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Tag Archives: 5-speed gear box

To Do…

We don’t need to do much to get Red back on the road…

  • Charge the battery and get it back in the van!
  • Replace fuel lines (after RAC man clipped through them…idiot)
  • Revive breakdown insurance
  • MOT…and whatever else that entails
  • Tax
  • Get someone to pass a verdict on the gearstick…and then maybe get it replaced.

…but there’s a lot of things that we need to do, and that we’d like to do, and this is just some of them…

– Door and Window Seals

This is actually quite an important job, and although the current seals are holding up enough to keep water out, they look terrible and really need replacing. Most of them are cracked and broken, and they make the van look very shabby and uncared for. It wouldn’t be an expensive fix, it’s just the time it’ll take to get all the windows out and back in again. Luke is really keen to do it, and we have friends and family who can lend advice and help, but I’m reticent.

– Interior Finishings

There’s quite a few places on Red’s interior where little bits of trim have come away from the van and need to be tacked back down. This includes (but is not limited to) several pieces of plastic that cover the exposed chipboard on the edges of cupboard openings, and the carpet that covers the edge of the top bunk (the bit you pull on to slide it out). You can see the overhanging carpety bit in the second picture down. This is incredibly minor and very easy to fix…so it’s way up on the list.

– Foam and Upholstery

As I’ve said before, Old Red spent part of his life as a rental van, and so has been slept in by lots of people. Consequently, the upper mattress and the back seat/rock’n’roll bed are both looking pretty tired and have become threadbare in places (to the point of now being a tear).

Threadbare "upstairs" mattress...

Threadbare “upstairs” mattress…

Despite this tear, and the thinness of the mattress, the top bed is REALLY comfortable. I’ve slept in it a few times and had a great night’s sleep (admittedly, I was very drunk), which is more than I can say for the rock’n’roll bed, which is much thicker, but no where near as comfy. The foam can’t be as dense and so you (well, I) end up with sore spots if you stay in the same position for too long.

The back part of the bottom bed that covers the engine compartment has become broken too. It has a tiny wooden over hang that goes down the very back of the van inside the tail gate. I’m not sure why it’s there, and it was attached very precariously…

How the over-hanging part is supposed to look...

How the over-hanging part is supposed to look…

How it looks now its broken...

How it looks now its broken…

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Close-up of where the part that over-hangs the boot has snapped away from the base of the bed…

When I take the bed out to open the engine hatch I always make sure I put this part down carefully so that I don’t break the over-hang away from the base of the bed, so I can only assume that this was the handiwork of our RAC man from last year! Nevertheless, it’ll have to be fixed as it prevents the tailgate from closing properly, and when we do it we might as well get new foam and fabric, and have a brand new seat/bed made.

– Curtains

When I first got Old Red, I hated the curtains and wanted to change them. Two years on and he still has the same coral coloured velvety curtains that he had when I bought him and I still hate them.

Clingy curtains of doom...

Clingy curtains of doom…

Most of the curtain hooks have disintegrated in the sun and so they look really untidy when they’re pulled back, and have worrying gaps when they’re meant to be closed. The ones on the back windows are supposed to tuck into a curtain wire so that they don’t hang in your face and let people look in on your sleeping head, but they don’t tuck in properly, and the ones on the side (pictured above) have mostly come undone from all their little rings (pictured below) so they hang loose and cause you to accidentally flash your bum to passers by…

Renegade rings, running free from their curtains...

Renegade rings, running free from their curtains…

…and if all this wasn’t bad enough, the fabric is like velcro on clothes, so one wrong turn in your pyjamas can leave your entire van exposed to the outside world. Not good when your cabin-mate is making tea in the semi-nude!

I’m not sure what we’ll do to replace them yet, whether it’ll be new curtains, blinds, or some other creative alternative that I’m still trying to work out (more on that later), but it’ll be soon!

– Engine

At the moment Red is rocking a 1.7 diesel engine that drinks an AWFUL lot of oil. I spoke to the garage I bought it from and they didn’t seem to think it was a problem. At first I was worried it might be leaking through the turbo seal, but they assured me that this wasn’t possible if your engine didn’t have a turbo. Silly me!

Just to be sure I had a local garage check it out, and they agreed that it wasn’t a problem unless you didn’t like buying oil and topping it up every 200 miles. Some engines use a lot of oil, and Red’s engine happens to be on of them.

As he’s such a big and heavy beast with such a bijou engine, he doesn’t go very fast and he really struggles up hills. It’d be nice to replace his engine with one that went a bit faster and didn’t consume quite so much of the golden black stuff. Our friend has a spare BMW engine that we could use (as you do), but it’s a case of being committed enough to do it. That’ll be a massive project, and one that could end up creating more problems than it solves!

– Paint Job

Old Red, or Van Burgandy as he’s often known (we’re both massive Will Ferrell fans) is currently red all over, and is unfortunately peeling in a few places down to poor resprays and failure to use primer on certain parts. In today’s cleaning odyssey Luke managed to clean a large piece of paintwork to reveal black plastic wheel arches. Bad show paint person.

It’d be wonderful if we could have him completely resprayed, but I know what a huge task that’d be and so I try not to let myself think about it too much. It’s a distant dream, but a dream all the same. I just wonder if he’d still be the same van if he was a different colour?

 
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Posted by on July 31, 2014 in Lists, Van Maintenance

 

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That Really Grinds My Gears…

We left Barefoot on Monday, July 29th, heading for the sea with another day of holiday ahead of us. As I said before, we hadn’t wanted the festival to end, and so we’d set off for the east coast with Kings Lynn and the seaside in our sights.

We didn’t have a campsite booked (or even planned) and we weren’t even sure of where we were going, and so when we spotted a sign for a farm shop we turned off the beaten track and onto a country road. The fabled ‘shop’ was a van on the side of the road that sold a few rotten looking vegetables, so we kept on going to civilisation and eventually found ourselves pulling into an Aldi store in Wisbech.

We pulled into the car park with no problem and headed inside to buy all the essentials that we needed for the night and morning ahead (bacon, sausuages, a kite and a diabolo…as you do) and prepared to get back on the road.

…and that’s when we hit our first problem…

I’ve moaned about my clunky 5-speed gearbox and difficult gear-stick before. I always have trouble getting it into first and reverse is almost impossible…but this time it was a million times worse. Instead of plain old refusing the slide up into reverse, the stick was kind of twisting and bending in a very worrying manner. It felt like it was broken. After pulling up the collar and giving it some closer inspection, we found out that is WAS indeed broken…

The weld that connected the stick to the linkage was not only very badly done, but was also cracking and letting the stick turn around on it’s thread. Oh dear,…

Rather than try and force it into reverse and break it completely, Luke pushed us out of the space and I got the van into first, planning on limping it to a nearby garage.

…and that’s when we hit our second problem…

Just as we were pulling away the gear stick went SPLAT on the floor of the van and we were stuck in first. Oh deary dear…

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And so, at 5.15pm, just 15 minutes before most garages close, over 100 miles from home, we pulled into another parking space and began ringing around to find someone who could help us…to no avail. Eventually we called the RAC thinking that our adventure was over before it had begun.

The RAC man arrived incredibly quickly, and was a lot more helpful than we’d imagined he’d be. He told us that he couldn’t tow us (they’d done their usual trick and sent an entirely unsuitable response vehicle out), but he was more than willing to get us into second gear and limp us along to a garage. Not only that, but he knew a garage nearby that might still be open, which was on the same estate as his mate’s welding company. Result. If the garage was closed then we’d have to camp there overnight and his friend would be more than happy to weld us back together in the morning.

It was a great plan, until he realised how difficult it was going to be to get the van into second gear, and so he asked me to start the engine to see if that made it easier…

…and that’s when we hit our third problem…

Old Red wouldn’t start.

Nothing.

The hazard lights wouldn’t even come on anymore. The battery was dead, maybe from the fridge being set to 12V throughout the journey, or the fact we didn’t have an earthing strap attached to the bodywork. The helpful RAC man started us up by connecting jump leads to the battery and the bodywork…

…and that’s when we hit our FOURTH problem…

He didn’t connect the bulldog clip to just the bodywork. No. He connected it to the bodywork via one of our fuel pipes. It was only when Luke asked why there was diesel spilling everywhere that he even noticed he’d done it. Needless to say, I was not overly impressed with him at this point and time was marching on.

Before too long the pipe was trimmed and reconnected, we were in second gear, and we were following silly Mr RAC man out of the car park and along the four miles of road to the garage. At 10 miles an hour. It was 6.20pm by this point and I was already looking at nearby hotels and trying to work out if we could afford to sleep somewhere that had a toilet, rather than in a car park. There was no way we were going to get to the seaside that night…

And then we pulled up here…

Cannot recommend these dudes enough

Cannot recommend these dudes enough

Michael Motors, Unit 1, 62 Weasenham Road, Wisbech PE13 2RU…if you are ever in Wisbech and in need of the help of a mechanic, these are the guys to turn to! Admittedly, the first guy Luke spoke to said ‘tomorrow’ in a very gruff voice, but his colleague very helpfully pointed out that they were there, and we were there, and they might as well do it right then so that we could get on our way and not have to camp on their forecourt overnight. 

And into the garage we went…

Back in a garage...again...

Back in a garage…again…

One earthing strap, a bit of expert welding, and £50 later, and we were ready to roll again. I was beside myself with joy (and, honestly, disbelief) and thanked Michael and Thomas for their kind help. Luke tried to give them extra money for a drink but they refused on the grounds that if they drank they wouldn’t be around to do late-night fixes. They’d be at the pub.

I called them angels but they refused that too and said that they like to help wherever they can. Michael told me that he’d once leant his car to a woman for three days because she’d broken down with her kids in the car and he didn’t have time to fix it for her then and there. Once again, I told them they were angels.

Back in one piece again!...for the time being

Back in one piece again!…for the time being

…and so our mini seaside adventure began…

 

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Mission…IKEA!…

I’ve been living back at my Mom’s house for just over eighteen months now, and for that whole time I’ve ‘lived’ in my tiny pre-uni bedroom. I have a LOT of clothes and a LOT of stuff and consequently my bedroom (and the landing outside my door) resembles something off Britain’s Biggest Hoarders…

In the past few months I’ve been feeling far more positive about sortin my life out, but it’s been a hard task to overcome my procrastination. Last night I decided I was going to buy the bookcases I needed to start organising my room and so hit the IKEA website to place an order. Imagine my horror and dismay when I discovered that nothing would be delivered until the day we’re leaving for France (which is actually only next week…eep)!

What’s a girl to do?

And then I remembered that I have a big red hero standing in the driveway. He may be fitted out as a camper, but at the end of the day he’s still a van…and so Mom and I set out on the 70 mile round trip to IKEA in Coventry.

It’s different to the other branches I’ve been to (Wednesbury and Nottingham) in that it’s been squished into a town centre, and so has several floors. The car park is mostly inside the complex and has to be paid for, but Red was far too tall to get under the barriers. Luckily, the parking for high-sided vehicles was free, plentiful and blissfully empty.

Once inside, the lifts will only take you up to the showroom, and then you have to make your way to more lifts/stairs to go down a floor to the market hall. It pained me, but I went straight to the stairs and bypassed the entire showroom! Me, 1….IKEA, 0.

As we wandered through the market I ended up filling a shopping bag with lots of essentials that I hadn’t known I’d needed until I’d set eyes on them (tupperware, cork saucepan rests, storage boxes…all for the van), and eventually we found a travelator that took us down to floor 4 where we could pick up the large goods and pay. It was then I realised that I could have gone straight to floor 4 from the ground, and so I’d effectively been duped into doing extra shopping. One all.

BILLY bookcases are 2.02m tall and so I knew the boxes would be big, but I wasn’t expecting them to be anywhere near as heavy as they are. Mom can’t do heavy lifting and I don’t like asking for help AND I don’t read things properly…and so I had to struggle boxes off the shelves and onto the trolley, and then back onto the shelves again when I did silly things like pick up the wrong models or the wrong finishes. I did rather a lot of swearing.

Eventually we got everything I needed and managed to make it to the tills without knocking down any displays or causing anyone an injury….and then it was time to try and get it all into Red…

The pneumatics don’t work on the boot hatch so someone has to stand and hold it open (avoiding the water that drips out of the bike rack) while someone else packs all the stuff in. A very nice man came to our rescue as I was trying to get the first box up onto the bed, and within a few minutes we were ready to get back on the road again!

Less than four hours after we’d set off and we were home safe and sound.

I still haven’t topped up the fuel tank from Beat-Herder, the mileometer is on just over 400 miles, and the fuel gauge is still above the red. I’d expect my car (1.9 Golf TDi) to do about 420 miles on £60 of fuel, so I’m REALLY pleased that Red seems to do almost as well (if not better!). I do drive my car like a demon though, so Red’s fuel consumption probably owes to my slow acceleration and top-speed of 55-60mph when I’m driving him. I just don’t feel the need to rush around when we off on an adventure together.

I checked the oil before we left and – although there weren’t any drips on the driveway – the oil was a little low. I must be losing quite a bit whilst we’re driving along so I really must check that the filter is on tightly before we set out for Portsmouth next Friday. The oil cap came off really easily (which was nice) and I topped up the oil using a piece of folded tin foil as a makeshift funnel. It wasn’t brilliant but it made far less mess than trying to pour it in straight from the bottle. I need to find a suitable tube to make life even easier – I was going to use one off a fuel can, but they all smelt diesel-y so I didn’t trust them enough to pour oil through them.

I’m sure I put enough in (maybe I didn’t) but I had the same problem with the oil light that I had on our last journey. For the most part everything seems fine, but when I’m approaching a junction and I’m changing down gears and holding the clutch in, the oil light starts flashing. I don’t know why it only does it at this point, or why having the clutch pressed in makes the oil level change, or if it’s just a loose connection. What ever it is I need to get it sorted out before France! I’ve become a member of the Club 80-90 forum so hopefully someone on there will be able to give me some advice.

I also had some issues with the gears. Reverse is INCREDIBLY hard to find and I’m not sure I’ll ever get the knack of it. There doesn’t even seem to be a trick to it…sometimes if I put it down into first and then push it up into reverse and it slides in like a dream, but nine times out of ten it won’t help at all…and sometimes if I depress the stick that’ll help, but most of the time it won’t make the slightest bit of difference. Second gear can sometimes be a bit difficult to get to from first too, and although I didn’t have any trouble on the way there, I kept putting it into fourth  the way home and we had a few juddery moments at traffic lights before I got the hang of it again. I’m hoping these things are only indicative of my crappy gearbox skills and NOT a sign that the gearbox is giving up…

But all in all, another successful trip, and it was lovely to have Mom as a passenger too…even if we were only going shopping.

IKEA…book cases acquired…hotdog eaten…mission complete!

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2012 in Random, Van Maintenance

 

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