Category Archives: General Maintenence

Radius arms / chassis mounting (Brickwerks)

I decided to take my van to Brickwerks for a service some 6 months or so after buying it back in May 2015. I’m a bit precious about my vehicles and have found myself in a situation on numerous occasions in the past not really trusting the run of the mill, modern car garage. So the first visit was for one day which included a service, inspection and a fix of anything that was clearly not right and fixable within the constraints of the day. So from there we had a list. One year on and my van was in for a minor service to follow on from the full one in 2015, and a brief to chip away at the already identified issues. All good in the hood….Not quite!

It soon became apparent that I had some quite serious issues as a result a distinct lack of maintenance by the previous owners. Radius arm bushes were identified as being perished on the first visit, and although this on it’s own is not uncommon, the fact that after further investigation it was quite conceivable that none of the associated components had ever had any maintenance since it left the factory in 1990.

Radus8
Radius arm and perished bushes
Radius1
Massively damaged body mount aperture

After viewing these parts it dawned on me that if these issues hadn’t been identified during this visit, structural failure was going to happen at some point in the not too distant future. I’m not complaining, but this unforeseen issue was now at the forefront of my vans visit to Brickwerks.

The following is pretty much a step by step pictorial of how the repair was done. I will hasten to add that there is a lot more science and expertises to this than just being able to use a welder and a grinder. If you care about your van…and more importantly the occupants, pedestrians and other road users that may become involved as a result of dodgy workmanship, i would recommend you leave this sort of fix to the experts.

So the first pictures were emailed to me by Simon at Brickwerks (above). This was great as I was left in no doubt that this really needed addressing. Shortly after followed these showing the progress:

Radius5

All corrosion cut out of the ‘three’ affected layers.

First layer of plate welded in from the back

First layer of plate welded in from the back, after which the middle and front followed.

seams ground back to clean

All visible surfaces were cleaned back and the hole was drilled for the radius arm. I will say that this hole was not guess work. A template was made from a new off the shelf part to make sure it was in exactly the right place.

After this that bare metal was primed

After this the bare metal was primed…

Radius3

Painted…

Radius9

and Dinitrol applied to stop stone chips & water ingress.

Radius7

I’ll just point out that the above photo shows one of the desperately thing layers of metal that made up a part of the chassis connector points. The repair (I think you will agree) is a million miles away from the old and worn out parts that were on my van when I purchased it.

So this is the finished article….

received_10209957833088937

Note: When I first got my van I went through a process of replacing some of the suspension parts such as coil springs and dampers. This improved the ride of the van massively and I didn’t think it could get any better. I was proven wrong and it was instantly noticeable on the way back to Derby from the workshop in Yorkshire that it was so much tighter on the bends and bumps. This just goes to show that it is a sum of all of the components being in good working order that makes a van handle well.

 

Wishbone bushes (Brickwerks)

This issue was identified during a visit to Brickwerks for a service and maintenance. The repair for this was done at the same time as the work done on the radius arms.

The culprit. Old and worn due to a distinct lack of maintenance.

Badly worn bushes
Badly worn bushes

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Engine Under-Tray Tinware & Soundproofing

JX undertray
JX Under-tray

My camper never came with the under-tray components that are fitted from new. This basically consists of a large, thin pressed metal element that sits underneath the engine. It contains high density proofing that is held onto the tinware by plastic cross retainers. To complete the this there is a separate part that draws air into the turbo to keep that cool, and another piece of tinware that drops down at the back of the van to provide a fastening point for the main under-tray.

Being a newcomer to the whole T3 van scene I didn’t have the experience to know what should have been fitted to the vehicle and what shouldn’t. It was around the time i decided to change my exhaust that I realize that this part was missing. After some discussion on forums it soon became clear that the extra time for maintenance in having to remove these items, often lead to it never being put back on again.

However, after some thought i decided to track down these missing parts and fit them back on the van. My reasoning was, they were designed by VW to be fitted, so they must have had a justification for doing so. The obvious ones were to reduce noise, and cool the turbo. Stopping dirt and dust from the road filtering into the engine bay is another, and reducing  the amount of muck getting on the bottom of the engine \ sump.

I found a complete set of tinware in the UK, and had it shipped over. It total it cost me about £60 including delivery. It was covered in a thick black oily deposit. Waxoil, Dinitrol or Tetroseal?

JX-Undertray (2)
Removing the black oily covering

Anyway, I decided that it was going to be cleaned off and the whole thing would be painted in Hammerite silver. I removed the black oily covering with petrol which was really effective at breaking it down to a liquid. I then just wiped it off with a rag. I must admit, although the covering was not pleasing on the eye, i feel it must have done it’s job in preserving the tinware, Although it is galvanized, i feel it would have been in a lot worse condition if not for the gunk.

Gunk removed
Gunk removed

JX-Undertray (3)

Unfortunately , that’s about as exciting as this post gets. As you can see from the photo at the top of this post, that is the finished article. As with most of the maintenance work underneath the van, it’s always easier to get a garage to do it due to the awkward position of the items. This was fitted along with the Webasto night heater.

CasingWebastoVan

Its questionable as to weather or not this makes a great deal of difference acoustically whilst inside the van. However, It does make a difference from outside (which my neighbors will surely appreciate 🙂 ) .

LDA Boost Controller

I have owned my van for best part of eight months and had lived with it for what it was (an under powered 1990 campervan) . I had seen all the posts on various forums etc about how bad these vehicle were on hills and in general in their standard guise, and had toyed with the idea of dropping in a different engine because i didn’t think i could live with it for the long term. However, i’d almost made my mind up that i was going to live with (and love) it for what it was.

Little did i know that there was actually a problem with the LDA boost controller. This was there to increase the fuel to the engine under load, and the fact that mine was knackered was a big deal as far as performance was concerned. This was highlighted during a service at Brickwerks.

So I set to rectifying the problem. The new ones were not readily available in the UK so I bought a second hand one from North West VW at a cost of £29 delivered. Fitted it and it made a massive difference to the drive ability especially on hills. So the van doesn’t need to be upgraded engine wise! 🙂

LDABoostController

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Skylight mech referb

As with many of the parts on my 25 year old van, the age had taken it’s toll. I had already had to change the skylight seal to stop water ingress and the plastics for the winder mechanism were also looking a bit stained and dis coloured. This was most likely due to UV. So rather than buy a new set, I primed and painted 🙂

Spraying the plastics
Spraying the plastics

The finished article was good enough for our eyes not to be attracted to it whilst spending time in the van 🙂

Finished article
Finished article

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