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,
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…
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..
We love our Syncro’s and we love being diesel. However more than a few love their Syncros for their factory engine that came with it and the 2.1ij petrol flat four WBX isn’t to be sniffed at.. The MV was listed as supplying 95bhp whilst the the DJ with its 112bhp is no light weight on the road. Lets introduce a fella from the UK who goes by the name SyncroSimon on various VW forums who is passionate about his ex-Finnish army factory 16″ hightop syncro. It started life a very different color and now has an excellent home built custom interior that takes him away from home on many a wild camping Dad and Lad weekends.
Simon is at home ploughing through the snow in his 16″ syncro when the rest of Devon is to scared to venture outdoors down those narrow lanes.
SyncroSimon has fitted extra gauges so he knows exactly what his engine is doing whilst he is driving. He has taken some time out to explain what is happening on his 2.1i when it is cruising along and the behaviour that is to be expected from the engine in question. Check out his 2.1 injection demonstration a real must for all the Wasserboxer injection nerds out there…if we are lucky he might share his wing mirror indicator mod next time…!
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 three takes us further down Croatia and to Pag Island. We did plan on staying abit longer than we did on Pag but with temperatures inside the van reaching over 49*C we had to spend lots of time in the sea and drink cold beers to stay cool, bummer hey!!!!
Here is a set of videos from a tour of Europe in our Westfalia Syncro. Basically it involved touring from the UK all the way down to Croatia and back taking in nine countries entered and exited a number of times.
In total 4851km where driven and two mechanical issues, so how did we get on traveling with a 5 year old?, where did we camp?, you will have to watch the videos to find out….
This summer Jed and his family were plagued by aggressive wasps on the tour they did of europe. With temperatures logged above 45*c driving around with the windows wound up was to prove a bloody pain in the backside so we have tried these nifty wind deflectors out. This way you can drive around without sucking the nasty wasps in or letting loads of rain in when driving in the rain with the windows down kind of a poor mans air con system. They are a good price and if you are in the UK you can buy them here, or if your from outside the UK do like it says in the Video and email JP mentioning Campervanculture and they will get back to you with a reasonable world wide shipping cost.
Personally I would have been chuffed if they were bought for me for my birthday or at Xmas and at only £30 per set what self respecting camper van owner wouldn’t? They do them for a wide range of other vehicles too as well as acrylic head light protectors, T4 and T5 bumper protectors, rear spoilers….
While camping in a forest recently I got to thinking about when people say, “We couldn’t do Wild Camping” On that note I put together a short video to explain what Wild Camping means to us as a family.
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!)
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.