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...