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workshop

  • Brickwerks Workshop Update

    As you probably know, in April 2005 SJ Baxter Motor Engineers opened a workshop in the back streets of Huddersfield. From day one we had 3 weeks worth of work and that lead time has not altered in 12 years.

    What we have found in the last 12 years is that customers come back, a lot.

    Obviously if you have a lot of repeat custom and a long lead time (3 months it has been at some points!) then new customers coming along adding to the workload only makes the waiting time longer.

    We are dealing daily with old vehicles, with the best will in the world and our experience over the last decade it has taught us that the unexpected happens and what starts off as a simple job turns into a can of worms. What is booked in for a simple service usually turns into a lot lot more.

    Vehicles have been coming, we're finding more and more that need serious amounts of work and with no slack in the system if a job goes awry then it has a knock on effect to all the other people who have waited 3 months to get a day in the workshop. We don't tend to work like other workshops, we have a limited amount of space, you book a day, we use that day, the van goes away, that's it. We know a lot of VW garages tend to work on the "just drop it off and we'll fix it when we can be bothered" principle, usually leading to heated arguments with missed holidays and such, the only vehicles left here under that understanding are ones where the job was worse than anticipated and it's simply not safe or legal to let the van go, the job is worked in and amongst the other work and finished as soon as possible.

    We're not that interested in taking any more workshop staff on, people come here because of our knowledge and experience with T3 and T4, to get another mechanic and go through the whole process again is time we simply don't have.

    So, something has to give!
    At the start of 2017 we took the decision to stop taking on new workshop customers and instead to concentrate on our loyal regular customer base and try to offer them a better service with shorter waiting times and a little more slack in the system for those unexpected problems we encounter on the way. This decision may seem a little strange but with the webshop being so successful and the backlog of new parts we need to list we feel our time is better spent on work that is cleaner and easier on my back and knees.

    The workshop is not closing, we will continue to look after our loyal customer base but if you haven't been a workshop customer before then I'm afraid we won't be able to look at your van for you.
    We feel we cannot close the workshop as it is our proving ground, where we try out, trial fit parts before they are sold on the shop and is one thing we have over our competition, we know the parts well.
    We are mechanics by trade and not salesmen just trying to shift units to meet targets, neither are we fly by night chancers who are in it for a quick buck selling things they know nothing about.
    We are serious about this and in it for the long haul but feel our time is better invested in cleaner work that isn't so harsh on our bodies, for us this is the best way forward, we retain our workshop and effectively keep our hand in with all things mechanical and also keep our regulars happy.

    Simon.

  • Come on... give us a break!

    This is us calling "Last Orders" at the webshop... last-orders

    Technically, its not "us" it's just a photo we found on the internet that suited our needs... just pointing that out before you all rush down to meet our new member of staff!!
    Usually at this time of year we have a spotless workshop, and the stores is swept and tidy. We generally have all the deliveries booked in, we're watching the clock and shuffling delivery notes and flicking elastic bands at Angus.

    Today, we've had almost as many orders to process as a busy day at the start of summer. Mike is complaining because he's had to change the label roll in the UPS printer and we've got 2 big deliveries from earlier this week to book in!

    We're not complaining though! We like being busy... but it has to end somewhere.
    So, we're a couple of hours away from our 1pm cut off for orders to leave today.
    After that we'll be playing "catch up" with the deliveries and sorting things for our return in the New Year.

    Oh... and just for the ladies...

    special-brew-tramp

    Merry Christmas :)

     

  • T3 and LT Interior Light LED replacement Units

    This is something we've been asked for a lot, but we've avoided as the stuff available isn't exactly simple to install and involves dismantling the existing light units and modifying the units internals to run an LED tube.

    These however are a simple replacement for the complete existing light unit as used in T3 and LT Westfalia models.
    No parts of the original light unit are needed. You can wrap your original Westfalia parts up and keep them safe for refitting later or even sell 'em if you're not bothered about keeping your original parts.

    Our LED replacements are externally identical to the originals. Nice clean lenses, new switches. No re-using anything from your old light. It doesn't get any simpler.

    They give a crisp light... 4000k is the figure, but its described as "Natural White"
    Being LED, current consumption is much lower than the old Fluorescent units too... an important consideration if you're a solar powered off-grid living spoon whittler.

    We were going to make a small fitting video, but to be honest its so simple a couple of photos will do it. Read on...

    Firstly, remove the 2 black plastic caps that attach the light diffuser to the lighting unit Firstly, remove the 2 black plastic caps that attach the light diffuser to the lighting unit. (Small Flat Bladed Screwdriver)

    img002 Next, remove the 2 small screws that hold the light unit to the interior. (Small Phillips Screwdriver).

     

    img003 On the sliding door side at least, you will be met with something like this. 2 Wires connecting to the main interior lighting loom. Disconnect the 2 wires from the original light. (Just pull them out of the plastic housing).

    Now at this point you have a couple of options. You can crimp new spade connectors onto the wiring for the existing light, and plug it back in. You'll see the connectors on the webshop as related items. This is the nicest, most factory way of doing it.
    However... on the non sliding door side you will most likely find that the wiring connectors shown in the image aren't accessible due to the shape of the shelf there.
    So the other option would be to snip the existing wires, and join the new wires to the old - Black to Brown, Red to Blue. Ideally solder them, but we'll leave that up to you.

    img004 If you're crimping new connectors on, you'll end up with something like this. Plug it back in... test it... that's it.

    img005 That's it. Refitting is reversal of removal as they say. All the fixings are exactly as original, and the light units are even supplied with new screws.

    img006 There you go. Exactly as original (until you turn them on) and you still have the original light units complete to keep safe, or do whatever you like with. As original (unbutchered) units are quite sought after you may even get a good price for them if the insides havn't been removed.

    Light units available here on the webshop, in stock and ready to ship.
    Wiring connectors show as related items. You'll need 2 for each light unit if you are connecting using this method.

    WEBSHOP LINK

  •  BRICKWERKS Christmas Message...


    ...shorter and probably a bit more interesting than that one the Queen will be doing in a few days time...

    Chrimbopressie
    Just a quicky regarding Christmas and New Year shenanigans.
    We'll be closed from Midday on Friday the 23rd December, and we will return to work on Tuesday the 3rd January 2017.
    All orders placed up until around 1PM on Thursday the 22nd December will be shipped that day, and should be delivered either next day or in the period between Christmas and New Year.
    Remember, we don't make the deliveries and as this time of year is extremely busy for the Post Office and UPS then if anything is urgent, don't leave it until the last minute!
    All the services we offer for shipping are "Next Day" which whilst at this time of year that might not actually mean next day it does mean that it'll get to you as quickly as is humanly possible.

    Any orders placed after the 22nd December will by picked, and packed on Tuesday the 3rd when we return to work.
    Similarly, any emails won't be replied to until we return on the 3rd.

    What else... oh yeah, Christmas stuff. We know at this time of year you're spending your brass on other stuff... and rightly so.
    But, as its Christmas, you might like to drop some hints to family or friends about some interesting stuff we've added to our range lately.... stuff that you might actually like to receive instead of another bloomin' Split Screen Camper mug :D
    Read on...

    Thermal Screens These Interior Thermal Mat Sets are great value and will help keep you warm if you're camping over the Christmas/New Year Period. T3 Sets are 8 Piece for all windows, T4 are just 3 piece for the cab windows. Click Image for Webshop Link
     

    Anevay Stove Another one for the chilly months... we've used these for a while as they're compact and self contained which is ideal when you're trying to cram all your stuff in a small campervan. You'll be surprised how much heat they give off though, and the bonus is you can boil a kettle or even cook a pizza on them if you have a pizza stone. And we find that most campsites that allow off the ground BBQ's are fine with them even if they don't allow camp fires. Oh... and you'll see we have an offer at the moment where you get the stove and the carry bag for the price of the stove alone! And as if that wasn't enough, free shipping too :) Click Image for Webshop Link

    Atiwe Gear Knob Atiwe. You've heard of Atiwe right? Oh... well... Atiwe make and have made a range of accessories for years. Steering Wheels, Gearknobs, even one of the Factory Option T3 Alloy wheels was supplied by Atiwe. So, when they offered us these, we couldn't say no! They're not "cheap", but they are one of the nicest knobs we've ever had the pleasure of handling... fnarr fnarr They're anodised aluminium and leather and once you've touched one that standard plastic one will never satisfy you in the same way... Click Image for Webshop Link
     

     

     

    Doodle Lastly... if you have someone in your family who likes colouring in, we were sent these A3 posters by Squidoodle which are great designs and will keep you entertained for hours. Have a look at his other stuff if this is your thing. You can hang em on the wall when theyre done. Again, not something that we've been known to sell in the past but if it helps Steve get his stuff out there, we're happy to keep a few on the shelf. Click Image for Webshop Link
     

    In other news...
    Webshop update is still ongoing.
    A couple of recent changes are to the general tidiness of your Account area. You can check the status of your order here, or track it once its shipped.
    You can also access the new returns section here, so when you've bought something you don't need you can get a returns number and that'll help us refund it quicker when it comes back.

    We've struggled a bit this year with getting all the new stuff on the webshop. Traditionally this time of year has been our quiet period and thats given us chance to get all the new products we have in the wings lined up and live on the shop... hasn't happened this year though. We're working through them slowly as and when we get a few minutes though, so keep checking the new products on the home page for new stuff, and have a look on Facebook or the Blog for the more interesting stuff. Oh, we post stuff on Instagram too from time to time... apparently :D

    Speaking of Facebook, we have a competition running here at the moment for people who have ordered from us in the last 12 months... so if you havn't seen it you might want to check it out.
    If you've already ordered you have nothing to lose by getting your name down :) You might win one of the very limited VW Monopoly sets we recently sold out of in one day!

    Thats it 'til next time... might be another month, or it might be another 11 years, we'll see how we go.

    Whatever you do over the festive period, have a good one and we'll see you all again next year.

    Simon, Michael, Angus, Mike, Debs, Uncle Pete and Stanley.
    (I think thats all of us!)

     

  • Phone service interrupted!

    I know we're not the best at getting to the phone but needless to say that today we have a valid  excuse!

    floor Dugga Dugga Dugga Dugga* Repeat to fade

  • Trailing Arm Comparison - Repro to Original

    One of the major advantages of having a specialist workshop next door to our warehouse is that when the opportunity arises we can make comparisons between original parts and aftermarket parts.
    Today we had some original trailing arms removed from a T3 for new bushes, so took he opportunity to do a weight comparison - Original against New Aftermarket (JP Group) arms.

    Considering the original arm has at least a few years of muck on it, not to mention wax, and the usually cut/broken bolts left in it... they're pretty similar in weight which suggests they're pretty similar in material thickness and quality of weld.

    We expected nothing less to be honest... but now we know :)

    trailingarncomparison

  • Brickwerks Open day 24th April

    image

    We've not done this for a couple of years but we've decided to tidy up and open the workshop doors on a weekend again and let you all have a nosey about to see what we're up to.
    Same format as previous years, we'll be there about 9am and stick the kettle on, you bring a mug and we'll fill it with tea or coffee.
    Over the next few days we'll sort a discount code so you can pre-order some quality stock so there's no disappointments on the day and we're not running around like idiots wasting time making invoices out!
    We'll sort some food out of some sort or other too.
    We usually wind up around lunch time and the syncro fraternity meander their way up the valley to make a day of it and do some of the local green lanes.
    For the 2WD crowd we could always cruise up the valley in a different direction to the Oil Can Cafe and check out some classic cars.
    there have been some changes down at Bridge Works and we now have a lot more room in the car park so there should be plenty of space.
    See you there!

  • Digital Multimeter

    t-024

     

    We work on old vehicles... and the chances are that if you're reading this then from time to time you do too.
    One of the common questions we see on forums from owners of older stuff is "how do I test my [insert electrical component here]". The answer invariably involves the use of a tool called a multimeter.

    Now, you can spend hundreds of pounds on a multimeter, but we realise that in all honesty its one of those tools that whilst invaluable when you need it will just sit in your toolbox (or glovebox) for most of the time. So a sensibly priced one makes a lot of sense.

    Reads Voltage (AC and DC), Resistance (Ohms), Current (Amps) which are basically all you'll need to diagnose most issues.

    WEBSHOP LINK

     

  • "Club Joker" stripes - professional fitment.

    DSC_6263s

    The club joker stripes are one of out more popular reproduction sticker sets.
    And the full colour printed ones are possibly one of the best stickers that VW ever fitted to the T3 :)

    Michael fancied a little 80s styling on his Bluestar, and we wanted the opportunity to make a video to give some tips. So, we had a one of set done with a blue highlight instead of the original red.
    Generally with things like this, less is more... but this works really well!

    You can see the installation video on Youtube HERE

    And of course the stripe kits are available HERE (standard colour set only I'm afraid. Special colours would be possible... but expensive!)

     

     

  • And here starts the nightmare.

    image

    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!

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