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Project Vanhalla - A build thread, I say build, more a slow and painful strip and rebuild of HAL the 03 1.7 Combo.

HAL was bought as a little ongoing project, I paid a pittance for it and am going to try to rebuild the most part to a standard that I like and is solid, functional and dependable.
this is not going to be a quick journey, but one I think will be a lot of fun to do. I do have a plan of next year looking at Engines/Transmission upgrades if the build goes smoothly and ends in the picture I have in my head of where I would like it to be, but we all know things like this evolve in to something you never plan for.

HAL is mechanincally sound, solid in all the right places but does have a lot of cosmetic problems, a lot of things need changing, modifying or just getting rid of such as the dash, the horrible sodden drivers side footwell, remote fob not working and one smoky headlight to name a few of the bits to get done first. I'll be photographing along the way and welcome as much feedback, suggestions, comments and critisicm as any of you can be arsed putting in. There will be an instagram picture thread too @project_vanhalla if you want to have a gander as things progress.

I'm just sorting out the pictures of it as is, get a good comparative from start to finish. I'll detail the list of things I want to go at and would love any ideas or bits you might have for sale or can suggest would work, I would like to try do most of if not all of the work myself but with slab hands, a three year old daughter who wants to help daddy with everything and a limited knowledge and/or experience this may result in disaster or loss of limbs, perhaps both, only time will tell.

Strap yourself in, grab some popcorn and don't expect daily updates. Welcome to Project Vanhalla.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
EXTERIOR 56k WARNING for anyone old enough to remember dial up and the problems associated with it. Solid but dull. I'll get the interior uploaded tomorrow so you we can all appreciate how much there is to do.. Can't wait to get it all ripped out!

 

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So the interior.. Man i can't wait to get it ripped out and cleaned up.. I've got plans though, grand designs but not sure how manageable they are any suggestions or ideas works be handy.

Working from the ground up, once the carpets are out and we're back to metal is there a recommended underlay/soundproofing material to use or just common old household underlay would suffice? I will be deadening the side panels with silentcoat or dynamat, would you do the floor with that too? I'm just thinking the underlay would feel better underfoot but shuttle it deaden too, its it too much to have both? This leads on to the next question, the replacement carpet. Does anyone make it moulded and cut? Or can you suggest a way to get it done, that i could do I'm a bit stuck on ideas with this.

Next the idea is to cover the plastic bits with alcantara the door cards, dash, top storageand the bit down with the gears and handbrake, this seems easy enough but haven't tried doing it before and am basing it on watching someone who did it for a living rattling off Defender door cards for fun. I'm going to add in a couple of things here and there so the covering would allow it all to marry nicely, that's the plan anyway. Has anyone done this or tried it so i can learn from their mistakes? Has anyone got a door card they want rid of cheaply so I can practise one?

Steering wheel replacement is being hunted down. ICE is evolving everyday from the Chinese double din to a decent brand with reverse camera pointing down from the top of back doors for the tow ball. A couple of amps one for the front components and one for the rear two. I'm thinking 2 10“ subs in a box nice and simple for the back but that may jump up to 12" dependant on what bargains I can find. This changes every day though.

Aside from that that gear gaitors, new facelift headlights and rear light clusters are en route. Wheels are still being hunted down, I do fancy keeping 14" BBS or similar style but again this is all on a budget so it's whatever comes up at the right price at the right time. There are a lot of mx5 five spokes for cheap so may get them would i need spigot rings or spacers though? These will just be as an interim until I get the ones I want for the price I want to pay, time will tell.

Suspension and exhaust and we're near the end, these are going to wait though i think until the end. Oh and the remote key fob not working, that's too do alongside the rest. Atleast there's not loads to do!

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The key fob I took apart to swap the battery and it had some sort of medicin blister pack foil in so there had obviously been a non going problem, i tried the battery and nothing so that is going to have to wait for more time to diagnose properly sadly. Its annoying having the sliding door on the other side of the only key lock on the van and having to walk round every time.

As I'm using it as a daily driver i needed to usb working so rewired and put in a dual usb and socket plate, needed to put two supporting brackets in underneath as it's not a perfect fit could've done with being 2mm longer either side but one the alcantara is on it'll fit perfectly. I'm going to put a usb socket up on the dash too over the right side of the steering wheel for the phone in its holder.

The wing mirrors, they are nothing in the scheme of things but just looking at proper fitting glass and no tape or sticky stuff holding them in is a great thing, worthy of a mention. Little steps and all that!
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That looks like one FUBARed fob, tbh. I hope you don't have to go to the rotten expense of a full replacement, but it looks a bit likely. I mentioned in our PMs that there's Peps' thread for a bit of load-area sticky-carpeting and the other tutorial on alcantara (it was blue, fwiw) for door cards. Worth restocking the Hobnobs and using the search facility (it's a bit unintuitive, tbh, I can help) because "tutorials - interior" has plenty of threads on people smoothing, flocking and etc-ing their interior bobbly plastics.

I would also, apart from the stretchy carpet that Peps has used, look through ebay for insulation material as well, rather than carpet underlay. I don't think there are pre-cut Combo ones (somebody might link me wrong) but it can be bought easily by the roll and it can cut out unwanted heat, noise and is probably better designed for resisting water rotting than Allied Carpets usual stuff.

"Rust Locker" on Youtube fitted a replacement 12V+USB like yours (you look to have done a more elegant job) and his videos are worth subscribing to. All sorts of sometimes mundane but nevertheless handy Combo-related upgrades, replacements or just maintenance jobs are worth watching.
 

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I forgot to mention. Renault 4x100 stud wheels work. The CB is slightly bigger but spigots can be had - I got some because I have both Renault and Opel 4x100 vehicles. Renault centre caps are a bit unique, though, if having the diamond logo on your van's wheels bugged you (having Vx griffins on my Opel sets my OCD off).
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
That looks like one FUBARed fob, tbh. I hope you don't have to go to the rotten expense of a full replacement, but it looks a bit likely. I mentioned in our PMs that there's Peps' thread for a bit of load-area sticky-carpeting and the other tutorial on alcantara (it was blue, fwiw) for door cards. Worth restocking the Hobnobs and using the search facility (it's a bit unintuitive, tbh, I can help) because "tutorials - interior" has plenty of threads on people smoothing, flocking and etc-ing their interior bobbly plastics.

I would also, apart from the stretchy carpet that Peps has used, look through ebay for insulation material as well, rather than carpet underlay. I don't think there are pre-cut Combo ones (somebody might link me wrong) but it can be bought easily by the roll and it can cut out unwanted heat, noise and is probably better designed for resisting water rotting than Allied Carpets usual stuff.

"Rust Locker" on Youtube fitted a replacement 12V+USB like yours (you look to have done a more elegant job) and his videos are worth subscribing to. All sorts of sometimes mundane but nevertheless handy Combo-related upgrades, replacements or just maintenance jobs are worth watching.
I feel like i will need a replacement, and i don't have the OG vauxhall pin for the van so it will be an expense I don't really want but hey ho. There has to be allowance for this type of thing i know!

I'm talking to a couple of people who are breaking combos within 50 miles of Leeds so plan on getting a full replacement of panels i can play with to see if I am dreaming or i can actually do it to a decent enough standard. I do want to hack and chop up bits to get the speaker grilles in, extra USB places, cables etc so the cover up will make things nice and pretty.

Nothing done on HAL today but I did finish the slide of Doom and start on a rocket ship for my little girl
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My Combo came with one key and, although I've never lost one, going between UK and Malaga made me nervous enough. The keys themselves weren't and still aren't too expensive and an ebayer in Wigan had them for sale and could drop them off with a locksmith in Warrington. The programming was (iirc) £70 and I checked that there'd be no extra charge for having two programmed at the same time so that's what I went for (original in my pocket and one each in my Malaga and UK homes).

The point of this waffle is that I had the pass code for the Tour's original engine and for the 1.7Di C that was a donor but, bizarrely, neither worked. The Warrington locksmith's laptop dug out the code (which I've memorized) so I don't think you'll be forced to beg the Vx dealer and remortgage your house even without the PIN.
 

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My Combo came with one key and, although I've never lost one, going between UK and Malaga made me nervous enough. The keys themselves weren't and still aren't too expensive and an ebayer in Wigan had them for sale and could drop them off with a locksmith in Warrington. The programming was (iirc) £70 and I checked that there'd be no extra charge for having two programmed at the same time so that's what I went for (original in my pocket and one each in my Malaga and UK homes).

The point of this waffle is that I had the pass code for the Tour's original engine and for the 1.7Di C that was a donor but, bizarrely, neither worked. The Warrington locksmith's laptop dug out the code (which I've memorized) so I don't think you'll be forced to beg the Vx dealer and remortgage your house even without the PIN.
Yeah that's a fair price to be honest, especially if I can get two done. I was picturing over a hundred which definitely isn't going to break the bank just takes away from something else I could've bought instead of upgraded maybe.

On a side note I got that steering wheel you linked me, ended up paying £20 delivered so thanks for that can't wait to get the scabby old one out, can do the indicator stalk swap at the same time so jobs a good one, just need deliveries to start to turn up!

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Here's another useful link for you. I've replaced the washer stalk and the top side of the cowling wouldn't sit back in correctly. There's a knack to it, as Corsaz22se illuminated:
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Here's another useful link for you. I've replaced the washer stalk and the top side of the cowling wouldn't sit back in correctly. There's a knack to it, as Corsaz22se illuminated:
You're the gift that keeps on giving my friend! Appreciate all the links and help you're throwing my way.

I'm going to take a morning off work tomorrow or Wednesday to get the carpet out and the laborious task of the leak plugging done. Atleast once that's done the cosmetic bits are going to start!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Got a set of these 15" Cesaro alloys with virtually new budget tyres on for less than twenty quid a corner so am thinking sand down and rattlecan repaint. Maybe a dark graphite as the majority of black trim has gone grey over the years of sun bleaching probably black gloss though.

I'm still on the hunt for some deep dish or BBS but that's the long game waiting on a too good to turn down deal on some second hand site. I think these will look spot on until then though. Just need the rain to stop i can get them on and make sure I like them can sort out the details.

As these came off a Vauxhall I'm guessing I won't need spigot rings?

If I put spacers on to improve the turning circle what would you say the optimum would be so they're not too pokey? Any advantage of different sizes on front and rear like I've done on cars?
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80 squid for wheels and tyres is very good - chapeau. Afaik, all the Vx 4spokes are 4x100, CB 56.6mm (so no spigot req'd) and only the offset varies a bit but nothing to trouble a Combo. I've found no unusual handling (not with a 1.7 oil snorter) with ET 44-49 swaps. I've mentioned a few times that 195/55/16s rub at the front under certain circs (and also take a surprising amount of oomph off the acceleration) but I'm considering 195/55/16s (so easy to get) on the rear of my purple 16s and leaving 45s on the front or maybe 205/45/16s on the rear if they come up. I don't think any of this will make any handling/performance + or -, just that I don't want to spend more than necessary on backup wheels. Those dubious pink alloys of mine do have Mich PS3s and they're a revelation but the Combo is pretty planted under normal diesel driving on budget tyres and I think those Davantis will probably give you no bother. Anthracite would look very good, IMO.

I have been watching these, with you in mind. Same centre cap required, coincidentally. Too much dosh for my tight wallet and I am a confirmed 16" man these days (Mrs Oz would disagree), so no interest for me but they might well be your thing
 

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View attachment 36399

Project Vanhalla - A build thread, I say build, more a slow and painful strip and rebuild of HAL the 03 1.7 Combo.

HAL was bought as a little ongoing project, I paid a pittance for it and am going to try to rebuild the most part to a standard that I like and is solid, functional and dependable.
this is not going to be a quick journey, but one I think will be a lot of fun to do. I do have a plan of next year looking at Engines/Transmission upgrades if the build goes smoothly and ends in the picture I have in my head of where I would like it to be, but we all know things like this evolve in to something you never plan for.

HAL is mechanincally sound, solid in all the right places but does have a lot of cosmetic problems, a lot of things need changing, modifying or just getting rid of such as the dash, the horrible sodden drivers side footwell, remote fob not working and one smoky headlight to name a few of the bits to get done first. I'll be photographing along the way and welcome as much feedback, suggestions, comments and critisicm as any of you can be arsed putting in. There will be an instagram picture thread too @project_vanhalla if you want to have a gander as things progress.

I'm just sorting out the pictures of it as is, get a good comparative from start to finish. I'll detail the list of things I want to go at and would love any ideas or bits you might have for sale or can suggest would work, I would like to try do most of if not all of the work myself but with slab hands, a three year old daughter who wants to help daddy with everything and a limited knowledge and/or experience this may result in disaster or loss of limbs, perhaps both, only time will tell.

Strap yourself in, grab some popcorn and don't expect daily updates. Welcome to Project Vanhalla.
View attachment 36399

Project Vanhalla - A build thread, I say build, more a slow and painful strip and rebuild of HAL the 03 1.7 Combo.

HAL was bought as a little ongoing project, I paid a pittance for it and am going to try to rebuild the most part to a standard that I like and is solid, functional and dependable.
this is not going to be a quick journey, but one I think will be a lot of fun to do. I do have a plan of next year looking at Engines/Transmission upgrades if the build goes smoothly and ends in the picture I have in my head of where I would like it to be, but we all know things like this evolve in to something you never plan for.

HAL is mechanincally sound, solid in all the right places but does have a lot of cosmetic problems, a lot of things need changing, modifying or just getting rid of such as the dash, the horrible sodden drivers side footwell, remote fob not working and one smoky headlight to name a few of the bits to get done first. I'll be photographing along the way and welcome as much feedback, suggestions, comments and critisicm as any of you can be arsed putting in. There will be an instagram picture thread too @project_vanhalla if you want to have a gander as things progress.

I'm just sorting out the pictures of it as is, get a good comparative from start to finish. I'll detail the list of things I want to go at and would love any ideas or bits you might have for sale or can suggest would work, I would like to try do most of if not all of the work myself but with slab hands, a three year old daughter who wants to help daddy with everything and a limited knowledge and/or experience this may result in disaster or loss of limbs, perhaps both, only time will tell.

Strap yourself in, grab some popcorn and don't expect daily updates. Welcome to Project Vanhalla.
Hey,

Very interested to follow this.
...
I have the same van.
It used to be my work horse, but since covid and discussions with the wife, he's been retired.
Due to my mid life crisis, and wanting to tinker with something, rather than buy a project car, I've decided to work on the van instead.
After all, it makes more practical sense to keep the van for general family (got 3 boys) run around stuff (have a Ford Smax the mrs don't want to ruin with tip runs and the like).
So...
...I too will be stripping out and refitting the interior shortly.
Looking to replace/upgrade the suspension, brakes etc, ready for (one day) a z20let engine swap.
I bought the van originally as an ex bt/network rail fleet van, and have tried a number of times with different garages to get the f*cking 70mph limiter off it, but it's a definite "no-go", as was installed at manufacture.
The vision, is for a well sorted, sleeper rocket ship, that gets no attention, and puts a big 😁 on my face.

Keen to see all your progress, keep it up!👍
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Hey,

Very interested to follow this.
...
I have the same van.
It used to be my work horse, but since covid and discussions with the wife, he's been retired.
Due to my mid life crisis, and wanting to tinker with something, rather than buy a project car, I've decided to work on the van instead.
After all, it makes more practical sense to keep the van for general family (got 3 boys) run around stuff (have a Ford Smax the mrs don't want to ruin with tip runs and the like).
So...
...I too will be stripping out and refitting the interior shortly.
Looking to replace/upgrade the suspension, brakes etc, ready for (one day) a z20let engine swap.
I bought the van originally as an ex bt/network rail fleet van, and have tried a number of times with different garages to get the f*cking 70mph limiter off it, but it's a definite "no-go", as was installed at manufacture.
The vision, is for a well sorted, sleeper rocket ship, that gets no attention, and puts a big 😁 on my face.

Keen to see all your progress, keep it up!👍
I bought this one for next to nothing as a little project and something to stick a crosser in the back or just have more room than a 3 door beemer and not have to use my Mrs motor, tip runs etc like you said. Seems we want the same things out of them!

The Z20let would be a great swap without a doubt! I need to get the rest of the bits sorted first even though it's abit backwards doing the cosmetic before the mechanical but still.

Glad you'r eon baord pal, any ideas or owt then just jump in :)

I did find this about the limiter - SOLVED: Removing a speed limiter from a vauxhall combo cdt - Fixya
Seems a company called advanced tuning can do it but their weblink doesn't work any more however someone on here might know more! I've done 100mph in mine just to make sure nothing was rattling, wobbling or droning, opther than that it's my turtle, slow and steady. I would love some overtaking power but it makes me enjoy it more when I'm in the e81.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
80 squid for wheels and tyres is very good - chapeau. Afaik, all the Vx 4spokes are 4x100, CB 56.6mm (so no spigot req'd) and only the offset varies a bit but nothing to trouble a Combo. I've found no unusual handling (not with a 1.7 oil snorter) with ET 44-49 swaps. I've mentioned a few times that 195/55/16s rub at the front under certain circs (and also take a surprising amount of oomph off the acceleration) but I'm considering 195/55/16s (so easy to get) on the rear of my purple 16s and leaving 45s on the front or maybe 205/45/16s on the rear if they come up. I don't think any of this will make any handling/performance + or -, just that I don't want to spend more than necessary on backup wheels. Those dubious pink alloys of mine do have Mich PS3s and they're a revelation but the Combo is pretty planted under normal diesel driving on budget tyres and I think those Davantis will probably give you no bother. Anthracite would look very good, IMO.

I have been watching these, with you in mind. Same centre cap required, coincidentally. Too much dosh for my tight wallet and I am a confirmed 16" man these days (Mrs Oz would disagree), so no interest for me but they might well be your thing
Love those fan wheels! Anthracite I had on a Clio sport years ago and they'll go nicely too I reckon :D still waiting on deliveries so nothing else to report just yet.

I did however get a warning light pop on, power loss but a engine off and on again and it drove perfectly. it was the car with a spanner in the middle of it. I do have a cheap chinese ODB but it doesn't seem to read it properly so will have to invest in a better one to see exactly what the error was. It has however, touch wood and no not your 16", it didn't splutter or fault at all after that. Did another 30 miles and nothing so although it is there , it hasn't done anything again, yet!
 

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JungleCat, most remappers list limiter removal as one of the options. Might be worth talking to your nearest. Time and travel is the major part of the cost so it might make sense to have a bit of other ecu fiddling done, depending on your engine. I'm pretty sure the 70mph stopper has been dialled into the ecu rather than some other means.

Dysh, I have to say those fan alloys look pretty nice. If they weren't 15" and Kilmarnock, I'd be more interested - I think they would look spot-on for a Combo and more so than Cav slabs which are either scraped or pricey or both. As for your warning light, keep an eye for any oil leaks (Marks152 reckoned it can crop up) or - my personal "watch out" - the only other 1.7Di weak spot is the diesel EDU (as it's often called) bit of brains at the lower back of the engine. Unlike the ECU, these can be swapped without reprogramming so they sell >£65 easily and certainly <£45 get snapped up quickly. However, I have seen a number of send-off-dud:returned-refurbed EDU specialists well below either price. The Isuzu is such a problemless lump that the EDU is one of the things that lights my thoughtbulb if you do get the sort of problem you describe. A bottle of Redex diesel and staying out of 5th gear for a while works wonders as a first "fix", especially when you're the new owner and the previous might have been a pootler.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 · (Edited)
JungleCat, most remappers list limiter removal as one of the options. Might be worth talking to your nearest. Time and travel is the major part of the cost so it might make sense to have a bit of other ecu fiddling done, depending on your engine. I'm pretty sure the 70mph stopper has been dialled into the ecu rather than some other means.

Dysh, I have to say those fan alloys look pretty nice. If they weren't 15" and Kilmarnock, I'd be more interested - I think they would look spot-on for a Combo and more so than Cav slabs which are either scraped or pricey or both. As for your warning light, keep an eye for any oil leaks (Marks152 reckoned it can crop up) or - my personal "watch out" - the only other 1.7Di weak spot is the diesel EDU (as it's often called) bit of brains at the lower back of the engine. Unlike the ECU, these can be swapped without reprogramming so they sell >£65 easily and certainly QUOTE]
Thanks for the suggestion, it conked on me completely yesterday, wouldn't start again until I'd left it half an hour then it fired up drove half a mile and stopped again so I towed it back home. Took the battery off and fully charged it with the pulse repair charger I have and it fired up first time as expected but then cut out after a quarter mile. Started after two minutes rest and is now parked up at home again. Everything else has stopped for now until I get it diagnosed properly my pal is going to bring over his proper bit of kit, I'll look at what you suggested though 100%, no oil Leaks that i can see anywhere either. The steering wheel and lights have turned up too, could've done without this little knockback but it is what it is, fault find and fix.

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I'm an armchair-theory type as I am (a) quite lucky with my 1.7 and (b) useless in the practical sense. After a couple of years here, I wonder if there might be a problem with your MAF. iirc, with a burgered MAF the engine management will default to a cold setting which ties into your findings. What I do know is that cheapo MAFs are not liked by the C/Combo at all so buying a £25 new one is no help and the Bosch is eye-watering to buy, especially if it's not the problem. So, I'd hope that someone more useful than me chimes in but it's worth looking at a used Bosch (GM 0281002180) around £10-15 posted as a swap-it-and-see that also is a handy fallback spare to keep nearby.
 
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