The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

And things were going sooo good…

In preparation for an upcoming camping trip, I’ve been double timing it, trying to get the bus ready. I actually reconnected all of my wiring on Saturday and only had two small snafu’s, but was able to crank her up for the first time in an entire year and pulled her out of the garage. Rinsed her off, and cleaned up the garage a little and then backed her in again.,

After I had everything reconnected, I jumped inĀ  to crank and it wouldn’t turn over, power everywhere but no crank. Battery seemed to be charged enough but still no crank. Stuck the battery on the charger for about 15 minutes and then she fired right up after giving her a few pumps of gas. Couldn’t believe it.

Spent last night troubleshooting a dead taillight and marker light and turned out to be the fuse. Sanded down the engine hatch and have it almost ready to shoot some primer on it tonight so I can get it remounted.

Now, the bad news…I started reinstalling the rear bumper and the nut that is inside the frame popped loose. This is not a good situation as the ONLY way to get to it to reweld it back in is to undo part of the work I have been doing over the past year. I’m going to need to cut an access hole in the panel I just installed and recut the vertical support beam(that I just replaced) to get to the bolt.

I am so bummed. It would’t be so bad if I hadn;t had to basically make the piece of the skin to the right of the hatch that has the small access hole in it. I think I may try to find a fabrication shop to just make me a flat piece of metal with the hole in it and cut and patch it in. The problem is that the whole is PRESSED in and is not just drilled out.

Anyway…it’ll need to wait until after the camping trip…without a rear bumper.

I have determined I hate welding while on my back…

Had a successful weekend on the bus.  Just wish I had more time. Camping trip in 2 weeks and I don’t think the Bus is going to be ready. May hafta venture out without her this time.

I was able to leave work a few minutes early on Friday to stop by a new found body supply shop before closing time at 5:00pm. Very nice staff was really helpful and not just sell you anything.

Was able to finish up the installation of the rear below the engine panel. It was a bear to get welded in. Not sure why, but half of my welds wouldn’t stick. I cleaned it, redrilled the holes and after 3 or 4 attempts, I was finally able to complete it. Finished wrapping the crimps and primered everything .

Also was able to seam seal the battery tray in last night. Used 3M’s Fast ‘n Firm Seam Sealer and was able to use a basic caulking gun to apply. I did clean the area thoroughly of all rust and then with prepsol prior to application. My only concern was trying to get a full tube of sealer with the gun in the small area, but somehow managed with no major setbacks. The sealer skinned over in about 20 minutes and was easy to clean up any extra that may have dripped. Went back this morning to check and it was still soft so hopefully after 24 hours it will be ready for some primer.

Regarding this posts title, I cannot stand welding while lying down. There is not enough room to use my helmet, so had to resort to my face shield, holding the light AND trying to weld at the same time. Certainly couldn’t get a full bead going, but was able to tack weld it enough to hold it securely. Hope tonight maybe to grind down the welds and apply seam sealer to underneath and give it another 24 hours before applying undercoating.

Also, BEWARE and MAKE SURE to apply this particular seam sealer in well ventilated area. I thought mine was ventilated enough with the fan going and open door, and it doesn’t appear to smell that strong, but after finishing the job, I felt like the fumes were still in my lungs for a few hours.

A few pics of the progress:

Latest pics

I completed welding the back corner last night and now we move on to smoothing out the welds. The only place that hasn’t matched up perfectly was the inside of the lip. Even though the skin was taken from another ’73, they seem to be different. My bus is an early ’73, and the donor bus could be a late ’73, possibly explaining the difference, but still a little surprised of the difference.

Passenger’s rear corner

Last evening, I finished up the welding, a few coats of primer, and undercoated.

Tonight, I was able to spot welded it in, so the next step will be to finish up the welding. I taped up the interior side of the engine hatch, and started to spray a little primer in the access holes. Plan on spraying in undercoating to help with deadening the sound a little. I know I won’t be able to coat the entire inside, but a little coverage should help.

New part welded in

I was able to pick up an interior mud flab from a fellow Samba member and received it yesterday. Didn’t waste anytime trimming it down and welding it in. Hopefully, will finish the welding and grinding it down tonight so I can move forward with putting the outside skin back on.

Progress

I’ve really made some good progress in the past 2 or 3 weeks.

1. Finished welding in and primering the repair sections on either side of the engine hatch
2. Trimmed the area for the replacement of the skin around the battery tray area
3. Trimmed the replacement skin around the battery tray area
4. Undercoated, primered and hole punched the valance below the engine hatch.

I actually started to weld in the valence but thought that I might should reinstall the engine hatch to make sure the lower gap is consistent around the edges. Sanded down the rear of the engine hatch to start prepping it. Might as well get it ready for some paint and to rehang it.

So the search for my hinges began. And after two days of searching…I finally found them. Stripped all the paint off last night and begain to primer. Hopefully will finish that up this evening.

Went through some paint decisions…it’s hard to find an auto paint shop that is open on Saturday. But found one locally that is and sells the Glasurit product line. For VW restorers, the Glasurit is the original manufacturer or the closest thing to the original. HOWEVER, I called this morning to get a quote for a quart and a gallon of L90D(PastellWeiss) and it was $150.00 for a quart and $500.00 for a gallon. Whew. Definitely won’t be going that route. I ant my Bus to look good, but it’s certainly not a show vehicle.

So, do a little more research and find that PPG also has the L90D paint chip and found a local PPG distributor. Only Bad – they aren’t open on Saturday’s and only open 9-5 M-F. But, at least I have found a distributor.

Hopefully, will be able to go by there tomorrow to pickup enough pain to do the engine compartment, the hinges, and some areas around the engine hatch.

And the Battery tray is IN!

Finally got to the place where I could put the battery tray in. I first used a air punch and placed holes around the lip about every two inches. Taped up the area where I would be welding, primered it up and undercoated the bottom of it with 3M Rubberized Undercoating.

It did take a little persuasion to get it in to place, but I actually had it in place within 30 minutes or so. Had to use a few screwdrivers to shoehorn it in to place. Went on and tack welded it in place and now I need to go around and put in a few strategicly placed welds for a more permanent hold.

Next will be to pick some seam sealer, fill the seams and start to replace the outside skin I had to remove to get the tray in place.

Below are a few pics:

Roadtrip to Orangeburg

Had a few extra hours on Saturday so I headed up to Orangeburg to a friend’s VW junkyard. Always enjoy going. Not a huge number of buses, but enough that I can usu find what I need, within reason. I needed the passenger’s side rear area of the rear wheel.

I purchased a panel new that I had hoped would work, but again, the sheetmeal was too thin and wasn’t close to fitting the original contours. So, I was able to get a good piece that goes from the rear wheelwell all the way to the taillight. I still need to trim out what’s left of the battery tray from the piece and have it sandblasted.

Now that I have what I need in regards to the rear, I should be able to start removing the necessary metal to install the new battery tray. At least I can dryfit the battery tray with the piece I just purchased to check the fit prior to installing.

I also was able to find one plug that fits in the small holes on each side of the rear view mirror. There was a second one but it was so brittle that it broke as I tried to remove. Checked out a few more buses for the front step areas and front floors. I think I found about 3 or 4 buses that I should be able to get to repair the area on my bus.

Through this whole process I have learned a valuable lesson. IF I’m able to find a bus to remove the original metal in good shape, I will certainly do that instead of using ordered repair panels.

Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my 1973 Volkswagen Westfalia restoration blog. It is my hope to provide information from other sources, as well as tasks and projects that I have accomplished that will help you with your Bus adventure.