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Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Having found this section and read most of it, thanks @bvddobb, it seems like a great place to share some thoughts I have for future modifications, as well as look for others experience. To start of with, I am not looking to replace a full on (insert your 4x4 brand here) but rather take a vehcile already well suited to long distance leisure travel and add a few enhancements that will either improve comfort, convenience or safety, without drastically affecting the usability of the Cali.

suspension

probably starting with the most expensive area, I am thinking about VB air suspension. The idea of improved ground clearance does seem attractive but the reality is that an increase in suspension lift with springs is going to do little to improve ground clearance in terms of departure and break over angle. What is more valuable in my opinion is suspension travel and therefore being able to keep wheels on the ground and keep traction. Raised suspension also allows options for more tyre choice in terms of size, which also increase ground clearance so a lift becomes interesting, until I want to get into A car park or under a road toll.

my thinking is that air suspension keeps me standard until I need to go up, or down, but has the advantage of levelling out the van for camping. I know I could carry levelling ramps but, this is a multi part solution. Advantage of VB is that it does not compromise the factory warranty. Downsides are that the more remove I go, the greater the chance of a problem, so it would be good to understand if VB users have had issues. I have had various JLR cars in Middle East all have leaks from the air suspension.

wheels and tyres

quick and relatively cheap in terms of gains per $ are new tyres. I love the look of BFG AT but long experience tells me that these tyres suck power, but also need a lot of grunt to get the most out of them. Having gone for a 150 engine for longevity and “simplicity”, I want to keep things simple. I am also not a fan of oversized tyres as again, this bleeds power quickly. I would therefore be looking at getting a robust AT tyre with the least aggressive tread as a compromise, after all, no matter where I go, trips will generally be 80% or greater on tarmac. My preference would be smallest steel wheels possible, get the biggest tyre sidewall and steel can be hammered back into shape if damaged. I believe it is 17”.

I would also look to have an option to carry a second spare, probably mounted when needed on a modified rear carrier, as well as keeping one underneath the van. The reality is the most accessible spare becomes the first spare, and whilst it takes a chunk of trip payload, anything mountainous having the second spare is probably worth it.

recovery equipment

in my experience winches are great for recovering other people and I have rarely used my winch to recover me. It is also a weight concern for 99% of the time, so I need to think hard and consider the knock on implications.

Having somewhere to be winched on is important too. At the rear I have the factory tow bar which is acceptable in a straight pull backwards without shock ie not in a snatch recovery but a tow. At the front I have seen reinforced recovery eyes made by a German company that are popular in Australia.

I already have a collection of straps, shackles and various other bridles which are compact, easy to store and can live in the van without taking up too much space.

I will look at alternatives to the standard jack, either carry a jacking board which can give stability on loose surfaces or a trolley jack but weight is again a concern. I always carry a cordless rattle gun with correct size socket and I will mount an air compressor, probably an ARB single under the bonnet. One area to research is to see if it’s possible to tap into the VB air compressor.

tyre repair kits are great to carry, even for repairing sidewall punctures in an emergency and take up no space.

safety

minimum legal requirements in most of Europe do cover this, fire extinguisher, safety vests, first aid kit, warning triangle, but I would add safety glasses, work gloves, degreaser/cleaners for hands, and a mat to lay on. Typically a set of gear that is always stowed in the van anyway.

storage and extra luggage

I do get a bit OCD on storing things in the right place, but for me part of the fun is knowing where everything is and not having to rummage or worry about forgetting things. I also don’t want to worry about stuff flying around so aim is to make as much use of existing space. Problem with a van is that by the nature of it, there is not much that isn’t open (in a beach of course). will need to investigaPte what can go into the jack storage compartment, the space under the bonnet and see if there are any other easy to access but out of the way spaces. Maybe do something custom with the storage under the bench. Fridge will be mounted on the floor rails under the pull out cooker. I am considering a rear rack to carry spare wheel as mentioned and could also then include a box for breakdown kit so everything can be accessed outside of the van to prevent unpacking ( in the dark and rain as that’s when things invariably go wrong).

my intention is to come back to this thread with various products and solutions as each one gets locked in place and to attract input from others that have their own tips and tricks as well as those more expert than me in how to modify, remove or otherwise fix panels etc.
 
Azteccamper

Azteccamper

VIP Member
Messages
753
Location
Swansea Valley.
Vehicle
T5 SE 140
Having found this section and read most of it, thanks @bvddobb, it seems like a great place to share some thoughts I have for future modifications, as well as look for others experience. To start of with, I am not looking to replace a full on (insert your 4x4 brand here) but rather take a vehcile already well suited to long distance leisure travel and add a few enhancements that will either improve comfort, convenience or safety, without drastically affecting the usability of the Cali.

suspension

probably starting with the most expensive area, I am thinking about VB air suspension. The idea of improved ground clearance does seem attractive but the reality is that an increase in suspension lift with springs is going to do little to improve ground clearance in terms of departure and break over angle. What is more valuable in my opinion is suspension travel and therefore being able to keep wheels on the ground and keep traction. Raised suspension also allows options for more tyre choice in terms of size, which also increase ground clearance so a lift becomes interesting, until I want to get into A car park or under a road toll.

my thinking is that air suspension keeps me standard until I need to go up, or down, but has the advantage of levelling out the van for camping. I know I could carry levelling ramps but, this is a multi part solution. Advantage of VB is that it does not compromise the factory warranty. Downsides are that the more remove I go, the greater the chance of a problem, so it would be good to understand if VB users have had issues. I have had various JLR cars in Middle East all have leaks from the air suspension.

wheels and tyres

quick and relatively cheap in terms of gains per $ are new tyres. I love the look of BFG AT but long experience tells me that these tyres suck power, but also need a lot of grunt to get the most out of them. Having gone for a 150 engine for longevity and “simplicity”, I want to keep things simple. I am also not a fan of oversized tyres as again, this bleeds power quickly. I would therefore be looking at getting a robust AT tyre with the least aggressive tread as a compromise, after all, no matter where I go, trips will generally be 80% or greater on tarmac. My preference would be smallest steel wheels possible, get the biggest tyre sidewall and steel can be hammered back into shape if damaged. I believe it is 17”.

I would also look to have an option to carry a second spare, probably mounted when needed on a modified rear carrier, as well as keeping one underneath the van. The reality is the most accessible spare becomes the first spare, and whilst it takes a chunk of trip payload, anything mountainous having the second spare is probably worth it.

recovery equipment

in my experience winches are great for recovering other people and I have rarely used my winch to recover me. It is also a weight concern for 99% of the time, so I need to think hard and consider the knock on implications.

Having somewhere to be winched on is important too. At the rear I have the factory tow bar which is acceptable in a straight pull backwards without shock ie not in a snatch recovery but a tow. At the front I have seen reinforced recovery eyes made by a German company that are popular in Australia.

I already have a collection of straps, shackles and various other bridles which are compact, easy to store and can live in the van without taking up too much space.

I will look at alternatives to the standard jack, either carry a jacking board which can give stability on loose surfaces or a trolley jack but weight is again a concern. I always carry a cordless rattle gun with correct size socket and I will mount an air compressor, probably an ARB single under the bonnet. One area to research is to see if it’s possible to tap into the VB air compressor.

tyre repair kits are great to carry, even for repairing sidewall punctures in an emergency and take up no space.

safety

minimum legal requirements in most of Europe do cover this, fire extinguisher, safety vests, first aid kit, warning triangle, but I would add safety glasses, work gloves, degreaser/cleaners for hands, and a mat to lay on. Typically a set of gear that is always stowed in the van anyway.

storage and extra luggage

I do get a bit OCD on storing things in the right place, but for me part of the fun is knowing where everything is and not having to rummage or worry about forgetting things. I also don’t want to worry about stuff flying around so aim is to make as much use of existing space. Problem with a van is that by the nature of it, there is not much that isn’t open (in a beach of course). will need to investigaPte what can go into the jack storage compartment, the space under the bonnet and see if there are any other easy to access but out of the way spaces. Maybe do something custom with the storage under the bench. Fridge will be mounted on the floor rails under the pull out cooker. I am considering a rear rack to carry spare wheel as mentioned and could also then include a box for breakdown kit so everything can be accessed outside of the van to prevent unpacking ( in the dark and rain as that’s when things invariably go wrong).

my intention is to come back to this thread with various products and solutions as each one gets locked in place and to attract input from others that have their own tips and tricks as well as those more expert than me in how to modify, remove or otherwise fix panels etc.
Interesting. Can I ask where you intend going?
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Interesting. Can I ask where you intend going?
We live in Southern Poland so most weekends mountain trips are possible summer and winter, with many options for forest and lake camping. With Czech Republic, Southern Germany, Slovakia and Croatia all within 6-8 hours a lot of potential in these directions. Northern Spain and the mountain options are also high on the list but the ultimate goal is to tackle South America on an extended trip, but that is a couple of years away. Can easily argue everything I have listed can be done without special mods, or even in 2wd, but I do like a degree of self sufficiency And to have the ability to see what’s just up that gravel track!
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
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21,741
Location
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Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
Indeed. 1,349 km to my nearest Asda, have to be prepared! ;)
Is this the vehicle you plan to use in South America? Or are you using it as a test bed?
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Is this the vehicle you plan to use in South America? Or are you using it as a test bed?
Morning WG. glad to see we are still talking!

I see no reason why I cannot take the new beach in due course, I will admit to concerns over a modern VW diesel (or any manufacturer) but with what was available to buy second hand, this is a solid place to start. there is plenty of precedence for T series vans doing the Alaska to Argentina trip, not sure if you have seen the Swiss couple in a yellow T5 with an extensive youtube channel.

If preparations lead to the conclusion it won’t work, and suspension is my only concern, then a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is an easy substitute, albeit a much more cramped and less convenient travel vehicle.

assume you have a view on the pros/cons?
 
capt kirk

capt kirk

VIP Member
Messages
528
Location
surrey
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150
Have a look at combi life on youtube. They have a great set up for long travels. Custom made rack and tool store.
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Have a look at combi life on youtube. They have a great set up for long travels. Custom made rack and tool store.
Thanks. The guy behind CamperX in Switzerland did the trip Alaska to Argentina in a T5 too.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
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21,741
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United Kingdom
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T5 SE 180 4Motion
Morning WG. glad to see we are still talking!

I see no reason why I cannot take the new beach in due course, I will admit to concerns over a modern VW diesel (or any manufacturer) but with what was available to buy second hand, this is a solid place to start. there is plenty of precedence for T series vans doing the Alaska to Argentina trip, not sure if you have seen the Swiss couple in a yellow T5 with an extensive youtube channel.

If preparations lead to the conclusion it won’t work, and suspension is my only concern, then a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited is an easy substitute, albeit a much more cramped and less convenient travel vehicle.

assume you have a view on the pros/cons?
No, the suggestion I was going to make was prepare for SA not Western Europe. eg; Could you get a faulty Air Suspension system, sold in Europe only, sorted in SA?
I would have doubts that a T6.1, with all the electronics and emissions equipment is the ideal vehicle. A T4 or early T5 would be my choice if it had to be a California.
 
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
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Thanks. The guy behind CamperX in Switzerland did the trip Alaska to Argentina in a T5 too.
Also it would be worthwhile getting VCDS to cope with the VW Diagnostics and manipulation of the VW electronics so you are self sufficient. Extreme off roading in a group is a lot different to being a solo traveller.
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Also it would be worthwhile getting VCDS to cope with the VW Diagnostics and manipulation of the VW electronics so you are self sufficient. Extreme off roading in a group is a lot different to being a solo traveller.
I agree about earlier vans but market is pretty dry at the moment so I will work with what I have And see if it could be a workable solution. I spend a lot of time between northern Mexico and Southern Argentina for work and have a pretty good idea of the types of vehicles in use as well as the road infrastructure. Have to say a lot of Brazil/ Argentina/ Chile and Mexico have very good highways, easy to plan the majority of a trip on metalled roads.

Adblue is making its way into the market, diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) in states and ARLA32 in Brazil for example, so Euro 6 may not be such an issue. Early days for now but part of the fun is in the research.
 
Calimili

Calimili

Messages
1,216
Location
Lake Starnberg
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
Not sure you can fit a bigger spare tire underneath. Don’t know if because of width or diameter. That was also the reason why i stay with 17” rather than 18”.
on the other hand you can repurpose that space underneath the van while carring the spare(s) on the rear rack.
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Not sure you can fit a bigger spare tire underneath. Don’t know if because of width or diameter. That was also the reason why i stay with 17” rather than 18”.
on the other hand you can repurpose that space underneath the van while carring the spare(s) on the rear rack.
Plan to stay with spare underneath with 17s. Unfortunately van came on some funky 18s so a swap of sorts needed.
 
4x4 joker

4x4 joker

VW T6.1 Westfalia Club Joker 4motion
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2,014
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Southampton/Perthshire
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N/A
Having found this section and read most of it, thanks @bvddobb, it seems like a great place to share some thoughts I have for future modifications, as well as look for others experience. To start of with, I am not looking to replace a full on (insert your 4x4 brand here) but rather take a vehcile already well suited to long distance leisure travel and add a few enhancements that will either improve comfort, convenience or safety, without drastically affecting the usability of the Cali.

suspension

probably starting with the most expensive area, I am thinking about VB air suspension. The idea of improved ground clearance does seem attractive but the reality is that an increase in suspension lift with springs is going to do little to improve ground clearance in terms of departure and break over angle. What is more valuable in my opinion is suspension travel and therefore being able to keep wheels on the ground and keep traction. Raised suspension also allows options for more tyre choice in terms of size, which also increase ground clearance so a lift becomes interesting, until I want to get into A car park or under a road toll.

my thinking is that air suspension keeps me standard until I need to go up, or down, but has the advantage of levelling out the van for camping. I know I could carry levelling ramps but, this is a multi part solution. Advantage of VB is that it does not compromise the factory warranty. Downsides are that the more remove I go, the greater the chance of a problem, so it would be good to understand if VB users have had issues. I have had various JLR cars in Middle East all have leaks from the air suspension.

wheels and tyres

quick and relatively cheap in terms of gains per $ are new tyres. I love the look of BFG AT but long experience tells me that these tyres suck power, but also need a lot of grunt to get the most out of them. Having gone for a 150 engine for longevity and “simplicity”, I want to keep things simple. I am also not a fan of oversized tyres as again, this bleeds power quickly. I would therefore be looking at getting a robust AT tyre with the least aggressive tread as a compromise, after all, no matter where I go, trips will generally be 80% or greater on tarmac. My preference would be smallest steel wheels possible, get the biggest tyre sidewall and steel can be hammered back into shape if damaged. I believe it is 17”.

I would also look to have an option to carry a second spare, probably mounted when needed on a modified rear carrier, as well as keeping one underneath the van. The reality is the most accessible spare becomes the first spare, and whilst it takes a chunk of trip payload, anything mountainous having the second spare is probably worth it.

recovery equipment

in my experience winches are great for recovering other people and I have rarely used my winch to recover me. It is also a weight concern for 99% of the time, so I need to think hard and consider the knock on implications.

Having somewhere to be winched on is important too. At the rear I have the factory tow bar which is acceptable in a straight pull backwards without shock ie not in a snatch recovery but a tow. At the front I have seen reinforced recovery eyes made by a German company that are popular in Australia.

I already have a collection of straps, shackles and various other bridles which are compact, easy to store and can live in the van without taking up too much space.

I will look at alternatives to the standard jack, either carry a jacking board which can give stability on loose surfaces or a trolley jack but weight is again a concern. I always carry a cordless rattle gun with correct size socket and I will mount an air compressor, probably an ARB single under the bonnet. One area to research is to see if it’s possible to tap into the VB air compressor.

tyre repair kits are great to carry, even for repairing sidewall punctures in an emergency and take up no space.

safety

minimum legal requirements in most of Europe do cover this, fire extinguisher, safety vests, first aid kit, warning triangle, but I would add safety glasses, work gloves, degreaser/cleaners for hands, and a mat to lay on. Typically a set of gear that is always stowed in the van anyway.

storage and extra luggage

I do get a bit OCD on storing things in the right place, but for me part of the fun is knowing where everything is and not having to rummage or worry about forgetting things. I also don’t want to worry about stuff flying around so aim is to make as much use of existing space. Problem with a van is that by the nature of it, there is not much that isn’t open (in a beach of course). will need to investigaPte what can go into the jack storage compartment, the space under the bonnet and see if there are any other easy to access but out of the way spaces. Maybe do something custom with the storage under the bench. Fridge will be mounted on the floor rails under the pull out cooker. I am considering a rear rack to carry spare wheel as mentioned and could also then include a box for breakdown kit so everything can be accessed outside of the van to prevent unpacking ( in the dark and rain as that’s when things invariably go wrong).

my intention is to come back to this thread with various products and solutions as each one gets locked in place and to attract input from others that have their own tips and tricks as well as those more expert than me in how to modify, remove or otherwise fix panels etc.
A company called HESS (Switzerland) do the VW bike rack conversion to carry spare wheel and box or Jerry cans. Very expensive though.
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
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T5 Beach
AB417835-F09B-4033-A938-0C964FEDBE0C.jpeg
wheels and tyres

I love the look of BFG AT but long experience tells me that these tyres suck power, but also need a lot of grunt to get the most out of them.
Take a look at Michelin Crossclimate Agilis. I've found that their aggressive tread pattern gets close to BFG AT performance without losing dry weather performance and economy. Also @Loz has recently fitted Pirelli Scorpions for the same reason.
 
Last edited:
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
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Although T5s and T6s have never been sold in the US or Canada, T6s are sold in Mexico, so i think a Pan American Highway Argentina to Alaska is doable.
 
Last edited:
WelshGas

WelshGas

Retired after 42 yrs and enjoying Life.
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Thanks. The guy behind CamperX in Switzerland did the trip Alaska to Argentina in a T5 too.
Forum member has done Alaska to S.America

 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Why in a Cali? Space and cost are too major factors. Have a look at what is admittedly a fantastically engineered deafener with an absolutely shocking sticker price!

 
soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

https://www.instagram.com/kennycalifornia
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Why in a Cali? Space and cost are too major factors. Have a look at what is admittedly a fantastically engineered deafener with an absolutely shocking sticker price!


If I had a couple of weeks expedition in that thing. I would need another couple of weeks to recover from the ordeal.
Looks a nightmare to use...
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
500
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
If I had a couple of weeks expedition in that thing. I would need another couple of weeks to recover from the ordeal.
Looks a nightmare to use...
Haha exactly and £150,000??? Unless I heard wrong!
 

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