As part of our series of Make Do & Mend resources, we’ve put together a quick guide to help you replace the heat exchangers and exhaust system on your VW T2 Bay.
We’ve recently uploaded a complete How To video to our YouTube channel, which you can click here to watch, or view at the bottom of this page. We’d recommend taking a look at the video and reading through this guide, to make a potentially tricky – but entirely doable – project much easier to take care of.
Replacing those heat exchangers
So, you’ve just received the heat exchangers you ordered from us here at Just Kampers. You’ve lugged all the parts around to your Bay,you’re taking a look at everything, and it looks a bit complicated. Don’t panic, we’ve got you covered!
It can be a bit tricky to get everything lined up at first, but we’ve been doing this since the 1980s and we’ve got some helpful tricks to make the whole job easier.
Your current exhaust system will have gone through many heat cycles, causing the metal to expand and contract. Over time, this will eventually cause the old system to shift, making it a bit of a pain to fit any new parts as they haven’t yet experienced any heat cycles.
You should loosen the whole system off to make sure your new tail box fits how it should. Simply loosen the nuts just enough to allow for a little movement. this should be enough to make sliding on the new part far easier with less resistance.
Heater pipes on OEM and aftermarket exhaust systems
Both original and aftermarket exhaust systems have a slightly different way of allowing you to heat your cabin and the heater pipe will need to be connected to slightly different areas for each.
On the standard exhaust system, there’s a preheat chamber connect your heater air hose. This transfers heat from the preheat chamber to the fan housing, to finally heat your cabin.
Aftermarket performance exhaust systems don’t have a preheat chamber, so the solution for this is to connect the heater pipe from the fan housing, straight to the exhaust heat exchangers on the nearside and offside.
Be careful with those exhaust studs!
With age and use comes rust, and your exhaust being at the bottom of the vehicle will be exposed to the elements, meaning that it can become very rusty over time.
Removing the exhaust should be done very carefully as it’s screwed on to potentially rusty studs. If they are rusty, you should first apply some penetrating grease or engine oil to really get in there and give you the best chance of keeping those studs intact. Ideally, you’d keep the grease or oil on overnight to allow it to work and give the best results.
A little trick to help you get those bolts off as carefully and as easily as possible is to give it a little tighten before you loosen, just a smidge. This sounds strange at first, but this action just cracks the seized bolt to allow for freer movement when unscrewing the nut.
If you feel it getting tighter as you unscrew, just tighten it up a little again, remembering to use plenty of penetrating grease to aid this process. Without doing this, you could actually cross thread, making it much harder to unscrew the bolts and preserve the studs!
Choice of nuts
If you can, try not to use stainless steel nuts. Although they look great, heat causes them to expand more than the studs they’re screwed to which will, over time, allow them to loosen off.
The nuts we’d recommend are copper-plated nuts, which are heavily plated and are locking, meaning they are slightly crimped on one side to make It much harder to come off. You’ll find they’re harder than normal nuts to get on but will be far more secure now, and in the long run. We offer both flanged and flangeless copper-plated nuts, and if you have space, we recommend using the flanged variant to spread the load a little more.
The grease to match
We here at Just Kampers recommend using copper grease when fitting your exhaust system. It’s great for the gaskets, nuts, and studs as it gives a good seal and also gives you the best chance of removing the system when the time comes. It also helps when fitting as it lubricates the area allowing parts to slide instead of grinding on.
Don’t stagger over the top
If your engine is out and you can directly look down at it, you will see that the cylinders are staggered (not directly opposite each other) and the exhaust system will be made in line with this. Make sure that you match up the correct sides of the exhaust to the engine, so everything is fitted correctly.
Cleaner means greener
Before fitting your new exhaust system, make sure that the faces you fit the exhaust to are as clean as they can be. Over the years, carbon will have built up around this area and it’s best to scrape this off with a blade.
You’ll find if copper grease was used, you’d only have carbon deposits to remove. If a sealer was used, you may find that deposits of sealantare still there and will need to be removed before the exhaust is fitted.
Make sure the tinware is lower than the exhaust face as sometimes if it is higher, it can stop the tail box from creating a seal to the exhaust face and the system will not be properly fitted.
Please make sure everything is in the right place, with enough copper grease before tightening, just so you don’t have to go back after maybe finding a leak. Having an exhaust leak can actually mean worse fuel economy and in this day and age, every little helps!
Here's what we used:
If you're looking at replacing the heat exchangers on your Type 2 Bay, here are the parts that we used to get the job done