Tuesday, 31 January 2012

T2 Gas Struts?

Those nice people at http://www.sgs-engineering.com/ agreed we could return the gas struts and the new ones are on order. Rather than order specific T25 struts, we measured the dimensions of the old struts and took note of the force rating (this is printed on the side of the struts) and ordered struts that matched. The guy from SGS was surprised as we appeared to want the gas struts that they normally supply for the T2 Bay Devon, rather than the T25. So either the gas struts we have aren't the original ones supplied by Devon, or Devon used some T2 ones, which is interesting (check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen_Transporter if you need to brush up on your VW bus history). We also realized we needed different force ratings for the horizontal and vertical struts (we have one vertical strut at the front, and two struts at the back that cross over as you can see below).

We have set aside a full day this weekend to the van, so hopefully the new struts will arrive by then. If not, well we will have plenty of other stuff inside to be getting on with. We have a rust patch to fix inside, and Nick wants to have a look at the electrics and take out the old fridge.

Sunday, 29 January 2012

The Wrong Gas Struts...

After a busy weekend of seeing friends and getting medicals done for our visa application, we only got a couple of hours free to work on the van. Putting the gas struts on seemed like a nice job to do and get ticked off the list. We got the roof up, and the new struts out, and... oh. They are too long! Although we bought gas struts described as for T25's, they are noticeably longer than the old ones and the roof wouldn't actually close properly if we fitted them.

So we actually didn't get anything done. This week we will need to contact the supplier and see if we can exchange or return the struts and get some correct ones!

On a positive note - we have had some heavy rain recently and there is no sign at all of any leakage from the skylight.

And I am still absolutely loving the rainbow stripe bellows and the blue lining!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Houses and Stuff

The van has taken a back seat recently as we focused on other important parts of the plan. The past few weeks have been a rush of tidying and sorting, as we got the house ready to go on the market, and it's now out there on the Internet for all to see. It's amazing how much junk two people can accumulate. We have decided nothing but the bare minimum is coming with us in the campervan or to Australia - because, really, if you haven't looked at something for over a year, how important can it be? I stumbled across the following website: http://guynameddave.com/100-thing-challenge/ which is all about living a more simple existence and cutting unnecessary consumption, by trying to limit your possessions to under 100. I actually would be amazed if we could fit 100 items each into the campervan, I think 100 between us seems plenty.

So the next few months we will be selling, giving away, recycling or (as a last resort) scrapping any unnecessary possessions so that we no longer need or want so we can focus on the things is life that are really important.

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Roof On!

Nick has been working hard all weekend so we could get the roof back on this weekend, and get the van waterproof. Progress was slow on Saturday (not helped by the fact that I swanned off to Southampton for a spot of socializing) but on Sunday things went much more smoothly and the roof is on. 

The new lining for the roof is the same material as we are using for the interior panels. It's a pale blue van lining material and sticks on with spray adhesive. It is such a good feeling to see new stuff going in, rather than just taking old stuff out. 

The finished lining looks amazing! What an improvement.

Now here's the part I was looking forward to... new roof bellows! This came from proudtopop.co.uk, and comes in many colours and patterns, and is available for all the common conversions (ours is a Devon). Of course I had to go for rainbow stripe! 

It was a bit of a mystery deciding which way up it went, but we figured it out eventually.

Before all four sides are screwed down, the supporting rods are put back in.

And all done! Just need to carefully put it back on now...

Unrelated : the obligatory Hawaiian flowers...

Carefully back on with the roof....

I love the rainbow stripe with the yellow, very bright and cheerful.

Nick then put the skylight back in properly. It looks great, Nick has done a really good job.

Next job is to put the gas struts back, and the roof is finished, and we can start working inside. I can't wait!

Thursday, 5 January 2012

We got a case officer!

Today we got an email confirming we have been appointed a case officer for our skilled migrant 175 Australia visa, and asking us to submit police checks and medicals! This is good news, as it means we have left the queue and a physical person is looking at our visa application. Hopefully once we submit the required information it won't be long until the visa is granted! Potentially we could have our visas granted in less than a year since we applied, which is amazing.

In van news... we couldn't have chosen a worse week to have the roof off, as 80mph winds have been blasting the South coast and it's been raining on and off for the last few days. The tarpaulin covering the van has ripped in a couple of places where it has been rubbing against the roof brackets. We patched the holes up last night with gaffa tape, and today luckily the weather seems better. No rain is forecast for the weekend so getting the roof finished and back on will be essential!

Monday, 2 January 2012

Roof Off!

Over the last few weeks we have been removing the interior panels to recover them. This was pretty easy to do, although in places the old carpet lining was a bit tricky to remove. Here's Nick covering the panels in the nice new blue lining we have chosen. I can't wait to see it in the van.

 The van is looking a bit empty and sorry for itself after all those panels have come out.

We had a lovely sunny day today so decided to try and take the roof off to strip the old lining and replace the bellows. The sunlight is also leaking so needs re-sealing.

Nick having a look at the skylight.

Nick was asking for my help at this point, but the dangling legs had to be captured on film.

And the skylight removed! Finally, after driving all round Waterlooville looking for a stardriver.

Help arrived to help physically lift the roof off. Apparently it was more awkward than heavy.

Off it comes...

Open top bus...

Nick sets about removing the old bellows and lining.

Lining and old bellows removed. Unfortunately we began to run out of daylight so the roof has gone into the garage and a tarp over the van (which we were using anyway because of the leaky skylight). These jobs always take longer than you think! Hopefully we will get some dry days next weekend to finish it off.


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