Are We There Yet?

It’s been a long road. Very long. Quite bumpy, too.

It was over a year ago now that we had to be rescued from just down the road.

The embarrasment.  Rescued by two T5s!

The cause? A broken valve. Of course, things can never be that simple. The valve, a fairly cheap component, fell into the cylinder and was then hit by the piston, breaking all sorts of expensive components…

Piston broke


It looked a bit of a mess and a new cylinder head was fitted along with a new piston and conrod. We took the opportunity to do a few other jobs on the engine. And then we were back on the road. It was a glorious summer.

And yet, things were not quite right.

The engine ran just fine, it got us to foreign lands and across mountain passes. We cooked on campfires and watched Lancasters fly overhead. Which was all great, apart from one little detail, the gas that was getting into the van’s coolant system. We changed this and that. Found a few other problems and fixed those too. The head gasket was replaced, twice. The new head was checked. And still, gas continued to leak into the coolant system. Betty Bus was not in a happy place. She’d lost her cool.

Autumn arrived and the engine was removed, leaving a vast empty space under her stone chipped bonnet.

Flintstones, meet the Flintstones...

Time passed. Seasons passed. The leaves on the trees turned from vibrant green to deep reds and bright yellows before finally drying up and falling to the damp ground below, brown and crinkly. Autumn turned to winter and nothing could be found wrong with the engine.

A new year began and as winter released it’s icy grip the engine was stripped and the empty crank case sent to a specialist for testing.

New shoots started appearing and in the woodland the snow drops gave way to bluebells and wild garlic. The engine shop finally reported they’d found the slightest of depressions on the face of crank case. The tiniest of skims later the case was returned and now as the weather warms and spring slowly moves towards summer the engine is being reassembled, ready to go back in the van, ready for another glorious summer of adventures.

On the case.

Are we there yet dad?
Nearly son. It’s just around the corner.



Our Facebook friends and Instagram followers will have already seen this, but in case anyone was wondering why the blog has been a bit quiet recently, well, this happened…

The shame, rescued by two T5s!

Aside from the embarrassment of being rescued by not one, but two T5s, the problem was unfortunately quite serious. A valve broke, dropping into a cylinder. The end result was a destroyed cylinder head, piston and conrod. It wasn’t pretty. Readers of a sensitive disposition should look away now.

Piston broke


So we’re off the road for a while the engine is rebuilt by trained professionals.

We’ll be back to adventuring and drinking tea in muddy fields as soon as we can.

More Power!

In this modern age we travel with devices that could only have been imagined back when Betty Bus emerged from Westfalia’s workshops and these devices all need power, they all need charging and for many modern gadgets that means a USB plug.

All our power points are nestled behind the driver’s seat, two 240v (european style) sockets for when we have hookup and a single 12v DIN (Hella) socket. Charging anything via a USB port involves a converter from DIN to cigarette lighter and then a USB hub plugged into that.

It was a mess of cables. Worse, it was a mess of cables in a confined space. It was time to fix this, it was time to install a USB socket or two.

We used a Blue Sea socket which we got from Campervan Culture, for no other reason than we like their videos!

The first job was to unplug the van from the mains electric and disconnect the batteries. On early Westfalia’s there may be two batteries that need disconnecting.

Removing the panel involves undoing the seatbelt retaining bolt, any screws fixing the panel to the cupboard and then unclipping from behind the driver’s door seal. Once forward a little, the 12v socket, 240v sockets and fuse box can all be unplugged. It’s a bit awkward and fiddly, patience is your friend.

Pay attention to that white plug.

We spurred off the DIN Socket and added new cable between the DIN socket and the white socket as you can see in the above photograph, double checking to be sure to get the polarity right.

If doing this, you probably want to move the USB socket to the left a little as there is bundle of cables behind where we have put it. It looks like it will fit, but someone forgot to take into account the spade connectors and it makes it a bit awkward.

From behind

Jumper cable

Wired up


Socket in position

It works! Testing with the cheapest and most expendable USB device we had.

Surprisingly effective fan