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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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Old Red Will Ride Again!…

A year on from our Barefoot/seaside adventures, and poor Old Red has been off road for 12 months. Life has gotten in the way again, and we’re both feeling bad for our neglect, but we’re putting a stop to it!

Today has been…VAN DAY!

We got quite drunk last night and slept most of the day away, but that didn’t stop us!

We’ve been scrubbing and spraying and sorting…

Mouldy mattresses...again...

Mouldy mattresses…again…

I'm coming to get you Spores!...

I’m coming to get you Spores!…

Washing off all the green...

Washing off all the green…

20140727_160957[1]

Despite all the work, we’ve still got a MASSIVE to-do list…but now we can at least go inside the van without tripping over crap, touching something greasy, or breathing in spores. Which is nice!

Let the vanning and the blogging recommence 🙂

 
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Posted by on July 27, 2014 in Plans, Van Maintenance

 

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MOTs and Oil Issues and Warning Lights, Oh My!…

In late June, around ten months after Old Red’s last proper journey, I finally managed to get him into a garage to diagnose his oil problems (amongst other things). I really wanted to take him to a camper specialist, but I was worried that most would be full of vans waiting for work, and we had a trip planned for the end of July. Instead, I decided to use a local garage who always do an excellent job on my cars, and who are always happy to move appointments around to get the urgent stuff done in time.

Red was still SORN, but the garage said it’d be okay to drive him without tax, as long as I was bringing him for MOT testing…which was the first time I even thought about the MOT. Whoops. I bought the Old Boy back in June 2012, so, a year on, I had to consider that besides the lack of tax he probably didn’t have a valid MOT either. And so he was delivered to the yard one Wednesday morning, and there he stayed for quite a few days while they investigated his oil problems, ran the MOT and then set about fixing the

The Oil…

Old Red has had disappearing oil syndrome ever since I’ve known him. The rental garage that I bought him from didn’t notice a “problem” but did tell me that he needs regular topping up. As it went, he seemed to need about a litre of 10w 40 every 300 miles or so, and when I asked on my T25 forum everyone agreed that was a little excessive for an engine that didn’t seem to burn oil or drip it. There were a few spots on the inlet tubes and filter where oil might have been forcing its way out, but other than that it was a complete mystery.

One garage trip later, and my mystery was solved…

Unfortunately, my original “he’s definitely NOT burning oil” diagnosis was utter bull poop, and it turns out that Red has an oil-thirsty engine. It’s not a problem (other than having to pay for oil all the time) and it’s nothing that they can really “fix” (although I’m sure it could be improved with the changing of some seals, the filter, etc.), it’s just that some engines are known to use up a lot of oil, and Red happens to have one of those engines. They didn’t even advise that I think about a new one, although I think this might become an issue if the emissions become uncontrollably high…

The oil light still comes on when the oil is warm and the engine isn’t powering along. The garage didn’t have much of an explanation for this other than the oil pressure drops when the revs are low and so this, along with the relative thinness of warm oil, will make the sensor panic for a second. Most of the time, the light simply flashes as I change down gears and idle in traffic, but when it starts to become steady I know it’s time to pull over, cool down and top up. Again.

MOT…

As you may have guessed, Old Red did not pass his MOT with flying colours, but luckily it wasn’t too expensive to put the problems right.

In the end he only failed on one spot of corrosion (admittedly, it was quite a bad spot) and uneven/inefficient pull on the handbrake. The brake was an easy clean-up job that only cost an hour or so labour, but the welding was more tricky as the butane bottle needed to come out along with some of the sound deadening material so, as well as the welding work, the labour was more intensive (and expensive). I could have saved myself about £10-£20 by going to the garage and removing the butane myself, but in the end I didn’t have the time unless I wanted to wait a few more days to get it done. I would have liked to have saved the money but I just couldn’t afford the time.

He also came away with a couple of advisories in the shape of front shocks and rear bearings. These aren’t urgent, and I’m hoping that they might be something I can attempt with the help of some knowledgeable friends, but that is definitely a story (or two) for another day!

Finally, with the price of the MOT (£45), welding to the outer sill (£120) and VAT etc, this (week long) visit to the doctor cost us a grand total of £255.

And Warning Lights…

After what seemed like months, Old Red came home and we went joyfully out to buy a tax disk so we could take him out for his first proper drive in almost a year…and his first bath in over a year (of which there would be photos, but technology sucks).

As we were on our way to the jet wash, I noticed the coolant warning light switch on. I’d checked the water before we’d left and we would be pulling over in a couple of miles, so I kept an eye on the temperature and carried on going. After fifteen minutes of soaping and scrubbing and blasting all the mud and greenery off the van I checked the fluid levels again and found the water level bobbing happily just below maximum. Weird. We set off again with the coolant warning light on and did a few miles around the local roads, never straying far from home. The light stayed on but the temperature never rose above normal, even when we were stuck in around 15 minutes of very slow moving traffic…on the incline of a hill…

And so back to the garage Red went!

There are two water reservoirs in the T25 and a fault in one of the caps can cause the one at the rear (that you read the level from) to be full, while the other, more interior (more important) bottle, is empty. In my case, both were full and everything seemed to be working fine. The garage diagnosed it as a faulty sensor and ordered said part to be fitted in a few days. By this point we’d lost all hope of booking anything for France and had planned to use my weekend off to visit a local festival instead, but I was so looking forward to going away in Red that I didn’t want to risk even a mini-adventure. Seeing as I didn’t need the warning light (as long as the temperature gauge carried on working, at least) I told them that if they couldn’t fit me in first thing at the start of the week I would take my chances and make the short drive to Loughborough with a faulty warning light.

Monday morning rolled around and the garage called me with good news. It turns out that I didn’t have a faulty sensor at all, I had an air lock, something that commonly occurs in T25s that have been standing for a long time. It was something that a campervan specialist would have known to look for straight away, but at least it was discovered before a part was needlessly replaced. It’s a good job I didn’t just take the van away without letting them open it all up again too, or we’d have spent the weekend camping in the hard shoulder of the M42 instead of a field in the Leicestershire countryside!

Labour and oil (because I hadn’t topped up and they knew we were going away for the weekend) cost us £48…

And we were ready to roll!

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2013 in Van Maintenance

 

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Drinking Problem (or, Where’s the Oil?)…

I’ve written a few times about the oil problems that Old Red has. I knew that I’d need to top up a little every journey, but after we reached our destination on our first proper outing I noticed that the level had dropped quite a bit. We’d clocked up just over 300 miles by the time I got home and once topped up again I’d used a whole litre of oil.

As far as I can tell, he’s not burning oil, and there isn’t more than a few drips on the driveway. The only thing I could conclude is that it’s coming out under pressure while I’m moving.

After a bit of advice from my friends at Club 80-90 I sat on the driveway revving the engine for about 30 minutes, watching the exhaust for smoke and waiting to see if the floor would be peppered with drips. Disappointingly, it wasn’t, but when I looked under the engine cover it was clear to see that oil is leaking from a few points on the engine…

Oily inlet pipe…it looks like it’s forcing its way up and out of the pipe.

Oily dipstick pipe…the oil is coming out of where the pipe goes into the engine.

Another example of the puddle near the dipstick pipe.

 

Moisture on the off-side CV joint.

Near-side CV joint is much drier.

Once the oil is warm the light starts flashing every time the revs have dropped, and the longer the journey, the more readily the light will flash. At first it’ll only flash when we’re idling, but after we’ve been driving for about half an hour it’ll flash even as I’m changing up gears. It NEVER comes on while the revs are up. I’m fairly sure that this is indicative of a bad connection somewhere in the wiring…

…on occasion, the horn will peep. It usually happens when I’m reversing. When we were disembarking the ferry home from France, one of the garage guys was helping me manoeuvre round a HGV and Red !HONKED! right in his face, which caused me no little embarrassment! I think it just goes to prove that there’s definitely something wrong with the wiring somewhere.

Anyway…back to the oil. From the advice I’ve had, it seems that the oil is coming out under pressure, so firstly, I need to get the pressure checked. I also need to find out if I still have the original oil pick-up pipe or if it’s been upgraded along with the engine. Apparently, if I still have the original then, as I brake and go round corners with hot oil, the engine will be starved of oil, causing the light to flicker on. This would also mean that the oil level on the dipstick won’t actually match the oil level in the sump, so I could also be overfilling it. That would make sense seeing as an excess of oil would be forced out of all the possible exit routes (like the inlet pipe, the filter case and the dipstick pipe…all the places it is leaking out of). To check the oil level in the sump I’m going to need to drain the system and take off the oil inlet pipe to look into the sump and check the levels visually.

I’m going to need help!

Luckily I know a guy who will come over and have a look over the engine on the drive. Hopefully he’ll not only be able to tell me what’s going wrong, but show me how to fix it so that I learn a little something about the engine as I go.

I’d also like him to give the CV joint a look over too. The helpful members at Club 80-90 think that the amount of leakage on the off-side joint is minimal and not much to worry about, but I think I should get it checked out all the same.

Oil has been SUCH a worry for me this summer. I’ve had to make sure I check the levels and top up every 100 miles or so, and the whole time I’ve been panicking that if I fill it back up I might be over-filling, and if I don’t fill it up I might be running the risk of it dropping too low. I’m certain I’d have had more use out of the old boy if I hadn’t been so worried about the damn engine. This is something I HAVE to get sorted for the new year.

Further updates to come…

 
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Posted by on October 18, 2012 in Van Maintenance

 

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