Converting a LHD T4 Westfalia for the UK – advice please

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  • Converting a LHD T4 Westfalia for the UK – advice please
  • Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    I’ve just bought a LHD T4 Westfalia camper van, recently imported from Germany. I need to do something about the speedo that currently only reads in kph,, and the LHD headlights: they’ve got beam deflectors on so they’re legal, but the light output is rubbish.

    I’ll go and ask on the T4 forum in due course, but I thought I’d start here because of the critical mass of thoughtful, intelligent, resourceful van owners 😀

    1) It seems to me I have three headlight options:
    i) put brighter bulbs in the current beam deflector LHD headlights
    ii) buy RHD replacement headlights on eBay
    iii) buy something like these FK angel eyes headlights. They look too flash for me, but the ability to switch between RHD and LHD is appealing.

    Does anyone have any experience of those RHD/LHD switchable headlights, and are they likely to be better than the stock VW ones? Any other thoughts?

    2) I need to do something to the speedo so that it reads in mph as well as kph. It’s possible to get a replacement screen from a company called Lockwood but this leaves the odometer reading in kph. I haven’t been able to find a new speedo online so:
    i) does anyone know of a supplier where I can get hold of a new VW Transporter speedo unit?
    ii) is it possible to have the new speedo programmed with the imperial equivalent of what my original metric odometer says (it has an LCD display)? it would be good to have a certified way of showing that the mileage is genuine.

    Apologies for the long post, but any answers to any parts of my questions would be gratefully received.

    cheers

    harry

    trail_rat
    Member

    Leave the odo in kph. Learn to love 1.6

    Iirc the t4 needs a new piece of loom and some new bulbs to make the lighting normal.

    Stoners yer man!

    greeble
    Member

    I’ve got a set of shortnose T4 rhd headlights you can have if you want them. They have yellow indicators not the newer clear. £40 the lot.
    Secondly you might have to buy a new dial cluster. Note the current milage in the logbook and carry on with the imperial dash cluster

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    Thanks Greeble, would have been great but it’s a long nose….

    Apparently an MPH speedo is a legal requirement, even though not checked in the MOT. On my previous 1991 T4 I swapped over the speedo, but I imagine this newer one will be pricier. Hey hi, I got it for a good price.

    Mister P
    Member

    My old 1958 VW van had a KPH speedo, never failed an MOT because of it. The rules may have changed though.

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    Thanks Mister P. It seems it’s okay for an MOT but if I get stopped by the police I can be done for not having MPH on it. Also, I’m rubbish at maths and driving presents enough of a cognitive load as it is 🙂

    nealglover
    Member

    My LHD Multivan has KM speedo and no issues at all.
    DVLA registered it in the UK and said it wasn’t a problem.
    You can change the odometer to miles with VAG COM if you want to.

    Headlights, get some RHD replacements off eBay.
    And install the upgraded wiring loom and some Osram Nightbreaker bulbs.
    (Ask on the T4 Forum for details)

    snakester
    Member

    I had a lhd westy T4 for six years. Mine was altered by the dealer I bought it from with rhd headlamp units and a new speedo template reading in mph. The trip continued to record in KM.

    Premier Icon wwaswas
    Subscriber

    Probably cheaper to get a Sat nav with a big mph readout on it 😉

    petrieboy
    Member

    Sticky dots for the mph?

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    I’ve been using a satnav; works quite well! Sticky dots are apparently not a legal solution as the display is backlit. There are several threads about this on the T4 forum but I can’t find them right now.

    I’m likely to keep this van for several years so I don’t mind spending a bit now to get a definitive solution. Guess I’ll just have to see what I get quoted by a garage.

    Thanks for the replies though everyone 🙂

    snakester
    Member

    Speak to Rob at vwcampersales.com he knows his stuff

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    woops, replying on my phone and missed the responses from nealglover and snakester.

    nealglover: the change to miles sounds interesting, do you mean I can get that done at a VW dealer? If so that would be a great solution: get the MPH template from Lockwood and then have the odometer reset by VAG. I think you’re right about the headlights and the upgraded loom – I don’t want those fancy lights that make it look like an Audi… (well, sort of, if there’s such a thing as a van-shaped Audi)

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    Thanks snakester – very helpful. I’ve spoken to Rob several times – have been waiting for them to get the right van in, but they’ve had very litle stock (or it’s been too expensive) for ages. I’ll give him a call; he’s always been very helpful and it would be good to put at least some business their way

    nealglover
    Member

    Yes a dealer or anyone garage with VAG COM can do the odometer change. It’s dead easy. Takes about 2 minutes.

    The difference with Headlight loom with Osram Nightbreakers is incredible.

    I wouldn’t bother doing any of the fancy aftermarket lights on a westie, it’s ok on a full custom van, but a westie should be kept as OE as possible IMHO.
    Some subtle changes maybe, but none of the aftermarket lights are subtle ! 😉

    tekp2
    Member

    I left both the speedo and lights as they were on mine, which will apparently be fine for MOT, according to my local garage.

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    Thanks again nealglover – I’m really only interested in fancy lights if they give a benefit that outweighs the shame of being seen driving something fitted with them, which seems unlikely…
    Is VAG COM some kind of electronic controller thing? I’ll call my local independent place on Monday to see if they can do it.

    And I found the legal reference for the MPH speedo rule – paragraph 35 of the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986. I’m not sure why this isn’t a problem with MOTs (my van with KPH only passed its MOT) but it’s clearly against the rules…
    The lights are fine for the MOT with beam deflectors (on my old van we just used masking tape) but I actually want to be able to see the road ahead at night 🙂

    nealglover
    Member

    Yes it’s the Diagnostic program that runs on a laptop connected via a cable.

    If you go to the garage and they can’t find the setting, tell them the setting for it is found at

    “Address 17 channel 7” and they need to change the 3rd digit from a 1 to a 4

    It really doesn’t take more than 5 minutes in total, and shouldn’t cost more than a few quid.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    I have the mph template thingy on my Westy, done by the previous owner. I think it’s a bit naff tbh. The symbols for the warning lights don’t line up properly. If you’re going to really do it properly I’d look into a set of clocks from a uk vehicle. I’ve no idea if they’re compatible but some VAG COM guru might know.

    My advise would be to try and live with the km speedo first, I’ve never heard of anyone being pulled up on it, km make more sense when you’re used to them, doesn’t take long

    Set of RHD lights from eBay will be cheap, go for a loom and bulb upgrade, I can see France on a dark night.

    Look into the clutch mod, you can buy a small piece of metal that bolts on the clutch arm and prevents cracking, get it done ASAP, it’s a bit of a fiddle on LHD but not as difficult as changing the clutch arm when it cracks.

    Whereabouts are you?

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    Oh and aftermarket fancy lights have no place on a Westy.

    nealglover
    Member

    I would agree with sticking with the KM/H speedo, I’ve driven Lefties for years and never had any legal problems

    despite being stopped by police twice and had the vehicle looked over quite keenly for “issues”, I was stopped for having illegal metal plates once, and another time due to forgetting to change over from “show plates”
    Both times they seemed quite keen to find other problems but didn’t see any.

    Also agree with having the pedal box modification done, and again, have a look on the T4 Forum for an exchange unit. There is a guy on there that does them, I seem to remember he’s called “windwelder” or something similar ??

    Edit- The guys name is Trevor. Aka “wind welder” he’s the guy to speak to about the pedal box.

    Dibbs
    Member

    The lights on my T4 long nose are crap too, I’ll sort it out one day but the wiring loom conversion is different to the one for the short nose and not as common.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    Wiring loom on my long nose took about an hour to do, easy cheap and well worth it.

    Mackem
    Member

    When I drive in UK I have a post-it note with the Kmph/Mph conversions on my steering wheel.

    nealglover
    Member

    The lights on my T4 long nose are crap too, I’ll sort it out one day but the wiring loom conversion is different to the one for the short nose and not as common.

    They are pretty common. I’ve had them on my last 2 vans.

    Give Will at “Tidy T’s” a ring, he will sort it out (if he doesn’t do them anymore, he will point you to who does)

    01455 556023
    07875 095 091

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    Thanks again everyone – who needs the T4 Forum when you’ve got SingleT4VWorld.com? Sorry not to have replied sooner but it’s been a busy weekend.

    I’ll check out the pedal box fix – sounds like a good tip – and I’ll call my local VW garage and Will at Tidy Ts on Monday.

    pictonroad – I’m in Oxford.

    While you’re all here does anyone know about using solar panels on the roof, both to keep the leisure battery topped up over the winter, and to run fridge, lights and music for weekends spent away from it all? I’ve read quite a bit about it but perhaps someone here has first hand experience they can share….

    hora
    Member

    Hijack. If a westy needs a new servo fitting, what sort of price range should it be/how long to fit?

    niksnr
    Member

    The only time KPH odometer will cause a problem is if you get stopped speeding and Police ask whether you knew what speed you were going. Do not reply ‘No, sorry officer, my speedo only reads KPH and I don’t know how to convert.’ Please note as a fellow westy driver that you may be devaluing your bus if you look to sell it later with any after market changes. Buyers tend to be a bit particular and want everything original. That said, if you really struggle to divide by 1.6 it may be a good idea, otherwise those tickets might add up quickly. If you change lights keep the originals to put back in if you do decide to sell. Good luck with the bus. :mrgreen:

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    all this divide by 1.6 is unneccessary, all seasoned Westy owners know 50 is 30, 100 is 60 ish, 120 for motorways, beyond that I can’t afford the fuel.. 😉

    I have a solar panel on my roof, it’s a 75W panel with a MPPT controller to a 120amp leisure battery. It will run the van for a weekend if it’s sunny but it’s not to be relied upon. It depends how you use the van tbh, If you can get 150w+ panels up there and pre cool the fridge on mains then you’ll be fine. As we have a 2yr old nipper then we tend to use sites with facilities and more and more sites have hook up. You can afford a lot of nights on hook up for the price of a solar set up.

    I’m glad we have ours but I wouldn’t rush into it again unless I could guarantee at least 150w of panel.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    hora – Member
    Hijack. If a westy needs a new servo fitting, what sort of price range should it be/how long to fit?

    Westy?

    Westfalia make a lot of models, they’re all based on Ford, VW or Mercedes vans though so whatever the going rate in your local garage is for a standard builders van.

    unless it’s a 63 split of course….

    hora
    Member

    Oops 71 LHD VW Camper. Servo is there but the previous owner had disconnected it. The thinking is he disconnected it as it wasn’t working..

    The local indie garage spotted this but said they didn’t know how much it’d cost etc etc.

    The other thing is the MOT’s due soon. Does the Servo being present and not working mean the ‘van will fail?

    jools182
    Member

    Just put a dot at 30mph, 50mph 70mph

    nealglover
    Member

    Double post.

    nealglover
    Member

    Brake servo for a ’71 camper is £100 at Just Kampers.

    Part no: 211-612-103/G

    hora
    Member

    Cheers it looks like a plug n play/possibly DIY job- will get onto them. 🙂

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    I personally don’t favour just kampers. I’d go to GSF, VW heritage or Alan Schofield.

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    thanks again everyone. I phoned VW who had never heard of the VAG COM reset suggested by nealglover but they’re going to look into it, and I’m probably going to buy a template as I just find it easier to keep track of things in miles. I’m looking out for a pair of RHD lights on eBay, and will certainly hang on to the originals when I’ve fitted them. I’ll order the uprated wiring looms tomorrow.

    I had a very helpful conversation with David from Midsummer Energy who do all sorts of solar kit. I need to work out what sort of output I need to run my fridge and lights, charge a couple of phones, play some music etc. Fitting solar is clearly going to cost me more than it’ll save, but I really like the idea of not being tied to campsites with hook-up….

    nealglover
    Member

    thanks again everyone. I phoned VW who had never heard of the VAG COM reset suggested by nealglover but they’re going to look into it

    If you spoke to someone on reception, they won’t have a clue what you are talking about.
    Unless you speak to a tech you won’t have any joy.

    Just go to an indie VW specialist and they will sort it out.

    Premier Icon lorax
    Subscriber

    thanks. It was a (clueless) receptionist but she went off and spoke to a technician who was apparently equally clueless! I’ll see what she says when she calls back tomorrow, but I’ll also follow up the indie option 🙂

    thanks!

    nealglover
    Member

    Probably a quicker way (and cheaper) would be to post a question on the T4 Forum asking for someone local who has VAG COM to sort it out for you.

    There are loads of people on there all over the country who have it and will do it for a couple of beers.

    Premier Icon pictonroad
    Subscriber

    don’t bother with a VW garage for the reset, as he^ says, they wont have a clue, you need a VW independent.

    Just so you’re prepared, the warning symbols on the template probably wont line up, it’ll annoy you in no time. You have been warned! 😆

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