Tales from the workshop

  • Wonder why it has a PAS leak?


    Maybe something to do with the wrong size washer and an o-ring perchance?

  • 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!

  • Nice easy job turns into a nightmare..


    Well, not really but don't you just hate it when you start a quick simple job and it turns into a scotchlok infested can of worms.
    Job started as just making the fog lamp work on the right of the van (import) now it's turned into a rats nest detangle reterminate-athon!
    The joys of working on old vans!

  • One for you syncro owners..








    Usual thing, what starts as a simple job soon spreads, can of worms truly opened!

    This started as changing a rear wheel cylinder, then a link pipe, then a flexy, then the pipe above the gearbox that's hidden by the front nose cone.

    Luckily all parts in stock and soon remedied!

  • T4 syncro Westy raised.


    Stan came to us for a set of wheels, tyres and a Seikel lift kit fitting, we think it looks great! Drives nice too for a high van. It's making us look at our shop van with different eyes! [starts looking for T4 syncro conversion kit]

  • 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.

  • One for the workshop customers

    A few weeks ago as we were returning from a wedding and taking the scenic way home we chanced across a new campsite quite local to the workshop.
    Now, regular visitors to Brickwerks HQ make use of the campsite a mile or so up the road from the workshop but it seems it's a little "Marmite", some love it, some don't, so we are now in the position where we can recommend a second reasonably local site for those that like things a little wilder!

    You know we like to try out the stuff we sell and I suppose this similar!

    Whitegate Leisure is a small family run campsite on the moors above Holmfirth and is run by husband and wife team Shaun and Sue who bought the farm a few years ago and are in the process of renovating the farmhouse and out buildings and is located approx 5 miles from our premises.

    We would say that this campsite is more suited to the outdoor-sy types as it's located "in the sticks". We'll warn you though, it's exposed location can give some great views over the valley but I can't say I'd want to be camping there in a storm!
    This campsite would be great for those that like walking, cylcling or ever a spot of green laning as there are plenty of walks, cycle routes and green lanes very close to the site.
    Just down the road is Coddy's Farm which sports a tea room [which does breakfasts] and a farm shop, another 10 minutes walk down the hill takes you to the Holmfirth Vinyard where you can go and sample wine made on the sunny slopes of the Holme Valley.

    The only thing missing is a pub but the centre of Holmfirth is only 2 miles away and this then opens up a whole realm of things to go of an evening from eating out to the excellent Picturedrome, voted the NME's 2nd best small music venue in the UK.

    All in all, for us a great little campsite and just up the road for us for those last minute "I want to go camping" moments.
    Please note it is seasonal and it shuts over the winter period, but, in fairness the lost village in the woods a mile or so away is called "Hades" ... if you're up there in the winter you'll find out why! (the neighbouring farm is called Elysium, it must have been named in summer as that means "A place or state of perfect happiness.")

    -Secure site with private access
    -Grass covered Hard Standing for caravans & tourers
    -Electric Hook Ups
    -Hot showers
    -Toilet facilities
    -Water point
    -Outside wash up area
    -Blue waste disposal
    -Dogs welcome
    -Free WIFI

    Whitegate Leisure.
    White Gate Rd
    HD9 2TH

    Farm: 01484 688080
    Mob: 07786 707890

  • Not all caps are made equal [but some are..] (Reposted)

    Another helpful and informative post we thought we'd lost... Google cache to the rescue again :)
    Sorry the images are a bit "miff". Better than nowt though eh? And one is missing :(



    Now, here's a thing.

    I don't know if you have ever noticed but we sell header tanks. The difference between us and other suppliers is that our tanks don't have caps and other suppliers do.
    Just a quick post to explain why.

    So, we buy header tanks, when we buy them they come with caps on, the tanks are fine, the caps are absolute junk so we take them off and bin them and here's why...

    The header tank cap is simply not there to stop coolant falling out but it is a very important part of the cooling system.
    If you pressurise coolant you raise it's boiling point, its that simple! Your cooling system is designed to run at about 1 bar or pressure [14.7psi give or take] the effect of this is that your coolant no longer boils at 100° C but at a higher temperature of about 115°c. This means your engine can run warmer and the coolant not boil, brilliant!
    So, as the engine warms up the coolant does too and as it does the coolant expands. As the coolant expands the pressure in the cooling system increases. Once the cooling system reaches a predetermined level [about 1 bar of pressure] then a pressure valve in the header tank cap opens and lets the extra coolant out into the tank behind the number plate flap safe and sound to maintain a constant 1 bar pressure. The pressure valve will regulate the cooling system pressure and keep everything hunky-dorey.

    Okay, you pull up outside your lust cottage in the Yorkshire Dales for the evening, turn your engine off, now what?
    As the cooling system cools the coolant contracts, oh no! a pressure less than atmospheric [I'm desperately trying not to say vacuum as I can see my old motor vehicle college tutor about to shout at me for saying vacuum...it's a depression Simon, a depression.] then the hoses would all collapse and suck up, but wait! another valve in the cap [yes, not one but 2 valves, image!] opens and now lets the cap draw back the coolant it spat out earlier into the burp tank behind the number plate.
    Ace, all sorted, one valve to let excess pressure out and another valve to let coolant back in when the pressure drops.
    Now, in the olden days these 2 valves were visible...
    Here's a few pictures to illustrate what I mean


    A bunch of caps.
    Top row - Tthe cheap nasty ones we put in the bin.
    Middle row - Genuine VW items [not actually made by VW but we'll come back to that in a moment...]
    Bottom row - OEM [Original Equipment Manufacturer] basically in layman's terms the people who made them for VW which in this case is a company called "Blau"


    Again, same lay out as above, top the nasty ones [eagle eyed readers will have already spotted the problem] middle row VW, bottom row OEM "Blau"

    Sorry... pic missing. Im sure we can take another as the "worthless" caps are pretty common!

    Okay, to the problem, this is how we received the cap, the "vacuum" *ahem* valve is just plain missing, meaning this cap will hold zero pressure, not good! You can also see the cap behind has a wonky valve too! 2 out of 4 failure rate out of the box!


    Now, the 2 caps above, can you see the black bits in the middle, that's the important bit, that's where the valves are, they look fairly much the same don't they? that's because they are!
    I've said this loads in the past but VW maybe a vehicle manufacturer but they don't manufacture all the parts, most stuff is bought in and this is a prime example.
    Vw's header tank caps are made by a company called Blau [part of the Magna-Steyr company, Steyr-Puch as was..] and this is their aftermarket version of the same cap, it's made by the same company probably on the same production line by the same people with the same material using the same mechanism but outwardly it has a slightly different appearance.
    So, here's the best bit, you get basically the same part but for much less money as the part hasn't passed though as many hands so it's loads cheaper!

    Before these blue caps were introduced the earlier version was black in colour [025 121 321 A] and these too have the unreliable valve design, 9 times out of 10 if we pressure test these black caps they fail too.
    We always replace cheap caps and black caps when we spot them in the workshop.

    I know I can go online now and find half a dozen companies selling these cheap caps, and the same companies selling their tanks with the cap still fitted, how are you meant to know? You buy a new cap and expect it to work, it's only the fact that we are also a workshop and work with these vehicles daily that we pick up on such faults. You hear all these horror stories of people not being able to bleed their cooling system, well I can tell you that you have no chance of bleeding the cooling system with a cap that doesn't hold pressure!
    That's it! ramble over.
    stand down....
    As you were...

    Link to OEM "Blau" caps.

    Link to genuine VW caps.

    Link to cheap nasty caps.
    Hah, yeah right..

  • Check Your Radius Rod Bushes

    You may have seen this before, but we lost it when we lost the old blog data... I recently found it in Googles cache, so figured it was worth reposting!

    When a "new" customer brings a T3 to the workshop, the things that we can almost guarantee will need replacing are the front Radius Rod Bushes.

    2 Things happen when these bushes need replacing...

    The first is that the constant backwards and forwards motion of the wheel pushes the radius rod back and forth through the hole in the chassis - theres a steel sleeve around the radius rod in this area that goes through the middle of the bushes.
    The sawing motion of the threaded radius rod wears away the steel sleeve. Not great, but it can be fixed cheaply and quite easily if you catch it in time. We have these sleeves manufactured in stainless steel.

    The second thing that can happen is that the radius rod will cut through the sleeve, but it wont stop there... it will carry on sawing through the front cross member. At the same time wearing away the radius rod itself! The only solution then is a costly and time consuming chassis repair, followed by replacement of the Radius Rod itself...

    We do have the equipment to repair this when it happens, but to be honest we'd rather its caught before it gets to this stage. The photos below are from a vehicle that was recently on the ramp. Quite a nice example of a Westfalia California...

    If you have clunking and banging and generally woolly handling, theres a good chance that the radius rod bushes are to blame... check em out before they get to this stage! Your T3 will drive nicer and you'll save yourself a big bill and some heartache in the future!

    This shows the radius rod removed from the vehicle - You can see where the cross member has started to cut through the rod.

    This shows the front crossmember with the outer radius rod bush removed. You can see the hole that the rod passes through is twice the size it should be. thats due to the radius rod cutting its way through the steel of the crossmember!


    The scarey thing is that a lot of these vans have been regularly serviced, and are on most fronts well maintained. They go through MOTs and they're driven thousands of miles...

    We have all the parts to deal with this in the workshop, because we see it so often...

    Radius Rod Bush Inner

    Radius Rod Bush Outer

    Radius Rod Bush Sleeve

    Radius Rod 

  • Fuel Hose... Information and Reassurances.

    It doesnt matter where you go on the internet lately, there will be discussion regarding Fuel Hose. There is a lot of mis-information, and a lot false claims regarding fuel and fuel hose.
    There will be scare stories and pictures of burning vehicles... demands that you CHECK YOUR FUEL HOSE NOW!!!!


    Yes, its not a bad idea. Check your fuel hoses... thats the easy bit. Getting your head around all the "facts" regarding replacement fuel hose is impossible. Try and decipher the specs and you'll be baffled by a series of acronyms and abbreviations that when you try and cross reference them will just result in a even more acronyms and abbreviations!
    We know. Weve tried! This is what it boils down to based on information from the people actually make the hose we supply... more of that later.

    Fuel is changing. The pumps may look the same, it even kind of smells the same, but its different. Huge pressure is being placed on fuel producers to use a renewable source for a percentage of their fuel. This means Ethanol in Petrol, and "Biodiesel" for Diesel fuels.

    At the moment in the UK we have around 5% Ethanol (E5) in Petrol and the same Biodiesel in Diesel.
    We say "around" because fuel manufacturers since 2013 have been allowed to increase this to 10% (E10), and by 2020 10% of all transport fuel must be from a renewable source.
    There is already discussion regarding E15 pump fuel, and in fact in some areas of the USA its already available... as is E20 - Some parts of South America have had E20 fuel for over 30 years!

    So... where does this leave us trying to keep 30+yr old vehicles on the road?
    In simple terms, if you have the original fuel lines on your vehicle you'll be lucky if its still running.
    If youve replaced them in the last 10 years then there is a very good chance that they will all ready be perished and degraded and not always visibly  as the fuel runs down the inside... obviously!

    Which brings us to replacement fuel hose.
    If youve looked into replacing your fuel hose, you'll be familiar with a few terms.
    One is SAEJ30R... followed by a number. The most common one used now with regard to Ethanol content is "R9" or SAEJ30R9.
    The R9 Spec doesnt just relate to its resistance to Ethanol and Biodiesel. Its more complicated than that... its just that its the SAE spec which has the highest resistance to them, and which also requires other requirements for the main fuel connections such as pressure resistance and strength.
    "R9" is not some magic E10 fuel hose!
    SAE by the way is the Society of Automotive Engineers... basically an international body who set the specs that the Automotive industry works to.
    If you want the actual data, its here... and we quote this only because its not the easiest piece of information to find, not to cloud the issue more than it already is...

    "Hose primarily intended to meet the demands of fuel injection systems. These would include, for example, electronic fuel metering (EFM), electronic fuel injection (EFI), throttle body injection (TBI), and the like. Other areas of utility are those applications requiring fuel permeation resistance exceeding 30R8 and ones which require fuel resistance greater than that obtainable with 30R6, 7, and 8. Exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C. This hose may be supplied in either a coupled or uncoupled form, and is useful in the transportation of gasoline, ethanol extended gasoline, diesel fuel, lubrication oil, or the vapor present in either the fuel system or the crankcase of internal combustion engines in mobile, stationary, and marine applications. This hose has a maximum working pressure of 0.69 MPa (100 psi) up to and including 12.70 mm (1/2 in) ID. This hose may be furnished in long lengths, specific cut lengths, or as a part preformed to a specific configuration. This hose is suitable for use in normal operating temperatures of 34 to 135 °C (29 to 275 °F) and intermittent use at 150°C (302 °F)."

    See what we mean! Now... the important bit in all that, and really the point of this post is the sentence that states:

    "exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C."

    Basically, if you buy hose described as R9 or "SAE J30 R9" it should comply with this specification. What its actually complying with is a 5% Ethanol/Biodiesel content (based on test fuels) and exposure to greater concentrations of Ethanol may result in higher permeation rates than those specified. There are other spec that this hose complies with, but thats the relevant one as far as Ethanol and Biodiesel.

    And thats our issue with the whole "R9 Spec" fuel hose thing. You can go on eBay, and buy "R9 Hose" for pennies. You can buy it from a lot of suppliers. We can buy it for about half the price of the hose we currently sell. Whether its what it claims it is or not, who knows. If it is, it meets the minimum spec as stated above. 5% Ethanol or Biodiesel, more than 5% "may result in significantly higher permeation rates". 

    This brings us to the hose we sell. Our hose is sourced direct from the manufacturer. They make fuel hose for all the car makers youve heard of, and many that you havn't. They have supplied VW with fuel hose for a long time...
    The reason we tell you this is that they have a good reputation, they sell a hose and it meets the spec they claim. They have no interest in passing of a hose as something its not, and they have no interest in selling a hose to a minimum spec. Their spec isnt "R9 Hose". It exceeds the spec. and many others, but its not just "R9". Thats why we choose to stock it.

    The hose we sell meets all the requirements to allow them to state that it is SAE J30 R9, however if you read the data sheet regarding the suitability for Ethanol and Biofuels its safe with up to 100% of either.

    The exception to this is the 5.5mm Braided hose we supply for the breather pipes. You'll read things like "Cotton Overbraid hose is no good for modern fuels". Which is nonsense.
    The covering  of the hose means nothing, it is literally what is inside that counts!
    Our 5.5mm Overbraid hose complies (and exceeds) R6 spec, and at the same time is fine with 10% Ethanol content (E10).
    Thats right... as far as Ethanol content goes its higher spec than "R9" hose you might see for sale... you wouldnt use it for high pressure applications, but for breather pipes... no problems.

    You'll also note that the sizes of hose we sell are the exact dimensions VW specify. Well, they would be, they're made by the same people who supply VW!
    We dont sell a slightly bigger hose just because its pound or two cheaper!

    And there you have it... hopefully its a little clearer.

     5.5mm Overbraid Hose
    3.2mm FPM/ECO Hose
    5.5mm FPM/ECO Hose
    7.3mm FPM/ECO Hose
    11.5mm FPM/ECO Hose


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