My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

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My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:01 pm

The reason I bought a Hijet was manyfold:

1.  Bored of the crap conversations in the canteen at work,
2.  Decided that camping in a tent at our usual summer music festival was getting a bit trying,
3.  Racking too many miles up on my daily driver car,
4.  On days out, especially jaunts to the coast, my partner and I were restricted to having to head back home of an evening.  It'd be nice to be able to bimble around the south coast for a couple of days, finding a quiet place to park up for the night - continuing on our motorised ramble in the morning.

Problem was I needed something small enough to fit in a parking space next to my Landrover and economical enough so it wouldn't hit me in the pocket as well as being low insurance.

So I bought a Hijet.

Ta Da!





In almost "as bought" condition, save for the primer on the roof and some filler in the front quarter panels.  38k, straight body (except for the side doors which a PO seemed intent on pushing into the middle of next week every time he closed them), decent cab interior, and nice to drive.  The plan is to convert it into a dayvan/stealth camper.  

Included in the sale was a hole in the front bumper:



Also included was a 6 litre milk bottle of water as a parting gift from the vendor.

To be continued...


Last edited by Eightpot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:49 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : getting the pics to work)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Logi on Mon Aug 25, 2014 6:09 pm

2nd pic is helpful for those who wanted to know where the horn is located... Wink
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Mon Aug 25, 2014 7:09 pm

Eightpot wrote:included was a 6 litre milk bottle of water as a parting gift from the vendor.

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Honest seller at least!
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Mon Aug 25, 2014 8:29 pm

Honest.  Hmm...

Well the trip back to my partner's place after buying it was quite nice.  A leisurely bimble down the A3 and M25 went well enough.  The speedo cable was broken so I kept it around 45-50mph, watching the speed on my phone while getting used to the van.  Then I left the motorway and hit the local roads.  Now, you know where this is going and it wasn't just the other half's driveway.  Needle buried on the wrong side of the gauge and when I finally stopped a gurgling sound coming from down below.  

I know I had skipped breakfast but the gurgling wasn't my guts complaining due to lack of food.   Passenger seat flipped back and the coolant overflow tank looked "interesting", apt the van was built in Italy since it seemed to be producing Cappuccino: bubbles, steam and brown liquid.  And I don't like coffee.

Following the excellent instructions on this site on how to pressure test the cooling system, it did show up a few leaks: old clips, old caps and on delving a little deeper, a distinct lack of thermostat.  

Out with the spanners:



<Insert bad pun of royal exclaimation of a beheading>




For piece of mind, I took the head to a local engineering firm who gave it a skim and reported back that it did indeed have a bit of bow to it.  No pics of the shiny head I'm afraid (either the engines or mine), so instead have a pic of a skull wearing a bandana skewered onto tiller of a narrowboat.  Ooo edgy:


Onward...


Last edited by Eightpot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:53 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pics...)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 26, 2014 12:18 am

Make sure you use a nipparts thermostat, not one of those crap circoli ones from euro car parts Wink
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Aug 26, 2014 8:21 am

I won't be darkening the door of eurocrapprats anymore, after one of their delivery vans sideswiped my car in their carpark and the manager only came down to see me after I kicked up a stink then scuttled back to his office after 3 minutes. And subsequently refused to speak to me on the phone later in the day.

But I'm not bitter. Grippers.

Anyway, the thermostat I bought was made by Gates, as were the Rad caps.

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by FrontBackSide2Side on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:48 am

Nice thread, it will all be worth it when its back together Smile

What are your plans regarding the camper conversion?
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by scotia on Tue Aug 26, 2014 2:07 pm

indeed, nice thread from a funny dude Laughing
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Aug 26, 2014 9:21 pm

I do like driving this van.  It's fun, but I have to remember to be a bit less heavy footed when pulling away in the wet - must look into seeing about some new rubber soon...

I digress.

A couple of weeks ago I began to sort the issue of the side doors: Dents and the problem of them not really wanting to fill the aperture they were designed for.  A tenative email to Woody soon scored me a pair of side doors - straight, grey and windowed.  Also a few other bits and bobs were on the list and a mutually aggreed day was arranged.  I was going to Vectis.



This is actually the trip back to the mainland.  Why is it there is at least one person who didn't heed the notice on the car deck bulkheads and not switch off their car alarms?  Or is the middle of the Solent a car crime hotspot? I dunno.

Still, thanks Woody What a Face



Post head and cooling work, the van hasn't overheated - at least I haven't allowed it to.  But there is one issue.  Whatever I do, if I run it up on tickover on the drive and switch it off when it has reached working temp or if I take it out for a run of 20 miles or so, then let it cool down there is always a airgap under the cap below the passenger seat.  Observe:


To refill, it only takes about 20ml of coolant.  I'm keeping an eye on the overflow level but do I still have a leak somewhere or do these engines find a "natural level"?  

On the topic of cooling: After viewing a thread about adding a second rad fan, I had a bit of a sesh on ebay and scored a 10" Kenlowe-alike fan, switch and a couple of digital thermometers which will be employed in watching over the temperatures of both metal pipes going to the rad.  My thinking is that observing the temperature of the coolant entering and leaving the radiator, and seeing any disparity or temperature drops should be an early warning of impending doom.  Besides the thermometers cost less than the price of a pint of crap larger and packet of pork scratchings from a shite pubchain.  And I'm paranoid.  And lazy.  I don't much fancy doing a head gasket change again...



Thoughts on the camper conversion. First off I want to put down some insulation on the floor before boarding.  Same with the side panels, doors and above the roof lining.  I've been looking over the ads for campers on ebay and getting some ideas from there.  I can see that there are roughly two options in layout:  The Hijetta with two seperate sleeping berths and a side mounted cooker/sink unit.  Bagsey sleeping in the bunk without having kneecap yourself on the underside of the sink. Erm, no.

The other option is the pullman dinette behind the front seats and the cooker at the very rear.  I prefer this option as I can see that I'd get a bigger sleeping area with no kitchen appliance intrusion.  Okay it's a bit of a compromise when it comes to cooking up a meal or setting up the bed but to be honest, the whole idea of using a microvan as a camper is always going to mean compromise.

Looking further ahead, I've got to do a power audit on the electical goodies I'm likely to fit.  I was speaking to a friend earlier in the week and he suggested to use mobility scooter batteries as they are physically compact.  Something like this...

The Kate Moss of the battery world - 76mm wide

...which i reckon would tuck quite nicely into the void in the rear quarter. 40ah should be enough to run a string of leds, a few usb chargers and a small driveless mp3 car stereo.

Anyway, the postie should be delivering my ebay swag in the next couple of days and I'll take piccies as I go.


Last edited by Eightpot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 7:58 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pics)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:09 pm

How did you put coolant in it?
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:14 pm

Watering can pressure fill.

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:14 pm

Where did you bleed from and it which order?
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Aug 26, 2014 10:21 pm

Van was up on ramps to get the front high.

IIRC, cracked rad cap off until it flowed out, cap back on. Bleed pipe from matrix, then t-piece under drivers side, spigot on cylinder head and finishing up with the small pipe off of the thermostat housing.


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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Tue Aug 26, 2014 11:44 pm

Sounds like a pretty decent stab at it!

See how it goes, I tend to find about about 10 heat cycles they settle down to a steady header tank bottle level and stay 100% full of water.

Just make sure you wait for it to cool down fully to ambient temperature before you check.

And realise every time you take the cap off, the cap goes a little more rubbish!
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by singledad on Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:30 am

ive put my cooker at the rear with a ply lid and lay bed cushions over top, with the table and rear box seat and the front seats minus head rest layed flat i get the full lengh of van as bed,,there are pics on here somewhere if you search might give you another way of looking at things

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by singledad on Wed Aug 27, 2014 10:37 am

[img][/img]

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Wed Aug 27, 2014 11:41 am

Thanks for the replies, HJ for the reassurance I haven't done something monumentally stupid with the cooling system and Singledad for the camper conversion pics.  Definately food for thought.

Anyway, today while waiting in at my partners for a mattress to be delivered I set about fitting a car DVR or "dashcam" to the van.  For those who don't know what they are, it's a little camera that points forward looking through the windscreen and constantly records whenever the ignition is turned on.  I now have one in every vehicle I own.  It's a peace of mind thing.

Looks like this:


It gets it's power from the ciggy socket, but the problem is it needs to be plugged in constantly thereby losing the chance to power any other device unless you use a multi adaptor = more wires. The power plug also sticks out quite a bit and would likely get knocked every time I twiddled with the radio.


So a slightly more permanent install would be needed.  The power wire from the dashcam was fed around the top of the windscreen then down the A-post under the door seal rubber.  The glove box was removed and the power adaptor was sited behind along with a flying 12v socket.  Due to the crap nature of the ciggy socket system, ie. anything you plug into it has a nasty habit of making a break for freedom, the socket and adaptor were gaffer taped together.  It's ugly, but at least they won't fly apart without a struggle.  The whole mess was then ziptied to the ecu mounting bracket, thus:


The Mickey mouse bodgery was completed by picking up a suitable earth point, so job done. Very Happy

What it looks like from outside:


This unit was a spare I had kicking around from my last car, which was written off by a couple of trucks.  It can also accept a rear mounted camera, but I was unable to extract that from the resultant cube of metal.  They can be very cheaply picked up from ebay for around 32 quid:

Linky dink

Qualitywise it isn't bad, good enough for apportioning blame and hopefully keeping your NCB:



..and that bloody mattress still hasn't arrived.


Last edited by Eightpot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:02 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Fri Sep 05, 2014 4:33 pm

Guess when that bloody mattress turned up? Go on, guess...

Nope, try half eight in the evening.  Poxy Yodel.  Wasted an entire day waiting in only for it to be delivered when it was getting dark.  Gits.  Come the revolution, they'll be first up against the wall.

Anyway.

I'm in on day two of a four day break, and I should be lazily chugging up the Grand Union toward Cassiobury Park.  But I'm not.  I got about 20 yards out of the marina before the plummer block bearing on the propshaft decided to exit stage left:


(two bearings: one shiny, one shagged)

Plan B:

I needed to go to Lancing to get a replacement so what better time than to test the van on a longer run.  Yay, 150 odd miles and it didn't overheat.  But I'm still not convinced that it's going to stay van shaped and not explode into a cloud of steam and river of molten engine so I fitted this ebay sourced gem:



Relay under the drivers seat, switch on the dash with two settings: "Off" and "M25".  No self respecting Hijet will be seen dead on the hard shoulder without one.

Still paranoid about the cooling system I decided to fit on a semi-permanent basis a pair of temp gauges to monitor the coolant flowing in and out the radiator:



The rationale being that both gauges should read "hot", if one decides to show "ambient" while driving then break out the AA card.  Not that I don't entirely trust the dash gauge... okay I don't entirely trust the dash gauge.

Carrying on with the ebay trolley dash, I saw this:



Oooo...  ...digital...   ...with 5000rpm "your-engine-is-about-to-explode-and-punch-a-piston-into-your-nads" warning light.  Must have shiny thing.

After satisfying the latent boy racer gene in me, it was time to turn to setting about the camper converstion in the back:



Which is where I hit a brick wall.  I had the idea to rip out the carpet and insulate the floor, battening out as required, but it got me thinking that as the carpet has a waterproof membrane which could be useful (or not) and also act as an extra bit of insulation.

Time to hit the internet and do a bit of research...


Last edited by Eightpot on Tue Apr 21, 2015 8:08 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : pics)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Fri Sep 05, 2014 8:01 pm

Some good ideas in there!

Where did you put your temperature sensors for the gauges?

Nice work, and manor too Smile
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Fri Sep 05, 2014 9:13 pm

Ebay link for the temp gauges: Linky dink

I temporarily ziptied the sensors as close to the rad as I could, at the end of each metal pipe where it junctions with the rubber hose. Currently I just used some gaffer tape to cover the sensor to take it out of any windchill, but will use a better form of covering.

Initial results from a Friday evening run (ha!) were promising. Under way at around 50mph, left/right 68c/71c. While idling in queuing traffic with the supplimentary fan running the temps were 71c/78c. Interesting that the gauges showed the point when the thermostat opened on the warm up cycle.

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:17 am

Ahhh, but from the link:-

●Temperature range: -50°C ~ + 70°C
●Usage temperature: -10°C ~ +50°C

I think they may be telling you porky pies! Because I know for a fact the coolant gets a fair bit hotter than that. Middle of the gauge is about 90 degrees, and the fan kick in area is about 96 degrees.
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Sat Sep 06, 2014 9:54 pm

Agreed that they aren't going to display the accurate coolant temperature because the sensors are not internal to the pipe, rather clipped on the outside.  Also they aren'teffectively  insulated from the external ambient air at the moment and also there is no thermal transfer paste between the sensor and the pipe.  And the pair cost less than a fiver delivered.  Anyway, pics of the readouts in three different driving senarios:


30mph road, no traffic.



10-15 minutes sitting in queuing traffic with the panic fan running.



Sitting in Tesco carpark, with the "oh shit" fan off and the factory rad fan just kicking in.

The thing for me is that the actual figure of the temperature readout is not so important, more the trend the readouts show. I recall reading time and again on this forum about the usual senario of a boiled engine: Gauge into the "H", coolant pipes and radiator stone cold.  I presume if one (or both) of the readings started to drop out of step then I hope it'll give me an early warning something is amiss and I'll be able to stop driving before any damage is done.  If nothing else, at least they have shown me that the supplementary fan is working.  I know its a psychological thing, but having the factory rad fan kick in when the needle is almost over to the bad end of the gauge is still disconcerting to see.

As an aside, spotted at the junction on the A312 and M4 during the taking of these temperature readout photos:



I must really fix that petrol gauge too...


Last edited by Eightpot on Mon May 04, 2015 11:34 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Wrong piccies posted)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by HighlyJetted on Sat Sep 06, 2014 11:11 pm

Did you say hello and laugh at the other parked up Hijet Twisted Evil

Constructive criticism aside, what you've done with the temp read outs its very useful indeed!

It give a representation of how much heat the radiator is displacing.

A similar scheme has been running through my mind for a while.

I also though about a fluid height gauge for the coolant bottle.

And a pressure sensor for the coolant system too.
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Sun Sep 07, 2014 2:16 pm

Thanks for the kind words.  Yep, a more robust and comprehensive coolant monitoring system would be ideal for the van, but I'm thick when it comes to electronics.

I came past that Hijet, it was still parked there this morning.  The headlights look good in it.  Evil or Very Mad
...

The most soul destroying thing a human can do is visit a DIY shed on a Saturday morning.  And so it goes.  There was I with a waiting in a queue behind some old dear with a trolley full of nasty looking chemicals.  Perhaps she thinks Pol Pot didn't actually top himself at the end of the '70's and is currently holed up at the bottom of her garden, so the only course of action open to her is a campaign of deforestation around her Begonias.  I dunno.

Still, I survived the mayhem that is the B&Q carpark, hightailed it back to the other halfs and proceeded to bugger up convert the load space:



The carpet removed and bearers to take the floor, cut and placed in position.  In between which I laid two layers of foil backed bubble insulation.  The floor is 9mm ply and I used 38x19mm battens which fit quite nicely between the floor pressings, leaving space as required for possible future access to the LPG tank mounting brackets:



Cutting round the arches.  I used the side of a cereal packet to make a template to follow the contour of the wheel arch, transferring the curve before buggering up another sheet of ply:



Spraying glue to the arches prior to fitting insulation:


(ps. That isn't rust but the remains of a PO's spilt coffee stain on the glue and tape residue that held the factory carpet down)

Almost finished the floor:


The forward ply sheet was glued to the battens as I'll be laying vinyl floor tiles on top and don't much fancy panel pins or screws working their way out.  The middle and rear ply sheets have been screwed down to facilitate future removal for maintenance access (Read: if the floor rusts to shit).
I need to decide how I'll cover the battery tray. I am considering a hinged lid for it, but I'll muse on it some more.  I also need to add finishing to the edges to pretty it up - I'm drawn to some ally angle to protect the edge with a fillet of wood under the ply to add a bit of strength.

Along with the insulation to try and keep the van a little less like a sauna I also wanted to make it sound a lot less like an empty baked bean tin on wheels, especially on speeds in excess of, ooh say, a jogging pace. I briefly looked at Dynamat, then looked at the pricetag and after picking my jaw from off the floor bought a roll of this:



One thing I noticed was that almost every roll on the shelf the label was damaged where it had been pulled partially off exposing the roll below. I then realised that this was possibly previous shoppers doing it to check the length of the roll, as it is available in 3.75m and 10m lengths.  Here's a clue for any future would-be purchasers to determine the length of the roll:  It's printed on the label at the bottom in yellow letters.

Or perhaps they were trying to pull the label off the big roll and stick it on the smaller one? I dunno, but as it pays to check the eggs in a box in a supermarket, same goes for flashing tape. Besides, they'd be better off ripping off the other label that had the barcode on it...

Still, slapping it on the panels to cut down on the resonance:


(This will later be covered in the foil insulation and a final covering of automotive carpet)

Does it work?


I will say that the treated panels have much less of a ring than the bare ones.  The mic on my camera didn't really pick it up but there is a definate heavier "Thunk!" and much less of a rattle with the flashing tape in place.


So far though, the van sounds quieter to drive so I'm hoping I'll one day be able to hear the stereo at something other than an earsplitting volume while punting down the motorway.

Carry on.


Last edited by Eightpot on Mon May 04, 2015 11:41 pm; edited 2 times in total (Reason for editing : Forgot a pic and other numpty edits.)

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by oldie on Mon Sep 08, 2014 7:24 am

Flashband is what I used on every panel and the inside of doors in my van when installing my sound system.
It does the same job as that 'Dynamat' but at a fraction of the cost Wink .

And your right....the doors close with that re-assuringly expensive 'THUD'.......just like a Bentley Laughing .

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Sep 30, 2014 6:27 pm

Not a place I wanted to be, re-doing the head gasket after it spat most of it's coolant down the hard shoulder of the M3 just before midnight one evening on the way back from deepst Darrrzet.

After getting it back I began to look at what happened: the thermostat tested okay, but when pressure tested there was an intermittant airleak from the hose/thermostat housing.  The jubilee clip had a small kink in the banding which seemed to let air out when the hose was manipulated.  I pulled the plugs and stuffed a boroscope down each bore, no.4 was full of coolant so the head had to come off.  I checked how true the head was with a straight edge and there seemed to be no warp but will confirm that later when I'll take it to a machine shop to get them to check it out.  In the meantime a parcel arrived from ebayland:



Which turned the head face a rather fetching shade of pink:



Wait ten or so mins, wipe off the excess and dust it off with the developer spray:



I was particularly interested in no.4 as that seemed to be ground zero, coolant loss-wise:



which didn't exhibit any evidence of cracks between the combustion chamber and coolant galleries.  

I suppose it's heartening to know that the head doesn't seem to be scrap, but still have the feeling that I'm not all that closer to the answer.  I'll be checking the block, but ran out of light so I'll have to do that at a later time.  Also I'm a little perturbed that when removing the head from the block the gasket simply fell out.  Might check the accuracy of my torque wrench while I'm at it.

I noticed no gags in this post and the general downbeat feeling. Sod it:

A bra and a pair of jumpleads walked into a bar, the barman shouted, "I'm not serving any of you",

"Why not?", asked the bra.

The Barman replied: "Well, you're off your tits and those two look like they want to start something"



I'm here all week, try the veal...


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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by oldie on Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:56 am

Eightpot wrote:

I noticed no gags in this post and the general downbeat feeling. Sod it:

A bra and a pair of jumpleads walked into a bar, the barman shouted, "I'm not serving any of you",

"Why not?", asked the bra.

The Barman replied: "Well, you're off your tits and those two look like they want to start something"



No Oh Dear No No .....

Time to get your coat lol! .

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by Eightpot on Tue Oct 28, 2014 4:14 pm

Slowly getting back onto an even keel:



The head back from the engineers with a grubby "PASSED" label and a clean bill of health.

Eightpot
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Join date : 2014-07-09
Location : Grand Union, Paddington Arm

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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

Post by ToaseMan on Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:14 am

Just come across this topic and this sentence got me wondering
Eightpot wrote:...  The plan is to convert it into a dayvan/stealth camper....
Do you mean as in something along the lines of this?

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ToaseMan
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Re: My day/camper/personal works canteen van.

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