Friday, 29 August 2014

Wolfsburg Weed Huggers VW Club monthly meet.

The Wolfsburg Weed Huggers VW Club started back in 1995 and in the last 19 years the club has matured and grown in numbers, and their facebook page alone has 403 members to date with new members joining almost daily. Check out the Wolfsburg Weed Huggers facebook page here:!/groups/175509642524184/ The W.W.H. are based in Penn Street, near Amersham in Bucks and they hold a monthly club meet at The Squirrel Public House, in Penn Street on the last Wednesday of each month. Although the W.W.H. claim to be an air-cooled VW club, there are a few water-cooled VW's in the group, which is always a good thing. The average turnout of vehicles at their meet is normally very good so my mate Stuart, Tim and I decided to cruise over to the club meet which is about 17 miles from our hometown of Aylesbury. (apologies if I do not mention your name you in your vehicle photo, but as the club is so big I simply haven't had time to meet everyone as yet!)

A '77 late bay with a pop top that was very
clean and straight and riding at what looked
like stock  and pretty much original which is
pleasant to see and made a refreshing change.

With it's nose in the air, just as Volkswagen
designed the bay window. I could quite
easily have something like this, they must be
so much more practical than a lowered bus.

Jonny came along in his '71 race inspired
gloss white Beetle. This is such a nice looking
bug, and it has a full roll cage, full harness
seat belts on bucket seats and a monster
 tachograph on the original dashboard.

The race theme continues to the back of this
bug with huge back wheels with huge tyres
and what looks like to be Empi air scoops
over the air vents.

Sira came along in this Mexican Bay and it
 is the first time I have had a good look at the
new Mexican bay, apart from the grill in the
front panel, they are not as bad as what I
had imagined.

This had a nice coat of paint in a nice two tone
colour and a nice set of 5 spoke wheels.

Andrew came to the club meet in his gorgeous
1967 Karmann Ghia. This is a seriously clean
car finished off with an immaculate coat of
 deep cherry red paint

The classic lines of this Karmann are
accentuated with such straight body panels.
The chrome U.S. style towel rail bumpers,
the polished wheels and the polished body
trim compliment the paint to make this KG
stand out.

This KG has a better rear end than Boyonce.

Julian was at the WWH monthly meet in his
alpine race early Beetle. This is such a cool
looking car, recent additions to Julian's bug
include the twin horns mounted to the front

This lovely blue bug with it's plush red vinyl
interior is just about perfect, and I bet other
beetle owners inspire to this.

Sarah and Gareth own this stunning late
split screen, and it was gorgeous. Unusual
colour choice which works so well. The two
and three bow roof racks added a bit of extra
 bling to the exterior.

The interior of the splitty was as nice as the
exterior, and it looked as though it had been
restored to a very high quality. This split screen
was voted in the 'top 10' vehicles at this years
V-Dub island show.

My '69 bay window parked up in The Squirrel
Public House car park.

OK it looks very RAT, but I love it just the
way it is.

Ryan turned up in his '69 white over beige
bay window. I do like this bay and although
it may not be a show winner, it is really clean
and solid and that is what matters.

I do like Ryan's yellow head light lenses with
the stone guards over them. I also like the U.S.
side marker lights.

Luke couldn't stay away from the club meet
in his '75 late bay finished in baby blue. I
believe this bay is the result of a recent

Very clean and very straight, just how it should

Stuart and Tim followed me over to the meet
in Stuarts 1970 beetle. This is the daily
driver for Stuart, he also has a '71 bay window
that he keeps for weekends.

This bug has a nice stance, it looks as though
it's doing 100mph while standing still.

More Beetles in the overflow parking area at
The Squirrel Pub, in Penn Street.

A nice looking bright orange '71 beetle which
looks pretty much stock apart from the wheels.

Originality continues to the back of this
lovely bug.

You want a super cool looking early bug?
how about this '64 finished in a super coat
of mid grey paint with banded steel wheels.

The single colour paint, the banded wheels
painted white and the U.S. style all red rear
light lenses all help to make this car stand out
in any crowd. This car is a regular at the Ace
Cafe monthly air-cooled night

Here we have another '64 beetle, and whilst
not as shiny as the one above, it is equally
as nice for completely different reasons.

Very RAT and very low. As Dolly Parton once
said "it's costs a lot of money to look this
cheap" and I love it.

Dean came along in his '67 RAT looking bug.
This bug is really low and sits way down in the

Dean's beetle parked up under the trees at the
club meet. I think Dean should continue the
two white stripes up and over the body.

Not the average Radio Flyer.. a really cool
alternative to take to shows.

Andy came down in his '78 Derby. These car's
are so rare now and I believe Andy has done so
much work on this, but it all looks worthwhile.

A truly stunning example of the sought after
classic Volkswagen.

This '74 bright yellow beetle had the silver
decals reminiscent of the empi beetle. I'm
not sure if this is an original empi beetle or
not, but I know I do like it.

This is such a cool looking car and the silver
decals, chrome air intake vents and chrome
window surrounds compliment the bright
paint perfectly.

Another '74 beetle arrived later in the evening
but it looked completely different from the one
above, but equally as nice in it's own right.

Very clean and very straight with a nice coat
 of grey gloss paint is all you need for a cool

Christian turned up in his super cool looking
21 window split screen.

This bus has bags of patina to fulfil even the
most patina lovers cravings. Christian was
telling me of his plans for the interior of his
bus, and if it works out how he described it
will be awesome, and I can't wait to see it.

Christian moving his bus. The car park does
get packed so you have to grab a space when
and where you can.

This super bright green '68 beetle arrived
much later in the evening. I don't know much
about this bug but it did have plenty of body

Including a smoothed engine lid and late
beetle rear lights.

So that was the Wolfsburg Weedhuggers VW
club monthly meet. An enjoyable evening
with plently of nice VW's, and equally nice
people. If you plan to attend this club meet
you must try the Squirrel burger and fries from
the bar, washed down with a cold beer. Now
that sounds like a perfect evening.

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Leisure Battery, Propex Heater and Power Inverter installation.

Here in the U.K., spending a few winter nights in my bus are freezing and even during the summer months the nights in the bus can get very cold, so having owned my bus now for 3 years I decided to purchase a propex heater. This of course meant fitting a leisure battery to save running the heater off the main battery. I searched the web and having compared prices I decided to buy most of the things I needed from Just Kampers, (check out their website here: ) based here in the U.K. I knew this wasn't going to be a cheap project, but I was getting so fed up with lying on my rock and roll bed trying to sleep, only to lie there shivering and not sleeping. The propex heater including all the fittings, pipe work, thermostat and the leisure battery fitting kit, including a heavy duty relay came in at £554.  The 110ah leisure battery was a further £89. Added to this I purchased a 1000w pure sine wave inverter which cost £140, so it would enable me charge and use 240v devices that use a 3 pin plug, including my portable DVD payer. Yes, approximately £800 is a lot of money but it will hopefully transform my bus into somewhere more comfortable that I can use throughout year, for years to come. I decided to get the help of my old mate Stuart who owns 'Oil Droppers' VW workshop based in Aylesbury to help me fit all the pieces of kit together as he has a lot more experience than I do. Check out the Oil Droppers facebook page here:!/oildroppers 

I called the very helpful staff at Just Kampers
and ordered all the bits I needed, which was
all in stock and they all arrived the next day.

Although I cannot fault the Just Kampers
service, I could question the overkill on the

My 115ah leisure battery which I purchased
from Halfords. I made sure it would fit onto 
my left hand battery tray by measuring the
space available and then measuring the battery.
As it turned out it there was more than
enough room in the engine bay.

My microbus in the Oil Droppers workshop.
Stuart is jacking up the front as we need
access under the bus for routing the exhaust
flue and fresh air intake pipes. Stuart is
currently carrying out a lot of work on the
twin slider bay (pictured).

First thing to do was lay out all the pieces of
kit I had bought so we knew what we had and
could plan as to what went where, how we were
going to do things and in what order.

Regular readers will know that I have just made
a new buddy seat, which will house the heater.
Although this would not only give me more
room in the bus but it would also direct the heat
into the bus better, however the smaller buddy
seat did mean that the location of the heater
was compromised. Stuart measured where the
chassis was in relation to the inside of the
buddy seat and after measuring the exhaust
and fresh air pipes on the heater he said if
we do it right we could have the exhaust
flue on one side of the chassis rail and the fresh
air intake on the other side. Stuart measured and
re-measured the distances before drilling the
pilot hole in my bus floor. Once he was confident
the holes would clear the chassis rail, he used a
mandrel drill to create two 40mm holes.

Lovely nice neat hole cut in my floor. You can
see how close it was to the chassis rail. This
hole, on the outside of the chassis rail will be
for the exhaust flue and will we have the fresh
air intake pipe on the inside of the chassis rail.

You can see in this photo both holes cut either
side of the chassis rail. If your going to attempt
this, measure, and re-measure several times
to make sure everything will be OK and that
you have clearance under the bus.

The fresh air intake hole on the opposite side
of the chassis rail.

Stuart working hard ensuring there will be
enough clearance for the pipework.

Pipework in position with 'jubliee clips' fitted.
We did cut away the flooring before the final
installation of the heater as advised in the
instructions that came with the kit.

The exhaust flue (silver pipe) and the fresh
air intake pipe (black pipe) both exiting the
bus either side of the chassis rail, this should
eliminate the chance of the exhaust gasses
being sucked up into the fresh air intake pipe.
This photo also shows the gas pipe in place.
We decided to route the gas pipe under the
bus as I will be building a new cooker /
storage unit inside and didn't want the hassle
of working around the gas pipe as this could
compromise the design of the new unit.

With the heater location and exhaust pipes
all sorted the next thing to do was to wire in the
thermostat, this meant taking it apart to connect
the wires to the correct terminals inside the unit.

Stuart drilling a hole in my new buddy seat to
enable us to route the wires from the heater
to the thermostat.

The 2 wires from the propex heater (for power
and to the thermostat) came with 2 pin 5 pin
connectors respectively and clear to read
instructions so connection to the heater unit
was straight forward. Both cables exit the

heater on the front of the unit, and both exit
the buddy seat in the back corner and then
the thermostat cable runs straight up the
 'B' post to the thermostat. We were going
to route both wires under the hot air pipe, and
straight out of the buddy seat but as it
comes with so much cable, and, as we didn't
really know how hot the heat pipe gets
we decided to route both cables around the
back of the heater. I will tidy the wiring up
at a later date. As the heater only needs
25mm clearance from the sides of the buddy
seat to the sides of the heater unit to aid
 ventilation, I will make a false floor to go above
the heater unit to give me back some storage
space at a later date.

I made a small box up to mount the thermostat.
This box will enable the power wires from the
 heater to run up the side of the bus, and into the
box and exit out the front on the box and into
the back of the thermostat which will be
mounted to this box.

The location of the thermostat required some
thought as this is how the heater unit is turned
on and off. As I use my bus all year round I
will be using the heater quite a lot in the colder
months which means the thermostat needs
to be accessible. I did think of putting the unit
on the wardrobe but that meant if I was driving
and wanted to switch the heat on or off, I would

have to get in the back to access the thermostat,
and as I don't have a walk-through model bus this
would mean stopping the bus and getting out
and walking round to the sliding door. So I
decided to put it on the 'B' post just behind
my head when I'm sat in the driving seat so I
could reach it whilst driving. I don't know if this is
the optimum location for the thermostat, only
time will tell that, but if if isn't, I can always
move it at a later date due to the excess cable
supplied that we didn't cut down.

This photo show the fresh air intake pipe in
its final location. Stuart secured this pipe with
cable ties through existing holes in the chassis
which meant we didn't have to drill any new

On the opposite side of the chassis is the exhaust
flue pipe which was secured in place using the
'P' clips provided in the kit. You can also see
the flexi gas pipe wrapped round the main heat

The flexi gas pipe that goes into the cooker
unit is attached to the copper pipe from the
heater. We were going to route the flexi pipe
 above the main hot air pipe on the bus but it
looked a bit tight so we opted to route it
underneath. While it doesn't look as tidy this
way it is still tucked up out of the way.

With the heater in position and wired up, it was
time to get power into the bus via a auxiliary
fuse box mounted under the buddy seat.
This location would also house my 1000w
(2000w max) pure sine wave power inverter.

The wires from the heater are routed from the
buddy seat, along the edge of the floor down the
side of the bus and enter the space under the
rock and roll bed and up to the fuse box.
Power to the inverter will be directly from the
battery and this will also power the fuse box.
I have also fitted a cigarette lighter in the buddy
seat so I can charge my phone / camera etc
and when I wire this up the wires will follow
 Stuarts wiring from the heater to the fuse box.

A close up look of how the wires enter the base
of the rock and roll bed. This is where I will also
feed the wires from the cigarette lead up to the
new fuse box.

Once all the interior work had been completed,
now it's time to fit the split charge relay and
leisure battery. Stuart is seen here taking the
wire from the split charge relay to the alternator.

Leisure battery in position. You can see the
red power wire from the fuse box entering the
engine bay. All Stuart has to do is to connect
both battery terminals.

The relay in position. I must say that the wiring
in the photo is not Stuarts. This spaghetti mess
is the original wiring providing power to my rear
lights and reversing lights. I know it doesn't look
very pretty, but everything works so I'm reluctant
to start messing with it.

The leisure battery all wired up nice and neat
with new battery terminals. Now this is the
standard of Stuarts wiring. Volkswagen should
take note.

Stuarts wiring from the relay to the alternator
all nice and neat which is in stark contrast to
the rest of the wiring throughout the bus!

My interior all back to together. The only tell
tale signs of the work which has been carried
out is the vents in the buddy seat and the
thermostat on the 'B' post. We of course did
fire up the propex heater in the Oil Droppers
workshop just to test it, and after about 3/4
minutes the interior of my bus was like a sauna.
I just have wait and see if the thermostat is in
the right place or whether it will need moving
and I'll have to see how long the gas bottle lasts,
but apart from that I'm very happy. I have been
thinking about this installation for a while now
and it's so nice to finally have it completed.
Maybe now I can start thinking about painting
my bus... or maybe not.

So that was the Installation of my propex
heater, Leisure Battery, auxiliary fuse box,
split charge relay and leisure battery.
which I'm sure I'll use throughout the year.
Many thanks to Stuart Munro at Oil Droppers
 for spending the Bank Holiday Monday working
on my bus and for doing such a good job.