General tightening torques

You know what it’s like, you run a workshop specialising in old vehicles and sometimes you simply just can’t find a tightening torque for something.

As it happen there are “standard” tightening torques for normal nuts and bolts and after managing to glean what I could from the interenet and several sources I brought it all together into one sheet that we had kicking about for emergencies when we simply couldn’t find the data from an automotive source.

There’s no warranty with this info, it’s here to help and for general “get you in the right place” guidance only, use at your own risk, you know the score.

Metric thread sizes        
Metric Strength classes Torque Unit 8.8 10.9 12.9
M8 x 1,00 Nm 29 43 50
ft lbs 21 32 37
M9 x 1,00 Nm 43 63 73
ft lbs 32 46 54
M10 x 1,00 Nm 60 88 103
ft lbs 44 65 76
M10 x 1,25 Nm 57 83 98
ft lbs 42 61 72
M12 x 1,25 Nm 101 149 174
ft lbs 74 110 128
M12 x 1,50 Nm 97 143 167
ft lbs 72 105 123
M14 x 1,50 Nm 159 234 274
ft lbs 117 173 202
M16 x 1,50 Nm 244 359 420
ft lbs 180 265 310
M18 x 1,50 Nm 368 523 613
ft lbs 271 386 452
M18 x 2,00 Nm 348 496 581
ft lbs 257 366 429
M20 x 1,50 Nm 511 728 852
ft lbs 377 537 628
M22 x 1,50 Nm 692 985 1153
ft lbs 510 726 850
M24 x 1,50 Nm 899 1280 1498
ft lbs 663 944 1105
M24 x 2,00 Nm 865 1232 1442
ft lbs 638 909 1064
M27  x 1,50 Nm 1304 1858 2174
ft lbs 962 1370 1603
M27 x 2,00 Nm 1262 1797 2103
ft lbs 931 1325 1551
M30 x 2,00 Nm 1756 2502 2927
ft lbs 1295 1845 2159
M33 x 2,00 Nm 2352 3350 3921
ft lbs 1735 2471 2892
M36 x 2,00 Nm 3082 4390 5137
ft lbs 2273 3238 3789
M39 x 2,00 Nm 3953 5631 6589
ft lbs 2916 4153 4860


T3 Radiators – What’s a few mm?

Following on from several recent discussions with both trade and retail customers who have approached us regarding the supply of radiators for the T3 either as a standard replacement or an uprated version we’ve been prompted to write this post regarding whats happened with the radiators over the last few years and what’s available now and to dispel some of the myths flaoting around.

As far as VW are concerned, and ignoring the very early Diesel radiator which isn’t available anyway… and the “DF” radiator which isn’t either, there are 2 different radiators. a version with a 34mm core or the bigger version with a 42mm core..
This measurement refers to the thickness of the radiator core. The core being the “finned” section of the radiator that has channels that the coolant runs through.
Actually it’s more complicated than that, as there are a number of dropped part numbers (including one that was discontinued before the watercooled models were even made… but we’ll ignore all those too as they all supercede to the same parts.)

We’ve recently seen enquiries about a radiator with a 50mm core, supposedly fitted to vehicles for “hot climates”.
This didn’t make sense to us, as the “hot climate” radiator is the 42mm core radiator, as factory fitted to the 2.1i and Turbo Diesel models.
There is another “hot climate” option, which is listed for the “DF” engine and which is in fact the standard 34mm radiator, so a “hot climate” radiator for a DF would be the standard radiator for the 1.9 “DG” for example. A “hot climate” radiator for the “DG” would be a radiator as fitted to the 2.1 and TD models. There is, as far as we can tell, no “hot climate” radiator for the 2.1 and TD. They all had the same 42mm core radiator.

Going back to this mythical “50mm core”, we believe this is either a misunderstanding of how radiator cores are measured (they have measured the top/bottom plate rather than the core itself) or in some cases a little intentional deception to help boost sales… pointless really as any schoolgirl with a ruler can confirm the core thickness.

Previously, we have offered 2 options for the larger 42mm core radiator, an original South African produced radiator from Hella (still made until a couple of years ago), which was pretty much exactly the same as the one VW fitted in the factory, and an alternative which is an aftermarket radiator sold under many different brands. Sadly the originals are no longer available, part of the reason for this is the insistance by some suppliers that the cheaper rads are the same as the originals resulting in a drop in demand for them. Some of those suppliers now claiming to supply some special “50mm core” radiator (which actually has a 42mm core).

Screenshot from VW’s parts prgoram, ETKA

Please review the following table that lists all the different radiator part numbers as fitted to a T3, when they were discontinued and which part number they were replaced by.

VW No Style To fit Core Construction Discontinued by VW Superseded to Notes
025 121 253 Late 1.9l DF and EY 34mm Plastic tanks 01/06/12 NLA Just use 025 121 253 A Instead
025 121 253 A Late 1.9l DG 34mm Plastic tanks 01/02/12 NLA Upgrade for DF & EY
068 121 253 Early 1.6D CS 35mm Metal tanks 30/09/80 068 121 253 A Dropped before introduction!
068 121 253 A Early 1.6D CS 35mm Metal tanks 01/12/02 NLA Repair or Convert to late style.
068 121 253 B Early 1.6D CS 35mm Metal tanks 31/01/83 068 121 253 A  
068 121 253 C Late All except DF, DG, EY & SP 42mm Plastic tanks 15/05/87 068 121 253 E  
068 121 253 D Late All except DF, DG, EY & SP 42mm Plastic tanks 30/09/94 068 121 253 E  
068 121 253 E Late All except DF, DG, EY & SP 42mm Plastic tanks 01/10/09 NLA Upgrade for DG/SP in Hot Climates

The parts in bold are radiators that we currently stock.

The early or late style in the table above refers to the radiator style and not the vehicle, early style radiators were only ever fitted to 1.6D “CS” engines and were of a more traditional construction having brass tanks and a soldered core. The early radiator is easily identified by it’s huge design flaw by having the cooling fan switches at the top of the left hand tank, any loss of coolant would render the fan switches inoperable and would accelerate a oveheat situation.
Luckily, VW realised the shortcomings in this early style radiator design and it was replaced with the introduction of the WBX engine for the 1983 model year by the later style radiator with plastic tanks, aluminium core and a fan switch in a sensible place!

Hopefully this page clears up some of the misinformation floating around and helps you make an informed choice when shopping around for a radiator.

Just measure the core on your “specially produced” radiator and check you’ve got that extra “girth” you’ve paid for.

As with all this kind of stuff, you pays your money you takes your choice.

VW T3 rear light and towbar wiring

Seeing as we sell a VW T3 towbar we thought it prudent to add a page here for the wiring connections.

T3 Rear Light Wiring Colours.
Position Wiring colour DIN no Wire dia Towbar
Earth Brown 31 1mm² 3
Brake lights Black/red 54 1mm² 6
Fog light Grey/white 55 1mm² 2
Left hand side light Grey/black 58 1mm² 7
Right hand side light Grey/red 58 1mm² 5
Number plate lamps Grey/green 58 1mm²  
Left indicator Black/white L 1mm² 1
Right indicator Black/green R 1mm² 4
Reverse light Black/blue RF 1mm²  
Left Rear Light   Pin    
Black/Red   1    
Grey/Black   2    
Brown   3    
*Grey/White   4    
Black/Blue   5    
Black/White   6    
Right Rear Light   Pin    
Black/Green   1    
Black/Blue   2    
Brown   3    
Grey/White   4    
Grey/Red   5    
Black/Red   6    

Trailing Arm Comparison – Repro to Original

One of the major advantages of having a specialist workshop next door to our warehouse is that when the opportunity arises we can make comparisons between original parts and aftermarket parts.
Today we had some original trailing arms removed from a T3 for new bushes, so took he opportunity to do a weight comparison – Original against New Aftermarket (JP Group) arms.

Considering the original arm has at least a few years of muck on it, not to mention wax, and the usually cut/broken bolts left in it… they’re pretty similar in weight which suggests they’re pretty similar in material thickness and quality of weld.

We expected nothing less to be honest… but now we know 🙂


T3 Tyre Pressure Stickers… all of them!

Its a question we get asked quite often… “what should my tyre pressures be?”


If you have anything but original steel or alloy wheels its a very difficult question to answer, but if you’re still running the wheels that VW fitted then its not too difficult because VW like all other manufacturers would have put a sticker somewhere on the vehicle to tell you.
Of course, with any 20+ year old vehicle theres a good chance that the sticker has been removed, so we started looking at all the different variants of the tyre pressure sticker on vehicles that came into the workshop… there are a few!
There isnt much information from VW about which were fitted to what, and when, so we’ve had to make some educated guesses based on what we’ve seen. We’re not saying its 100% accurate, but its what we think…
There are 7 different styles that we’ve seen… heres what we think is a definitive list of all the stickers on all the different types over the years.

Early 2WD – Steel Wheels
Early 2WD – Steel and Alloy Wheels
Late 2WD – Steel and Alloy Wheels
Syncro 14″ – “Small”
Syncro 14″ – “Large”
Syncro 16″ – “Small”
Syncro 16″ – “Large”

The early and late 2 Wheel drive seem to coincide roughly with the point that the suspension changed from “Early” to “Late”. Simple enough. So theres an Early sticker for 2WD with steel wheels, and one for the optional Factory Alloys with larger tyres.

Late 2WD is simple. One sticker to cover them all… steel and alloy wheels.
Syncro… 2 different types for each model – 14″ and 16″. Absolutely no way of telling which years had small and which had the large style, it seems completely random.
The Syncro stickers are also interesting as theyre a mirrored finish rather than a flat silver like the 2WD… maybe something to do with the fact that they were produced in  Austria… who knows.

So there they are. Now you know as much as we do.
We must stress that these are for ORIGINAL VW wheels with the factory recommended tyre sizes. Anything non original the tyre pressures will vary.
We’ve spent a little while working on the artwork to reproduce them and theyre all available on the links above.



Fuel Hose… Information and Reassurances.

It doesnt matter where you go on the internet lately, there will be discussion regarding Fuel Hose. There is a lot of mis-information, and a lot false claims regarding fuel and fuel hose.
There will be scare stories and pictures of burning vehicles… demands that you CHECK YOUR FUEL HOSE NOW!!!!


Yes, its not a bad idea. Check your fuel hoses… thats the easy bit. Getting your head around all the “facts” regarding replacement fuel hose is impossible. Try and decipher the specs and you’ll be baffled by a series of acronyms and abbreviations that when you try and cross reference them will just result in a even more acronyms and abbreviations!
We know. Weve tried! This is what it boils down to based on information from the people actually make the hose we supply… more of that later.

Fuel is changing. The pumps may look the same, it even kind of smells the same, but its different. Huge pressure is being placed on fuel producers to use a renewable source for a percentage of their fuel. This means Ethanol in Petrol, and “Biodiesel” for Diesel fuels.

At the moment in the UK we have around 5% Ethanol (E5) in Petrol and the same Biodiesel in Diesel.
We say “around” because fuel manufacturers since 2013 have been allowed to increase this to 10% (E10), and by 2020 10% of all transport fuel must be from a renewable source.
There is already discussion regarding E15 pump fuel, and in fact in some areas of the USA its already available… as is E20 – Some parts of South America have had E20 fuel for over 30 years!

So… where does this leave us trying to keep 30+yr old vehicles on the road?
In simple terms, if you have the original fuel lines on your vehicle you’ll be lucky if its still running.
If youve replaced them in the last 10 years then there is a very good chance that they will all ready be perished and degraded and not always visibly  as the fuel runs down the inside… obviously!

Which brings us to replacement fuel hose.
If youve looked into replacing your fuel hose, you’ll be familiar with a few terms.
One is SAEJ30R… followed by a number. The most common one used now with regard to Ethanol content is “R9” or SAEJ30R9.
The R9 Spec doesnt just relate to its resistance to Ethanol and Biodiesel. Its more complicated than that… its just that its the SAE spec which has the highest resistance to them, and which also requires other requirements for the main fuel connections such as pressure resistance and strength.
“R9” is not some magic E10 fuel hose!
SAE by the way is the Society of Automotive Engineers… basically an international body who set the specs that the Automotive industry works to.
If you want the actual data, its here… and we quote this only because its not the easiest piece of information to find, not to cloud the issue more than it already is…

“Hose primarily intended to meet the demands of fuel injection systems. These would include, for example, electronic fuel metering (EFM), electronic fuel injection (EFI), throttle body injection (TBI), and the like. Other areas of utility are those applications requiring fuel permeation resistance exceeding 30R8 and ones which require fuel resistance greater than that obtainable with 30R6, 7, and 8. Exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C. This hose may be supplied in either a coupled or uncoupled form, and is useful in the transportation of gasoline, ethanol extended gasoline, diesel fuel, lubrication oil, or the vapor present in either the fuel system or the crankcase of internal combustion engines in mobile, stationary, and marine applications. This hose has a maximum working pressure of 0.69 MPa (100 psi) up to and including 12.70 mm (1/2 in) ID. This hose may be furnished in long lengths, specific cut lengths, or as a part preformed to a specific configuration. This hose is suitable for use in normal operating temperatures of 34 to 135 °C (29 to 275 °F) and intermittent use at 150°C (302 °F).”

See what we mean! Now… the important bit in all that, and really the point of this post is the sentence that states:

“exposure of this hose to gasoline or diesel fuel that contains high levels, greater than 5% by volume, of oxygenates, i.e., ethanol, methanol, or MTBE may result in significantly higher permeation rates than realized with ASTM Fuel C.”

Basically, if you buy hose described as R9 or “SAE J30 R9” it should comply with this specification. What its actually complying with is a 5% Ethanol/Biodiesel content (based on test fuels) and exposure to greater concentrations of Ethanol may result in higher permeation rates than those specified. There are other spec that this hose complies with, but thats the relevant one as far as Ethanol and Biodiesel.

And thats our issue with the whole “R9 Spec” fuel hose thing. You can go on eBay, and buy “R9 Hose” for pennies. You can buy it from a lot of suppliers. We can buy it for about half the price of the hose we currently sell. Whether its what it claims it is or not, who knows. If it is, it meets the minimum spec as stated above. 5% Ethanol or Biodiesel, more than 5% “may result in significantly higher permeation rates”. 

This brings us to the hose we sell. Our hose is sourced direct from the manufacturer. They make fuel hose for all the car makers youve heard of, and many that you havn’t. They have supplied VW with fuel hose for a long time…
The reason we tell you this is that they have a good reputation, they sell a hose and it meets the spec they claim. They have no interest in passing of a hose as something its not, and they have no interest in selling a hose to a minimum spec. Their spec isnt “R9 Hose”. It exceeds the spec. and many others, but its not just “R9”. Thats why we choose to stock it.

The hose we sell meets all the requirements to allow them to state that it is SAE J30 R9, however if you read the data sheet regarding the suitability for Ethanol and Biofuels its safe with up to 100% of either.

The exception to this is the 5.5mm Braided hose we supply for the breather pipes. You’ll read things like “Cotton Overbraid hose is no good for modern fuels”. Which is nonsense.
The covering  of the hose means nothing, it is literally what is inside that counts!
Our 5.5mm Overbraid hose complies (and exceeds) R6 spec, and at the same time is fine with 10% Ethanol content (E10).
Thats right… as far as Ethanol content goes its higher spec than “R9” hose you might see for sale… you wouldnt use it for high pressure applications, but for breather pipes… no problems.

You’ll also note that the sizes of hose we sell are the exact dimensions VW specify. Well, they would be, they’re made by the same people who supply VW!
We dont sell a slightly bigger hose just because its pound or two cheaper!

And there you have it… hopefully its a little clearer.

 5.5mm Overbraid Hose
3.2mm FPM/ECO Hose
5.5mm FPM/ECO Hose
7.3mm FPM/ECO Hose
11.5mm FPM/ECO Hose


Right Hand Drive Headlamps – Identifying

Not easy to find, and usually expensive when they do turn up!
This is how to make sure the RHD headlamps youve been offered are exactly that…

019 (1)

See the red area? That is the area of the lamp that creates the raised section of the beam on the left (to illuminate the kerbside) note that the same area at the other side of the light is flat… so light doesnt shine into oncoming traffics eyes.
So, on RHD lamps, the red section will be on the RIGHT side of the Vehicle. Thats Offside in the UK. Basically the section that angles down should be towards the middle of the road.

If thats not simple enough, the other method of identifying is the ARROW below the ‘E Mark’.
The arrow will point to the LEFT of the vehicle (kerbside in the UK). Left Hand Drive lamps have NO ARROW.

Both headlamps on the vehicle should be the same.

The Red area is also the area you would mask when you drive on the continent. Usually you’d mask the area above to the line to make sure you dont dazzle at all.

VW T3 Oil Pressure Switches

One of the most frequent cries for help we receive at Brickwerks are to do with oil pressure and oil pressure switches.

We’ve written this page to try and assist customers to select the correct oil pressure switch for their vehicle.

First off we must say if at Brickwerks we have a customer come in to the workshop with a oil buzzer or oil light flashing then the first thing we do is check the oil pressure, without fail. It is simply not worth taking the risk, there may actually be a genuine fault with the engine and the light or buzzer might actually be telling the truth!

The oil pressure is reasonably simple to check with a pressure gauge.

With the engine oil at 80°c and the engine speed at 2000rpm then the oil pressure for all engines [except the 1.6TD “JX” engine] should be at least 2bar or 30psi if you are old!

For the JX engine, that’s the 1.6l turbo Diesel engine then the pressure must be at least 1 bar at 80° @ 2000rpm.

If the oil pressure is correct then let us proceed..

Up to the end of the 1984 model year it’s fairly simple, there is one switch and it is colour coded blue. That’s it, blue.

The oil pressure switch is connected to a blue wire with a black trace, or black stripe if you prefer.

This switch is what is called “normally closed”, meaning at rest with the engine stopped the terminal will be connected to earth through the body of the switch. Once pressure is applied to the switch and it reaches a predetermined pressure [.25 bar in this case / 3.68 psi] then the pressure will overcome an internal spring and break the circuit between the terminal and earth.

Remember when you were at school and you did some simple electrical circuits? The oil pressure light is a simple circuit like from your school days, it is a bulb, a battery and a switch only the switch is operated by engine oil pressure.

With no oil pressure the switch is at rest, the terminal is connected to the body of the switch and this will illuminate the light, once the engine starts and oil pressure reaches .25 bar [3.68psi for the giffers] the pressure opens the switch and the light goes out.

Okay, so up to the end of the 1984 model year its simple, one switch and a blue/black wire, if you look at your chassis number [VIN if you prefer] and find the 10th digit, if it is A,B,C,D or E then your sorted, one switch, one wire.

From 1985 model year onwards [10th digit of the VIN is F onwards] it’s gets a little more complex as VW introduced the “DOP” or Dynamic Oil Pressure monitoring system, or “Buzzer of doom” as it has now become known.

This system retains the blue switch on the blue/black wire but it also has a second switch on a yellow wire.

There is a choice of 3 switches for the oil buzzer system, it could be either white, grey or black.

The colour code depends on which engine you have fitted and annoyingly there is a choice for 88 model year onwards so it isn’t cut and dried as to what should be fitted.

“What does this second switch do Brickwerks”? Well, it’s like this… The oil pressure light is all well and good, but if you are tramming down the motorway and the oil light comes on the chances are that it’s too late and the damage is done before you have chance to stop, VW recognsed this problem so they tried to make the system a little better by giving the driver an early warning that all is not well. VW added a second oil pressure switch and an electronic circuitboard behind the speedometer which includes a buzzer to alert you to a low oil pressure condition.

The buzzer circuitry also reads engine speed from a wire from the engine bay [green on a petrol taken from terminal 1 on the ignition coil, red/black on a Diesel and taken from the W terminal on the alternator] and should only work when the engine speed is above 2000rpm.


Colour VW No NO/NC Pressure – Bar Pressure – PSI Wire
Black 068 919 081 Open 1.4 20.58 Yellow
Grey 068 919 081 A Open 0.9 13.23 Yellow
White 056 919 081 E Open 1.8 26.46 Yellow
Blue 028 919 081 D Closed 0.25 3.68 Blue

The table above gives a few more details to the switches and their opening/closing pressures.

NO – Normally open, when at rest the switch contacts are open.

NC – Normally closed, when at rest the switch contacts are closed.

So, which switches are fitted to which engines?

All engines have a blue switch, all of them.

On a WBX [1.9l or 2.1l petrol engine] the blue switch is on the left hand side of the engine , underneath between the push rod tubes, you may have to remove the covers to get them.

On Diesel engines the blue switch is usually at the far end of the cylinder head near the coolant outlet.

Then, the white/grey black are as follows.

On a WBX the switch is below and between the crank shaft pulley and the water pump pulley, on a Diesel it is on the oil filter head.

All petrol engines, DF, DG, DJ, MV [also SS, SP and SR] have a white switch for ’85, ’86 and ’87 model years. [10th digit of chassis number is F,G or H]

Then from ’88 model year to 1992 [H,J,K,L,M,N] there is a choice of either white or grey.

1.6l D engines with a CS code have a black sensor, they ran those until the end of the ’87 model year so 10th digit of VIN is F,G or H.

1.7D “KY” engines only came out for the ’85 model year, so, same as the “CS” above they have a black sensor for ’85, ’86 and ’87 [F,G and H], then from ’88 till the end of production it could either have a grey sensor or a black sensor.

The 1.6l TD “JX” engine came out for the ’85 model year, for the first 3 year [’85, ’86 and ’87] they had a grey 2nd switch, then from ’86 till ’92 model years they could either be grey or black.

All sensors have a M10x1 thread, 24mm head, a 6.3mm male spade terminal and should be tightened to 30 Nm.

The only thing that messes this system up is that some cheaper sensors ignore the colour coding system, to us it is always better to fit a good quality sensor that retains the factory colour coding so there is no ambiguity in the future.

Blue oil pressure switch.

Black oil pressure switch

Grey oil pressure switch.

White oil pressure switch