VW Splitscreen camper

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VW Splitscreen camper

Postby chissit » Fri Aug 21, 2009 7:43 pm

Hi Guys,
I'm looking at buying the bus below or something very similar as a restoration project. Just wondered if anyone else around here owns or owned one previously.
What do you reckon? Am I completely mad?
I've always fancied a vw splitty and would appreciate your views on the subject...

Cheers
Gary
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This week, I are mainly juggling too many balls...

Far too much kit!!
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Postby Bombcup » Sat Aug 22, 2009 12:44 am

Hi Chissit

Just returned today from 3 weeks touring northern Spain on honeymoon in my bay-window van. I've owned several beetles and am about to put the van in for a whole bunch of tinworm removal and respray.

I don't know how experienced you are with old vehicles, but I would suggest if you're not too sure about where to poke around for rust then take someone with you who is. Watch out for dodgy blow-over paint jobs done for £500 to cover the rust and absolutely buy the best you can afford in terms of bodywork as it costs a shedload to put right. Are you gonna use it for holidays? If so consider the interior facilities. Bespoke or original interiors cost a lot particularly for splits but a matress in the back will do.

Early vans which originally had a 1200cc motor and some 1500cc models (almost all vans are now running 1600cc) will have reduction boxed on the back axle. This mullers your cruising speed so check it has been converted to IRS rear end (many have).
I've lived and breathed VWs since I was about 8 so throw any questions my way if you lioke.

Cheers
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Postby DrTom » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:28 am

Agree with everything Bombcup has to say and also advise bracing for impact when researching prices for splittys :O

I think it's fair to say that if you are looking at having a functional bus for holidays etc then you will invariably spend a lot more getting it to a good point than a comparable finished bus done by someone else - I know this takes the fun out of a project though.

May I recommend the forums over at http://www.volkszone.com/ , they are brilliant and have a very good community vibe as with most of the VW fraternity! Especially the tech forum (where regrettably I spend most of my time... ).

If you are set on getting a project vehicle think of your skills you have, can you weld?, do you have tools? How comfortable/how big is your wallet for an engine rebuild/purchase etc then purchase accordingly - you can't take too long in choosing a VW!!

Sorry if that made no sense at all.

Best of luck with your search - and when you do get to the stage where you have a VW, I have a few of the VW workshop tools and manuals that you are welcome to use (I'm in Darlington if that's anywhere close to you).
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Postby triptogenetica » Sat Aug 22, 2009 9:56 am

Hmm... show TMC a VW badge, and see who comes out of the woodwork?

Once again, the level of expertise on this forum is impressive - and not just in coffee! :)
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Postby chissit » Sat Aug 22, 2009 4:48 pm

Thanks for the info' guys.
I went to view the pictured bus this morning, it's pretty solid all round with really light surface rust in a couple of areas! Took it for a drive and it runs fairly well (for a bus!) It's still got the reduction boxes on the rear and they were moaning at anything approaching 20mph and above. I think if I bought it, I'd do the irs conversion? Any advice?
The wiring was pretty dire and the locks all round wanted changing, there's no passenger door lock at all and no ignition switch. The guys installed a Maplin remote start key fob so you either press a button on the dash or on the key fob... mm
The panel fit all round it is not that good, on the door shuts that is. It's had skins on the cargo doors but I'd consider doing them again to improve the fit etc...
As far as my skills go, I'm a time served mechanic/fitter but that's approaching 17yrs ago (scary how time flies). I also used to do loads welding/fabbing etc and have restored 2 x TR6 and a lovely little TR3.
I've got a space in the workshop which is crying out for a splitty...

I've been talking to a guy from Alan Schofield's who imports buses and he has various available which are ready for import. All these would need serious bare metal resto's. Whilst I would enjoy doing this, I also want to get some use from her in the process. I don't want to end up loathing the jobs I would have to do just get her usable. Does that make sense?
It would also be much less earache from the 'boss' if we could go for an occasional run into the countryside throughout the resto', even if the panels are in primer....
I've been spending more time than I care to mention on volkszone and ssvc forums trying to soak up as much info' as possible before I make a decision. It seems that the more I spend on a solid base, the less of an urgency there will be to spend more serious cash/time on getting it to the state I want it. I can look at dropping the engine, irs conversion, disc conversion, interior upgrades etc. as individual smaller projects which will be more enjoyable. Am I making sense or just rambling?
I'd hope to get the one I viewed for around £8.5-9k, it's on fleabay at the minute and he's not accepting offers, although we did settle on the fact the he wants 'Carmen' to go to a good home.
To throw a spanner in the works, there's another one over in Cheshire, I've not viewed it yet but like the look of it. It's rhd and imported from RSA about 5 yrs ago, says it's a 1975 but running a 1200cc? Does that make sense? Anyway, here's a pic..
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This week, I are mainly juggling too many balls...

Far too much kit!!
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Postby Bombcup » Sat Aug 22, 2009 5:55 pm

The one you viewed sounds about the right money for the condition you describe, sounds like you have all the skills and experience you need to sort any problems and do any resto work.

That second one is a bit of an odd fish, split screens were discontinued in Germany in 1967, but many other VW factories including South Africa continued making them in Complete Knock Down (CKD) kit form using bits and pieces from all over the VW model range, hence the unusual 15 windows (quite desirable I guess), 1200cc motor (Discontinued in about 65 for Type 2s in Germany) and the very late model year. It has the advantage of being RHD but these international odd-bods can be a bit of a pain to shift.

Edit: Another thing, the 1200cc engine is the only VW flat-four which can't be upgraded to 1600cc with a straightforward rebuild, so it would definitely require an engine replacement including almost all the ancillaries to make it driveable. I had a 1200cc bug which was rewarding if you were patient but I definitely wouldn't want to push a big old bus with one!
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Postby chissit » Sun Aug 23, 2009 9:59 am

Whilst the 2nd bus does appear to be in top notch physical condition, I think it would need a new engine/ gearbox setup to make it any where near a viable option on todays roads.
As far as engine rebuilds, does that mean I could drop the existing 1500cc single port in the first bus and replace barrels/pistons heads etc for the 1641cc upgrade? With carbs etc. of course. I've also heard that you can fit one of the beetle gearboxes directly into the bus which helps whilst doing the irs conversion, is this right?
I've just thought that perhaps I'm better off asking these questions in a vw forum, but then again, it does seem that relative newbies to the 'scene' are sometimes treated with a little ridicule for asking such seemingly basic questions :oops:
Anyway, as far as coffee in the bus goes, i've just finished refurbing a little Giotto which I think would sit quite nicely somewhere!

Cheers
Gary
This week, I are mainly juggling too many balls...

Far too much kit!!
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Postby Bombcup » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:03 am

Yeah you can put 1641 barrels and pistons into the 1500 case, but it would be well worth upgrading the cylinder heads and inlet manifold to twin-port items for much improved torque.

As far as transmission is concerned I think you need a gearbox from a 1303 beetle plus an assortment of 1303 and bay-window driveshaft and suspension parts to complete the IRS conversion, they're all readily available.
How To
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Postby chissit » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:40 am

Thanks again for the info, I assumed that if I bought a kit for 1641 conversion I would go down the twin port route automatically. Seems no point doing one without the other...
Thanks for the link to the 'how to', Volksheaven are just on the other side of town (Doncaster) so I'm well placed for local advice as far as IRS goes, I didn't even know they were there! Typical VW noobie!!

Cheers
Gary
This week, I are mainly juggling too many balls...

Far too much kit!!
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chissit
 
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Location: South Yorkshire

Postby Bombcup » Sun Aug 23, 2009 11:45 am

That's handy, Volksheaven should be able to supply everything you need, and mostly from second hand parts which will keep the cost down. Whenever I've spoken to them at shows they've been very helpful.

Good luck!
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Postby DrTom » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:00 pm

Hello Gary,

As Bombcup says, you are well suited to a resto like this with your skills and background! I'm sure you will do MUCH reading but just to give you a 'heads up' - when I was looking to tweak my last beetle I looked at the 1641 kits, they are pretty nice! But there are always people saying that the walls are a bit thinner on the 1641 barrel leading to structural concerns, especially when they get hot. I stuck with the standard 1600 pistons/barrels. While there is no replacement for displacement, I thought the risk against gain was too great for my daily driver. In the end I lightened the flywheel, balanced the cons/pistons, put some twin 40 mm carbs on, popped a slightly larger exhaust on and worked the head/manifolds for greater flow - it shifted some, and would do a bus - but it depends what you consider 'do' as :D

If you are wanting to do lots of driving and consider it worthwhile, there are a few engine configurations for the flat four (as I'm sure you know) that you may want to consider. One is a 1800 cc engine which if I remember correctly is a 1600 engine with a 71 mm throw crank as opposed to a 69 mm throw which is standard for a 1600. Or a 2300 cc turbo (may require 'slight' machining of case. Warranty not included. May explode.) 8)

Again, apologies if this makes no sense :)
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Postby chissit » Sun Aug 23, 2009 10:28 pm

Thanks for that! The bus won't be a daily driver, but I do want to be able to at least keep up with the flow of traffic and be able to cruise at 60mph without blowing anything up or wearing ear defenders!

''there is no replacement for displacement''

I like it! I want reliability too though, so any advice is greatly appreciated. I'm not overly familiar with the aircooled lumps, other than they look pretty easy to play with. There seems to be so much choice as to configurations and with obviously varying end results, it's a little overwhelming and I only want to do once and do well.
Perhaps if I just stick with a 1600 with a decent carb/ignition setup and ease all the flow paths by matching/polishing, that will give good enough performance for what I need? I don't expect to enter any standing quarter competitions (just yet!). Although I do keep looking at 'Buses With Attitude' 8)

Thanks again
Gary
This week, I are mainly juggling too many balls...

Far too much kit!!
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Postby DrTom » Mon Aug 24, 2009 1:32 am

I can't say for sure as I have only ever had beetles but for every person who has a 'hot' bus there must be at least 10 people who run their engines stock - most of which I'm sure are happy(?!) I'm thinking that a stock 1600 with a well tuned carb/valves/timing setup will do 60 MPH depending on the final ratios. I know that the 'GT' gearbox had a bit of a longer final gear but I can't remember if that was IRS or not... I would have thought so though. They are worth getting if you can pony up the dough, and can find one! (in my very humble opinion)

I believe the list of T1/T2 engines go like this:

1200 (stock VW)
1300 single or twin port (stock VW)
1500 single port (stock VW)
1600 single or twin port (stock VW)
1641 kit to use with single/twin port
1800 71 mm crank 1600 setup
2000 73 mm crank 1600 setup OR normal 69 mm crank and larger barrels
2100 which has new barrels and crank in a machined 1300/1500/1600 case

Then you look at your cams and rocker profiles :roll: I'm sure there are one or two more displacement configurations!

I know you can get a good amount of pull from a 1600 - most of these engines exist because they can! I'm not sure how necessary (or safe with standard brakes/suspension) the top end setups are for casual users :P
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Postby Bombcup » Mon Aug 24, 2009 4:50 am

Good info indeed from Tom, I would add, and I'm sure you know, that the more highly tuned the motor the more highly strung it becomes. Big motors run hotter and cooling is a problem on buses, external oil coolers add a lot more potential for leaks and failures. Twin carbs are awesome but need regular adjustment.

I've used a 1641cc and 1776cc motor without any bottom end troubles, I think it's the 1831cc conversion (big pistons with no change in stroke) which is a known trouble-maker with thin-walled barrels.

A well built 1600 with a beetle gearbox will run a treat in modern traffic, but the cylinder head tuning and bottom end balancing which Tom suggests would be a great improvement.
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Postby DrTom » Mon Aug 24, 2009 8:00 am

Bombcup wrote:Twin carbs are awesome but need regular adjustment.



There is no truer sentence :P
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