Vanagon – almost foiled weekend trip 

Finally, we were able to take off for a weekend trip to one of our favourite places. Weather was to be hot and dry. Packed up Saturday morning and headed out. Alternator light started to glow before we got out of town. Shoot, it came back to me that when I did an alternator overhaul this last winter I made a mental note to replace the brushes soon. Mental note got lost. Had a spare voltage regulator in the van (used, but brushes still workable) and swapped it in. That solved that but then the van started to run oddly. Idle would drop and engine die, ran a little rough. We headed to Simons house to use driveway and I poked and prodded connections etc. Moved the O2 sensor wire away from a spark plug wire. That’s all I could do. Headed back home and the van ran fine. Took the chance and turned around and continued trip. Engine ran well for the rest of the trip. Sooner I put in a new motor the better, it’s so frustrating to trouble shoot this old engine and wiring.

I bought new tires last week. I was running Yokohama Geolandar ats, 215/70 15. New ones were the replacements for the ats, the Geolander GO15. And I went for largest ( some say to much ) that you really should put on the van with stock motor, 215/75-15. Was expecting more of a performance hit than I actually felt. Yes, I did have to downshift on hills that previously I hadn’t needed to, but this was much more apparent on the pavement, not so much in the logging roads ( travelling much slower on those roads).

The ride quality of these new tires are very much better than the old ones. Yes, a little louder on the pavement but smoother ride and on rough roads they soak up the harsh bumps way better. Great grip on loose stuff, and I didn’t notice the lugs getting cut by sharp rocks.

Shade temps were hitting 30-32 C when the breeze dropped. Sun intense, no fog on the ocean ( oh that will come in July and August), just perfect.

Brought the large westy table with us, and it works on the Swellegant™ table mod even better than the smaller table. I’m telling ya, it’s one of the best things I have ever invented.

Dinner was marinated thinly sliced skirt steak on skewers grilled on the Ecoque.

With salad and wrap.

Magnets holding a reflective tarp over part of the side of the van to give the fridge a fighting chance.

If you look towards the horizon, just to the left of that awning guy line, and if you could fly in that direction, the first land you’d encounter would be New Zealand. Amazing eh? 

We pretty well just sat, read, drank, ate, enjoyed the view, looked at the marine traffic. Saw no bears, elk, deer. Nighthawks were there though, and a couple of rufous hummingbirds that really liked the red campchair.

  1. #1 by Simon on June 27, 2017 - 8:26 am

    Looks like a lovely and relaxing trip, once it happened! Way to snatch it from the jaws of defeat. 🙂 … you’re going to love your new motor!

    Glad you’re liking the Geolandar G015s, as you know I’ve been using the same tires for 6 months or so and I’ve liked them too, a great all round tire although not as winter-capable as my previous Nokians. What pressures are you using?

    • #2 by albell on June 27, 2017 - 5:37 pm

      Hey Simon,

      Yup I’m loving the tires, and I think they run even better with the white lettering inboard 🙂

      Gonna shock you with the pressures, I’m running them with what the tire guy put into them, and remember I just gave him the rims not the van. 40 psi all round . I might play with that but jeepers it feels good as is.



  2. #3 by edbee on June 27, 2017 - 2:05 pm

    Yes, nice trip. we were down at sea level and you were up in the hills. 🙂

    Those could maybe be my next tires… what pressures do you run and do you ever alter pressure for rough roads?

    We did see a bear on the side of the road on the way back from Bamfield. It was the first time the kids ever saw a bear so that was exciting. We saw ospreys catching fish and an eagle attempt to steal a fish from an osprey so that was fun too.

    Reflective tarp looks like a great idea… long live dometic fridges 🙂 !

    • #4 by albell on June 27, 2017 - 5:43 pm

      Hi ed,

      We had a couple of choices of where to camp this last weekend. We chose the lower and closer to the ocean spot. Thinking was that there would be more of a cool breeze. I think we were at around 200 m, and 2km from ocean. The other spot is at 625m and 10km from coast.

      I don’t change the tire pressure. Maybe I should. I’m lazy. The Torres were at 40 psi all round. I have played with pressures on this and previous vans. Different front and rear etc. This time I had the tires put on rims alone, I mean no van. So the tire guy just put in 40. I tried that and I liked it. So why argue eh?




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