Monday, 31 August 2009

shopping list

so once the engine was out, we could see the full extent of the oily mess it was in

as one of the "known" causes for the oil leak was the pushrod tubes, Will decided to take it apart to see what was what and just kept going...

upon further disassembly, we found some rather important bits needed replacing including (amongst others);




This was all not good but better found now than en route...

I was dispatched to the garden to clean bits of tinware, and the crankcase and the heads were dispatched to a "properman" for further investigation.

Meanwhile, Will got on with ordering new bits which duly arrived, were found to be incorrect or faulty and had to be sent back and then were hideously delayed in being returned...

To deal with his frustration, Will got on with tidying the garage in preparation for the big rebuild....

Sunday, 30 August 2009

four bolts and some plumbing...

so when you buy a vw campervan, everyone says "oh don't worry about the engine, if it's really rubbish you can replace it for under a grand - it's just four bolts and some plumbing"

This undoubtedly true for your standard 1600 but not, as it turns out, for the 21 fuel injected federal spec van we love so much... with a new engine stacking up to be 2k with fitting on top of that, we decided it would be better just to refurb it ourselves - well at least when it goes wrong, we'll know which bit it is... :)

Fortunately help was on hand from Dave, without whose superior engine knowledge and skill (and X-trail jack) we would have been totally lost... ;)

Following a brief orientation session of what goes where and making sure things looked like they do in the book, the boys set to, leaving me to start scratching my paintwork.

Dave soon picked up the major duties of the chief apprentice role (finding things in the garage for Will) and he was very willing to crawl about under the van as directed which saved me having to do it for which I am truly grateful :)

Once all the big accessories were off, it was time to drop the engine and wheel it out from under the van. The encouraging instructions from the book "pull the engine slightly to the rear until the transmission driveshaft is disengaged then carefully lower the engine to floor level" didn't *quite* match up the reality of bits getting caught on things and halting progress, but eventually the engine was free and lowered to ground level ready to slide nicely out from under the van and into the garage.

Unfortunately, we then discovered that the ground wasn't actually low enough...

Having dismissed options 1 & 2 (1-pick the van up and 2- dig a hole in the drive) as being impractical at this time of night, we found that a combination of the extra height from the X-trail jack and removing the rear bumper gave us the millimetres we needed and the battle was won!

With the engine in the garage, the next step was to find out what was wrong with it...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Done and still to do list

So when we set out to buy a van, we had a budget and an ideal that whatever van we bought had to have; a solid rust free body, a good engine and the perfect interior - or at least two out of three ain't bad.

After a series of trips to see vans which got progressively better but further away with each one we decided to see, we found Jules only 40 miles away in north cambridgeshire and knew it was the one.

The interior is perfect, everything we wanted including walk through the the front, gas hob and grill (which is fed from an outside lpg tank), sink with running water, space for a fridge,

an easy fold down bed (rather than having to balance a mattress on the table like some dormobiles!), loads of cupboard space and a pop top for standing room.

The body is solid - freckles notwithstanding! - so that just leaves the engine and a couple of minor technical bits to fix...

Out of the original to do list, we have done the following...
  • the petrol smell by replacing all the fuel hoses (and the the hole cut into the bulkhead where someone else tried to fix this problem!)
  • the exhaust smell by sealing off the EGR
  • the gear change by correctly fitting the gear change gate
  • some of the loose steering issue by replacing the steering coupler, the steering damper and a pin thing
  • the water pump so it now turns on and off when you turn the tap on
  • the timing (although we have spoilt that by taking the whole engine apart!)
  • the interior electrics by adding an inverter so the 240v sockets actually work
  • the pedal rubbers so my feet don't slide off the clutch pedal any more
  • the engine bay wiring so the batteries won't catch fire
  • one of the battery trays
  • the rear door seal
  • the tires with proper bus rated ones rather than bulging car ones
  • the 25l water tank with a 10l one and gained half a cupboard
  • the seatbelts with retractable ones so you can now reach things safely whilst driving
  • the interior light with a home made funky LED panel
I have also made a start on the paint work - so poor Jules has two black eyes! - and we have fitted a mirror, a carbon monoxide sensor and "secret" cupboard and started the blog!

However, despite this long list of achievements, there is still a bit to do in the next three weeks including....
  • rebuild the engine - when we bought it, it was drinking oil faster than petrol and spitting it out again through the exhaust amongst other places - and was seriously underpowered for a 2l, more on this to follow...
  • replace front shocks
  • finish steering (possible replacement steering box required)
  • replace right wing mirror
  • fit fridge
  • fix the interior light switch so it doesn't turn on so easily and the lights are on different switches
  • add additional sockets and wire battery charger to external hook up
  • buy a keyring
easy.... must be time for tea

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Introducing Jules!

This is my new campervan called Jules!

Vital Stats:

Name: Jules
DOB: 1st Jan 1978
Nationality: America (Idaho) LHD
Engine: Type 4 Aircooled 2L Fuel Injected
Colour: Blue (with freckles and a go faster stripe)
0-60: yes!
Conversion: Riviera
- Walkthrough with poptop
- Sink with running water
- Two burner gas hob and grill
- fridge (yet to be bought)
- Sleeps 5 (!) , seats 4

The bodywork is solid, if a little "rat-look" (this year's in-look apparently!)

The interior is perfect.

The engine could be better, especially for a 2l and is drinking more oil than petrol - and spitting it out all over the drive :(

We have owned Jules for 7 weeks now and whilst we have done a lot there is still a lot to do, not least of which being reassembling the engine which is currently in pieces and scattered around the living room....

more on that to come :)