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Touring Australia

Discussion in 'Kombi Club' started by Rosscoe, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. Rosscoe

    Rosscoe Member

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Oberon NSW
    Hi everyone, not sure if this is the right place for this question.
    I have read a lot of stories, watched a lot of YouTube videos and have fell for the romanticism of touring in a Kombi. BUT every story or video has shown or told of the unreliability of VW Kombi's, the dramas they have encountered with the issues each and every Kombi appears to find. Can a Kombi be reliable enough to travel around Australia, be on the road full time for 12 months plus. Not overly concerned with the camping gear or living extras that need to be taken, I have that well in hand. Can a Kombi survive the roads of Australia without having a fatal attack of some sort. The only thing that hasn't been replaced on mine is the gear box and clutch, I have had a tacho, oil temp,pressure,fuel gauge fitted. Has anyone here done any extreme long distance long term touring that they may want to tell me some of their stories. My email address is canine99@bigpond.com if you would prefer to converse this way.

    Thanks for reading

    Rosscoe.
     
  2. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,326
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Roscoe

    A the end of the day they are an old car.
    I would be slightly concerned if you had no mechanical knowledge and expected a trouble free trip.
    New parts fail and the quality of some of our new parts are poor at best.

    It all depends on how far you expect to travel in a day.
    How much you are going to carry.

    If you have a 1600 and you are loaded to the hilt and are doing 1,000kms a day and you "lug" the motor, especially up hills, and this is in 40 degree days in the desert - i reckon you might be spending some time on the road side waiting for a tow.

    Others have spent many 1,000's of km's travelling our country side with little trouble
     
  3. tillis

    tillis Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    284
    Location:
    gold coast
    Good question Rosscoe. As Barry said how well do you know your kombi especially fixing the little things that happen...C.V joints for example. Back when kombis were made plenty of northern australia was deep bulldust(in the dry) and cooling fins clogged and engine seized but these days you don't need to go off the bitumen.
    Take plenty of parts, crawl under and check things daily be kind to your engine....enjoy!
     
    chris taylor and Rosscoe like this.
  4. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,990
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    Our longest haul has been 5 weeks on the road.
    Only maintenance was to check the valves every 5,000 k, top the oil and refuel......everything else was faultless.
    As long as you drive to the conditions and your bus is in tip top mechanical shape, you really shouldn’t have too many issues that you can’t fix roadside.
    As with any kombi, learn to do it yourself, or open your wallet !
    Cheers,
    Mark
     
  5. Rosscoe

    Rosscoe Member

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Oberon NSW
    Thanks everyone, we will open our wallet and do stuff ourselves, yes I am mechanically minded, would prefer not to be but can do most of what may (hopefully not) be needed. We will be utilising non powered caravan parks, free pubs and camp grounds as long as they have showers and toilets. The Kombi has solar and dual batteries, a 3000 watt inverter, we have a 75 litre fridge freezer so should be self sufficient. The only thing that I am concerned about is the reliability as we have every thing else covered. We intend to travel anti clockwise around Australia, we are thinking about towing our motor bike on a very light weight bike trailer, as the awning tent is fixed so not drive away, and finding storage for the bike is a worry. We will not be travelling too far daily as time is not an issue, if we like a place we will be stopping for as long as we want too. The engine is a fully rebuilt 1916 that has only done about 2000 klms. Oh yeah and we have NRMA plus just in case.
     
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  6. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,990
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    Based on all that, you have nothing to worry about !
    Valves must be checked/adjusted every 5,000 k. Oil can go longer before changing.....
    Other than those, go hit the road and enjoy !
    Cheers,
    Mark
     
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  7. chris taylor

    chris taylor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,346
    Location:
    adelaide sth aust
    Sounds like a good time is coming up ,enjoy the trip and safe traveling.
     
    Rosscoe likes this.
  8. Voltwagen

    Voltwagen Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Perth
    You sound like you have prepared for it and are asking the right questions, unlike some, i've been selling off some parts I no longer need so have met quite a few people with this idea, most of them have no idea and are not prepared in any way, most just want to build an 'Instagram friendly' van and blog whilst doing it, only one person i'd met had their engine rebuilt (but maybe not by the best engine builder in Perth), most of the rest had the attitude of it's running just now, i'll just fix it on the way..... I'm sure most of these people won't make it round and those that do will need to do some major repairs on the way.

    I've not done amassively long trip, my longest usual trip is Perth to Exmouth ~1250km each way, loaded with camping gear. I usually spread this over 2 days but the last 2 trips I have done ~1100km one day, sleep over, then the rest in the morning. Vans can do this distance easily, but you do need to check it over before going on/during the trip and have it running good before hand, I know my 1600 is good and can handle it, but I am currently upgrading to a Type 4 2L

    For your set up i'd get at least 1 CHT gauge, oil pressure and oil temp are ok, but CHT is what you really need in my view, they are the only gauge's i'll be fitting to my new build.
     
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  9. Jethro

    Jethro Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    445
    Location:
    North West Sydney
    Hi Mark
    All good points, Is there a reference on here for the valve checking procedure?
    Geoff
     
  10. Barry

    Barry Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,326
    Location:
    Abbotsford NSW
    Jethro likes this.
  11. PorscheKombi

    PorscheKombi New Member

    Messages:
    23
    Location:
    Port Melbourne
    What an adventure you have in your midst.
    As others have said, it sounds like you are asking all the right questions. I can only speak from my time before moving to aus when I drove my first kombi (2000cc) around france and Italy covering 5600kms in 7weeks, before redoing similar route with my current kombi (porsche powered) covering 4000miles in 2weeks. Neither trip I had issues.

    I carried servicable parts (dizzycap, leads, plugs, clutch/accel/handbrake cables etc.).

    As others have said, keep up with the service intervals - but this doesn't mean leaving that long. Listen to the kombi. For example, If you start to here ticking from the engine that sounds like the tappets, check the clearances....dont leave it until the service interval because thats only 500kms away. If you here a knocking from the wheel jack it up and take a look. It takes 5minutes to jack up a wheel and check the wheel bearing for play

    The number of people I see who have fresh hoses missing and ducting missing. VW didnt put those hoses there for no reason. And if you aren't going to replace the hoses, at least cap off the holes in the tinware left behind. Efficiency in the engine comes from the temperature differential between the cool side (inside the enginebay) and hot side (underneath the engine) of the engine.

    Drive the kombi like an air cooled, not a watercooled - no more important than here in Australia where the temperature is much hotter than most of Europe. Again, the number of times I hear an old vw trundling past with very low engine rpm - which means a very low cooling fan speed. You dont have the benefit of a radiator to to the hard work of keeping engine temperature down.

    Consider your environment. For example, in dusty environments it may be worth checking your air filters and cylinder head cooling fins etc. for clogging.

    I suppose, in summary, you are the Vehicle's ECU Health system - you are the warning lights that would otherwise come up on the dashboard of your modern car to warn you of minor issues. Unfortunately, people don't tend to this like this until the warning like results in the vehicle dying of something.
     
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  12. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,990
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    As posted,
    or try this:
    http://forums.kombiclub.com/threads/valve-adjustment-for-smarties.4457/

    The only thing I would add is that I set the exhaust valves to 0.008 “.....not 0.006.”
    This was as advised by my mech. who re-built the engine.
    I listen to him !!
    Cheers,
    Mark
     
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  13. AC-T3

    AC-T3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,013
    Location:
    Woy Woy
    What he said. 008 is the go for exhaust valves.
     
    Rosscoe likes this.
  14. Surfing72

    Surfing72 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Gold Coast
    I have nothing to offer other than I am extremely jealous - lucky bugger. Enjoy:)
     
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  15. Rosscoe

    Rosscoe Member

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Oberon NSW
    Thank you to all who responded. We are going to pretty much stick to the bitumen, at first anyway. We are going to sell up almost everything and do this lap and then MAYBE settle down once finished. Of course that is if we dont fall head over for the open road, if so then we may do this till we are no longer physically able to. So far the car has been fitted with an antique style roof rack, with an awning tent attached, in the back we have the rock and roll bed that is permanently down, we dont carry any passengers. Today I installed the dual battery setup with a 3000 watt Pure Sine Inverter it charges from the alternator and from the 200 watt solar panel, not sure if I am going to permanently attach the solar panel to the roof or use it as a portable as it is designed to do, I favour having it on the roof full time. Fitted a Gene Berg shifter as the original and the scat just wasnt doing it for me, a fold out screen stereo has been fitted, UHF, Dash Cam, and a VMS700 GPS has also been fitted. Tacho, Oil Pressure, Oil Temp, VDO fuel gauge installed and a reverse camera yet to be installed. The 1916 engine with dual webers is virtually brand new. We have a 22 inch LED light bar and 2x9 inch LED spot lights fitted to the bull bar. We have utilised LED Christmas lights inside, but may change them yet as they are AAA battery powered. We hope to commence travelling in about 4 or 5 months but that would depend totally on a particular circumstance. I have just about every Kombi workshop/repair manual known to human kind so that we can fix any or at least diagnose any issues she may have. We intend to follow the sun and spend as much time at the beach as we can. We have 2 Autobarn heavy duty plastic trunks that will have all our tools and spare parts tied down on the roof rack, the only thing I want but havent as yet got are high profile aggressive all terrain tyres, the ones I have on ATM are road tyres and have too much tread to throw away. The one thing we have not yet decided on is whether we tow our Harley on the back, our Mazda will be going to our No. 3 son, the Harley maybe to No. 2 son (I want to take it with us as the Kombi when parked stays parked). I think we have enough camping gear, anything we need we will buy on the way, if we have too much gear then we will discard along the way. To say we are excited and looking forward to this is an understatement. I recently retired from the ADF and get a reasonable Military pension and my super, we should be fine financially, beside we have a Kombi to sell if the shit really hits the fan LOL
    I hope to remember and post some photos on here, BUT I will not be giving a blow by blow rundown of every time we go to the toilet or what we eat for lunch dinner or breakfast, I promise not to bore you all, if I havent already.
     
    Last edited: Jul 3, 2019
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  16. Rosscoe

    Rosscoe Member

    Messages:
    85
    Location:
    Oberon NSW
    Hi Voltwagen
    What CHT gauge would you recommend, digital or analogue, what brand would be better??????
     
  17. Nozza

    Nozza Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    361
    Location:
    Cheltenham
    Bore us please
     
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  18. Voltwagen

    Voltwagen Member

    Messages:
    29
    Location:
    Perth
  19. Grantus

    Grantus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,560
    Location:
    Southern ACT
    Sounds like a plan! :)

    My only observational comment, is in regards to the solar panels. If you decide to permanently roof mount them, won’t that negate the scenario of having the Kombi parked up in a shady spot and still getting full use from the panels, as opposed to be able to keep the Kombi cool in the shade, and placing the portable solar panels in a sunny spot close by? :rolleyes:
     
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  20. tintop

    tintop Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    629
    Location:
    Canberra
    For solar, I've got 200 watts flat on the roof (love not having to set things up)... but at this time of year the sun swings around pretty low. I've got another 2 x 160 watt panels and 10m of cable I can plug in...(they are the lightweight flexible folding ones...about 3kg each)...they won't last as long if always used but I'm using mainly 240v on the current trip so they haven't even had to come out
     
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