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.