About the club

2014, the start of the club

The Facebook page, and with it the club, was started by two Libero owners back in 2014. One restored a white KJ, the other a green-grey FA. They started the club to make a place for all the Dutch Libero owners and fans, as there was no Dutch Libero club at that moment.

The green-gray FA was bought at a Renault dealer without an engine. Beside this green-grey FA this Renault dealer had 3 other FAs that were total loss. All the usable parts, including an working engine, were gathered from these 3 Liberos. This engine was then installed in the green-gray Libero, allowing it to drive around again. Unfortunaltely after some time this engine got stuck during highway driving. In the search for a replacement engine they eventually ended up in the Dutch province Brabant were a Libero fan had an engine available. This engine worked nicely after the installation.

The green-gray Libero was sold in 2015 to someone living in the west of The Netherlands. The white KJ is sold to a follower of the Facebook page

2017, somewhere in The Netherlands...

The advert on Marktplaats

In the summer of 2017 I saw a Subaru Libero for sale on Marktplaats (translates into 'Marketplace', which is the Dutch equivalent to eBay, but then not that big). There was a green-grey FA for sale! As I was looking for a Libero for a long time, I quickly send an e-mail and hoped for the best. Not much later I planned an appointment to see and test drive the Libero.

See and test drive the Libero

A week later, in the weekend, it finally was time to go and see the Libero. So I headed up to the west of the Netherlands with some friends in a Subaru Forester. Once we arrived, the Libero looked quite allright, there was not a lot of rust for example. A few minutes later the owner arrived.

After we had a walk around the bus and talked to the seller, it was time for a test drive. The test drive was not very long, but that did not spoil the fun. At the end of the test drive, the oil pressure light came on very briefly. This could be due to the warm weather, the seller said. I still thought: "um, okay, well, maybe he put too thin oil in it". The oil pressure light did not stop me from walking away and looking at another Libero. 

I agreed on a date with the seller to pay for and pick up the van, we could pick it up the following weekend.

On our way home

So a week later, we drove to the west again. The Forester was filled with a tow rope, socket wrench set, engine oil, tape and tie wraps. Once we arrived I saw that the owner had filled the Libero with all the parts he had, so everything behind the front seats was filled with stuff, all the way to the bottom of the windows.

And then the journey to home began, me in the bus, the rest in the Subaru Forester. We didn't think it would be wise to drive back viahighways. I mean, if the bus broke down, you would be better of on a small road rather then a busy highway.

Well, with a big grin on my face I drove in the van through the countryside of Noord-Holland. It was a lot of fun in De Rijp, the road is very narrow there. So in front of me, the Forester always had to slow down for oncoming traffic, in the van I had no problems with it at all, I was able to pass anyone with more then enough space left. We stopped for a cup of coffee at "Het wapen van Münster". When that coffee was finished, we restarted the boxer engine and the three-cylinder. Let's head up to Enkhuizen! To cross the Houtribdijk...

Oil-pressure light

The Houtribdijk, yes, that was the plan. Unfortunately, the oil warning light started flashing now and then in the middle of Hoorn. So I blinked a few times with my high beam to the Subaru driving in front of me to indicate something was wrong. A little later we stopped, somewhere in a parking lot on a dike in Hoorn. I checked the oil level, it was not too low, but there was still room for a little more, so I filled it to the MAX mark on the oil dip stick. After that we waited a little and started the bus again, the oil lamp was off again. In the meantime I started to have a somewhat dubious feeling, but anyway, let's see if we can make it to Enkhuizen!

Right before Enkhuizen it was trouble time again: the oil light now lit constantly. I emmediately stopped at a gas station somewhere on an industrial estate, after which I called my Subaru garage and explained the problem. Do not drive further, they said, let the ANWB (Dutch association for in the field car repairs and towing services, like ADAC in Germany) transport your van to home. Well, there we were: stranded in Enkhuizen on a parking space, in front of a gas station.

Meanwhile, I was talking to a passerby about what kind of a bus it was and what was going on. In the meantime we also noticed that the pump operator did not particularly appreciate the fact that we were standing in his parking lot with a broken down van. Since we were far from home and we did not feel like having the van picked up by the ANWB, we went looking for somewhere to rent a car ambulance. There was no one in the neighborhood, but there was a shop where they sold tow ropes. That in itself worked out well, because the tow rope that I had with me was not very thick. I bought the thickest tow rope they had in the shop there, as we had quite some towing to do. 

Back at the gas station, we pushed the van out of the parking space, put the loop of the tow rope around the towbar of the Subaru and attached the other end to the tow point of the Libero.

More as a joke I had brought the old walkie-talkies from home, which in the end turned out to be very useful during towing. I could warn the Forester in front if someone was going to overtake us and the Forester could indicate when they were going to slow down so that I could already hit the brakes to keep the rope tight.

After an hour-long journey through the Netherlands, avoiding motorways all the time, we came home late at midnight.

The Subaru workshop has a (brief) look at it

The day after arrival I called the Subaru workshop and asked if I could come by. That was no problem. Su not much later we towed the Libero to the Subaru workshop. The Subaru garage found it quite exciting when we arrived with the van. They also sold the Libero in the past and it had been a long time since they had last seen a Libero.

I pushed the van into a parking space in front of the workshop, handed in the keys to the workshop supervisor and asked if they would call me when they checked it out. The next day I received a phone call: the Libero went on the hoist in fifteen minutes! I immediately jumped in the car and drove to the garage. When I arrived the mechanic was just driving it up the bridge. He stepped out, listened to it from a distance and then said to me: "well, the engine is not really fresh anymore". Then he drove my van off the hoist again.

Not much later, the workshop supervisor suggested buying a second-hand engine or having the current engine repaired. A new second-hand Libero engine was not an option, because they can hardly be found here, so I got the telephone number of a revision company in the area. Furthermore, they gave me the original workshop manuals of the Libero.

The repair starts (from here on it is still in Dutch. Haven't translated this part yet)

Na het bezoekje aan de garage hebben we het busje weer naar huis gesleept. Nu begon het sleutelen. Allereerst: de motor eruit.
Om de motor eruit te halen heb ik eerst een laag houten karretje gemaakt met vier goedkope wieltjes om meubels mee te verplaatsen. Veel meer dan een dikke houten plak en vier 150kg meubeltransportwieltjes was het niet. Met een dikke balk over het motorluik in de achterbak en een stel spanbanden heb ik de motor eerst iets omhoog gekrikt. Hierdoor ontlast je de motorrubbers zodat die bouten er makkelijk uitkomen. De motor en versnellingsbak hangen dan gewoon aan die spanbanden, hierdoor kunnen de uitlaat en de hele onderste dwarsbalk ertussenuit. Zo maak je vrij baan voor de motor en kan je de motor heel mooi op de houten kar laten zakken.

De motor heb ik enigszins schoongemaakt en daarna volledig gedemonteerd. De krukas- en drijfstanglagers zagen er niet zo best meer uit. Ik heb hem in losse onderdelen afgeleverd bij een motorrevisiebedrijfje. Dit bedrijfje heeft hem volledig gereviseerd: nieuwe lagers, geslepen krukas, nieuwe zuigerveren, nieuwe kleprubbers, kleppen zijn geslepen, nokkenas is bijgewerkt etc etc. De motor heb ik een aantal weken later weer in onderdelen opgehaald en met nieuwe pakkingen en afdichtingen weer in elkaar gezet.

Het onderblok heb ik niet laten spuiten. Ik heb nog aan de eigenaar van het motorrevisiebedrijfje gevraagd of de roest op het onderblok een probleem zou worden. Hij zei dat de roest geen probleem is, tenzij je vaak door zout en dergelijk gaat rijden. Maar het onderblok zou niet doorroesten en verven zou eigenlijk alleen voor het beeld zijn.

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Overnemen van de pagina

Terwijl ik met de motor bezig was zag ik dat de Subaru Minibus Club Nederland een bericht had gepost, of iemand de pagina wilde overnemen. Dat leek mij wel wat, dus ik heb ze een berichtje gestuurd. De berichten gingen even later wat over en weer en op een gegeven moment vroeg de eigenaar van de club of ik een busje met een bepaald kenteken had gekocht. Toen ik dat kenteken las, dacht ik: nou ja zeg, wat een toeval….

Drie keer raden welk groen-grijze busje ik had gekocht?
Precies, het groen-grijze busje van één van de oprichters van de club.

Alle onderdelen die ik bij de koop ‘kreeg’ waren dus de onderdelen die de oprichters van de club bij die Renaultdealer hebben verzameld. Het motorblok dat ik ook in de bus vond is het blok dat is vastgelopen op de snelweg, het motorblok dat ik heb laten reviseren is dus het blok van de liefhebber uit Brabant. Het hele verhaal werd duidelijk, en dat vond ik toch wel komisch.