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.
In an effort to keep the inevitable Mercedes rust away I’ve been working my way around the van dealing with rust and preventing it where I can prior to respraying the bodywork.
A combination of a wire brush collection, Jelonite rust converter, Waxoy, Hammerite spray paint and a few other products have been used to clean up the areas around the drivetrain and also respraying our steel wheels black. Taking on a family member’s advice I’ve treated the brake lines with Waxoyl from front to back, especially around the supporting brackets. The exterior areas of the brake callipers have also had a quick coat of rust converter and paint as they were looking terrible.
It turns out that regardless of what rated ampage your alternator is if you have a Bosch BR14-M3 alternator fitted then they all take the same regulator.
Common reasons to replace the regulator are if the brushed are worn down or (like ours) if the diodes begin to breakdown and you either get voltage issues or a current leak causing a flat battery when parked up.
The Bosch part number for the new regulator is F00M144139 which supersedes F00M145248 which is what I had fitted. This regulator is suitable for 90/120/200A units.
Bosch won’t release or send out spec sheets but details can be confirmed with them direct, just speak to their automotive technical department:
Address: Robert Bosch Ltd
North Orbital Road
Tel: 0844 892 0115
If you van is a few years old then the countless number of times people have hauled themselves into the van using the door will likely have caused it to drop. A good symptom something is wrong is if your doors bounce open when you close them occasionally. When the door is nicely aligned you have an equal gap around the door when it is closed, the door latch pin will be central and it closes with ease.
There are a few good guides on Sprinter Source (as usual), the top two chrome bolts are for the wing mirror, the third hidden wing mirror bolt is behind the black circular black plug.
That leaves four bolts two at the top, and two at the bottom. I undid all four, jacked up the door and set the door to the middle of the door frame, I then jacket the corner of the door up and set the angle, and thus set the door pin to the right height and tightened up the bottom two bolts. Time taken is about 5 mins per door. I highly recommend unbolting the mirrors to set their height to ensure that they fold correctly and don’t pinch on the mirror join.
Next up was to treat and paint our wheel rims. The steel rims were gnarly and rusty, they needed to be sanded down with a grinder and wire wheel, sanded some more, treated with rust converter and then painted with rust protecting paint. Painted black because I didn’t have any silver… Central hubs were also treated in a similar way, then the wheel studs were greased up and the wheel nuts reapplied. Don’t forge that there are small cone washers behind each wheel nut and to jack on the correct point. For reference our wheel rims are marked 5 1/2 Jx15H2 HMA 115.
Here are a couple of useful PDFs for those looking to also tweak their doors: Driver / passenger adjustment and Door Adjustment Supplement 2002-2006 (all other doors).
Strangely the standard glovebox manuals for mk2 Sprinters are largely devoid of any useful data in the fluids department. I am very used to going to a page in the handout that just tells you what you need. MB apparently feel the need to hide everything.
Looking into gearbox oil changes on a manual gearbox I’ve been told you need ~1.8L of oil and loads of people recommend genuine MB oil (MB part number A001 989 26 03 10). MB themselves stated the gearbox is apparently “sealed for life” however the oil really should be changed at least once every ten years! For third party oils it needs to comply with MB 235.10. I’m aiming to grab some of this from ECP: Febi Bilstein Transmission Oil (21829 Manual Transmission Fluid GL4 SAE 75W). There’s a great guide to changing the oil out on Sprinter Source.
Differentials oil on a 2005 Sprinter should comply with MB 235.0 and should be synthetic 75W90, you need 2-3 quarts for a differential.. I am aiming for TRIPLE QX Fully Synthetic 75w-90 LS – 5Ltr from the local EuroCarParts. Whilst doing a bit of research on the differentials I came across this great article which covers the whole process nicely: https://sprinter-camper.com/rear-differential-oil-change/
When you’re building and designing a camper you will (like me) spend a lot of time reading what other people have done for inspiration. This is mainly so I don’t lose my place; here are a few of websites and blogs sat in my browser tabs: