Front to Rear Coolant Pipes…

If there is one thing guaranteed to ruin your holiday, its dumping the entire contents of your cooling system on the road before you even arrive. Hopefully this will help you avoid that situation…


Front to Rear Coolant Pipes… If your T3 is aircooled, no need to go any further – You dont have them, or need them.

Other than the aircooled models, we all have them. Theyre a necessity on a vehicle with the radiator at the front, and the engine at the back. Theyre a pretty vital part of the cooling system.
So, 2 pipes, what could possibly go wrong?

Well… there are 2 styles of pipe. Early vehicles have steel pipes, smaller bore than later ones and the potential problem is as you might expect… corrosion.
Later vehicles had the large bore plastic pipes. No rust problems there then? Well… yes actually its still corrosion thats causes the problem.
The plastic pipes are made with steel inserts moulded into the ends. This gives something for the hose clips to tighten onto.

Image shows how the end of the pipes should look.
The steel insert is still completely enclosed in the end of the pipe.

For comparison above is one of our stainless steel pipes.

Over time the inserts corrode, and the water pressure starts to force them out of the end of the pipe. At this point they may only be leaking slightly, or not at all. It is however the point you want to catch them at, because they can only get worse.

Image shows the steel insert has started to push out of the pipe.
The plastic sourrounding it breaks and comes away (you can see it on the floor).
This is the point where the pipe will start to leak.

The next stage is that the insert will part company with the pipe completely, and you’ll lose all your coolant. Sometimes they hang in there for ages, just dripping a little coolant until the insert gives way completely.

Image shows a badly corroded insert. This one looks like it had managed to stay in the pipe, and hadn’t actually let go.
It wasn’t far from spilling the contents of the cooling system all over the road, followed by the journey home on the back of a truck.

So, what happens if you do find a problem?
There are a few solutions. There are kits on the market containing inserts which you can fit to the pipes, and hold in place with clips. They seem to work okay, but aren’t exactly cheap or easy to get hold of.
Our solution is to replace the complete pipe with reproductions made from Stainless Steel.

They come in 2 pieces and join in the middle – to aid fitment and make them sensible for posting out.
Fitting them really needs the fuel tank removing, so we try to do any other jobs in that area at the same time. Check the brake and clutch lines that run over the tank, gear linkage, and dont forget the tank itself.
Make sure the tank is near empty, 60 litre of fuel is heavy! It’ll come down quite easily, but lifting it back up might be a challenge, especially if youre doing the job on ramps at the side of the road!

As mentioned earlier, there are 2 different types of pipe, depending on year. There are also variations depending on fuel type and different pipes again for Syncro models:

Early Petrol and 1.6D – 32mm Metal Pipes Fitted Originally

Diesel and Early Petrol – 38mm Plastic Pipes fitted originally  (All Diesel and Turbo Diesel, Petrol to chassis number 24F 060 000)

Late Petrol – 38mm Plastic Pipes fitted originally (From chassis number 24F 060 001)

4WD (Syncro)

All Syncro Models, Petrol and Diesel. All Years

Check Your Radius Rod Bushes! – T3 Models

When a “new” customer brings a T3 to the workshop, the things that we can almost guarantee will need replacing are the front Radius Rod Bushes.

2 Things happen when these bushes need replacing…

The first is that the constant backwards and forwards motion of the wheel pushes the radius rod back and forth through the hole in the chassis – theres a steel sleeve around the radius rod in this area that goes through the middle of the bushes.
The sawing motion of the threaded radius rod wears away the steel sleeve. Not great, but it can be fixed cheaply and quite easily if you catch it in time. We have these sleeves manufactured in stainless steel.

The second thing that can happen is that the radius rod will cut through the sleeve, but it wont stop there… it will carry on sawing through the front cross member. At the same time wearing away the radius rod itself! The only solution then is a costly and time consuming chassis repair, followed by replacement of the Radius Rod itself…

We do have the equipment to repair this when it happens, but to be honest we’d rather its caught before it gets to this stage. The photos below are from a vehicle that was recently on the ramp. Quite a nice example of a Westfalia California…

If you have clunking and banging and generally woolly handling, theres a good chance that the radius rod bushes are to blame… check em out before they get to this stage! Your T3 will drive nicer and you’ll save yourself a big bill and some heartache in the future!

This shows the radius rod removed from the vehicle – You can see where the cross member has started to cut through the rod.

This shows the front crossmember with the outer radius rod bush removed. You can see the hole that the rod passes through is twice the size it should be. thats due to the radius rod cutting its way through the steel of the crossmember!


The scarey thing is that a lot of these vans have been regularly serviced, and are on most fronts well maintained. They go through MOTs and they’re driven thousands of miles…

We have all the parts to deal with this in the workshop, because we see it so often…

Radius Rod Bush Inner

Radius Rod Bush Outer

Radius Rod Bush Sleeve

Radius Rod 

T3 Front and Rear Mudflaps – Original VW Style – Back in Stock

The original style Mud Flaps were available again for a short time, but are now obsolete.

We have sourced these, which are almost identical both in quality and appearance.
The obvious difference is the large VW roundel which is missing from the rear flaps.

Mounting is exactly the same as the originals – through holes in the body just behind the front and rear arches. Fittings are included. Also included are the mounting brackets and plates (in stainless steel).

All in all, a great bit of kit.

As these mount through the body, if your T3 didnt come with them originally you’ll need to make holes….

Front Flaps

Rear Flaps


Checking VW T4 upper ball joints


You cannot check the ball joints on a T4 in the normal way by simply jacking the vehicle up and shaking the wheel.

The wheel has to be removed from the hub and a bar inserted between the hub carrier and the upper arm and prised apart to check for play.

We see vans quite often here that come in for service whose ball joints are as in the video above, absolutely knackered! when we show the customer they often say well, it’s just gone through an MOT!”

Changing a T4 upper ball joint takes about 1 hour per side but it does require the use of a special press to remove and replace.

Petrol Black Diamond Uprated Clutch Kits now in stock

Following the popularity of the Diesel clutch kits we’ve stocked for a while, we now have kits for Petrol models.

1.6(CT) Aircooled and early 1.9 Petrols – 215mm Clutch

Later 1.9 and 2.1i upto ’89 – 228mm Clutch

All thats missing is the very late 2.1i clutch kits… these are available, but not a stock item.

Also available as special order are Kevlar clutch kits, and  a Paddle clutch available for all engines/years.

Email for price and availability.