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Old 01-09-2011, 02:41 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Replacing my VW diesel van

Diesel or petrol. What's the best base van for modification?

I have a VW T4 2.5tdi hitop campervan. It's extremely handy when traveling long distances to hop in the back. I get 35mpg measuring top of tank to top of tank. (only 25mpg with a scanguage though... can't figure that out but that's another story).

However, fuel prices can change all this. I need to be prepared for that.

What are my options?

I was considering getting something like a Citroen Nemo. It's an ultra small van that I could fit folding bed into the back of. I'll have to design to keep the load light but unloaded it does ~65mpg. However, I'm tied to diesel or biodiesel with that. I'd be tied to diesel really and that's a dirty fuel. I think I can get 5,000 for my van so it won't cost me much more as a swap.

The other option is buying a older petrol based vehicle and attempting to modify. This might then get me the option of HHO. Maybe even battery options. I'd want something easy to work on. LPG availability is good in Spain where I expect to be so that would be the first conversion, and I'd even see if I can find something with this factory fitted...

What would you suggest starting out with?

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Old 01-09-2011, 03:55 PM   #2 (permalink)
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After 5 years of scratching my car to put on a bike rack with A Jnr I'm also after a van too as my car only carries me and one other 90% of the time.

I've read varying reports on the NEMO (and the other related ones). Some people reckon they are too underpowered as standard so you end up pushing it hard to make progress which affects FE. Add weight for sleeping stuff and maybe it gets worse. Add a tuning box and maybe it gets better ?

You could go for an older Berlingo for less cash and have more money for mods. You also get the option of the older 2.0 HDi with more torque for the weight or possibly one of the newer 1.6 HDi which seem super efficient.

I'm also looking at the Kangoo as the one I sat in a few months ago had the most comfortable front seats I have been on in quite a while and the DCi engines are pretty good.

Diesel seemed cheap in Spain when I was there plus you don't have all that messing around with tanks taking up space and adding weight. And 99% of vans are Diesel anyway giving you more choice.

Good luck though.
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Old 01-09-2011, 03:58 PM   #3 (permalink)
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PS - it may be worth looking at the other threads on the SG2 vs TDis for tips on calibration. Setting the engine size to 1/3 of actual seems to work quite well as a starting point.
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Old 01-09-2011, 07:51 PM   #4 (permalink)
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...if you're really accustomed to driving a diesel, you'll most likely find all the petrol vehicles to be sluggish and high-winded.
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Old 01-09-2011, 08:59 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jago25_98 View Post
I have a VW T4 2.5tdi hitop campervan. It's extremely handy when traveling long distances to hop in the back. I get 35mpg measuring top of tank to top of tank. (only 25mpg with a scanguage though... can't figure that out but that's another story).
Check the manual, then see if you need to use the Diesel-A or Diesel-B setting.

Start with a 1.8 or 1.9 L displacement in its settings, rather than the actual 2.5L .
Even then you'll have to calibrate the Scangauge whenever you fill up.

Using the FILLUP button, the SG shows how much fuel it thinks you've used. You can increase or decrease that value towards the actual value - it pays off to only adjust it by half of the error, or the error may well swing in the other direction.


It's taken a while to calibrate and adjust it, but my SG is quite accurate now.
In the beginning, I was about to sell it as it didn't seem to be accurate on Diesel engined cars
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Old 01-09-2011, 09:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by euromodder View Post
Using the FILLUP button, the SG shows how much fuel it thinks you've used. You can increase or decrease that value towards the actual value - it pays off to only adjust it by half of the error, or the error may well swing in the other direction.
...+1, the same technique works well with petrol engines too.
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Old 01-10-2011, 02:09 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info here and there.

It's a good point, I do like diesels, but I do't like the fuel and I wonder if I'd be left out of mods I can do if I go with diesel? I mean, LPG isn't really possible and I don't think putting additives into the fuel line is either is it? Or am I mistaken? I haven't looked into it a lot what with no having owned a petrol car in a while. I need some sort of overview really.

The thing is, I'm quite handy with electrics but not with mechanics. What put me off doing mods before (had an Eberspacher to join into the fuel line and I decided not to try it in case I mess it up, especially being a high top as it means working in the snow!) ...being my only vehicle, if I make a mistake I'm stuck where I am until I fix it.

Having said that, I wouldn't want to get left out of exciting mods I can get into in the future.

Might another option be to keep a lookout for a project half started... and go with that? That works well for performance cars but I rarely see anything like this for eco mods. That said, you can certainly get a LPG estate car up and going by buying it ready fitted like that... and that would mix well with other mods. hmm...
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Old 01-10-2011, 05:42 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Modern Diesel units tend to like mods related to the air temps (intercooler, intake paths etc.), cooling (Grill blocks etc.). Other than that its down to computers (ECU remaps, tuning boxes etc.)

But I wouldn't mess about with the fuel system on a modern diesel as its under such high pressure - apparently it can slice a finger off...
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:30 AM   #9 (permalink)
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car with a camper trailer?
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Old 01-11-2011, 12:03 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
But I wouldn't mess about with the fuel system on a modern diesel as its under such high pressure - apparently it can slice a finger off...
Diesel can be injected through the skin because of the high psi direct injection systems use. The only medical remedy for this is amputation.

I'd still mess with a diesels injectors... carefully.

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