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Discussion Starter #1
Hello everyone,

I just joined the forum for this post, as I don't live in the UK.

We are devastated! Me and my wife are at the moment 6 weels into our 6+ month journey around europe in our Carthago Malibu 28.1 T4 campervan (2.5 TDI, built December 2000, 125k miles), and today it looks as though we will have to end it prematurely.
This sucks big time, since we don't even planned to have to find a flat - let alone jobs - so soon :blg

This is what happend today:


My wife was driving on one of the typically (for the UK at least) narrow roads, while I was twiddling with the smartphone to find the proper way, when a tractor came the other way. I don't know why and how, but she didn't seem to slow down, while I was yelling 'Break!' and she was yelling 'I am breaking!'. This was when I realized she was using the clutch instead of the break pedal, but instead of just pulling the handbreak, which would probably have prevented this calamity, I just sat there, watching the slowly advancing big hunk of agricultural metal.
Normaly my wife is a good driver, and we didn't really go that fast. Seems she had some kind of blackout, probably happens to the best. Thats why you have two pilots in a commercial plane. A least no one got hurt :bhd.

I think what helped to prevent worse is the fact, that the right from wheel hit a stone burried in the dirt at the side of the road at a very small angle, shortly before we impacted on the tractor, wich absorbed a lot of our energy. The rim was deformed, but luckily nothing else on the right side seems to have been damaged. Also the fact that the beam we hit on the tractor was quite high, above the headlights, gives me some hope that there is no real damage to the frame :gl. The motor is still running, and after I put on the spare tire (which I wisely replaced before whe started), I could drive without any obvious problems.

What I need now is advice. Or better yet some magician, with a welding gun and a spray can (a man must be allowed to dream). We were planning to leave the UK on the thid of December, in fact we already have (non refundable :bhd) ferry tickets. The first body shop we went to (Freemans in Milford Haven, Pembrokshire) couldn't help us, since they estimated it could take weeks for them to get everything fixed, especially them being two men short. Even opening the bonnet to properly assess the damage poses a risk, as it most likely won't stay shut afterwards.
The second shop we went to (G&G, Thornton, Milford Haven), said he could at least patch us up, so we can go on without being constantly stopped by the police. We should come back tomorrow and he has a T4 to donate parts from.

Advice in any form is welcome. Is the damage worth fixing at all? If so, should we just try to go on with a temporary repair, and do more substantial repairs later, which would mean not before January if we stay on plan? Or should we just give up, and use our ADAC (german automobile club) membership to try and get us and the car home to Germany to get it fixed there, trying to stay with friends/family for a few weeks, incurring some additional costs of maybe a few houndred pound for train/plain tickets?
Are there likely hidden damages, that coud lead to even bigger problems if we try to go on?

I know that none of you are likely to be able to make our problems go away. But writing about them already helps to see things more clearly.

Cheers,
Nico
 

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To be honest it does not look that bad. the wing is a bolt on item as is the bonnet. you can get a new LHD headlight from VW Hertiage. and if he has a front panel that he can fit you could be good to go but odd coloured.

it might not need a full front cross member, just a headlight surround.

I am sure some of the South Wales lot might be able to help.
 

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I think it look's worse then it is, may be go for the patch up job just to get you threw your trip, then worry about the main fix when you get home, not that I am in a place to tell you to do so but if it was me that is what I'd do, as you said you where going slow so do not think you have any real damage apart from cosmetic and your light, but do get your light fixed as it is a must on British road's.

All the best Nico and please let us know how you get along T:
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for all the encouragement. At the moment I don't really care about how it will look afterwards, as longs as its safe enough and will rust away under our asses.
The biggest problem that I see at the moment, even for a patch up, is that the mountings for the bonnet at the windshield frame are pretty warped. I have no experience with fixing such damage, so I cannot for the life of me estimate how difficult this is to straighten up. I am a programmer, so this if its non digital (meaning fits/fits not) its hard for me to grasp ;).

I just went outside and took some more pictures, cant really sleep right now anyway:




The frame under the windshield is also slightly buckled inward, don't know if this is a problem. Probably not in the short term.

Unfortunately the headlight, while it looks good, is done for since the reflector is broken. But a new or used headlight won't kill me.

I am also worried that for example the ABS block which is in this area might be damaged.

Since somebody asked, I am still in Pembrokeshire, near Milford Haven at the moment.

Also, if somebody has a spare 15 inch steel rim somwhere in wales, that would also be helpfull. The right front tire still looked fine, so maybe it is salvageable. I don't like to drive forever with two different types of tires on one axis, and 2 new tires is another 100 pound. Also the ones I have on now where a hundred each, Conti Vanco Four Season.
 

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the most simple way to carry on with your journey is to make sure the wing, grill and bonnet are at least secure, then concentrate on getting the headlight and indicator replaced and aligned properly. At least you're legal then, it won't matter if the bonnet and wing line up with the headlight as long as the light itself is in the right place. You mentioned a donor van for a patch up. That would be worth following up
 

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Go on ebay there is a long nose bonnet a pair of wings and a breakers on junction 27 m4 he will have all you need if you can get there get a post code on there and do a search vw t4 sort nearest first you can't go wrong hope this helps
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Hí everyone,

just wanted to let you know how things went so far. We brought our bus to the garage this morning and retrieved it 6 hours later. For anyone who doesn't know yet, don't go to Milford Haven! It's depressing and you don't miss anything.
Anyhow, they did a pretty good job patching up our bus. Although they used a headlight and indicator from a short nose bus, it looks pretty well at first glance. Even the bonnet opens and closes reasonably well. And he only charged me 108 pounds.



But the lighting situation on the left side is pretty ty. I think its just aimed too low and could be improved by some adjustment. I will take a look at it tomorrow in the daylight.
Other than that it seems we were pretty lucky. There seem to be no serious strutural damage to the the front cross beam (the one that holds the bonnet latch and the radiator). Also the small fuse box in front of the battery was missed by just a tiny bit. I mean the lid was pearced!! Its not properly attached anymore though, so I will need to secure it with some tape.

Is there is anyone living in or near Wales, who would be able and willing to take a look at our bus in the next few days? The only geographical constrain from our side is, that we would very much like to be able to catch our ferry at the 3rd of December in Hollyhead at the north-westerly tip of Wales. I would just feel better if someone who knows inside out how a proper T4 should look like would have a critical look.

Also I would still like to sort out our tire situation in the near future. I don't like to run on two different types on tires on the front axis for longer than strictly necessary.

Unfortunatly our Internet access situation is also somewhat flaky at the moment, but I will try to check back as soon and often as possible.
 

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Visit a dealer a get them to next day order the correct light unit, get it fitted on and that will take care of the worst of it.

You could ask them to carry out a visual inspection of the van (that's free, they will try to sell you stuff but it will give you some idea)
 

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I've got a spare wheel you can have. I don't have any spare parts here for the long nose front end but will happily take a look at the damage and see if the situation can be improved. I'm sure we could get a correct headlight unit fitted if the mounting points are salvageable!
I'm in Clydach, Swansea. SA6 5HU. 10mins from junction 45 of the M4.
Give me a call if you are gonna call in.

Simon 07929217361
 

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That looks pretty ok for £108 to be honest. It will get you back to Germany. Why don't you swap the rear wheels with the fronts. (or just the odd one) So you have the same size on the front drive and steer.
Milford Haven isn't the best place to have problems to be honest.
I'd definitely take a ride and go and see Bevan.
Good luck with it.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I've got a spare wheel you can have. I don't have any spare parts here for the long nose front end but will happily take a look at the damage and see if the situation can be improved. I'm sure we could get a correct headlight unit fitted if the mounting points are salvageable!
I'm in Clydach, Swansea. SA6 5HU. 10mins from junction 45 of the M4.
Give me a call if you are gonna call in.

Simon 07929217361
Hello Bevan,

We would gladly take you up on your offer. Going back to Swansea is really not a big problem for us. We already have accepted the fact that we won't see anything of north Wales this time around.

So when would be a good time for you? Probably best to send me a PM or text me to 07974549316.


Thanks again to everyone for your advice and encouragement!
 

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T: Well done to all who helped, and gave advice.
To the OP, enjoy the rest of your trip.

Chris
 
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