Custom dipstick on 1.9 diesel 1Y Engine fitted to a T25

T25 dipstick accessed by the numberplate hatch

After having a 1Y engine fitted to our T25, using the oddly shaped sump from the 1.6, the old dipstick (which i’m not even convinced was the right length for the 1.6) apparently only showed an oil line on the very end when filled to the max capacity of 4.5 litres. This made it really difficult to monitor the oil level as I had to constantly top it up to make the oil appear on the end of the dipstick, or risk letting it get to low. Inevitably I would overfill, which isn’t good for the engine.

A workaround I tried was to carry around in the van an old bass guitar E string to use as a secondary dipstick, which actually worked pretty well, but I wanted something to do the job properly.

I emailed T25 Direct in London to ask what they did on their 1Y conversions, and they said that they weld a spare bit of dipstick on the end of the original, put in 3.5 litres, turn it over to fill the new oil filter, mark the low oil mark with a grinder, then put in another litre and add the high oil mark.

It had been over 1000 miles since the engine was changed, so I drove down to see Phil Miller, who did the conversion earlier in the year, for a checkover, oil change and to sort out a custom dipstick.

One thing I’ve noticed is that reading the oil level really can be hit and miss on a T25 – with this conversion, the dipstick tube is bent towards the access flap, and goes slightly over vertical, which means sometimes when the dipstick is drawn out, the oil can flow slightly up the dipstick.

The fluctuation in oil level (or misreading) is quite confusing. Alarmingly, after a 100 mile run up the motorway, Rocky appeared to have used a litre(!) of oil, despite there being no smoke, and no visible leaks. I topped it up slightly to within an acceptable range on the marks we put on it, and 100 miles later it appears not to have used a drop!

Needless to say, i’m keeping an eye on it. If it was smoking a lot i’d be worried, but I think (hope!) this is just a calibration issue.

Bristol Volksfest 2013

sun setting behind Rocky the VW T25 parked up at Bristol Volksfest

A couple of weekends ago we headed over to Bristol Volksfest as it was on our doorstep and the weather was good, so it seemed rude not to really.

Great weekend, great vibe, even if we did make the slight mistake of squeezing into the family camping next to the noisiest family on the site (but hey, it was a festival!) – next time I think we’ll take our chances with the party animals in the general camping!

Enjoyed looking around the arena, bought another vintage deckchair and a vintage windbreak, looking at interiors and paint-jobs of other people’s vans to get ideas of what we might do to Rocky in the future.

On the sunday, rather than join the queues to leave the site, we drove into an empty spot in the general camping and chilled out with a cup of tea and enjoyed the rest of the sunshine.

Campervan errand bike

milk crate cargo system on my camper van trip errand bike

One of the things people often mention when comparing camping in tents to camping in camper vans, is that it can be a pain to pack stuff down in a camper if you need to drive to a shop to fetch groceries.

There is some truth in this – once Rocky is set up with the pop-top up, with bedding in place, kettle and pots and pans on the stove, awning attached and thermal blinds attached to windows, we need a good 20 minutes to get it back into a state where we can drive it. I think it’s true to say that it affects your behaviour – not always a bad thing, once i’m camped-up and have a cup of tea in my hand, the last thing on my mind is driving. However, when you run out of milk, teabags, or beer something has to be done!

You often see people towing small cars behind large motorhomes, it makes sense that if you have a very large motorhome, once you’ve parked up on a site, you really don’t want to keep moving it, particularly if you need to take it somewhere where it would be difficult to park up a Winnebago.

We haven’t gone to quite that extreme, but the last few trips we’ve always taken at least one bike to use for errands – fetching water, shop trips. I’m now experimenting with cargo systems – a bike trailer would be good, but they aren’t cheap, and would be more to store and carry, so for now this milk crate attachment is proving to be a simple and effective cargo system for my old mountain bike. I think I might need another on the front to balance things out a bit!