Wood Burners and Wallet Breakers

December 5, 2018

As of last weekend I've finally got a wood burner installed into the van, this is something that I've looked forward to having in there from the day that I first brought Betty Blue. It Took me and my dad two days to install the fireplace, making sure that it was safe enough that it didn't end up burning my van to a crisp. 

I had my first fire in there on Monday evening, on first lighting the bugger I soon realised that the black fire paint was yet to have been cured onto the fireplace and I was soon opening up all the doors and windows in the van to let the stinking paint fumes escape. After about 45 minutes of waiting for the van to clear of the stinking mess I was finally able to lock myself in to test out how quickly the place would heat up.

Soon enough i was down to just a T-shirt with the door slightly ajar sweltering in the heat that my little burner was kicking out. It was super successful and I can't wait to put it to the test when I finally go back to living in it. Since leaving Cornwall around the beginning of November I've been staying at my mums place whilst having an ongoing problem with the van being in and out of the garage. 

At first I took it in for some general work that needed doing from the advisories on my last MOT. After that the weather got colder and my main van battery decided that it was going to start draining over night leaving me with a  flat in the morning. I took it back into the mechanics and they couldn't find the source of power loss. After having it for three days they told me that the easiest solution was to put an isolation switch on the battery. This would mean manually turning off the battery myself to ensure that it didn't drain whilst it wasn't running, not the most ideal solution, but it worked... for one day. 


On the drive to my dads place to install the burner I arrived and turned off the battery. Now my dad lives in the middle of Cambridge so doing any work on the van without parking in a paid spot is difficult. He came out to greet me and we spoke about moving the van to somewhere that we could work on it more easily. I went to turn the system back on and to my surprise the handy isolation switch that they installed the day before did absolutely nothing leaving me with a dead van. 


Upon ringing my insurance cover to get some break down recovery I then found out that my insurance policy didn't actually have any coverage for breakdowns!! This left me with my van parked in an hour maximum parking bay, completely dead, with no recovery on the way. The only option was to call out a mobile mechanic in hope that he could recover Betty Blue so I could move her before getting myself a parking fine as well as a dead van!



My dads currently employing an ex soldier that worked for the US and UK military from Afghanistan to paint and decorate the block of Victorian flats that he's been renovating. We explained the situation to him and he said that he would come and have a look. After 5 minutes with his head behind the drivers seat fiddling around with the battery he managed to find the old earth lead that the mechanics disconnected and reconnected it giving my van life and the ability to start up!


After a weekend of manually disconnecting the battery terminals to ensure that it didn't drain its self any further I got it back home to my mums place and back into the garage. I'm still awaiting to get my beloved Betty blue back. All this work on the van has certainly hit the bank hard and I've had to start doing a little gardening work again when I can around the rainy days of England! Im hoping that they won't be charging me too much this time, after all the work they did certainly didn't fix anything! Wish me luck! 




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