Tag Archives: MOT

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.


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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