New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

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New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby aahridey » 27 Sep 2011, 20:46

Hi, Just bought a T25 camper and have a few problems which my exuberance made me overlook before purchase or maybe developed on the 100 mile drive home!!

Without the option of giving her back, I'd really like someone experienced to give her a look over and tell me whether they think it's worth throwing a few quid at or just to cut my losses and move her on to someone who can do the work themselves.

It's a T25 Autotohomes Kamper conversion and is cosmetically pretty tidy. Lots of new parts fitted by the previous owner including a recon gearbox. The van was originally a 1.9 petrol but has been fitted with a Passat 1.6 turbo diesel engine (a 1988 year i'm told)It smokes a lot (black smoke) on start up and when revved hard, when kept at a constant speed seems fine. The turbo is whistilng quite loudly under acceleration. When pulling away it makes a grinding/ clonking sound. The previous owner has replaced the n/s rear cv joints and says that it may be the o/s ones or a problem with the engine mounts. When travelling at a constant speed it sounds fine. Unfortunately when i got it home after a 100 mile drive there was a fair amount of oil dripping underneath and a fine spray of it over the tailgate. Seems to be coming from the bottom of the engine, possibly the bell housing, although the oil level doesn't seem to have dropped much at all. Overnight it doesn't seem to have leaked much more if at all.

When taking left hand bends there is a grinding/ rubbing noise coming from the rear right wheel. Sounds like a dodgy wheel bearing to me but the guy said it's where he had the hub nut off but couldn't torque it back up tight enough?

There's other things such as temp gauge not working, heater blower etc that i can (hopefully) fix myself but with my limited mechanical knowledge and poor toolkit i'm not up to dealing with the engine side of things myself.

So....anyone know a mechanic (reasonably priced) who can give me an honest appraisal an possibly do the work. I've never been stung before but to be honest am feeling a bit gutted. I don't think the seller deliberately misled be but maybe i've bitten off more than i can chew? Hey, i've only got myself to blame but any help would be appreciated. I'm in Haverhill, Suffolk - in the Cambridge/Newmarket/Bury St Edmunds area.

Many thanks, Mark
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby camper » 28 Sep 2011, 07:13

If that was my van & the body work and interior is good it wouldnt concern me about the engine problem or the noise you are discribing.If its got a recon gearbox with a receipt its going to be worth considering repairs to the existing engine or a suitable replacement.Get a diagnosis about the grinding noise and oil leakage.Dont make a hasty decision to sell on before considering repairs.When the engine was changed the crankshaft needs a spiget bearing for the gearbox input shaft.If it hasnt got this bearing the oil thrower or input shaft oil seal could be damage and leak oil .Smell the oil if its like cats P****s pungant its gearbox oil .
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby fodtommo » 28 Sep 2011, 11:18

OK dont be disheatened, tbh none of this sounds too terrible:

Black smoke on startup - probably needs new glowplugs (you are waiting for the light to go out arent you!???!)shouldnt set you back much at all and a quick job.

Black smoke under load - never had a diesel of this generation whether Pug or VW that dosnt! my current 1.6d was brand new recon from TES in 07 just 18k ago and its always done it. I wouldnt worry too much.

Turbo whine under load is again fairly common on old td engines of any type - and yes it does signify a well used turbo and it does go hand in hand with smoking under load.... Again I wouldnt be too concerned although I cant see how much smoke you are producing. Keep an eye on e bay for a replacement at a decent price as its not a difficult job.

Oil leaks... ah yes where do VW diesels tilted sideways leak oil from? - Everywhere! MIne ( agin on 4yrs old andless than 18k) does.

However check your rocker cover gasket. is there oil tracking down the manifold side of the engine?

Mine looks like its leaking from them front crank seal and the bell housing, but on inspection turns out to be tracking down both ends from the rocker cover. It also leaks loads after a long journey when the oils is thin and the joints expanded. It also speckles the tailgate nicely too! The main problem is the slant position of the engine - the rocker cover seal design is meant for a vertical engine - herefore only designed to be 'splashproof' but tilted over it has oil sitting on the back of the seal. A quick 1/2 turn on all the nuts on the cover make a big difference :ok

My leaks are all engine not gearbag (the gb leaks but elsewhere!)

I would say the rear o/s grinding noise will be bearing - dont buy the unable to torque properly line. check for play by rocking the wheel if you feelm movement get someone to stick their foot on the brake and try again. if its a wb it should stop - Again easy and cheapto sort.

Grinding when you move off - not sure - could be CVs needs investigating!

However as above - most of us would rather have a van with a good body but a shot engine - its a much better and easier starting point! :ok
1986 Leisurdrive Poptop, 1.6d - Rebuilt and Camping with a Vengeance :)
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby ewenmaclean » 28 Sep 2011, 11:26


(fodtommo beat me to the reply - but I'll post this anyway, although he said it better than me :-))

just to second what camper says - if the body is solid and you like the van, I would seriously consider getting these problems fixed and not giving up! Have a look in the wiki and on previous posts about identifying knocking noises on the van. Rear hub nuts have to be really tight - there's a video on of Jed doing his - he used a long scaffolding poll.

If you've got a straight through exhaust, you are quite likely to hear turbo whistle - some people even seek it out! Black smoke is unburnt fuel usually and is not catastrophic - check the timing and run some injector cleaner through it see if it helps. Temp gauge not working very common and almost certainly electrical - again lots of posts about this and I'm sure with some tinkering you'll figure it out - heater blower is trickier as if it really isn't working then you'll have to take the dash out - again lots of posts on this.

As camper says - try and figure out where the oil is coming from and what oil it is - I reckon spigot bearing is a good call.

These are great vans, and I'm sure you haven't been stung - I imagine everyone who bought one discovered some problem on the way home or other of varying severity - I'd learn to enjoy the process of diagnosing and fixing it! The wiki has a list of known vw t25 garages here: ... 5_Specific

none in suffolk, but there is one on the non-vw specific page: ... ecommended

I know also there's a good place in Grantham:

which I think specialises in alternative engines like the 1y conversion so will know about spigot bearings and the like. They have a good reputation on here I think. Might be worth giving them a shout.

Good luck sorting out your problems

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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby kevtherev » 28 Sep 2011, 11:43

rumble is bearing I thought... grinding ...I'd be looking at shoes and or wheel cylinder leak
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby Sagemagoo » 28 Sep 2011, 17:51

With vans this old you've got to expect a few age related advice is ask a lot of questions and try and tackle as many jobs yourself as you can - you'll soon build your confidence and toolkit up...
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby aahridey » 28 Sep 2011, 20:33

Thanks ever so much to everyone that has replied to my plea!! You're right, i really love the van, it's solid and is a good starting point. Your comments have really perked me up, i think i was a bit tired and emotional when i posted!!! I'm working pretty solidly for the next few days but i'm now ready to get cracking when i get a chance.....mechanicals first then onto the electrics.
I'll keep you posted as to how i get on and no doubt will be asking for more advice.
Thanks again and i really appreciate you taking the time to reply
Cheers!, Mark
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Re: New Owner Blues...Mechanical Help Needed In Suffolk!!

Postby fodtommo » 28 Sep 2011, 21:29

No worries :D what you just had was the T25 equivalent of baby blues. I had it after I drove mine back from Edinburgh, picking an unseen van up in the dark, sleeping in the lakes at -6 and getting home and realising it was a bit tatty! (as would be expected for £2k) however it turned out to have new engine, and apart from a rusty rear arch very solid. Its just passed another MOT with just a rack gaiter, its my daily driver and I love it, weve had some great times in it.
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