Having specified everything we could think of when we ordered the van from VW our first trip away highlighted a glaring omission.
I don’t know why this hadn’t bothered us more with our T5.1 but almost the first evening we realised that shutting the sliding door from inside needed a big shove that resulted in things falling about. Bad enough when we are up and about but a real pain if one of us has to go out in the middle of the night!
Power latching is available as an option to the sliding doors and the tailgate on Transporters but it is only the sliding door that gives us a problem. It would have been a no brainier at £95 + VAT had we thought about it. I got in touch with Paul who owns the T6 forum because I had seen him offering a kit, it came to £430 for the motor, control module and wiring loom which sounds like a lot but the parts alone come to about £350 and then there is the loom and plugs. So a deal was done and Paul met us at Vanwest with the parts.
Now I had thought about waiting until July when we got back from our 6 week trip but I knew that having the parts back home heaving the door closed would annoy the hell out of us so I waded in. Removing the lower rear quarter panel was not easy because Andy @ Coastal Cussions had used military grade trim panel fixings but I got it off and only broke 2 of them. Perhaps the worst thing was that we had got Andy to cover the access panel in the C post over – we wouldn’t need to get in there again would we – with the vinyl trim. I started by cutting a half panel for the top half and then marking and cutting out the vinyl slightly smaller and then breaking out and cleaning away the ply panel I had bonded over the access. With that done I could fit the control module and I had intended to make a hole to pass the wiring loom out of the bottom of the C post behind the step to the connections under the passenger seat. The problem was that the C post is closed at the bottom and does not go right down. In the end we decided to take out the whole access panel and feed the loom behind the trim all of which worked fine.
Fitting the motor is a bit fiddly as it needs feeding into the space but to be honest that was about the easiest part of the whole job. Once connected and everything back in place the power latch works great. Just slide the door across into the lock and the motor powers it home the last bit – lovely. Replacing the 2 broken trim fixings was easy enough and we made a new ply access panel for the C post but covered in our frantic rather than vinyl which actually looks a bit smarter than the original vinyl.
The whole job took a couple of days and was a bit of a “mission”as Mirko would say but the end result definitely seems worth it.
We have been considering either updating our current van or starting a new one while we can. A key criteria for Sue is the ease of which we can get the roof up and down as we get older. There is no after market option for this and a VW California does not float our boat. However it is possible to retrofit a California roof. Earlier ing the month we had a trip to Cornwall and paid a visit to Kernow Transporters and Premium Camper who buy in salvaged California roofs and fit them to vans. We have given this option a lot of thought and have decided we are happy to go with it.
So to get the ball rolling and to beat a 1st June VW price hike we have placed an order for a new T6. It is a SWB T30 Kombi in white (as if it could be anything else) and the spec is much the same as our current van except that it will come as a Euro 6 Blue Motion so 150PS DSG with LED lights,
I never did like the silver wheels so now they have been refinished Dark Anthracite by Lepsons in in Gillingham. They are a high gloss finish and not quite black. Very smart.
It came about because I went to our local tyre dealer who managed to gouge a rime when fitting new tyres so they offered to get it refinished. So while they did that I paid for the other 3 to be done. I had to borrow an old set of steels for a week while ours were being done.
This is the last tax disc the we will very have to buy. As from 1 June 2015 we can have a clear windscreen. What it does tell you is that authorities believe that they have ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cracked.
Oh yes and from June2015 they will be making an extra months tax each time a vehicle changes hands, i.e. the seller gets a refund from the end of the month and the buyer pays from the start of the month.
Applied our logo decals to the van today. Now everyone will know who we are.
The van is back from Kingfisher Campers looking very smart with an SCA 196 pop up roof, RIB Altair seat / bed, Smev hob / sink unit, Waeco fridge, Sargent hook up system and very classy gloss black units.
A first week away in our van to celebrate a special birthday.
We booked a week in a nice rental property in Christchurch celebrating a special birthday and enjoying driving the new van.
We have our bikes on the towbar carrier – they ride very well and I discovered that disconnecting the tow electrics with the alarm set will set it off so I am going to make an extension to wrap around the bikes before plugging it in.
On Wednesday we visited Jason at Absolute Audio in Amesbury to have our Knewood ICE / Sat Nav fitted with upgrade speakers. The sound is spectacular and Jason’s service is great.
We made the most of the opportunities to cycle around the area with a ride to Sandbanks for lunch one day and the other direction on the last day. Sue’s birthday we celebrated with a nice meal in a popular restaurant by Christchurch harbour followed by cocktails at the posh hotel next to our rented accomodation.