• And here starts the nightmare.


    Simple job, import van, just come in from Lapland.
    We're just going through it undoing the "modifications" (in the loosest sense) and generally getting it ready for UK use.
    One of the problems is quite simple, the front side lights don't work.
    Anyone spot the problem yet?
    Yes, we can't get the grille off, so we can't take the head lights out so we can't change the bulbs without unbolting the clothes horse off the front.
    Deep joy. Simple job we don't normally charge for turns into an hours labour!

  • Trial fitting of T3 syncro pre bent brake pipes


    We've had these particular brake pipes sat in a box awaiting the opportunity to trial fit them. Brand new steel, copper coated, epoxy covered pre bent and flared with the correct fittings.
    Made exclusively for us by an OEM supplier to all the car brands you're bothered about. Using original samples these pipes are perfect for those who want to achieve a perfect replacement pipe without the hassle of bending and flaring your own. Saves time as you can just fit from the box. Made using original samples.
    Now we know the fit is good we'll add these syncro items to our growing range of pre bent pipes very soon.

  • T3 Ignition checks - Ignition coils

    On a VW T3, from the factory there were 4 different ignitions coils fitted throughout the production run, one of them was only used in some African countries on models fitted with points style ignition and are unlikely to see them here so they will be glossed over.

    Early vans were air cooled, the 1.6l "CT" engine and the 2.0l "CU" engine, they used what we call the early coil, it had DIN connection for the king lead, when the WBX joined the ranks then they too used the early coil. In July 1984 they swapped from the early DIN coil to the later "sawtooth" style connection at Chassis number WV2 ZZZ 25 Z EH 155 001

    The later coils as fitted to everything else, these could either have a green label on them or a grey label. ETKA [VW's Electronic Parts Catalogue] is a little confusing regarding what vehicles have the green and which have the grey label, in fact it is contradictory, we feel the best way to get the right coil is just to fit what was on there originally.

    A faulty ignition coil could cause a few different problems, we find that they start to give flat spots while driving, this is usually a sign they are past their best. They can be checked with a multimeter set to ohms (more on that later).

    An ignition coil is basically a step up transformer encased in steel and filled with oil, there are 2 circuits, a primary and a secondary, the primary is the low voltage side, the secondary is where the high voltage is induced. 12v is supplied to the primary circuit and around 35000v is induced in the secondary coil which is then fed via the king lead to the distributor cap where it is dished up to the correct cylinder.

    The primary circuit, this is the low voltage side, the outer terminals on the body. One is marked "15", this is ignition live [Black wire]. The other terminal is marked "1", this is what's called the tachometric signal, this is the switched earth supplied by your ignition module to turn the coil on and off [Green wire].

    The secondary circuit is between terminals 1 and 4, the green wire terminal and the HT output to the distributor cap.

    Obviously you disconnect the electrical connections from the coil before you get busy with your Ohmmeter as you want to measure the resistance of the coil and not the rest of the ignition system too!

    The expected resistances are listed in the table below.

      VW No Bosch No Fitted to Primary Secondary    
    Early 211 905 115 B 0 221 122 023 CT, CU, DF, DG .52Ω to .76Ω 2.4kΩ to 3.5kΩ Up to 24 E 155 000
    Late – Green label 211 905 115 D 0 221 122 349 DF,DG,DH,GW,DJ,MV,SS,SR .5Ω to .8Ω 2.4kΩ to 3.5kΩ From 24 E 155 001
    Late – Grey label 191 905 115 A/B/C 0 221 122 399 DF,DG,SP,DJ .6Ω to .8Ω 6.9kΩ to 8.5kΩ    

    DSC_0066 Testing the secondary resistance with an Ohmmeter

    After testing, if you find the Ohms readings are out of specification then it's time to change the coil, it's as simple as that!

    Early coil here

    Late coil - Green label here

    Late coil - Grey label here

  • T3 Ignition checks - HT Leads

    HT leads, simple concept, it's a wire that carries the high voltage produced by the ignition coil and sends it to the distributor cap and then on to the spark plugs.

    Whenever we get a T3 with a petrol engine in for rough running this is one of the first tests we do, check the resistance of the HT leads.

    The T3 HT leads are made up from a few components, the connection to the distributor cap, the connection to the ignition coil, the spark plug connector and the cable itself.

    Each connector has some built in resistance to help with radio interference, generally the ignition coil and the distributor cap connectors generally have a 1KΩ [one thousand ohms] and spark plug connectors have 5KΩ [five thousand ohms]

    The cable itself has a copper core and should have no resistance.

    This means a king lead [lead from coil to cap] should have a total resistance of 2KΩ [1KΩ + 1KΩ + 0Ω=2KΩ]


    Then, each HT lead [Cap to spark plug] should have a resistance of 6KΩ [1KΩ for the cap connector, 0Ω in the cable and 5KΩ in the spark plug connector]

    Checking is simple with your multimeter, select the correct scale for measuring 6KΩ and test each lead individually. You are not looking for exactly 2KΩ for the king lead, but somewhere very close, ditto for the HT leads, you probably won't achieve 6KΩ exactly but they should generally all be even and around that figure.

    VW made the leads in the manner so that each spark plug receives an even voltage, if one lead has a higher electrical resistance then the it's associated spark plug will receive a lower voltage and result in rough running.

    We often find vans here with "Silicone" leads and simple crimped brass connectors, Silicone HT lead is usually resisted along it's length meaning that the longer the cable the greater the resistance and as you know with a T3 engine you have 2 short leads and 2 long leads, which if you absorbed what was said above will result in uneven voltages at the spark plug! We do not advise people use silicone leads on T3 models.


    DSC_0076 Checking HT lead, this one is a little high for us and will be replaced.

    DSC_0075 Checking HT lead, this one is open circuit and the source of the misfire on this particular vehicle.

    It is also worth visually checking the leads to make sure the electrical connectors are in good condition as sometime the saw tooth ratchet mechanism for the later pin type connectors fail and cause loose connections.

    Cap and coil connectors from left to right Cap and coil connectors from left to right DIN 90°, DIN straight, Sawtooth 90°, straight sawtooth and in the foreground is a cheap none resisted item found on cheaper leads.

    You can find HT leads here for..

    Aircooled 2.0l CU vans here.

    Early T3 1.9l with DIN type connections here.

    Late T3 1.9l and 2.1l with saw tooth connections here.

    Even Oettinger WBX6 here.

    You will also find a range of HT lead components for making your own here


  • VW T3 Trailing arm repair

    We recently had a van in for a service, usual thing, customer wanted loads of unimportant jobs doing but had neglected the important jobs.

    Once the van was here it was decided we best check the van over and get a list of faults, one of which was the trailing arm spring perches had dropped off.

    Anyway, we couldn't let the customer out of the workshop with a van like this as any speed bump or pot hole could see a loud "twang" and the rear springs dancing around in the road!

    DSC_0246 Here you see that the raised section has completely corroded away and was just rattling around inside the spring.

    DSC_0247 Plucked out for you to see!

    DSC_0248 Here you can see the other side is not much better, hanging on like a 6 year old child's front tooth!

    DSC_0249 The spring perch is only held on with a few spot welds, we just usually chisel them off, it doesn't take much. As you can see in the middle there was a small corroded hole in the centre. Hole obviously welded up and ground flat.

    DSC_0250 Then, we treated the area with a rust killing solution, etch primed, primed and then painted black.

    DSC_0251 We also painted the underside of the trailing arm repair section, let it dry and then offered the repair up to the arm using some M6 set screws through the holes in the plate to get it in the correct position. After this we use a wire brush in the drill to remove the paint through the hole ready for welding.

    DSC_0252 After welding the welds are again ground flat and the panel etch primed, primed and painted. Once dry we then underseal on top and then refit.


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