VW T4 Compass Calypso

Our previous VW Motorhome – HIG 1302

I’ve kept the details here for reference – this page is one of the most frequently viewed – by people searching the internet for information on VW Motorhomes so it is still of use to many!

Bog standard VW T4 with Mercedes Wheels


Our ‘Lounge/Bedroom’                                        The ‘other’ end

Awning and bike rack are a ‘must have’ accessory for us. Since buying it I have fitted a solar panel, cruise control, alloy wheels and a swivelling seat onthe passenger side. I have put a couple of extra lights in and converted most of the lighting to LEDs. I also installed an inverter powered 240 volt socket in the seating area.

A couple of last minute ‘mods’

The ‘latest’ very last minute mod…

10 weeks into our trip I decided that it would be a good idea to have a solar panel fitted. I did consider it before we left but I thought that we could get away with re-charging the leisure battery as we moved from one place to the next. It turns out that you really need a good run to charge it up properly and some of our trips from on place to the other have been but a few miles so we bit the bullet.

It’s actually not as daft as you think to have a panel fitted in a country that uses solar panels here there and everywhere – perhaps even better than having it done in dull old blighty!.

My installer came recommended by another motorhomer, Dave, who had an extra 80w panel fitted whilst he is full-timing so I had a chance to look at the guys work and get an idea on price. It was a ‘no brainer’ really as the whole system came in at just under £255 (310 Euros) fitted. Ian has managed a first class job too and fitted the panel just off centre so I can still ‘walk’ down one side of the roof to clean it and it enabled him to hide all the wiring in our wardrobe underneath. I have his details still and rather than put his phone number up on the internet, if you email me or leave a message, I will gladly pass it on.

The 80watt panel on stand-off brackets

The ‘new’ black unit is the regulator with indicators to let you know the state of the battery.

So, we now have loads of ‘free’ electric and more importantly don’t have to rely on checking into a campsite just to make sure we can recharge our cameras/phone/PC and at a pinch we can watch TV and have a fan running to keep us cool! Even more ‘freedom’!

The Awning supports

We had our awning fitted about eighteen months ago just before we did our first Portugal trip but never got round to fitting the brackets that enable you to site the legs against the side of the van. So, today I bravely decided to drill four 10mm hiles into the side of our pride and joy! I’d like to say I enjoyed doing the little job but I can’t. You cannot know whether or not you have actually picked the correct spot to site them until you drill the body – it’s a surefire cure for constipation if one was ever needed! I managed the first (left hand side) one straight away and the bracket for the interior is nicely hidden by the cushions on the seating/bed.

The one to the rear of the van needed to reside behind the fridge so much careful measurement and eye-ing up was required so that I didnt drill a hole in our fridge. So I drilled two small pilot holes and then a larger hole but we just couldn’t see the holes on the other side.  I began to fret when I thought that I now had two holes that I couldn’t use and might have to abandon the job. Anyway my wife worked out that there was a panel lining the section I had drilled and we just needed to drill through that to finish the job and utilise slightly longer screws to mount the bracket.

So here’s the result


Not a job I would like to try again.

Cruise Control

I’m not really one for loads of gadgets but two recent company cars have had cruise control fitted and I found that ‘gadget’ to be quite useful for both ensuring you stick at the correct speed and avoid that pumping of the accelerator which must cost you fuel at the end of the day. So today the vehicle went to an independent VW modifier to have a ‘pukka’ VW cruise control stalk fitted.

Awesome GTi supplied and fitted the stalk and then ‘re-mapped’ the vehicle to ‘tell it’ that it had VW cruise control fitted.  An hour and a half in their waiting room with a coffee and free wi-fi saw the job done for £199 all in. Excellent work and functioned great on the short trip back home.

As a ‘post-script’ (May 3) and nearby five weeks into our journey the cruise control has proved very useful so far. The longer stretches of road are a great opportunity to put it to use. You maintain a steady rate without having to keep checking the speedo – I am sure it saves us a couple of quid on the way through France.

As we intend to take the motorhome up to Scotland in the winter I thought I would add some insulation to the under side of the floor. The floor is sturdy ply but lacks any real insulation and hence, you do tend to get cold feet. I obtained some sheets of insulation from a builder friend and headed down to my sons workshop with a hacksaw, some polytop nails and penny washers.

paulandalisons2012tour insu0

The sheets are easy to cut into shape and insert between the chassis rails – its a bit fiddly around the exhaust but thanks to the clearance under the van I didnt even need to jack it up.

paulandalisons2012tour insu1

The insulation is 50mm thick so a 60mm long ‘polytop’ nail (plastic headed) and penny washer hold the sheets in place a treat.

paulandalisons2012tour insu2

As you can see – it looks like it was fitted when the motorhome was built but I’m not sure how long its going to stay that clean looking! The beauty is that it can be easily removed once it gets a bit grubby or is no longer required

February Update – A few minor mods

I have added a couple of electrical modifications before our trip to Scotland – as we always struggle to read in bed when we sleep ‘across’ the vehicle I have added lights to the opposite end of each sofa so that when we do sleep that way round you are guaranteed a light at your head. I managed to find two lights that nearly match the original ones and it a useful addition. I have replaced the original two pin 10 watt lamps with a less than one watt LED off eBay. Just as good light output for a fraction of the load.

The other change is a slightly higher output leisure battery (the old one didn’t hold a charge properly anymore). I have also added a socket (which matches the others in the van) in the kickplate which is supplied via a separate inverter. The job looks ‘as original’ and I have already used it a couple of times as it is a convenient location when using the DVD player when you have no mains power.

General Transporter Information

A bit about T4 VW Transporters

The Transporter is not the most inspiring van around to look at but like all VW’s it is well put together and very mechanically sound.   Drivers will be pleased to find the inside had been given a bit more thought. Storage options are plenty for all manner of bits and bobs and a lockable glove box is handy for security. The gear stick is in the centre console and easy to reach ours is an ‘auto’ and sits on the floor/  You could easily be in a people carrier such is the refinement and simplicity of the cabin. The piece de resistance of this van though is the performance on the road, even without a load the steering is almost perfect and the ride comfortable. You could be forgiven for thinking you are not actually in a commercial vehicle so quiet is the ride and the engine noise is quieter than any van I have driven. Every model has as standard remote central locking, a height and reach adjustable steering wheel, a height, and adjustable driver’s seat, drivers’ airbag and ABS brakes. The T4 first hit our streets in 1990 and carried on in production until 2003.

Two engines are available the 1.9-litre engine in 85PS or 104PS form while the 2.5-litre TDI is available with a 102PS output or a 151PS. Ours is the latter 2.5-litre.

…And a bit about Compass Calypso Coachbuilts

A compact two berth Motorhome  that has always been a firm favourite with Motorhome owners. Based on a VW chassis but drives like a car Built on the popular Volkswagen T4 chassis and designed as a coach built two berth. This together with the 2.5 litre Turbo-diesel engine and power steering will transport you in comfort, safety and style. The Calypso has significantly greater space inside than many other models, its specification is quite simply, first rate and incorporates numerous features usually found only in larger luxury coach built models.

Length 5.39m (17’7″) Width 2.07m (6’8”) Height 2.91m (9’5½”) Fresh water 58.8ltrs (12.5gal) Waste 45.5ltrs (10gal) Berths :Single bed size 1.83m x 0.66m (6’x2’2″),Double bed size 1.94m x 1.56m (6’4½x5’1½”) Year Of Registration: 2001, Number of Berths 2.

Ours was purchased in February 2010 with just 18000 miles on the clock and in ‘as new’ condition from Shipley in Yorkshire.


150 Responses to VW T4 Compass Calypso

  1. Gary Paxton says:

    You’ve miss-spelt regulaor

  2. …and you mis-spelt ‘miss-spelt’ Ha ha ha ha 🙂

  3. John Arrowsmith says:

    we have just bought one do you know where we could get hand books sent to elddis they sent one for £15 not much information in it ours is 2004 24000 on the clock like your page john

  4. Brodie says:

    Hi Paul and Susan, looking forward to reading about your new trip 🙂 I don’t suppose you really care, but for accuracy you have your engines mixed up- The 130 and 174 pd engines are on the T5 model. Yours should be a 102ps engine or 151ps if it’s after ’98. They don’t have the pd system. That only came in with the T5 in 2003.

    I had a ’96 Transporter with the 102ps engine and now have a T5 with the 174 engine. The old T4 was far smoother and quieter. However, the T5 is a real fire breather 🙂 You will certainly appreciate the new cruise control on your trip!

    • Oooops – I will change the details – TBH I lifted the info from a VW site so it is wrong too 😉 We used the cruise control last year and its the best couple of hundred quid I’ve ever spent. Ours is a 2001 so 151ps is correct then.

      Thanks for the info.

      • Brodie says:

        Have a good trip. I’m a retired mechanic so If you have any trouble with the van and want an opinion just email me. I probably still have the official VW manual for that engine.

        I had cruise control on both of my vans. It really comes into its own on the long motorways. I wouldn’t be without it.

      • We are lucky that our son is a mechanic also – he is at home but he got us out of bother last year when the immobilser failed and prevented the van from starting. But thanks for the offer – which you never know – we might need to take you up on it 😉

      • Karl Fenney says:

        Hello Paul. I’ve just discovered your blog and am enjoying the content. I have a Calypso that looks identical to yours. By big fear when using it abroad is what I would do if the immobilizer failed. You mentioned in your reply to a comment that this had happened to you and your son had offered a solution. Would you be prepared to share the solution please. I have included my email in case you would prefer to send a private message.
        karl.fenney@btinternet.com. Regards Karl

      • Hi Karl – I hot-wired it – you still need the key in situ so its not like ‘stealing’ it 😉 If I recall correctly it was a cable jumped from the positive terminal straight to the starter motor contact. It managed to get us to the auto electrician who then bypassed the whole immobilizor 🙂

      • Karl Fenney says:

        Paul Thank you for the quick response. Time to stick my head under the bonnet. Enjoy your travels. Regards Karl

        Sent from my iPad


  5. Dave John says:

    HI Guys
    just bought a VW calypso, first one, no handbooks or experience of these things! What are the three switch units for that appear in the photo above of the black regulator. Also is there a switch that needs to be activated when changing from the battery to a mains hook up??
    Dave J

    • Hi
      The switch far left is the changeover and should have three positions – caravan symbol for leisure battery use / car symbol for when driving/and in the middle ‘off’. We always keep ours on the lower caravan position. It seems to charge regardless. It maybe that the ‘car’ one means you are running your power off the car battery – not wise in my book and we have never needed it. The next bank to the right of that are your four appliance switches which should be labelled – pump 1 aux 1 aux 2 and lights. They all need to be on when you are parked up – we switch the pump one off at night as the water pump system gurgles in the night. The last bank is a cover hiding the four switches for the stuff I just mentioned. As I said we never take the switch off caravan and it changes over fine. Hope that helps


  6. Paul Carr says:

    Hi P&A
    I am hoping you can help me with a solar panel question, what size leisure battery do you have ? mine is a Halfords leisure 70 which i’m asuming is a 70ah battery, i’m wondering if it is man enough for a 80w or even a 100w solar panel, I have thought on the idea of a 80w solar panel just because you have one, but I notice you vehicle is a little different from my 2.4 deisel non turbo and all and what can you power off the leisure battery ie, Fridge ? lights charging of mobile and watching tv on my laptop and for how long etc, i’ve left a message for a company called Sunstore who seem to be the only company in Kent who supply and fit, hope they respond as most of the others are either out of business or have a waiting list of three months and expensive to boot. Thanks for previous answers.

    • You will be fine with an 80watt panel -you wont ever power a fridge of pnaels unless you had a bank of ten of them 😉 we run our telly off it, charge up laptops and phones and it keeps the battery charged up well enough. http://Www.outdoorbits.com is the website for outdoor bits at exmouth and Dave there said you could camp over there whilst he installed it for you – a great idea as you can try it outbefore you leave and bounce any query/niggles off bim before you go. Go to http://www.motorhomefacts.com where a wealth of opinions (some of them valid;)) are available. I am ‘1302’ on there.

  7. Paul Carr says:

    Hi P&A
    Thanks for the contact but I have found one a little closer to home in Worthing at a reasonable price to, £306.00 which i think is preety fair this day and age, also going on with the Wifi thing, I have discovered a two ways to combat caravan sites that either havn’t got wifi or charge to much for something most people get for free, one is to either buy a mifi, that’s my fi unit, as I have from ebay unlocked and works everywhere in the world ie miles from anywhere……lol, or join a company called THE CLOUD, which is a part of BskyB and it’s free coverage as well havn’t actually tried it out yet but some folks I know have, hope this is some help to you on your travels on foreign shores and anyone else.
    by for now PC

    • Paul Sanders says:

      I’m hoping to get a solar panel fitted on my calpso. I’m a bit old and wide to be clambering on roofs so I would be grateful for an address in Worthing where a guy can fit it for me. psanders@cwgsy.(nospam)net will reach me. The guy who charges in euros might be handy as we are heading south for a couple of months.


  8. Paul Carr says:

    Hi both again, hope I’m not being a nuisance and this may sound a bit daft, how do you charge your mobiles and watch tv on a solar panel attached to your 12v leisure battery ?

  9. Dave John says:

    HI Paul
    I have an omnistor awning on the side of my Calypso, it however did not have any poles with it, did you buy yours later or should it have had them in the first place?? regards Dave J

  10. Jude says:

    Hi Paul & Alison. We have recently bought our 1999 Compass Calypso, It s relatively tidy outside and in. However, I am (at 5’2″) struggling to clean/polish the front centre section – windscreen and above, even with help of a step ladder…..and mop 🙂 apart from enlisting the help of my OH, I don’t suppose you have any hints or tips to overcome this?? Great blog by the way, have really enjoyed reading about your van and travels.

    • Its not easy as you daren’t stand on the bonnet. I manage at 5′ 9″ by standing on the top of each wheel and reaching over. I get the very top bit by shuffling across the roof and reaching over. I dont like walking on the roof too often but by spreading your weight around by lying on your front it avoid excess ‘pressure on the roof. I also stick closely to the perimeter where its stronger.

  11. Jude says:

    Thanks Paul, I will try it! 🙂

  12. Paul Carr says:

    Hello again Paul & Alison
    Hope your enjoying the sun somewhere abroad, cause it’s not very warm here.

    A question if I may, as you are aware I have a compass calypso the non turbo version, you know the 40 mph max up a hill one, I need your help or advice on how to winterise my unit, I’ve done the Cornwall trip with no complaints and other various sites along the south coast but it won’t be long now til the freeze get’s here. I need some help if you would be so kind as I am new to this winterising thing, Is there a seperate drain pipe or tap for the fresh water tank ? I’ve looked along the valance on the drivers side near the fill cap but I can only find one pipe coming down and then disapearing into the body sill or is it somehow connected to the waste tank and you drain them both together ? I have been told by a few hommies to drain the water heater which has a seperate plug and turn the screw at the top 90 deg, not sure which one to do first, pull the plug and then turn the preasure release valve or other way around…..lol, I do have a manual for the unit but it’s a bit confusing, any help would be well appreciated.

    • Your fresh water drain tap is at the end of the corrugated hose coming out of the tank. It is clipped to the inside of the sill – thats why it looks like it disappears into the sill. Turn its tap a quarter turn and water will flow out. We drain the hot off by turning the hot tap on until it empties out via the waste flow pipe. We leave a oil filled radiator on low all winter to prevent freezing – its well worth a few pence a week to keep it warm. Hope that helps

  13. Paul Carr says:

    Thanks Paul

  14. Alison says:

    What Paul said about draining doesn’t drain everything out! You need to empty waste (tap outside underneath van about where the toilet cassette door is), then empty fresh water ( passenger side again under van) and you need to empty hot water tank do this by switching off water pump, open hot taps, then open valve for hot water tank ( the valve is in front of tank under bed) it needs to be vertical (you will see the water drain out under the van). I also try and blow down the taps to ensure all water is out and leave them in the on position, I then wrap them in bubble wrap. The frost has damaged our taps in the past, so I try and get every last bit of water out of the system!

    • Paul Carr says:

      Hi Alison, just when I thought i’d done everything ie; drained the waste tank, drained the fresh water tank, drained the Carver cascade water heater put a radiator in the moto to keep it warm through the winter months….and now there’s a hot water tank i’ve missed…doh what am I like, I haven’t checked it out yet but I guess like you say the tap is inside the motorhome under the bed, is that the passenger side or drivers, is it near the leisure battery ? can’t say I’ve seen it but it must be there, new glasses needed me thinks, I know i’ve yet to empty out the water pump on the inside and work out how I empty the tank above the Cassette Toilet that should be fun, how do you blow the taps out ? mouth…lol, I know mine is big enough, I do have a 1997 Compass Owners manual now for it and the water system diagram but no hot water seperate tank, could it be your calypso is different from mine as yours is an 2001, mine is an 1997 without a turbo, without central locking no adjustable steering, etc, it’s just a basic 2.4 old plodder like me really..lol

      Stay in touch regards Paul

      • As your vehicle is a few years older than ours it might well be that they used a different water heater but I would have imagained it would be sited in the same or very similar place as theres no point in repositioning it. Ours is in the left hand corner of the bed locker on the drivers side. I guess all that stuff is over there because its closer to the electrics/battery etc. You should have a manual for the boiler specifically which ‘should’ describe how to drain it down.

        Paul (this time)

  15. Paul Carr says:

    Hi P&A
    Well, I’ve got the solar panel 80w up and running and winterized my compass, now it’s a bike rack for an e-bike, more money lol, because of my health issues, to much walking causes my leg to swell, I’ve been in touch with my doctor who says the little exercise and the electric motor should help my situation and enable me to climb steep hills and travel down narrow lanes, where the camper wont go and allow me to go shopping for small items, which brings me to the question of what fiamma rack you have was it fitted or did you get it when you bought your moto, any handling problems ie fulcrum effect behind rear axle I keep hearing about, any other issues I should consider ?
    Once again as always thanks for your help in the past and for putting up with my questioning.

    • My fourth attempt at replying …

      Hi Paul
      Ours has a Fiamma ‘Pro’ fitted with a weight limit of 60kgs/132lbs. I just googlesd electric bike weights and they vary quite a bit. There was one as a handy 51lbs so you could get two on at that rate. I spotted another at a whopping 73lbs so shop around. I assume those weight include the battery pack and you would remove those whilst travelling. Our friends have two bikes on their T4 tailgate and have no problems with a very similar rack. We saw bikes on offer in Lidl Germany and same pal had a look at the spec and said they were good bikes for the money. They are unable to walk great distances so got the eBikes for the same reasons as you 🙂
      Cheers – Paul R

      • Meant to add. Even with a lot less weight you have to be careful with the rack. We hit a speed bump a bit to fast and the right hand fixing pulled out due to the movement up and down. The two bikes are light mountain bikes well under the 60kg yet the force was even to cause a problem – since resolved with re-inforcing the bit the brackets bolt to under the sink area. Never had any handling issues as a result.

  16. Paul Carr says:

    Hi both
    Thanks for the reply, another question if I may, is your bike rack bolted through the rear skin and if so did you fit it yourself ?, I notice ebay are selling racks, oh and I went onto the German Lidl site and had a look, pity they don’t sell them in the U.K, I’m now totally confused as to which make to get, the one I like is a Powercycle Milan 2 with a unisex step through frame but the reviews arn’t to good, there’s also the infineum a british make with a revolutionary battery set up they call it the stackable battery system but that also has bad reviews, stories of the batteries melting, i’ll get there eventually I suppose, still moving on, thanks once again for your help in all matters concerning our calypso’s.

    • It was on the vehicle when we bought it but yes, it does go through the rear skin. I would get an expert to fit it as they genuinely know their way around all manner of vehicles – it was the same with the fitting of the awning. Well worth the money and you have a little come back if it drops off! I’ll chat to my eBike mate Bill and get back to you.

  17. Eddie Cole says:

    Hi Paul had my 2002 T4 Compass Calypso for 2 years now and very pleased with it. Do you know where I can get rear door seals and rubber trim. Water gauge has never worked any suggestions on what the usual faults are and can I get replacement parts?

    • The seals are nothing special. Any motorhome/caravan place should be able to get them for you. As for the T4 – nothing ever goes wrong. However dont ask about fhe speedometer sensor. I am still reeling over the cost of that!

  18. Andy says:

    Hi Paul and Alison. I loved reading this am thinking of getting a calypso so this has helped. I have had a vw t2 and currently have a 1996 t4 auto homes with only 30,000 miles on her. Andy

  19. Ron Paine says:

    Hi Paul and Alison. I also loved reading your article. I have a Compass Calypso 1996 model, and am looking for an internal cover for the skylight; also could you advise on a suitable porch awning which would fit, as my wife and I are living in it at present, working as winter site wardens for a site in Cornwall, where we are living at present. Any advice would be most appreciated. Thanks, Ron.

    • You can buy the skylight cover from any good motorhome spares place – despite the age of the vehicle the things like skylights and windows are stock OEm items made for all sorts of vans of all sorts of ages. Regarding an awning – we have bluebird one which used to fit up ok (we moved the Compass on and have a Hymer now) – again a good camping/caravan place would have a selection.

  20. Rita Goodfellow says:

    I to own a calypso `02 I havehad it since May this year 2014. I am on Friday putting it in storage for the winter.Can you please give me any advise on what I have to do . I know I have to drain the water is there anything else I have to do. All advice is welcome.

    • Hi Rita.
      I would strongly advise that you wrap the taps up with bubble wrap or pipe insulation. We split both the shower and kitchen sink taps the winter before last – they are quite exposed even in the van and the kitchen one sits near the rear window. They aren’t cheap to replace either 😉 leave your waste tap in the open position and then any residue cant cause the hose or tap to split. We leave a heater on low in ours but I realise you might not have that luxury. Close all the blinds too. I would leave the cupboards open/ajar if you are going to leave it unattended and then there is more change of keeping it aired – Hope that helps – Paul

      • Rita Goodfellow says:

        Thank you I have done as you have said. Also I have my ?
        Calypso under Cover ( in a Barn)

  21. Joe says:

    Hi, I wonder if you can help me. I have just purchased a VW Compass Calypso. It is a 1997 T4, with very low mileage (less than 20K) and is a lovely vehicle, almost in new condition. There is a part of it that I cannot work out, having mastered the water heater, water pump, gas heater etc etc. On the outside of the vehicle, between
    the Carver Water Heater vent and the fresh water filler point, there is a small thing that looks like a socket of some description with a perished rubber cap on it. I have no idea what purpose (if any) this serves and wonder if anyone can help? Looking at your pics, yours may be on the opposite side of the Carver vent.

  22. Joe says:

    Ah right, that makes sense, something along the lines of a cigarette lighter socket but with a different connector? Thanks for your help and quick response 🙂

  23. Paul Carr says:

    Hello once again Paul and Alison, I see you have changed your M/H and you are still touring Europe, I envy you, I have a question which you may have come across in you Compass, I recently took my m/h for a nights stay at Hythe CC site, no problems there, everything worked fine there, except for my hob lighter that has stuck in the on position, I had to disconnect the supply wire to stop it continuously flashing, that aside all of a sudden I have not auxiliary power at all therefore nothing works, when I switch it to vehicle batter everything works fine, do you know of main fuse somewhere apart from the fuse box with the five fuses above the carver controls that may have blown, the auxiliary battery itself seems fine my solar controller says it’s fully charged, it’s doing my head in, I can’t go anywhere without lighting, excluding 240v of course, Any Ideas ?

    • Paul Carr says:

      Hi Paul and Alison, regarding my previous post, I’ve sorted it out, I asked a friend who is an electrician and he said it’s almost bound to be the leisure batttery, to cut a long story short I bought one from Halfords and when I put it on and low and behold it……still didn’t work, I then traced the wiring from the battery and tucked up out of the way I found a 25 amp fuse, after I replaced it and kicked myself a few times it worked, so everything is o.k now touch wood and I’ll be off m/homing a gain, ye ha, thanks anyway and good luck in your endeavours

  24. Mike Walde says:

    Hi Paul & Alison
    I stumbled across your blog after buying a 2001 Calypso, and have really enjoyed reading about your experiences. I’ve found out more about our little van from your blog than anywhere else on the Internet.
    Could I please bother you with a question which you may have the answer to. The extractor over the hob (marked ‘Powerpart EU2’) in our van has some rust on it & I’d like to remove it and refinish it. There is a single bolt in the centre of the cover which I’ve removed, but I cannot work out how to get it off. Did you ever remove yours to change filters or service it. I’ve searched the Internet for some time with no success at all

    Kind regards


    • Hi Mike – I’m glad our blog has been helpful. I never did have to take the extractor apart (perhaps I should have changed the filter ;)) We don’t have that vehicle anymore so I can’t pop out and check – if you send me a close up photo (to paul@newbeetle.org.uk) I’ll have alook and see if I can work it out. Paul

  25. Ian Rowe says:

    Hi paulandalison,,
    We are looking to buy the compass calypso,
    I would like to know if the settee is 6 ft. long, or if the single beds are made up with some form of extension cushion. I don’t seem to be able to find this information on-line……….your help would be much appreciated. Ian.

    • Hi Ian, the additional length is made up by a clip in cushion on a bracket – you aremrequired to push the seats forward to fit them. On ours though I fitted a swivel on the passenger seat so we left that at home and my feet slept in the seat base. My wife lived withthe cushion/bracket thing. It was still very comfortable. We dont have the T4 anymore so I can t show you pix etc. We have a Hymer now – you could sleep,40 in that !;)

  26. Paul says:

    Hi Paul & Alison, I have just brought a 96 calypso, I far can I walk on the roof to clean it, also the rubber edging is very grubby is this easy to replace and to get hold off? Kind regards Paul M

    • Hi Paul – I walked over the entre roof with no problem. I did spread my weight about by staying on hands and knees. Before we went away I was 15 st 2 lbs and when we returned I was 12 st 13 lbs 🙂 I replaced the front trim with some stuff off the internet but it was so flimsy and thin you could see the screws once fitted. I managed to clean ours with ‘Jif/Cif (or whatever they call it these days) and a nailbrush. Don’t use the lemon version as the yellow stains the trim.I hope you have as much fun in yours as we had in ours. Paul.

      • Paul says:

        Hi Paul, thanks for the reply….managed to get on the roof and got it cleaned , the down side I’m now sitting here with my leg elevated after twisting the ligaments whilst up there!!! , another quick question I have a cracked wing mirror, any ideas on where to get replacement glass kind regards Paul

      • VW commercial spares supplied mine as its the same as you get on a pick up or larger van. Not expensive as builder wreck them all the time

  27. Paul says:

    Thanks again, by the way a great blog, I have had time to read some of your tours….have you read narrow dog to carcassonne , great holiday read about a guy who brought an old canal boat and went traveling

  28. Graeme says:

    Hi Paul, thanks for all the great info this and the other sites. We have just bought our first motorhome, a Calypso and plan to take 8 months going through France and Italy. The one we bought doesn’t have an awning or bike rack. Fiamma seems to be the leading brand for both? The pictures above shows a decent size awning. What length did you manage to get on you calypso. It was a long time ago and you may not have had it fitted, but if you have any advice, it would be much appreciated.

    • Hi Graeme
      I am sure the awning was a 4.0m (maybe 4.5) which was the maximum you could fit between the back of the cab right over the door towards the rear of the vehicle. ||We did have it fitted – I didn’t fancy a DIY job on such a tricky job.The Fiamma bike rack was already fitted and is ideal- we even managed to slip a fold up table in behind the bikes which was handy. The Hymer has the same rack and awning. 🙂

    • I just zoomed into an old high res photo – the awning is a F45 so I guess that’s 4.5m 🙂

  29. Graeme says:

    That’s brilliant thanks. I’ll have a go at most things but don’t fancy fitting the awning myself!

    • Joe says:

      I used a firm called Rhino Installs based in Lancashire. He fitted a Fiamma 45 awning, reversing camera, solar panels and a Fiamma bike rack for me. He comes to your home and does the job there for you. I would highly recommend him.

      My bike rack has yet to see a bike, instead I fitted a Fiamma back box which has been fantastic.

      • The guy I used has gone bust (Hazel Grove company) so the recommendation you give is great. I did fit the leg supports on the lower body but your heart is in your mouth so to speak whilst you are doing it – I was fearful of drilling through the fridge or its plumbing! My panels were fitted in Portugal 🙂

  30. Garry Vaughan says:

    Hi Paul
    I’ve just got myself a 96 Compass Calypso 1.9 L. Could you please advise me on the correct tyre pressures for the front and back tyres.

  31. Garry Vaughan says:

    Hi Paul
    I have just got myself a 96 Compass Calypso 1.9L. Please could you advise me on the correct tyre pressures for both the front and back tyres.

    • Hi Garry
      Unfortunatley I can’t as we no longer have the VW (now have a Mercedes Sprinter. From memory there is a sticker inside the glovebox (or maybe in the door shut on the passenger side. It was also in the vehicle handbook but I am not sure that info is valid as it makes no allowance for the fact that a motorhome has been strapped to it – I’ll have a mooch around google….

  32. Joe says:

    On my Calypso it’s on the drivers door side. Front is 3.8 bar 51 PSI. Rear is 4 bar 57 PSI.

  33. Joe says:

    On my Calypso it’s on the drivers door side. Front is 3.8 bar 51 PSI. Rear is 4 bar 57 PSI

  34. Garry Vaughan says:

    Thank you Paul and Joe. Yes, found the readings on drivers door side.
    Much appreciated, Garry.

  35. Joe says:

    You are welcome Garry.

  36. Garry Vaughan says:

    Hi Paul
    I know you said you haven’t got Compass Calypso anymore, but have encountered a problem with my tail light (LH). With my rear light not working , I took the cover the cover off and water gushed out. It’s appears the connections are corroded, bulbs are working, tried them in opposite tail light. Just wondered if you of any dealers who might stock the inner case of the tail light. Have had a look online to no avail, even the garage I’m with is struggling to get hold of one.

    Kind regards


    • doreen paine says:

      Hi Paul and Alison, I am trying to get hold of a driver’s side wing mirror, just the glass, for my VW Compass Calypso motorhome. Any ideas of where I can get hold of one? Many thanks Ron Paine Date: Sat, 30 Jan 2016 09:12:43 +0000 To: doreenandronpaine@hotmail.com

    • They are knocking on a bit in age now so whoever made that particular rear light might not do so anymore. You’ll find that they will have made them for a variety of motorhomes and caravans. All I can suggest is you keep your eyes open for a replacement that fills the gap/covers the holes and replace the pair to match. Mine often filled up with water in the UK – which is why we spent so much time in Portugal 😉

  37. Garry Vaughan says:

    Hi Paul

    Carrying on from my previous comment, it’s looks like I found the item. After scouring the internet for a good while, I come across someone selling one on eBay. Currently bidding on it.


  38. Elaine says:

    Hi Paul. Are you able to tell me the MAM maximum laden weight of a 1997 V W Compass Calypso. We have bought our van and it is in the upto 300 for tax but nothing on the log book or van to say the MAM.

  39. Joe says:

    Hi mine us also a 1997 model and I gave the original handbook and specification sheet. The MAM is 2800 kg/55.11 cwt. Hope that helps.

  40. Elaine says:


  41. Joe says:

    No problem. I can scan the data sheet and email it to you if you want.

  42. Garry Vaughan says:

    Hi Paul

    I have encountered a problem with my fuel gauge reading, on my 96 Compass Calypso. When I fill up with petrol and it seems to reach capacity, the petrol gushes back out. The fuel gauge then only shows tank 3/4 full. Coolent light flashes at times, with adequate water topped up as well. was told it is a common problem with VW T4 Transporters and it could be bad solder joints on circuit board, behind the clocks cluster or even a problem with the fuel gauge sender. Just wondered if you’ve heard of this problem on your travels.

    Kind Regards


    • I’ve had a few T4’s and dozens of friends with them past and present. Its not uncommon for a fuel gauge to be inaccurate – if it reads 3/4 when full then try and establish how much fuel really is in it by running it to minimum and working out what it took to fill it. Regards the other stuff – sensors fail left right and centre these days. I will ask my mechanic son tomorrow and if there is anything to add I will return 🙂

  43. Garry Vaughan says:

    Thank you for reply Paul. Yes currently trying to work out when to top up petrol, on mileage, price, etc. Advice much appreciated.

  44. david smith says:

    Hi Paul,
    I have a 2004 Calypso and find that I cannot lock the rear door from the inside. If you lock it with the key from the outside you cannot open it from the inside with the handle. So basicaly you have to sleep with the door open. A bit dodgy maybe. Any ideas


    • If you feel brave enough then take the handle apart. Its simply a mechanical thing. Most likely it will be a spring that has corroded. You wont get much help from the manufacturer but there is a guy in the northeast who breakes caravans who is great for repair bits. I will have to come back with his name 😉

  45. Barry Jakeman says:

    Hi Paull thank you for your very helpful blog. Out of interest how many miles had your Calypso done when you sold it? Thanks again

    • Hi Barry – thanks for the praise. It had about 40K which was still low despite our long trips. It had just 18000 when we bought it at nine years old as the old chap didn’t use it much and then not at all for a couple of years. A lovely campervan/motorhome but we found putting the bed away every day for eighteen months a bit of a pain, hence the purchase of the Hymer.

  46. Mark Norman says:

    Have 2.4D, it runs from cold ok but after about 3-4 mins starts revving higher all time any idea why please.

  47. Victoria robinson says:

    Good Morning,

    I have an R reg vw t4 calypso 🙂 I love it and live in it currently.

    Just encountered a waste water issue however… water poured down the sink is coming out of the overflow under the sink/top of toilet in the washroom! It smells and I can’t seem to clear it 😦 It also means I cant wash up. Big problem!

    I’ve used cleaning solutions and at least now the kitchen sink empties, but it is not flowing down and out. Previously I had a similar problem but the water was coming out through the shower plug hole instead! That was just because the tank wasn’t emptying.

    I would love to know how the pipes are arranged leaving the kitchen sink?

    Any suggestion very welcome 🙂

    Many thanks,

    Victoria 🙂

  48. Tony Hewlett says:

    Hi,I am looking to buy an auto Calypso 2000 model or later,does anyone know of one for sale or imminent as I want one for next year,really enjoyed reading about your exploits and mods.

  49. Mike says:

    Hi all, recently bought a 1997 and like everyone else I’ve read your very informative blog. One question I have that doesn’t seem to have been covered…Can you fit a tow bar? I’m sure I’ve seen some advertised with one but the chassis legs seem to be a long way back from the rear ofthe van. Any thoughts greatfully appreciated.
    Thanks, Mike

  50. Rob Brouwer says:

    Hi, I wonder if you can help me out. I do have a VW Compass Calypso 1996. In the camper a few 12VDC sockets are mounted. 2 flat pins ( upper one a bit larger than the lower one). I would like to have a couple of the corresponding plugs. Any idea if and if so where they could be bought?
    Thanks in advance, Rob

  51. jim says:

    you lucky gits….still looking for my perfect calypso

  52. Duncan says:

    I have just bought a T4 Calypso, can you tell me where l find the leisure battery, also reading through the manual it mentions that non toxic antifreeze can be used, if l did this would it mean l didn’t have to drain all the water? Any help gratefully received.

    • Hi – I’m not sure about the anti-freeze as I’ve always used the type that always lives in the radiator – and never needed to top it up. The L/Battery is under the drivers side bench seat hard again the back of the heater system. Paul

      • Duncan. says:

        Hello Paul,
        Thanks for the reply, l have now found the battery! Reading through the manuals again l thought l would try draining the system, it was actually easier than l expected. lucky l did it, we have had a few nights of -5

  53. Duncan says:

    Have just bought a T4 Calypso, I’m reading through all the manuals and l read something about using non toxic antifreeze rather than drain the system, has anyone done this?

  54. Gary Tebbutt says:

    Hi Paul. Just in the process hopefully buying a Calypso. Not yet even been in one, that happens in couple days time. Prior to this I do have a couple of concerns one of which is storage space. I see in you photos that you carry outside table and presumably garden chairs, Possibly a small BBQ too perhaps. Where do you store all this sort of equipment, or should i be looking for a larger vehicle. Hopefully not though as i love the size of the Calypso. I understand the water tank to be about 60 litres. How do you find this for capacity and how long can you survive on this if not on a site. I like to carry 2 gas bottles, is there room in the gas locker for 2 or do you carry one somewhere else, if you carry two that is. after reading your solar panel bit was surprised to hear that the roof is strong enough to walk on. Is this really the case.

    • Hi Gary – here we go (sorry for the delay)…
      Garden chairs had to go in the loo/shower which was a pain when you stayed anywhere that didn’t allow you to keep your stuff outside. Likewise levels needed to stay indoors. The BBQ was small and lived under the ample under bed storage but ALWAYS had to be accessed from inside the vehicle. The smell off the BBQ wafting through the inside if not cleaned out well enough is not a great overnight smell! You will note that we now have a Hymer and the big advantage is its outside lockers – everything including table/chairs/satellite dish/levels goes underneath and comes out when you need it. That said we managed with the VW and it was more the bed arrangement that swung the Hymer our way. The water tank is 75 litres and was never a problem during our eight months – we never ran dry. The gas cupboard takes two (6?) smaller size bottles – a European bottle WILL NOT fit in the cupboard – I bought a bottle in Spain as we had run out and it had to stay outside the cupboard – not ideal. I bought a gas refill (LPG) kit off ebay. You can walk on the roof – I’m 13 stone 🙂 Paul

  55. James Pitkeathly says:

    A big”HI” from sunny Scotland; I have just treated myself to 2000 compass calypso and am looking forward to many an adventure so keep your smashing blog going cos I dare say I will be asking many a question, also just bought a 200 watt solar panel. ?….what do you think…..

    • Glad you like the blog – we’ve just got back from a cold weekend away in the Hymer – We managed just fine with a 80watt panel – at that size you could add another battery as it will charge both with the right regulator. We haven’t got a panel on the Hymer however I am considering adding one on soon before our longish trip to Greece.

  56. james pitkeathly says:

    hi guys…just arrived at my first hurdle,200watt solar panel is now connected to my leisure battery,but my fridge only works when the engine is on, how do i get round this so that my fridge is on all the time via leisure battery?

    • It will not work on your leisure battery, full stop. It would flatten it in less than an hour. Even a compressor frisge would require ten 200 watt panels. I hope that whoever fitted you panels wasn’t aware that was what you intended its use for – because they should have advised against it. Your largish solar panel will provide lots of lighting, laptop charging and power for your pumps etc.

  57. james pitkeathly says:

    unfortunately it all my own doing based on my last van which had a waeco fridge and ran 24/7 on a 150 watt panel…..well at least i have a smashing phone charger😃….my next question will be about lining under the floor but not just now….big THANX guys

  58. Angus says:

    Very interesting blog, thanks. I have a 1999 model with the 5cylinder diesel, ( no turbo) It has a towbar as someone asked further up the page. Only problem is the ball hitch prevents the spare wheel door opening, so I took the hitch of. The plan being to replace it if I needed to tow. I had a T4 previously which is rated to tow 2200kg, The Calypso would struggle with that load, but it should tow a baggage trailer OK. I have had damp leaks from the roof. I sanded it down by the hairline cracks and brushed polyester resin on covering it with a tissue glassfibre then a topcoat. Much better. Water tank is hard to drain down, I have not found a functioning tank drain. The grey water tank drains OK but stinks, also the sink is very slow to drain so I suspect it is bunged up. Any advice on this appreciated please.

    • The tipper sink blocks dead easy and we used to regularly poke a piece of wire/cable down the drain (from inside) to free the blockages. It once filled right to the top with smelly water so I know exactly what you mean. Chuck some cheap cola down the sink and drive around for a half hour and then let the drain go from outside – that’ll clear it 😉

  59. Ian Hepple says:

    Hello. I’ve read your with interest. I have a calypso and am having difficulty finding parts for the awning. I do not have any information on the awning itself but a manual that came with the van was for a Fiamma F50 Pro so I had assumed that is what it is. I have photos but I wondered if your van had the same roof awning.
    PS I realise you no longer have a compass but you seem very well informed. Hope you can help.

    • Hi Ian – we had our Fiamma fitted in 2010 and as far as I am aware they are still a current product. I do seem to recall though that it was a F45 and therefore marginally shorter than yours. I wouldn’t have thought that would make any difference. Our Hymer currently has the Fiamma also. Which parts/bits are you after? I know a couple of motorhome/caravan secondhand spares dealer who might be able to help.

  60. Ian Hepple says:

    Thank you so much for replying.
    The part I am having trouble with is the left hand inner and outer cap. I think you are right the f45 and f50 seem to be interchangeable. I think the inner cap number might be 98655-958. I have photos.
    Thanks anyway

  61. Joe says:

    A quick look at EBay came up with lots

  62. Joe says:

    Have a look on EBay, a quick look appears to show plenty on there.

  63. Pauline says:

    Hi. At last an expert on all things motor home related. Simlply and maybe silly question but what is the best microwave to get and where do you store it. I have a 1996 vow calypso? From your blog I have learnt my awning should have legs so will gave a good rummage under the bed.

    • Sorry for the delay – I’ve moved over to a new iPad and my phone doesn’t cope with editing very well. So, I’m now an expert! We’ll see. We don’t use a microwave in the motor home. Mainly because we spend a lot of time off-grid and powering one through inverters etc is a pain. You can buy the fiamma wall brackets off eBay. Enjoy your VW – we loved ours but fell for the Hymers drop down bed.

  64. Duncan Howes says:

    Hello, l have a 1999 calypso and can get the fridge to work on the gas,but not on the electric. I understand which positions the switches need to be in on the front of the fridge but do l need to have the leisure battery switch on and the 2 aux switches on or should the fridge just work as soon as it’s connected to a 240v supply as long as the switch on the front of the fridge is on. Hope this makes sense.

    • Hi Duncan. Our calypso is now long gone but I think it’s operation was as our current Hymer. There should be a dial on the fridge showing the options – 240v 12v and gas. Ours at the moment requires you to change over accordingly. Only the new really flash ones adjust themselves accordingly.

      • Joe says:

        With my Calypso as soon as you plug in to the electric the fridge light goes green showing electric power. When the engine is running the red light shows.

      • Duncan Howes says:

        Thanks for the reply, but by chance l sorted it. I was putting some things away in the bottom cupboard next to where all the gas taps are and l found an isolation switch, turned this on and the fridge was working on electric. No mention of this switch in the manual.

  65. Allan says:

    Hi – anyone know where I can get a cycle rack for my 1998 Compass Calypso

    • Ours had a Fiamma one fitted. It’s not specific to that vehicle and the back panel is standard motorhome shape so they are still available.

      • Duncan Howes says:

        I have a compass calypso 1999 and needed a bike rack, l contacted Fiamma and told them which vehicle l had and they sent me a picture of a calypso with bike rack fitted so l was sure l was ordering the correct one. The model l got was Carry Bike Pro. I had it fitted and l’m very pleased with it, easy to use and the bikes are very secure.

  66. Allan says:

    Thanks – I’ve got in touch with Fiamma

  67. FRED OWEN says:

    Hi Paul, I’m just reading your blogs in order to pick up a few tips for our newly purchased compass calypso. Whilst looking at the pictures of your old van and the improvements that you added, it suddenly dawned on me that we have your old pride and joy and are absolutely delighted with it. It still has only 41000 MLS on the clock and the bodywork is in amazing condition a credit to your ownership. We intend to keep it for a good few years and intend to start travelling very shortly. I thought you would like to know that it is in good hands and now resides in Dunkeswell, Devon. May you have many more happy years of travelling together, we intend to.
    All the very best, Fred and Lorraine.

    • Sorry for the delay in replying, I simply missed your message. We sold it to a chap somewhere in the middle of the country and he’s obviously moved it on. We only ever sold it for something with a more convenient bed for our needs. I’m sure you’ll enjoy it as much as we did. I’m curious as to how you are sure it’s the same as I don’t think I ever displayed a photo,with the original plates on… it was I recall Y?.. BBC

      • FRED OWEN says:

        Yes, Y879 BBC. We have some old paperwork with your old reg on it. It was easy to see with all your improvements. Still has the underfloor insulation which will be useful when we take a short break in it over Christmas, (we’ve never cooked Christmas dinner in a motorhome) wish us luck. Merry Christmas to you both, Fred.

      • Fred, I have one of the original VW sales brochures which you are welcome to if you forward your home address.

Leave a Reply

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

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com 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