Time to buckle up…

Things are changing!

Those ‘meaning to do that’ jobs. Rarely big or complex. They’re overlooked, pushed to the back – something for another day. Well, finally that day has come! Having now got the new 100Ah leisure battery and charging system sorted, there are a few other bits I’d like to get sorted. I guess having the Hessisch Oldendorf 2022 show coming up shortly, I have an increased level of motivation to get a few things finished off. Surprising what a deadline can do for you!

tailgate insulation
tailgate insulation

The eagle-eyed amongst you might spot something is missing in the above picture… Sure, it has great sound deadening fitted over the engine bay. It even has some pretty funky space-aged thermal insulation fitted. Can you see what’s missing?

Yep, there should be a piece of my custom typographic-inspired interior panelling that goes on the inside of the rear tailgate that’s not yet been fitted. It’s all made up and ready to fit, just that I’ve not actually done it yet! I’m sure there was a reason I didn’t quite get around to fitting it. Just that it’s been so long ago now, I can’t remember what it was!

Sharing solar power

Having got the DC-DC setup sorted in both the 64 split bus camper and the T4 2.5 TDi bus, I now just needed to make up an additional connection cable. This would then allow me to share the foldable solar panels between either vehicle. This seemed like a good use of resources. One set of solar panels that can be shared or connected and used between either of the vehicles, depending upon which one I was using at the time. All part of my flexible camping interior idea.

solar connection cable made for the T4
solar connection cable made for the T4

I was running low on a couple of key sizes of ring terminals, so I used the opportunity to restock my dwindling supplies through 12v Planet so that I could complete making the second solar connection cable. I was going to Europe shortly, so the solar panels will be used with the splitscreen camper. Having the second cable will allow me to use the panels when I get back with either the splitty or T4.

Parts pending

Then there are those parts you pick up for the camper at shows or bargains you see online. There’s the initial excitement of getting them, followed by the long delay in actually getting around to fitting or installing them! Or is this just me? Answers on a postcard…

stainless steel VW/Porsche 356 headlight protective grills
stainless steel VW/Porsche 356 headlight protective grills

Well, all of this has to change! As part of a big sort-out and getting ready for Hessisch 2022, I need to get my act together and start getting the camper updated and ready for its first European road trip in a few years. Looks like I have a fair few things that need finishing off and doing by then!

vintage AA and GB country badge
vintage AA and GB country badge

Practical Accessories

Some accessories I’ve got for the camper are realistically cosmetic, while others are more bit more practical. My classic vintage GB and AA badges manage to be a bit of both. Then there are the updates, like the tired and mismatched front seat belts. They are a bit tatty but still functional (not that I would want to test things out in a crash!). However, the last time I was in California, I got a bit carried away and treated myself to something a little snazzy for the front to replace them with.

time for the odd, non-matching seatbelts to go
time for the odd, non-matching seatbelts to go

Safety style

A bit over the top, very boy racer, and somewhat ironic given the humble speed of my camper, however, I couldn’t resist! I bought a pair of rather cool-looking red 2-point racing harness ‘Latch and Link’ lap belts. I quite literally have no excuse for how long it’s taken me to get around to fitting these, but now they’re in, they really do look the business!

new matching seatbelts finally fitted
new matching seatbelts finally fitted

No one likes drilling holes in their vehicle. So I was inspired by seeing someone who had used their bus rear window ‘jail bars’ as a way of fixing their classic GB badge at the back of the bus. A nice solution I thought, saves drilling holes in the bumper. I think it could also make a good place for fixing the vintage AA badge as well using some simple rubber-lined P clips?

classic vintage GB badge for European travel
classic vintage GB badge for European travel

Say something…

Whilst working at the back of the camper, it was time to finally fit the typographic tailgate panel featuring ‘Don’t say nothing’ – another classic original letterpress poster by the brilliant graphic artist Anthony Burrill that I have cut up and distressed as part of my typographic art-inspired camper interior.

‘Don’t say nothing’ letterpress tailgate board fitted
‘Don’t say nothing’ letterpress tailgate board fitted

Great to have one of the key final pieces of the letterpress panels I made fitted. Just the two rear quarter panels to resolve and that is all the panels sorted and in place. I had previously decoupaged a pair of rear quarters ready to use, unfortunately, I subsequently realised that the supplied pre-cut panels were not only not the right shape, but also too thick to properly flex around the internal curvature of the rear corner. I will make some more using my own thinner flexible ply sheeting. Another future job to do…

Oh no, no silver lining

One of the longest things I’ve been working on was the custom ply headlining. I’ve had the silver tri-iso insulation as a roof finish for years. I’d grown used to it. My wife had actually grown to love it! Fitting the painted ply headliner was going to be quite a big visual change to the interior…

painted cab headliner gets fitted
painted cab headliner gets fitted

The cab panels were easy to fit. The rear panels were more of a two-person challenge. Luckily I managed to sweet-talk Lorna into giving me a hand with these! They’re not fully finished yet. I still need to source and fit some thin aluminium flat trim to go over the joints between the sheets. However, finally, they are at least fitted in the bus. Quite the interior transformation!

finally getting the painted headliner fitted…
finally getting the painted headliner fitted…

Reflections

They’ve been a semi-permanent fixture leaning up against our kitchen wall for longer than I care to remember! Happy with the frosted silver paint finish of the ply. It continues the silvery reflective feel of the thermal insulation underneath, but more importantly, helps keep the interior space of the camper light and airy.

re-fitting my custom ‘headbanger’ overhead storage locker
re-fitting my custom ‘headbanger’ overhead storage locker

Installing the headliner also allowed me to finally refit my custom ‘headbanger’ overhead storage locker in the camper again. In a sort of minimalist interior such as a camper, every little storage space is vital. This is a useful and practical addition to my storage options in the bus. Even though I do my best to travel and pack light, there is always a need to have areas to store stuff!

Yes yellow

OK, I admit I do love the look of classic yellow spots and headlights. Always have, probably always will. No great surprise that this would be something I would at least give a try on the bus! Apparently, yellow lights are supposed to (marginally) improve night vision (by removing the short blue to violet wavelengths) and cause less discomfort glare than white light. I openly admit this was not the reason for the change, I’m just a sucker for the way they look!

New Hella yellow/amber headlight lenses and rubbers to be fitted
New Hella yellow/amber headlight lenses and rubbers to be fitted

These Hella lenses should look the business, especially combined with the stainless steel VW/Porsche 356 headlight protective grills. Well in my head I think they will! Time for a little summer drive to my favourite car park to see what the new headlight lenses will look like in reality when fitted on the bus…

‘papped’ whilst out and about driving in Hastings
‘papped’ whilst out and about driving in Hastings

Summer fashion

If I was going to be changing the headlight lenses, then it made sense to fit new headlight lens seals and the headlight to body seals as well. I think I’ll order some new headlight internal retaining clips for the future as well. The originals are ok for now, just showing a bit of wear and could do with updating soon.

Yellow Hella headlights with stainless VW/Porsche 356 grills
Yellow Hella headlights with stainless VW/Porsche 356 grills

So, what do you think of the new yellow lenses? Could this be the new look for summer 2022 then? Hmmmm, I might need to live with this one for a while to see how I feel about it… I got a fair amount of outstanding jobs done in the end but eventually ran out of time to do everything I wanted to do. Not even time to give the bus a long overdue wash and wax. It’s time for a European road trip. It’s Hessich time…

 

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