Van at the MOT test

The Van is on the Road!

Good news, the van has passed its MOT so I can finally start testing it on the road! I’ve learned a lot over the last year of fixing everything by hand which has given me a good insight into the workings and overall health of the vehicle. Aside from the replacement leaf springs and timing belt which I couldn’t fix myself, most of the work over the last year has been a long list of small mechanical tasks, a handful of bodywork fixes and a lot of painting!

Rebuilding and repainting the front end.
The satisfying red and silver of the painted subframe and new brake callipers

Braking efficiency was down in the last MOT so I basically rebuilt the front and rear brakes completely, replacing the disks, cleaning up or replacing the callipers, ordering new pads, replacing the handbrake cables and bleeding the brakes – now it stops a little too well, especially given that there is no ABS on this model.

Replacing the skylights was the biggest job, cutting them out was easy but welding in new plate was an unbelievable pain. Seam welding 1mm body panels is just not possible as far as I am concerned, learning to stitch weld on the fly is not ideal but given that it was my first time welding I’m very happy with the result. The most stressful part of the build was sealing the new giant skylight in the roof as I could not afford any mistakes for fear of leaks. Luckily Sikaflex-522 is a fantastic sealant so the van is no longer hidden under that ugly blue tarpaulin.

Filling the holes in the bodywork.
I’m so glad this is finished!

Filling the holes in the side of the bodywork was a bit easier but took a lot of preparation. Then it was just a matter of repainting the whole van by hand – it’s as fun as it sounds but what a difference! The chassis components are now all a striking red-oxide colour as well, which I think alongside the white and grey, gives it a battleship kind of aesthetic. It certainly handles like one anyway, despite me replacing the dampers in the suspension.

Finish it off with some new light clusters and blade-style windscreen wipers and I can report that the signs are a lot more positive. Although it has taken a lot of trial and error, the project definitely feels like it’s gathering momentum now and I finally decided on an apt name as well… Kickstart Kamper.

However, there is still much to do. I need to start work on the interior now, in addition to the many sustainability projects I aim to complete over the next year. Not to mention my ambition to promote this project as something that can actually make a positive impact on the environment but watch this space anyway!