I’m about to travel through Norway in my van. See this post: Getting to Norway by campervan – from the UK
But I need to make sure it’s is running well so it can get up all those mountains, and to minimise the chances of it breaking down… in the mountains.
In this post I’ll show you the jobs I’ve done on the van to give me the best chances of getting to the Arctic Circle with minimal problems.
Note: This is not advice and I’m not a mechanic! Please feel free to add anything helpful, for me and others, in the comments.
Scroll to the bottom to watch the 3 minute video.
1. Had a bit of Chassis repaired
It wasn’t an MOT failure but I had a bit of bad metal replaced since it would only get worse. The rest of the chassis is solid after careful inspection. See this post: The chassis needed some welding. Here’s how I got it fixed
2. Replaced leaking coolant hoses
Rubber hoses get worn and start to leak with age. I replaced the dodgy looking ones, which has now fixed the slow coolant leak
More new coolant hose
On inspection I found even more coolant hose with very thin spots on the rubber (due to abrasion from nearby metal edges) that were bound to fail very soon. I replaced this whole T-section with new hose
3. Changed coolant
See post from a while back on replacing coolant: Changing the engine coolant
4. Changed oil
I think this is probably the best thing you can do to prolong the life of your engine. I do this every year and I always use the exact spec oil (for Ford diesel engines) as specified by LDV – that is either M2C913–A or M2C913–B
5. Replaced oil filter
I always change this when changing the oil. I’m not sure on the performance difference between cheap filters and the more expensive ones. I usually buy something in between
6. Replaced fuel filter
I don’t know how dirty these can get – and why diesel would block it – but a clogged up fuel filter can cause unresponsiveness and loss of power. This was last changed over 4 years ago. I thought it’s worth replacing for £10
7. Replaced air filter
When the filter is blocked, the fuel struggles to get enough air to completely combust resulting in excess carbon and reduced fuel efficiency. You’ll probably also notice loss of power and excessive exhaust emissions. The air filter is another simple and cheap part that can make all the difference to keep the engine running well
8. Topped up rear differential fluid
I’ve had trouble with this in the past. It can get a bit leaky so checked the level and made sure there was enough oil in here, up to the overflow point. See this post: Checking the rear differential oil level and filling it up
9. Topped up gearbox oil
I noticed a very slight leak (around the drive-shaft flange) so It’s important I keep an eye on the oil level here. Lack of oil in the gearbox will kill it quickly. I squirted some more gear oil in here until it came out of the overflow point
10. Greased the kingpins
I do this every few months. It’s a high pressure joint that can wear out quickly if there’s no grease. I use Molybdenum grease and a grease gun. See this post: How to grease the kingpins on your campervan
11. Fix exhaust leak on EGR pipe
Right when I thought I was finished I noticed exhaust fumes blowing into the engine bay. There was a small hole in the EGR return pipe (from Exhaust manifold in to the EGR valve). I did this temporary fix with aluminium and a jubilee clip. It’s lasted several hundred miles up to now
12. Topped up the underside with waxoyl
I’ve found Waxoyl (and other similar wax-based coatings) to give the best rust protection for the underside of the van. I do a top up every now and then with a brush. I also sprayed, with an air compressor, the inside of the chassis box sections
13. Service the leisure batteries
My batteries are serviceable and need watering every now and then, since water is lost as a result of charging. Using batteries like this (flooded lead acid or FLA) when they’re dry (or when all the cells are not submersed in the acid solution) will destroy them, and also the things around them. So it’s important to keep an eye on the levels in each cell.
I use distilled water to top them up to the level given in the manufacturers datasheet. So far I’ve had to do this this twice in 2 years. See more about my batteries here: My leisure batteries are dead. Here’s how I chose new ones and replaced them
For the first time ever the van didn’t even have any advisories!
15. Other things
I cleaned the Cranksensor (known to get dirty on my van, causing an engine fault).
I also used a fuel additive product, Archoil 6400, to clean the injectors, turbo etc. Whether this actually does anything significant or helpful I have no idea (comment below if you know or have any experience with this).
What I can say is that after doing all these things I can noticeably tell the difference when driving the van. It has way more power and is more responsive.