Wow – what a summer that was! Can’t remember the last time I saw so much rain! As a result of the constant bad weather we didn’t get away anywhere near as much as I would have liked in the bus, and the bug barely made it out of the garage. Our first couple of forays in the bus ended up with the return journey being completed on the back of a recovery truck – and that’s never good! Fortunately John at Beetle People was on hand to work his magic yet again – although I’m not sure that’s what my wallet would call it……

The first sign of things to come were as I was driving down to Cambridgeshire to get Clarence lowered by the Type 2 Detectives. Everything had being going great guns until I got onto the A14 when there was a sudden loss of power, and I managed to coast into a lay by. I wasn’t very happy to see a little puff of smoke coming out of the rear air vent – especially as I’d left the fire extinguisher in the bug by mistake!

Turned out it was some wires getting pinched by the alternator which had worn through the plastic sheathing and shorted out, causing a very small fire. Thankfully stopping when I did had put it out. So, we arrived at T2D late that night on the back of a recovery truck. Paul and the guys at T2D did a great job of mildly lowering the bus, and they also sorted the wiring out and suggested it might get me home but couldn’t give me any guarantees!

Needless to say, we didn’t make it home and the alternator issue reared its head again just outside of Peterborough on the A1. Cue another recovery truck! When John at Beetle People had had a look at it it was decided that the alternator was stuffed, so on went a new one and we thought everything would be peachy for the trip down to Salisbury. Which it was for the most part, but then halfway home on the return journey we again found ourselves waiting for the RAC. Cue my third trip on a recovery truck in less than a fortnight!

John now realised that whilst the alternator was stuffed, it wasn’t causing this problem which was snapping the alternator strap on a regular basis (3 times in 2 weeks!) and this time the strap holding the coil to the fan shroud had also managed to snap! After spending a fair bit of time rooting around in there he decided that it was the flywheel that was out of balance and the resulting vibration from this was what was causing the vibration that was snapping the straps. Whilst a number of people on some of the VW forums disagreed with this diagnosis, we haven’t had any more issues so am keeping my fingers crossed on that front!

Other than a couple of afternoons out here and there, the only other time I’ve managed to camp in the bus was when me and one of my old buddies Andy took Clarence up to the National Trust campsite at Great Langdale for the night. The bus behaved impeccably all the way there and back – plus we had some good beer and great food!

I’ve managed to find the time to fit the Mad Matz carpets I bought before we went to Salisbury along with some new speakers in the top locker in the rear of the bus. And I’ve also got cracking with Autoglym’s paint renovator to try and get some shine into that scruffy paint – maybe he’ll be in a fit state to drive to Brad and Ros’ wedding in February – although I think the bug might be taking that trip!

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