So a couple of things that I will be adding to the pages will be some Garmin Zumo 660/665 reference material and also some material for the BMW F650GS motorbike. Why? Well these are all bits of kit that we’ve acquired and form part of our travel package.
Whilst Google Maps, Waze and iPhone solutions are all brilliant, nothing really beats a functional sat nav that just works, doesn’t need a phone signal and is waterproof. the Zumo 660 is bullet proof, waterproof and works equally well on a motorbike or in a van. Handily I’ve learnt how to refurbish these nav units and know my way around the software for them. I plan to dump my brain onto a sub section here so that I don’t have to remember too much myself!
Secondly the BMW F650GS, it’s a lumpy single cylinder “do anything” baby GS. It’s relatively easy to fix at the roadside and can easily be attached across the back of our Sprinter on a standard motorbike carry harness. I’ve collated several links and places that I refer to, and again I’ll be adding the contents of my brain here as I go.
Anker are my favourite brand for portable batteries and cables but they are broadening their horizons. They now sell waterproof bags, which are perfect for going on the motorbike or keeping kit dry on a day out in the van.
For 9.99UKP at the moment on amazon you get two in the box each of which include a lanyard.
The specs from them are listed as :
- Waterproof: IPX8 rating offers complete waterproof protection in a wide range of environments. Keep your phone dry in 32 ft of water and shield against mud, dust, or even snow.
- Effortless Use: High-clarity, ultra-sensitive PVC offers seamless use of your phone’s touchscreen and camera-even underwater.
- Lock and Go: Simple snap and lock mechanism seals pouch securely to protect your phone, while neck strap offers convenient carrying.
- Universal Compatibility: Designed to hold smartphones measuring up to 6 inches. Remove phone case for a better fit.
- What’s In The Box: Anker Waterproof Phone Pouch x2, Neck Strap x2, our worry-free 18-month warranty and friendly customer service.
I found that the neck of the bag has a usable maximum width of around 9cm, although that depend son the thickness of what you want to put in it. It’ll easily fit a small to medium smartphone and the plastic allows you to control your phone through the side of the bag.
To use the bag there are two rotating clips at the top that allow you to undo the two black plastic pegs at the top of the bag that when closed up tight compress the bag top together and keep it waterproof.
I’ve found it handy on the motorbike to keep my essential kit waterproof in the current bad weather. I’m not sure how long the plastic clips at the top will last however given you get two in the box and the price these will certainly last a season.
Continue reading “Anker – Waterproof Phone Pouch, a review”
Not entirely Sprinter related but again I’ve fitted one of these diesel air heaters to our van (kindly donated by a friend) so I’ve added the manuals including the service manual online here. it’s a great air heater for the money, reliable and easy to service.
Ours is currently mounted to the top of one of the rear wheel arches with the exhausts emerging in the when arch at the rear of the vehicle.
So there we were today driving home in our Sprinter when the EDC light came on, we had a blip/cough and then loss power. Engine would restart and then simply die if you touched the throttle.
I managed to coax her into a lay by and safely park up.
Thankfully I was carrying our handy MaxiDiag Elite diagnostic unit (buy one if you don’t have one) which showed up a series of “excess current on common cable” errors on the injectors.
I had read about this error before and have heard of the engine loom chaffing on the mount points. Sure enough, a quick check of the loom running to the top of the block showed up a suspicious mount just to the left of the battery and underneath the loom had worn through and was touching the mount.
With this taped up with some PVC tape and then secured with a zip tie to prevent further chaffing the problem and error codes were instantly gone and we made our way home. If you fancy some preventative maintenance I highly recommend cutting the factory zip ties on these areas where the harness is attached to metal brackets, padding them with some cut down rubber strip then reattaching the cable with some new zip ties.
So from this we learnt, know your engine, read and absorb the content on Sprinter Source and always carry tools and a decent diagnostic tool!
If I don’t add them here I’ll forget them! Bear Foot Theory documents the life of a van dweller in her custom built Sprinter including some awesome kit reviews.
I like the idea of the teak shower deck, hers looks to be a custom fibreglass tray which needed a bit of further work to tweak it.
Well good news, the water heater gas system and auto igniter works just fine. Bad news, the boiler has rusted on the left side resulting in a gas leak at the end of the boiler which results in a flame where there shouldn’t be one.
Boilers (the rectangular stainless part with the gas jets in it) are around £50 and standard off the self spare parts. The entire brains of the system can be removed from the roadside and the boiler replaced easily.
The rust problem is due to heat, the proximity of water and exposure to the elements as this all faces the roadside. I am going to try a repair initially as the boiler box is not under any pressure, just heat. If the patch I am going to try with some exhaust epoxy and spare metal sheet doesn’t work I’ll bite the bullet and buy a new one.
The water tank needs to be pressure tested, the wax thermostat that acts as a safety preventing overheat also needs testing and then she needs a clean up and can be installed into the van side ready for the pipework.
I’ve hauled a Carver Cascade 2 water heater out from our donor caravan for our campervan build. These combination gas/mains water heaters have been common place in caravans for years and little has changed. Parts are pretty easy to obtain and the unit can be services and maintain. There’s a handy service guide for them on Practical Caravan.
Ours is in pretty good nick having examined it today; that said it will need to be test run on the bench outside first, then cleaned up before install. I see no sense in cutting a square out of the side of the van only to find I need to rework the install!
I found a handy resource for anyone looking to use a Carver Cascade heater online at Arc Systems. I’ve replicated the documents on the resource pages for anyone else that wants them and will add anything else that I find that’s relevant.
I have been plotting how to best install our toilet when I came across this video when I went down the rabbit hole that is YouTube…
I now have a new subscription for me to keep an eye on, cheers Jaz.
When you absolutely, positively have to have spare wheels with you; what’s better than a motorbike? Next up will no doubt be a bike tow/loft hitch for the back.
I needed a commuter I could park in the city and ended up buying a second hand BMW F650GS Dakar. Good news is that it is a great bike and gets me 70mpg on an average day, bad news is that it has distracted me from work on the van and updates here. For one I have a parasitic load on the starter that I need to cure, I am pretty sure that it’s coming from the split charge circuit having replaced the alternator regulator.
I may well add a few posts on here covering BMW single cylinder maintenance issues that I come across. Obviously she needed a service and a few repairs to make her suitable for the road, a clean up and some parts bolting on.
In the meantime here is a great website from a couple travelling around the world on their BMW F650GS: https://lifewelove.com/en/
Now I find a commute on my 650 comfy, but it’s a different league hauling all your kit and partner on the back too!
I thought I ought to keep note of the random blogs I’ve found covering individual van conversions, including this one called The Human Portrait Project. Why list it here? Well I might forget the link otherwise!
I was interested to see the build comments they made, specifically about silencing the interior of the vehicle and also rustproofing the outside with Rhino Liner; two things that I am planning on doing myself in very similar way for our vehicle.