Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I am buying a third vanagon

If everything goes right, soon I will have three Vanagons. This one will make my dreams come true. :)

From the very first time I started to like vans, I always preferred the ones that had two rows of seats and open cargo space. In Volkswgagen Transporter language -- the Dokas. About a year ago I wrote here, that if I was to buy VW T3 then, it'd be a doka. And we are buying one now. :)

It was found, as usual, by Tomek. Together we'll have four Volkswagens. The frequency of new purchases increases in time, the last one was bought about a month ago while the second -- about two years ago.

From Volkswagen Transporter T3

As you can see, it has aircooled ("fan") gasoline engine. And it's supposed to have the longest four-speed gearbox there is. It will be used by my wife's company, and I plan to use it to install wood gas generator on it. The camper is not suitable, 'cause it has diesel engine and no space to install the generator.

Some things need to be fixed, but I didn't expect anything less.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The second biodiesel purchase

So I bought biodiesel again, in the same place, for the same price as last time. But today petrodiesel was 0.70 PLN more expensive per liter ($0.22 per liter, $0.83 per gallon).

The fuel efficiency was 7.6 liter per 100 km (31 MPG), slightly better than the long-term average. Biodiesel, keep up the good work!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Spring cleaning of the camper

Last Saturday I did some cleanup in the camper with Ania. To be honest, it was very peculiar cleanup.

The idea was to prepare the camper to make some photos of the camping equipment. For 3 years I never had a chance to make good photos of the fridge, sink, stove, cupboards, etc. If I made any photo, there was some unnecessary stuff on it as well. So that had to be done.

First of all, we removed all the stuff that’s driving there with us:

  • two foldable chairs,
  • a shovel,
  • a foldable shovel,
  • a scepter (in parts),
  • 25 liters of peat,
  • two water bottles of 5-l capacity,
  • aluminum fuel canister, with 20 l of petrodiesel,
  • five airsoft replicas,
  • helmet and protective eyewear for airsoft games,
  • engine oil,
  • machete,
  • chainsaw,
  • fuel and oil for the saw,
  • blankets and sleeping bags,
  • and some other stuff.
My airsoft replicas were moved to the camper couple of months ago, when we had to make some extra space in our apartment for our son’s cupboard. I go to the airsoft games with the camper, so the replicas may be stored there – I won’t have to carry them on me from our apartment to the camper and back every Sunday.

I also carry in the camper a lot of gardening tools, for a purpose, so I don’t have to take them with me every time I work on my piece of ground.
All the stuff mentioned above doesn’t have its place in the cupboards or the "trunk" (the two stashes below the bed). There’s no space left...

In the large stash I have:
  • toolbox,
  • two small boxes with some electrical equipment (wires, bulbs, connectors),
  • air compressor,
  • towing cable,
  • starter cable,
  • some spare parts, like fuel filter and old indicator lights,
  • wires of different length,
  • lift,
  • bottle of windscreen washer fluid.

The small stash holds:
  • working clothes,
  • fuel tank (10 l of biodiesel),
  • 5 liters of distilled water,
  • cooling liquid,
  • fire extinguisher,
  • second towing cable,
  • emergency triangle.
As you can see, all the stuff mentioned before has to be placed elsewhere. Mostly on the mattress of the bed or on the floor of the camper.

We threw all the unnecessary stuff out, washed the dishes along with the sink and stove, found some interesting stuff below the driver’s and passenger’s seats, made some photos and put everything back to the camper. But this time – in some order.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

First drive on biodiesel

On Friday for the first time I bought larger volume of biodiesel. I bought it before twice, but only in small volumes – just couple of liters. First time during our very first camping trip, back in 2006. I found a petrol station that sold biodiesel and decided to try this fuel. Then I had no luck in finding biodiesel supply. And in may 2007 the engine broke down when all the water in cooling system was lost. The engine was not fixed until may next year.

Not so long ago on some of the gas stations named "Bliska" ("Close one" in English) they started selling biodiesel. One of the stations near place I live had this fuel – lately for 2.99 PLN per liter ($3.55 / gal), compared to 3.55 PLN per liter of petrodiesel. On Friday I drove by the station and bough almost 54 liters of biodiesel to almost empty fuel tank. Buying this cheaper petrodiesel replacement gave me over 9 liters for free.

Just after buying this fuel we had to drive some 80 km (50 miles). I didn’t notice any difference in engine’s performance. The van drove as usual. We’ll see the mileage. The odometer is broken again, but I will try to note all the trips using GPS.

I just have to do two things:

  • buy fuel filter, as the biodiesel is a good solvent and will quickly dissolve all the impurities in the fuel tank and fuel lines,
  • check if the fuel lines are in good shape, as the biodiesel also dissolves some plastics.
You can read more about biodiesel on my site about Alternative Car Fuels.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

New stuff in my camper

Last week we had the last wednesday of april. The last wednesday of each month is a time when group of VW T3 (T25 / Vanagon) owners from Warsaw meet at 8 PM. As Tomek already has his T3, we decided to attend the meeting for the first time. I drove my camper to work in the morning and at 4 PM (after work) drove to Tomek. We wanted to install a couple of things to my camper, scavenged from my second Volkswagen -- a red/cherry multivan I bought two years ago to donate its engine and gearbox.

First of all, I wanted to install the speedometer with odometer. The one I have in my camper was broken -- I fixed it but it broke down again. We couldn't swap them as the wire that makes the odometer work was connected to my speedometer with thread and the one from multivan had only snap connection. We will also change the wires in near future. When the meters were removed, Tomek installed me two small details -- parking break indicator and one small green light that is supposed to indicate something when you tow a trailer. They were not connected, though. We plan on replacing the entire front board with the one from the multivan -- it is of very nice brown color, with light brown upholstery on the floor and air distribution canal between the seats. For now we only took the steering wheel from the multivan and installed it into my camper -- now I have smaller, thinner brown wheel with large button for car horn. The one I had before had the button broken.

I also replaced the two little thingies that hold the foldable shades above the windscreen. Unfortunatelly I have no idea what are the names of both. The camper had those thingies broken, so it needed to be replaced.

I scavenged a fluorescent light from the multivan and will install it soon to the camper's roof cupboard (the one above the bed). It'll be used for reading and in case of emergency repairs of the engine.

And finally -- I got another (3rd) chrome hubcap. I need only one more -- this one was found by Tomek's fiancee.

I will post here photos when I resurrect my Picasa and upload those photos to the web album.

Today I checked the pressure of the summer tires I installed recently. As usual it was well below the correct value. It should be 2.7 and 3.3 atmospheres on the front and rear axle and was 2.0 on both of them. Now it's 3.0 and 3.5, respectively, as I always liked to inflate the tires a bit more than the recommended pressure. It helps to save fuel. ;)