It’s feels great to say and it’s even better to see- Bamse is getting closer to being back on the road! It’s still a way away, but I feel more confident about having my little campervan running on the road than I have in years. I only managed to actually drive and use her for one brief, glorious summer before she was relegated to the garage, but we’re getting there, and it feels good to say she might be back exploring Scotland again soon.
The big task has been getting the engine & gearbox back together for mounting into the engine bay. It’s all jobs that could have been done wihtout moving the engine (in theory) but it’s been so much easier gwetting to parts and cleaning everything with both the underside of the van and the etire block all accessible. So, before I forget, everything that’s been done so far:
- New timing belt & water pump. Probably the most nerve-wracking job, and the only one we’ve had someone more mechanically-inclined check for us before we put it together
- New clutch. For mating together the gearbox and engine block after we fitted it, we needed a clutch alignment tool to ensure the input shaft met with the teeth of the clutch disk. Dad came up with a neat little tool- essentially a nut that fitted into the clutch disk much like an alignment tool so we could get the gearbox connected without too much hassle. Slightly nerve wracking, but it all seemed to go together without too much trouble.
- New engine mounts. Shipped from Australia! They fitted on easily enough, but they can be slid up the engine mounting bar and might be sitting a bit too low. Ironically, probably one of the few things that can be better adjusted once the engine is back in.
- Fresh paint! We really cleaned up the engine with some fresh heat-resistant spray paint on the block, as well as tidying up the altanator and starter motor. Cleaner than most of the van!
Also plenty of little fixes, we have new spark plugs and belts, a few bushes, gaskets and oil filters, nothing overly massive. Getting the engine back in will probably require a bigger jack (I wasn’t here when dad removed it, but it apparently involved about 3 or 4 people to help!). I’m also using this time to clean up the underside as much as possible. For a van of her age she’s in pretty solid shape, but this should hopefully keep her clean for another season on the road.
Could it then, that the fabled Bamse will return to Raasay roads once again? Well, there’s a long road ahead, and there still an MOT to contend with after all this is done… but I’m hopeful!