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...