A tragic introduction

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A tragic introduction

Postby D34dR4bb17 » 27 Jun 2018, 20:28

Hi All. Been a silent member for about a month now, as not owning a van it didn't seem right to post. I have to say though, I've learnt masses from this place, it's a gold mine of information. Well, after months of searching, today I went to pick our very own 1988 Westfalia Club Joker Poptop 1.6 TDI.

From my untrained eyes it's looked to be in great shape, the inside is pretty immaculate, and the outside for thirty years is not half bad. I'd already seen a few vans, and this was in very good condition.

I checked everything before today. I went through all the history, MOT history, HPI check, oil and coolant last change, cambelt last change. All checked out. The chap I bought it from is a lovely ole fella and has really looked after this van, and it brought a tear to his eye to see it go today. Sadly he's unable to drive anymore, thus the reason for sale.

Now, the van was in Dorset, and I'm down in sunny Hastings. It's fair to say I had a bit of a trip for my first outing to get it home. However, the M3 was a doddle, the M25 let me through without any holdup. I was just cruising along soaking up the atmosphere, life was good. Got on the A21. Easy, on the home straight now. What's that flashing light! That's the temperature warning light!! So I pulled over quick, as quick as I could without endangering anyone. Looked round the back to see some smoke puffing out, not a lot but enough to make me realise that this was not good. Popped open the engine, a little more smoke, that can't be good, but again it soon went. Checked the oil, fine. Checked the coolant, looked fine. Called the AA. Of course being a newbie, and a little freaking out, I checked the bottle visible from the reg plate, not the actual coolant bottle which was completely empty.

Anyway, the AA man turned up and he did spot that I had no coolant. Topped it up, I turned it over, and it dumped it all out on the floor. It was then he spotted a hose had popped off due to a rusty jubilee clip failing. He replaced the clip, we tried again, but as you might of guessed it looks as though the head gasket had blown. :(

It just so happens I was on my way to Resto Classics in Hastings to have the van checked over, so the AA man kindly towed me down, and it's now in their hands. Who knows what damage is done.

Outdone by a jubilee clip! I could get mad, but it's no-ones fault really. Who could have known. We didn't buy this with our eyes closed,we knew there would be problems. As my neighbour said, who has his own fun with old Lambrettas, it's part of owning a classic. I just didn't expect it to happen so quickly!

I know it's gonna be a job to fix, but I hope it's not too bad. It was honestly great to drive.

So that's my introduction as tragic as it is. My name is Andrew France, and hopefully I will have a van to talk about soon.
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby R0B » 27 Jun 2018, 20:45

A true baptism of fire.Congratulations and commiserations.
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Sir Brixalot » 27 Jun 2018, 20:46

Could be that the gasket had already gone when you bought it and pipe popped as system pressurised. Happened to me driving back after buying it. Anyway sounds like you've got the bug and youre going to have a T25 for a long time!
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby 937carrera » 27 Jun 2018, 20:49

That's tough luck. I remember when I bought my Autosleeper last year (only 5 miles from home) my first trip was only 80 miles and my first stop was after about 30. "Managed" the rest of the journey where friends were and sourced some replacement rear shoe springs, one of them had rusted and broken, partly jamming the rear brake on.

Back home, a couple of days fixing things again and we were off to the Highlands. Water warning light after 50 miles because the top up tank was a little low. After that, the more we drove her the better she was.

HG might be OK, fingers crossed for you, and welcome :ok
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby D34dR4bb17 » 27 Jun 2018, 21:03

Cheers guys.

Yeah the AA guy said the same thing, could have been pressure build up that popped it off. I knew there would be some gremlins, as this ole chap hadn't run the van for 18 months due to poor health. However the MOT passed with very few advisories like tyres near limit, so you know you roll the dice. We're gonna be driving it pretty often, so undoubtedly it's gonna wheedle out any issues. Just my biggest fear was/is cambelt busting and overheating. Mind you out of the two the latter would be my choice.

So I guess the hope is if it is the head gasket that has blown that it's only the gasket, and that the head hasn't warped and can be removed. It's a recon 1.6 Diesel JX from VEGE put in 2005.

But no, we've been looking for a van for years, and this is just a "minor" set back. Just wasn't expecting to pick a campervan and come home with a cara van!
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby D34dR4bb17 » 27 Jun 2018, 21:11

M wife thinks we should name the van "Smokey" or "Burnie"... so we're trying to see the funny side of things
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Ant-t » 27 Jun 2018, 21:28

Welcome to the forum, hope you get your van fixed ok :D
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Sir Brixalot » 27 Jun 2018, 21:31

Smoggie?
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby D34dR4bb17 » 27 Jun 2018, 21:35

Smoggie's good.

Well I guess finding a name could keep me busy while I wait for the garage to fix the van.
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby 937carrera » 27 Jun 2018, 21:41

Can't be smoggie, people will think you're from Middlesbrough.

Personally, I think Scargill takes some beating as a van name so take your time

http://forum.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=164842
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby kevtherev » 28 Jun 2018, 05:38

Lets hope you don't have to find another engine.
Welcome to the forum.

And that's what you do when a red light comes on...
Stop!
How many times have we read of ignoring lights because "It's only 3 miles to go"
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Mr Bean » 28 Jun 2018, 07:19

I had exactly the same thing happen weekend before last but hopefully with a more happy ending. After my 8 hour for 36 mile recovery by one of the major firms I replaced the burst hose together with a new thermostat just in case and ran the van up on tick over until the fan started cycling (thanks to heatwave conditions) and everything seems fine. The final test will be an impending 250 mile round trip. In my case during an engine refit I had replaced the remaining knuckle smashing spring type hose clamps with Jubilee clips and suffered a combination of possibly thirty year old rubber and over excited tightening which initiated a split at the edge of the clip.
Good luck with ythe diagnosis/repair for you and fingers crossed for me :roll:
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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Helgablue » 29 Jun 2018, 20:10

Hope you get it sorted and the bill is kind to you :)


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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby Porkscratching » 30 Jun 2018, 15:01

Hi Andrew, this sounds all too familiar to loads of us. The cylinder heads on the JX's are fickle little blighters. Once you're back up and running, similarly, if you throw an alternator belt and the red ignition light comes on, STOP, asap or you'll have more tears.
Stick with it dude, lavish it with love (euphanism for time, effort and money) and it'll pay you back by the bucket load.

PS Wait to you hear the buzzer of doom. It's laundry time!

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Re: A tragic introduction

Postby D34dR4bb17 » 01 Jul 2018, 13:53

Cheers for all the support,

You know I keep thinking could I have stopped sooner. I remember seeing a sign for parking in a quarter of a mile, but I knew it wasn't worth the risk. I guess I stopped within 10-20 seconds of seeing the warning light. I definitely remember seeing the light flashing, which I'm assuming is the coolant level, and the temperature was fine. By the time I stopped I think the temperature was at about 3/4. Problem was, as there was no coolant I couldn't just keep the engine running, so had to turn off, which probably did more damage with a heat spike.

Although there was the rusty jubilee clip that had broken open causing the hose to come off, I can't help thinking that it probably was the head or head gasket that failed first which over pressurised the coolant, and then it just failed at the weakest point.

Anyway it's in the best place now, this garage has worked on these vans for over twenty years so this nothing new to them, just that these guys are so busy they can't look at it for at least 2 weeks. We're determined to get it sorted whatever the diagnosis, I guess you could say we don't have much choice.

If it needs a new engine, well that's gonna be a kicker, but we'll just have to deal with it. I've heard an 1.9 AAZ or 2.0 AGG GTI are the best choices, and would be a good upgrade, but this all a lot to take in right now.

The plan was and still is to take the kids on a road trip across Portugal next year, and well we'll just gonna have to work a little harder to make that happen.
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