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..?

19 thoughts on “Tools to take when away in your Syncro…

  1. Paul Wilkinson

    Thanks for that.

    I’ve been looking at sorting a comprehensive tools/spares kit for our Syncro but ran short as so many people have ideas.

    What spare parts would you recommend carry from experience? I’ve not had a breakdown in 6 years aside from loose wire syndrome at the faultynator. Mine is (currently) a 2.1DJ if that helps.



    1. jedthespread

      With my 2.1dj doka I carry these parts,
      1 Spare alternator,
      2 Alternator Bracket (I have had two of these go),
      3 Rear wheel baring pressed into a good hub,
      4 Expansion tank (I have had two of these go),
      5 Spare front and rear drive shafts built up with new CV joints fitted,
      6 Fan belts,

      I carry a kit similar to the one Jake posted up in the Westy but much more spare parts due to me off roading that much more and the extra miles we drive over seas.

      Hope this helps Paul

  2. Mark Beresford

    Good Suggestions Jed , I also like plenty of wire and electrical connectors ,ect and a circuit tester. Always useful for those electrical gremlins…..

  3. Greg H

    Excellent article which has given me an idea of what I need to add to my on-board toolkit to be better prepared in the future.

    One question though – that jack, where did you get it? It looks way better than the one that comes as standard with a non-Syncro T25. Is it standard on a Syncro, or did you buy it somewhere else?

    Excellent site, informative and fun, keep up the good work guys.

    1. Paul Wilkinson

      That’s a ‘farm jack’ which you can buy from many 4×4 suppliers. One well known brand is ‘Hi-Lift’. they do all kinds of accessories for them too (at more expense of course).

      Still got to get one myself. I hear they aren’t perfect and are prone to instability when not used with care. Wonder if there are any alternatives.

      1. Greg H

        Thanks Jed. The one that came as standard with my van has finally given up the ghost (well it is 30 years old I guess!!) and I’m looking for a new one. Does the Hi-Lift type fold down for easy storage?

        Thanks again,


        1. admin

          I have the Jackall version (very similar to HiLift) made out of real metal unlike Jed’s bendy ebay version..

          TBH – most of the time I use the original Syncro jack and a block of wood, the Hi-lift style jacks are heavy and cumbersome, although do lift very quickly. You’ll need an adpater to use if with the standard jacking points (about Β£20). Or have decent side bars to lift with..

          1. Greg H

            Thanks – I’m guessing the syncro jack is different (meatier?) than the standard jack then? Just to add to my woes one of my jacking points collapsed today!! Time to hunt down a welder to rebuild it for me….. gggrrrr lol πŸ™‚

  4. Douglas Lambert

    I would really like to see how you built the storage under you bottom bed. I have just found your site and love the videos. I wil be intouch, Thank you, Douglas

  5. Westy End

    I have realised the value of a hammer and some brute force – these vans are built to last!

    I too would like to see the raised bed trick – having a convenient place for the tools would be great.

    Keep up the good work.

Leave a Reply