I came across thelatebay forum whilst trying to sell an old engine.
The forum had loads of really useful information on it and I found myself visiting it more and more.
As well as vast camper van knowledge, these fellow owners were a good laugh and there was some good banter on the site.
I'm not very good at mechanical things and had asked for some information regarding fuel lines. Baysearcher (Doug) suggested I come along to Techenders and learn more about my camper from other bus owners.
In 2014 I'd had loads of great trips away in the camper van: North Yorkshire, The Lakes, The Peaks, Loch Lomond, Mull, Isle of Wight, back to Scotland: Edinburgh, Berwick and Holy Island. The bus deserved some love and there was a Techenders happening in September, so it would have been rude not to go.
I've owned my van since 1997 and I'd never worked on my bus myself, always paying garages to do any maintenance.
I arrived at Techenders on Friday early evening and was warmly welcomed by Rickyroo who had organised the event. I was soon enjoying a beer and game of cards in a lovely warm van. This was the first time i'd experienced propex heating!
On Saturday I learned how to change my oil and set my valve clearances. I had no idea how to do it, but reassurance and help was with me every step of the way from two lovely forum members, who i'd never met before. Physiopro (Andy) and Jack Tatty (John) explained what I needed to do and checked what I was doing. It was probably the longest oil change and valve adjustment in the history of camper vans, but it was huge progress for me.
On saturday evening I did the curry run as my initiation!
Loads of other people were doing loads of interesting jobs on their buses and vans. So there is a chance to learn from others even if you don't want to tackle a job yourself.
Techenders isn't all work though, it's great fun and you meet really interesting people. Techenders is not a VW show, no one is selling tat, it's about people sharing their love of vdubs and helping each other out. Its a great little community.
I just wish I'd found out about Techenders years ago.
Techenders is free to attend, no one charges for their help.
You pay the campsite (Victoria Farm) directly for camping.
The campsite owner, Eddie, is also a VW nut with a great collection of vehicles. He is one of the good guys, helping people out wherever he can he goes above and beyond the call of duty, but more about that another time.
So I popped my Techenders cherry and it was a great first experience.
This may give an idea of the sort of things people attempted at Techenders September 2014:
- replacing front shocks, sorting out rear brakes (mot man said handbrake efficiency was squiffy), greasing front beam, checking steering box oil and probably fitting a new steering damper if i fetch one in time.
- Learning it all .
- general loafing
- cake supplier to the stars
- tidying my wiring up.
- finish the job I started last Sept
- fitting the door rubbers I've had for well over a year, and making sure the bus is usable well before September.
- Eating 1973daiseys cakes and fitting my cigarette lighter socket , and teaching malc to weld a bit
- Replacing both heater control cables and some electrical work.
- wandering around looking at other people's work unless I can narrow down to one thing that I think I can do (with a bit of help from a knowledgable person!)
- Maybe shocks (sound like a nice group to get into), maybe service, maybe trying to get my roof on straight, maybe a bit of this and bit of that, maybe nothing at all but making coffee and drinking cider!
- Studying and also adopting SkutterBob's heater cable control cable fitting task, fitting poptop gas struts, and frankly having just finished work on it today with far too little progress having been made, desperately hoping I won't be sleeping in an empty interior!
- Planning on coming but no idea what I might attempt doing yet!
- eating drinking and sleeping.
- coming but not sure what I am doing yet. Maybe change/ clean front brake pads as they are a bit squeaky atm
- General engine maintenance, timing etc and probably brakes.
- Replacing fuel filler neck with help from Peasoup. Refitting radio aerial to get some sort of reception. Learning how to adjust tappets (and in the process fit a new rocker cover). Bringing stuff from S1mon for brothernumberone and spacecowboy.
- Fitting immobiliser, sussing out why brakelights don't work properly, tweaking sliding door, learning how to behave properly when out on my own! Free Physio
- Hopefully work permitting.Not sure what for but definitely drinking.Should be with Mrs Skirk and the hairy children.
Depending on time & money we would be interested in looking at front shocks, breaks, oil on fan belt and back firing issue when d-accelerating from speed. We would also like to fit a tracker. We will bring cakes and some wood.
- doing shocks (if not already done) shocks done,
so just front anti roll bar. And some or all of the following (as I have been gathering parts): modifying my accelerator pedal with Rose Joints, front seat fettling, new handbrake handle, new totem cable. And some drinking.
- me doing nothing and my brv moaning at me. Doing exhaust if I remind zed to bring one
,eat drink and sleep will be the order of the day.
- providing smugness and shelter. I might also work out the fitting of a GPS Tracker
- running after 2 kids as wife is away!
- eating cake and generally standing around saying "you don't want to do it like that..."
- hopefully fitting quickshift and bushes before the curry
- hoping for some help from some big strong boys when I swap the mechanism on my Poptop
petrol pump if I don't change before then & chilling away from London smog!!
- well hoping its not too late to try and come. Have spent the last weekend fixing a fuel smell with my hands through the firewall and the paint lid, in the dark. Now realise I need some help. Hoping to sort out the automatic choke and get it starting better from cold and also see if I can work out why it won't drive in a straight line. And pick up some tips....is it too late?
learning how to set tappets and change oil, then trying to do it! Trying to identify what is causing the knocking noise underneath (not from engine).