time flies when you’re having fun

Porsche air-cooled family

Just had my second year anniversary with my bus, clearly, time flies when you’re having fun 🙂 I don’t need to have a reminder set for the event, as it just so happens to roughly coincide with renewing the insurance and MOT. After all the work that’s been carried out on the bus in the last 12 months, I was pretty confident that nothing major was going to come up on the test, but there is always a slightly nervous anticipation when going up to the test centre. I was right in thinking nothing major would present itself, but there were a couple of electrical gremlins that came up unfortunately, I guess that’s not uncommon for a 53-year-old VW split screen bus!

cool Porsche 911… all part of the aircooled family
cool Porsche 911… all part of the air-cooled family

Headlight changes

One, however, was a bit odd, the headlights that passed at the same test centre last year, this year failed as being LHD so were showing the wrong light pattern? Apparently, the law regarding all things regarding headlights has recently changed so that might explain things. Also having upgraded the bulbs to much brighter units, so any errors might have shown up more clearly this time around! Oh well, better to be safe than sorry. I could have taped off the LHD ‘kick’, but it seemed to make more sense to swap over to new RHD sealed beam units to get the maximum benefit on the UK roads. So if anyone is after a decent set of LHD Hella sealed beam units, just let me know…

LHD sealed headlight units swapped over to new RHD units
LHD sealed headlight units swapped over to new RHD units

Electric gremlins

The other electrical stuff was to do with the rear braking/indicator lights. I also had some non-mot related issues with the intelligent split relay charging system, so I thought I’d book in at Resto Classics to get the work sorted in one go. At the moment I’m not that confident with electrics, so I’d rather have the peace of mind of getting it done right! However, there was a little job I could do (an’ had been meaning to do for ages!) that would make sense whilst I gave a hand with the lights. The original light surround rubbers had seen better days, so whilst the guys at Resto Classics isolated what the electrical problem was, I could get the rubbers swapped over.

the rear tail light rubbers had seen better days
the rear tail light rubbers had seen better days

Bad earth issues

It took a little while to isolate exactly what was the issue was. It’s sometimes a case of working methodically through everything to get to the root cause. In the end, it seemed that the old original electrical contacts were a bit bent out of shape and had caused an erratic earthing issue which is not an uncommon issue. They managed to re-shape the contacts as best they could, and blast clean the number plate bulb holder to clean it all up and fit a new earth for the number plate light. For now, problem sorted. Moving forward, I might need to keep an eye out for some new rear light housings at some point.

new rubbers fitted to help give better weatherproofing
new rubbers fitted to help give better weatherproofing

Leisure battery failure

As for the leisure battery, they took the battery out the test/charge and it turns out the ends were swollen and they were pretty sure one of the cells was knackered as it was showing a fault? This could explain a lot! So ordered a new replacement battery, and whilst waiting for it to arrive, they hooked up one of their temp Leisure batteries, and bingo, it seems to be working, but unfortunately, still struggling to get much beyond about 12.8v when revving? So enough to keep the starter battery topped up, but not much for the Leisure battery.

More investigation! The fan belt seemed a bit lose (so losing a small amount of charge potential), so that go tightened. The bushes in the alternator seemed a little worn, so in case the internal regulator was dodgy, that whole unit got changed. Better safe than sorry. This made things a bit better, but still struggling for output voltage. Ideally, it should be putting out just over 14v! Then earthing point on the leisure battery was checked and the paint under the bolt was still there in places. To improve the earthing point, more paint was removed and bingo, all seems to be working! It will be great to be able to properly use the Waeco cool box this summer, especially with the Hessisch Oldendorf show in Germany coming up soon!

rear light electrics, new rubbers all back and sorted out
rear light electrics, new rubbers all back and sorted out

Lots of little issues sorted

So not fully sure if it was a single issue, or if it was a combination of issues that got multiplied? The lack of additional charge may have caused the leisure battery to drain and fail over time, hard to tell? At least everything is now sorted, and with the other electrical gremlins resolved, the bus flew straight through the MOT retest! 🙂 Happy summer times ahead…

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