13th Apr 2005, 08:55

I graduated with a Physics degree from Oxford University...

And now am an impoverished Singaporean Van driver!!

Legally in Singapore - we cannot bolt down the seats. You then have to pay car tax.

But this lightweight pine-wood framed vinyl black Sofa is carefully and comprehensively wedged between the rear wheel arches.. It truly cannot move of its own accord.

Passengers can still bounce about and are without seat belts... but the speed limit here is 70kph and 60kph when you have rear passengers.

OK - not safe as houses... but safer than riding my previous Harley Davidson Fat Boy!

13th Apr 2005, 20:30

Interesting comments! I have recently 'acquired' a 1998 Vito 108D from my son, who used it for his business... and he has now replaced it with a brand new 115 cd. As the only cost to me was just the 'transfer' fee (only $A 335 or so)...my son had already removed all his business advertising, had the van (white) cut and polished... and the fenders resprayed... it looks and drives almost like new... despite 301,000 k's on the clock. Still getting regular 8 liters/100 K's fuel consumption figures (approx 40mpg!)...and it makes an ideal 'golfers' transport. The only 'issues' to have shown up so far...1) the glow plug panel indicator is performing oddly...doesn't come on to start... then comes on after about 1 minute... and remains on for about 5 minutes when it then goes out. I am told this is probably an 'open circuit' in one of the glow plugs... but it doesn't cause any inconvenience so I'll just leave it for the moment until next service. (Oil change with oil and fuel filters replaced regularly every 10-15,000 kms by dealer service dept... since new!)...and 2) the other annoyance in the direction indicator switch... seems to have a 'ratchet' sound when changing to indicate, I'm sure it was just a neat 'click' when I first got it!...and now the major annoyance is the fact that I cannot locate a source for a 'workshop manual' for this model... the only one I have found via the internet is in German! (I am in Australia). Anyone help here?

11th Aug 2005, 16:20

Wedging the sofa between the rear wheel arches won't it in place in even a minor front end smash.

I am amazed you can get the van through whatever the Singapore equivalent of the MOT with this in place.

28th Aug 2005, 03:39

I guess comments about my sofa - are from those not living in Singapore.

#1 - There is a speed limit of 60kph if anyone is in the back.

#2 - the legal alternative is to have everyone sitting on the floor.

#3 - Yes - if we have a front end crash - it will be very sad for everyone. But still safer than sitting on a motorbike.

#4 most of the time we use a normal W124 Merecdes saloon.

27th Oct 2005, 13:10

"I guess comments about my sofa - are from those not living in Singapore."


"#1 - There is a speed limit of 60kph if anyone is in the back."

There are many documented cases of unrestrained car occupants being killed in collisions where the vehicle speed has been less than 12mph (20kph)

"#2 - the legal alternative is to have everyone sitting on the floor."

Maybe neither is strictly illegal in Singapore, but it's certainly not in the spirit of the law.

"#3 - Yes - if we have a front end crash - it will be very sad for everyone..."

The first sentence is very worrying if you really intended it to sound this way (I suspect you didn't).

"... but still safer than sitting on a motorbike."

Maybe, but the bike does not have a windscreen to get thrown through or the sofa approaching from behind at 60kph.

I'm not trying to be unpleasant, or a killjoy, but I am very worried someone is going to be killed or seriously injured in your van. Your insurers may refuse to pay up if your modifications (the sofa in particular) are found to be contributory factors.

16th Dec 2005, 10:11

Fitted Windows in back of Van.

Purchase $320 and fitting $650.

Same time had clutch pump replaced.

$285 for complete New left wing mirror and tightening right mirror including labour.

Took heed of safety comments and 3 black bean bags replace sofa.

17th Dec 2006, 00:52

Regarding the glow plug problems. True.. there was an open circuit in one of them. Eventually another failed and the vehicle became difficult to start on cold days. Having been quoted well over $1000 to have them replaced I did it myself for just the approx $100 total cost of the plugs themselves. This is quite a tedious exercise as they are impossible to access. You need to remove just about everything from the top of the engine... inlet manifold etc... the lot! Took me a full day! Good job my labour is cheap! Working perfectly now.

I have now had a go at replacing the front brake pads... you have to be careful to get the right ones... the Bosch caliper system they are on are actually listed as 'Sprinter' parts... as is the brake system themselves. Also tried to replace the front disc rotors, warning... these are not the usual 'slip off' discs as expected... they are combined with the drive axle parts... also you need to remove the caliper mounting, which is difficult. The M14x1.5 mounting bolts are tightened to 170 Nm... dunno how to get those off!

25th Jan 2007, 14:43

"The M14x1.5 mounting bolts are tightened to 170 Nm... dunno how to get those off!"

I'm an apprentice commercial vehicle technician for Mercedes-Benz.

The best way to get the bolts off is to use a power bar. They can be pretty tight!

26th Jan 2007, 13:28

Hiya found this web site by chance, while reading it I noticed that one chap was after an owner's manual, but didn't get any answer. As I am after one as well in english is there any one out there who know's where to get one from?

1st Mar 2007, 06:36

No at 24 months of ownership.

Runs beautifully... since I have trained myself to deal with dreadful gear change.

Great economy. Just changed two tyres (on the Jumbo CLK rims).

A nice bus with custom seats and seatbelts in the back.

The glow plugs were very worrying - but the garage managed to change them!

COE now at $86 for renewal for 10 years. Great since new COE due before 2008.

1st Jul 2007, 15:22

I have just bought a 1998 108d, and was looking for some info and found this site. I just thought I would mention that there are a couple of English workshop manuals for the Vito on www.ebay.co.uk for those that are looking.

23rd Sep 2007, 09:33

Very entertaining read! As a fellow Singaporean, I just have to chuckle at how the rest of the world is probably reading about the rear unbolted sofa in awe and horror!

Just to share and enlighten. Vehicles cost a BOMB here, and unlike most first world countries, workmen don't have their own trucks or vans, they get ferried by the truck loads to the work site. Picture a lighter shade of slavery (ooh was that too harsh?). They (workers) get paid USD $13 a day to work all day, and they stay in workers camps (or worse, in steel shipping containers on site). So to help the burden on the building companies with transportation issues, there is an allowance to carry a certain amount of people in a commercial class vehicle... together with the building material etc etc. So expect to find the sand and shovels together with the workers.

Now commercial vehicles enjoy lower taxes and the discounted diesel usage, so the author of this is probably not a builder, but instead someone who's capitalising on cheaper motoring and still staying right by the law by not installing additional seating. By law, he can carry 5 people rolling around in the back (to the work site etc), but they can't sit on bolted down chairs as that would make his 'diesel commercial vehicle' a 'diesel passenger car', thus imposing a passenger car tax, which would be USD $1000 (2200cc) per year. A diesel commercial vehicle is USD $300 (2200cc) per year in comparison, and if the vehicle is diesel and private passenger, it's USD $6000 (2200cc) a year in road tax. So there are a lot of people that need cheap motoring, and skirt the law by buying a commercial vehicle and dress it up so that their friends can have a little more comfort than rolling around on the floor. As far as the law is concerned... the writer of this thread is merely transporting a sofa.

So to the writer of this thread... I know you enjoy creative economics :) In fact... I have a pretty good idea who you are, as we've met before. Best wishes.

P.s... how about a W124 estate like this?


16th Jan 2008, 07:53

I am the OP and refer to the power of: 23rd Sep 2007, 09:33

I miss my Vito... which I sold just before the gearbox collapsed for $11K (I bought it for $11K)... but I refunded the new owner $1K because the gearbox was bad.

Now I have a SsaangYong Musso with Jumbo illegal wheels and a 2.9 Turbo diesel engine... but it is not as practical as the Vito nor as economical... But dear friends... has 5 leagal seats with seat belts (wwooo!!)

18th Oct 2008, 05:38


Nice read! Tempted!!

Still miss my Vito

There's a 1986 230TE for sale in Singapore in Oct 2008 for $14K.

Slightly tempted, but given crashing car prices, I'm holding out for 1990s 300TE @ $10K!