Saturday 19 September 2015

My return to races is sadly still on hold, in July it was largely due to the trips to Germany for a mountain bike race (as Chief Commissaire) 

And then to Italy, this time on holiday, climbing on the via ferrata in the Dolomites:

The Italian trip was also a great test for the Vito, which performed (almost) faultlessly. The only real issue was a puncture just after we left for the return trip but as it has a nearly new spare that got us home with no further dramas. Everything else we could live with; the air conditioning struggled in the 30o+ heat and the front twin passenger seats were deemed to be uncomfortable being narrow and non-adjustable.

The biggest problem with the puncture was the fact that the spare is a standard 16” wheel, whereas the van is fitted with 18” alloys. Luckily the tyres are as close to being the same diameter as makes no difference so that wasn't an issue but the punctured 18” wheel wouldn't fit under the rear of the van, so a bit of unpacking and re-packing was required to put it in the back of the van, at least there’s plenty of room in the back. On our return it was easily sorted as I had been given a spare 18” tyre with the van so getting that fitted and balanced only cost £10. The air-con is also due to be re-gassed, another relatively cheap fix at £40.

A new fully adjustable single passenger seat along with the required single seat box has been obtained from eBay so that’s a little job still to be done; it’s even in the same fabric as the existing seats! 

I’ve also started to tidy up the interior, as the ply lining in the rear is rather tatty and dirty. The conventional approach would be to go with a carpet lining but to keep it more practical for transporting muddy dirt bikes; I wanted to do something similar to my Land Rover. In that I covered the plywood lining with vinyl cloth as well as packing the space behind it with roof insulation. This kept it clean and meant it could be easily wiped down. However to do that would mean removing the wheel arch covers which are securely fixed and sealed with silicone sealant, so an easier in-situ solution was required.

Then I came up with the idea of using self-adhesive vinyl floor tiles. This was an easy fit solution, as the tiles are easily trimmed to fit with a sharp knife and provides a wipe clean surface as well as some additional sound deadening and by using a light grey pattern also makes the rear much brighter. 

All was well for a week or two until the one area I had applied as a trial, started to peel off, it appears the combination of grease on the plywood and heat when the van is sitting in the sun is too much for the adhesive; so back to the drawing board!

I also discovered that the rear seat can be fitted in three different formats, triple, twin to the left or a single to the right. I have chosen to go with the twin set up as this still gives me a four seater (when the front seat is changed) and allows me to carry a bike at the same time.

As I mentioned I got the rally bike back just before the holiday and Martin did a fantastic job, that I’ll cover in a separate post. However whilst I was away the MOT and tax ran out, so I put it on a SORN… another couple of jobs to sort out!

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