Let there be curtains!

12 07 2018

What a difference a few curtains make! I bought this curtain set already in 2015, from an Ebay seller (Volksrent24) who (at the time) seemed to have specialized in sewing these sets on demand.  They cover all 8 windows of a late bay bus and were offered in green, yellow and orange. I bought the green set for Taiga Lily.



It took me another year to get around ordering the REIMO curtain rail installation kit (product number: 56251). For each window in the back, two holders for the wire at the top and two curtain holders left and right of the window have to be fixed with screws to the side walls. The curtain for all three windows in the front cabin comes in one piece with a rubber band sewed in at the top and is then attached to the wall via 6 push buttons (which were also part of the REIMO set).

Image_11The REIMO set was delivered in November when Taiga Lily was already in her winter sleep. So when she came out into the sun in May, it finally happened. The curtain holders look a bit like cheap plastic on their own, but do their job very well. The wrapped up curtains are quickly folded behind them and stay in place. Also, I am very happy with the color, works better with the sage green of the car and the green plaid of the bench cushions then I had expected.



A new bus tent!

23 10 2015

With now two small kids, we decided the kombi alone would be too small for camping with the family. So we bought a very big new bus tent. The first camping trip in early August was a one week visit to our favorite local camp site (at Schwielochsee in the Spreewald, about 100 km south east of Berlin). The new tent (Reimo Tour Family Thermo) is huge and comes with two separate sleeping cabins. They fitted perfectly as parent’s and kid’s bedrooms. The bus is meant to park on the side so that one can enter the tent via the sliding door. But we used it this time as a stand-alone tent and used the kombi only for transportation. The weather was very hot, with temperatures touching 40°C, but it was a good break from everyday life. We should do this more often!



Rock and Roll Bed, Part 5: Safety Features

25 07 2013

Picking up the thread on building the rock and roll bed in the back of my kombi: Last summer I got the basics done in time for last year’s Berlin Bus Festival. Here is the complete thread. Last September I added a safety mechanism, a locking mechanism that prevents the bench from opening. Important when you roll the car in an accident and you don’t want all your tools flying around and into your head. Never thought much about this, but with a baby daughter now as the main passenger in the back, I found myself looking into safety more seriously. The mechanism seems to be around for a long time already and can still be bought via the German campervan specialist Reimo (German “Sitzbankverriegelung”, Reimo part number 58060). The detailed technical drawings that came with the Reimo Rock and Roll Bed hinges actually show already where exactly this bolting mechanism has to be attached to the bench seat and front panel. A catch behind the front panel locks into a hook that is bolted through the bench seat panel. The catch can be released by pulling a knob on the front of the front panel, see the photos below.





While I was at it, I also added a second small fire extinguisher under the bench. It complements a first fire extinguisher I had installed under the dashboard when I bought the van. The idea being that the front one is at hand when the engine catches fire while the back one is for when one manages to set the curtains on fire when cooking in the kitchen. Historically, a lot of buses were apparently lost due to engine fires. Zero-to-sixty-eventually just recently posted on good quality fuel lines and a fuel shut off valve as precautions to prevent engine fires in Volkswagen buses – check out his blog post and links therein. I had added the bench lock mechanism and the second fire extinguisher already last September. All became very suddenly very relevant four days ago when I drove Taiga Lily on the Autobahn on a very hot Sunday afternoon and a little Seat hatchback caught fire five cars ahead of me. I stopped and emptied the 2 kg front fire extinguisher into the engine bay, but could not stop the fire fully. Two lessons learnt: Place under bench not good for easy reach when seat cannot be folded up quickly, due to heavy baby seat on top of it. And: Two kilograms of powder are gone really quickly. Today I bought the replacement for the empty front extinguisher, and a second two-kilogramm extinguisher as more serious backup than the one-kilogramm one under the back bench.


Rock And Roll Bench, Part 1: Getting Started

24 07 2012

I finally got started with building the rock-and-roll bed, a bench in the back of the kombi that can be pulled out to form a bed. I bought the mechanism two years ago from the German kombi supplier bus-ok.de, advertised as suitable for T1, T2 and T3. They came without any instructions, but the guys at bus-ok.de said that basically all the hinges on the market are clones of the originals ones from Reimo, a German campervan conversion specialist. And for those I had instructions because I had built them into our old bus, the Old Lady, in 2002. These instructions can also be found here on the internet. My sheets are labeled 2002 instead of 1990, but otherwise they are exactly the same. So in 2010 I put the new hinges aside and nothing happened for two years. Now with the Berlin Bus Festival starting in a few days, I finally picked up the thread again some two weeks ago. I got the boards cut in a local DIY market, in birch multiplex because I really like it. I went for the strength recommended in the Reimo instructions: 15 mm for front and side walls and 21 mm for the sitting board and back rest (19 mm as recommended by Reimo were not available in this material).

Leon Dogwonder with the boards for the new bench.

Hinges shown in the two positions, bench and bed, testwise attached to the side boards.

Hinges seen from the backside.

To give you an idea of how the finished bed-bench combination can look, I will add some photos of the Old Lady below. Taken in a dark underground garage, so it all looks a bit dodgy and dusty, but you will get the idea. One can also still buy the Reimo rock-and-roll bed mechanism I had used in the Old Lady. The set is officially for the Volkswagen T3/T25 bus (08/1979-07/1990) (Reimo part number 58001) and designed so that the bed level is 12 cm higher than the T3 motor compartment so that the bed can/should be combined with a 12 cm high storage room on the engine compartment. The same hinge can also be used for the T2 without storage space above the engine as the engine compartment of the T2 was just that much higher anyway. In the Old Lady I had increased the bench hight from 36 to 40 cm so that I could keep a 4 cm storage space above the engine. Good to keep tools and spare parts. But as a drawback one was sitting just those 4 cm too high and too close to the ceiling.

Rock-and-roll bench/bed in the Old Lady, a 1978 T2b.

Bench in the Old lady pulled out into the bed position.

Brackets that stabilize the bed position from underneath.

Additional support with Reimo foldable table foot.