Working on the van

Still not too much happening over here. I’m keeping myself busy with different kinds of stuff. For example fixing & improving my van.


Inserted the new & shiny lash adjusters



camshaft back on

After Scandinavia I decided to switch my Propane supply from bottles bought in special stores to LPG. Due to some weird german laws the replacement gas bottles which you can refill at gas stations have to be fixed to the vehicle. Since my gas bottle is just behind the wheelarch this wasn’t too easy and demanded some creative welding.


The bracket to hold the metal tie downs for the gas bottle



The whole setup attached to the van


The refillable bottle (green) including a hose for filling from the connector at the end. And a grey 5kg spare bottle, just in case…


Same old, same old…

I’m back in Hannover since two weeks by now and there’s nothing to blog about. The construction work on my street moved from just in front of my house and that’s pretty much all news. I met up with some friends, tackled some stuff from the ToDo pile, finished the story line of GTA5 and that’s pretty much it. I guess Hannover didn’t change while I was gone. But I did. Where this will lead to we’ll see. I’ll keep you posted 🙂

New lash adjusters for the van…

The engine started to make a rather disturbing ticking noise when cold a couple of thousand km ago. After some enquiring a lash adjuster seemed to be the culprit and the issue was put on hold since I didn’t want to do the fix roadside and it didn’t need immediate attention. After removing the valve cover one adjuster could easily be pushed down (meaning it’s broken) while the rest were rock solid. Tdoay I finished removing the camshaft and the old adjusters. Five were changed at about 210000km and aftermarket versions produced by INA, the other five are originals (also produced by INA but with a merc part number) and hence running since 290000km. Now one of the old ones gave up. I HATE THE PREVIOUS OWNER FOR NOT CHANGING ALL LASH ADJUSTERS. They are about 13€ a pop and now I have to do all the work again…


The engine without camshaft and lash adjusters and exhaust manifold which was removed because of a broken gasket.


The missing Parts. The camshaft looks amazingly good, almost no wear and tear despite running for almost 300000km. That’s what I like about Mercs…

Now I have to wait for DHL to finally deliver the new parts and then I can put it back together…


Some thoughs on ecology of travelling by car / van

The best way to be nice to the environment is of course not to use motorized travel in any form, like riding a bicycle or going by foot. The more common approach for holidays is flying though. Or going by car.

If have been 83 days on the road burning approximately 1150 liters of Diesel costing almost 2000€. That sounds a lot.

How about flying to Australia instead? According to Lufthansa their average fuel consumption per Customer per 100km is 4 liters of kerosene (which actually is the main ingredient of diesel). They have to stop for fuel in Bangkok, so the distance is about 16000km one way leading to 1280 liters of kerosene. The price right now is 2150€ (which is probably off season).

So flying Lufthansa is a little more expensive and you don’t have to care about wear and tear on the jet and such. But you also don’t get a place to stay for the whole time… Surely there are less expensive airlines than Lufthansa but I guess their fuel economy isn’t better (less free seats on the plane but older planes as well). And there are plenty of countries where diesel is cheaper than in Scandinavia…

Lufthansa says about 25% of their costs is fuel, for cheap airlines it’s about 40%. Jet fuel is at about 160USD / Barrel (118EUR / 159L) so 0,74EUR / liter leading to 950€ for the flight which is 45% of the total price for us. That seems alright since I used the average consumption on a long distance flight. Planes burn most fuel during take-off, for short distances their average consumption is more like eight liters / 100km or much more. And operating airports also uses up some energy as well..

So there’s still the difference that the plane covers three times to distance to Sydney than I did. But the plane puts it’s fumes in the sky where they basically stay since there are no plants to convert CO2 back to Oxygen and Biomass.

Archive pic. Note the total lack of trees at an altitude of 10km...

Archive pic. Note the total lack of trees at an altitude of 10km…

But in Scandinavia there are quite some plants… Most sources say that the the impact on the climate of plane exhausts is three times higher than for cars exhausts.

Typical road in Lapland. Vegetation on both sides, occasionally even reindeer on the road..

Typical road in Lapland. Vegetation on both sides, occasionally even reindeer on the road..

So here we are: My old van has the same climate economy as an airplane while I’m traveling alone (!). If let’s say we were traveling with four people it would be almost four times better since a couple of persons more do not change the fuel economy of the van too much…

With the given Mallorca example (one ton of CO2 equivalent per trip, 2600km), my trip equals three trips to Mallorca and I did even more distance than the plane…

Not much too blog about

Odo: 289778
Location: Sweden, between Vänern Lake and Oslo

Driving and working was the program for the last couple of days. I crossed through Norway and did only a short stopover at a place of a friend from the workshop who moved to Norway last year. A most welcome possibility to wash my clothes and sheets and take a looong, warm shower. I switched the tires of the van from front to back because the front ones were run down on the sides due to some misalignment of the axle and probably my driving style as well. Now I have the tires with more profile on the front axle. My father always told me to put them on the rear axle on a rear wheel drive to not get stuck. A friend in Australia with offroad experience told me just the opposite: Getting bogged is not appreciated but doesn’t hurt. The inability to brake or steer can hurt…

The distance I covered doesn’t seem that much for the time taken but since the speed limit is 60 to 80 kp/h and I’m the only driver it was quite some driving. After some audiobooks about social life I switched to some fantasy (The Dark Elf Trilogy), which will probably see me home and beyond.

After being almost alone in the cold for a whole month I’m thoroughly fed up with it. I guess I needed the experience to get some stuff sorted out and to better learn how to take care of myself (how to keep a good mood, don’t eat too much crap, …) Now I’d like to hang with folks again. Wild phantasies of my sofa, the video beamer and a nice trip to Los Santos cross my mind more often as well. I’m still unsure if I will only stay in Hannover for a short stopover or if the current trip will end there. At least I already reserved a spot in the workshop, the van (and I) should be good to go again by the end of October.

Today my gas (LPG) bottle ran out, using the heater for more than two weeks straight might be the reason. I still have the 5kg spare which should see me home. Filling a german bottle in sweden is reported to be tricky and expensive… I guess I will buy a special bottle which is legal to be filled with LPG at gas stations.

(posted one day after writing)