Tuesday, October 24, 2006

VW T3 tuning on Discovery

Volkswagen busses, including T3s are tuned even on Discovery Channel!

Yesterday I saw two episodes of "Wheeler Dealers" on Discovery Channel. In those episodes the guys tuned Volkswagen T3.

It was a typical cargo van with 1.6 turbocharged diesel engine. Since the show is made in UK, the car has steering wheel on it's right side. They wanted to make a beautiful camper van out of it. It was bought for £1,100, in poor shape. The muffler had many holes, one bumper was missing, the side door was not working properly, stuff like that.

They started with the engine. They replaced the V-belt, glow plugs (the engine didn't start the each time, muffler and oil. Total cost: £160.
The door was fixed. They installed a window (one that can be opened, not like the window in my camper :( ) bought on a scrap-heap for £50.
They wanted the car to look very nice so thought about getting paint done. But instead of painting some weird shapes and patterns with the paint, they bought large vinyl STICKER! Beautiful sticker with some bubble pattern, for £1,000...

The most important thing was to replace the insides of the van. The old upholstery was changed -- they removed old one made of fiberboard and replaced it with plywood. I think they also should put some styrofoam to minimize the heat losses (important while camping in autumn or spring). They installed a folding bed (made from DIY set), the floor was covered with artificial grass. Set of camper furniture pieces (folding table, cupboards with sink and stove). The front suspension was lowered (the springs were replaced with shorter ones), the wheels got polished caps.

Totally the conversion cost was near £4,000. :)

Too bad I didn't have the chance to record those two episodes. :(

Saturday, October 21, 2006

No, it wasn't too cold

Yesterday I took the battery from my camper to my apartment. I live on 5th floor, and have no elevator, so this was not pleasant thing to do. I plugged the battery to the charger.

Today I took the battery back to the Volkswagen and tried to start the engine. The temperature was +16°C (61F). I tried a couple times. The engine didn't start. I thought that perhaps the solenoid valve on the fuel pump is broken. In such a case the fuel pump doesn't feed the fuel to the engine, which simply won't start. But I checked and saw that both the valve and the wire that is supposed to power it were operational.

I had two very good possible causes and checked them both. None of them was the cause of my starting troubles.

What now? I'm not sure. I might call Tomek in the evening, perhaps he can help me. He usualy can.

If there was trouble starting the engine in cool temperature, it would mean, that the engine needs general repair. It would mean, that the compression in the engine is very weak. It would also explain why the fuel consumption is very high...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Was it too cold for my old diesel?

I wanted to drive my camper to work today, because I'm going to need it in the evening. The temperature outside was +4°C (39 F, shown on a thermometer outside my window). So I thought that the engine will start with no trouble. I heard a lot about how old diesels wouldn't work in winter, because their compression is too low for the diesel fuel to ignite when injected. But I though that if the temperature was above freezing point, the engine will work.

But it tricked me. It didn't start. The glow plugs were lit (well... at least the glowplug indicator light was litten. The started did run, but the engine didn't start. During first trial I heard one or two explosions in the engine, but later on nothing happened. So I drove to work by bus.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Again it was no big deal

On saturday, while carrying my "trash can" on a trailer, Tomek said that "probably some stupid device is broken, because in Volkswagen cars nothing serious breaks". It seems that he was absolutely right!

What happened then? The car alarm was burnt. After it was removed, the engine started with no trouble.

Monday, October 16, 2006

This time it was serious

This time it broke seriously.

I went with a bunch of colleagues to Czosnów for ASG Game. It is a town near Warszawa-Gdańsk road with remains of old fortress.

After the game the camper wouldn't start. When turning the key in ignitin, all the lights on the board would light the proper way, but not the yellow that sign glowplugs. The starter worked great, but the engine didn't start. The turning signals didn't work, the hazard lights did.

I called Tomek, who was fortunatelly at home. He attached a trailer to his Mercedes Vito and came to rescue us.

First we tried to determine what was broken. When it didn't work, we attached the camper to the Vito and tried starting it this way. It didn't work. Then we tried to put it on the trailer. The starter with a help of four guys pushing didn't make it. Then five of us tried to push it with inertia. Since I turned the steering wheel a bit the car fell of the trailer with one key. The next half an hour we spent on trying to remove the camper from the trailer using a large rock found near the road. Finally we used winch to put the camper on the trailer. We'd start using the winch earlier, but it was not fully operational and Tomek didn't want to use it until there was no other chance.

This is a video made by one of my colleagues. Tomek and I were thinking how to make the Volkswagen appear on the trailer and they were having fun. Sad thing. :(

Tomek gave me a lift home and took the camper to his place. It was a sad view to see the camper on the trailer...

Thursday, October 12, 2006

My left taillight is broken

My left rear position light doesn't work. In Poland in autumn and winter we have to light the lamps during the entire day. So it does matter that this one light doesn't work. I wonder why... Is it because I don't have one of front position light bulbs?

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

That was no real malfunction

As I found out, it was not a real trouble... It was nothing. I had this thing once, in my Fiat 126p.

My friend Tomek came to help. I showed him what was going on, he told me to turn the headlights on. Then the hazard lights. Both didn't work. I thought there was a trouble with the ignition. He told me that hazard lights aren't powered through the ignition, so we needed to search for the electrical failure somewhere else.

He advised me to take a look at the battery. I thought it was stupid, because the battery had enough energy (proper voltage, I measured yesterday). Since the engine hatch was open, I opened the trunk.

Tomek checked first the connection terminals. He moved the negative (ground) terminal and told me that it's in such poor condition that he isn't surprised I have trouble. He moved it a bit, told me to try starting the engine. It started. I removed the terminal, cleaned the bolt with a metal brush (I got it when I used my 126p) and put the terminal back in place. I started the engine and we went to McDonald's with out two vans to drink coffee.

First major malfunction

Today the camper broke. I parked it next to the building I live in, but not as far from the street as I wanted. So I tried to move it a bit. When I turned the key to "start" it again, there was no effect but dimming the lights on the board. When I turned it back to "on" the lights didn't light. The voltage on the ignition lock was +5 Volts, on the battery was more than +12 V. I wonder what is broken...

Monday, October 9, 2006

As seen from back seat

A romantic view - sunset near Żyrardów seen from back seat of my camper. Photo taken some month ago...

Saturday, September 30, 2006

After camping vacation

I wrote couple days ago that I was going for a summer camping vacation. So now I'll write about how the camper worked on that trip.

The LED lamp and my camping solar set worked great! I don't have to guess if the energy stored in the battery is enough or not. If the energy runs out, the charge controller simply disconnects the lamp. At that moment you need to use the energy from the car's battery or candles (BTW, I have a large stock of candles in the camper). The LED lamp gives less light than the original lamp above the window, but it's better than nothing.

Connecting two water tanks together (I'll write about it soon) was a great idea, because it simply doubled the car water supply. It seems that nothing's changed, because it's the same two tanks of the same capacity. True, but taking the water pump from one of the tanks and putting it to the second one is disturbing. My modification halves the chance of running out of water in the middle of doing dishes.

I had some trouble with engine temperature gauge. While I was accelerating uphill, the LED started blinking red and indicator went to the right end of the temperature scale. Some time later it went back to its normal position. Perhaps there's not enough water in the cooling system?

Summarising -- I drove 900 kilometers (560 miles) with average fuel consumption below 8l / 100 km (35 MPG). I must admit, I drove slowly (70...80 km/h - 44...50 mph).

Monday, September 25, 2006

Camping solar set

From Volkswagen Transporter T3

The photo above shows my camping solar set. It is the beginning of what will power all my camping appliances. I am going to power all the camping stuff (refrigerator, lights, water pump, even CD player) from second battery, charged with car alternators and also with solar panel).

The solar panel can be folded and put in backpack. It has connectors (gray, can be seen on the photo) which allow it to be connected paralelly to another photovoltaic panels (paralelly - the same voltage, but more power). The solar panel also has connector for plugging car lighters, for example I can put there my cellphone car charger.

The charge controller has three sets of connectors: one for battery, one for solar panel, one for the stuff that's to be powered with the battery. It protects the battery from being discharged too much but also from being overcharged and discharged by solar panel during the nights.

For now, the set consists of old (not fully operational) 45 Ah car battery I used in my Fiat 126p, charge controller, solar photovoltaic panel and LED lamp (made of LED bulb for home halogen lamps).

In future I'll install there bigger battery and connect all the camping equipment to it. Perhaps I'll buy a 12/230V inverter?

My beautiful headlights

From Volkswagen Transporter T3

This is a photograph of one of my beatiful headlights. It is a tuning lamp for VW Golf, with flat glass. It's visible that it is not the original one, since it is tilted clockwise a bit.

On the box there's an information that it gives a lot more light than the orignal lamp and uses H4 light bulbs.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The day of unfinished business

I planned some very important things for today. We're leaving with Ania for our summer holiday. A long awaited one, so I had not much time to do many things.

First I wanted to put my tuning headlights, the ones Tomek bought for my birthday. They are made for Volkswagen Golf Mk II, so were supposed to require some extra work to fit them.
The second thing I wanted to do, was to put together a solar charger for my camping battery.
The last thing was adding taps for both clean water tanks and connecting those taps with a hose. This would connect them together and thus "double" the car water storage capacity.

Let's start with the beginning.

The lights were more difficult to be installed, because they have bolt holes in wrong places. Only two of three bolts were used, the third point of contact with the frame was made with a piece of wire. They're tilted clokwise by couple degrees, because the holes were in wrong places. They're installed, but I'm not satisfied with the results.

The solar charger was to be connected to my second car battery (an old 12V 45Ah capacity battery, from my Fiat 126p), solar battery, solar charge controlled and a LED lamp, connected by some wires. I wanted to connect all this stuff to existing car wiring, so it would be charged by car's alternator while driving. I didn't make the lamp (I had only a LED bulb and some switch, didn't have the time to put it together), so this makes the job only half done.

I removed windshield washer fluid tank. As I written some time ago, it has broken pump. The second pump I connected to the wires also didn't work. I checked both on an external battery, they are operational. I checked if the wire has enough power to move the pump but was unsuccessful - I saw that it does have some power, but couldn't measure the voltage because I had only a test bulb and no voltage meter. The job is not done at all, though I wasted some time.

I had no time at all to install the taps on the tanks. :(

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Link 4? No kidding...

I received an email ad of Link4 (they say they have the smallest prices for auto insurance, but can be contacted only by phone), so I figured I'll call hem, see how much would they charge my camper's insurance. Mine is valid till january, but I want to prepare the cash in advance.

First, a nice lady asked me where do I live, when did I get my driving licence, do I have any bonuses to my insurance for safe driving, and so on.

When she heard that this is a camper, she said that they don't have good offers prepared for camper vans. The campers are charged extra money. It was very odd for me, because in any other normal auto insurance company one gets charged less if one has camper instead of normal car. Anyways, I asked her, how much would I be charged for the insurance. PLN 2,600 ($1,050) per year.

No kidding...

I asked in some other insurance company, the one that has representatives and thus should be more expensive. They told me that I'd pay for my car PLN 1,600 ($650).

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Visit on Cargo

Yesterday I went with Ania to Cargo (a place near the Warsaw Airport Okęcie Cargo Terminal) to look at airplanes starting and landing on the airport. There is nothing more pleasant than comfortable car, nice company, nice view and a pack of potato chips.

From Volkswagen Tr...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Camping trip around Baltic Sea

Some time ago we (Tomek and I) started thinking about driving two campers around Baltic Sea. Not precisely around the sea, because we aren't goint through Russia, so we make a shortcut from Estonia to Finland by ferry.

I filled a route on Map24, got a result of around 6,500 km (4,040 miles), including a ferry from Copenhagen to Germany. If we drove that part of journey on roads, it'd be probably over 7,000 km (4,350 miles). I couldn't make Map24 to predict the route on land, because I had no other stopovers to use.

Since I drove my camper 3,000 km (1,860 miles) since I bought it, the trip will probably be no trouble at all. But it will require a lot of money to go there. :)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Camping stove/refrigerator

My Volkswagen Camper is equipped with refrigerator and gas stove. The refrigerator doesn't have a compressor, because it is absorption refrigerator. It's powered by heat source, not by electric motor. The heat source is electric heater or gas burner, so it can be powered by LPG from gas tank, or electricity, both 12V DC from car alternator / battery or 230V AC from grid.

The refrigerator is large enough to fit some stuff inside. But I am not sure if it works as it should. From what I saw to this moment, on 12V it does a nice job, but on gas doesn't work as good as on DC.

The stove works very fine. It has two burners. I bought a small kettle so I can boil water for tea on Warzywniak meetings. While I am driving, the kettle is placed in the sink, for safety.

All the burners are equipped with auto-shut-off valves. It protects the passengers from inhaling the gas if the flame extinguishes. I am glad that the car almost 30 years old has the technology that was introduced to polish homes couple of years ago.

Below is the photo of the cupboard that holds stove, sink and refrigerator. After folding one of the sides of the second case it makes a shelf for preparing food and stuff. The front side of this cupboard is equipped with 230 V socket. I am not sure if it does work...

After opening up the roof one can stand inside, prepare food on the stove, wash the dishes, as long as there's water in two 10 litre (2.64 gal) tanks. ;)

From Volkswagen Tr...

Monday, September 11, 2006

I saw a high VW T2

Today I saw high Volkswagen Transporter T2 (bully) while driving to work. I didn't have enough time to park near it and shoot a photograph.

9/12/06 addition It was there today. I had the time so made the following photo.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Window curtains

The car has curtains for all the windows. Those for back and side windows are installed permanently, but can be opened or closed. The three front are installed with naps to the window frame. The picture below shows one of those curtains, on passenger door.

They're made of dense material, so don't let sunlight through and allow to sleep long in the morning.

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

The camper's fold-up roof

Is a fold-up roof in camper van any good?

It is... First of all you can stand up. I am 182 cm (6 ft) tall and have at least 10 cm (4 in) above my head. I don't have to bend over the kitchen stove, sink or anything else.

The second advantage is the possibility to ventilate the car. It's back windows aren't cannot be opened, so folding up the roof gives me some fresh air that can't be obtained elsewhere.

One can use the handle (for closing the roof) to hang a towel or something else.

This is the look from inside, with three "windows" open. Those hanging cloths don't look well, but I can't tie them at the moment, 'cause there's no cord or anything similar.

That's the roof seen from the outside.

It has one disadvantage. Leaks. It has no holes or anything, that's not the cause. But when the rain is strong, the raindrops splash on the camper's roof and make the tent cloth wet. Then the water slowly pours down and pours inside. The cloth needs water repellent. One such experience is enough.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Weekend in T3

We had family meeting in our summer woodland cabin last weekend. We had a family meeting there. There wasn't enough beds or floor spaces for everyone so we (I and Ania) slept in Camper. These were my third and fourth night spent in the car since I bought it. Till that moment I thought the Camper's bed is more comfortable than the one I have at home, but now I think it is only as comfortable as the other one.

I also found out that the car is silenced pretty well. It wasn't loud inside, despite all the screams, shouts and other sound from outside. Of course when the roof is retracted, the tent cloth can't stop any noises... It is an important feature when you camp on a campsite with people who like to listen to loud museic, sing and talk a lot at night. Very typical in Poland, where people don't know how to behave themselves in public.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Spherical mirrors

On mondey I ordered spherical mirror glasses. I had the possibility of driving Tomek's Mercedes Vito, which has that kind of mirrors. The view through them is perfect. I got used to sphericals while driving my Fiat 126p. So I decided to purchase a set. For only $11*2 + shipping.

At the same time I ordered mirrors defrost heaters a small electrical heater that is to be glued to the glass on the back side, to prevent moisture condensation and freezing, hope I found the term right. Since I'll be working on them at the same time I can glue the heaters when I replace the glasses.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

To Gizycko and back II

Yesterday (on tuesday) I had to drive to Giżycko again. Ania's camp was ending today at noon. Because I wanted to see her earlier, so I went there yesterday after work (at 4. PM).

The drive was quite pleasant. CB radio didn't work as I expected, the speaker in it is dying. I need to plug it to external speaker or buy a new radio. It'll be easier to get it done with the speaker since I have one installed above ashtray on the console.

I don't know what is wrong with the car, but when the speedometer shows 80 km/h (50 mph) I feel like I am driving 100 km/h (60 mph). I wouldn't be surprised if I felt I was driving slower. One gets used to speed and later treats it as something natural. The meter wasn't lying since I checked the speed on GPS and the difference wasn't big (couple of km/h). Perhaps the meter sometimes shows larger and sometimes smaller speed?

I spent the night on a car parking for $5. When I woke up in the morning before I opened my eyes I felt like I was lying in my own bed at home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

To Gizycko and back

Today Ania (my girlfriend) was supposed to be in Giżycko at noon. I decided that I'll take her there. Note that I live in Warsaw, 272 km (170 miles) from Giżycko. We took with us one of her friends. They wanted to give me some money so I asked them to give me 2/3 of the price of train ticked for the same journey. That gave me 40 PLN ($16) total.

It was difficult to start the engine, even more than the last time. I had to start the starter 8 times before the engine finally decided to work. Perhaps that's because it was only 18°C (64°F) at 6 AM?

I tried to maintain a constant speed of 90 km/h (56 mph). I was told that driving to Giżycko via Łomża takes 4 hours with a normal car, I thought it'd take me more time. So I tried to drive fast, to give Ania some additional time after getting there.

It came out that the engine didn't like the rapeseed-diesel mixture I made yesterday. The acceleration was shitty, the maximum speed barely exceeded 90 km/h. But that was not the worst thing. The worst thing was the mileage. I used 11,1 l/100 km of that mixture (21 MPG). The price of that mixture is 3,6 PLN/l (4,76 $/gal) it was more expensive that driving on pure diesel! It's cheaper to use on 100 km 9 litres of fuel that costs 4 PLN/l than 11 litres of slightly cheaper mixture.

Going back home I tried to drive 70 km/h (43 mph). I had 7,6 l/100 km mileage (31 MPG). Much better result.

But I have one important question: why can't I use cheap vegetable oil as a fuel? I will try to make a professional vegetable oil thingie that will allow me to run on pure VO, not mixture.

It costed me total 200 PLN ($70). I wanted to visit her next weekend but now I think I won't.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Second rapeseed drive

Today I bought in one of near malls five 3-litre tanks of rapeseed oil for only 9 PLN each (0,8 gallons for $3,15). I can't say it was cheap, but it was the cheapest vegetable oil I could find. I started the engine on 1:1 mixture and added the rest. When I turned the key to "on" position I heard some weird noise from under the cooler. I think those were made by electric fuel pump...

So I poured the 15 litres (4 gallons) of vegetable oil to my fuel tank and went to a normal filling station. A Neste gas station it's a brand of self-service gas stations, you pay at the pump before you pump ;) . I wanted to fuel my tank full with standard diesel fuel. I calculated that finally I had 2:1 mixture (diesel:vegetable).

I calculated also the mileage for that period, 7,7 l/100 km (30,5 miles per gallon). 1 l less than previously. I recorded distance of 793 km (493 miles), half driven in city traffic, rest driven outside towns. I assume that driving slowly (70-80 km/h (43-49 mph)) will give me even better mileage.

I can't say what was the mileage on rapeseed/diesel mixture, because I used only 5 litres of that mixture on that distance.

Friday, August 11, 2006

First testdrive on rapeseed oil

Yesterday I poured 12 litres (3.17 gal) of rapeseed oil (straight vegetable oil) to my VW T3's fuel tank. There was only 10 litres (2.64 gal) of diesel fuel, so the mixture was roughly 1:1. It took a long time, because this fuel is very viscid.

I started the engine, for first 30 seconds there was nothing special. But then the fuel pump pumped the new mixture to the engine. It started coughing, and coughed for first two minutes, until the engine became warm enough.

Today I had slight troubles with starting the engine. I had to start it a couple times, because each time it stopped after some revolutions. For first 200 metres my car didn't want to drive normally, but later I had no more trouble.

If using straight vegetable oil as a fuel for my diesel engine will look like this, it'll be useful only for longer trips. For 15 km (10 miles) trips from my home to work and back it's not the best option. I think I'll have to make some augmentations in the engine (e.g. fuel preheater).

Thursday, August 10, 2006

How about this paintjob?

My Volkswagen need to get new paint. What to you think about this color set?

I think color other than yellow will be better. Photo licensed GNU FDL.

Arkadia: only for low busses

Yesterday I tried to go to the Arkadia Shopping Mall. It is very unfriendly for high busses. The height limit is 2.1 m (around 7 ft), I couldn't fit in the parking gate. The folding roof was too high.

There's only underground parking, so I had to park on Rondo Babka.

Wednesday, August 9, 2006

Today I went to "Warzywniak"

Today I took Ania and my camper to "Warzywniak". In polish it's a word used for a place where vegetable dealers come to trade, vegetable market. At this spot our weekly fiat126-fan meetings took place each wednesday. I found some new friends there and drove to that meeting to meet them. We don't use 126ps anymore, but we try to meet from time to time. I promised Tomek that I'll make him a tea on my camper stove. On the photo you can see me pouring water to the kettle. You can also see Tomek.
The electric connectors powering water pump somehow disconnected themselves so I had to connect them once again.

Tuesday, August 8, 2006

Bus society?

Today I was driving to work via Trasa Toruńska. I was left behind by another Volkswagen T3 bus. This one was olive-green and had one small Netherlands flag, I believe it was ex-military. The young driver waved at me while passing by. Very nice custom.

Attention: low gate

Today I went to "Reduta" Shopping Mall to visit Carrefour and buy couple very important things for my car. A towing line and something we call cautionary triangle. I'm afraid that this doesn't mean anything to most of this blog's readers. Description: it is a triangle made of red retroreflectors. When you need to stop your car on a road because it's broken, you need to put the triangle behind it. It's supposed to warn other drivers that they'll have to pass by your car. I also wanted to check the price of the cheapest vegetable oil.

At the gate to the underground parking there was a sign that said "cars 2.2m (7 ft 2'') high or less". It was installed on a horizontal bar which was on that precise height above the floor level. If a car can't pass below this bar it can't drive to the parking. I stopped and stepped out of the bus to see if driving below it was possible. Note, that I have folding roof and roof rack... I saw that I have couple inches of space and drove slowly inside.

When I approached an empty parking space and tried to park there driving backwards my roof rack hit something. It was an ventilation duct. I thought that if I drove under that bar I won't have to worry about anything else. I was wrong. I found another spot with no such surprises.

I found vegetable oil for 8.05 PLN for 3 litre tank (less than $3 for 0.8 gal). I bought 4 of them, 12 litre total. I will use this fuel soon. :)

Parts retrieval

Yesterday I went with Tomek to the guy I bought T3 from. I wanted to take the parts I was supposed to get for free with the bus. Two engines (the original air-cooled gasoline boxer and naturally aspirated diesel, both 1.6 litre), doors, windows, some suspensions parts and stuff like that.

We attached a large trailer to vito and another small to T3. Very traumatic experience, my first time with trailer. Luckily it's narrower than T3 so I had no difficulties with hitting something with it.

The most difficult thing was to put the engine with gearbox on the trailer with three pairs of hands. Now I know I was designed not for physical work.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Summer testdrives

On friday I drove to Żyrardów for my girlfriend Ania. From there we drove to my parent's woodland summer cottage. It's 60 km (37 miles) from Warsaw and 90 (56 miles) from Żyrardów. The road is straight, brand-new (I believe it was repaired not so long ago).

Once there I reviewed the bus with my father and tested the camping equipment with Ania. We discovered that I need to replace one of the headlights (the mirror on the bottom of the light was gone) and replace the windshield washer fluid tank (pump doesn't work). After opening the valve on the propane tank I managed to start the kitchen stove. Both burners are operational. I poured one of freshwater tanks (I have two, 10 l (2.6 gal) capacity) half full and managed to start the faucet. Water from the sink pours down under the bus. There's no tank for used water and I'm quite happy because of that. I'll have to put a bucket under the camper on campsites, but on the other hand I won't be bothered with emptying that tank.

The bed is very comfortable. I was afraid that it'll be to short for man 1.82 m (6 ft) tall but I was wront. The car is equipped with a set of curtains. Three of them are attached to the car by buttons. Once all of them are set, it's very dark inside.

On the second night it was raining. I'd call it a storm. The roof started "leaking". I put it in quotation marks, because it is not a matter of holes in the roof. The cloth soaked and the water was dripping down. I need to make it waterproof.

Thursday, August 3, 2006

First drive with my VW T3

Yesterday after work I drove from Warsaw to Łódź. Via Sochaczew and Łowicz, about 145 km (90 miles). I bought fuel on a gas station at the road to Poznań. I was travelling fast, about 90-100 km/h (55-60 mph) because I was in a hurry and wanted to see how fast can my bus drive. It has broken speedometer, so I'm not sure what was the real speed. Today I drove the same way to Warsaw and bought fuel on the same gas station. 250 kilometers and 22 litres (155 miles, 5.8 gal), 8.67 l/100 km (27.1 MPG). A LOT! I'm not happy with that result.

Seems I have to drive slowly. And start fueling the camper with vegetable oil.

Tuesday, August 1, 2006

T3 purchase: SUCCESS!

Yesterday I finally bought a Volkswagen T3, the camper. :D

The car was made in 1979, and had 1.6 gasoline engine, air-cooled. The guy who owned it bought a second T3, with diesel 1.6 naturally aspirated engine and installed the engine in the camper.

The van is equipped with: gas stove, gas/electric (12/220 volts) refrigerator, a sink, many cupboards, a bed and a table.

The most pleasant experience with the camper -- yesterday for the first time I bought diesel fuel, not the gasoline, which is more expensive.

Friday, July 21, 2006

The trip for VW T4

Yesterday we went to Włocławek to buy Volkswagen T4 bus. The car was supposed to cost $3,000 and because of that was in the range of my savings. Tomek talked to the seller on the phone, we were going to meet him at 7 PM. We were about 20 minutes late, to late to buy the car.

There were three people standing next to the van as we arrived, we asked them if one of them was the guy Tomek spoke to. As we were told, they also wanted to look at the car. We waited for the owner for a few minutes and when he finally got there there were two people with him. They bought the car. The guy was kind enough to give us $30 for the fuel (we spend about $50 :( ).

Tomek said that he'd encourage me not to buy this car. In that case we'd have to go home for free, since he sold the car we got a part of the money we spent -- better this than nothing...

Thursday, July 20, 2006

The third purchase failure

Yesterday I went with Tomek to Kielce (a city 180 km, 110 miles from Warsaw) to buy a VW T3. I phoned the guy who wanted to sell it at noon, we decided to meet there at 8 PM. At 7:45 PM he calls me and asks me if we left Warsaw already. "Yes, we're 32 km (20 miles) from Kielce at the moment", I replied. Why did he call me? Because he sold the car.

I don't know if I am trying to buy the car from idiots. This one is surely an idiot. He could tell me that someone is going to see the bus, I'd leave Warsaw later or stay at home if he sold it. Now I guess he needs to refund me the trip costs since diesel fuel in Warsaw is not free.

Saturday, July 8, 2006

YouTube - Vw Bus Crash Test

This is VW Doka (doppelkabine -- double passenger compartment and open space for cargo) crash test. Doesn't look nice...

Friday, July 7, 2006

The senseless trip to Kraków

The first T3 I mentioned last time(Vanagon) was sold very quickly, before I got a chance to meet the guy and see the car. I tried to phone him but his phone was offline. I checked the ad the next morning just to see that it was sold. No wonder he turned his cellphone off.

Yesterday we went with Ania and Tomek to Kraków. On the internet the car looked very nice, but with rather unfortunate photos:

The outside, front:

The outside, back:

Inside, you see almost nothing. I don't know if the guy who made this photograph was an idiot, because it shows nothing important. Or maybe it was made this way on purpose?

The front seats:

When we saw the car it looked a bit less interesting. The bumpers were painted without removing the license plates. The engine was wiped with a cloth in the places where one could put his hand, I guess to hide the oil leaks. The front dampers and the rear tires need to be changed. The engine makes some strange noise, like some metal parts are hitting each other while they're not supposed to do so. I asked the owner how much oil the engine losses and he said that it leaks the oil through the turbocharger but didn't answer my question. The engine was said to be used only on a distance of 35,000 km (something around 17,000 miles) so it is very interesting why the turbine leaks oil. Tomek drove the car for a moment and after that the guy asked me to decide.

"2.3", I said.
"$2,300", I replied.
"Good-bye then".

So we went home. We had to stop on a petrol station and Tomek tried once again to discuss the matter with the guy. He spoke to him for more than 10 minutes, trying to convince him to sell this car for no more than $2,600, with no success. The guy did not want to change his starting price for a bit!

This leaves me with $100 charged on my credit card for fuel for Tomek's mercedes vito and with 10 hours of my time used for nothing.

Since I will not buy the car before the summer vacation (it started week ago), I will have to use my prescious fiat 126 for all the trips we (Ania and I) plan. I'll try to save another $1,000 or more and check if I can buy something better. Now there's now rush since I'm already late. :)

Tuesday, July 4, 2006

T3 purchase: failure

On friday the guy who sells the T3 called me to say that the car was towed to a police parking. His friend borrowed the car to go somewhere and was halted by a police officer. As the car was not registered in Poland yet (and was brought from Germany), they towed the car to the parking and the guy was asked to visit the police station for questioning.

Seems that I won't buy this car. The guy said that he'll send me the money I left him back, along with some cash to cover the trip.

At the moment there are two T3s I want to see.
* First is a Vanagon (version of T3 for american market), with 2.9 liter engine, 200 HP and a lot of rust. It costs less than $1,500. The car is somewhere near Warsaw. It has LPG autogas tank and installation.
* Second is a camping version of T3 -- along with bed and table it has a sink, stove and few cupboards. The guy wants to sell it for $3,000. The car is in Kraków, 300 km (180 miles) from Warsaw.

I guess that I will go and see the first one, if I'll like it, I'll buy it. It'll be a very frightening experience to drive a car with 200 HP after using a fiat 126 with small, 24 HP engine...

Monday, June 26, 2006

So I'm finally buying the T3

We went with Tomek and my girlfriend Ania to Gostynin, to see the Volkswagen T3 Multivan I mentioned earlier. The trip took two hours in Tomek's VW Vito, I was very glad that it has air conditioning because it was very hot that evening.

The car we saw was astonishing. It was so beautiful that Tomek asked if he should take off his shoes before getting inside. You couldn't find any rust on it. It has a 1.6 liter turbocharged diesel engine, a parking heater, curtains in windows, comfortable and large bed (but I'd prefer not to use it as a passenger), one of the front seats can be rotated to inside the car.

The T3 has few minor faults. The belt that drives the injection timing needs to be changed and some other things need to be done, but that doesn't affect the price since I'll give the car to a friend who'll repair those things for a few dollars.

The price, the most important thing. The guy wanted to sell the car for PLN 7,500 ($2,500). I spoke with Tomek that he should be the one discussing the price because he owned in his life more than 50 cars (he's 24 years old) and bought more than 40. So he said that we'll buy the car for PLN 6,000 ($2,000) and the guy who wanted to sell it will not have to change the injection timing. And he agreed. Tomek said that he was surprised the guy agreed that fast, because he always negotiated the price to the last PLN 50 ($17).

Since the car was brought from Germany now I need to get license plates for the car.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The second try to see the T3

Last week, on sunday, I was unable to go with Tomek to Gostynin, because I had to stay at work to 12:30 AM. I was supposed to leave work at 6 PM and go there, but had to stay much longer.

I called the owner of the car, I'm going to meet him on saturday. Tomorrow I don't go to work so nothing will stop me this time. :)

Friday, June 16, 2006

T3 closer than ever

On sunday we (my friend Tomek and I) are going to Gostynin (160 km, 100 miles from Warsaw), to take a look at VW T3 multivan Tomek found on Allegro (polish online auctions site, something like e-bay). I hope the car will look alive as it looks on the photographs, because I like what I saw on them.

W niedzielę jedziemy z Tomkiem do Gostynina (160 km od Warszawy), zobaczyć VW T3 Multivana, którego Tomek znalazł na Allegro. Mam nadzieję, że na miejscu samochód okaże się zgodny z tym, co widać na zdjęciach, bo podoba mi się to, co ma w środku i jak wygląda.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Difficult search for VW T3

I thought the only thing that stops me from buying T3 is lack of money. So I waited to earn and save enough so I could buy something interesting. Not a totally wrecked junk that'll disintegrate itself after I purchase it. At that moment I had many T3s to choose from.

When finally I have enough money to buy a nice Volkswagen T3 (at the moment: something around PLN 8,000 (USD 2,900)), but there's nothing interesting on the market.

At the moment I can choose from two transporters.
The first is near Warsaw, worth PLN 4,500 (USD 1,600), 1.6 litre diesel, naturally aspirated unfortunatelly.
The second is in Gdynia, 400 km away, guy wants to get PLN 5,000 ($1,800). This one has the inside taken from multivan (folded table and bed). The guy who put the ad on the internet is not answering my emails and didn't give his phone number. I can't ask him where's the catch. It's got to be somewhere, because the T3 like this should cost something around PLN 7,000 (more than $2,500). The guy might not be aware of what the car's worth. Or the car might be damaged.

Sunday, April 9, 2006

Bus selecta

Bus selecta: build (tune) your VW T1 from scratch in your web browser. You can choose from many models, window sets, colors, wheels, accessories and so on. Unfortunatelly you can't build a VW T3. :(

Friday, January 27, 2006

VW T3 - the car of my dreams

So now I have a dream car. A car I want to buy in the future. The Volkswagen T3 Transporter. For those of you who don't know how does it look like I put a photo on the bottom of this post.

On the photo you can see an T3 made in the early 1980-es.

I want to buy the one with 1.6 litre supercharged diesel engine. It is supposed to have something aroung 70 HP and use only 5 litres petrol for 100 km (47 MPG). I want to use vegetable oil (rapeseed oil) as a fuel. I will install the second fuel tank and fuel heater. This volkswagen has engine installed in it's rear, I'd like to find one with 5-speed gearbox.

I want to buy it before the beginning of august, so I could use it for summer holidays. It's a great van for summer trips. :)

Photo was taken from Wikimedia Commons, licensed GNU FDL.

Sunday, January 1, 2006

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