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 Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!

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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 1:38 am

Hi everybody!

first of all thanks everyone in the forum. It is helping people like myself a lot, who are gathering information before taking the "big step".

I am living in Spain and I currently have a 1997 T4 Multivan. I 'm very happy with it and after 5 years of driving and camping not only in Spain but also around Europe (as far as The Hebrides and the Norwegian Fiords!) the time for a change has come.

I found about the guys at Danbury some time ago and right now I’m standing at the well-known junction called T5 - Danbury T2. Which way to take??
I have to admit that at the moment I am by far much closer to take the T2 option but all the issues the owners keep bringing into the forums are baffling me a little bit. I definitely need your advice here.

As a first message in the community I’d like to make all the experienced BraziBay owners several questions about their lovely vans:

1.- RUST. I believe one of the most popular issues must be the rust. As far as I am aware they are solving this problem as the quality of the paint finish has - allegedly - been improved at the Brazilian factory. Has anyone noticed any significant change about it? Is the underseal treatment really necessary anyway? I am living in Barcelona where we do not need salt on the roads during the winter unless you go up to the Pyrenees and my van would sleep in a well protected underground parking anyway, but even though this matter is still concerning me quite a lot.

2.- QUALITY AND FINISH of the furniture / laminate wood / upholstery. I also read that this has been improved during the last few years but obviously the ultimate quality test is, without a shadow of a doubt, several years of camping and a couple of kids playing around with the closets and drawers. So I wish to receive your opinions about it. Are the construction and materials solid and durable enough?

3.- STEERING. I am a bit confused on this point as well... I read on the website that rack & pinion steering is an option, therefore I am presuming the steering system the T2 comes equipped with from Brazil is a Worm and Sector one? Is there any difference between the two when it comes to the driving feeling? I am not really picky on this issue (especially bearing in mind the price of a power steering unit) but I wish to know how painful the feeling on the regular steering system is and on the other hand, how recommendable the power steering may be.

4- GEARBOX. I also read about how funny it can be using the 4-gear box. I heard about some people complaining regarding the fact it can be a bit difficult getting the gears in, or handling such a long stick may become a bit uncomfortable or tedious. Any moans or issues on this matter from anyone? Did you experience any other problems in the gearboxes?

Well and I believe it will be enough for today... all the answers will be much appreciated!

Cheers!
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primrose

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Cabin : Exec 099
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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 4:30 am

Welcome Daniel.

I am a new owner and struggled with the same issues as you. I have only had my T2 for a month so can only give limited experience.

Firstly, it is an old design. Hardly any modern add ons. I think that is part of the charm, but it does make it a different driving experience.

1.RUST. Even on my new one there are small surface spots of rust on some edges, usually on the steel bumpers. This can be polished off and painted. Once the weather warms up I plan to waxoyl the inside of panels/beams . My van has been undersealed for UK weather !

2.Quality of Interior finish. I have no complaints so far.

3.Steering. Well, it is heavy when maneuvering slowly . At average speed it does "wander" a little, which I have quickly got used to. After driving 200km I did feel my shoulders ache the next day. Overall it is fine.

4. Gearbox. I am fairly careful changing gear and was taught many years ago to double declutch. However, occasionally I struggle to get it into 3rd gear. I may go 50kms and no problem, then it may be a problem for several changes in a short space of time. I tend to carefully ease the gear in. I may ask Danbury to check the alignment on next service. 95% of the time gear selection is very smooth. Reverse has a "clunk" when disengaging, which is apparently normal.

Hope this helps.

Tim
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dazdub

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 7:50 am

Hi as above the bays come with no rust prevention this is the main problem it is not due to thinner metal i have done a lot off work on my bay and they have a good thickness of metal.As for driving its just like an old vw a bit different with gears and stealing but you will get to grips with it Smile
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dizzylizard

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 8:12 am

Hi and welcome Daniel.

I'm with primrose on the above points, but just add :-

Rust, Dizzy is three years old and I have done 50,000 miles in all weathers including heavily salted roads with no real signs of rust apart from some cosmetic bits behind the rear bumper. So I should imagine in Spain it would not be too much of a problem.

Interior, no problems, but then I only take the grandchildren out occasionally.

Steering, I have rack and pinion, but not power steering, and find it fine. (Over 60 mph in a cross wind can be quite exhilarating though).

Gear selection, most problems are down to adjustment and easily fixed.

As Daz says, its an old design but has stood the test of time, (if you see some of the antics on the web, the way Brazilians drive them, Rolling Eyes they are robust.)

I think we forget nowadays that it wasn't long ago all vehicles had short service intervals, and if you stick to regular servicing and inspections you will be fine. Very Happy

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MarcusH

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 8:32 am

Hi Daniel
My advice would be to test drive both campers - if you can try and get a night away in each
One point that has been made to me about my T2 on various occasions is that you get a modern van but looking like an old one. This is not the case.
The T2 has a certain charm and I love mine

Good Luck with your decision
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TimV
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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 10:25 am

Hi Daniel

I think the first thing you MUST look into is whether you would actually be able to register a New T2 in Spain. It may not meet the Type Approval requirements of your home country and therefore you would have real problems using it there. There are people who have them abroad but it has not always been as straightforward getting them approved.

Check that before all else.

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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 12:47 pm

Thanks everybody for your opinions and advice.

Tim,

yes you are right. This is my first concern at the moment and I am already dealing with it. Burocracy in Spain can become quite annoying even when it comes to minor issues. In this case I am afraid it will definitely be a major hassle... see how it goes. I'll keep you posted.

Thanks a lot!
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Matt

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Thu May 23, 2013 6:33 pm

Hello Daniel and welcome.
1 RUST. Yes Brazillian vans are prone to rust in the UK climate. I have seen many older vans with issues above the wheel arches. The newer vans appear to be prone to rust under the engine bay door door behind the bumper. I would be surprised if there was more than 2 coats of paint on the original vans.

2 QUALITY. Over priced items and shoddy installation.

3 STEERING. There are a number of steering options. The original steering which is vague and a number of steering boxes have broken.
The rack and pinion conversion or direct drive, which takes out most of the vagueness and does not use the steering box, but makes steering at low speed heavier. The conversion is made exclusively for Danbury so any future work needed on it could cause you complications. I was recently told by the maker that it was sealed unit that needed no servicing, however Danbury informed me that our steering needed to be 're-set up' because it had not been serviced regularly.
The third option is power steering, which a number of company's offer. So far members who have had this done report good things.
4 GEARS. The selection of the gears takes a little practice but you should quickly get the hang of it. The quality of the gearbox build appears not very good , and there are issues with the gear selector coming loose making 2nd gear hard to get into.

So, should you buy one....... living I Spain, and having no access to any of the companies selling Brazilian vans ....... unless you are very mechanically minded and are happy to work on the van yoursef yourself I would not recommend it.

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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
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Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 2:02 am

Hi Matt,

thanks a lot for your response. Really helpful. A bit surprised regarding your opinion of the quality of the furniture though. Can you be a bit more specific about the problems you came across? Does that include the upholstery?

On the other hand I can see that having a mechanical back up is quite critical...a lot of people seem to have some issues with the steering, the gearbox or both... even a few months after the delivery! Finding a suitable garage here will definitely be a must.

cheers
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Tallulah

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Cabin : Flight 011
Location : Reading, UK
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Join date : 2011-06-05

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 8:31 am

I think a good local mechanic is very important/useful. Tallulah has been serviced regularly and until recently, has been very well behaved mechanically. Now 2 1/2 years old she developed an issue that I needed a local auto guy to help fix while in communication with and receive help and advice from Danbury on the phone - nothing to do with gear box or steering.

This is the first significant issue we have had, although we have one or two minor issues that required the use of my own screwdrivers and spanners for tweaks.

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TimV
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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 8:47 am

My BraziBay hasn't been perfect.

Yes it has suffered some corrosion, but that's only because I didn't own it from new and wasn't able to Waxoyl it in its first year, yes it's broken down because the extension on the clutch cable snapped - but that's part of the conversion - fit a full length one and you'll be fine, yes the rear main oil seal went causing the clutch to slip, but it had done 50,000 miles.

However there's nothing wrong with the steering - sure it's an old design - the fit and finish of the furniture is excellent, the choice of fabric on the seats isn't something I'd have gone for but I didn't buy it new, but I can change that. I absolutely love tinkering with its look and fitting new gadgets and to a great degree doing my own mechanics. It is a joy to drive around in and I've met so many great new friends because of it and I'm getting together with 39 similarly thinking owners next weekend. Could you do that with a T5? I don't think so.

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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 11:24 am

Tim, Tallulah,

thanks a lot for the feedback. I am presuming that your vans do not have power steering... what is your experience after long trips? Would you strongly recommend the power steering? Since originally this van was not design to make 70 mph, I wonder how does the normal steering behave at high speeds? (assuming that we are talking about and old design here, I am not expecting a Mercedes feeling on the steering wheel)
The thing is some people defined it as "scary".

On the other hand, the good news is that there is an official VW garage here in Barcelona who specifically deals with all sorts of VW vans including classics. I didn't confirm it yet but they might take care of the importation, registration and most important, certification of the T2.

As far as I am aware, despite the fact the van is Brazilian and therefore, not built to meet European requirements, the certificate of conformity is not an issue for you guys in UK after the van has been converted in Danbury. I'll confirm what's the situation here in Spain with the mentioned certificate, but it would be interesting to find out whether any of you know anyone who managed to sold his van in Europe without any issues.

Thanks!
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kiteman

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 11:36 am

If you go down the T5 route you will get a converted van. If you get a T2 you will get a friend, something you will want to look after.
It's all down to head or heart. I know what I went for and have not regretted one bit

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TimV
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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 11:51 am

@DanielR wrote:
Tim, Tallulah,

thanks a lot for the feedback. I am presuming that your vans do not have power steering... what is your experience after long trips? Would you strongly recommend the power steering? Since originally this van was not design to make 70 mph, I wonder how does the normal steering behave at high speeds? (assuming that we are talking about and old design here, I am not expecting a Mercedes feeling on the steering wheel)
The thing is some people defined it as "scary".

These people who find it scary have clearly never driven an old Landrover - that is scary - and I've had 2 of them! Most people are now used to cars with power steering which not only obviously aids the direction of the vehicle but also takes away some of the raw 'feel' of the vehicle on the road. Subsequently when you are then sat at the wheel of something like a Kombi it may feel somewhat 'characterful.' My T2 does not have pas and whilst I would like it for the parallel parking type situation, there are other things I want to spend my money on next, such as re-upholstering the interior. Out on the open road, you wouldn't gain a huge amount from pas as at speeds of over 45mph the pas would hardly be in operation.

@DanielR wrote:
On the other hand, the good news is that there is an official VW garage here in Barcelona who specifically deals with all sorts of VW vans including classics. I didn't confirm it yet but they might take care of the importation, registration and most important, certification of the T2.
I think this is unlikely I'm afraid mate, VW Europe have specifically instructed their European dealers to not get involved with the Kombi - as it is not a current model - they want you to buy a T5. Yes they could service it for you, but I don't think they'd get involved with the importation as they would run the risk of losing their franchise.

@DanielR wrote:
As far as I am aware, despite the fact the van is Brazilian and therefore, not built to meet European requirements, the certificate of conformity is not an issue for you guys in UK after the van has been converted in Danbury. I'll confirm what's the situation here in Spain with the mentioned certificate, but it would be interesting to find out whether any of you know anyone who managed to sold his van in Europe without any issues.
We are lucky that the rules in the UK are effectively 'slack' and that's how we can have a Kombi - much to the annoyance of our friends in the United States, who would love to be able to buy a New T2 but simply cannot because of legislation. We have a couple of owners in Europe, AnnedeJ and belgiumbay. I suggest you contact them re the certification issues.

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Tallulah

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 1:04 pm

No pas on Tallulah, you get used to the driving style after a while and its only hard work at very slow speeds when attempting tight manauvres such as parralel parking or 3 point turns - we just try to avoid these situations if possible.

Both myself and my wife drive Tallulah without any problem, and we have never had sore shoulders as a result.

Windy days on motorways can be a bit nerve racking, especially when being passed by a larger vehicle, but otherwise our T2s are a joy to drive with or without power steering.


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irishman

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 4:09 pm

I think so far everyone is basically saying the same thing, if buying new you are getting a new product, however, the design is dated and you must appreciate that. It is a totally different experience to that of a T5, really you cannot expect a T2 to 'perform' the same. It will do everything the T5 will, only in more style, giving you more highs, we have had ours almost five years, and as long as you look after it, you'll be good. You get used to the steering and gears, just need to treat it with respect, ours is used everyday for everything, we love it.
Do it, as Kiteman says you get to love them, you won't get that with a T5, and you certainly get to meet some fantastic friends along the way, go for it!
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Matt

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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 5:39 pm

Hello Daniel.
Owning a Brazilian van is a great thing. It gives you great joy and a smile across your face from ear to ear, however, you will have technical problems. If you are able to work on a car yourself, then go for it. If you are, like me, mechanically deficient, then think carefully.if you develop a major issue you will find that only Danbury can help and you are a long way from them. Vw Europe are a separate company to vw Brazil and they do not trade together or talk to each other. We have twice had to return our van to Danbury for problems that only they could deal with, in 4 years.

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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 11:10 pm

Thanks again to everybody for helping!

Your knowledge in all these matters is giving me a better picture and will help a lot to make the most convenient decision.

Anyway, as stated above, there are a couple of critical factors which are not in my hands (i.e. necessary paperwork, etc) and I firstly need to do some further research to sort them out. Unfortunately I cannot do anything at the moment because it just so happens that I am working in Brazil right now (so close to all these dozens of Kombis running around everywhere and can't drive any!! So cruel!).

When I get back home I'll start working on it. I wish I could manage to become a happy member of the club soon!

I'll get back as soon as I know anything new.

PD. Should you have anything else to say that may be useful please do not hesitate to post your message here. Thanks!
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primrose

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Cabin : Exec 099
Location : Eastbourne, Sussex
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Join date : 2013-04-04

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Fri May 24, 2013 11:33 pm

can you pick up a box of rubber fuel filler hoses !!!!
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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Sat May 25, 2013 2:23 am

@primrose wrote:
can you pick up a box of rubber fuel filler hoses !!!!

Very Happy I wish I could mate but I'm at sea at the moment! I'm working on a ship...so can't spend much time ashore actually.

But it's a great idea indeed, maybe I'll start a spare part "importation" business Very Happy

take care
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Rebeldog



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Location : Welsh Marches
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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Mon May 27, 2013 7:36 pm

Hi Daniel, as kiteman says, it is Head (T5) v Heart (T2) to which is the answer. We recently camped next to a super T5, all mod cons. My head said we should have bought one, but my heart said that we love our T2. The Kombi is very much life in the slow lane, I would not recommend it if you have to use a lot of motorways.
A) Rust, like bad football, will be less of a problem in Barcelona than here in Herefordshire.
B) Quality of the conversion we are very pleased with, the vehicle we suspect is not the quality of a modern vehicle, but does have loads of character.
C) Steering, we opted for the PAS as we both suffer from bad backs at times, and find it OK.
D) Gears, are more interesting. They do need care and almost a double declutch style of operation. So far we would say the clutch/gear system is the weak point.
Do we all enjoy the van, driving it and camping in it? Yes.
Good luck.
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DanielR



Cabin : Economy
Location : Barcelona
Posts : 20
Join date : 2013-05-22

PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Mon May 27, 2013 10:02 pm

Thanks for adding your opinion Rebeldog.

I would say that not even a T5 can guarantee you a hassle free vehicle. I came across with several T5 owners who have had nightmares regarding on board electronics / electric installation (i.e. pop up roof system, seats, leisure battery, cruise speed control..). Lots of people blame the fact that Westfalia is not involved in the VW vans anymore.

Call me old-fashioned but I believe that giving away the management of the majority of the controls to a computer can lead into annoying problems, unless the system is very reliable... We all know inside every computer there is a naughty gremlin!

That's why I am a bit reluctant of upgrading to a T5. I am presuming if anything breaks down on a T2, at least most of the times you can easily determine what the problem is (am I right?).
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Rebeldog



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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Tue May 28, 2013 12:13 pm

That is the sort of logic we applied. With the T2 if you haven't got it, it can't go wrong. The more complex and computerised, the more potential for a problem? Yes it is an old-fashioned view, and others will have a better idea of the comparative breakdowns, but we would take your view.
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brabay



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PostSubject: Re: Ready for a BraziBay...but I need your advice first!   Tue May 28, 2013 10:23 pm

@DanielR wrote:

That's why I am a bit reluctant of upgrading to a T5. I am presuming if anything breaks down on a T2, at least most of the times you can easily determine what the problem is (am I right?).

For this to be true you would need to ditch the ecu, injection and fit carbs.
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