So before I turned up today for pre MOT Work Part 1, the apprentice greeted me with this, titled, “The Beast”.  One day I’ll have to teach her to take photos in landscape…

It was our first visit to the van this year, and it was good to see how she had fared over what we’ve had of winter.

The plan today was to start doing some essential work that we deem necessary for the van to pass an MOT.  If she can pass an MOT, she can drive on the road and we can bring her closer to home (which will make the fitting out easier).

The list as it stood was:

  • Repair the crack in the windscreen
  • Refit the windscreen wipers (and install new wiper blades)
  • Put the drivers seat on the passenger’s base – fit a new drivers seat
  • Install the newly painted battery tray
  • Install the battery in the newly painted battery tray

The main cause of MOT failure in the past had been exhaust gases and the misfire – both of these now fixed.  And with her having done just around 100 miles since the last MOT, we can’t foresee any major issues (fingers crossed).

The apprentice had already got to work cleaning up some winter muck.

van after being cleaned

The first task was to try and replace the battery tray.  Where it was constantly getting wet it had turned into a rusty, flakey mush.  It was easier to sweep it out than it was to try undoing it!

rusted battery tray

This was secured with two bolts.  I managed to get one out – the other was too far gone, and I lacked anything good enough to remove it.  We cleaned the area up, but it was still very wet.  The decision was made to leave installing the battery tray until we had “waterproofed” this area – I don’t want the apprentice’s painting going to waste.

cleaned battery tray area

Then came the natural instinct to look for the source of the incoming torrents in the engine bay.  We had previously installed a rubber seal under the bonnet, and wondered whether water might be overflowing this.  But a quick test showed otherwise – the seal was actually working perfectly!

What we did find was an unnatural hole in the metalwork at one end under the scuttle panel, right above the battery.  This will need the rust converting and patching with fibreglass… but not today.

hole underneath scuttle panel

After the scuttle panel came off (this will also need renewing) we noticed that all the holes through which the scuttle panel is supposed to attach also massively leak water.  There’s also lots of other intentional holes there (such as the wiper pivot holes for the LHD version) which will need plugging with grommets or fibreglassing as required.  But not today.  It appears a previous owner worked this one out, and tried plugging a connecting hole with some sort of sealant, but this has since degraded.  This is the one just above the airbox, where it also leaks funnily enough!

scuttle panel holes

Now comes the biggest job.  I’d previously managed to pick up a new drivers seat (from a Ford Fiesta, but we’ll make it fit).  The van has swivel bases for the seats, so we can easily knock up an attachment for the seat to fit on to.  Here’s the before…

drivers seat

And the after, complete with happy apprentice…  The new driver seat is just resting there, but you get the idea.

passenger seat with apprentice

A productive day – even if we didn’t actually complete any of the tasks we set out to achieve, we laid a lot of groundwork.  I’ve already ordered the mild steel bar for the seat attachments, we know what holes we need to fill, and I’ve made enquiries with Dieselhead about a new scuttle panel.

Next time, finish those jobs off!