Well, it’s been a while since I did a proper blog post but I’ve had a bit of spare time this week, so here goes.
Since the van got it’s MOT, I’ve been slowly tinkering. We’ve been using it a tiny bit, going to local VW meets and going on rides locally. I’m hoping that by using it on small local trips, we can iron out any potential problems before we take it on a longer drive.
A couple of weeks ago, I jumped in it to drive to college. It started and ran fine but as soon as I went to pull away it coughed, spluttered and stalled. It had no power and after initially starting ok, it was struggling and I had to put my foot on the throttle to get it to start.
I pulled the fuel line off the carb to check it was getting fuel. We put a brand new fuel pump on not too long ago, so I was pretty confident it wasn’t that. Sure enough, fuel was getting to the carb. I whipped it off and got a rebuild kit on order.
Once the kit had arrived I set about taking the carb apart. I hate dismantling carbs, it always feels like it’s never going to go back together. I feel like I’m going to forget what went were. I stripped it right down, replaced all the bits that came in the kit, emptied an entire can of carb cleaner into it and then reassembled it. I had the haynes book handy although it wasn’t much help.
I didn’t see any obvious problems when I had the carb apart, but cleaning it out did the trick. Once I’d put it back on the van and connected it all back up it started and ran lovely. It even feels like it’s got a bit more power than before, so that’s a result.
The bulk of the hard work is done, but now we’re on to the interior. The plan is to re-trim the doorcards, fit a stereo and speakers and make a bed and table for camping with. We’re also thinking of installing lights and a leisure battery to run them and the sound system from.
First things first, I thought I’d sort out the wiring. I started to look at the wiring with the intention of installing the stereo, but I realised that there wasn’t even a stereo loom under the dash. There were also a lot of lose wires and chocolate block connectors behind the dashboard. It was all pretty messy, with wires chopped here and there and connected together.
The coolant temperature gauge was wired into a switch which was hanging out of the dashboard because we couldn’t find a switched live when we installed it. When we started the van, we would have to turn the gauge on manually using the switch. Not ideal.
I decided to sort all these small problems properly. I wanted to tidy up the wiring and solder all the joints, instead of having the chocolate blocks. That way, there’s no risk of them coming apart and shorting out on anything or causing us electrical gremlins.
Once I’d taken it all apart I was a little worried at the task I’d taken on. I hate wiring at the best of times and I felt a bit in over my head.
I worked on one bit at a time, starting with the temperature gauge. Where I could, I took the wiring completely out of the van and worked on it on the bench. I found it much easier to solder and some of my joints towards the end were actually pretty good. I put heatshrink on all joints to prevent shorts.
Next I set about creating a loom for the stereo headunit. There were quite a few lose wires, so I identified what they did and discovered they were probably the remnants of a stereo loom anyway. All I needed to do was run a switched live from the fusebox. I chopped an ISO connector out of a spare car we’ve got on the drive at the moment and wired that in, so we can just plug and play without having to do any wiring in future if we change headunits. Sorry about the out of focus photo. Not sure what I was trying to focus on, but it wasn’t the wiring. This is the best photo I have of the connector though.
We’re running the front speakers from an amp, so I ran all the cabling for that and wired it in. There’s a really handy space under the drivers seat, so I positioned it there. It’s right next to the battery so the power cables are nice and short. Eventually I want to have the sound system running from the leisure battery, which will most likely go at the back of the van. When that happens we’ll have to relocate the amp, so I’ve kept the phono and remote cables really long.
Once all that was done, I put the dash back together. We need to make a spacer for the headunit, but it’s looking much better than it did.
Kind of at the same time as doing the wiring, I’ve been modifying the doorcards for speakers. You’ve probably noticed them in the background to the wiring install photos. I wanted to reinforce the original doorcards with MDF in order to make them a bit more acoustically dead than they are already. They’re only made of 3mm hardboard, so they’ll probably sound awful with our 300watt components in. I’ve accidentally deleted the photos from the build process, so I’ll pick up from where the photos begin.
I took the doorcards off and measured them up. Then I cut two pieces to shape and cut the speaker holes in them. This is the only photo I could find, from where I mocked it all up to check the fit.
Once it was all trimmed and sanded to shape, I fitted them to the doors to make sure all the clips were in the right place still.
I ordered some carpet but I think I might have accidentally ordered too much. The roll is huge.
I only wanted to trim the doorcards but we’ve probably got enough to do the floor, walls and ceiling too!
I started by laying the old fabric onto the new stuff and drawing round it. I added a little extra on the bottom to take up the added surface area of the MDF. Then I cut it out.
I used impact adhesive on the doorcard and then carefully lined up the carpet. I pressed it down and let it dry.
In order to get a nice hard line where the MDF starts, I painted the adhesive into the corner and then used a straight edge to push the carpet right back into the corner.
I let that dry for a few minutes and then folded the carpet and stuck it down on the lower half of the card. I’m pretty happy with the result.
I just need to cut the holes for the trim and do the other side now.
So, that’s where the project is now. I’m hoping for good weather tomorrow so I can hopefully get the cab finished. Keep an eye out on here because we’ll be doing a lot more interior work soon!