VW Type 2 Devon Camper Van
From the TV series 'Lost'
Where it all started
It looked like fun.....
So we had to go and get one ourselves.....
A 1975 VW T2 Devon campervan
had become interested in the idea of owning a VW van since we watched
Lost, and I had memories of a holiday in Dorset in the 1970's in a
hired camper van. A long time ago I had owned a rusty old car, in my
case a 1975 Morris Marina bought for £100 in 1985 ,which did
150MPG of oil (leaks and smoke)- 5 litres of 10W/40 per fill
petrol , and so I was used to the idea of looking after 'interesting'
One evening I came home from work and the idea of
taking a look at vans on Ebay came up. So we looked around and focussed
in on one van that was for sale in Kent, and which had a short MOT but
had had some money spent on it.
The auction was due to finish
in 2 hours. After looking at the other vans on Ebay several times, and
seemed to have some kind of 'oops' factor associated with their sale -
like tuned up engines that would no longer run properly, we went back
to the van and offered a little more than the price one hour from the
finish of the auction.
Note that we never looked at the van at all or contacted the vendor
before the sale. We had decided that if the van could be driven away
legally it would be OK.
made a single bid, expecting to be outbid and found we were
the high bidder, which we remained
to the end. As it turned out , we had bid the reserve price exactly. We
then tried to set up PayPal to pay the deposit, contacted the seller
and started the process which as we were not really prepared would take
5 working days to complete even just paying the initial
the end of the 5 days we were informed by PayPal that the bank would
not honour the request for the money. As the credit card we usually use
with PayPal also expired at about the same time as all this was going
on, PayPal managed to get itself entirely taken out of the payment loop.
we contacted the vendor and basically told him we still wanted the van,
and we were now only sure of payment in cash, as all other payment
methods involved the bank sitting on the money for days as it flows
electronically from one computer to another.
The MOT certificate would have expired before a second try at moving
the money via modern methods would have succeeded.
We arranged insurance and made sure all other paperwork would be ready
to go on the day of purchase.
we got the cash out of the bank and set off for near Tunbridge Wells on
the 10th of July. We arrved and saw the van for the first time. It was
as described on Ebay, the engine started, it had an MOT so we handed
over the money.
A quick trip to the bank in Tunbridge Wells and then to
a nearby village postoffice with fewer queues for the V5 handover and
the tax disc.
We decided not to give a name to the van until it passed the MOT for
the first time.
10th July 2010: The Long Drive Home
Shirley drove our Peugeout 307 SW loaded with tools
and essentials like jump leads and a tow rope, following the van.
Out of the driveway and down the narrow and steep lanes was quite a tense run as I discovered the quirks of the van.
The trip back
began with a trip to the nearest filling station, where we had a
succession of faults - ignition warning light comes on then fuse 11
blows and then there are no indicators.
And briefly there not
being enough output from the battery to turn the engine but that fault
vanished once i wiggled some wiring , for now.
It reappeared once more later on with the battery being found to be OK
when the engine would not turn over. Some vibration round the engine
wiggling wiring and the fault cleared up .
Then as things warmed up, first and seconds gears stopped
being accessible from time to time.
indicators would not self cancel leading to driving miles indicating a
turn. I was not used to the noises of the van, so I missed the clicking
of the relay, the rattles and bangs the grill tray being much louder,
along with a really ominous metallic clunk from somewhere in the back.
the brakes were scarily bad (not spongy, standing on the pedal wouldnt
hold on a downhill T-junction until I used the handbrake as
well) but they seemed to improve in the horrendous
queues of Tunbridge Wells on Saturday morning.
We then drove south on the A26, gradually building confidence, but
coming to dread roundabouts and traffic lights.
you found first gear then second always followed but mostly we were
pulling away in third . Just like the old Marina where oil on
clutch and soft engine mounts made third the best gear to pull away in
- in the Marina there was a dent in the wing from the carburettor hitting it.
I did find first gear and floored it there was quite a good
acceleration. The grill pan shot out and joined the happy throng of
stuff on the floor. As I am used to this kind of thing on
Forethought, the amazing crescendo of rattling stuff inside the van was
not too disturbing.
We stopped a couple of times and I adjusted the gear lever each time
and on the second try it seemed to get a lot better.
The van did not break
down over 100 miles of driving.
After about 3 hours we arrived home.
I found out where the
ominous clunking was coming from - there were 4 metal tubes looking
like table legs or similar under the rock'n'roll bed. They were quite
heavy and hit each other as they rolled around.
reported that the drive following the van was very relaxing apart from
having to drive agressively occasionally to keep people from getting
between her and the van. The diesel 307 SW reported much
than usual fuel economy. It looks to be twice as economical as the van.
It turns out the VW engine has been replaced even though the odometer
indicates only 48k miles.
home, I started poking round the electrics. The stereo doesnt work. But
we do have a 1970's Sharp car stereo radio cassette player on
Forethought - I might swap it for a more waterproof one and
the old Sharp in the van as more in keeping with the era.
discovered that there were a total of 6 different seatbelts around the
van, three up front and three in the back. The cushions are original so
we will replace them. Lots of discussion about the colour scheme for
the new fabrics has started.
And the fuse 11 blowing seems to relate to hill starts - if the
handbrake is used with the engine running it must rub some bare wiring.
The reversing lights dont work - there are several possible wires going
to the reversing light switch but none of them have 12 volts
on them for the reversing switch power feed.
Friday 15th July 2010: Off to the garage
A friend had said there was a VW specialist in Eastleigh but couldnt
remember where it was. As the friends of his with a VW van were out on
a trip in their van he couldnt contact them to get the details.
So I used Google search and came up with IGS of Eastleigh who
specialise in VW and know about T2 vans.
Shirley drove up there, having some trouble with the gears and losing
the indicators (fuse 11) up at the Windhover roundabout (hill
start at traffic lights from Hamble Lane) . She walked and took the
train back, it took over 2 hours.
IGS tell us they can fix the electrics and the brakes . The bodywork
will need some attention over the next couple of years but there is
remarkably little rust underneath.
When I phone them on Thursday, they are able to promise to have it ready by Saturday. They had not started when I called.
Saturday 24th July 2010: Back from the garage
collected the van on Saturday morning complete with MOT, and headed off
down to the Hamble Country Park where we stopped for lunch.
The electrical faults all seem to have come from a wobbly wire on the
alternator that was leading to voltage surges and fuse blowings.
the back , the metalwork over the exhausts has basically rotted through
and falls off when touched . Not structural so can be left for now.
returning home , we decided to go out again to buy some new gas hose as
what was fitted was just some generic hose without any clips or clamps
on it. No luck in the chandlery although they sold all other gas
fittings, so we went up to the campervan and caravan shop on the A27
where the little VW was dwarfed by giant white boxes on wheels. We got
the gas hose, but overheard the comment - " they are very small" from
another customer referring to the VW.
On Sunday, I ordered a couple of new headlights , one headlight surround and an engine cover seal from Just Kampers.
between trips, I stripped out the overhead bunks and discarded
the more rotten hammock fabric - the better one is to be used as a
template. Then I began to clean up the paint on the bars and mechanisms
that hold the bunks up.
Although there were a lot of rusty
screws, they all came undone without any real trouble - just needing a
lot of pressure , a quick tap with a hammer on the screwdriver, or the
torque of an 18v electric drill. All apart from one which started to
shift once I had drilled into the head. A quick squeeze with pliers and
it wound out OK.
Flap wheel to take off rust, Hammerite rust
remover, then prime and Hammerite. Difficult to get it even because
everything is long and thin and the day is really tou hot for painting.
New seat fabric
Sunday , we went and purchased some new upholstery fabric for the
interior -we are going to replace all the old cushions with new and
have gone for a blue/yellow flowers on cream fabric below and a sort of
mid-blue curtaining for the hammocks.
Tuesday 27th July 2010: New Headlights arrive
are immediately fitted. I discovered the old headlamp bulbs did not fit
the new headlamps. But in any case there was originally one Bosch
headlamp with a traditional bulb, and one Hella headlamp with a halogen
bulb. Quick trip to Halfords and type 472 halogens now adorn the new
I also pressed the new engine cover seal into place
- it will need some building up of rotten metal around the hatch where
rust has eaten through, so I havent glued it in yet.
Saturday 31st July 2010: Order new seat foam
were going to go over to Gunwharf Quays for an afternoon shopping after
visiting Hawke House Marine. But they do not open on Saturday so a
quick Google turned up an upholsterers shop in Totton : the Upholstery
Shop. We drove in the van to Totton and ordered some nice 3 inch thick
foam which should be ready by Tuesday. We paid a deposit and headed off
for an afternoon of shopping at Gunwharf , in the van. It seemed to
take a long time at 63 mph. And even longer when we had to queue for
ages to get into the carpark. A combination of Navy Days, a busy
Saturday and broken down exit barriers made the final 400 yards take
about 30 minutes.
Some Spanish students stopped on the pavement to take a look at the van.
Sunday 1st August : rebuild sink unit
This is dealt with in a separate section here
While messing around with the sink unit I discovered
my First Proper Hole In the Van. under the rock'n roll seat above one
of the heater pipes there was a little hole . So I filled it with some
fibreglass and then poked underseal all over it from inside - I can
hardly reach it without going under the van while its
on ramps as the hole is just accesible round several corners.
With more time and patience I could have disconnected one of the pipes
and got at it. As it is it is now a job for later - a weld I suspect.
While poking round the First Proper Hole I decided to push one of the three wires (
the disconnected one which was threaded through the engine supports but
went nowhere) in the vicinity of the reversing switch back through
where it was stuffed through the foam seal round the engine tinware.
After lunch , we drove to Hamble Point and bought a new water
hose at the chandlers, and some press studs for the bunk bed vinyl
covers. Then parked up in the public car park , and christened the new
Just Kampers cups with a cup of coffee combined with an ice cream from
the ice cream van in the car park.
Reversing lights work
When I looked in the engine compartment it was clear that the wire I had tidied up was the
missing 12 volt feed for the reversing light switch as the other end dived back through a
grommet and went back to the reversing switch . There was even a tag on
the positive feed of the ignition coil for it., and a fuse as indicated in the circuits in the Haynes manual.
engaged reverse and one of the lights came on. So I cleaned up the
other bulb and now the reversing light comes on. Must have been when
the engine was changed, the wire was forgotten .
Sink water pump works
return home , I decided to resolve the problem that no power came out
of the wire to the sink unit: This is described here
So we now have electric pumped water.
Missing part discovery - pedal mechanism cover
we were in Towsure the other day , I noticed the Type 2 there had a
cover over the mechanisms under the cab - we dont. So it is off to a
supplier to get a cover . The bolts are there but no cover.
I have currently managed to locate a supplier of a fibreglass
replacement, nomorerustybits.com.. I hope to be able to get to VanFest
2010 to pick it up. We did get it and fit it while we were at the VanFest.
While I have been doing a lot of engineering type fiddling around , Shirley has been covering the new cushions for the seats.
Camper van as a Marine Sesimic Recorder
Not quite a full recorder - just a trigger box and navigation system running on the laptop.
The setup was on a disused airfield, and the vessels were a couple of 4x4's .
The kit was powered off a couple of inverters connected to the battery and the engine was left on a slightly fast tickover.
It ran for a day and a half until the tickover speed proved to be too
slow, and the battery went flat and the inverters shut down. It used
about 12 litres of fuel ticking over between about 1000 and 1700 on its
full day of service.
So we switched to the spare Mitsubishi Delica which we had prepared for
this eventuality. Actually we were originally going to use the
Delica as the recorder van, but one of the brake cylinders on the
Delica had jammed on on the way to the airfield and the Delica didnt
make it to the airfield until it had visited the garage.
February 5th 2011
We dropped the van off to the restorers on March 5th 2011. Just over 4
months later, after various hangups and hitches - paint oven expiring,
replaced, controller on paint oven expiring, replaced, staff being
sacked, cashflow crisis, part unavailability, JustKampers doors
requiring significant bending, coupled with bending A pillar to make
door fit and then a communication error, we finally got the bus back,
with the restorers doing everything we asked for but unfortunately
still leaving a few minor holes where it didnt matter.
Paint job is now L90D Pastel White over L53H Orient Blue. Strangely this appears to be the same as a Dharma Bus from Lost....
The weekend of the 16th and 17th July became a frantic panic, working
on filling holes, trying to fix the passenger door window winder which
expired because the felt channels in the door were too tight and were
gripping the window too hard. Managed to insert part of a pop rivet pin
into the assembly and restore most of the functionality. Then broke the
drivers door window winder and had to leave it.
I will order new winders from VW Heritage when available, and in the
meantime document the bodge when I do the drivers door window winder.
Fixed in the flooring. Filled holes in the back of the floor. Painted and undersealed. Refitted rock and roll bed.
Bought £300 worth of door seals and fitted them including discovering
somebody had stripped the head of the hex bolt holding the sliding door
up so I had to cut the door seal as I couldnt get the sliding door off
in a hurry.
Worst of all was the engine cover didnt shut with the new seal - in the
end I could close it with dent in the middle of the cover. We need a
new cover anyway, but I need to look again at getting the cover to
shut. Something wrong with the left hand hinge.
Replaced several blown bulbs and had to fight with the earthing on the
rear light clusters to get sensible light combinations showing for
indicator, braking, tail and reversing lights.
Took off offside rear wheel for the first time and blew up the ratchet
in a ratchet wrench trying to get the nuts undone. Needed a tommy
bar and a 4 foot gas pipe to get the leverage to shift the nuts.
So on 19th July 2011 Shirley took the bus up to Hamble Motors, the
local main Peugeot dealer. She reckons just about every member of staff
came to look at it while she waited for the MOT to be done. They
couldnt work out what kind of vehicle it was. Camper Van doesnt appear
on the DVLA database. Type 2 Transporter was a closer match.
It passed but they noted the engine cover wouldnt shut and somewhere in
the proceedings, the passenger door window wound itself down and fell
out of the channel. Need to fit some stop or similar at the bottom to
stop it falling out. Also had to rebuild the winder mechanism, this
time including the spring used to lock the winder.
There is a need for a steering adjustment (probably wide tyres