Posts by eightpot

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    Afraid the management system is rather basic, dating from the early 90's with an OBD socket tacked on to get the Hijet through type approval. I needed to add a hall effect flow meter into the cooling system, same with a float switch in the expansion tank and a pair of Dallas temperature sensors on the rad inlet and outlet pipes.

    I bought an Arduino to monitor the cooling system on my little Hijet van. So far I got the LED to blink, and tweeked the program to get it to blink a bit differently.

    Think it might be a while before I get it to do what I bought it for... :o

    My mate had a series 3 Landy, we bump started it because of a flat battery, snapped the drive shaft. Twice.

    Strange as i may sound, they are meant to do that. The halfshafts were designed to be the "weak link" in the entire drivetrain - it is far easier to both carry a number of halfshafts as spares and also change them out in the field, rather than a differential, main gearbox or transfer box.

    The problem with Landrover was it was starved of development money back in the 1970's, even though they were British Leyland's biggest earner - the profits of Landrover were used to prop up the rest of the crumbling BL empire.

    I like my 1971 2a. :)

    You may wish to find your local GLASS (Green Lane Association) rep to give you the lowdown on what byways in your area are still open to motorised vehicles. I don't know if you know already but one can't just use any bit of off road ground to drive onto and parkup, doing so on tracks that are anything other than BOATs (byways Open to All Traffic) is a very big no no.

    My Hijet is dual fuel petrol/LPG factory conversion. Gas systems have come a long way now and are pretty much self tuning. Mine uses the lambda probes from the petrol system to regulate itself and to drive it, there is no discernable difference between either fuel types. A few years back I had a Range Rover which I fitted a basic open loop LPG system which worked well enough, before converting it to closed loop by inserting a lambda probe and simple ecu controller.

    And gas is about 65p per litre :D

    Also, with the fridge apparently being able to run off the gas, do you know how this works and how much gas it would consume?

    The Fridge is an Electrolux RM212. It runs either on gas, 240v and (poorly) on 12v. The 12v option was only really included so you could keep it to temperature when connected to a running vehicle. It will not chill down from ambient and it will kill your battery if you try to do so on 12v. Avoid.

    Check the flue from the back of the fridge vents to the outside. And get a CO alarm.

    To turn it on the gas: flip the middle dial to O, turn the left dial to max, hold it in and press the igniter while watching for a blue flame through little window inside the fridge bottom left. Once it's lit and the flame has settled down, let go of the dial. If all is well the flame should stay lit.

    I have the same (but later model) fridge on my boat. When on my mooring I run it on 240volt and it works well, if a little power hungry compared to a regular compressor fridge. When out and about I run it on propane (orange bottle) and a 13kg bottle lasts about 3 weeks when cruising. But that also includes all my hot water and cooking too, but the fridge does make a dent in the gas consumption. There are a few issues with these fridges. They must be completely level to work and the gas jets get blocked - usually by dead spiders. If the fridge still isn't cooling down, it is dead level and free of arachnid corpses, then it may well be worth removing the fridge, turning it upside down and leaving it like that for an hour or so, before fitting it back in and switching on. Don't ask...

    (You can also change the panel in the door if you get bored of the 70's wood effect. Mine is now white.)

    I have a Hijet and they do have a reputation of blowing head gaskets. But that is a (drastic) final symptom of a neglected cooling system. The problem is that they are a commercial vehicle and as such don't usually get mechanically cossetted. Add in the fact that they are built down to a price then problems can arise. For example, the factory fitted hose clips rust and break causing air to be drawn into the pipes, evennually causing airlocks and overheating. Same with the rad caps (two of them). If the previous owner did check the water level on a semi regular basis, the usual route was to top off with plain water causing the metal coolant pipes to rust and pinhole, which drew air into the system... See a pattern?

    There were two petrol engines used, the early one was a 3 cylinder 1000cc of an elderly design, the later facelifted version had the 16valve 1300cc unit shared with the Daihatsu Terios canted over 70 degrees and sited under the front seats. As I said, I've got one and it's quite fun. Mine has a factory LPG kit fitted so it makes it cheaper to run, running on gas i get a price equvialent of 60mpg (if that makes sense...) A good few where fitted with LPG, about the only disadvantage is the spare wheel being in the load bay to make room for the LPG tank. You'll also a couple of Diesel engines used as well. Avoid. Slow and parts are next to impossible to get.

    You have to remember that the Hijets were built down to a price by Piaggio, so expect some dubious build quality - even down to the bolts they used: I've had more than a couple shear when undoing them, they really seem to be made of cheese. Rust is an issue but if you can weld (or know someone who can) it isn't too much of a problem.

    A couple more points of issue: Headlamps on the 1.3l vans: The silvering on the reflector bowl comes off in time, degrading the beam to the point it will fail an MOT. There are very limited (read: None) stocks of new replacement headlamps available. Some desperate souls have been paying up to £350 for a half decent pair on ebay. When mine finally do die, I'll be looking into getting a quote for them to be re-silvered, or perhaps making up homebrew solution using a pair of kitcar projector headlamps instead. A pain but not insurmountable.

    Side doors: Or rather, the runners. In time the rollers in the door slides get worn and stop the door shutting properly. You'll see the vans that have this since the previous owner tries to force the door to close by pushing on the rear edge of the door. It doesn't work and in time the metal panel gets dented. The fix is easily done by removing the door and overhauling the runners, a 6 quid bearing. Oh, and the side door handles are flimsy, break easily and spares are hard to find.

    What else? The wheels are 12 inch examples so there aren't many tyres available in that size and your average "KrapQuik" place won't have them on the shelf. However, I did find can get them in from £29 so it isn't too much of an issue. Speaking of wheels, the stud pattern is an odd 110mm size. You might find a previous owner tried to "fit" a set of Ford/Peugeot 13 inch rims on with a PCD of 108mm. 2mm is nothing right? The wheels fit, right? This is potentially lethal. The studs bend when the nuts are tightened with the rim mismatch and can (read: DO) shear with hilarious consequences. Also the standard 12" rims centre themselves up on the studs, whereas the Ford/Pug rims require a shoulder on the hub to run true.

    Stereo in the dash? Nope, the din slot where it fits is too shallow to take a CD/tape stereo, so you'll either have to source a "centre console" if the van doesn't come with one or get a cheapy ebay "driveless" MP3 radio to fit in the din slot under the heater controls.

    All doom and gloom so far, there must be an upside? Well, a pre 2001 van gets cheap tax for £130 per year. My 2003 costs £225 p/a. Cheap insurance, cheaper still if you get (or re-register it as) a camper. They are a hoot to drive and have more useable space in the back due to the higher roof and low floor. They fit under 6'6" height barriers so you should get into most car parks.

    If you want to buy one, the best thing you can do when you take one for a test drive is to see if the owner has fitted a fan override switch on the dash. This points to a van with past overheating problems. Also check the colour of the coolant - it should be red. Blue/green is not good and rust is bad. lift both seats and check of evidence of rusty water marks. The next thing to do is when you take it for a test drive, give it damn good spanking. Thrash the nuts off it for about 20 miles, park it up and watch the coolant expansion tank under the passenger seat. If all is okay the level should only rise about an inch from the cold level. If it's full, overflowing or bubbling away, then most likely the head gasket has gone. Don't be swayed on a garage bill showing a recent head gasket swap - the underlying reason *WHY* the gasket went may well not have been addressed and you'll be looking at the same problem in the not too distant future. You really need to overhhaul the cooling system totally to iron out the issues: New rad caps (a decent brand - not Circolli), new Jubilee clips, flush/change the rad, new thermostat, check the rad fan and make sure the switch is still working, check the rubber hoses for splits and the metal pipes for corrosion issues. Everything. Once every bit has been checked and renewed then a pressure testing of the system is a must. Any leaks MUST be eliminated.

    There is a small community/forum/knowledge base on these vans which is well worth a read: There is a load of info covering in more detail the foibles these vans have, and can make maintenance of them much cheaper.

    Blimey, that was a long post :)

    1200 quid for 38k on the clock.

    If I were to buy again, I'd go for a Suzuki Carry - the later bonneted version one: More examples around, more spares availablility and better reliability. But zooks have a lower roof profile which can impinge on headroom in the back.

    The real achilles heel in the Hijet is the cooling system, to read more on it go here:…ijet-overheating-problem/ . If you follow the link, there is a good owners forum which is a mine of great info.

    If you're looking for a Daihatsu (actually built by Piaggio...) then ebay is as good as anywhere, but be warned that pretty much every Hijet you'll see will have a cooling problem. It isn't hard to fix, but you just need to be *very* thorough when doing so.

    Currently converting a Daihatsu Hijet into a stealth camper:

    So far I've swapped the old panel van doors (knacked) with a pair of mpv windowed examples - now tinted with very dark film. I began to line out and insulate the rear before the cooling system decided to spit the dummy and pop the head gasket - twice. These vans have a reputation of cooling system issues coupled with warped heads and blown gaskets. One really needs to thoroughly overhaul the cooling system and make sure it is in tip top condition for it to behave. Having said that, it is a hoot to drive and due to the low gearing and small wheels, have fun in the traffic light grand prix.... ahem.

    Withdrawal Of Implied Right of Access. Basically it is given that people and trades have a right of access to your front door. In return, you have the right to withdraw this implied right to anyone you want.

    Edited to add:

    As long as TV licensing consider that they have a "good" chance that they could access your property, then there is little to no chance you would be subject to a search warrant. Issuing a WOIRA plays into their hands - they can now convince a tame magistrate that there is no chance that they can gain access in the normal way and there is a "evidence" that a TV is being used illegally. That has been as slim as an inspector witnessing flickering light behind your drawn curtains. Seriously, it has happened.

    Tv Licensing is a name given to a company that enforces the collection of licence fee money. In this case it currently is Capita. Their workers who are known as "Inspectors" have no more rights than a double glazing salesman - they have no right to enter your property. They can ask, but you have every right to refuse them entry to inspect your equipment. They are salesmen, pure and simple. Their wages are topped up by a £10 comission on every licence they sell or instigated court proceedings on an unlicensed person/property.

    There is one golden rule you should abide to when confronted with an TVL/Capita "inspector"/salesman: No Contact. Do not give them any information as whatever you say to them can be used against you in court. There have been incidences of them "creating" evidence on their form which is then upheld in court. In addition, TVL offer "training courses" to every magistrate regarding TV licensing - make of that what you will...

    To date, there have been NO convictions of licence evasion based on detector van evidence. Never. All convictions are based on the evidence offered by the accused to the "inspector". No contact. Ever.

    Do not submit a WOIRA to TV licensing, as it flags up the property for closer examination - a WOIRA is enough excuse for a magistrate to issue a search warrant against the property in question.

    Ignore the threatening letters. If they are addressed to you personally, after six months they will revert to the "legal occupier" as the addressee. The letters may use threatening language, but note the use of the words "may" and "could". You "may" be subject to one of their investigations, much on the same way as you "may" win the lottery.

    Again, the golden rule with Tv Licensing is No Contact. Their preferred route of gaining evidence for any court proceedings is the property owner offering information when the "inspector" (salesman) says the magic words: "Anything you say could be given in evidence." Don't be fooled that they have the authority to caution you. Anyone can caution you. The milkman can caution you but it generally is a bad way to sell you a pint of gold top, whereas fronting up with an air of authority usually makes the uninformed crumple with fear.

    Anyway, a little light viewing:

    Toyota Previas seem to be popular camper conversions, and the 2l diesels are well regarded. I've noticed quite a few grey import Previas (Lucida) have a good few features as standard that would be useful in a camper like curtains and seats that convert into beds, etc.

    I looked into buying one for myself but in the end bought a Daihatsu Hijet, purely on the rock bottom insurance. However after the head gasket went I kind of wish I'd bought a 'yota...

    My brother has a lumpy water boat in a boatyard on the South Coast, there were a few people doing as you allude to but the planning department put pressure on the yard owner so now the only way people can stay on their boats overnight is if they are at a mooring, ie. floating below the hightide mark.

    As to whether you could get away with it on your own piece of land or, say a corner of a farmyard, is very much up to you being noticed. I'd expect a clued up planning officer to make note of any progress you make on the boat restoration

    Before you put insulation in, get some flashing tape (Evostick Flashband is a brand, others are available) and stick it to the inside of the panels. It'll act as good sound deadening and vibration dampening. It'll make the van sound less tinny as you drive so you can hear the stereo. I'm currently fitting out a Daihatsu Hijet as a stealth(ish) camper and have lined the rear panels with flashing tape before I've fitted the insulation - it is so much quieter.

    I think that no planning permission is needed for an "agricultural building". Since it'll be on your land then it is emmently possible you'll have need for such a building to house your stuff, ermm, I mean agricultural equipment...

    question.... i have a 3 way fridge it has a radiator type thingy on the back ( which gets hot when working ) .... is it a compressor fridge?

    No. As it is a 3 way, it'll be anAbsorption fridge. "Domestic" fridges use a compressor to move the coolant around the pipes and the gubbins work in a different manner.

    You can singlehand - at least I do, but you need to know your limits and to respect the boat, the water and the canal infrastructure. I've had a couple of hairy moments when I was pushing myself, a split second of not paying attention nearly ended in a trip to casualty or worse. The best advice is not to rush, slow down to "canal time".

    ThatManViv: I live on my boat down in the deep south GU. What questions do you have?

    Yep, use kindling on the bottom to get a fire going then place the coal on top. You will get some "smoke" from the smokeless coal initially (especially if it's damp) as it begins to heat up. Once it is "in" you won't get any smoke. A word of warning with Excel. The chimney emission will smell when you put it on the fire.

    Scratch that, it'll really honk like you're burning plastic but the smell will soon pass. Last winter when I was out on the boat, I could tell when the other half had shovelled a few lumps on, even though I was at the back on the tiller and the stove was the opposite end of the boat. Once smelt, never forgotten.

    Practice. It's a knife edge between getting the air vent at the right spot so it stays in overnight and it going out. As another has said, use a smokeless coal. I burn wood during the evening then bank it up with Excel just before turning in for the night. If you do use coal, don't buy it from a garage or diy store (overpriced and usually rubbish). If you're close to a canal, try and find a chandler or boatyard and ask their advice. Odds on the guy selling it to you may well be a boat dweller and have first hand experience of the different type on offer.

    You can keep a fire in overnight with wood only, but it is more difficult. I've not succeeded yet, the limiting factor for me is the relatively small stove I have.

    Depends where you are but...

    You could join a local Facebook (I know) boaters/liveaboard group close to you and see if anyone is offering a boat to rent - it's a bit legally moody usually as often the boat up on offer doesn't have the correct BSS/gas certs/insurance to be rented out. You pays your money, you take your chance.

    Alternatively, there might be someone who needs a boat sitter while they are away or you could offer your services as such.

    You could also approach a hire company either off season when it is cheaper or see if they have a "one way" hire on the cheap: some places do as they need a boat shifting from one hire base to another, so instead of tying up an employee to do it, they offer it as a cheaper boating holiday.

    One thing though: One night isn't enough a taster of living on a boat, especially now during midsummer. Try for a few weeks in winter, ideally a boat where the gas cylinder has run out, the coal scuttle is empty (as is the diesel and water tanks) and the pump out tank is full. Oh and it's frozen in so you've got to hump everything down the towpath as you can't move and neither can the local coal boat. I don't want to paint a gloomy picture but you've got to face up to the reality that boat living isn't always as rosy as, well, Rosy and Jim want you to believe. It is a great way to live but you need to be robust enough to see past the romance and into the practicalities where you need to be organised enough to have a back up plan if something fails.

    Hello, also living on the cut in my 43 foot NB. Down in the deep south of the Grand Union. Funnily enough, I've also just bought a little van to use as a getaway vehicle...

    I'm looking for a Daihatsu Hijet as a little runaround/day van/personal works canteen/weekend stealth camper. 40mpg and you can pick them up for about your budget or slightly less.