In my eyes the van was perfect, and was decently priced, so I was quick to snap it up, although naturally every second hand vehicle is going to have a few issues, some of which I missed and some which got slightly worse after the initial drive home. Below is a quick snapshot of the issues that I encountered and how I dealt with them for the MOT.

Those things that could wait

  • A handful of small scratches and a few dents, nothing to worry about.
  • The interior wood panelling had a hole in it, caused by something impacting the outside of the body, but the body had been sorted, the wood just needed fixing up, no MOT issues here.
  • When changing into 5th something made an odd sound, a small crunch, though it didn’t feel too bad, so probably not worth worrying about at this early stage.
  • One of the mirrors was slightly smashed (totally my fault). It turns out I was not quite ready to reverse this van out of the driveway I had it parked on.

Those that had to be fixed

  • The horn didn’t work at all! This is a requirement.
  • I couldn’t find reverse gear at all! I’m sure reverse functioning on a vehicle that has reverse is probably an MOT requirement.

Fixing the horn

What can I say, replacing a horn on a VW T4 is very easy as it is located in one of the front corners of the vehicle in front of one of the front wheels. Very accessible!

To remove simply pull off the two spade connectors and undo the single bolt, the horn will then drop off.

I purchased a cheap replacement from China for the purpose of the MOT. I didn’t really check any of the specs but the horn looked roughly the same as the one fitted, and at this stage all I wanted was a PASS!

To re attach the horn simply do all of the steps in reverse. Bolt the horn on, re-attach the spade connectors, test it out!

Note: Other things could be wrong!

  • When I initially took the horn off I tested it on another T4 just to be sure it was dead, and it was, hence the replacement.
  • The horn has its own fuse which could have blown. I checked this by swapping the fuse out for another of the same ampage.
  • There could have also been an issue with switch for the horn in the steering wheel. I checked this using a multimeter and testing the circuit in the wheel (If you have an airbag you may not want to just pull that thing off)
  • Of course there is wiring between all of these things which could be at fault. I tested this using a voltmeter across the two spades that plugged into the horn.

I later went on to replace the horn that I bought from China as it sounded terrible, but at least it helped me get through the MOT. But that’s for another post.

Fixing reverse selection

Tracking down the exact issue turned out to be a bit of a wild goose chase. Once found it turned out to be an easy fix.

Firstly the gear shifts generally felt very loose. When checking under the van many of the plastic bushes and washers seemed very worn and loose, so my first step was to remove them, which meant taking the gear linkage off. I found a set of replacements on ebay, which ended up containing far more pieces than I needed, and fitted them. This in itself was no easy feat as lots of pressure is needed to get the bits back together, my suggestion is find someone with some kind of press! When putting the bits back together I found that a previous owner had modified the gear linkage to do short shifting (which essentially meant they drilled a hole in a piece of metal and use that hole rather than another). The new hole felt much looser than the original so I also reverted this change. After putting everything back the issue was still not fixed.

Secondly I looked at the gear stick, taking the cover off it looked like some of the movement was restricted due to the stick hitting the sides of the slot in the floor. I adjusted this to be more central and made sure that while selecting all gears the stick was not being obstructed by anything. But still no reverse!
Finally I realised that on this particular gearbox (a Fiat gearbox I believe, ie. it doesn’t have VW on the side) reverse was selected by pushing down on the stick, which engaged a cable that runs to the gear box. This appeared to be happening correctly at the gear stick end of the cable, but upon finding the other end the problem was clear! You can see the cable at the bottom of the gear stick on the image to the right.

At the point the cable went into the gear box it should have been held away by a smallish plastic ‘thingy’, and that ‘thingy’ had split in two! Solution, cable tie it together, and voila, reverse could be found.