Syncro Westfalia with OME Shocks and Springs on Washboard Roads

Last week we went for a short camping trip on Vancouver Island. We ended up at Nitinat Lake which involved driving about 100 kilometres on gravel roads which included some washboard and rough/pot-holed sections.



Forestry campsite at Nitinat Lake – right next to the beach.

This was the first time I drove any distance on a gravel road since rebuilding the westy drivetrain and suspension and I must say I am very happy with how the van drives over both washboard and rough roads (at least when loaded up with 4 people and our bikes and camping gear). I am pretty sure with no load the ride wouldn’t have been quite as smooth.
Nitinat Lake is known for its wind and kite surfers but when we were there the winds were calm so consequently, the beach was super peaceful.


Nitinat Lake: our campsite was right by that very large stump on the beach.

Forestry Campsite near Caycuse on Cowichan Lake

Forestry Campsite near Caycuse on Cowichan Lake

I haven’t gotten around to installing the front mud flaps yet so it will be interesting to see how much difference they make to the amount of dirt/mud that gets splattered all over the sides of the van on roads like this. Only other ‘issue’ was the power steering pump is getting noisier so I’ll have to make time to install the new one I bought a few months ago.


One note: albell (of fame) told me about an app called Canada Maps which lets one download topographical maps for use even when you have no cell service and that really is a great thing to have when exploring back roads. Thanks AB!


This entry was posted in Syncro Stuff, Westy Stuff. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Syncro Westfalia with OME Shocks and Springs on Washboard Roads

  1. cheerio8 says:

    Hi Ed,
    Yah, Huge difference on the ride when I put the springs on my van too and modified Bilsteins…then the bushings and the alignment-hope you bought your Springs off Dr Björn’s Auto – they sell parts in Cobnle Hill, Vancouver Island
    They are having their annual Campout Sept 16-18 at Toquart Bay, on the West Coast.
    Enjoy your ride, I already miss mine!

    • edbee says:

      Hi Cheri,
      Nice to hear from you. I actually bought the springs some years ago directly from Steve S himself. Gotta admit I was somewhat surprised when I saw your were selling your van but I know life evolves. After all the work I have put into this one I think my wife would shoot me if I suggested selling it. Thanks for mentioning the Toquart Bay campout.
      best wishes,

  2. albell says:

    Hi Ed,

    It’s a nice area isn’t it? Did you by any chance take a look at the site at nitinat falls? It’s a narrow road down, and you can if the bank at bottom isn’t washed out of much, get on a grave bar.

    I had the full stock mudflaps on my van until I lost one on a trial a coulee of years ago. The flaps didn’t do much to stop the mud spray in the body believe it or not. But I do think the front flaps reduced the amount of mud on the underside directly behind the front wheels.




    • edbee says:

      Hi Ab,

      Yes, it is a very nice area. Funny thing is we were looking for a trail down to Nitinat Falls but didn’t see anything. Our 10 year old had the phone and was watching our progress along the road on the map app and I had asked her to let me know once we got close to the falls so we could slow down and start looking for a trail but somehow we missed it. I even got out of the van and walked around in the area where the road seemed closest to the falls but the bank down from the main road was very steep and I saw no trail. Most likely we didn’t start looking for a side road soon enough. Looking at the map again I assume the side road heads off somewhat west of the falls, correct?
      I looked around for a trail where the pin is.

  3. Alistair says:

    Yeah, you were close. A coule of weeks agai as we headed to the klanawa valley we passe by the spot and didn’t notice the trail/road. But your flag is close. It’s a drivable road the last time we went down, but that was a few years ago

    In those pics are a coulee of the pre pop topped van on the gravel by the river. Notice the mud pattern on the side even with the front ( bigger than Westy stock ) mudflaps


  4. Alistair says:

    Oh and the falls such as they are, is more like class four Rapids. Yes the road down is down stream of the falls.


  5. Alistair says:

    Wait no, I was conflating the nitinat falls with another place. Yes there is a fall, I might have a pic…

    Hold on.


  6. Alistair says:

    The pool below the falls

    Somehow I didn’t post a pic of the actual falls 🙂

    Another pic of the pre transformed van down stream of the falls


    • edbee says:

      next time we will look more closely for the road to the falls 🙂

      Many places to explore on Vancouver Island, your blog inspires me.

      re mud: yes, side of your van looked pretty much like the side of ours… oh well, I’ll get those mud flaps on there anyhow when I get a chance

      • albell says:

        The mudflaps do reduce the amount of mud and stuff sticking to the sill and the underbody so it’s worth it just for that to put them on.

        It’s quite interesting that the dirt pattern in the side of the van isn’t changed much. I lost the front right on an alder choked road, I’d still be using the flaps if that handgun happened.



  7. Alistair says:

    Here’s the pic from my post referenced above. Btw, sorry about the nonsensical words in those replies, darn autocorrect and me dashing off the notes quickly.

    Anyway, see how much dirt on side of van despite the mudflaps?


    • edbee says:

      Yes, I see what you mean. The dirt seems to spread around, flaps or not, although I can’t help but wonder if one had those syncro 16 style wheel arch things maybe that would help a bit (although getting those would be about 1000th on my current priority list). Hope you are enjoying the nice September weather.

      “if that handgun happened” auto-correct is often good for a laugh…

      • albell says:

        I’ll go out on a limb and say the wheel arches will do little. But they do look good don’t they?

        I still say put the flaps on, they do reduce mud build up on lower sill area.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s