Whacks, Cylinder

So, today I had to take a day out from the urgent inner carpentry missioning to try and get the MOT shenanigans sorted. I went to VW yesterday to try and score the a new wheel cylinder or a repair kit for the old one and found out that both those parts have now been obsoleted. It seems like VW have finally abandoned the series 1 LTs. After a promising start to the proceedings a few years back, when I was able to get pretty much all I wanted for Herman 1, I’ve found that, of late [the past year and a half, or so] every part I’ve asked them for has been obsoleted.

In the end I reluctantly went to GSF and tried there. I say reluctantly because I had a pretty bad experience with the quality of their parts, last time I bought from them, but whatcha gonna do, when VW have cast you aside like an old sock? Anyway, to their credit, the guy at GSF was really helpful and did spend about 20 mins tippy-tapping away on his computer, trying to track down the elusive wheel cylinder. Eventually he managed to source one and told me they’d have it for me tomorrow [ie. today].

So today, I nipped out of work a bit early and moseyed past GSF on the way home to pick up the new wheel cylinder and then home to get down to it.

Off with his wheel!
Off with his wheel!
Old wheel cylinder
Old wheel cylinder

I did have a quick look at it after he failed the MOT and I found that only one of the pistons was actually coming out when the brake pedal was pressed, so it was obviously seized inside.

Old and new cylinders
Old and new cylinders

I was slightly relieved to find that the part GSF scored for me was made in Italy, rather than China. I’m not saying that everything made in China is necessarily crap. I mean they do make most of the world’s computer gadgets these days. But I do tend to be a bit dubious about the quality of their steel.

New cylinder in place
New cylinder in place
And from the other side. No leaks any more
And from the other side. No leaks any more

Up til now, the job had been going a bit too smoothly and, sure enough, old beardy wasnae going to let me off that easily. As I was putting the drum back on the wheel, it was a bit of a tight squeeze [call me an eejit, if you like, but I never knew that you could slacken off the shoes with the adjuster to make this bit easier. I’ve always just squeezed them on ‘as is’].

Anyway, as I was wrestling with the drum, it suddenly slipped at one side and smashed into the back plate. Unfortunately my fingers were in the way, so they got a good smashing.

Ouch! –made to make your eyes water!
Ouch! –made to make your eyes water!
Ouch! –made to make your eyes water!
Ouch! –made to make your eyes water!

In spite of the likelihood of never being able to play the piano again, I did eventually get everything back together again and Herman’s wheel cylinder was restored to it’s non-leaking finest. I did also repair the handbrake rod, which involved judicious use of a blowtorch to bend the broken end over into a loop which i then bolted into a length of drilled steel and attached the other end to the handbrake lever mechanism. I can remember lying under the van taking photos of my fantastic botch-job, but they seem to have disappeared, so this brief postscript is all you’re getting on that front, I’m afraid.