Category Archives: Upgrades & Modifications

gearbox progress

A little progress on the gearbox…Due to issues with a batch of faulty parts, the gearbox wasn’t ready for my September holiday. As has been covered in a previous post we managed to get away thanks to a friend lending me a box. Ironically, I received an email stating my gearbox was ready the first day of our three week break. Suffice to say I was not really in any positing to collect until the end of September where it sat in my garage until a couple of days ago.

The box build spec changed from standard to include a 4.14 final drive,  stronger 4 pinion differential and new differential bearings. This should compliment my new, more powerful AAZ engine with longer gears throughout and a higher cruising top speed.

Knowing that the gear boxes are prone to corrosion due to its position underneath the camper in front of the engine, my intention was to paint the casings before fitting the box. I thought about etch primer (the yellow stuff that comes out of an aerosol can), but decided to try Hammerite primer on a small section of the alloy to see how well it adhered. After a couple of days I checked and it seemed to have keyed on really well, so the rest of the box was painted.

I am in no great rush to have the box fitted, and the reality is it’s probably going to sit in my garage for the next  6 month until my van is booked in for a service at Brickwerks. I’ll get them to fit it then 🙂 . Hammerite takes a good few weeks to cure, after which I will paint again with a mid grey engine enamel.

 

Thermal Screens

Pitched Up and ready to hit the city

I have had a couple of people ask me about the thermal screens I use on my van (seen above on both the window and pop top). Both of these get used on almost every camp over oblivious to the time of year or temperature for reasons explained below.

The pop top roof canvas was purchased directly from Paucer

The obvious reason for buying the screen initially was to try and retain the heat from inside of the van during cold weather. However, we do find that it reduces the noise slightly if camped in busy locations, along with reducing buffeting sounds when windy, and the sound of rain on the canvas. During summer it reduces the amount of light in the van which can be helpful when the sun starts to rise at 5am.  After all, who wants to be woken up at the crack of dawn when your on your hols? 🙂

All T3 / T25s have glass window screens and door glass so a thermal wrap is a must if you want to stand any chance of eliminating condensation from the cab area of your van. The Silver Screen was an expensive purchase in comparison to the alternatives that are on offer from the likes of Just Campers etc. At over £100 it was twice as much, but my purchase is still as good today, as the day I brought it. You can definitely see the difference in the thickness of the quilting and the old saying ‘you get what you pay for’ certainly rings true here.  The screen cover was brought directly from Silver Screens ( www.silverscreens.co.uk ).

The roller coaster continues!

After the epic failure, and massive disappointment of not being able to have our dream holiday in the campervan back in May due to mechanical issues, the agony has been prolonged by restrictions on using the van over any distance until the gearbox has been replaced.  A lengthy lead time of two months on getting my gearbox into the specialist left me feeling slightly frustrated, but mid July arrived and the box was delivered in person.

A month or so later and the refurbishment of my original gearbox seemed to be taking a lot longer than expected. Not exactly sure why but I’ve decided to take a friend up on the offer of loan gearbox to tide me over. I originally considered this option a couple of months previously to keep my van mobile in the interim but decided to wait. However, as my September holiday looms I have had to fall back on this as my only real possibility of getting my van roadworthy in time.

Pulling a gearbox out and replacing with another would normally be something I would leave to the experts, but the tight schedule means no availability in the  only garage I really trust to do the job properly. So needs must. I rolled my sleeves up and got stuck in. All be it a little reluctantly.

Leaking Gearbox Out

The loan gearbox was petrol, so there was always going to have to be changes made before fitting to my diesel van. The bell / clutch housing needed to be swapped over along with the input shaft. After draining the oil from both boxes I split the clutch housing from the gearbox.

Then I proceeded to change the shaft. However, on close inspection I found the diesel input shaft to be pretty badly worn where it sits in the clutch spigott bearing.

Clearly I wouldn’t want to jeopardize the next holiday by turning a blind eye to something I could rectify prior to fitting the gearbox. So I posted on social media to see if anybody had a replacement I could use. Within an hour or so I had a bite, and by the end of the day I had images as proof of the condition of a good replacement part.

The wonders of Paypal meant that my part was on its way the following day. The clutch housing has also fitted with a new input shaft seal, and 4.5l of gearbox oil purchased in readiness of gearbox rebuild completion. Hopefully, the van should be back on the road in a matter of days 🙂

Big Mirror refurb

The Atlantic was one of the few vans that came with big mirrors as standard. These were always colour coded from factory in one of three available colours. White, calypso green or red. My van on the other hand came with mat black mirrors.

black mirrors

This didn’t particularly bother me as I always knew I would get round to painting them at some point. It’s just never really been a priority, what with the van getting plenty of use during both winter and summer. However, my current situation means Wolfgang is off the road for the time being, so this became an opportunity….(always need a positive spin with these vans 🌝)

Unfortunately, its not quite as simple as just unscrewing them via the visible screws on the door bracket. They are heated and servo adjustable from a switch module on the left hand, drivers door. This means that the door cards have to come out on both sides. The fallowing video is a guide to removing the door cards for anybody that may need to perform this process: (courtesy of Van-Again on YouTube)

Below is my door after card removal:

Door card stripped

Then  electrical ‘block’ connector needs disconnecting and stripping….

Electrical block connector (needs striping)

after which the wires can then be passed through the small cable aperture to mirror.

Cable entry / exit hole in door

Its not massively difficult, but a little more involved than one would first imagine.

Then the mirrors need stripping into their basic components before paint.  Separating the bracket from the mirror was done using a pair of long nosed pliers . There is large slotted nut (1 in below image) that winds up against a perspex bush (2 in below image) and spring. Again, not the easiest thing to do especially if the nut hasn’t been removed for a number of years.

Mirror brackets removed

The mirror glass also needs to be removed. If you look closely in between the glass and the outer casing you can just see the two tabs sticking out on either side. Not particularly clear under instruction exactly how these hold the mirror in, but with a couple of knives carefully slotted down the side, and an up movement on one side, and down on the other, the mirror pulls free of the servo unit.

Wires connected to mirror are for heated / defrost function during cold weather

From the picture above I was slightly surprised to see the original colour inside the casing. I did strip one of the mirrors down even further in the hope that I could just send the plastics and bracket away for spraying, but realized the connectors on the end of the loom wouldn’t go through the hole in the bottom of the mirror. This meant they must have been crimped on after they were thread out of the aperture during construction at the factory. I wasn’t willing to cut them off and re connect after paint, so I left the whole servo assembly in the mirror. You can see more clearly the original paint in the photo below.

Original paint in mirror.

I can only assume that the original external paint must have gotten scratched, chipped or dis-couloured to the point where a previous owner decided to take matters into his own hands with a DIY spray-job using a can of mat black paint.

So this was just about as far as I could take it. I was considering getting a few rattle cans made up and having a go at painting them myself. However, these wouldn’t have been cheap, and these on top of the extra wet-n-dry emery paper and primer, would have meant that I probably wouldn’t be saving a great deal against the cost of a professional paint shop. So the paint was purchased and both mirrors and paint were taken to a body shop I had used previously to have my Fiamma Box painted.

Two Days later I collected and I must admit I am pretty happy with the results . I just need to build them up and pop them back on the van 🙂

Seeing Red

So my van has gearbox issues! But no reason to stop chipping away at the things that have annoyed me until that can be fixed. Basically, the gaps in my wheels aren’t massive because of the style of alloy, but annoying all the same to see the rusty drum behind. So yesterday / today I jacked the van up, popped the wheel off and set to realizing my goal. To paint the drum red.

Anyways, one thing leads to another, and before you know it (5 hours later actually), I’ve washed away all the mud, painted the trailing arms and stone chipped the wheel arch.

The finished article:

The replacement gearbox should arrive on Tuesday, along with new clutch and slave cylinder from Brickwerks (due to be fitted on Friday locally). Nothing like cutting it fine. We should be on the ferry for our Euro trip just over a week later. Lets hope there are no issues with the replacement box!😳