Now we are four!

23 05 2015

Long time without a blog post. We had some interesting times over here. It started with me catching the measles back in mid-April. That was actually quite frightening. But things then changed from very bad to very good when two weeks ago our second baby-daughter was born! Which makes Wonder Daughter, our three-and-a-half year old, now officially The Big Sister. The first ride of our little one, from the hospital to our home, was in our kombi, together with her mum and sister. Gosh was I driving carefully, with my three ladies in the back. All is good now, we are enjoying a month of joint parental leave and are slowly getting used again to life around a new-born. And we are looking forward to going to Australia later this year for three or four months, to meet the family over there. Hurray for German parental leave laws!

PS: The child seats in the back require three-point safety belts. Our 1976 microbus did not have any belts in the back, but it came already with factory-built in attachment points. I bought the belts from Just Kampers (JK Part Number J10652). Here is a link to the posts on the installation. Each belt came with a 40-cm-extension (photo below) which was not required when using the belts with the original back bench of our VW microbus/window bus. However, I later replaced the original back bench with a rock-and-roll bed which is positioned about 10-20 cm further forward than the original bench. With this set-up, the belts are too short and the extension is required. In my case, even with the extension the belts are only just about long enough, but it works.


Rock And Roll Bench, Part 4: Done!

27 07 2012

Now the bench is complete. Last step was to bolt the side panels of the bench through the floor to the car. I used two of the four bolts I had put in some weeks ago to fix the floor plate solidly to the car. The rear two bolts were within the footprint of the bench, so with the right brackets they are now also holding the bench to the car. The idea is that Taiga Lily will have a temporary campervan conversion: Unscrewing the bench from the brackets on the floor and from the two attachment points on the engine bay will allow to take the rock and roll bench out, and another 12 bolts will then bring the original back bench in again. But for the moment, it is great to have a bus again that can be used as a campervan! Tomorrow we will start to the Berlin Bus Festival, for a three day camping weekend.

Before: The original back bench…

… and now with rock and roll bench…

… and pulled out to form the bed.

What is still missing are cushions for the seat and backrest and for the area above the engine bay which also will serve as a mattress for the bed. For the time being we borrowed the cushions for the seat and backrest from the Old Lady, our older bus. On top of that we will put an Ikea mattress, also from the Old Lady, which fits behind the back rest when folded once in the middle. With these cushions, the whole unit is starting to look comfy! Nice side effect is also that with the mattress and the cushions in place, the engine is quite less noisy.

For those interested in more details: The complete bench is quite heavy, turns out to weigh about 31 kg. Below are some more snapshots: The side walls are each bolted through the floor using a bracket and an 8mm machine bolt (very large washer). A second bracket on each side is just screwed into the floor plate Turned out the distance of nine centimeter between the side wall of the bus and the side panel of the bench was indeed crucial: With this distance, the bench can be folded without crashing against the roll-up units of the three-point-seatbelts which are fixed to the side walls just behind the back rest.

Rear safety belt (right side of the bus)

Safty belt, left side.

Position with regard to sliding door.

Side Wall Panels Finally All in Place

30 06 2012

I completed the last wall, opposite the sliding door: The usual procedure with two layers of Reimo 2cm Xtreme insulation mats, then a plastic foil as moisture barrier and the plywood panel. Hidden in the insulation mats are the cables for future loudspeakers in the back, and two cables to provide a 12V connection for the water pump of the future kitchen block. I added attachment points for the kitchen block in the middle of the side wall, by using two vertical metal cross bars which originally were the attachment points for an side arm rest for a middle bench. I placed a piece of wood behind these, with 8 mm holes and 6 mm drive-in nuts hammered into the back in the right distance so that the original holes in the metal bars can now be used to bolt the kitchen block into these drive-in nuts. They can also serve as attachment points to lash the dog transport box to the wall when the kitchen block is not in use.
I also got the plywood panels for the walls behind the driver’s and passenger seats installed, the back bench in and also a third safety belt installed for the middle seat of the back bench (2-point belt from JustKampers). I still need to cut out the openings for the air vents in the panels behind the front seats, but that has to wait a bit. Next bigger projects are getting the radio in and building the rock-and-roll bed/bench combination for the back.

Wall opposite sliding door without wall panel.

Piece of wood with two drive-in nuts…

… and in its place in the side wall, with two bolts screwed in.

Side wall with insulation in place.

With plastic foil added as moisture barrier.

Now with plywood cover panel back in place.

Wall to the front cabin, without panels…

… and now covered with plywood panels.

Inside walls finally complete!

Back bench back in the bus, and all walls covered.

Rear Safety Belts Installed

1 04 2012

Today I finally got around to install two three-point safety belts for the rear which I had bought almost two years ago. I ordered the first set for about 70 € from, then learnt from the manual that they actually came from JustKampers originally, so bought the second set directly from them. They are generic belts but come with a very helpful extra sheet which explains in detail how and where to install them in a VW T2 campervan. They also come with a 30 cm extension which will be required once I replace the original bench with a rock-and-roll bed/bench.

Taiga Lily features already all three mounting points (red arrows in photo below), though the upper one, directly under the window, was hidden under the head liner and had to be cut open. The lower mounting points on the wheel house were rusted through when we bought the bus. The panel was cut out and new attachment points were welded in at a local garagge (see the older post).

Upper mounting point.

Safety belt fixed to the mounting points.

The back rest of the bench is bolted with 4 screws to the side walls and to the wall of the engine bay. The seat of the back bench stands on its own feet which originally were attached to the floor via a hook and an appropriate mounting point in the floor panel. With my belief that the floor of a campervan should have an insulation mat and a wooden floor panel on top, I had blocked the access to these mounting points. As a quick fix, I bolted the feet with pipe clamps to the wooden floor. In the long run, I plan to actually bolt these clamps through the wooden floor, and perhaps even through the floor panel, to fix the bench really solidly to the car. But for the moment, the back bench is finally mounted and the seat belts are in. I will check tomorrow whether the baby capsule does fit. If the belt is too short, one of the extension belts from the kit will be added.

Bench feet bolted down with pipe clamps.

Bench back in place and with safety belts.

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