"I've just driven my van back from Litesteer where Neil has worked wonders with the steering. I have a 2004 air-cooled brazibay and I felt that there must be some way of improving the vague steering response. After talking to Ian at VW Kampers and doing some of my own research I had a discussion with Neil at Litesteer. The outcome was to replace the original Brazilian steering box with a late bay box and I also decided to have the Litesteer unit fitted.
All I can say is that the transformation is amazing. The change of steering box has cleared all the problems with wandering and vague steering on straight roads. The effect of the Litesteer unit has been to make the van a joy to drive round town and winding roads. My better half Liz now has no problem in parking and can easily do 3 point turns. We have been out playing at finding the tightest spaces to turn the van round and we came back with big smiles.
This is a conversion that everyone should have a think about. As an added bonus Neil and his wife have been very friendly and helpful with all the arrangements around dropping the van off at their workshop."
G. Y. 27.01.2013
WOW what a great product you got , the van has totally change for the better , it's a joy to drive and parking bring it on ! and what you did to to brakes is a big improvement.And the help with getting the van to vwkampers was very helpful.
Thank you very much.Look forward to working with you again.
Comment from a happy customer:" Back home now in Shetland after 2100 mile round trip – got as far as Dorset and up to Aberdeen twice- and the Litesteer worked perfectly. Me and Mrs are really chuffed and now intend to hold on to our T2 ( We had been thinking of selling it)."
This comment was made after Dubtricks installed our power steering into the customers van. What a lovely feedback. Thank you.
I just had to put in writing how amazing this power steering is! Our Campervan has gone from being a stress to drive around London to so much fun! Parking in these small spaces are a breeze now and my arms no longer ache.:0). It really has liberated my day to day driving. Its such a clever system and perfectly intergrated into the steering. I was concerned I would notice when it kicks on and off but it's beautifully smooth.
I'm so glad I found Lite Steer not only do I have a great system at an affordable price but you were an absolute pleasure to deal with. The sevice was outstanding (and thats hard to find these days). The effortless 'can-do' attitude was so refreshing.. Thankyou! My son still plays with his little camper on the kitchen floor and takes it out everywhere..:0)
Thanks again from us all.. Leanna, Danny, Carlos and paloma..:0)
Just had to put into writing how pleased we are with the power steering, it really has made a difference to our lives!
I know that statement sounds just a little over the top, but it really has. We have a 2008 water-cooled Brazilian T2 bay window and it's our only car so it is driven every day for the shopping, school runs, work ( I'm a gardener), as well as camping trips. The van was ok before but I have to say my wife wasn't that keen on driving it about town as she found the steering heavy and difficult to manoeuvre in traffic. We met Neil from Litesteer at the Volksworld show this year and arranged a test drive of his late bay which has his EPAS fitted, it took my wife about 2 minutes to decide that we should have it!
Not being that much of a mechanic myself, Neil went to great lengths to explain how the system works and show me how it would be installed, including modifications he would do to the steering box. The quality of workmanship and attention to detail is fantastic, the new unit blends in perfectly as does all the wiring making it look as if it was a factory fitted unit. I showed it off at a recent Brazilian Bay club camp and everyone was of the same opinion.
I now have to prize the keys from my wife to be able to drive it, it has made that much difference, the first time she got in I didn't see her for ages as she decided to go out for a 'spin', she would never have done that before! It has made it a user friendly vehicle to drive, I know a great deal of people would say that it distracts from what a VW should be like to drive, however, if like us it's your daily drive then having the power steering fitted makes it an easy vehicle to 'live' with. I have just driven for three hours on a motorway in strong side winds and although the van still wanted to wander I could easily correct it as the steering was so positive, and I finished the journey relaxed rather than feeling as if I'd gone ten rounds in the boxing ring!
So if you're considering power steering, just do it, you know it makes sense!!
All the best
"We got our 78 Bay as a refurbishment project, to be our family holiday and as an everyday vehicle for the family - so it had to be reliable and a good mix of modern and retro inside. VW Downunder showed us Litesteer during a visit - we were amazed, and suffice to say it took my wife all of a second to decide to get it fitted!
Litesteer is a dream on an old van - it's the most reliable thing on the van now, makes it so easy to drive and manoeuvre, and actually feels lighter to steer than our modern estate! It's never let us down. We had one Bay owner on a campsite just sitting in our van, turning the wheel, in a sort of trance.....it's that good!
The service and advice you get from Neil Oakley, and VW Downunder who fitted ours, is second to none, and if there's one retrofit you should put on your van, it's Litesteer.
Steve & Emma Allan
78 Westy, Hungerford. "
From what I could see it looks a wonderful job (a bit dark at 11pm) and my wife is thrilled. So thank you very much. We will definitely recommend you.
Sorry about the wait. As promised here is the testimonial!
We are small family run campervan rental company based in Yorkshire. Some time ago we decided that our customers would benefit if our vans were right hand drive. We duly had the right hand drive conversions done on both our campers.
Our campers are out on hire 30+ weeks of the year so they work pretty hard and any modifications need to be pretty robust. The original RHD conversions we had done turned out to be poor. There was excessive wear in the universal joints and an unacceptable amount of play in the steering, resulting in very poor handling.
When looking to rectify this we were pointed in the direction of the guys at Litesteer. Following a telephone conversation with Neil, I explained what the problem was and that we were in a jam. The very next day I took the vans down to Litesteer in east Sussex where Neil did some head scratching and in no time at all he had fitted a new bespoke rack and pinion steering system to our vans. To say I was impressed with the change in handling is an understatement. Having driven the campers from brand new with VW factory steering I can honestly say that the Litesteer conversion far outstrips it. Solid, precise and completely lacking in any play, the vans are now a joy to drive.
Great service from knowledgable people who deliver on every level.
“Litesteer has made our camper a pleasure to drive. It was fitted in just a few hours, sits neatly under the dashboard and looks like it should always have been there. The perfect addition to any VW campervan.”
Yes all went well on the journey back thankyou. The last few miles home involved a number of right angle blind bends which are normaly hard work to negotiate but with the EPAS, what a difference.
Laid back driving in a T2 takes on a whole new meaning when it doesn't require heaving on the wheel to get around slow bends! My initial tendency to oversteer quickly disappeared too.
I have refitted the underdash parcel shelf with a modification to allow for the drive unit, and being black it all blends in nicely with the minimum loss of stowage space.
I'm very happy with the work you have done...a neat and professional installation complementing a system that I wish had been available years ago.
It was so much much nicer home. Thank you. I was going to write you an email when I have had a chance to try it on a motorway. So far those have been really frightening so will send you my report then. However, so far I’m very happy- neat job too- thank you
We are the very proud owners of a 1974 Type 2 Bay VW Camper Van (Devon conversion). We purchased the van 3 years ago. While the bodywork was in good condition, the interior was beyond salvation, and the vehicle needed some urgent mechanical work in order to ensure that it was safe to drive.
Shortly after purchase, we sent the vehicle up to The Camper Shak in Lancashire for an internal re-fit. Once that was complete, we set about sorting out the vehicle's mechanical problems.
Upon the recommendation of a friend, we took the van to Neil at Cares of Crowborough. His reputation for the careful restoration of classic vehicles was second to none locally, and his passion for old VWs in particular was legendary.
Our first impression of Neil and his team at Cares was overwhelmingly positive - the depth and breadth of mechanical knowledge is greater than anything that we have previously experienced, and this, coupled with the evident passion for the vehicles and desire to keep the customer happy, left us feeling certain that our van's mechanical issues (some of which had left other, earlier mechanics stumped) would be solved in short order.
Our assumption proved to be correct within a week, our van was back and running like new. Since then, we have never looked back, and have never had a mechanical issue with the van, despite regular use â€“ even when the van has been stored over the winter months, it has started first time when the engine is turned over in the spring.
Thus, we have known for some time that Neil is something of a wizard when it comes to the mechanical matters of the Camper Van.
It was for this reason that we were intrigued when Neil mentioned to us that he had developed a very simple, electrical power steering system for the VW camper van. While we have always enjoyed using our van, there is no denying that it can be a challenge to drive on occasions, especially in slower traffic conditions or in winding country lanes such as those in the area in which we live. Also, while one of us is burly and has the strength to handle the steering of the van in such conditions, the other is small and feminine and, as a result, has been deterred from driving the van by reason of the heavy steering. Thus, the idea of a power steering system for the van had an obvious attraction - it would make the van more pleasurable to drive for both of us.
In light of this and our unqualified confidence in Neil's mechanical knowledge and talents, and having inspected a prototype of Neil's system (which was all the more appealing for its simplicity and ease of installation), we invited him to install a finished unit in our van. The installation was done swiftly, with minimal disruption to the existing layout of the van. Moreover, the cost was surprisingly modest for what had the potential to transform our enjoyment of the vehicle.
So, what is it like in practice?
From our personal perspective, the power steering is a simply fantastic addition and worth every penny. It is visually attractive, with all of the structure being contained within a simple and appealing polished chrome column which enhances the retro feel of the van. More importantly, it works like a dream. The system (which, as stated above, is electrical rather than hydraulic, and so has very few mechanical parts to wear or give rise to problems, and no need for hydraulic fluid or concerns about loss of pressure) is designed to render the steering increasingly easier as the speed of the vehicle decreases. Thus, as you slow down in order to approach a roundabout, the system reacts with the result that the roundabout can in fact be navigated with only a single finger on the steering wheel (just like a modern vehicle). However, once the vehicle's speed increases, the system reacts in order to ensure that the steering stiffens up and becomes more responsive accordingly. Indeed, once the vehicle reaches a speed of about 40 mph (i.e. while cruising along a main road), the system switches off (because there is no longer a need for assistance) and you are left to enjoy the van as nature (or VW) intended (back in 1974). However, once the speed drops below 40 mph (as would be the case in the event of a need to manoeuvre), the system re-engages (seamlessly) and leaves you to negotiate your turns and obstacles without needing the arms of a wrestler. Needless to say, parking is now something which poses no difficulty at all. Moreover, the female drivers that have tried the vehicle since the installation of Neil's system have each commented on the fact that the van is now fun to drive (whereas they had previously been reluctant even to take the wheel).
In light of this, is the power steering unit something that others should consider?
At the end of the day, there will be the purists out there who will view any change to the original specification of the vehicle as sacrilege. That is a stance which we can respect. However, for those van owners who are willing to entertain a change, our view is most certainly that the installation of the system is one for the better. If you want to maximise your enjoyment of the vehicle and ensure that it can be driven with ease and with pleasure by all-comers, this is, quite simply, a no-brainer. It allows the camper van to be driven on roads and in places and conditions which did not exist 30 or more years ago, and for which the van was not originally designed - congested roads and low speeds, tight parking, and chains of roundabouts are no longer something for which you need to limber up in advance; as a result, long journeys, or trips into town centres or car parks with small spaces are something which can be contemplated and accomplished with the same ease as if you were driving a modern family car. In our view, that is not to be sniffed at, and it has made an enormous practical difference to our own use and enjoyment of our cherished van. So, in answer to the question, we believe that the installation of Neil's power steering unit is something which all van owners might consider if they want to enhance the overall experience of being at the wheel of the vehicle - the advantages are obvious and significant; the simple design means that (in our experience) the unit has proved to be reliable; the attractive retro design fits hand-in-glove with the rest of the van; and the cost is modest.
Ultimately, the appeal of the system will depend upon the individual van-owner. However, for us, the installation of the system is something which we have never regretted, and which has transformed our use and enjoyment of our van. Just as we thought that the van could give us no greater pleasure, Neil of Cares proved us wrong, and we wish him and the team every success with what we have found to be a wonderful product.
Nevil & Rachel Phillips (September 2010)