Tag Archives: mechanical

Syncro Weekend Offroading Trip – mechanical failures galore!

A weekend away with some fellow CampervanCulture.com subscibers turned into a mission when the vehicles suffered mechanical failures – 3 driveshafts, 3 cv joints, 3 cv boots, broken steering rack, one slashed tire and one snapped drop link!!

It was a case of bad luck for one of the vans owned by Syncro nut and now CampervanCulture.com partner Alan Hayes in his RHD 1.9 mTDI panel van/camper that had most of the issues that contributed to us taking 13 hours to do the Strata Florida trail / greenlane in South Wales. We have got to give Freds Garage a big THANK YOU from CampervanCulture for bailing us out and coming to the rescue by allowing us to use the workshop and a ramp to get sorted as well as providing Alan with a steering rack, CV joints and good old moral support to get things moving again.

Freds Garage is run by a great bunch of guys and fellow CampervanCulture subscribers that do everything from MOTs to servicing and repairs on any campervan and can be found at,

Salem Road
Llanelli
Dyfed
SA15 3PZ
Telephone: 01554 772 341

Despite the dramas a great fun packed weekend was had as its not always about the driving but the laughs you have with mates doing it…

Repairing the rusty chassis rails on my Westy Syncro

A while ago I noticed some bubbling rust on the outer part of my from chassis rail just behind the front suspension… To the untrained eye (mine!) it looks like a simple cut and weld in plate job…Alas it is a bit more involved as there is also an inner strengthening part which is spot welded to the outer…

I visited syncro specialist Syncro-Nutz up in Scotland for fellow syncro lover Russel to have a look at. Turns out the inner part was rusted pretty badly too and the entire front subframe with diff etc needed to be dropped to provide access..

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Russel then began to cut the outer away..

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Spot welds for drilling out:

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The inner and outer parts removed – worse than I thought it was!

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New inner and outer welded and then “spot welded” together – treated below:

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Here is the one from the other side chassis rail:

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And the finished work, all waxoyled inside and treated on the outside

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Thanks to Russel and Syncro-Nutz I won’t be worrying about this area again – I’d get under your van and check your chassis rails for any bubbling – inner and outer parts. Be prepared for a couple of days in a workshop as it is a good few hours work to drop and refix the front subframe.. Great opportunity for me to fit my Power Steering rack – more on that later!

Travelling around Europe in a Campervan part 4

This time Slovenia, and WOW!!!! what a place….

We didnt really know what to expect as we did very little research about the place but we do thank Doug and Elvis for giving some top tips on places to visit. You have to love a country who”s national sport isnt football or rugby but rock climbing and hiking, my kind of people. Most people spoke really good english, no litter of graffiti anywhere and an all round awesome place. Before you watch the video I am just going to say NO LOUISE DIDNT STEAL THAT REALLY hehehehehe…. We bought the item in question a few days earlier as we thought we had bought a device for repelling insects, but it turned out we bought a device for mourning the dead…. Wonder why we were getting strange looks in the evening and nobody would talk to us. What the hell am I on about? you will have to watch the video and see….

Part 5 to follow soon.

Adding Additional Gearbox and Prop Protection on my Syncro Westy

For some time now I have worried about the cover plate which hangs down on my syncro gearbox. It it the lowest part of the box, and almost the lowest part of the van. One slight catch when passing over a rock and we are talking nasty damage! Has been on my list for ages to make something up however I found that Syncro-Services in Germany made a special custom aluminium protection plate which covers this vulnerable area along with additional protection plates for the prop.

I ordered a set from Germany so I thought I’d film the fitting. To make it easy to see, and also much easier to drill I removed the bash plate from the van, however you could quite easily mark up and drill and fit this without removing (even easier if you have a lift or ramp to work on and not the floor!)

All in all, an excellent quality item, well thought out, easy in to install (make sure you have a nice fresh drill bit). Also love the additional wings on the side of the rear plate for extra inner CV joint protection.

If you want a set, get in touch with Dina at Syncro-Services, located in Germany but ship worldwide!


(Excuse the traffic noise in the video, only had a driveway to work on!)

Jed replaces the rear wheel bearing on his T25 Vanagon Syncro

MOT time, and Jed’s van failed on a sloppy rear wheel bearing, i.e. too much play.

From a bad experience with a rear wheel bearing failing and damaging the bearing carrier – Jed now carries a good spare used hub with rear bearings already pressed in (I carry one in my van too). A quick video to show swapping them over, without undoing the brake system:

Replacement bearings were bought from Brickwerks, a great parts supplier who know their stuff and stock quality items as well as shipping stuff out quick!

For those of us who prefer to retighten that 46mm nut up to torque settings over the more agricultural method of counting turns, a quick check on the 80-90 Wiki tells us we need a whopping 500 NM/360ftlbs. Or a fat bloke on a scaffold pole.

Fitting Rear Shock Extensions and Front Ball Joint Spacers to the Westfalia Syncro

If you have raised the suspension on your van, you may well find the knock effect is the you require rear shock extensions and front ball joint spacers.

Here we have the rear shock extenders, which attach to the campers rear swing arm, and lift the syncro lower shock mount – which avoids the syncro rear shock topping out. Available from www.futbus.com.

Also, up front we have fitted syncro specific upper ball joint spacers, there several different suppliers out there, these ones also came from futbus.com, they are the same as available at gowesty.com

Both of these have been on the Westfalia for a few thousand miles now, and have been no problem at all. Don’t forget, if you have raised the suspension on your Syncro to get the alignment / geometry checked over!

VW T3 Syncro wishbone spacer & rear shock extender fitting.. from CampervanCulture.com on Vimeo.

How to refit your T25 front window / windscreen / windshield

Most long term van owners know the feeling, you get in the van, and you have damp carpets in the front after it has been parked up,  or worse still you are driving in heavy rain and you can feel it dripping onto your foot! Yep, the those little rust bubbles under the windscreen seal are worse than you thought – time for the window to come out.

Rubber shrinks and hardens over time, most of our vans our at least 20 years old now, that is a fair old while sitting in sun wind and rain. Removing and replacing the window is actually easier than you’d think – although you have to be careful that is a big old piece of glass. I managed this by myself first time I did it (like the Autoglass guys do), however, it is easier with friends.

If I am replacing the seal, I like to cut around the inside with the stanley knife  – otherwise you need to leverage the old one out – which makes risk of breaking it higher. Once you have popped it out, you can deal with the rust and or welding, then it is time to put the glass back. Ideally go for an original seal if you can find a supplier who has one – new seals are far tighter than the older ones you have just taken out, so can require a bit of work . You can also get windscreen sealer – but if you have a good new seal you probably won’t need this!

We used a piece of cord, available at most DIY or chandlers – insert it all the way around the seal and cross the bits over where they meet.

A little hint I picked up is to use some kind of silicone based lubricant to help the seal lip slip over the metal, we had some Tyre Black lying around so used that, worked pretty well.

I bought my seal from:

http://www.vwbusshop.de/ , Gunzl does great quality stuff, and some good Westy bits, shipping only took 3-4 days, and it was a pukka original one.

GoWesty sell, them in the US, not sure of quality, but their stuff is usually good.

If you have the chrome moulding and seal with the groove for this, it is more work, although this is a good chance to swap to a seal without this and lose that faded, cracking plastic..

Anybody else have recommendation for good seal suppliers?

p.s. a big thanks to my pal Russel@Syncronutz who showed me this technique years ago!

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Fitting an ex-BT D2 eberspacher diesel heater into a van

Nothing too exciting today, helped a mate by fitting an eberspacher D2 diesel 12v night heater to his self build Westy Syncro.

Stripped off the wiring loom and tidied up, cut a hole in the van floor – waxoyled, t-pieced in the fuel line for diesel supply, fitted intake and exhaust then installed the control panel / timer..

Tools to take when away in your Syncro…

When you are away on holiday, for a weekend, week, or even a month! You don’t want a simple mechanical failure to ruin things. A rear wheel bearing failed whilst away last year, I had a spare in the cupboard and with some adaptation of tools we managed to change the bearing in a village car park and continue the trip!

Changing the rear wheel bearing on a T25 T3 Vanagon Westfalia Syncro

Over the years of owning Syncros I’ve built up a toolkit, if I am away on a trip – parked in a field, forest or even a town carpark. I like to have the tools with me to deal with those basic mechanical issues..

My top things to take away are:

1) Hammer – aka adjuster, loosener or remover.
2) Decent Breaker Bar 19mm with a 46 mm socket (I have a 1/2″ knuckle for mine, those 46mm hub nuts can be tough!
3) Spanners, usually the full range from 8 – 22mm.
4) Block of wood (mine is cut from a railway sleeper). Great for working, and bashing things on, or using as makeshift axle stand in emergencys.)
5) Molegrips – a good last resort for stubborn items.
6) Lengths of wire and a multimeter
7) 1/4 3/8 1/2 ratchets with range of sockets.
8 ) Gas powered Soldering Iron
9) Extendable Magnetic Pickup stick.. you don’t realise how useful until you need it!
10) Mobile phone with telephone number of an experience Syncro mechanic, or access to the club80-90 technical forum

I try and take along any tool that’d I’ll be happy to use to make a fix in the field. With some effort you can pack all your bits away into quite a small space:

I have adapted my raised bed on a platform with simple drawers underneath for tool storage – we’ll cover this on a later post.

Anyone else have any tools they like to take with them..?

How To Lift The Rear Of Your Syncro For Very Little Cash…

Measuring up a T25 / T3 / Vanagon Syncro Westfalia for the difference in rear height from left to right. Raising slightly and correcting that infamous “Westy Lean”,

There are various options to raise or correct the height on the rear of a Vanagon T25 T3 syncro, we have chosen the home DIY option. Alternatively, various specialist suppliers offer kits.

Brickwerks offer a Westy Levelling kit, for 2WD and syncro:

http://www.brickwerks.co.uk

Or, you can buy rear spacers from:

http://www.syncro-services.com

http://www.gowesty.com

http://www.syncro-nutz.com