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VW Camper Van Restoration 'Project Paws' Part Three

Text and photos by Adrian Chandler - edited and presented by Aidan O'Rourke

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Preparing to install a replacement engine Whilst the engine is out, it is well worth removing the firewall panel and removing the petrol tank to check all the rubber pipe connections are OK and the tank for rust. I replaced the engine without doing this only to find there was a big smell of petrol coming into the van, caused by cracked rubber pipes on the breather pipes inside the tank compartment, as well as the filler pipe itself, which is much easier to replace if you have the offside rear wheel arch panel off & the engine out (through the circular door). The tank firewall panel does not come off with the engine in situ, so it is worth adapting it whilst off to make it possible to remove it with the engine in place for maintenance reasons.

Front and side doors: these were rusty at the bottom as usual, but once off the van they are straightforward to weld and repair. Door skins are available, or as in my case new metal can be welded in, then waxoiled inside. I found a rust hole on the roof at each of the 4 corners where the fibreglass plinth sits for the Devon style lifting roof. These could only be repaired with the entire roof off (a lot of screws to remove and takes time!).

The front axle had rust inside the box sections at the bottom. Once the axle is removed it is possible to remove and replace the corroded areas with careful metalwork and strong welds. Once all panels had been welded in there followed many hours of grinding and smoothing over joins with a good tough filler.

Replacement engine found on eBay

Paws camping

I found a complete twin carbed type 4 1700 engine, once again on eBay. This cost £250 and was stripped for inspection. I replaced the pistons due to scratched sides and bores for 1mm oversize (rare items found by John at Lines Motor Works in Shirley, Southampton) and rebored the barrels. The heads were given all new guides and stainless valves. New big end shells were fitted.

I took a gamble on not splitting the crankcase to replace the other bearings and luckily it has paid off as there is very good oil pressure, and the engine now runs smoothly, although setting up old twin solex carbs to run properly takes patience! Type 4 engines are durable as they are aluminium blocks and the studs donít seem to pull out like they do on Type 1 cases.

One final tip I discovered when replacing rusty the brake servo: the servo as fitted to Mark 2 VW Scirrocos and Golfs is the same shape and size (8") as servos on Type 2s, so don't get ripped off buying an advertised new one for around £200 (9" and hits the handbrake cable!), go to your local breakers yard and save yourself £150. There is a small modification required where the push rod screws on to the servo, but it is an easy mod.

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1968 VW Beetle renovated by Adrian ChandlerAdrian Chandler offers detailed air-cooled vehicle inspections at £100 plus travelling expenses of 75p per mile (one way) from Ringwood (Hampshire, southern England/UK). He can also undertake travelling mechanical restoration services on air-cooled VWs, priced at £40 per hour. Adrian restored this 1968 1500 Beetle, and has over 27 years experience with air-cooled VWs. To contact Adrian, e-mail adrian@cwad.fsnet.co.uk or phone 07785 941676.

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