18 March 2005

Things To Check Up On

Having trouble getting hold of Custom Bugs and Buses... need them to check and fix a few things:

1. Fix the muffler - Mike estimated about $160 to replace the muffler.
2. Give the engine a clean.
3. Quote for a mesh bottomed, roof rack system?
4. Investigate why fuel efficency has gone down? from as good as 12km pL to as low as 8km pL these days! Would there have been something in the service (fuel filter?, Rotar? Oil?) that has affected this?

13 March 2005

Sunset Climbing Again. Tal, Narrow Neck.

Sunshine and I managed to fit in another sunset climb today. We went back to Narrow Neck, but this time abseiled in over Cave Climb. We weren't expecting a 5O meter abseil, as the guide didn't really say exactly where the abseil was. We couldn't find a shorter one so ended up going down Cave Climb's route. We only brought one rope though, which meant we had to split the abseil into two 25 meter descents. There just so happened to be another couple climbing Cave who didn't mind us interrupting their peace and quite for a while, and let us use their anchors for the second decent.

The exciting abseil over and done with, we walked a fare way along the cliff base to find Tal. A 3 star grade 14 that Sunshine picked out.

Tal was a bit of a heart stopper actually. It has a couple of traverses and run out sections to worry about, but I think that may just be because I went off route. The direct line "Toll" - grade 16 looks like a real beauty by the way.

We combined the first and second pithes of Tal, with a great belay ledge to sit on.

First belay ledge, good to get to, roomy, flat, comfy and with great views.

The final pitch was a bit scrubby. Again, not sure if I was off route. Don't think I was, but a traverse right back over Toll would make it a pretty interesting trip.

Second belay ledge anchors.

There is a final pitch that can be added to the Tal experience, but we'll have to return another day for this as the sun was setting, and we were able to walk out from the second pitch. The add on final pitch looks pretty good though.

Sunsetting while sunshine coils the rope.

Images from Just Pictures

12 March 2005

Dual Battery Installed

Installed a big mother battery power system today. Cost me an arm and a leg though...

For $1630 I have:
Top of the line LifeLine battery with 100 amp hours = $400
Battery case with 2 little lighter sockets and a charge indicator = $80
A voltage sensitive relay to protect both batteries from discharge = $150
A Mobitronic battery charger to recharge from house hold mains = $150
One of those flexible solar sheets to trickle charge the battery = $245 (have to double check this price as it seems a bit up there)
A solar controller, bit like a valve to stop the solar panel discharging the battery at night = $50
And a 500W Xantrex inverter = $295 (Feel like I should have spent more on the inverter after all this. But only so Sunshine can use a hair drier ;)

labor and cabling was $260

So it all adds up all right! Will be testing it out next weekend on a little camping trip on the weekend. I have some paid work to finish off, so picture me, out there camping in the rain, sitting in the van running a laptop. :)

05 March 2005

The Storage and Shelving Plan

Using the trusty old milk crate and ply, and sticking with the maximum versatility design concept, I plan to build this simple little storage, shelving, bench seat, table top solution.

4 Milk Crates and a Bit of Ply
This design allows me to either stack 2 milk crates on top of each other, behind both the driver's seat and the passenger seat, with a fold out table top bridging the two stacks. A little spacer stool/shelf sits 2 crates wide between them to add stability and offer under table shelving.

The design also allows me to remove the top two milk crates and stow them under the spacing self. The spacing shelf has fold out lids to cover the outside lower crates, offering a flush bench seat 1 crate high. The disused table simply folds up to stack on top of the bench seat/coffee table.

The 4 crates and ply design should be very cheap and easy to make, and extremely versatile in function. The items are all light and easy to move in and out of the van. The crates and ply can be set up quickly inside and out of the van so it can be placed by the campfire or snug inside.

With either the table or the bench configuration I can still fit 3 passengers on the rear seat with ample leg room.

04 March 2005

Rear Seat/Bed

After ringing all the wreckers, asking anyone I saw with a T3, and posting to the VeDubbers forums, I have ended up getting a rear seat custom made instead of buying a 2nd hand original.

Belmore Auto Conversions did it for me for $1700.
The seat folds back and forward, comes out of the van easily, stands freely on its own (to make an outdoor lounge by the camp fire I guess), and makes for a comfy bed with plenty of room for 2.
I think Belmore did a pretty good job. Its a nice and simple seat, comfy enough, and they did it for me very quickly. Astrid was a pleasure to deal with, making me feel good about the whole thing from the start.

Sunshine and I slept in it at Shelly Beach near Manly the other night. It rained all night but we slept well. The material is a little course, being semi synthetic and all, so a bed sheet over it to sleep is a good idea.

You may notice in the last photo the little sliding window in the side door. I had 2 installed (1 on the other side) by CBB for $120. I found the windows on OzzyVeeDubbers from a guy in Nowra. He sold them to me for $400 I think it was. I thought it was pretty dear, but apparently it was a good price. VW parts!...

So, slowly but surely I'm getting this van camper ready. Next step is a battery set up (booked in for March 12 with Warners Bay Battery World. I'm buying a pretty good set up and having it installed for just over $1000. Includes LifeLine Battery and case, Sine Inverter, Solar panel for trickle feed, some one way valve thingy that stops the panel discharging the battery, and another little thing that protects the car battery from being discharged.