Well spring is definitely here, in fact on sunny days it feels like summer is already here. This is good news as the warm dry weather means I can get on with fixing up both Slon and the Syncro.
Let's start with Damae's Syncro: when we bought it the van came classed as a flerebruksbil (all purpose vehicle) with five seats and had a combi innredning (multi purpose interior). This consisted of a second row of seats and a large bolt in bulkhead and behind the bulkhead was a large load area. We removed these seats a while ago. In the last couple of months I have spent some time fitting a rock and roll bed in the back of the Syncro, just in front of the engine deck and a wooden floor with a slide out section.
The Syncro came with an extra slide in row of seats, that fit between the bed seat and the front seats. The only thing we didn't have was a full set of seat belts with E-markings on them, (you won't get your van approved if your seat belts don't have E-marks on them). It took me a few minutes to discover how expensive inertia reel belts were in Norway, but a while later I discovered that you could still buy E-marked static seat belts at Mekonomen at a fraction of the price. So I bought two three point seatbelts and a lap belt for the middle row of seats and installed everything.
We booked the van in for an inspection at the Vegvesen in Gol one morning and I drove the Syncro down in some trepidation. I needn't have worried as the van was approved as an eight seater with no problems. Well except that the person inspecting the van had to go and check with collegues to see if static seat belts were still legal in Norway. As you might have guessed it appears that they are. So now we have a multi-purpose people carrier with up to eight seats, and a seat that converts into a large double bed, insured and ready to go.
I also have been working on the wheels of the Syncro. I nicked two of the Syncro rims when I fitted winter tyres to Slon, so needed another two. We nipped down to Hvittingfoss to a T3 enthusiast there and got two standard steel rims. I spent a while cleaning them up and painting them before getting the Syncro summer tyres fitted to the rims. The outside has a good layer of hammered enamel and the inside a layer of RX5 and RX10. They are not perfect but look quite nice.
Once the summer tyres were back on the Syncro I turned my attention to the the winter tyres and after some rigorous sanding the got a coat of RX5 followed by a good coat of RX10. Unfortunately, I stood the tyres upright before the RX10 had fully cured so got some mega runs on the outside of the rims. Oh well, at least they are well protected against for the next winter even if they don't look as good as they could have.
The rims with RX5 on them.
The rims with RX10 final coat.
The last job was to get some spare fan belts for the Syncro. It has two, one that drives the alternator and water pump and a second that drives the power steering hydraulic pump. Now here in Norway all you are supposed to do to get the right parts is your vehicle registration number. This is where the nice AAZ engine that a previous owner installed causes problems. They can't search on engine type, and the registration would show a T3 with the original 1.6TD rather than the AAZ 1.9TD. So I had to take off both fan belts and take them to the parts shop. What a pfaff getting the belts off was. In terms of access to the belts and the alternator and the steering pump, it is like working on a 1960's Mini. Still, it is good to know how to change the belts, better to learn it now with plenty of time in daylight, than at the side of the motorway, in the middle of the night.
It took a few minutes at Glitre Bil to get a pair of belts of the right size and they cost a surprisingly cheap NOK 209. The ones we have are made in Spain by Gates Auto Master. The alternator and water pump belt is a 6217MC size AVX10 x 925La, and the steering pump is a 6211 size ACX10 x 775La. These might be the right size for other AAZ T3 conversions too although I wouldn't assume that this is correct.
I have also dragged Slon out of his winter sleep. By the time winter came the new complete Remtec engine I installed was not behaving properly. It would die under braking, would idle erratically and was hesitent to start when hot. First, I did the 2500km oil change, and adjusted the tappets. I also checked the multitude of hoses connecting the air cleaner to bits of the engine and tidied up some of the wiring from the alternator.
None of this made the engine run significantly better. I then discovered that the coil that came with the engine was sub-standard and made starting harder. Then I realised that the vacuum advance diaphragm had a hole in it. It was time to claim under my warranty. I phoned VW Heritage and did some more diagnostics that they requested. On the plus side, it was clear that there were no unwanted leaks in the inlet manifold, and the spark plugs looked the right colour. However, on testing the timing dynamically, it appeared that there was something wrong with the mechanical advance on the distributor as well as the vacuum advance unit. The upshot of all this fiddling is that I am awaiting a new distributor and coil from VW Heritage and I really hope that this fixes the problems once and for all.
As the engine was still running, albeit a bit grumpily I decided to take it for a spin and drove off to choir practice. Slon decided to die when I tried to drive home and one of the other choir members had to tow me back. The following day I checked the only thing I hadn't looked at – the oil bath air filter. I cleaned the filter out when I fitted the new engine and put some lovely fresh oil in it. I was astonished to find that the filter was full of fine dust, sand and even small gravel after only 2500km of use. I took some cleaning and I checked the oil bath air cleaner over whilst it was out of the van.
I notice that there was a vacuum controlled lever at the front of the air intake that should be connected to a flap. This flap is supposed to switch the airflow between pre-heat and cold. But although the diaphragm is still working fine, the flap is nowhere to be seen. If anyone has a flap or has pictures of the orientation of the flap, when fitted and the connection mechanism (if there is one), please let me know.
The diaphragm looks like this:
It sits on the underside of the 'snout' on the air cleaner:
The air cleaner is this type, from a mid-1971 UK spec van:
I have to get cracking with some sanding and rust proofing on both the Syncro and Slon. I also want to get two bits of fiddly welding on Slon done before our summer holidays. The first is the windscreen surround which I know contains a lot of filler. Then there is also the hole in the guttering above the O/S rear air intake. I'll be very happy when both of these are done and covered in a nice thick layer of protective paint.
That's all for now, it is time to do something else.