VW California leisure battery replacement

A few weeks ago we were away in the van the weather was warm over the course of a couple of mornings I noticed the fridge was off, I initially thought that I had somehow knocked it off while raising or lowering the roof. After the third time I noticed the fridge would run for several minutes then turn its self off I could see ”this was as a result of the battery although showing 60% the voltage dropped to around 7 volts shortly after the fridge was turned on.

Time for some new leisure batteries.

The originals are 7P0-915-105-A. VW replacement cost over £500.

Replacement needs to me AGM I went for Varta LA80

‘To remove the batteries turn the seat to access the front13mm nuts and loosen almost all the way off.

Putt the seat forward and remove the 13mm bolts from the back of the seat runners.

I tilted the seat forward and wedged a piece of wood under the runner to aid access.

Remove the rubber battery cover and disconnect the -ve terminal.

Remove the cover to accessory the rear battery and undo the clamp holding the battery in place and carefully remove the battery.

Disconnect the battery -ve terminal and then the +ve terminal from both front and rear batteries.

Remove the front battery

There’s a plug in the original batteries that needs to be removed and placed into the new battery

Lift the new battery in to the passenger seat void and connect the breather pipe and connect the +ve battery terminal.

Connect the rear battery +ve terminal first then the -ve terminal an lift into the rear battery compartment not fogetting the breather pipe.

Finally connect the front battery -ve terminal and tighten both battery retaining clamps, replace the rubber cover on the front battery and prefix the seat.

I plugged the van into the mains and confirmed the battery were charging, i had to reset the time and date on the camper control unit  

DIY VW California roof cover / Cali Cap / Vanorack / Mutze

We weren’t sure how much we would use a topper for our California or if we even needed one so I decided to have a go at making one, below is a guide to what I have done and a template if you want to have a go at making one for yourself.

We ordered 20 Meters of black waterproof nylon fabric from eBay, you could get away with 10-12 Meters but I wanted some extra for mistakes and also to make some bags.

I took some measurements and came up with the template below, this is the final size you need. You need to add about 15mm all round for the stitching joints and the hems.

Home made california cap

Click to download the template

DIY California roof cover template download

 Below is a photo of it all stitched together and just placed on the roof without tie downs


The tie downs are created with a loop of webbing sewn to each corner, 2 evenly spaced webs at the sides, I also put tabs in the centre at the front and back that have never been used.
Onto these tabs I tied into a small loop of 3mm elasticated bungee material .

California cover tie down loopTo fix the top down I made some stainless steel plates with a 5mm stud welded to it.

VW California roof tie down drawing

Tie down drawing download

You’ll also need some nylon washers  and a threadded knob, I got mine from RS components, part number 178-792, five 5mm knobs part number 448-8549.

VW California roof tie down

I Just slide the fixings along the rail and lightly tighten them.

VW California roof cover tie down

To secure the topper on the awning side I have used a log piece of elastic threaded through both loops of webbing on the awning side thats just stretched over.

We only use the topper if its forecast to be heavy rain or rain with a strong wind and have not missed being able to see out of the windows, in the 4 years of owning a California we have only used it a hand full of times and it spends most of its life rolled up stowed away under the drivers seat.

Total cost about £35, If you need and more information please ask.

Mystery moves on the Dart

Our first trip away this year in the van, for a long weekend of paddling on the River Dart with Friends from Whitewater Action Medway. This was Bo’s first over night trip away from home so it’s been a bit of a learning curve for us and her, luckily the club were staying in a bunkhouse and we were fortunate enough to be able to park the van in the car park and share the bunkhouse facilities.Dartmoor Sunrise

Friday and Saturday were very wet, due to this the river levels were really good so I took the opportunity to go squirt boating on the Dart Webburn seam.

Sunday we woke to a frost, when its cold like this I reach over and turn the night heater on to warm things up before I get out of my sleeping bag, once the temperature had climbed to more comfortable level got up and dressed to take Bo out for a quick walk. Once back in the van Bo quickly found an novel way to enjoy the lovely warm air coming out of the Cali’s night heater while I fixed breakfast.

Bo making use of the night heater

Bo making use of the night heater

Squirt boat Surfing the River Dart

Squirt boat Surfing the River Dart



Atera Strada DL3 fitted to VW T5 California

I’ve been looking for a new cycle carrier for our VW T5 California that would allow access to the rear boot area with out having to take the bikes off.
Due to the large tailgate our old carrier had to be remove to access the boot area this was a right pain, after some time spent on google I found the Atera Strada DL3 that had some very good reviews and suggestions that it would work.
A phone call to the very helpful people at Roofbox.co.uk who confirmed I would be able to open the tailgate without removing the carrier I ordered one.
I would have liked a video to confirm there was enough clearance but couldn’t find one, I will update with another video showing the bikes fitted.