 4 weeks later...

So the rear brakes have started pulsing, and the hand brake has gone all shite - it’s either dragging slightly or doing nothing. 

EBay came up trumps for a complete set of drums, shoes, fitting kit, cylinders and handbrake cables. Surely everything* a man can need, right? 

First, find picture of where all the springs go, like this. The blue ones are savage.


old drum


it’s all scuffed inside, missing a few chunks and is beyond the maximum diameter. It’s had it’s day. 

someone has fitted new shoes though not all that long ago (must be PO). Leaky cylinder. 


11mm magic spanner, little twist on the brake union and 2FEB7844-B5CB-4F36-B5BE-C27D0914E3C1.thumb.jpeg.d3d7f6e5f2a6b91dd1baf4c812b698c5.jpeg

balls. My complete set of parts looks less complete now!! Fitted the rest of the bits on both sides anyway, will fit new line when the postman brings it…


I also noticed a crack in the badly repaired front wing, so gave it a poke:


hmmm, time for a new one, but not until after my holiday now (no time) so I’ll just use a smear* of filler to make good for now. 

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  • rusty_vw_man changed the title to Rusty VW bothering - fixing that pulsing pedal

Still staggered that after sitting for 10+ years that the brakes on my T25 all just worked.  Especially given that the backing plate on the rears was about 80% missing on both sides.  Like most of the van, she was *rusty*...Which isn't that surprising having been parked under a tree literally about 200' from the North Sea for over a decade!

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