Installing a solar panel and controller

We want to be able to go off grid if needed and not worry about the batteries running flat. Also, we would love to eventually get a compressor fridge which runs off the 12v leisure battery. (We don’t like running the current fridge on gas all the time).

There are many articles online on how to calculate the size of panel you should get. We decided on a 120 watt flexible panel which should suit our needs.

Sir Adventure is an Autosleeper Trooper with a fibreglass pop-top roof so we went for a flexible panel instead of a rigid one. The roof type we have limits the options for how to mount a solar panel and where to route the cabling.

Note: We did this install in August 2017 so there may be better kit options available now and prices may have changed.

The parts list

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Solar panel, charge controller and cabling
  1. Elfeland SP-39 12V 120W 1180x540mm Semi Flexible Solar Panel (£82.38)
  2. 20A Dual Battery Solar Panel Charge Controller with MT-1 Meter (£49.99)
  3. MC4 Solar Panel Connector Disconnector Tools (£2.99)
  4. 4mm Cable 2 x 5m Extensions With MC4 Connectors (£12.95)
  5. Cable Entry Gland – Double (£4.99)

Total: £153.30

Solar Wiring Diagram

The solar panel connects to the charge controller using 4mm cable with MC4 connectors. The vehicle and leisure batteries then have separate positive (red) and negative (black) 16AWG cable to the controller ports. Finally, the MT-1 display is connected to the controller using an ethernet data cable.

Solar Wiring Diagram

Fitting the panel

The 540mm width of the panel fits perfectly between the length way ribs on the Autosleeper Trooper roof.

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Testing the solar panel on the Autosleeper fiberglass roof
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Marking the position with masking tape:

To pass the cable through the roof I needed to drill two holes using a step down drill bit.

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Drilling the holes in the fiberglass roof

The holes were aligned each side of the wooden support batten and through the headlining.

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Interior view of drilled holes

To route the cable through the roof I used short threaded pipe, nuts and rubber o-rings to make a secure seal.

To secure the panel to the roof I used Sikaflex EBT+ sealant.

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Gluing the panel to the roof with Sikaflex EBT+
Solar panel glued down

Once set I unscrewed the MC4 connectors and fed the cable through the entry gland. One connector pulled the wiring out of the pin so I had to re-crimp the plug.

Unscrewing the MC4 connector
Feeding the cable through the entry gland

The entry gland was then glued down in position. I placed a heavy weight on top to keep the pressure down while it set.

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Entry gland glued in position

If I did it again I would route the cable across each other, then into the gland. The inflexibility and positioning of the thick cables make them go upwards before entering the gland.

Fitting the MT-1 display

The display connects to the controller and allows you to see lots of information about the solar panel performance and battery health.

I wanted to position it somewhere easy to see so chose a spot next to the interior light. The panel is made of MDF and there is space behind to route the cabling so I could flush mount it.

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Positioning the MT-1 display
Masking the hole and removing the light
Drilling out the hole
Sanding down the edges
MT-1 in position

Routing the interior cables

The Autosleeper Trooper pop-top folds open by pushing the roof upwards and backwards. The side panels then fold outwards to hold the four sides in position. This meant I had to route the cables in a way which did not put them under any stress or get in the way of the hinges.

Cable route with roof up
Cable route with roof down

I ran the 4mm cable (from the solar panel) and ethernet cable (from the display) down behind the wall carpet and plastic molding into the bottom of the battery tray behind the drivers seat.

Solar and ethernet cable entry into battery tray

For the leisure battery under the passenger seat, I ran 16AWG cable through the hole just below where the seat belt attaches with a rubber banking plug and routed it under the carpet between the battery boxes.

Routing the leisure battery cable

Everything was then connected up to the charge controller under the driver’s side seat with the batteries back in place.

Charge controller connected to solar panel, batteries and display

Free electricity!

With everything connected the solar panel automatically collects sunlight and converts it to electricity. Hurrah!

The charge controller manages the status of each of the batteries and automatically stops charging once they have reached capacity. We can now charge our devices, run the interior lights and radio without having to run the engine to top up the battery.

The MT-1 displays both solar voltage and battery voltage as well as charging current and load current. It also show Amp-Hour and Watt-Hour charge accumulation as well as percentage the batteries are charged. There is even a digital clock option to tell the time. Snazzy.

MT-1 display showing 1.5a from solar panel

The controller can be set to prioritise a specific battery. I set a 60/40 split between the leisure and vehicle batteries.

Conclusion

It was a fiddly process, especially when routing the cables, but lots of fun working out where everything would go. I really like the MT-1 display to see how the panel and batteries are doing.

I was concerned about buying such a bulky item direct from China but it came well packaged and undamaged. There are many different solar panels out there but this one has stood up to all types of weather.

We’ve had the set up running for three years now and it has worked flawlessly. The batteries are constantly being topped up (even throughout winter) and remain in great health.

If you’re thinking of going solar I highly recommend it. Every time I look at the display I feel i’m helping the environment (in a very specific and limited way).

Trailing Arm Bushing Replacement

Join me on a journey tackling one of the T25’s notoriously difficult areas – the trailing arms. Sparks fly whilst I remove hub nuts, disconnect brake lines, snap bleed nipples and meet the tin worm.

If your bolts are seized like mine, I recommend using a power saw to cut them off. I used an angle grinder but struggled with reach and control in such a tight area.

When fitting new Powerflex set I use the GoWesty technique to fit the bushings with a 30cm M12 threaded rod, nuts and washers. The only difference is I use jubilee clips to compress the bushing, instead of an tapered pipe (or the specialist 3053 VW tool).

To calculate the 500Nm force for the hub nut I used the following formula to calculate where I should stand on the breaker bar:

Force x Distance = Torque
80kg (my weight) x 64cm = 502Nm

Useful resources and research:

Part numbers in this post:

As mentioned in the video, you could use T4 Trailing Arm Inner Bushings instead which are a split design so really easy to fit. They are the same part number (251501131A).

Brake Parts

Truck Mirror Upgrade

I’ve always found the standard mirrors to have really poor visibility and tend to suffer from “floppy mirror syndrome” when on the motorway (there are ways to reduce this).

I swapped the right side one to a convex mirror type on the drivers side which did improve visibility, however I have always liked the “Syncro look” of the truck mirrors. They give a wider angle of view and can be folded back against the van when needed.

I took the plunge and got the following set from Brickwerks: Mirror Set – T3 / Truck Style / Convex *Complete Set*

Truck mirror and bracket

Truck mirror and bracket

The set consists of the following parts:

  • Truck Mirror – Left – 251857513F
  • Truck Mirror – Right – 251857514H
  • Mirror Screw Set (Tamperproof)
  • Self Tapping Screw – 5.5×22 / Philips / Countersunk / Raised Head (2)
  • Self Tapping Screw – 5.5×16 / Philips / Countersunk / Raised Head (4)

Removing the old mirrors

There are two philips screws holding the mirror in place, undo these and remove the rubber gasket from underneath.

Unbolting the mirror from the door

Unbolting the mirror from the door

Installing the Truck Mirrors

Fit the plastic gasket to the bottom of the bracket and bolt into place using the tamperproof bolts (or re-use the original bolts).

Securing the lower bracket

Securing the lower bracket

Line up the upper bracket to the door frame and use a punch to mark where to drill a pilot hole for the 5.5×22 screw.

Install the rubber gasket and drill holes for the two 5.5×16 screws. I painted the exposed metal to protect against rust.

Tighten everything up then attach the mirror to the bracket using the supplied bolt and washer. I used a vise grip to compress the bracket so I could slide it into the mirror channel.

The 10mm bolt then secures the mirror to the bracket.

Once adjusted to your preference just tighten up the bolt and put the cap on the bolt. That’s it!

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The mirrors look really smart and i’m really happy with the improved visibility.

Truck mirror installed

Truck mirror installed

Before:

Standard mirror - left

Standard mirror – left

After:

Truck mirror - left side

Truck mirror – left side

Alternative Options

Landrover Mirrors

It is possible to use Landrover Defender mirrors when used with a custom bracket. They offer convex mirrors for excellent visibility and can be folded back whilst retaining their position.

Custom Brackets: The brackets are available to buy direct from Rowlesy by emailing dr.748@hotmail.co.uk

(Images courtesy of DoubleOSeven on the Club 90-90 forum)

LT Mirrors

VW LT mirrors also fit if you can find a pair, although the angle of the bracket is sightly different as shown in this picture from thesamba.com:

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Syncro vs LT mirror brackets

ARB and Drop Link Bush Replacement

After completing the Lower Control Arm and Radius Rod bushes, the next part of the front end rebuild is the Anti Roll Bar (ARB) and Drop Link bushings. (Also known as Sway Bar and End Links).

Again, i’m fitting Powerflex bushings in the video but the approach would be the same for standard replacement bushes.

Buying the correct size

The ARB and Drop Link bushes come in three different sizes depending on the year/model of your van – 19mm, 21mm and 23mm. To quickly check which size you need use an open end spanner and place it over the ARB. My ARB meaured 19mm.

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Measuring the ARB to determine bush size

Note: This is an opportunity to upgrade your ARB to a larger, stiffer size if you wish to change the handling/roll characteristics of your van.

Parts used:

How To

The video below details how to remove the related bushed and refit the whole assembly. This was a very straightforward procedure, the only tricky part is getting the Drop Links reattached to the Anti Roll Bar. I did this in-situ on the van using vise grips and a G-clamp, I have added an alternative method below if you have a vice.

Technique for refitting the Drop Link to the ARB

Conclusion

The new bushings fitted here (and in the other posts) have significantly improved the handling, it feels much more like a modern vehicle and there is far less wooliness to the steering. A recommended upgrade!

Alternative vice method by Christopher Schimke (T3 Technique)

Part numbers in this post:

  • ARB To Body Bush (19mm) – 251411041B
  • ARB To Body Bush (21mm) – 251411041C
  • ARB To Body Bush (23mm) – 251411041A
  • ARB Drop Link Upper Bush (19mm) – 251411045B
  • ARB Drop Link Upper Bush (21mm) – 251411045
  • ARB Drop Link Upper Bush (23mm) – 251411045A
  • ARB Drop Link Lower Bush (one size) – 411 513 121
  • Spacer Sleeve – 251411047

 

 

Windscreen Washer Jet Upgrade

The standard single-jet windscreen washers are really not up to covering the large window sizes on a VW T25. A simple upgrade delivers 200% more fluid through three independent jets – clearing your windscreen much faster and acting like a modern vehicle.

This upgrade uses jets from Suzuki Swift/Alto/SX4 cars, reproductions of which are available to buy direct from China on eBay and other sources.

Alternatively, you can help support this blog by using the links at the bottom of the post. All jets are tested, come with instructions and are sent First Class via Royal Mail in the UK.

Old vs New Jets

 

 

Method for removal and adjustments

 

 

The results:

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Buy a Washer Jet Upgrade Kit


I have a few set available to buy, all proceeds will help fund this blog and further work on Sir Adventure!

 

Front Washer Jet Kit

Washer Jet Upgrade for VW T25IN STOCK
Buy Now – £15


Front and Rear Washer Jet Kit

Washer Jet Upgrade Front and Rear for VW T25IN STOCK
Buy Now – £20

All proceeds will help fund this blog and further work on Sir Adventure!

Radius Rod Bush Replacement

The next stage renewing the front suspension is the Radius Rods. With a quick look under the van I could see the bushings needed replacing. Like mine, most vans will probably still have the ones originally fitted in the factory. There are some pictures of split bushings, worn radius rods and damaged mount points from other vans below.

The following video explains the process I used to remove the radius rod and renew the bushings. I bought the Radius Rod Bush Kit – T3 / 2WD / Polyurethane from Brickwerks.

Split Bushes

Worn Radius Rods

Worn Mount Points

Lower Control Arm Bush Replacement

It’s time to look at the front suspension and replace my tired bushes! First on the list (thanks to a group buy discount) is the Lower Control Arm (also known as Track Control Arm).

The diagram below shows the bush (pink) and the Lower Control Arm (orange). On earlier models (pre-1984) the Control Arm and Radius Rod are different but the bush is the same.

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Diagram of the Lower Control Arm

I bought the Track Control Arm Bush – T3 / Polyurethane Vehicle Kit from Brickwerks. I went for the Powerflex version, instead of a normal rubber bush, which makes fitting far easier due to it’s split design. They also come with a lifetime warranty.

After consulting the Haynes and Bentley workshop manuals I read through this blog post by Brickwerks and CovKid’s thread on the club80-90 forum for tips on how to tackle these bushes.

Here is the video documenting how I got on:

The main takeaway is to drill the bush as much as possible before attempting to pull it out as they are rock solid.

If you have any questions please ask below or in the comments on YouTube. Good luck!

Rust Treatment

There was no way the van was going to pass it’s next MOT with some of the rust areas so it was time to treat them accordingly.

For small areas I removed as much flaking rust as possible, wire brushed, coated with Bilt Hamber Hydrate 80, filled and then painted.

The major repair areas were welded by John at VW Welding Services in Salford and cost £700.

Slider panels

For this area I used Hydrate 80 then aluminium mesh and P38 filler, it was then top coated with Rustoleum CombiColor. The rust streaks made this area look really bad but the holes were minimal.

Offside Slider

Nearside Slider

To remove the sliding door mechanism I watched GoWesty’s excellent  Sliding Door Maintenance – Part One and Part Two videos.

Side Panel (offside)

This is the area behind the fridge, to access this panel I needed to first remove the interior units. From the outside it did not look that bad, inside was a completely different story.

Parts of the floor had been completely eaten away by rust.

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Extent of the sill and panel rust

After cleaning away as much rust as possible I took the van to John at VW Welding Services, he completed the work in three days. Alan Schofield provided the new sill and side panel and John fabricated the new floor part.

I cleaned the panel thoroughly before coating with Electrox. It is not porous like normal primers so can be left as topcoat until I get round to repainting the whole van.

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Side panel coated in Bilt Hamber Electrox

I brushed Hydrate 80 deep into all the seams to combat any remaining rust then used Tiger Seal to seal the seams.

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Brushing Hydrate 80 deep into the panel seams

Rear Wheel Arches

Both wheel arches had a lot of rust. The rockwool insulation originally used by Autosleeper unfortunately holds water so any moisture getting inside sits against the panel and rots it from the inside out. Additionally there are no escape routes so only when it rusts all the way through can the water get out.

Once the two holes in at the top rear of the wheel arches have formed, the water then runs down into the rear platform trays and eats through them as well.

The nearside wheel arch holes were welded over by John.

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Repair plate welded to wheel arch

All rust was treated with Hydrate 80:

Once dry I sprayed Dynax S50 anti-corrosion wax into all the cavities:

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Spraying Dynax S50 into all the cavities

Platform Trays

As a consequence of water pooling in the wheel arches the platform trays on both sides had eaten through  leaving huge holes. These were patched by John and covered in Waxoyl.

Footwells

The offside footwell looked a bit dodgy so I gave it a good poke. It turned out to be lots of filler hiding a massive hole. As I didn’t have time to get this welded before the MOT I cleaned everything up as best I could, painted with Electrox and filled with aluminium mesh backing.

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Hmm, what is going on here?

I then top coated with Rustoleum Combicolor which I had matched to the original L90D paint.

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Repaired and painted footwell

Success!

Sir Adventure passed the MOT. The only advisory was very slight play in the front offside wheel bearing.

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Still to do…

There’s a hole below the nearside windscreen corner which I coated with Hydrate 80 some months back. I moved the dash out slightly to see how far the rust actually goes, it looks horrific but is manageable. I’m going to address this next year.

This is likely the cause of the rotten footwells so i’m going to have to keep an eye on any standing water in the meantime.

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Rusted bottom corner of windscreen

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Close up of windscreen rust

I also took the rear bumper off which unearthed this monstrosity.

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Hole in the nearside lower rear corner section

Powerflex Steering Rack Mount Kit

The steering in the van fees a little unresponsive and light at high speeds. I heard that replacing the steering rack bushes can make a huge difference so bought the Powerflex Steering Rack Mount Kit from Brickwerks. I asked for new nuts and bolts in case the originals get damaged and these were included for free (cheers Michael!).

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Powerflex Steering Rack Kit plus freebies

First step is to jack the van up. I got to give my SGS Engineering 3 tonne jack and 12 tonne axel stands a run out for the first time. The jack lifted the van so easily and the stands are ridiculously solid, I feel really safe working under them.

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Van on 12 tonne axle stands

The steering rack between the spare wheel carrier and fuel tank.

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The steering rack

There are four nuts and bolts holding the steering rack in place, two each side.

I used two 13mm spanners to get the bolts off. The front ends have a large washer.

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With the bolts out the steering rack will drop slightly. I’m replacing the bushes in-situ so left the steering wheel connection attached.

To get the bushes out I moved the rack slightly towards the front of the van and whacked the metal inserts with a hammer. As the bushes moved backwards out of the steering rack I then used a long screwdriver to carry on knocking them out.

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Knocking the bushes backwards out of the rack

I found it was easier to first cut away the rubber around the metal insert with a stanley knife. This left the insert protruding slightly ready to be hit.

The most difficult bush to remove was the one behind the steering column. The cutting/whacking technique still worked.

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Bushes, nuts, bolts and washers

I cleaned the inside of the mounts with sandpaper and a scourer to remove any residue from the original bushes.

With the old bushes out and the mounts cleaned it was time to fit the Powerflex kit. It comes with a small sachet of lubrication which needs rubbing on the bushes and stainless steel inserts as they are fitted.

The bushes come in two parts so it’s a simple case of pushing a piece in each side and then sliding the insert in.

It literally took minutes to slide them in.

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Four steering rack mount bushes in place

To secure the steering rack back onto the frame I used the original bolts and washers as they were in great condition and used the new Nyloc nuts on the rear so they don’t come undone.

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Job done!

Conclusion

I went for a test drive and the steering definitely felt more precise and cornering is more controlled.

This weekend I went on a longer journey on the motorway and the difference is amazing. The van feels much more assured, there is less wandering and vibration through the column. In the past it felt like I was battling the van, having to constantly adjust to keep it straight but now it’s solid.

 

Pierburg 2E3 Rebuild and Adjustments

I wanted to do a complete rebuild of the Pierburg 2E3 carburettor on the van to make sure it’s running as it should. Coming at this as a complete novice (and worrying i’d damage my good carb) I decided to buy a second unit off eBay so I could learn how it all works. In the following video I rebuild the “test” carb using a kit from Brickwerks and make the adjustments outlined in the PDF resources below.

If you have an early model 2E3 you may need an additional 13mm diaphragm.

PDF Resources

 

Video Transcript

Introduction

This is the Pierburg 2E3 for the Volkswagen T25. I’ve completely stripped this down and in this video I’m going to use a carb rebuild kit to put everything back together.

For reference I’m using the workshop manual for the 2E3, I’m using the Transporter Construction and Operation for the water cooled boxer engine, the Pierburg 2E3 adjustments and settings, and the PDF by CJH on the Club 80-90 forum. He’s put together this guide using the same documents we’ve got there so I’ll go through this.

And finally the Solex and Pierburg Haynes manual which has got some really interesting information in.

I bought this version from ebay because I need to rebuild the one on my van and I didn’t want to break it at all so I’m using this as a testbed to do the rebuild kit so I can learn everything about the carb before doing anything damaging to my own one.

Version Identification

So this version of the 2E3 is specific to the Volkswagen T25. There’s lots of different versions and configurations of the Pierburg. You’ll see if you look on ebay for different versions of it you’ll see the different entry points and exit points and however it all works inside. So if you’re looking to get one for your own van you need to get one with the number 025 129 015 which is stamped here. What some will have is a letter after, this one doesn’t which means it’s a really early version of the Pierburg. The other letters are A, which is for the automatic gearbox ones and the later ones are J and H.

I’ve actually got a J, sorry a H version over here. I’ll just put some gloves on as it’s very dirty. I got this other one in a job lot and it looks like the previous owner had a fight with it so it’s in a state. So there you go, you see how dirty it is. And the difference is you see, this is the H version, you’ve got the bent part here and you’ve got this little filter here and there’s also a gap, a little flap within the actual choke flap here which can open if you poke it. But this one I’ve got here did look like this when I got it off ebay and I’ve cleaned it using white spirit and Wynn’s carb cleaner, I’ll just get that. Some Wynn’s carb cleaner sprayed it all in there in the vents and everything and use white spirit and a paintbrush just jabbing it in and what that did is just clean it all up so got rid of all this gunk you see here which is pretty horrific when you first open it up.

Rebuild Kit

I’m going to be using the Brickwerks rebuild kit. That gives you everything you need, it’s got gaskets and seals and different parts. You may need a different diaphragm depending on the version you have and I’ll show you how to check for that later on. You’ll see this one is a shorter version here and later models had this longer one.

So in this video I’m going to use the Brickwerks rebuild kit along with these parts that I’ve removed from the carburettor. You’ll see that there’s a big array of parts here so you’ve got the float and float needle here, the jets, the mixture screw, the accelerator pump, and then you have the diaphragms so this is the choke pull down unit, the secondary pull down unit, secondary throttle pull down unit and then the automatic choke parts here and here. And the idle control valve and the little heater.

Re-jetting

So I’m going to start with fitting the jets to the top half of the carb. It just splits in two, like so, this is the bottom half. I’m just going to move that out the way for now. So turning it upside down we have three jets here that are removable, there’s others that can’t. So, the first one is the primary one which is this one and that’s got the number 102.5 on it if you ever need to get a replacement one and it goes on this side here near the primary venturi. So I’m going to slightly screw those in for now. The secondary one is number 110 and that goes on here. And then the air corrector jet goes here. Now it’s important to use a screwdriver that fills essentially all of the space there. Because these are made of brass they are very, very soft. You don’t want to damage them as you do it. There we go. There we go. So that’s the jets fitted.

Float and Needle Valve

The next thing I’m going to fit is the float needle and float. So what happens is fuel comes into the carb here from the fuel pump and it will exit here going back to the fuel tank. What the float needle does is allow fuel to come through this gap down into the float bowl. If the needle is completely shut, all the way in, no fuel will come down it will just go straight back to the fuel tank there. And this is the actual float. So depending on the level of fuel that is in the float bowl, this will move up and down and push the needle up and seal it off. OK, so the float needle I got in the Brickwerks kit is this one here and this is the original. You’ll see this one fits nicely in there and just drops straight out. The Brickwerks one however gets stuck, so that’s just no good so I’m not going to use that. I’m actually going to re-use the original as it seems to be in good nick. Seems to be doing what it should, the rubber part at the end is in good nick there. So what it has is a little metal clip here so that goes on the end, I’ll just try and get that on. OK, and that hooks through this gap in the float there. So you’ll see it secures it against that. OK, there’s a pin that secures the float in place and that just needs tapping across, so I’ll just line that up. OK, just make sure that’s lined up. OK, so you’ll see how the float moves free there and it controls the float needle. You can test this by sucking on this pipe and putting your finger over here, and hopefully, if it’s all working you won’t be able to pull anything through. OK, so we need to take a measurement here. In the setting guide there’s this information to cut out this template and that will allow you to work out that the float is working at the right level. It gives you measurements between 28-30 mms but that’s wrong according to the Haynes manual.

The Haynes manual gives that measurement for many of the vehicles in here like you’ve got the Volkswagen Polos or the Vauxhall cavaliers. But for the Volkswagen Transporter which we’ve got, obviously, the float level needs to be between 27.5 mm plus minus one mm. So the template i’ve created is between 26.5 and 28.5. So as long as it fits between these two measurements we should be fine.

So i’ll hold it at 30 degrees roughly and position this over it and you’ll see it’s just under 28.5 and just over 26.5 so as long as it’s under that measurement which it appears to be that should be fine because we’ve got that tolerance of one mm.

Mixture Screw

Onto the bottom half of the carb i’m going to fit the mixture screw for a start. It looks like this. The Rebuild kit comes with another o-ring there which you can fit on. So the mixture screw goes in this hole here and what that does is control how much CO2 to fuel ratio goes into the carb. When removing the mixture screw, what I did was screwed it all the way in but counted how many turns it took to do that. Because I bought the carb off ebay I have no idea whether that’s actually a good setting for that to be at but that’s what I’m going to return to. So what I’m going to do is screw it all the way in and then screw it back out two and three quarter turns because that’s what it came with. It takes a while to screw in, there we go. So I’ve reached the bottom now so I’m going to unscrew it, one, two, and then three quarters. If I actually put this on the van I’ll be able to see what kind of setting that is and make adjustments then.

Second Stage Throttle Adjustments

OK, so whilst everything is off i’m going to check the second stage mechanism to make sure it works how it should do. So the is the primary throttle plate here, as you accelerate, put your foot down on the pedal it pulls this open. What it also does at the same time is activate this cam here which connects to the accelerator pump which i’ll be fitting in a bit. So as that’s turned more air can come into the engine and more fuel is pumped into the engine through the accelerator pump there. What also happens, you’ll see here, the second venturi cannot open up to a certain point because it is locked by this lever here. So as I accelerate hard going up to fully open you’ll see now that can open. It allows you to go even faster in the van. What i’m going to check now is the measurement here because what you don’t want to happen is there to be any movement in this section here, and you’ll see there is actually on this one. I had a problem with the carburettor on my van which meant that I would hit a certain speed and this second venturi would stay open. Which caused the revs to stay high. It wouldn’t go down again until i switched off the engine and restarted because the vacuum was keeping this open. It’s go the same problem with this carb actually. The measurement between this U channel here needs to be 0.4 mm on both sides. You can see because there is a bigger gap it’s actually allowing that to move open when it shouldn’t do. What we need to do is use a feeler gauge, so 0.4 feeler gauge and check the gap between that. So that side is OK and we need to squeeze that one in. We need to use a pair of pliers just to squeeze these together slightly.

The second measurement we have to take at this point is this screw here. What we need to do is jam the primary venturi open, so this can move about a little bit, and use an elastic band just to keep the second stage part shut. So you’ll see there is a little bit of resistance there but the elastic band is keeping that shut. What we want that to do, this screw, i’m going to put a bit of paper under there. I’m following CJH’s recommendation here for this process. What that needs to do is go under there and just needs to grip it, which it is actually doing at the moment. What i’m going to do is unscrew it slightly just to see what it’s like without. So you’ll see now it’s unscrewed it’s not gripping the paper. Just going to keep moving that till it grips. OK so it’s just gripping the paper. So now it’s gripping the paper just turn it one extra quarter, just like that. There we go, that adjustment is fine now. It’s nice and sturdy now, there’s not much slack in there at all.

Part-load Enrichment Valve

The next part i’m going to fit is the part load enrichment valve, that goes here on this side of the carb. What you’ll get in the kit is two of these red parts, gaskets?, whatever they’re called. This one has to go through this section here, and you put the other one on. There’s this tiny little bit that goes on the end there which has got an o-ring on it, and that needs fitting onto this here. Give it a good push, there we go. I’m just going to tap it slightly with a hammer. Make sure that’s on, OK. Now there’s a spring which works against this part to close the valve, depending on the pressure inside the carb this moves in and out allowing more fuel in. So the spring fits there and fits over that part there. So that’s fitted to that side, there’s also another gasket there and there’s two screws that secure it in place.  You can see how those holes line up. So that’s the part load enrichment valve fitted with the new gaskets.

Accelerator Pump

I’m now going to fit the accelerator pump. At the start of the video I mentioned that you may need a different sized diaphragm depending on the model of carburettor you’ve got. This is the accelerator pump outer part, depending on the size of this dictates what size diaphragm you need. You see this is the long one, it’s too long for this section so I had to buy another part like this which is a smaller one. I think it’s 13 mm. The Brickwerks kit comes with the 19 mm anyway so if you’ve got a later model carburettor you should be fine. I think these are only £4 for an extra one. Also in the beginning of the video, not sure if I mentioned it or not, but I Bought the kit from Brickwerks for a specific reason and that’s because I previously purchased a kit from ebay, but the quality of the parts in the kit are just not up to scratch and an example of that is these diaphragms. This is the original diaphragm that was in the carburettor, this is the Brickwerks one, and this is the one from another ebay kit. Now CJH pointed this out in his PDF so it’s down to him that I actually checked this, i’ll show you the difference. The original, so the strength of that ball bearing is really quite strong. The Brickwerks kit, not at strong but that might be gunked up but it’s still pretty strong. And this is the ebay kit, and there’s just nothing to that spring. So what that will do is actually affect the amount of fuel coming into the carburettor and affect performance so just don’t bother. To fit the accelerator pump what we have is this little red thing, that goes in the hole. There’s this radioactive warning sign piece of metal which goes on there, then the spring, then the diaphragm. Make sure it’s lined up this way because there’s a little peg inside the pump which lines up there and fits on top. There’s just four screws that just go in and hold that in place. So there we go, that’s the accelerator pump in place. You’ll see now as you turn the throttle the cam here moves the accelerator pump and the spring moves against it.

Pump Injector

Now that the accelerator pump is in place i’m going to fit the pump injector. That squirts fuel straight into the primary venturi here so it just sits like that. There’s an o-ring which comes in the pack that goes on the end and there’s a little red filter, this doesn’t come in the rebuild kit so try and use the one you’ve already got. Once those are on you can just slot it into the section here, it just goes in by pushing it down. Normally i’d want pointing this way but i’m actually going to turn it around so it’s squirting this way because what i’m going to do is put some fuel in the float here, the float bowl, and then use this syringe to measure how much fuel is coming out in each stroke. If it’s too much or too little, what I can do is adjust this screw here on this cam which will adjust how much fuel is coming in every time the accelerator is pressed down. I’ll just do that now, i’m going to put some fuel in there. So now i’ve put the fuel in there and getting high off the fumes, what i’m going to do is turn the accelerator, the throttle, five times. Each time I do it, it’s going to be three seconds with a one second gap between it. What i’m looking for is a measurement of 1.35 ml per stroke. By doing it five times I want this to be 6.75 ml. The mark we’re looking at is just there. I’ll get a knife or something to make a mark on. So i’ll just make a mark there. So i’ve scratched it to the mark that we want. I’ve squirted some through for a start just to make sure the fuel is actually coming through, so now i’m going to position this here and start turning the throttle. One, two three. One, two three. One, two three. One, two three. One, two three. OK, so that gives me five, five mm so it’s not enough. So what i’m going to have to do is adjust the cam to give me slightly more per stroke. So i’ve emptied the fuel out of the carb here so I don’t spill it everywhere which i’ve already done as you can see and what I want to do is adjust this screw here because this cam controls how much fuel goes into the carburettor. I’ve already unscrewed it and you’ll see it moves left and right. When it’s over this side it’s already primed slightly so it’s already pushed in a slight amount, you’re going to get less fuel coming through. So what I want to do is push it all the way to that side, no I can’t actually move it any further so that might by the maximum I can move this. I’m going to screw it up and we’ll try again. I’ve actually pushed this in a bit further, just to make sure it’s really solidly in because I think a bit of air was coming in here affecting how much was coming through. So i’m going to try again. So, we’re at the perfect amount now so it’s 6.75 which is exactly the amount we want. It’s 1.35 ml per stroke coming out here. Now we know enough fuel is coming out of the pump injector we just need to turn it around so it’s actually pointing towards the primary venturi here. We want the squirt to go straight down that little nick there, making sure it’s pushed right down which takes a bit of force. I’m just going to test it, I think there’s a little bit of fuel left in there. Yeah, so you can see it squirted straight down there making a mess of my top.

Choke

OK, so back onto the top half of the carb. What i’m going to do now is fit the automatic choke mechanism. That’s what this is here. What that does is control this flap. So on a cold day this will be nearly closed making sure it chokes the amount of air coming into the engine so it doesn’t die. As the engine slowly warms up, this flap will slowly open up until it’s fully open. So that’s controlled by this mechanism here, you’ll see this lever on the side. What this does is attach to this part which has the coil inside. This is connected to the 12V ignition live. As this heats up this coil starts moving out. So you’ll see it move out like that and what that will do in turn is turn this lever which will open up the flap here. As well as the 12V on this it’s connected to the water-cooled system. So the hot coolant will go through there as well as the electrical heater. That will turn out and that will open up the choke flap.

Pull-Down Unit

So for a start i’m going to fit the choke pull down unit, that fits onto the carburettor here. And what that does is the vacuum comes from this pipe to the bottom end of the carburettor and the vacuum sucks this in, this section here. What that will do is control a part of the automatic choke there, so it will prevent it going too far. I’ll show you how that works once that’s fitted. This section goes in here, the little hole. You’ll see it just clips in. Just push that into position there. Make sure you can see through that hole there because there is a roll pin and that just needs hammering through. Best to do it from the bottom actually so you don’t damage the jets when you are doing this. Completely jabbed into my top there. So now that’s fixed into position, there’s an adjustment screw here which we might have to adjust later, i’ll show you that shortly. The vacuum pipe that goes down to the bottom, what that has inside it, if you’re lucky, is a this little restrictor valve. This carb didn’t come with one of these, it wasn’t in the pipe. This one is from the one from the job lot. I pulled this out just to show you. What that does, it’s got a really tiny hole, probably 0.1mm or 0.2mm and that just stops the strong vacuum pulling through and slapping this vacuum unit shut, damaging the diagram. That’s the only reason that’s in there so if you don’t have one I don’t think it’s fatal to the operation, but it’s good to have if you do.

Mechanism

Now i’m going to fit the automatic choke, and that attaches to the three screws here. First, there’s a little cam inside this part which controls the flap and there’s a lever that attaches to that so you just need to put it in there like that and it will hook in. You can see how that controls the flap. So that attaches to this white bit here. So that goes in like that and there’s a tiny washer, and a clip that holds this in place. I’ll try and fit that while it’s here. So that holds the lever onto the automatic choke. Just going to line up those holes. There’s three screws which secure this to that section there. So that’s now secure on there. You’ll see how this lever now uses that mechanism to control the choke flap. I’m going to put the two halves together now so then I can make measurements on the choke flap. I’m using the gasket that comes with the Brickwerks kit. I’m fitting these gaskets dry in this demonstration but when you’re fitting it yourself, if you’re going to be moving it on and off a lot of the time the dry ones can get stuck together so you can lubricate it with petroleum jelly or grease and that will stop it sticking but still create the seal. When fitting the two halves together you’ll see this pipe here, that actually goes into that gap. As long as you get that lined up the rest of the carb slots in where it should do like so.

Adjustments

So i’ve put the two pieces together, the two halves of the carb and then i’ve used an elastic band just to hold the two pieces together. What happens is the fast idle cam here, this screw actually pushes against this section it will push it apart, that’s why i’m holding it together. (I forgot about the 5 screws which hold the carb together). There’s also another elastic band across here, and that’s to pull the automatic choke this way as if it was being held by the coil. The measurement we want to take here is the front of the choke flap so we want to make sure this screw here is on the very top of there and you’ll see the choke flap is now completely closed. What we need to do is put pressure on the choke pull down unit here by pushing in on this section. There’s a little screw here so if I need to make adjustments I can do with an allen key. I’m just going to push into there. You’ll see the choke flap now moves. The space for this carb is 3.3mm, i’ve got this drill bit which is actually 3.3mm width. That’s the perfect size for me to measure the front of there when i’m pushing in. Other models of the carb, it’s 2.5mm so just check you’ve got the right measurement for your own one. I’m going to push in here and put that in the front, it’s slightly too small. So i’m going to use the allen key to adjust the screw here which will enlarge or make that smaller. I want to make it larger so i’m going to screw it out, anti-clockwise. Just going to try again. You’ll see now its way too big. I’m just going to screw it back in slightly, You can suck on the pipe connected to the pull down unit but i’m just going to use the pressure on this end here. There we go, that’s the right measurement for that.

Automatic Choke

I’m now going to fit the heating element to the automatic choke, there’s a square hole here we just need to line that up with the lever when we’re fitting it just to make sure that’s attached, that will control the choke there. There are three screws and they just go in here. Before tightening the screws i’m just going to line up this mark here, you can twist this part here so that they line up. If you are taking this off your own van make a mark of where it currently is because it’s probably been put in that position for a reason so try and get it back to the position you had previously. Another good tip by CJH is to keep this on the van when you’re taking the carb off because otherwise you’re going to have to unplug the coolant pipes here and you’re going to get coolant everywhere. By unscrewing those three sections and knowing exactly where that is you can take the carb off without messing with the coolant circuit there. I’m just going to screw these and secure those in place. There we go.

Second Stage Throttle Pull-Down Unit

Next i’m going to fit the second stage throttle pull down unit, again this has got a diaphragm in there which acts with the vacuum sucking in through here and pulling this section up. Just move the top half out of the way. This little elbow here clips onto that part and it screws in there. What that does is pull upwards, pulling against this here. Of course it won’t do anything until a certain stage of the throttle. So there you go, that will pull against this. It’s quacking at me. So the elbow just sits on that part there. As I explained, that pulls upwards and then opens the secondary throttle plate here. The vacuum pipe for this part attaches into this section and then bends backwards on itself into this here. There we go.

Idle Cut-Off Valve

The next part i’m going to fit is the idle cut off valve which looks like this. That fits into the carb here. What that does is when you switch the engine off this doesn’t get any power anymore and so there’s a pin which shoots out and that cuts off the fuel going into the carb and stops the engine running on. You can test if this is working OK by using a 9V battery which i’ll do now. Connect the positive to the pin at the back and then i’m going to earth at the front here where this metal part is. So it clicks on and off. So that pin is moving backwards when I do that. The o-ring that was with the original one is all perished as you see here so i’ve used two o-rings in here to act as a seal, i’ve also used some PTFE tape, thread seal tape so we get a proper seal in that. That just screws in so i’ll just do that now. There we go, so that’s in position now.

Heater

The next part i’m going to fit is the 12V heater, it looks like this. That fits to this part of the carb here just under the idle cut off valve. What that does is heats up this section of the carb making sure it runs OK in cold weather conditions. It’s connected to the thermally switched 12V system as well as the small heater that’s in the manifold. The hedgehog looking thing. These two things, once the coolant system gets up to a certain temperature, these two things switch off because they’re no longer needed as the carb is up to a certain temperature already. That just fits here and is screwed in place with one screw. That’s in position now.

Vacuum Pipe

Now that the idle cut off valve and the heater is in place i’m going to fit the vacuum pipe to the pull down unit, that connects here. As I mentioned earlier, there’s a small, tiny valve that will go in that pipe, i’m not going to fit it now but that would normally sit in there restricting the actual vacuum that hits that. That just connects into that part there. On the rear of the carburettor, or the front I suppose, facing the front of the van are these two other vacuum pipes here, tow vacuum connections. This one runs to the air box, in the UK you don’t really need that so mine was actually bunged off on the one on my van and it actually ran better when it was bunged off so that’s something to think about. This is the vacuum pipe to the distributor, this one is important, you must have that one connected.

Fuel Filter

The next part i’m going to fit is the fuel filter, this goes into the inlet pipe here. This is what the original one looks like, so i’m going to re-use this and the reason is because I bought this one off ebay, you’ll see it’s very white, and it was already split when I got it and the quality of this is so flimsy I don’t think it will stand up to it’s job for too long so the best thing to do is re-use this reinforced filter that comes with the carb. You’ll notice there’s two little pegs here, don’t know if you can see that, that allows you to take it out by screwing in slightly and then pulling it out. Fitting it is dead easy, you just literally push it in place. There we go, so you’ll see that is now fitted there. That will filter out any particles and bad bits coming from any other part of the fuel system going into the carburettor there.

Gaskets and Manifold Spacer

The last part of the rebuild kit, you get this gasket. What this ones does is it goes between the bottom, fits over there, and the manifold spacer, which is this one. So that goes there. This is really important to have, the spacer. It lifts the carb away from the manifold, without that you’re going to get this lever hitting the manifold and you won’t be able to get full speed, it’s going to affect the performance of the carb. When you’re attaching it, make sure you’ve got that in place. The rebuild kit doesn’t come with one between the spacer and the manifold so i’ve actually cut this one out of gasket paper, this is 0.4mm gasket paper. I just used a pencil to outline it and then cut it out to the same size. That will fit between there. It’s imortant to have all these gaskets in place because, due to the nature of the carb, it is vacuum based so any air leaks are going to affect the performance of this. The carb that I had on my van didn’t have any gaskets between the manifold so I replaced those but it unearthed lots of other issues with the carb because there was other air leaks and mis-adjustments which i’m now addressing. Hopefully, now i’ve done this one I can do the one on my van and that’s the end of that.

Removing Autosleeper interior units

With an impending MOT due in September it was time to address the rust issues in the van. The worst area was the offside sill behind the fridge and the only way to access this area is to remove all the interior units.

I followed JonathanR’s excellent thread on the Club 80-90 forum detailing how he removed the interior from his 1991 Autosleeper Trident.

Units were removed in the following order: seat box, rear wardrobe, fridge, propex, main unit.

Note: Before you start, unplug the earth on both batteries.

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Seat Box

The seat box needs to be removed as it acts like a wedge between the main interior unit and nearside panel. First, remove the 240v fuse box cover by removing the three screws.

Once off you will then have access to all the screws which hold the seat panel in place. On the right side there are two hidden screws which go through the panel into a supporting brace.

With the panel removed you can take the cover off the 240v fuse box and unscrew the connections. This is necessary so the wiring can be fed through the hole in the main unit when it is removed.

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Seat box panel removed

Rear Wardrobe

The large rear wardrobe is independent from the main interior unit. The first step is to prise off the small ledge between the cupboard and window.

Next, remove the rear silent gliss curtain rail as it gets in the way when the wardrobe is moved.

There are then two screws in the top section, five on the left (into the main unit) and two into the floor (on L shaped brackets). With all the screws out the wardrobe needs some serious jiggling to get out (it has been wedged in for 25 years). Push it towards the rear of the van with the tailgate open.

Once out you can enjoy how roomy your van now feels.

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Van with rear wardrobe removed

Fridge

Note: Before removing the fridge, unplug and remove the gas canisters in the lower left cupboard.

The fridge is secured by four capped screws in each of the adjacent cupboards. With the screws removed grab the fridge at the top and wiggle/pull it out about 15cms. This will give you access to the copper gas pipe connection.

Note: If you pull it out too far initially (like I did) it will kink the copper pipe and will need replacing.

Undo the copper connection. (You may smell gas at this point from what is left in the pipe. Nothing to worry about).

When you pull the fridge out further the flue into the vent will disconnect from the rear.

On the right hand side are the 240v and 12v connections. There is also a wire attached to the switch, this runs to the Zig unit, powering a LED indicator when the fridge is on 12v.

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Fridge electrical connections

Undo the electrical connections and the fridge can be pulled completely out. Behind the fridge you will find lots of dust and most probably, rust.

In the below image you can just see the the flue in the top left and the copper gas pipe which I kinked.

On the floor are four screws which hold two wooden battens in place. The left side has a square of fireproof asbestos which sits under the gas flame.

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Fridge cavity

Replacing the copper gas pipe

As I kinked the copper pipe by pulling the fridge out too far before disconnecting I replaced it by using a mini pipe cutter, compression coupler and a length of hand-bendable copper pipe.

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Replacement copper piping for fridge

Propex Unit

The Propex unit is behind a hidden wall in the bottom right cupboard. There are five screws which secure the side panel in place.

The Propex unit is held down with four screws, two each side. Additionally there is a copper gas pipe at the rear which needs disconnecting.

Lifting the Propex unit slightly reveals the floor air funnels, these are held in place with jubilee clips. I was unable to get access to the screw threads so cut through the funnels with the intention of replacing later. (I’m sending the unit to Propex to be refurbished).

On the floor behind the brown blower holes is one screw which needs removing.

Main Unit

With everything else removed the main unit is nearly ready to come out. There are several screws holding it in place.

Firstly, in the gas cupboard there is one screw attached to the vertical pillar and one secured to the floor.

Next, in the pantry is a long wooden strip. Remove this and you will be able to access the two long screws which go into the side panel.

With all the screws out the unit can now be moved out. The only thing preventing it moving is the vent in the gas canister cupboard as it goes down into a slot in the floor.

I pulled on the front corner (picture below) and tilted the unit towards me. I was then able to slide a block of wood from the fridge cavity next to the gas canister vent, lifting the unit off the ground.

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Tilting the unit before inserting wood block below

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Main interior unit removed

With the unit moved forward I could access the fresh and waste water pipes. Both are connected with Jubilee clips, the freshwater pipe connects to the water pump and the waste pipe connects under the sink.

Pictures of the back of the unit for reference:

With the unit removed I had full access to the offside sill and wheel arch.

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Autosleeper Trooper with units removed

Nearside Wheel Arch

As I am addressing all the major rust areas I also needed to access the nearside wheel arch. With the seat box removed it’s a simple case of removing all the screws holding the panel in place.

In the pictures you can see the rockwool insulation used by Autosleeper, the issue with this type of insulation is it holds moisture. You will see the effect this has had on the bodywork in my next post, Rust!

Headlight Warning Buzzer

Something I really miss from modern cars is a beep telling me i’ve left the headlights on when I open the door. As we’ll be venturing further and further afield, anything to prevent a dead starter battery in the middle of nowhere is a definite bonus. Luckily, the T25 has everything ready for this easy low cost modification.

Method

The buzzer is wired in between the fused Blue/Grey cable which powers the dash illumination (switched on and off with the headlight switch) and the courtesy light pressure switch in the door pillar.

As the Blue/Grey wire only receives power when the headlight switch is turned on, the buzzer will only sound when the lights are on and door is opened (grounding the pressure switch).

Parts List

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Parts for headlight warning buzzer modification

Installation

The pressure switch is secured by a phillips screw, I undid this and pulled the cable out slightly.

I then chopped the brown earth wire and pulled it through to behind the dash*. Next, I fed the new black earth lead through and crimped a connection on. The brown earth, black lead and buzzer negative were then connected using the Wago 3-way block.

*There are 2 holes in the rear of the pillar which are positioned slightly higher than the switch. There is one tiny and one larger hole (I routed through the big one). If you put your hand around you will find them eventually. (Thanks to Dave Hayler on the VW T3 ( T25 ) Knowledge Exchange group for helping me find it).

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Buzzer wiring with Wago connector

When I fitted a Switchable USB Socket the Blue/Grey wire connection was left unused (originally it powered the LED). I decided to run the buzzer positive from this plug instead of splicing into the cable elsewhere.

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Positive lead connected to dash Blue/Grey wire

The other side of cable is attached to the buzzer positive via a 2-way Wago connector.

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Finally the new crimped connection is pushed onto the switch and screwed back into place. I secured the buzzer and Wago connectors behind the dash.

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Conclusion

A quick and easy modification which costs £4. Here’s the buzzer in action:

Switchable USB Socket

Now that the lighter socket runs off the leisure battery I wanted to swap it with a dual USB socket with a switch to turn it on and off. Neither of us smoke so a USB version would be far more useful than the original socket for powering our phones/sat nav.

I went for a Blue Sea Dual USB Socket which proves a 2.1A output across the 2 sockets.

Removing the Lighter Socket

I followed this great video by GoWesty which explains how to remove the lighter socket, it was pretty straightforward. I reached around from the left side and wiggled the plug free, in retrospect I could have left this until I pulled the inner section out.

Parts List

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Wago terminal, switch and USB socket

Making Holes

I used a micrometer to measure the size of the USB socket (28.49mm) and switch (20.23mm), then used a Step Drill Bit to enlarge the holes in the dash to the correct size. Luckily, a previous owner had already drilled a random hole next to the lighter socket so I just made it bigger.

Wiring

The illuminated switch needs it’s own earth connection for the LED) so I used a 3-way Wago terminal block to split the black earth cable.

This is the wiring which ends in one positive and one negative male spade connection:

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USB socket and switch wiring

To connect my new set up to the van’s electrics I simply pushed the spade connections into the plug which powered the old lighter socket. The new black cable went into the brown negative terminal and the new red connected to the red positive.

The connection into grey/blue cable is unused (this powered the LED in the original socket).

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New connections into original plug

The Blue Sea USB Socket has a locking collar which needs screwing in from behind. I fed the cables through, connected everything up then reached around the back to secure it in place. The on/off switch just pushed in.

Finished Result

I’m very happy with the end result, it fits in really well and the blue LED even matches the stereo!

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Blue Sea USB socket with on/off switch

Short Shift Kit

After sorting out the issues with the gear lever and linkage I wanted to install a Short Shift Kit (also know as a Quickshift kit). The kit reduces the gear lever throw by 30%, making gear changes feel much tighter.

Several places sell the kit online but I went direct to Si Whitmore at T3volution who makes them. The kit only works with 14mm gear levers so check yours before buying. Generally:

  • Vehicles up to chassis number WV2 ZZZ 25Z C 200 000 have a 12mm shaft
  • Vehicles from chassis number WV2 ZZZ 25Z D 000 001 have a 14mm shaft

…but there was some crossover.

The guide below shows installation onto a T25 with petrol engine (diesels are slightly more complicated as you have to go under the van).

Note: Si is currently doing a deal on the kit for £20 including UK P&P if you email him direct.

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The Short Shifter Kit with instructions

The kit comes with detailed installation instructions and a handy diagram:

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Short Shifter Kit Assembly Diagram

The first step is to unscrew the gear knob and pull the gaiter free.

Next, slide the sleeve onto the gear lever and drill a recess with a 4mm drill bit (using the hole as a guide). Once done, remove the plastic sleeve again.

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Drilling new recess using guide sleeve

Note: I recommend covering the bush assembly before drilling, this will stop any metal filings dropping into it and ruining your nicely greased bushes.

Make a mark on the front of the assembly and the position of the bolts so you know which way to refit. Undo the locking collar and two nuts then slide the bush assembly off the gear lever.

Slide the plastic sleeve back onto the gear lever and screw the bolt extensions in place.

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Plastic Sleeve and bolt extensions in place

Put the spacer onto the bolt extensions (flat side up).

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Spacer in place

The last step is to slide the assembly back onto the gear lever, bolt it back into it’s original position and then secure the locking collar using your newly drilled indent.

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Short Shift Kit installed

The whole procedure took about 10 minutes to do.

With the kit installed the gear changes are so much nicer, i’d definitely recommend this upgrade if your gear linkages are in good order.

Rewiring Stereo to Leisure Battery

My investigation into the Zig MC-2000 12V wiring found that the stereo, lighter socket, courtesy lights and clock run off the vehicle (starter) battery. This seems silly considering the van has a 90AH Leisure battery fitted.

I want to use the stereo and socket (to charge devices) when camping without worrying whether the van will start the next day.

Research

A quick search and I found this thread on the Brick Yard forums which identifies alternative wiring options. Essentially there are two ways to do this, both require a length of cable from the leisure battery positive to the fuse board in the glove compartment:

  • Option 1: Cut the red power cable running into the back of the fuse board (red block, pin position 12) and connect the feed from the leisure battery, or
  • Option 2: Remove the 15A fuse in position 3 and insert the new feed into the front using a spade connector

I went for option two as I wanted to keep the wiring loom as original as possible. It also means I can revert to the stock option by simply pulling the spade connector out and plugging the fuse back in.

The fuse in position 3 powers the lighter socket, courtesy lights and clock as well as the stereo so all three will now be running off the leisure battery.

Method

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Route the new wiring will take

To protect the cable under the cab mat I used the old polymide hard line from when I changed over the fuel fines as a sleeve. It was the perfect fit for the 21A rated cable I bought from eBay. I also bought an inline fuse holder and a Wago 2-way connector.

It’s a really simple job, these are the steps I took:

  1. Disconnected earth feed from Vehicle and Leisure batteries
  2. Unplugged 15A fuse from position 3 on Fuse Board
  3. Ran sleeve under trunking and secured to floor
  4. Fed cable through sleeve
  5. Crimped spade connector to cable
  6. Inserted spade into top slot of fuse position 3
  7. Connected inline fuse holder (reusing the 15A fuse) using a Wago connector
  8. Bolted cable to Leisure Battery positive
  9. Reconnected earth feed from Vehicle and Leisure batteries

Job done!

Excuse the dusty fuse board cover:

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Spade connector plugged into the top of Fuse position 3

At the battery end:

The finished result:

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Everything back in place and working!

Zig MC-2000 Wiring

The task this week was to get a better understanding of the electrics installed in the van, some of the labels had rubbed off the Zig unit so it was impossible to know what did what.

I downloaded the MC-2000 wiring diagram from the VW T25/T3 Autosleeper Info Site, which shows the following:

MC-2000 Wiring Diagram with DCU-3
MC-2000 Wiring Diagram with DCU-3

Note: Sir Adventure is a 1991 Autosleeper conversion.

To work out what setup was installed in the van I went on the hunt for the ZIG DCU-3 and a split charge relay.

ZIG DCU-3

I knew I had a Leisure Battery (under the passenger seat) but was unsure whether the van was fitted with a ZIG DCU-3 charging unit. A quick Google search and i’m on the hunt for one of these:

AutosleeperTridentZigDCU3
ZIG DCU-3 (credit: David Palmer)

I checked all the cupboards and couldn’t find one so the blue wires do not apply to Sir Adventure. This means that when a 240V electrical hookup is used it will power the Fridge and 13 Amp Socket, but not charge the Leisure Battery.

Note: Another indication of whether you have a DCU-3 or not is the presence of a fourth LED on the front panel above the “Fridge is running on 12V” LED. This comes on to indicate charging.

Split Charge Relay

As the van has a Leisure battery I was pretty sure there would be a Split Charge Relay somewhere (how else would the battery get charged?).

I followed the red cable from the Leisure battery positive terminal, under the van (where it ran parallel to a blue cable) and back inside next to the Vehicle battery where I found the Split Charge Relay. It looks like this (the grey square thing):

Split Charge Relay
Split Charge Relay

The blue cable I mentioned earlier comes from the Alternator in the engine bay, this wire triggers the relay into action. When the engine is on the Alternator charges the Vehicle battery (via the big fat cable connected to the positive terminal), with the relay engaged current can flow between both batteries, charging both.

Fuses

On the inside of the fuse panel is a handy sticker detailing what fuse does what. This turned out to be spot on. (AUX 1 is for the Propex blown heater).

Fuse panel labelling
Fuse panel labelling

Removing the Zig unit

To understand what was happening behind the Zig unit I took the front of the unit off. It is very straightforward, there are plastic covers on either side which slide off to reveal two Phillips screws. Undoing these lets whole unit comes free.

The main connector block has only 9 terminals, further confirmation that there was no DCU-3 unit or extractor fan in Sir Adventure.

The green wire into the terminal block does not lead onto anything, I could connect another accessory here such as a USB socket and take advantage of the AUX 2 fuse.

Wiring Diagram

With the above knowledge I updated the Wiring Diagram to reflect my setup:

Zig MC-2000 Wiring Diagram (no DCU-3)
Zig MC-2000 Wiring Diagram (no DCU-3)

One major difference is the common earth block comes off the Vehicle battery, not the Leisure battery.

Zig MC-2000 Labelling

As mentioned earlier, some of the labels had rubbed off. To give a clear understanding of what button does what (and does not disappear with age) I have created a digital version of the Zig MC-2000 faceplate:

Zig MC-2000 Faceplate
Zig MC-2000 Faceplate

Zig MC-2000 Faceplate (fuse cover removed)
Zig MC-2000 Faceplate (fuse cover removed)

If you wish to download high resolution versions (right-click and save as):

Full Wiring

After all my poking around i’m left with the diagram below. I have combined the Zig unit with the updated Wiring Diagram and linked the colour matched wiring to the correct terminal points. (Zig unit lightened for clarity).

It’s easy to understand how the 12V on/off switch controls all current through the fuses.

Zig MC-2000 Full Wiring Diagram
Zig MC-2000 Full Wiring Diagram

Download the Zig MC-2000 Full Wiring Diagram as a PDF.

Replacing the Fuel Lines

Modern Petrol now includes Ethanol which can eat away at old fuel lines from the inside out. I was unsure of the age of the lines in the van so decided to do a complete overhaul. A fuel leak in the engine bay could lead to a serious fire and not something I want to take any chances with.

Examples of perished fuel lines:

There are some excellent posts on the Club 80-90 Wiki I recommend reading around fuel lines in a VW T25:

Once you’ve decided to changed your fuel lines, choosing the right size and quality hose can be a bit of a minefield. However, Brickwerks explain the different types and the 100% Ethanol rated hose they supply.


UPDATE: The 100% Ethanol rated Fuel feed pipe and Fuel return pipe kits from Brickwerks are recommended. 

(Although there have been no issues so far with the R9 kit used below, I’ll be upgrading to the 100% Ethanol ones when I do the job again, just to be on the safe side)


 

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Fuel Feed and Return Hose Kit

The kit fits as follows:

[Fuel Tank Outlet]
[7.3mm Hose][Fuel Filter][5.6mm Hose][Reinforcement Insert][Polyamide Pipe][Reinforcement Insert][5.6mm Hose]
[Fuel Pump]
[5.6mm Hose]
[Carburetor]
[5.6mm Hose][Reinforcement Insert][Polyamide Pipe][Reinforcement Insert][5.6mm Hose][Non-Return Valve][5.6mm Hose][8mm to 6mm Reducer][7.3mm Hose]
[Fuel Tank Inlet]

As well as the above, the kit includes grommets for the bulkhead and a variety of cable ties.

Tools needed for the job:

  • Scissors
  • Flathead screwdriver
  • Petrol can (if draining tank)

Identifying the Fuel Lines

I have marked in red the hoses which will be replaced:

engine-bay-fuel-lines
Fuel lines in engine bay to be replaced

The lines then run through the bulkhead, under the chassis and connect to the fuel tank. Here are some additional photos to identify the fuel lines in the engine bay:

Removal

First jack up the van and drain the fuel tank. This procedure is covered in my other post Replacing the Fuel Tank.

Once the fuel tank is empty the fuel lines connected to the tank can be cut, I snipped through the hard line with a pair of scissors. While under the van make a note of where the fuel lines go, you’ll need to channel the new ones in the same position.

On to the engine bay, unscrew the hose/jubilee clips and pull the fuel lines free of the Fuel Pump and Carburetor.

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Pulling the old return line free of the engine bay

Do the same for the line from the fuel tank and finally disconnect the Fuel Pump to Carburetor. There may be some fuel left in the line but it is pretty minimal.

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Engine bay with fuel lines removed

Fitting the new Fuel Lines

First I fitted the hose connecting Fuel Pump outlet to Carburetor inlet, I measured against the original hose and cut to size.

Next I fed the return hose hard line through the bulkhead and secured the 5.6mm hose onto the Carburetor outlet. (This section also includes a non-return valve to stop fuel going back into the Carb). Make sure the grommet is slipped over the hose before securing to the Carb, it protects the fuel line from rubbing.

Underneath the van on the Nearside I connected the pre-assembled 7.3mm/reducer/5.6mm hose section to the Fuel Tank inlet. The Polyamide hard line was fed from the the hole in the bulkhead down the same route the old fuel line had taken. I trimmed the hard line to the right length, inserted the reinforcement tube and pushed it into the 5.6mm hose before securing with a hose clip.

Finally I secured the whole return feed in place with the supplied cable ties.

Issue: The next step was to attach Fuel Feed line but I couldn’t get the 5.6mm hose onto the Fuel Pump. I took a measurement and found my Pierburg Fuel Pump has a 6mm outlet but a 8mm inlet. This meant it was impossible to fit the 5.6mm hose all the way on.

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8mm Fuel Pump inlet

My solution was to get a short length of 7.3mm hose and a metal 8mm to 6mm reducer (had to be metal so it doesn’t melt in the engine bay).

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7.3mm hose and metal 8mm to 6mm Reducer

The setup now looks like this:

[Fuel Tank Outlet]
[7.3mm Hose][Fuel Filter][5.6mm Hose][Reinforcement Insert][Polyamide Pipe][Reinforcement Insert][5.6mm Hose][8mm to 6mm Reducer *metal*][7.3mm Hose]
[Fuel Pump]
[5.6mm Hose]
[Carburetor]
[5.6mm Hose][Reinforcement Insert][Polyamide Pipe][Reinforcement Insert][5.6mm Hose][Non-Return Valve][5.6mm Hose][8mm to 6mm Reducer][7.3mm Hose]
[Fuel Tank Inlet]

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Fuel feed line connected to Fuel Pump inlet

Like the return feed I slid the hard line through the bulkhead with the grommet in place. Just after the engine bay the original fuel line went through a circular bracket, I fed the new line through this before it goes towards the Fuel Tank.

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Fuel feed line route between engine bay and fuel tank

Just like the return feed, I cut the hard line to size, inserted the reinforcement tube and clamped in place. Job done!

The last step was to put a small amount of fuel in the tank and start the engine. No leaks and it runs fantastic!

t25-fuel-hose-filter
The new fuel lines in action

Conclusion

If you’re thinking of doing this with your van i’d definitely recommend spending the extra on the 100% Ethanol rated hose available from Brickwerks, the components are excellent quality and come part-assembled. Also, the Stainless Steel hose clips will last forever.

Make sure to check your fuel pump inlet size beforehand as you may need an additional length of 7.3mm hose and reducer.

It was a straightforward and quick job to do. (It has taken me longer to put this blog post together). The engine now starts first time and runs much smoother. Additionally, I feel much safer knowing the fuel lines are new and I can keep an eye on their condition.

Replacing the Fuel Tank

The task this week was to replace the Fuel Lines, however when inspecting the tank I found a lot of rust so a new one was purchased from Brickwerks.

I followed the directions in the Club 80-90 Wiki entry Fuel System tank removal.

Draining the Tank

First I disconnected the battery by taking off the earth lead, made sure the handbrake was on, put the van in gear and chocked the wheels.

I then jacked up the Nearside to allow the tank to drain on the fuel filter side (Offside). I used a 3 tonne bottle jack and hardwood blocks.

Next I removed the filler cap and cut the Offside fuel line just after the fuel filter. I angled a 20L container underneath the van and cut the fuel line with scissors. The tank drained slowly, it took around 15 minutes till empty.

When the tank was dry I jacked up the Offside so i’d have as much room as possible underneath when I drop the tank.

Filler Pipe

With the filler cap removed you can access the three screws securing the retainer plate, I undid these and poked the rubber neck through the hole.

The Filler Pipe has an secondary breather pipe attached, pull this off and you can remove the pipe out from under the wheel arch. Keep twisting while you do this, the pipe will pop out of the fuel tank and come free.

Breather Tanks

There are tanks situated under the wheel arches on both sides which act as expansion volume when filling the main fuel tank. In combination with the breather balance pipe they work to allow fuel to reach the top of both sides (the fuel tank has a divot).

Twist off or cut the breather pipes to the tanks, mine were already split so very easy to remove.

It is not necessary to remove the tanks, I did so to check the top seals and treat any rust behind.

To do so: There is one 13mm bolt holding the Breather Tank in place. Even when removed the tank was impossible to get off. This is due to 25 years of dirt trapped between the tank and body creating an unintentional seal. I used a large flat head screwdriver to jab all the dirt out then levered hard downwards. Eventually the tanks popped off.

Tank Straps

There are two straps that hold the fuel tank in place. They are secured with a 13mm bolt towards the front of the van and a flap with angled edges at the other. Undoing the bolts will cause the tank to drop slightly, there is a ridge at the front that stops it coming all the way down. The angled edges needed bending back with pliers before I was able to slide the straps out.

Once the straps were removed the tank will drop further down. Undo the connection to the Fuel Gauge Sensor and pull down, the Breather Balance Pipe will pop out allowing the tank to come completely free. As I was replacing the tank I didn’t worry about it getting damaged coming down, it wasn’t overly heavy so was done by hand. If you’re keeping the tank maybe use a jack or some sort of padding when you do the drop.

The Breather Balance Pipe is secured to the van with a small bracket, unscrew this and pull the pipe free of the van.

The Fuel Gauge Sensor is removed from the tank by twisting anti-clockwise and pulling free. I used a long flat head screwdriver as a lever. Mine had considerable accumulated dirt which needed cleaning off first.

I also removed the four strips of rubber padding on both sides of the tank to re-use on my new fuel tank. I bought new breather and filler grommets, you could however reuse the ones from your old tank if in good condition.

Painting the New Fuel Tank

The new tank from Brickwerks came primered ready to paint. I chose to first do a coat of Bilt Hamber Electrox and a topcoat of Rustoleum CombiColor for the ultimate rust protection. I went a bit overboard with my spray can of CombiColor, using it all up on the top of the tank. Luckily I had a tin as well so rollered the bottom (2 coats with 20% white spirit added to thin).

Breather Pipes

I laid all the pipes out and cut new lengths of 5.5mm Overbraid Fuel Hose (1 metre was enough).

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New 5.5mm hose cut to size

The pictures below show how the breather tanks and filler neck connect to the Fuel Tank:

Refitting the Fuel Tank

With the tank out I could inspect the chassis, clutch pipe and handbrake cable. There was some surface rust (nothing too serious) which I wire brushed and coated in Electrox.

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Underside treated with Bilt Hamber Electrox

To refit the tank I first secured the Breather Balance Pipe to the chassis and fed the hoses through to the wheel arches. The pipe has a kink in it which should be fitted the left side as the tank is lower on this side. Reconnect the Fuel Gauge Sensor here as well.

I then positioned the tank on the front lip, pushed the rear upwards and slid the tank straps into place. The tank is secure on the lip and tank straps so won’t drop down. I then pushed a tank strap upwards and secured the 13mm bolt before doing the next.

There is space to reach through the wheel arch (removing the wheel gives more room) and push the breather pipes down into the top of the tank grommets. Although you won’t be able to see it, this is what it looks like:

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Breather Tank pipes attached, ready for Filler Breather Pipe to go in

In the image above you will notice the pipe in the top left corner coming through the chassis. This is from the top of the Breather Tank and should have a “trumpet” or “Shrek ear” attached. (I knocked mine off fitting the tank).

The Fuel Filler Breather pipe was pushed into the remaining tank grommet before going to the next step.

Refitting the Breather Tanks

The Breather Tanks are nearly as hard to get back in as they were to remove. I devised a cross screwdriver technique to lever the tanks back into place under the wheel arches:

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Technique to refit the Breather Tanks

The hoses you poked into the wheel arch can now be reconnected to the bottom of the Breather Tanks.

Refitting the Fuel Filler Pipe

The Fuel Filler Neck Ring was a rusty mess so needed replacing, luckily Brickwerks do a very nice Stainless Steel version with upgraded bolts. It’s a simple case of enlarging the three holes in the retainer plate with a 5mm drill bit.

I wanted to replace the rusted jubilee clip as well but I would have destroyed the rubber filler neck in the process. (A job for another time when they’re back in stock).

Twist and push the Filler Neck into the Fuel Tank, reconnect the breather pipe and pull the rubber filler neck through the aperture.

Once you have aligned the holes you can bolt the retainer plate back into place. Job done!

My next post covers how to Replace the Fuel Lines.

Gearbox Oil Change

After refurbishing the Gear Lever and Linkage I thought i’d change the gearbox oil as I doubt it has been changed since 1991.

Just like the other jobs i’ve completed I simply crawled under the van to do this, it’s a tight squeeze but manageable.

Shopping list:

The Drain and Filler plugs are not essential but I wanted to replace with new as the current ones looked corroded and I could damage them during removal.

Before you start, go for a nice drive somewhere to warm up the gearbox as the oil will flow better and make draining easier.

First thing is to remove the Filler Plug, this is the one on the side of the gearbox next to the selector shaft.

Filler Plug

I used the Gearbox Key with a 14mm spanner to remove the Filler Plug. There is enough room to whack the spanner with a rubber hammer to get it out, mine was quite stiff so I gave it a good squirt of Plus Gas Releasing Fluid first.

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Removing the Filler Plug with 17mm Key and 14mm spanner

It important to remove the Filler Plug before the Drain Plug. The Filler Plug may have seized and be impossible to remove, if this is the case you will have no way of refilling the oil if you have drained the gearbox. Follow this handy flowchart:

Gearbox Oil Flowchart
Gearbox Oil Plug Flowchart

 

Drain Plug

The Drain Plug is located underneath the gearbox to the rear.

Mine had quite a bit of corrosion so I cleaned out the inside to ensure the Gearbox Key went all the way in. Position the drain pan underneath and unscrew.

A word of warning: Gearbox oil STINKS. The drain pan I used could not deal with the initial flow of oil so spilled over the side onto the floor and onto me.

The Drain Plug is magnetic to collect any bits of metal floating around in the gearbox and protect your gears in the process. Here is Sir Adventure’s drain plug showing 25 years of gear wear:

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Magnetic Drain Plug showing collected gearbox wear

Once the oil has finished draining you can replace your cleaned Drain Plug or like me, fit a new one. The plug does not go all the way in, there is some thread still visible when tightened.

Refilling

I used a Draper Oil Funnel with Tube and it was the perfect length to pour the new oil in from the engine bay. The pack also includes a handy screw on funnel for the 5L bottle.

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Funnel in the engine bay positioned behind the carburetor

The gearbox takes 3.5L of oil, I poured 1.5L into a separate container then slowly poured the rest into the funnel. Once oil starts to pour out of the filler hole (if the van is level) the gearbox is full. Remove the tube and refit the Filler Plug. Job done!