Vanagon – cheap wireless tire pressure monitor

You must have seen these around. All the usual suspects sell them and I went for one last summer.

Around 30 bucks, worth the gamble.

It has a wee solar panel and function buttons on top of it and a micro USB port on one side ( kit comes with short micro to standard usb cable). There is a sticky type gel pad on the bottom to keep it in place on your dash, and that works well.

The solar panel keeps the unit charged up, mostly, after an initial charge via USB. I say mostly as the panel couldn’t manage to eek out enough current during a one week period in December. Weather was very dull, days were short.

Buttons on top of unit for setting things up. You can have low and high pressure alarm limits, and low temp alarm. Alarm is beeping and display flashing. The display changes from off to on when it feels movement , ie when I open the drivers door to get in.

The pressure and temp senders replace the tire valve caps. There is an additional locking nut supplied for each sender thats supposed to hinder theft and loosening. Of the senders that is, not the van.

The senders connect to the base unit with no fuss, and I haven’t had any disconnects between the two. Each sender has a button cell powering it, I haven’t replaced any yet. I thought the senders stuck out from wheel more than I’d like, but I haven’t knocked one off yet.

For the first while I was obsessed by watching the pressure and temp during trips. I wanted to see if there were any temperature differences between front and rear wheels during braking on long descents. Maybe I saw a 5-10 degree difference sometimes, but as the senders are sticking out in the airstream I’d say it’s not a good way of monitoring brake temps, but you do find out which side of the parked van the sun is shining on πŸ™‚

All in all I’m pretty pleased with it . It sits on the dash, drivers side corner, not too obtrusive and getting some light for the solar panel.

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Stuff found in the workshop – ureometer and nebulizer

In a box of old glassware I have. Yes, I’m sitting on a king’s ransom of miscellany πŸ™‚

Ureometer ( Info on this old medical device here)

I really don’t know what this “nebulizer” was used for. Anders Brand, Vancouver!

Update: more pics of the nebulizer. You can see the fine orifices on the end of the tubes inside. One tube is open at the bottom, the other tube is connected to the inlet. More label pics too.

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Other cars – restored Unimog

Secret location nearby, in for a stereo install.

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Other cars – oh the smell

Been a year, and my brain didn’t retain the model name. But I did retain the memory of the sweet old English car aroma. It’s the one on the right πŸ™‚

Oh btw, the plan is a FrankenAustin resto. Not me, my crazy neighbour.

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Vanagon – Syncro coolant distribution tower

Last summer my tower started to leak. Everyone knows the plastic distribution tower / manifold weakens with age. The 2 wd tower is different in size and shape but same thing happens to it.

What I posted to the vanagon mailing list:

A few months ago I swapped in an aluminum version of the stock plastic coolant distribution manifold. The 2wd and Syncro versions differ in shape but not in function.

I’d always wanted to do this but what got me off my duff was my manifold had the additional feature of a temp sensor plug in one end. This is for the optional webasto aux heater that warms the coolant and thus the heater box. It was fairly common on Canadian spec Syncro.

The temp sensor is very much like a temp II sensor in that it’s a push in device with an o ring and retaining clip.

The o ring on mine failed and leaked coolant. Temp fix was new o ring. The better fix was the aluminum manifold which was easier and less messy to install than I feared.

Bottom line is, if you have the webasto aux heater in the engine compartment of your Syncro, or if you had one and forgot about the temp sensor , check the sensor O ring.

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Dream cars

Last summer I found these beauties. Way back in the 80s I almost bought, well I test drove and looked at, similar station wagon (safari). That one was way too rusty and I was a poor student with no need or skill to manage a DS21 estate. But here we have a lovely pair, someone’s dream sitting in the open.

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Vanagon – parking brake cover, recover

Another example of idle hands. I think it was from model year 85 on where ther parking brake cover was changed from a vinyl boot thing to a hard plastic shield. And on my 86 Syncro it’s the brown plastic. The brown plastic that does not age gracefully. So one Saturday last summer I took some thin leather, got it a bit damp, and glued it to the plastic. It looks fine, some little wrinkles at the hard curves, but acceptable. Have not yet figured out how to cover the actual handle.

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