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The Frog Van - Old Boiler No More

In the continuing saga that is my frog van we left off in my post Getting to Know More About Cars with the van parked in my studio minus one driver seat and radiator.

As mentioned previously I took the radiator in to have it cleaned.

The verdict was, according to the radiator mechanic, that the internal pipes were 95 percent blocked. Overheating problem solved, I guess. Whilst this before and after photo on the right is rather meaningless it does show how painting the thing black can make all the difference. I'm sure that'll help. I wonder if we paid extra for that?

I put the radiator and the engine panel and driver seat back in (thinking I wouldn't need to get down that side of the engine any more), filled the radiator up and gave the van a good run around a few local hills at 80kmph. The good news being that the engine temperature remained constant at its proper level the whole time. Yippee! Old boiler no more!

Next I decided to see what I could do about the fuel problem with the van constantly running on, backfiring (sometimes) and I did notice it was struggling a little again going up hills.

All my online researching suggested starting with the fuel pump and fuel filter. I knew the fuel pump was fine but have no idea when the fuel filter was last changed so put a new one of those on my shopping list. At the same time I checked all the rubber hoses that make up the fuel system and discovered a suspect one right at the base of the carburetor attached to the fuel inlet manifold (I think that's what you call it). Rubber hose added to my shopping list.

I thought I'd remove the old fuel filter easily but it wasn't to be. It was located on the drivers side of the engine so once again I had to pull out the drivers seat and the engine cover panel.

Pulling out the old filter was a little tricky but putting in the new one was easy enough. I bought enough rubber hose to put new hoses on each side of the filter which I cut then let my partner, Enigma, handle attaching them to the filter whilst I went off and made a real mess of replacing the other hose near the carburetor.

The old hose had a definite split. Since this was a vacuum pressure hose it was clear to me that this could be the reason for the van once again struggling with hills. You'd think replacing a pipe would be simple but, since this is me we're talking about, I managed to break the metal connection point right off, putting on the new hose.

After fitting the new fuel filter my partner and I rushed down to the car shop with the broken part for advice. The man there suggested we could either fit a new similar (but not the same part) brass part for AU$42.00 or we could try gluing the old part back together with a product called 'permaweld' for AU$9.95. No prizes for which we chose.

The Permaweld glue needed to be left overnight for maximum strength so I glued the part and then tidied everything up for the day. If you look at the photo on the right you can see the part I'm talking about. The curved bit on the top, angling to the right, is what broke off.

Permaweld is designed for use in engines and is meant to be able to stand extreme heat, oil and fuel and more. When I got back the next day the bond seemed pretty strong though I was very careful not to put too much pressure on it when I refitted the new pipe.

In the photo on the right you can see the grey, Permaweld glue holding the curved metal pipe in place. All the pipes are attached and the part is back in position.

Enigma once again helped, putting back the engine panel and drivers seat. All that was left to do was give the frog van a really good run to see if our work had made any difference.

That afternoon Rose and I took the van for a really long run to visit Gomersal Wines out at the small town of Lyndoch. The Winery had an exhibition of art we hoped to see. The van drove there beautifully maintaining normal temperature at 100kmph and even faring well on corrugated, puddle filled dirt roads.

The winery had a different exhibition on to the one we were expecting (apparently Rose had got hold of a really old flyer with no dates). Still the exhibition we saw was interesting featuring macro photography of flowers, beach themed oil paintings and some Japanese and European themed scenes too.

On the way back we stopped in at The Yaldara Estate (pictured), where you can sample wines and cheeses. Rose is something of a cheese gourmet and bought three different varieties along with some crackers.

By the time we got home the frog van had done remarkably well. It didn't overheat at all and the engine seemed to be running better. Unfortunately I didn't solve the running on problem but I did seem to improve it. That is to say it only runs on slightly now. I'll have to look more into it but I'll save that for another day.

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