The Syncro Story 4

It has always had an annual service & been run on Castrol GTX. More recently I have added “Prolong” to both engine & transmission & the improvement has been quite fantastic. It starts a lot easier and no longer do I get any tappet rattle when it is started up after a period of time. In fact the whole vehicle sounds completely different. I took sound meter readings before & after using this treatment & there is a 12dbA reduction in noise level at the crankcase – this in my book equates to very welcome reduction in wear of components & improved efficiency. (I had very similar results using this stuff in my Kemperink). Prolong is a well proven “no equal in the world” Anti Friction Metal Treatment widely known in America but also soon to be available over here.

It just gives confidence to know I have a vehicle that I can go almost anywhere (and do almost anything in!)

It just gives confidence to know I have a vehicle that I can go almost anywhere (and do almost anything in!)

It is now starting to look a bit tatty but nothing that can’t be fixed. There is not a lot to beat the driving experience. Visibility is good as you are sitting so high, road holding & ride are second to none.

Syncro problems

Many Syncro problems (and also many of the problems common to all T25 vehicles) are already well documented in books & on many of the web sites listed below.

Obviously, the fact that relatively few Syncros were produced means that some spares are scarce (and expensive!). Front drive shafts, gearboxes, prop shaft & front transmission all fall into this category. Most items are available if you know where to look.

I have just completed an overhaul on my own Syncro & had it completely re-sprayed in original metallic blue. In the course of doing this several problem areas came to light. Here are a few more items that Syncro owners (and anyone owning a fuel injected T25!) should take a look at.

Bodywork – the original under protection had cracked in several places, in particular around all of the jacking point areas. This had allowed some corrosion to take place on/in the sills, which required new sections. The Sliding door bottom body side seal channel also had to be repaired. This is a common problem on many T25’s. As a precaution against any future problems I repaired, painted & resealed all effected areas & applied wax oil based under seal to the entire underneath of the vehicle & topped up the internal sections as well.

Fuel System – Several serious problems in this area. The fuel filler pipe work was in poor condition. It looks like this must have been a fabricated at works item (not given the normal VW galvanising treatment) as it was badly corroded (in particular at the filler cap section). Luckily it is fairly easy to remove & repair. The fuel pipe section under the rear wing also required attention. The Fuel tank support saddle was badly rusted. This was treated & repainted, as was the tank fuel gauge sender unit plate on the left hand side of the tank.

Both of the fuel pump’s rubber mounts had sheared, leaving the pump supported by its hoses. Closer inspection revealed severe corrosion on the pump. This had been caused by electrolytic action between the steel clamp and the aluminium. I decided to chip-off the scale, treat, paint and re clamp the pump with a tape interface. This was most definitely the WRONG decision as I found out to my cost when I started up the van & it started to dump the entire contents of the fuel tank on the drive through a hole that appeared in the pump!

So if you find any corrosion in this area I strongly advise that you get yourself a new pump. The same electrolytic corrosion was evident in the fuel filter (located inside the left hand rear wing). This was also replaced.

Brakes – My Syncro is still on its first set of rear brake shoes. During this overhaul I think I may have found out why when, for the first time, I removed the brake drums. The bottom brake swivel pins on both sides were seized solid & had been for a very long time. This had totally restricted pad movement, resulting in very little wear to the shoes. (0.5mm in 150k miles!). It took a lot of heat to remove the pins. Braking & handbrake now work a lot better!

Exhaust – One of the “extra’s” already fitted on my van was an “Autocavan Powertorque” exhaust system. This was a tuned exhaust with stainless expansion bellows, which went into an Aircooled 2 litre type Stainless Steel Silencer with single outlet. It has a bigger bore manifold (38mm instead of 36mm) & is a very neat set up, which has always given the vehicle a bit more power (and a very nice sound!). Over the years I have had to patch it up a few times & sleeve the bellows sections as they eroded away. This was becoming a bit of a problem as the mild steel flanges on the system also eroded away. After two pipes broke completely at last years Vanfest (You might have heard it whilst I was doing the “Big Split”!) I decided that it was time for a new system. Getting a new silencer was not a problem as I found that the exact same profile box is still made & sold by “Waggonworks”. The original arrangement came with a very substantial saddle & clamp arrangement to hold & support the silencer box. This means that there is a lot less stress put on the head exhaust studs & also it allows you to hang the exhaust properly so it does’ not droop. I have seen many of these exhausts on aircooled vans that look very lopsided.

Unfortunately, It is not still possible to get the original tuned manifold that will fit on a 2.1, or the saddle/clamp arrangement. (In fact I have never seen a similar arrangement to mine on any watercooled T25).

So there was only one real option left, make a new manifold. In effect what I did was completely recondition the original, as the actual pipes were still OK once I had fitted new flanges. The end result along this time with a double outlet Waggonworks Silencer looks very impressive (and sounds even better!)

Other Jobs I have carried out in the past include some of the normal 2.1 injection problems (head gasket failures both sides & water pipe renewals).

Front top swivel – joints both sides have been renewed. I swapped the front drive shafts over @ 120K miles to get more life out of them. A future job will be a steering rack overhaul.

Simon Holloway

Syncro contacts listing

Just like the normal Transporters the Syncro has a worldwide fan club with numerous web sites and clubs.

These are just a few. Most have links to even more sites. Show for VW Transporters (especially Syncro!) Info & pictures of Syncros American Site with section for Syncro. German Syncro site/parts Syncro accessories Syncro discussion forum Phil Landers Australian Syncro site UK VW Transporter Owners club UK T3 site Syncro E Mail to Simon Holloway The new VW 4WD in action Syncro Medical unit