Dr. Björn's Auto


How to winterize your Westfalia 0

Happy November! Look at the snow on those mountains... yikes! --> With winter fast approaching, now is a great time to weatherize your van to make sure it stays in great shape during the cold, wet months. Here’s a handy checklist to help protect your van and keep it thriving – whether you plan to store your van or drive it all winter. We hope you find it helpful!

If you’re an all-seasons driver…

Water & Fuel Systems 1.    Drain your fresh water tank 2.    Blow your outside waterline 3.    Inspect the engine and fuel lines for wear and tear and replace as needed 4.    Top up your antifreeze 5.    Change the oil to a cold weather-based oil, e.g., 5W30 Interior 6.    Protect rubber gaskets & weather stripping with rubber care gel 7.    Cover your seats and floor mats to protect them from wet outerwear and footwear 8.    Camping? Stock up on extra sleeping bags and blankets 9.    Add a Propex heater to make sure you're warm and toasty Exterior 10.  Wash, compound, and wax the exterior to protect it from the elements 11.  Let a small amount of air out of the tires to increase their grip in cold weather 12.  Annually undercoat your van -- especially if it's your daily driver!   If you’re storing your van for the winter Water & Fuel Systems 1.    Turn off your propane tank 2.    Drain your fresh water tank 3.    Blow your outside waterline 4.    Add stabilizer to your fuel tank if storing more than 6 months 5.    Fog the engine and drain your fuel lines 6.    Top up your antifreeze Interior 7.   Remove all food - even canned items  8.   Thoroughly clean and vacuum the inside of your van 9.    Wash and store all bedding etc. in a dry place 10.   Remove top bunk mattress and prop up the loose cushion above the engine 11.  Mouse-proof your engine and interior – you’ll find some great tips here 12.  Replace all worn rubber gaskets and weather seals 13.  Protect gaskets and weather seals with a top quality rubber care product Exterior 14.  Wash, compound, and wax the exterior to protect from rust 15.  Scrub down all awnings with hot soapy water and an anti-mildew cleaner 16. Make sure awnings are 100% dry before you retract and store them 17. If possible, park it under an overhang, shed, or RV tent 18. Be sure to park on concrete or a tarp - NOT bare ground 19. Annually undercoat your Westy to reduce chance of rust developing 20. Cover your tires Battery 21.  Disconnect your battery 22.  Disconnect your auxiliary battery … Once you’ve checked all the items off the list, you can rest easy knowing your beloved van will survive the winter in top condition. Got any great winterizing tips of your own? Share them with us on our blog!

Our Favourite Weather Protection Products

On sale until November 30th! Hook-Up Inlets - save $40 Prevent corrosion and leakage by replacing your hook-up inlets before winter hits. Our hook-up inlet kits are custom made from the refurbished molds used by the original parts manufacturer for Westfalia North America. Guaranteed to fit and last! Use the coupon code: WINTERHOOKUP to save $40 on your purchase before November 30th. Learn more Seals - 10% off Protect your van from moisture and mould by replacing your old, raggedy seals with brand-spanking new ones. Use the coupon code WINTER10 to save 10% before November 30th. Pop-Top Seal & Cargo Seal Kit Our pop top seal kit is the best on the market. It's not only better (and cheaper) than any competing aftermarket product, but it's better than the $600 original German pop top seal as well. It protects your camper better, installs faster (with no adhesive required), last longer, and looks closest to stock. Learn more Front door window seal These useful window seals protect the interiors of your doors from road grime and prevents rust from developing. Also keeps your window mechanisms functioning smoothly. Learn more Wurth Cleaning Products - 10% off Make sure your van is sparkling clean before you put it away for the winter to ensure it looks and smells great in the spring! Use the coupon code WINTER10 to save 10% before November 30th. Wurth Rubber Care This excellent rubber care product hydrates your Vanagon’s rubber and extends the life of your rubber gaskets and weather stripping. Prevents freezing  so you can open your door no matter how low the temperature drops! Learn more Wurth Tar Remover This great tar remover easily and effectively removes tar, road asphalt, and underseal splashes from your varnish, glass, and painted surfaces. Learn more Wurth Cylinder Lock Spray This is a great product for lubricating your cylinder lock and preventing rust and corrosion. It prevents freezing and does not contain resin, acid, or silicone. Best of all, one small canister lasts a LONG time! Learn more Wurth Rost Off Rust Eliminator This powerful rust eliminator provides lasting protection against rust and corrosion. Use it to loosen rusted-in screws, eliminate squeaks, protect brake linkages and prevent water from reaching the ignition. Learn more
Wurth Stone Guard – Paintable Underseal Spray This tough product creates a textured gravel guard coating that protects your rocker & valance panels from stone chips and other road abrasions. Offers excellent adhesion to painted or bare metals. Learn more Wurth Insect Remover Easily remove dead, dried-on insects from windscreens, radiator grills, bumpers, headlights, and license plates. Use it before taking your van to the car wash for an even deeper cleaning. Learn more Biological Odour Eliminator No more holding your nose when you've got this powerful odour eliminator on your side! It works fast and cleans deep by effectively rapidly breaking bad odour molecules at the source. Effective on hard and soft surfaces. Learn more Eco Fabric & Upholstery Cleaner This natural, citrus-based product eliminates odours and removes mould, stains, and fabric spots. It's completely colour safe and non-hazardous to people, and is quick and easy to use. Learn more That's it for today... We hope you're enjoying a wonderful fall season!

Video: 2nd Annual VW Sunshine Coast Campout Sept 2013 by Curt Long 0

If you're going to watch ONE video online today, make it this one! Our friend Curt Long used his GoPro camera and fancy remote control helicopter to record this fabulous video of our VW Sunshine Coast Campout at Katherine Lake last month. It showcases the beauty of the campsite -- not to mention all the great vans that showed up! Featuring the music of Canadian artist Jesse Cook. You can learn more about him here.   Admit it: don't you want to make sure you attend next year's event? Thank you so much, Curt, for documenting our weekend! Your video is awesome and so are you. :-)

The 2nd Annual VW Sunshine Coast Campout was a blast! 0

A huge, enormous thank you to everyone who came out to the 2nd Annual VW Sunshine Coast Campout! We had a blast and we hope you did, too. About thirty vans joined us for the Sept 13-15 campout at Katherine Lake, forty minutes north of Sechelt, BC. It was so great to see old friends and make new ones, too. Westfalia folk are the coolest people out there! As always, we spent most of the weekend walking around and checking out each other's vans. There were some sweet vehicles there (there always are!). It's amazing to see how each van really does have its own personality--a hallmark of all the love and attention its owners have poured into it over the years. vw westy campout bc 1 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 2 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 19 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 6 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 20 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 5 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 4 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 3 Some of us also took the opportunity to do some repair work and tuning up. VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 30 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 31 We had a good number of families join us, which was great. It's so wonderful to see kids spending their childhood enjoying awesome Westy adventures. Often their parents grew up doing exactly the same thing--which is why they have a Westy now. VW campout bc VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 8 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 9 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 10 We had several four-footed friends with us as well.

VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 15

VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 17 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 16 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 18 The weather cooperated nicely. We had fog on Saturday morning but it burned off to give us a gorgeous sunny afternoon. Most of the kids and a good number of adults took advantage of the heat to get some swimming in. The water was fabulous and the campsite was absolutely beautiful. VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 14 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 12 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 11 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 13 Sorry there are no pictures of people swimming at the beach. We were too busy swimming ourselves to take any! It was interesting to see all the different types of awnings and tents people were using to extend their living space. VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 41 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 40 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 39 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 38 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 37 We actually used the campout as an opportunity to check out a new product we're now offering in the shop -- the Add-A-Room shelter! VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 42 VW CAMPER 2013 - 43 VW CAMPER 2013 - 44 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 45 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 46 Those babies provide a 9.5' x 10.5' fully enclosed room and stretch out to provide an additional 15 square feet of space when the front and side walls are set up as awnings. You can learn more about them here. We enjoyed a fabulous potluck dinner on Saturday night. There was delicious leek soup, salmon, sausages and sauerkraut, chili, chicken wings, 7 bean dip, amazing cheeses and salami, and many other dishes -- plus an incredible selection of dessert. Westy owners are amazing cooks! VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 23 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 22 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 21 There was also a cribbage tournament for the card players in the group. VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 24 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 25 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 26 The winner, Lyle, received a great cribbage board in the shape of a classic Vanagon-Westfalia! VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 28 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 29 We also drew the winner of our WIN AN EZY AWNING contest. Michael Egge of Alberta was the lucky guy who won a EZY Awning complete with 3 walls to make a fully enclosed room. We gave away a number of other fun prizes as well. VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 34 VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 35   Major thanks go to Kathy and Sheane, managers of Katherine Lake, for providing us with such great service! The campsite was spotless and it was such a luxury to enjoy a hot shower in a sparkling clean bathroom!

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  All in all, the event was a great success! We're already excited about new activities we can add to next year's event to make it even more memorable. We hope to see you there! All our love, Trevor, the Skylight Guy VW CAMPOUT 2013 48 and Cheri, the Skylight Gal VW CAMPOUT 2013 - 27 Until next year!        

Edbee's Westfalia Sink Faucet Story 0

One of our friends recently sent us a great article he put on his blog about having to replace the sink faucet in his blue '91 Syncro. (As opposed to his white '91 Syncro or his brown '84 Westy -- he has 3 of them and has had to replace all of their sink faucets over the years!) Edbee bought the most recent sink faucet from us and gave us a nice little shout-out as a result.  Thanks so much, Edbee -- we hope the faucet works well for you! To read Edbee's Westfalia Sink Faucet story, click here or on the image below: edbees-new-faucet  

"Get on the Doc Bus" -- a Documentary Film Adventure 0

getonthedocbusWe are excited to announce that The Skylight Guy is an official sponsor for Get on the Doc Bus, a cross-country campaign to celebrate and raise awareness of Canada’s documentary film industry. OPEN CINEMA founder and program director Mandy Leith will spend the next four months driving across Canada in her VW Westfalia bus (yay!), connecting film lovers, filmmakers, and community screening programs, with the goal of seeding a grassroots community screening network to support the country’s struggling documentary industry. So, she’s like a Johnny Appleseed, except for documentary film. ;-) Mandy, a former BBC and National Film Board editor, will kick off her journey on June 1st at Mile 0 in Victoria, BC and will end in September at Mile 0 in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Along the way she will meet with filmmakers, audiences, cinemas, alternative venues, media organizations, festivals, nonprofit outreach programs, and businesses, and will document the entire journey with video, photography, and a blog. “I’ve dreamed of doing this for years,” Mandy says. "The documentary industry, and now public broadcasting, is at a crossroads. It’s time to get out there and talk to people about alternative media, democracy, community engagement and documentary." Mandy says that making her documentary pilgrimage in a Westfalia is a "dream come true." "As an avid camper, I've wanted a Westy for as long as I can remember," she says. "I'm thrilled to have found such a gem: a pristine 1991 Vanagon GL that has been babied and well maintained all its life. Documentary and Westy culture seem to go hand in hand, so it feels very exciting to bring my two passions together in one long roadtrip across Canada!" We are thrilled to support Mandy on her journey! To help make her adventure a success, The Skylight Guy has donated $1000 plus parts and phone rescue support if needed. To learn more, check out this great video: You can also go to: GetontheDocBus.com or read a great article by the Victoria Times-Colonist, which you can find here. A send-off party will take place on Wednesday May 29h, 2013, at Full Circle Studio Arts in Victoria. If you're in the neighbourhood, drop by and say hi.

Long live all Westys – and Canadian documentary film!

Of Mice and Fox Urine 0

It was like something out of a scary movie. I was putting tools away in the garage when I heard a raspy scratching sound that made it unmistakably clear that I was not alone. “Trevor?” I called. No answer. I listened. My heart lurched as I realized the sound was coming from inside our beloved Westy, “Rock On.” No, I thought. Holding my breath, I tiptoed over to the bus and slowly opened the hood. And screamed in horror at the carnage of innards everywhere!   We had mice, dammit. The little devils had shredded a big chunk of insulation and used it to create a cozy little nest right on our engine. AGAIN.

Skylight Guy 3, Mice 4

Those pesky varmints have come back every winter for the past three years. We set traps and put mothballs in the engine and that seems to drive them away... for a while. Clearly we need a more permanent solution. Considering the damage they can do so your wires and insulation—not to mention the increased risk of fire!--a mice infestation is way too big a problem to ignore. So we did some snooping on Google and surveyed our friends and came up with the following list of potential solutions.

7 Ways to “De-Pesty” Your Westy 

  1. Mothballs – These work for us as a short-term solution but we'd like to find something with longer-lasting impact. Plus, they're pretty toxic.
  2. Peppermint -- Mice don't like the smell of peppermint, so if you put cottonballs soaked in peppermint oil or Altoid mints (the only kind that contains real peppermint oil) in your vehicle, they'll look for somewhere else to call home.
  3. Human hair – Apparently mice also hate the smell of human hair. Maybe because they associate it with ruthless killers who want to wipe them off the face of the planet? One place to get a large amount of clean hair is your local barber shop.
  1. Fox urine – Also falling under the category of “spoor from animals that want to kill you,” fox urine has been touted as excellent mouse repellent. Our only concern is whether it acts as people repellent as well. Because, eww.
  2. Bounce dryer sheets – They're a far cry from fox urine, but apparently Bounce dryer sheets also work to repel mice. Maybe they prefer Febreze?
  3. Mouse poison – We hear D-Con works well. But we're not super keen on the idea of laying out poison as it might get out into the environment and kill other animals as well. Not cool.
  4. Ultrasonic mouse deterrents – A lot of people recommend Mouse Blocker, a device that releases ultra-high frequency noice to deter mice from nesting inside your car. It runs off your battery and draws as much power as an LCD clock. Sounds cool, but there's some debate whether these ultrasonics actually work.

Your thoughts?

Have you ever had to deal with mice in your vehicle? If so, did you use any of the strategies above to get rid of them? What worked and what didn't? Tell us in the comments!    
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