Buy all your VW California Accessories at the Club Shop Visit Shop

General Modifications

soulstyledevon

soulstyledevon

https://www.instagram.com/kennycalifornia
Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
4,932
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204
Haha exactly and £150,000??? Unless I heard wrong!

That’s what I heard...
Makes the California look pretty cheap in comparison :)
 
B J G

B J G

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
4,248
Location
Stamford
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
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.
VB suspension has a speed restriction on both raised and lowered positions. They do or did do a raised version which would have similar action to raised springs.
VB mount the compressor etc under the LH seat floor area. not sure if they still can on a new T6.1 with the 27ltr Adblue tank. it also may be a problem when 'wading' due to water possibly getting drawn into the compressor.

With the current trend to the Swamper style there are a few other air suspension options. available.
Seikel appear to be THE place to go for a quality and reliable upgrade.

I did have VB air and found that it is low air capacity system which takes time to raise. Now have a VIAIR compressor based system that takes seconds.

Good luck.
 
B J G

B J G

Top Poster
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
4,248
Location
Stamford
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 204 4Motion
For versatility and practicality on a long trip through variable terrain I would be considering a T32 4Motion Kombi base.

Reasoning, T32 load capability with long distance extras, Barn door rear with no windows to permit rear mounting of spare wheel(s) and fuel, Adblue or water carrier. No rear quarter windows to again permit exterior racks or just reduce glass.
Interior can be customised to individual requirements.
Finished cost could be close to starting price of a Cali.
 
Calimili

Calimili

Messages
1,168
Location
Lake Starnberg
Vehicle
T6 Ocean 150 4Motion
For versatility and practicality on a long trip through variable terrain I would be considering a T32 4Motion Kombi base.

Reasoning, T32 load capability with long distance extras, Barn door rear with no windows to permit rear mounting of spare wheel(s) and fuel, Adblue or water carrier. No rear quarter windows to again permit exterior racks or just reduce glass.
Interior can be customised to individual requirements.
Finished cost could be close to starting price of a Cali.
No elevating roof, with possibility to carry a lot on a dedicated rack. As an alternative ,with a roof tent like the Maggiolina
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
495
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
No elevating roof, with possibility to carry a lot on a dedicated rack. As an alternative ,with a roof tent like the Maggiolina
Thanks @Calimili and @B J G but firstly vehicle bought and secondly it has to do a lot of other functions where the tailgate is useful. One of the pluses is camping chair stowage.

I am not a fan of roof tents, had both a clamshell Maggiolina and folding ones and neither style impressed, plus don’t want the extra weight in the roof. As with anything lots of options.
 
M

marchugo

Messages
392
For the price of two Calis you have better options. As they say in Australia: Yes, you can get to the outback with a Landy, but only can return from there with a Toyota Landcruiser.


240.000 Australian dollars. A 195×138 cm sleeping area for two people, 12V BBQ set, about 400 Amps Lithium battery. Based on the 36-year old Toyota Land Cruiser 70 model. Seems to fit in a parking garage.

Reagards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
495
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
Happy to stay with my beach!
 
Velma's Dad

Velma's Dad

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
3,427
Location
Buckinghamshire
Vehicle
T5 SE 180
For the price of two Calis you have better options. As they say in Australia: Yes, you can get to the outback with a Landy, but only can return from there with a Toyota Landcruiser.


240.000 Australian dollars. A 195×138 cm sleeping area for two people, 12V BBQ set, about 400 Amps Lithium battery. Based on the 36-year old Toyota Land Cruiser 70 model. Seems to fit in a parking garage.

Reagards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
Nice but does it have ARC? (Adaptive Roos Control)

Seriously though, I want one.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

VIP Member
Messages
1,370
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
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.
We have heard that Michelin will stop the production of their Latitude Cross ATs and indicate the Crossclimate Agilis as their alternative. Pity, we liked the Latitude Cross.
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
495
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
We have heard that Michelin will stop the production of their Latitude Cross ATs and indicate the Crossclimate Agilis as their alternative. Pity, we liked the Latitude Cross.
I found a great summary of overland modifications with links that you posted and can’t find it again. Had a number of links, do you think you could help point me to it?
 
westfalia

westfalia

Messages
4,639
Location
Germany.
Vehicle
T5 SE 174
Here's some bedtime researching for you.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

VIP Member
Messages
1,370
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
Although T5s and T6s have never been sold in the US or Canada, T6s are manufactured in Mexico, so i think a Pan American Highway Argentina to Alaska is doable.
It is doable and others have done it. We have been dreaming about taking our Cali across.

But it is a huge hazard that it has never been sold there, there are no dealerships with knowledge, experience, spare parts, etc.
We know of people who have had a lengthy conversation with their dealer here before going, and then together they came up with a set of spare parts they took with them over there under consignation, and when indeed they had to have a repair, they found an Audi-dealer in the US (they have those - at least they had a lot of the necessary tools of the right dimensions), and then their dutch dealer talked the US mechanics through the repair on the phone (nowadays perhaps Zoom or something). But in Peru? Colombia? Nicaragua? Don't know...
 
Tarquers

Tarquers

Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
495
Location
Wrocław
Vehicle
T6.1 Beach camper 150
It is doable and others have done it. We have been dreaming about taking our Cali across.

But it is a huge hazard that it has never been sold there, there are no dealerships with knowledge, experience, spare parts, etc.
We know of people who have had a lengthy conversation with their dealer here before going, and then together they came up with a set of spare parts they took with them over there under consignation, and when indeed they had to have a repair, they found an Audi-dealer in the US (they have those - at least they had a lot of the necessary tools of the right dimensions), and then their dutch dealer talked the US mechanics through the repair on the phone (nowadays perhaps Zoom or something). But in Peru? Colombia? Nicaragua? Don't know...
VW is built in Mexico, they have 4 massive factories on some large real estate. VW group vehicles are common and while Diesel is less common, its present, and the dealer networks are impressive. I work in the mining industry and have started to see Amaroks joining the fleets along with Tiguans as the choice of company car, so I would be less concerned having seen it first hand. Courier services are reliable and cheap to use, would suggest that you are never more than 48 hours away from some sort of part delivery. Carrying the basics would always be a good idea, but as it is possible to do the whole trip on tarmac, I would not be overly worried.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

VIP Member
Messages
1,370
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
VW is built in Mexico, they have 4 massive factories on some large real estate. VW group vehicles are common and while Diesel is less common, its present, and the dealer networks are impressive. I work in the mining industry and have started to see Amaroks joining the fleets along with Tiguans as the choice of company car, so I would be less concerned having seen it first hand. Courier services are reliable and cheap to use, would suggest that you are never more than 48 hours away from some sort of part delivery. Carrying the basics would always be a good idea, but as it is possible to do the whole trip on tarmac, I would not be overly worried.
Yes, you have a point. But still, the T-series are not sold there, there is no experience with it in the dealerships. Don't lean on the speed of courier delivery too much. I know of people who have waited 6 weeks for spare parts to arrive in a country's capitol... :Nailbiting We ourselves have had to wait 2 weeks for a spare tyre in the right size to arrive...
Sticking to the tarmac will take a lot of the fun out of the trip... All those beautiful ocean-side camping spots...

Not trying to dissuade anyone, but have a realistic expectation and allow slack in your planning! We would try to avoid electronic gear as much as possible in those realms (e.g. rather a Seikel lift kit than electronically managed air suspension...).
 
clarinetbcn

clarinetbcn

T5.1 Beach 140
Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
1,754
Location
Barcelona, Spain
Vehicle
T5 Beach
Yes, you have a point. But still, the T-series are not sold there, there is no experience with it in the dealerships. Don't lean on the speed of courier delivery too much. I know of people who have waited 6 weeks for spare parts to arrive in a country's capitol... :Nailbiting We ourselves have had to wait 2 weeks for a spare tyre in the right size to arrive...
Sticking to the tarmac will take a lot of the fun out of the trip... All those beautiful ocean-side camping spots...

Not trying to dissuade anyone, but have a realistic expectation and allow slack in your planning! We would try to avoid electronic gear as much as possible in those realms (e.g. rather a Seikel lift kit than electronically managed air suspension...).
The T6, and now the T6.1, are manufactured in Hannover and sold in Mexico.



 
Last edited:
KGCali

KGCali

Retired and still young at heart!
Lifetime VIP Member
Messages
608
Location
Essex
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
For the price of two Calis you have better options. As they say in Australia: Yes, you can get to the outback with a Landy, but only can return from there with a Toyota Landcruiser.


240.000 Australian dollars. A 195×138 cm sleeping area for two people, 12V BBQ set, about 400 Amps Lithium battery. Based on the 36-year old Toyota Land Cruiser 70 model. Seems to fit in a parking garage.

Reagards from Amsterdam,

Marc.
We went to Australia in 2004, purchased a 25 year old Toyota Troopy Land Cruiser Station Wagon (FJ45) from a hostel backpacker for about £2,000, replaced the engine for a 2nd hand unit and then drove across Australia from Brisbane to Broom crossing the 1100 sand dunes of the Simpson desert (inc. Big Red), the bone shaking Tanami track and included Cape York, Kakadu, Coober Pedy, Alice Springs and Ularu. Had a real blast with only a few issues in 8,500 miles ... a cracked roof rack (welded), cracked exhaust (fixed with a beans can, putty and wire), rad hose leak (had a spare), a broken carb spring and a jammed starter motor that almost caught fire in the middle of nowhere (this was a new unit supplied with the engine so we called them up and the small garage sent a replacement via a small plane within 2 days!) A great adventure with the old Troopy that took us to places many of the newer vehicles couldn't manage and spare parts were available!

1612106078493-a518e894-80cf-4cbc-8a75-9d1e8879c872.jpg

TroopieBullDust.jpg

_20191217_101643.JPG

1612106204218-92c8eef7-338c-4c6e-aee1-2f0cd5b34ea4.jpg
 
Last edited:
bvddobb

bvddobb

VIP Member
Messages
1,370
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
The T6, and now the T6.1, are manufactured in Hannover and sold in Mexico.
Sure thing, but the PanAmericana is a lot longer than just the stretch through Mexico, or even Middle America!
E.g. through the US, Canada and Alaska, where no VW vans are sold...

But again: not trying to dissuade anyone! Go! Problems along the way will get solved!
 
Last edited:
M

marchugo

Messages
392
We have heard that Michelin will stop the production of their Latitude Cross ATs and indicate the Crossclimate Agilis as their alternative. Pity, we liked the Latitude Cross.
That's correct. I was in contact with Michelin Netherlands, and they informed me that the Latitude Cross will disappear from their programm. Certain sizes have already been stopped. Some sizes you can still buy, but you'll have a problem if one of your four tyres has a blow out: you can't find a replacement anymore.

The alternatives from Michelin are:
- Agilis Cross Climate, this is actually the successor of the Latitude Cross. It has the snowflake symbol, plus M&S symbol. It's an all season tyre.
- Agilis 3, the summer tyre.
- Agilis Alpine, the winter tyre.

Tyred regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.

PS: I have fitted (fit for Americans?) the Agilis Cross Climates this week, in size 215/65/R16.

Michelin Agilis CrossClimate.jpg

The "damaged" spot in the rubber, half way right, is a four-step marker that shows how much the tyre has worn down.
 
Wesel

Wesel

Messages
517
Location
Belgium
Vehicle
T6 Coast 150 4Motion
That's correct. I was in contact with Michelin Netherlands, and they informed me that the Latitude Cross will disappear from their programm. Certain sizes have already been stopped. Some sizes you can still buy, but you'll have a problem if one of your four tyres has a blow out: you can't find a replacement anymore.

The alternatives from Michelin are:
- Agilis Cross Climate, this is actually the successor of the Latitude Cross. It has the snowflake symbol, plus M&S symbol. It's an all season tyre.
- Agilis 3, the summer tyre.
- Agilis Alpine, the winter tyre.

Tyred regards from Amsterdam,

Marc.

PS: I have fitted (fit for Americans?) the Agilis Cross Climates this week, in size 215/65/R16.

View attachment 74509

The "damaged" spot in the rubber, half way right, is a four-step marker that shows how much the tyre has worn down.
It's a shame, because the proposed alternatives do not have the same "bad roads" objective. Will it be necessary to review in other brands?
 
briwy

briwy

Top Poster
VIP Member
Messages
3,039
Location
Matlock & Pyrenees
Vehicle
T5 SE 180 4Motion
There was a couple who came to one of the Cali meets years ago who did the Pan American Highway in a LHD Cali. They didn't have any major problems. A couple of services on the way but they did come across someone else doing it who were not allowed entry to one of the S American countries (possbly Equador) because they were in a right hand drive vehicle. You still have to ship down to Columbia as well to get past the Darian Gap.
 
bvddobb

bvddobb

VIP Member
Messages
1,370
Location
Netherlands
Vehicle
T5 SE 174 4Motion
It's a shame, because the proposed alternatives do not have the same "bad roads" objective. Will it be necessary to review in other brands?
Probably, yes. Now that BFG have winter admission (3PMS), they may function as all-season. But they are more on the bad roads/off-road side and less on the normal roads side than the Michelins.
 

Similar threads

estresao
Replies
28
Views
6K
GrannyJen
GrannyJen
R
Replies
19
Views
2K
pjm-84
pjm-84
S
Replies
200
Views
46K
witjesm
W
tim downes
Replies
24
Views
5K
RosmiaAirSuspension
R
Top