I wasnt really looking for another classic to have but it kind of found me. A guy I know from the scottish pre67 ford club had been having trouble with his Ford thames, namely the roof gutter and he was looking for another camper to strip out for parts. He posted these pics up of it lying in a field.
The specs are as follows: 1959 Ford Thames Dormobile, 1.7 engine (same as the Consul engine and running gear) 3 speed colomn shift, Grill, cupboards, sleeps 4 (allegedly), Fold down side step, heater, vacum operated wipers. Free bird and wasp nest.
After a little bit of thought he realised that this van was a lot worse than his so he never bothered taking it. Foolishly, I felt sorry for it, thinking its a shame to see it rusting and rotten away back to the earth in some farmers field. I managed to get a hold of the owner to see how much she wanted for it. She said someone told her it was worth £400 - £450 and that I was welcome to go take a look. So a few weeks ago me and my brother took the 44 mile trip in my Consul , from Edinburgh to Ancrum to have a look. Straight away I thought it was never in a hundred years worth £450. I managed to persuade the farmer to pull it out using his tractor. The first time it had moved in 3 years, so I could get a better look at everything. Thankfully the seperate chassis and out-riggers are still solid. The main area of concern is around the roof. The gutter is practically oxide and the edges of the roof have disappeared. The pop up roof also has a bit plastic missing so the rain has gotten in over the years, luckily its just a wooden floor so that shouldnt be too hard to replace. Everything needs stripped out and cleaned/ repaired. Enough blabbing, more pictures.
Thats my brother
The bottom hinge has came away from the door.
Apparently the brochure says it can sleep 4, I think they lied.
Whilst we were there we had a look at the other cars lying in the field
Some old morris 8 which I think has been lying there even longer. I hate seeing crap like this, not even a tarp thrown over it or anything.
There was a Land rover there too but I cant find the pic of that.
When I got home I wasnt too sure about buying it. One half of me said that I have enough crap to be getting on with, with the Consul but the other half was telling me how awesome it would be to go traveling in it once its all done. I decided to set my price at £200 and let fate decide. I phoned the woman up and told her what was wrong with it and how it wasnt worth £450 at all and I offered her £150, she declined so I upped it to £200 and she agreed, bonus! I think she was more glad that it was going to someone to restore than as a parts van.
The next major hurdle was how do I get it from Ancrum 44 miles up to my garage in Edinburgh. The plan was for my brother to get his 2.4 Toyota estima/previa taxed MOTd and insured for this weekend and hire a trailer. Unfortunatly that went tits up on thursday as he found out the cost of insuring the Toyota just wasnt worth it. That left me in a bit of a pickle as to what to do next. I tried searching for a company to pick it up on a flat bed and drop it off but that was going to cost £240 at the cheapest. My next idea was to find a trailer to borrow and a car to hire, my dads friend came up with the trailer but to hire anything with a towbar was going to be £75, then I had to get my own insurance sorted. I tried phoning the only other person I know with a towbar on his VW golf estate buit I couldnt get a hold of him at all. I just about gave up on saturday when I looked at the full raging 1.2 litres of my 120,000 mile Fiat Punto and thought "Would it be stupid to try and tow a ton and a half of camper and trailer with this" so off I popped to the scrapyard and found a Towbar for the pricely sum of £15 and went to town installing it. It fitted pretty well and buoyed with confidence I got my dad to arrange the trailer for Sunday.
Sunday morning, its peeing down with rain and as we set off the engine is running on 3 cylinders, not the best of starts to the day. I pulled over at a garage and fiddled about with the HT leads and the problem dissapered. We went to my dads friends house to pick up the big ass trailer.
Its longer and wider than the car. I probably should have checked out the weight limit of the car but it was too late now. It was also the first time I had ever driven with a trailer so no better way to get used to it than with a proper man size trailer.
After another 44 miles of 'fun' driving we reached our destination, Thankfully Mr farmer was around to pull the Thames out of the soft muddy grass and onto a slightly less wet and muddy patch of grass for us to load up.
Seeing it again after 2 weeks made me kind of think did I make the right choice, too late now. It all paid for.
Loaded up and ready to go, dash you 4x4s and dash you torque! I have 75BHP and 78 lb-ft of raging FWD power.
This was about as far as we got before we got stuck, all 15ft of it. I had to get the farmer to get his manatou and get us unstuck. I think he was a bit intoxicated off by this time as he draged us literally out of the hole 5ft and that was it "yeah, you will be fine from here", cheers mate......
Back on the main road the first hill we pull up I have to change down to 1st gear to get it up there. ME and my dad looked at each other, not muttering a word but both praying to the automotive gods that this blasted thing better get up these bastarding hills! Of course we had mental cross winds and no trailering experiance would be complete without the fluttering heartbeat you get that only a fish tailing trailer can provide at 50MPH. At one point the rain got so heavy it was like driving on a small lake and you still couldnt see crap with the wipers going at max. What a stressfull blasted drive.
We stopped off for a coffee in Peterhead, about 15 miles out of Edinburgh.
We managed to get the Thames into the garage, I forgot to take more pictures. Then back another 10 miles to drop the trailer off. I must say, i'l never underestimate the Punto again, it is a cheap shity run around but it was a champ today, I think I may need to service the poor child born out of wedlock now.
I now need to come up with a restoration plan. I'm also toying with the idea of a V6 of somesort, either cologne, cosworth or Omega, etc... I want to keep the coloum change and have it as a cruiser so an automatic gearbox too
Ive decided that this needs work done a lot sooner than the Consul, I guess the Consul has a few more years for the road without needing too much attention to keep it road legal. Once the camper is done i'll get started, but in a way I like the slightly ratty look.
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
I figured out how the 'dining table' was set up
and how the seats fold out into 'beds'
This is the first weekend we went to the garage and the magic started.
My girlfriend has taken an unusal interest in helping me to restore the van. I think its great as if i was in the garage myself it could get a bit boring but its a good laugh having her around and helping me out. Its ok right now at the stripping down stage but i think she may get bored when im welding and cutting shit up. I was thinking i could buy her asewing machien adn she could re-upholstere the seats and curtains etc..
Yeah, check out those comfy ugly slacks im rocking.
I got Jana started on removing the light lenses and units etc.. she even managed to get the rear bumpers off herself. I dont mean to sound patronising but when someone calls a ratchet the "clicky-thing" its quite a big step for her.
I even bought her a special tool kit for the job, shes since bought herself a proper tool bag and plier set.
First door removed. It was a bitch as the hinge bolts were rusted solid, lucky for me there is a huge tool store opposite the garage (machine mart) so i managed to get an impact screwdriver.
All the seats and interior came out easy, the gas cooker was a bit of a joke really, The cage that held the gas bottle underneath the floor was about 8 inches from the ground and about an inch from the propshaft, then the gas pipe went to the cooker where someone had used a T-piece for some reason, with one pipe going to the hob and the other pipe was bent round a few times to stop gas leaking.... i dont know why the never just used a single pipe. There was a lot of cork insulation which i think had been stuck on with tar. Oh what fun i had with a scraper. Jana 'helped', but well, she got bored of it a lot quicker than i did.
Then i got stuck into the wiring loom, there was a lot of house-hold wire in one colour for switches and lights all over the place. I know im going to be re-doing the interior lighting differantly so those got binned and i kept the standard loom. Note the intesity of my concentration.
The next weekend we started on taking the pop-up roof off. The fabric of the roof its self isnt too bad. There is a rip in it but its along the seam so once stiched up it will be ok. It was held down with aluminium strips and brackets.
WEST SIDE Y'ALL
Starting to get quite bare now, in total we found 3 dead birds in the van, 2 of which were skeletons and the other was quite fresh looking underneath the radiator intake, perhaps from the drive home on the trailer, oops.
We got the other door off and then i set about the lower panels, there pretty easy to come off as there all bolt on panels, something Ford promoted as a key selling point apparently.
The right lower panel its self was not bad, just a bit of surface rust and a few dings. Even behind the panel it was not bad. You can see the battery tray is pretty much gone but thats not really a problem at all, its just a welded up box. Although a lot of rust came flaking off as you can see.
The back of the wheel well is the worst, good thing is a lot of the panels to replace are just flat sheet with bends in it.
The other side was a bit harder to take off as it had spot welds along the side door opening but it came off none the less.
During all this a few bolts were completly seized and i had to grind them off, sending sparks flying. I finally thought id be a lot safer doing all this shit with the petrol tank out. Only problem was the bolts underneath had seized and the only access was to rip the floor out and take them off from the top.
So out the floor it went. The guy that rents the other side of the garage popped down and gave me a hand. The floor was inch thick plywood and all the coachscrews holding it down were, as you could guess, seized. We came up with a plan of him using a big leaver and me drilling lots of holes around the coachscrews. You can see the petrol tank is quite small for something to go travelling with, may need to find something bigger. Once i dissconected the tank i poured the petrol away and it was pure orange, like irn-bru. Must have been laying in the tank for years.
The weekend after my brother came along instead of Jana as i wanted to get the engine/gearbox and the rest of the glass out. We even managed to get the rest of the doors off.
Checking out how to remove the engine. We disconnected the gearbox first and tied rope around the engine to lift it straight up.
My garage buddys engine crane came in handy.
A full 53bhp or so of pure antique metal
This is the hole that has been left from taking the motor out, The plan is to replace it with a 3 litre Cologne/Essex V6, i know it fits as ive seen the set up before in a Thames van. Im going to go for an automatic box too as i just want it as a cruiser and i hope to keep the coloumn change and rig it up to the autobox.
Thats as far as ive gotten with the van. Im pretty much at the stage where i need to take the suspension, steering and rear axle off but before i do that i need to make up a way of supporting the van off the ground. I was looking at building a rotisserie but i came up with a slightly differant idea. Im going to build 2 huge dodecagons that split into 2 pieces. That way i can roll it on its side and sandblast/repair underneath then roll it back, unbolt the top half of the dodecagons and work on the roof etc..
Well its been a few weeks since i have made an update. To be honest i had no money to make the dodecagon chassis tilter so everything came to a standstill untill i had more money. I managed to get 2 homers fabricating gates, each one took about 2 weeks to make and fit, only because i have a full time job 8-5 and i can really only fabricate my own stuff after work and on saturdays. The first one i made was for some retro shop on cockburn street in Edinburgh. Im not sure if anyones familiar really with Edinburgh but cockburn street is just of the royal mile so its good to be getting my work in a classy area (i.e, more money).
After that one his neigbour wanted me to fabricate a couple of gates for the front of his shop too, so, more money is better than no money and i done that too.
Finally i could start on my own stuff for the van. I bought 4 lenghts of 50x50x3 box section for the frame and struts, 2 lenghts of 25x25x3 for bracing the inside of the van, a 8x4 sheet of 1.2mm for the body and some 1.6mm for the underside and any other areas i want to protect a bit more. Last time i got as far as drawing the idea of the dodecagon.
I know that there is other ways for me to work on the underside of the van, from rolling it over onto old matresses/tyres to make a proper rotisserie. The reason i decided on the dodecagon was its simplicity, i dont have to jack it up shit loads to rotate it and i can mount it straight onto the chassis using the suspension mounting points.
I decided before i go cutting anything to check over all my measurements and see if i can adjust the sizes. I went to the garage and made a cardoard template of the outline of the front of the van, after messing around with the sizes i realised i could make the bottom and top rail 37" the side rails 32" and the corners 20", meaning instead of the overall hight and width being 104" its now only 87" (if my memory serves me right). I then got 2 sheets of 3mm plate from my work and laid them flat on the ground and tacked them together to make a 8ftx8ft working area. I traced around the cardboard template (you can vauqely see that) and then made a full size drawing of how the dodecagons should look in chalk. Once that was done and i was happy with it i cut 24 bits of 50x50 at 50 long angle and tacked them around the perimeter of the dodecagon. That way once everything was cut i could clamp the box to the angle and know its not going to move and warp.
I then started to cut the 50x50 box to the sizes i need with a 7inch grinder, Its not my chop saw so to save the blade a bit i cut them with the grinder square, so when it comes to cutting the 15 degree angle im only cutting 3 faces, therfore using less of the blade.
This photo is a bit crap but you get the idea, with everything cut i could place the metal on the sheet and using a shit load of clamps, clamp everything in place and start tacking. Once it was all tacked i kept the clampes in place and welded the top face.
I then stood it up so i could weld the inside and outside.
After that i then laid it back down with the other non welded face pointin up onto the jig to make sure it never warped and i laid the other bits of metal on top and tacked them to the complete dodecagon, that way i know both will be the exact same (or close enough anyway).
I then broke the tacks holding the dodegcagons together and welded everything up completly.
The next again weekend i went back to finish them off but i forgot my camera so il need to show what i done later. I wanted to add strengh to the corners so i cut some 25x10 flat bar and welded them in place like gussets. The other thing i done was to cut them in half and sleeved an insert inside both cuts. Unfortunatly once i cut them in half they bowed in, so i had to cut 4 corners and pull them out a few degrees and weld them back up. Easy enoguh to do but time consuming.
The weekend after that i decided to fabricate trolley dolleys so can move the whole thing around a lot easier. I bought 8x125mm castor/brake wheels, and 2 x 65x130 U channel @ 40" long. Using some left over 50 box i joined the whole lot together and im quite happy with how they turned out. I left a 60mm gap from the floor to the channel. Im hoping that when i go to roll the dodecagons i can roll them into the channel, il just need to see how it goes. The wheels should be strong for the job, they hold 160Kg each, so altogether thats 1280kg in total and im guessing the van isnt even going to be 700Kg fully stripped.
I got them down to my garage and with the help of my beautiful although slightly unenthusiastic assistant got to see how they would look in place. It was exciting to see all the hard work starting to make sence and feeling worthwhile.
My brother and I went to the garage last wednesday after work and started to strip the front suspension out. We got the whole front end out but by that time it was getting quite late and i had an operation the next day so thats as far as we got. Im hoping next week to get back along and bolt the plates i have cut to the mounting points and weld more box to join the chassis to the dodecagons and fingers crossed it should go to plan. I also have to brace the inside of the van extensivly as i plan to chop the roof of first. Thats why i ahve 3 sheets of MDF, im going to join my 2 benches together and make a huge 12ft x8ft table, screww the roof down and repair it.
Hopefully il have another update next week and a video of it in action.
Thanks for the comments, The jig was a bit of a pain to setup but i had it all planned out in my head about a month before starting so i had a good idea about how to go about it.
Ola - The suspension at the front will remain standard, the layout will anyway. Its got double wishbones at the front with quite a bit of adjustment considering its a 50 year old van. I will change all the bushes ofcourse and depending on the weight of the engine and other stuff I'll need to fit tougher springs and shocks. It would be good to have a balance between comfort and handling. The brakes will get changed to discs. At the rear I'm going for a Ford Capri rear axle as its the exact same width and i know it can handle the power.
The steering could be changed to powersteering but id need to find a car that has a power steering steering box as its old school and isn't a rack and pinion . I know some Mercedes used them so I'll need to have a rake around the scrap yard. The Scorpio V6 does have a power steering pump though.
I want to try and find a Ford Granada Scorpio, the first model, because that has the same 5 stud bolt pattern (5x112). That way id have everything, the 24V V6, the gearbox, the discs brakes and hubs, the ECU etc....
As far as entertainment I'm happy with a cd/M.P. changer and a few decent speakers, I also have the idea of getting a TV which would mount flush to the headlining then flip down to watch. A cheap car PC or laptop to go with it would be good. I'm not going to go 'pimp my ride' style mental though and have a candy floss machine inside a candyfloss machine or some stupid shit like that.
For cooking I'll just have a basic double hob with a grill underneath. It does kind of scare me a bit that I'll have a flame less than foot from curtains or other flammable material so I'm going to plump in a racing car style fire extinguisher with pipes above the cooker and along the inside. That way if it catches on fire i can press a button and the whole inside of the van will be extinguished.
I managed to fix the works spare plasma cutter so my boss has let me borrow that and a guy i know form another forum has let me borrow his sandblaster so that is a huge help!
I've been a bit busy again but managed to get the tilter pretty much finished.
First thing i had to do was Clean up the chassis where i want to bolt the plates onto
I measured and cut up the plates, then drilled the holes out.
Then i bolted the plates to chassis and tacked them together, that way i knew it was going to be a good tight fit.
Unbolted the plates and welded them up. Before i welded them i tacked a few bracers between the angle so it wouldn't distort with the heat.
Whilst the plates were cooling down i took out the first bottom of the dodecagon and positioned it to where i needed. It took a while because your working with 3 different axis of movement and the only thing i had to hold it was a black and decker workmate. I first made sure the van its self was level then i leveled the dodecagon, trying to keep it centre to the van and then level it the other way. Awkward.
With that done i measured up for the supports, first the horizontal one was cut and tacked in.
Then the vertical.
Once all tacked i jacked the van up and let the frame drop. I tacked in a few more braces and welded it all up, gave it a quick dress up and bolted it back on the van. That was the first test over, if it would actually hold it and not bend or warp, which it did, success!
It looks like I'm advertising a can of GT85 but I'm really putting in the bolts so the top half doesn't come off when it gets rolled over.
The next again weekend my brother came along to give me a hand with the rear. He done a god job of stripping the axle out and disconnecting various bits. Then he cleaned up the chassis for me,.
just chilling out on the floor
Whilst he did one side i was measuring, cutting, marking and drilling the plates for the brackets. Same story as the front, bolted them up and tacked them.
Here you can see the bracers i tacked on so it wouldn't warp when welding up.
That was that for that day. My brother had to go home for his dinner (family man) so i took the brackets to my work and welded them up there. Last weekend i went with my girlfriend for a wee cheeky long weekend away up north for our 4 year anniversary and she was kind enough to not be pissed off with me by letting me to go to the garage on the Sunday afternoon. I forgot to take photos as i was going along though, i think it was because I got pissed off after spending an hour trying to level up the rear dodecagon and cutting the horizontal supports when i suddenly realized that, yes i had everything level but the rear ring wasn't level with the front. Luckily i noticed just in time as it was off by about 40mm. Once i got it packed up it went pretty much the same as the front did.
It was good to see my creation starting to actually be complete. Next step was figuring out how to slide the trolley wheel frames underneath. For the rear i managed to just lift the van up myself and kind of kick and shuffle the frames under. The front is a bit heavier so i jacked that up , as i did the whole back off the van started to veer towards the wall. Once i put the brakes on the wheels i jacked it up again and slid the front wheels underneath.
I tested the van to see if it would actually tilt and i got it onto its first step. I want to brace the inside of the van properly before i go any further but atleast i know it works so far. I recorded it on my mobile so the quality isn't the best.
I also made a video of it being rolled about on the trolley wheels. I have a bit of a cold and sore throat so i pretty much cough all the time.
Next up i need to brace the van and make struts so that when its tipped over it will stay there and not roll back. Then finally , finally i can actually do something to the van , woohoo!
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
New update -
I have kind of went off the cosworth V6, i managed to get close to one and it is a lot wider than the standard ford 2.8 V6. I have found a guy close to my area who has a few old mk2 Granadas and i should be meeting him when i have money to get an engine, auto box, wiring loom, front and rear hubs and braking system.
When i ordered the metal for the bracing i thought id only need 15 metres worht but turns out i need an extra 8 metres so the whole bracing isnt fully complete yet, I did get most of it done though.
Last weekend i went back to the garage to make a start on the welding I know at the front cab the top of the door openings would need braced as the roof was quite rusty around here which led me to belive that underneath the roof it would be rotten (as i was proved right later on). So the openings got 2 horizontol braces, top and bottom and a diaganol brace (all the bracing is 25mmx25mm box).
To stop the sides folding in once i took the roof off i put in more diaganols, from the body to the chassis.
This was where i ran out of material, i need to go to my old work and buy some more to brace the rear door openings.
Yesterday i went back along to the garage determined to get the roof free. The roof mostly has 'ribs' inside it, which kind off supports it and the bracing for the pop up roof is quite ridgid so i just made a little cross brace at the front to help strenghing that part. I think when Dormobile converted it they welded the ribs to the body of the van and so i had to cut the welds with the grinder as well as taking out bolts. After that i was thinking how to get the roof cut off. I tried to angle the grinder and cut through the guttering on one section but it seemed to waste a lot of the disc. I realized that if i just kept the cutting discs vertical and followed the guttering around it would seperate from the roof and left me the part of the guttering that is spot welded to the body. After a bit of cutting and light tapping with a hammer and chisel i got it freed, success!.
To lift the roof off required an extra pair of hands so i spent the rest of the night tidying up and moving my benches around. The idea is to take the 2 benches in the corner out so i can get the van in the corner and make up a shot blasting shelter. Using the corner is ideal as i only need to make a 2 sided frame to put clear tarpolin or something similar on the roof and sides and make a sealed box. With the 2 benches il use some rotten floor boards i have here to make a 6ft x 12ft base for me to screw down the MDF onto it and make a nice big strong table to work on the roof.
This afternoon i went back along with my dad to help me life the roof off. It was a bit heavier than we thought it would be, it was also catching on the lugs and stuff as we were trying to lift it free, all the blood was draining from our arms but eventually we got it off. I made up a temporary table as i hope to take it to my friends place and use his big caustic tank to strip the paint off it.
Some parts are better than others, these parts arent.
With the roof off i could now see the real extent of the rust to the upper van body, it is bad. But im either naieve or brave as i know inside me that i can fix it.
And an over view of the roof missing. You can sort of make out the horizontal brace i have lightly welded to the dodegacon joining the inner van bracing to the dodecagon. Thats my idea at the front so that when its on its side the body wont move at all, once i have the rear door opeing braced it will also be attached some how to the rear dodecagon.
Next step is to get the roof stripped and on the table to get it fixed and rust free. Also, i could make a start on building a frame for the sand blasting.
Not too much of a huge update but a bit of a milestone for me.
The dodecagon and bracing is now complete so i can roll the van around and not worry about distortion (thats the theory anyway).
Here its on the second step,
And on its side, I thought i took more photos of it on its side but apparently not. I will make some braces to attach to the side to stop it rolling back, it was steady enough to take photos but i wouldnt feel safe working on it like that.
I couldnt get a full shot of the underneath so this is a photomerge of 3 photos if your wondering why it doesnt look right.
It was a bit weird to see the underside at a decent viewing angle, not really something you see.
I also made another video of it being rolled on to its side.
It is possible for one man to roll it on its side but i think any further over i would need some help.
Now that that is done i can on with actually fixing the bodywork. My plan is to shotblast the van body next. Im going to build a 6 metre x 5 metre shelter using clear tarpaulin in the corner of the garage. Ive never done shot-blasting before so it will be a bit of an experiment until i get the hang of it. I think it will be similar to painting the whole van with an artist paintbrush, joy....
I havent been able to do much recently as im now working overtime and Saturdays at work to try and make some extra pennies for christmas.
Last weekend i started to strip the rest of the van. Being able to put it on its side meant taking the steering system, brake lines, fuel lines, master cylinders etc.. off a lot easier.
The next thing i have to do before i can repair the bodywork is to see exactly where i need to repair it. For that i need to strip all the paint and i decided to shot-blast the whole thing myself. I dont want to make a mess and create dust everywhere so i bought 3 heavy-duty polythene sheets to create a smaller space to shot-blast in. I was able to staple the sheets to the rafters on the roof.
The guy i share the space with gave me an old zip cable tidy he never needed anymore so i cut it in half and attached it at the corner so i could seperate the front and side of the sheets.
I also attached a weight to the bottom and rope so i can pull the sheets up and have a bit more room for the other people that have to gain access to the back of the garage.
Before i went home i was able to get a quick shot of shot-blasting for the first time. I was able to get the hang of it pretty quickly, but i guess with practise il be able to do it better and i'll have alot of practise with this van.
This weekend i went shopping with the girlfriend in the morning to keep her happy and after that i buggered off to the garage. I wanted to do a little more of the blasting. I bought one bag of fine glass bead from a local media blaster for £10. I think that was a good price, much better than machine mart prices anyway. I continued on from where i left last weekend with the front corner.
Shot-blasting seems the way to go for me. The finish you get is great and i like how it gets the paint and dead metal away so easily. The only other alternative for the DIY person would be using paint stripper and a wire cup brush/paint removing pad. For the bigger flat panels i do intend to use paint stripper as i dont want to distort them. for example, you can see in this photo of the A-post the rust and pinholes going all the way up. Before i blasted it it looked like it was just surface rust but giving it the once over i was surprised to see how bad it was. The repair of it wont be hard but it all adds up.
I was able re-use the glass bead. At first i just brushed it up and put it back in but i clogged it up when i started blasting again. I went to morrisons and bought a kitchen sieve and sieved the glass bead. I never realised just how much other crap i had swept up.
For a comparison shot heres a before.
And an after.
I never done too much as by the time i got to the garage it was 3pm and havign to set everything up etc.. took a bit of time. Plus Edinburgh is having its worst snow fall in years, this is the worst i've ever seen it anyway, and in the garage i only have a halogen flood light for heat so i went home for my dinner.
I want to say a HUGE thankyou to Andy (302zeph) for lending me his shot-blaster, i cant express my gratituide enough, cheers mate.
I haven't put up any pictures recently as , well, it doesn't look like a lot has been done. Just before christmas I got a bit more the blasting done.
You can really see just how well it highlights the bad Areas to be cut out
During the christmas holidays I got a phone call at 8:30 in the morning to tell me the garage had a burst pipe and it was flooding the whole place. Within 10 minutes of waking up I was doing 70mph..... (or there abouts ) down the motorway to get to my van. As I was driving I was thinking the worst. Maybe a pipe above the van had burst and my nice shiney un-protected paint work that I had blasted was being ruined, or my welder and plasma cutter were now submerged under 2 feet of water. When I arrived I was so relieved, turns out the spot where I placed the van seems to be on a little incline and it was bone dry. What was damaged were 2 bags of grit for the media blaster, they were lying in a little puddle and the moisture had managed to get through and make the grit damp. I wasn't about to let £20 worth of grit go to waste so I went about drying it. I took it home and placed it in the airing cupboard for a couple of days. That never really worked, so I took the grit back to the garage and laid it out in a thin layer on 2 large sheets of wood and left it to dry. In the mean time I tried to get some more but the guy I get the grit of was closed for the holidays and I didn't want to pay 3 times the price at machine mart. I didn't want the day to go to waste though so I got the wirebrush on the grinder and attacked a few spots on the lower half of the van.
That night I was thinking that I might actually be better to prepare the underside of the van before I blast the rest. On the reasoning that all the sticky underseal could land on the bare-metal. Its funny how you can say in one quick simple sentence "prepare the underside" , its straight to the point and sounds so simple, "prepare the underside". Even thinking about the task it sounds easy, which it is. What it doesn't capture is the monotony and dull-ness of the task. Its one of those things where you put a lot of effort and time into it but visually its not impressive at all.
My first attempt with the underseal was to use a wire-cup brush in the grinder and go at it, Wrong! All that does is cause friction which heats up the underseal into a nice swirly pattern. I then moved on to the 'kill it with fire' approach and bought a nice fancy self-starting blowtorch with paint striper attachment and also 3 different sized scrapers. This method does work but my god its boring. Step one, point heat at a 2 inch square, let it bubble. Step 2, Scrape it , then scrape it again, and again. Then you can use a flat wire-brush attachment in the grinder to clean the thin layer of remaining underseal off. This method only really works on the flat areas, i.e , floor pan, wheel arches, chassis rails. When it comes to corners and inaccessible areas ive been using the blow-torch/scraper then going over it with the media-blaster.
I know I wont get 100% of the rust away, even using the blaster and wire brush there's still some areas that have heavy pitting. So I think that once I have as much done as I can im going to buy a rust converter and spray it on the whole underside. Ive been looking at rustbusters fe-123 and it seems to have good reviews. I think I will also use their epoxy mastic 121 as the paint for the chassis and underside. The original was designed for off shore oil rigs and its been adapted for automotive use so should be good enough to protect it for a long time.
On another note, my Ford Consul had been losing water for a while. At first I thought that maybe the radiator cap wasn't working right as I always had a lot of pressure in the cooling system. At first it wasn't bad , id maybe only have to top it up once a week but leading up to christmas it got to the point where I was having to put at least 2 litres back in just after driving to and back from work. During the cold temperatures it started to become obvious that water was getting in somehow, when I stopped at the traffic lights I would be surrounded in a cloud of white smoke. I then thought that maybe the cylinder head gasket had blown, what threw me off though was that the oil was still nice and dark, not creamy as you would expect. I spoke to my dad about it and he suggested it could be a cracked cylinder head (there goes 2 days worth of lapping the valves last summer). I had thought about buying a new gasket and using the cylinderhead off the van engine when my dad came up with the idea that I should just swap the engine that came out the van with the consuls. Another one of those short and simple sentences.....
So basically it was swap this:
I had taken photos as I was doing this but they are on a different camera that I don't have access to right now. So I will upload them here later.
On the Saturday I got to the garage about 11am, I started by striping the whole front end away, the grill, trim, bonnet, radiator, battery etc.. Then I removed all the electric cables (yes, all 3 of them) , engine fan, alternator etc.. I guess the last person who changed this engine made life easier for themselves by cutting the front panel away so I done the same. Now, came the pain in the arse bit, removing the gearbox from the engine, you can get to the 9 bolts underneath easily enough but there's 3 which are sandwiched between the engine and firewall, (if you have done this to a mk2 you will know what im talking about) I had to sort of straddle the engine and bend over at a degree men find very uncomfortable, find the bolt and using an open ended 9/16 spanner, get a grip at an angle and get maybe 1/16 of a turn then take it off and struggle to do the same, ofcourse the bolts are about an inch and a half long so to remove one bolt ends up taking half an hour. Anyway, with the engine off I could get some rope around it and put some tension on the engine crane and then remove the engine mounts.
With the engine out I moved on to striping it of everything and putting it on to the van engine. I forgot to mention to those that don't know but the Consul and Thames used the exact same engine block. I thought it was the exact same engine but there a few differences that I never knew about until doing this swap. The van engine has a single down-draught carb where as the Consul has a twin, so that had to be swapped, I swapped it along with the intake manifold as well as the exhaust as they also differ in length slightly. The oil filter is also shorter in length. Luckily I had bought a new filter for a 400e as apposed to the consul when I was looking on Ebay as I thought they were the same. I swapped over the distributor as I eh well, managed to break the van one when taking it out the van.... And also the plugs, coil , ht leads. The water pump pulley is also smaller, I was hoping to use that as that would turn the water pump over quicker but after checking id need to find a smaller belt to go with it. The van also has a 4 blade fan so I used that instead of the consuls 2 blade. By this point it was 9pm and I was starting to feel really tired. I phoned my brother for sympathy and it must have worked as he said he would come and pick me up then drop me back off again in the morning, legend!.
On Sunday I arrived about 11am again. With the engine ready to go in I tied a rope around it and hoisted it up with the crane. I pulled it over then somehow, I managed to line it up with the gearbox shaft, twist it to line up and lower it. It did take quite a few attempts and about half an hour of swearing but I managed, I even done that thing where you take your anger out on an inanimate object, for some reason I threw the crane jack handle at the ground and swore at it (poor thing). Eventually I got it to line up, I bolted the engine mounts on, set the timing and put the alternator and belt back on. I got the engine to a state where I could test it (I forgot to mention that I had no idea if this engine block was OK. I never heard it run before so I was quite apprehensive as to if I was wasting my time).
Before I started welding the brace back and putting the radiator together I crossed my fingers and prayed ( no im not religious at all so I don't know why) with a flick of the key the engine turned over , almost instantly it fired up and a great feeling went through my head, Im sure a lot of you will know it, that feeling of getting an engine to run that hasn't ran for a while, or it was broke, but now, it is fixed and its all OK again. After that I was so happy to know it atleast ran so I welded up the front and put the radiator back on so I could start it up and let it idle properly.
Once started I did have a little problem but at the time it was huge, a huge puddle of brand new expensive oil was streaming onto the floor. At first I thought that the engine block was maybe cracked but upon further investigation it turned out I just never put the oil filter on the o-ring properly , oops. Anyway, after all that I put it all back together and its been fine since. Its still just as slow but I haven't fixed the exhaust yet so its a bit noisy and ropey/lumpy sounding which I quite like. I don't know if its just me but at some points it has a nice echoey splattery lazy V8 pitch to it (yeah its probably just me).
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
I'm afraid this update is pretty much the same as the last, stripping paint.....joy. Finally the chassis and floorpan is pretty much done. There is still a few remaining patches to clean up but im going to do them when i start welding the underneath. No point cleaning rust that im going to be cutting out.
This was with the sandblaster.
You can see that because the blaster isn't under a really high pressure and the grit has been used a few times that it leaves the pits with rust in them, granted it is just surface rust.
A bit more of a close up of that panel. The panel is still strong, its just heavily pitted and as its the underside and to keep originality im going to keep it like that. I'll use a good quality rust-converter (fe-123 http://www.rust.co.uk/rust-converters.cfm) on the panel first then use that same companys epoxy-mastic chassis paint. The company always seem to get really good reviews in magazines.
When i had finished cleaning underneath i rolled the van back the right way round and stared at it for a while, trying to build some enthusiasm back to get on with the laborious task of blasting. After 10 mins of doing that i put the kettle on and rolled a smoke and sat back down again. I suddenly remembered that when i was at George's ( Type28 ) garage looking at his Thames he was telling me about these poly-abrasive discs he had which were meant to strip the paint without damaging the metal-work at all. I looked in the catalogue and they are £7 for a 115mm disc so i thought i may aswell try it, so i bought 2. Heres what a part worn one looks like.
I decided to try it on a small area just underneath where the passenger seat would be. It has a flat area , a curve and some folds so i thought that would be a good enough test for what it would encounter on the outside.
Wow!, i was impressed. I would like to shake the mans hand that came up with these. Its like the perfect balance of enough abrasive to remove the paint and not harm the metal. It leaves the panel lightly scored but probably to the same effect of about 120 grit wet and dry. Best of all, that panel took maybe 4-6 mins to do completely. Compared to about twenty minutes of the blaster probably. Plus i don't have to then sieve the grit etc.. Well worth money. The first bit of the outside i done was a small area just behind the passenger door.
I then moved onto the rear
When the discs are new they are about half an inch thick. I found out that if i use them new on the swage lines around the windows i could get the disc right in and clean the detail bits up first then when they get part-worn i would move on to the flat surface areas.
So, ive now came up with another new plan regarding stripping the paint. The idea now is to do as much as i can with these poly-abrasive discs then use the blaster to get into the hard to reach areas like the door openings, under the dash, hard corners etc.. for some reason, I was a bit annoyed with myself that i never stuck to blasting the whole entire van, like i felt i was taking the easy route out and being lazy. Im trying to see it as more of a positive approach, I guess its all a learning curve. At first i was adamant that i would sandblast the whole van but these discs cut the time dramatically, id say it takes atleast a fifth or a quarter of the time it would take to sandblast these areas. plus the compressor doesn't need to be on so its much more quieter.
The next weekend i went to George's house again and he gave me a fuel/vacuum pump for the Consul. He also gave me a bigger 7 inch (180mm) polyabrasive disc as he said he wouldn't be needing it, bonus!. Only problem is i don't have a 7 inch grinder so i done what any stupid person with no regard for there safety would do. I put it on my 4 and a half inch grinder and, with welding gauntlets on, I held it very very very carefully. It acted like a huge gyroscope but done the job.
I finished off the panel i started the week before. Once i get the metal bare i give it a quick rub down with a scotchbrite pad to remove the dust and give it a duller finish.
I then moved onto the front. You can see the difference here between the sandblast finish and the poly-abrasive disc.
The front took maybe 35-40 mins to get to that stage, Its great to actually go to the garage and see some instant results for a change. After a sandwich, coffee and some cookies i started on the side.
The way it leaves the panels in a sort of brush effect can make the light hitting it give the impression of dents and dings but this side panel is amazingly straight apart from one little dent on the lower half.
This side is also the worst around the swage line for rust, heres a close up from the outside.
And the same area inside
It doesn't look too bad outside but the inside is all completely rotten. Heres a crappy mspaint cross section to show you how they look.
By the afternoon i had stripped pretty much every outside panel on the van.
I even had enough time to make a start on the inside.
Im so much happier to see progress happening. I think next weekend i could get the bigger panels on the inside done and then il be onto blasting the hard to reach areas. Hopefully within the next 3-4 weeks i could have it completely stripped of paint ready to get welding.
I have a question now though, once its all stripped i need to protect it from surface rust as im working on it. Whats the done deal here? I was thinking that i would go over the van with a sander to make sure any surface rust that may have formed since i started would be completely gone. Then spray a coat of etch primer to protect the body. Does anyone else have any suggestions?
On a completely different note, The engine idea has changed. As i said before i was going with the Ford Cologne 2.8 V6 but i think ive found something better. Ive been measuring the engine bay area and i think with some slight modification i could shoehorn a 1UZ-FE in there, in other words, a 4 litre, 24 valve V8 from a Lexus LS400. Ive seen complete cars for £450 so i can scavenge the V8, radiator, auto-box, complete wiring loom etc.. for just about the same price id pay for the V6.
250 BHP and 260 ft·lbf of torque, yes please!
Yeah i was really surprised to see that too. I was eating my breakfast at work and reading the magazine at the same time and noticed they mentioned it, was nice to see my name in a magazine.
If anyone is wondering about the progress then, well, nothing has happened unfortunatly. I had to work 3 weekends in a row for my job then i took 3 days holiday and a weekend to make a set of railings for my girlfriends boss.
Driving back from work last weekend, the Consul decided that it didnt like its engine working and conked out in rush hour traffic. I managed to coast it to the side of the road and popped the bonnet. At first i didnt know what it was so i checked the vitals first, fuel and spark. Stupidly i also done it in that order, to check for petrol i disconected the fuel pipe and pressed the starter solenoid which sprayed fuel all over the engine and still hot exhaust, oops. So the fuel was ok but now i realised that i need to check the spark... with petrol everywhere. I was about to pull a plug out and be brave and find a spot that wasnt covered in petrol to test it when i thought id check if the distributor was functioning. I took the cap off and pressed the solenpoid again and the rotor arm wasnt turning. I thoguht that mabey the bracket had came loose and it popped out. I tried to slacking the bracket off a bit more but the distributor wouldnt come out. The body of it rotates but its totally jammed inside the engine somehow. The only other way to access it is to take the sump off and the oil pump off and see if can identify why its stuck in there. Another thing that will take a day of my weekend up.
I was also getting fed upo with sitting in my car at traffic jams doing the daily commute and decided that seeing as the weather is picking up and theres more daylight, now would be the best time to get my motorbike project back on the road. Ive had my Honda VFR400 for about 6 years now and 3 of those years its been off the road. I had a crash on it and i wanted to rebuild it to a better spec so i bought a set of Yamaha R1 forks and calipers and came up with a way to put them on the bike. I also used an Aprilla RS250 rear shock to tighten up the rear.
These are all really old photos. I never had much money then so i had to stop for a while. Then i bought the Consul and it took up most of my time. Last weekend i decided to start the engine (first time in over a year) and it gave me a boost to get it finished. I had to re-cap myself as to how far i had gotten and was really surprised by how far i got before i stopped. I repaired all the fairings except the front, i just needed to bleed the brakes properly (i spent days and days on them before, always spongy) buy mirrors, indicators, S/S brake lines and then put it all back together again. I got most fo that done over one weekend and all i have to do now is repair the front fairing and make sure everything is ok. Im hoping to get it finished this Saturday and leave me with Sunday (girlfriend permitting) to get back to the van. I feel really guilty that i havent done anything to it for 5 weeks already. In a way its been good to have a break because it had been on my mind every day since i bought it about 8 months ago. So i can get back to it with a clear mind and enthusiasm
Last weekend i got back to the garage. I wanted to start straight away but because i left the place in a dump i thought id be best to clean up and start fresh. The toilet was disgusting, When the pipes burst the plumber warned us not to keep the water tap on as because the place isnt in use often then there was a chance it could burst again (im not so sure how reliable that information is). I think a few people must have went to the toilet and left it unflushed, the water was minging and there was actually mushrooms growing along the walls. That all got bleached and swept up. The workshop was also a bit of a mess. when i left the last time i never expected to be gone for so long so there was old milk bottles and cups with mould inside, bleurgh! I never got one bit done to the van except stare at it and work out where to start on the bodywork.
On another note, This Saturday was my little nephews three year old birthday so i wanted to make him something special. I stayed behind work a few days last week and took a day and a half off to make this digger for him. He loves watching them and looking at pictures of them.
I started with the dimensions. I dont have any kids of my own so working out the sizes was a bit of a hit and miss. I thought bigger rather than smaller would be better, he could always 'grow into it'. I made a couple of crappy sketches to get a rough idea of the sizes.
Then when i was happy i made a real scale drawing of the side
I work at a salvage yard, mainly restoring old georgian/victorian casts. They always get extended and I use 3mm plate for that so i had plenty of scrap off-cuts. It may seem heavy duty but it was free. I started by cutting the panels for the cab out with the grinder and tacking them together. Then i used 25x50 box for the chassis rails. I like asthetics so i rounded the ends of with some 50mm pipe cut in half and welded on.
I never really took any detailed photos of the build ( which i should have) For the treads i but out 3 inch strips of 3mm plate. I used a bit of 90mm pipe to bend round for the ends and cut out a plate for the centre. The base was cut out and the ends formed around the 90mm pipe again. I took some more 25x50 box and cut out a long triangle in the centre and welded it back together to create a smooth 50mm to 25 mm taper.
I got an old leather jacket from my dad and wrapped it along with some foam over a bit of plywood to create a seat.
I never got a photo of the underside but i made a basic chassis underneath, pretty much a rectangle with an extra brace in the centre using 25x50. Two wheels at the back are fixed and two at the front can roate so it has some steering. I realised at this point that the track was quite narrow so i had to think of some stabilizing for it I later welded on some plates to the side with 40mm castors so it still had ground clearance but wont tip over. I also tacked on the main boom.
Again i forgot to take more pictures. At this point i had completed everything and took it home to paint. I chose 'traffic yellow' for the cab and arms and a gloss black for the track and base. For a bit of detail i bought some fablon (black vinyl) and printed out his name 'Ruaridh' (pronounced roo-a-ray) and used that as a template to cut around. I also photoshoped the JCB logo to his initials RRB and cut out some windows. Oh, my house isnt always this messy, i had no time to clean up as i had about an hour before his birthday party to finish everything.
Starting to build it all up now. I started getting excited seeing it nearly finished.
And that was it finished. I was really happy with how it turned out.
The paint was still a bit soft so i wrapped it up in an old bed sheet so it wouldnt stick. Seeing his wee face when he opened it made it all worthwhile. I was a bit apprehensive as to if he could actually use the levers as its quite a bit of weight. He managed it ok but it will be better in a few years, right now he can get the bucket out a bit but any further and it drops. He should have a bit more strength soon enough to get the full reach.
And heres yours truly getting a well earned shot.
Im really happy with it, i know i could have went and bought one but its not the same is it. This is a bit more personal and it should last 10 times longer than a plastic one.
Today (24/4/11) i went to the garage and started on the metal work (Atlast!!!!) The paint that is remaining on the body seems to be in areas that im goping to be cutting out or working around so what paint is left i will deal with as i restore.
I thought the best place to begin would be with an easy bit. The passanger side of the van is'nt as rusty as the drivers so i started there. Just above the passanger door the channel is quite rusty at the front.
So i cut it out.
A lot of the front of it had rusted out completley. I Started to make a template to replace the area and think really hard about how the bits that are gone would look. Wow, i never realised just how long it took to think about, mark and cut a basic template out. It was made a little harder as the bit that had gone was curved and raises up slightly. Looking at it from the top it also curves slightly from where the door would line up. I must have spent atleast 3 hours figuring everything out and making a cardboard template. I realised you also have to think about how everything is placed together, like what over-laps what and where spotwelds will go.
I then placed it upto the body using masking tape to hold it in place and made a few slight changes but thankfully it all pretty much lined up.
Now i need to get a sheet metal folder. Ive looked at ones on the internet and i dont have a spare £200 for a decent one and the likes of machinemart and screwfix they all look a bit flimsy and poor quality. So , i might just have to make one. Thats probably what il post next time.
Well, i made my own folder. I looked around the internet at mass-produced ones and ones other people have made and ive based it on a mixture of both.
Its made from 50 x 50 x 5 angle, 50 x 10 flat bar, 2 x heavy duty door hinges and other bits and bobs. Its a metre long over all and will fold a sheet 600mm wide.
Here you can see i used a M12 bolt to clamp it down and i made a stop so the 'sharpness' of the bend can be consistant. The hinges are heavy duty rated to 120kg, I flipped them upside down so that the centre of the hinges is exactly at the corner of the angles.
Theres a triangulated brace on the angle that folds up. I used a bolt for the centre so i can adjust how much tension is on at the centre.
It will fold upto 125 degrees which is plenty.
My battery ran out so i cant show you a good picture of it actually folding something but you can kind-a make out a fold in the first photo.
I still need to weld a couple of handles on but i can do that later, the brace works as a handle just now.
I'll attempt the upper body repair section this Saturday so i'll see how it goes.
A little re-cap,
I started by cutting the rusty section out and making a cardboard template.
I then had a think about how to make it. As you can see it has a slight curve in it the whole length and theres also a curved lip. I thought the best way would be to make the bottom section out of 3 folds then cut the upper 3 section seperatly and weld it all together. Like this.
As I was welding I think I may have done it too quick as it did start to distort slightly. I managed to tap it near enough back into shape. The only thing is the part that holds the gutter in place is still a bit warped. I don't know if I'm trying to make it too perfect or if it is actually crap. The part that will be seen once its all back together is ok and so no one would know how it looks. This is how it looks just now.
I wasnt too happy with it but after showing my dad and a few other sheet metal workers they say its quite good. I tweaked it a little from when i took these photos and i feel happier about it aswell. I do self doubt myself a lot which can be a bad thing at times. It sort of hit me when one of my friends who does this stuff for a living said that people spend years and years with the proper tools to achieve a perfect flawless repair part. I dont have that much time. I havent fitted it yet as i need to fix up the A post first, its rusting quite badly all the way down from the inside but the way the panels are joined im having to take my time and think about the best way to go around fixing it.
To be honest. The first part of the van i done i wasnt happy with so i never posted it but seeing as i think i'll re-do it i'll show it here. I really started on the metalwork one night when i was bored and went to the garage instead of home. It was a little bit around the windscreen that had rusted quite badly.
I cut it out and made up a patch, it has a slight slight curve to the panel which i managed to get.
Then i tacked it in and welded it up. When i dressed it all off i realised i never really lined it up very well on the left. You can see its about 1/2 - 1 mm lower, thats why i never wanted to show it at first but hey, we all make mistakes and its all part of learning.
Anyways, back to the better stuff.
I went and bought some really good rust convertor,
and after filling a couple of holes and cleaning up the top channels i brushed it on. It turns the metal black like this.
I then went and bought an underseal probe and ghetto attached it to my weed killer pressurised spray bottle.
I diluted it with water ( you can dilute upto 50%) It meant i could then spray it inside the channels that i couldnt access so i can help stop whatever rust is in there and it would run down the seams and help stop the rust there too.
The next thing i started on was one of the brackets that the roof bolts down to the body, i forgot to take a photo of it on the van but here it is once i had cut it out.
I made up a cardboard template, cut it out and formed it then tacked it into place.
I then welded it all around. I decided to really take my time with this one. I need to have more patience with the welding so i done a few 10mm bursts then worked on something else whilst it cooled. Done a few more, let it cool, bit more let it cool etc... It seemed to have done the trick, once i ground the crap away i was quite happy with how this section turned out.
I just need to drill a couple of holes and fix some nuts on it now.
I also started on the driver side upper channel. I was amazed to see that although the drivers side is a lot worse along the full length of the van than the passangers side , the channel was not so bad as the passangers?!?! The part that the gutter attaches to was quite rotten but the rest of it was ok. That was actually pretty good because i never really wanted to go through the hassle of making another complete panel. So i cut it out.
I then went over the inside with a wire brush and painted on the rust converter stuff inside. I cut a 19mm strip out of metal and tacked it to the bottom curved section first then to the top. This section really did try my patiance as its about 450mm long so having to start and stop all the time was annopying but it paid off (practise makes perfect).
I also feel quite happy about this repair, i still need to continue it forward and back but i need to fix those other sections first.
Thats all i got done for today. The good thing is, from the 16th of may i took a weeks holiday to get more done on the bodywork so expect a bigger update in the next fortnight.
End of a good weeks worth of metal work on the van. I wanted to get the upper part of the van done so I could get ready to attach the guttering but I didn't quite get that far. I only have the front, above the windscreen to finish off but I think I made good progress none the less. First thing I started on was the upper channel just behind the drivers door.
This is how it looked.
So, I had to cut the crap out which left me with this.
I considered cutting further down the panel, just below where the gutter would meet as it is quite pitted. I went over it with the wire brush in the grinder and it stayed in one piece so I left it as it is, if its strong enough to take wire hitting it at 11,000 rpm then that's good enough for me. I will fill the pits with filler later on.
You can see the panel that I cut out is missing what remained of the face that held the gutter. I cut it off so I could get a better gauge as to the curve it has. Its a very slight curve but just enough to make extra work for me. As the panel is 880mm long I decided it may be easier to cut two pieces at 440mm long and fold them separately.
I marked and cut them out. Notice that one them has the bracket that gets folded and bolts the roof down. I took a bit of extra time to work that out on the panel to where it should be. Then, halfway through folding it I realised I had folded it the opposite way to how it should have been, doh! . So I cut it off flush and decided to just cut one out and weld it in place when it was finished.
Now, I don't have any fancy shrinking/stretching machines and my skills aren't quite up to that task manually yet. I can do a wee bit of basic stretching but anything that has more than two faces just confuses me so I cheated. I cut strips into the panel so I could bend it then fill the gaps with weld later.
I tacked it to the body and clamped a bar inside to support the new panel and minimise distortion.
Then, after learning my lesson with the previous channel I made. I welded very patiently and checked it at every stage. It never distorted as much this time. I mean its not perfect but its passable.
A good tip for filling bigger gaps. Copper, its a welders dream. I never really thought about using it before for helping to fill big gaps until I read about a talented fabrication on the retro rides forum. You can see in the previous photo where the new panel meets the body just above the windows I had gaps that were about 10mm big in some places. Instead of cutting a strip and welding that in I used a bit of copper pipe that I flattened out with my hammer and held it on the inside. Then give it a few spots of weld and because the mild steel doesn't stick to the copper it just gives it something to rest on instead of blowing through. ( I don't know if I explained that very well).
With that done the next thing on my list was the rear. One of the corners was ok and just needed a good wire-brushing and a coat of the rust-converter. The other side, well.....
I began by cutting off the rust ( beginning to be quite a theme)
With the crap out the way I managed to clean it up the best I could and sprayed some rust converter inside the box section using my ghetto pressure gun.
Its quite a tight bend so I decided to make it out of individual flat panels and tack them together.
Using the copper pipe trick it made it a lot easier to fill the gaps and as it was all tacked together to the body it never really distorted anything.
Here is the other side that I never had to do anything to for comparison.
Whilst I was at the back I remembered about all the rust that was spreading through the spot welds at the seams.
I drilled out the spot welds so I could separate the panels and clear out the rust and prepare the panels.
I then clamped them tight to weld them back up.
I also went around all the spot welds on the drivers side of the van and done the same to all the areas that needed it.
So far, the rear and both sides of the upper van are now ready for the guttering (which I still have to fold) . I was now at the stage to start on the front, above the windscreen. To do that I needed to attach the channel I made previously, just above the passengers side. After looking at the A post and humming and hawing, general procrastinating and filling my time by filling in some pinholes around the front windscreen.....
....... It occurred to me that it would be silly to attach the channel before I fixed all the holes going down the A post as they both get attached at the top left corner to each other.
The A post has an inner channel that is covered by the outer body panel so the only way to properly get access to it is by *gulp* cutting out the nice un-damaged body panel. I thought long and hard about any other way of fixing it without having to do that but in the end I don't want to do a half-arsed job, I want to do it properly and then I can forget about it.
I drilled out the spotwelds going along the inside.
Then thought about the best way to remove a section. I took about 2 hours building up the courage to cut the whole length of the A-post and make a start.
Now, here's where I feel a bit foolish. The exact moment I had cut the panel off I had a very late eureka moment. Instead of cutting down the nicely curved A-post. I should have drilled out the spot welds along the inside of the windscreen opening and then make 2 smaller cuts just above and below the opening, thus leaving the A-post intact, bollocks, oh well.
Anyway, im glad I did go the whole way and get right into the inner panel as its pretty rotten in there.
The inner channel was cut out and I done the usual, clean, rust treatment and etch primer.
With the inner cut out I could get all the sizes I needed to make a replica.
I cut and folded the basic form of the panel.
You can see at the top it spreads out and also curves in both directions. I cut the channel down one edge and spread them out. I even managed to do a little real stretching/shrinking along with the old cut and shut. I cut a V out of some sheet and curved it a little and tacked it into place. I must have lined it up with the body 100 times but taking the time to do that pays off in the end. The bottom detail of the original panel wasn't actually rotten so I was able to cheat a little and cut that piece off and attach it to the new panel.
A little bit of a clean up and voila, a new-ish panel to weld back in.
A little bit of a de-rail but if you intend on cutting a lot of sheet metal I really recommend buying one of these.
I got mine from machine-mart for about £45 . I haven't really seen it anywhere else but its came in really handy. In fact, its what I turn to most when cutting sheet. It can handle up to 1.6mm sheet and can cut slight curves. It works by placing the sheet between the two discs, the upper wheel is serrated so it grips the sheet and the bottom wheel is a blade. When you pull the lever down it pulls the sheet into the tool and slices through he sheet easily without distortion, It even handles slight curves.
Anyway, back to the A-post. I tacked the inner panel back in and seam welded it up.
After I cleaned it up I was able to spotweld the upper channel I had made previously above the door opening.
Then came the other moment I was dreading, the reverse of cutting the length of the A-post. The attaching of the A-post. I really really really did not want this to get distorted (obviously) so I took even extra more patience with it. I tacked it along the seam then as I couldn't clamp the spot-weld area I went and bought some rivets and riveted it to the A-post.
After about 2 hours of careful welding, and waiting for it to cool down then repeating I was left with this.
After cleaning it up I got this.
I don't want to blow my own trumpet but I think after all this practise and time spent on the van im getting quite the hang of it. Its obviously got a few slight bumps in it but nothing a light skim of filler wont fix.
I could then attach both new channels together at the corner.
And a view of what I was trying to achieve in the first place. (don't mind the lower part, that will be dealt with later, im sticking to the top 1/3 of the van first)
That's pretty much all I got done on my week off. I spent about 42 hours this week doing all this. It feels great to have gotten so much done in a short period of time. I wish I never had to work and I could do this all day long but alas, life doesn't work that way.
Also, ive said it before but i really do appreciate everyones comments and suggestions. It helps to keep the momentum going and makes me feel pretty good about what im doing, cheers!
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
I havent actually done anything to the van this weekend but, i did buy the donor vehicle for it.
Check it out, 1994 LS400 with all the goodies. 107,000 miles which isnt much on this V8. The cars good but it has a bit of slight damage to the front drivers side and a bit of a crack in the windshield. The idea is i will drive it until i need the engine so i can get used to the power and see if there is any niggles with the engine.
Heres the damage, apparantly during the winter the guy couldnt get it up a hill so he left it at the bottom and someone hit it and drove off with out leaving detail. Its not bad, just need to bolt the bumper back in place. It does have a crack in the windshield though, which i hope wont get worse.
And the reason i bought it.
Its been a very long time since my last update. I have had a busy past 2 months and that has meant not a lot has been happening with the van. First thing I done was get engaged to my beautiful fiance, which meant working more to get a bit extra cash. I then also had a holiday for 2 weeks which meant working even more to get more cash. In the mean time i have scrapped my Fiat Punto. I would need to have spent about £200 getting it through its next MOT so it wasnt really economically sound. I bought it for £70 and managed to get £190 for it from the scrappy. Im now using the Lexus as my daily driver and my pocket is feeling it. £60 a week in petrol just to go to work and back and a couple of other trips is not fun. Driving it with one silencer and side pipes does make up for it though. The sound is amazing, thats probably why im going through so much petrol. So if you afre in Edinburgh and see a silver ls400 being driven loud and hard you know its me.
So, back to the van. The last time i wrote i had just finished doing the side and rear of the upper channels. I now have the front to do. Its been a little bit of a challenge doing this part. Its hard to see in the photos but the part i need to re-create curves down slightly and to the back. I started on the nearside corner last weekend.
The way i went about making the panel wasnt the best. I took a while thinking about it and decided to break the panel down into its parts and weld it all back together instead of trying to form the panel before hand. The welding looks very messy here but eh, dont worry about that, im good with the angle grinder .
I left it like that and went home. I had grinded it but I wasnt really too happy with how i had approched it. This weekend i decided that I really should see if i can form the panel instead of welding a lot of strips together.
I put a clamp onto one of the wheel drums then stuck it in the vice to act as a form.
I traced around my templatre and cut it out.
Then hammering over the brake drum i started to form a lip.
I forgot to take a photo of the panel on its own but i felt a lot happier with it. Ive tacked it in place for now.
I then repeated the process twice to get the majority of the front done
I started on the offside corner, the rust has been cut out.
I then made a template and cut out the inner panel repair first and tacked it in.
By this time it was 5:15pm and as luck would have it, It was also the time i ran out of mig wire, 15 mins after machine-mart closed. I was a bit miffed as it meant i couldnt get more done so i decided to wash the Lexus. The good thing is i will be back at the garage a lot more now as im taking a break from extra work to get back into the swing of things.
Another thing that im having to do is sell the Consul. I really really really dont want to but im finding it harder and harder to find the time to fix it and drive it like it deserves. The past few months i havent done much to it at all and its starting to resemble more of a statue than a car. I could also actually do with the money. I want to buy a TIG welder and also a cheap run around so im not spending so much on petrol. If anyones interested in the Consul then you can PM me.
Last time i wrote i was halfway through the front section. I was back at the garage today and was determined to finish it off.
I made another template and cut it out. Then shaped it and tacked it in place.
Then i made the other angle bit to fill in the last space.
Everything all tacked up and ready to weld.
Everything all welded up. It never looks pretty just welded eh.
I had to make two small dished areas that sit infront of where the sun visors go. Its to make access for the mechanism that sits inside the channel. I just cut 2 rectangles out and bashed them until they dished then welded them in place.
That looks prettier. This front part of the roof channel was the most challenging for me to do so far. I was really worried i would distort the structure of it. I was also worrying too much about trying to make everything perfect, sometimes you have to just grow a set and actually get on with the job rather than procrastinating and getting frustrated with your self.
I feel like i have something i can check of my list now
- Fix upper roof channel , Done!
Tune in next time where I will mostly be trying to figure out how i will make and attach the gutter.
ps, Consul is on Ebay
http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll? ... 0604252223
The Consul finally got picked up. I managed to get £1800 which is pretty good, £800 profit. I feel quite sad to let it go. I said to my dad that the only way I could compare it was like having a girlfriend that you love, but things haven't been working out for a while and you know the best thing is to let them go. The guy who bought it seems decent enough, him and his son are going to restore it together he says so hopefully it will be back as good as new and another it gets another generation interested in old cars. I would love to buy it back in the future but we'll have to see eh.
Back to the van, using the profits from the Consul I bought myself a new toy.
Its a 160amp Tig welder. The brand is R-tech which seem to have not too bad reviews. Its a British company that sources the parts from Germany and Asia. They use there own schematics and everything is covered by a 2 year guarantee. Im really happy with it. Its been about 3 years since I last used a tig, and that was for welding 50mm tubing at 3mm thick. Its a bit trickier on 1.2mm sheet. The reason I got it is to save time and get a better weld. It does take longer welding than the mig but a hell of a lot quicker and neater to grind/sand the welds up afterwards.
I have been trying to recreate the guttering myself, I cut 10 metres worth of 50x1.2 strips using the guillotine at my old work. The idea was to also use there sheet metal folder. The only problem was when I got there I remembered just how crap there folder was. Im sure in its day it was great but after about 60 years of use it wouldn't give me the crisp fold I wanted. I was able to fold the safety edge though, as that was going to be pressed against its self anyway . I bent a 5mm lip as far as it would go, about 120 degrees then seeing as I never had a press I thought I could hammer the lip flat. It didn't quite work out as I hoped. As I hammered the lip there was bits that I squashed and nipped more than others so I never got a good straight line, doh!, oh and eh, I done that to all 10 metres, bigger doh!. I managed to straighten the edge out a bit by sanding and filing it. Seeing as the max length my folder would hold is 600mm I cut the strips to 500mm.
You can see the hammer marks but as this was going to be the inside it never really mattered, the outside was still smooth.
I tried it out on my folder but I just wasn't happy with it. To fold a bit of 1.2mm 500mm long doesn't sound like much but you would surprised by the amount of force it takes. As it was bending the blade was lifting ever so slightly in the centre at the weakest point so I would get a nice crisp fold on the sides but the centre was more rounded and because of that the bowed slightly too. I tried it out on two of them and welded them together to see how it would look.
Crap is how they looked. At this stage I could have spent time trying to straighten and mess about but I decided to cut my losses and got hold of a fabrication shop (pentland precsision engineering) and they said they could 10 metres for £150.... Or if I supply the metal cut into strips they would fold it for £85, much better. For a 2200mm x 1250mm sheet of 1.2mm its £48 so I bought another sheet and cut 8 strips at 50mm by 1250mm for them to fold, saving £17 and leaving me with a sheet 1250mm x 1800mm, What would you choose?. There's a tip for anyone looking to get some metal work done, provide the metal yourself and save a fortune.
Whilst im waiting on the guttering to be done I decided to clean the light surface rust and spray a weld through Zinc primer on the upper body.
Once I had done that I made a start on the drivers side , where the window panel meets the lower half of the van. I wanted to try and stay focused on one bit of the van at a time but as I have nothing else to do regarding the roof until the guttering is made up I decided to make an exception. I mentioned this part before as one of those bits I never realised was bad until I stripped the van.
(quoted from earlier in my thread)
This side is also the worst around the swage line for rust, here's a close up from the outside.
And the same area inside
It doesn't look too bad outside but the inside is all completely rotten. Here's a crappy mspaint cross section to show you how they look.
Looking back at it again you can see it doesn't look too bad form the underneath or outside.
Unfortunately its another story inside
It seems that water has been lying in that channel inside and then eventually rusting its way through the spotwelds.
Lets get this started.
I decided to replace the whole length of the van in 280mm sections. The body bows out slightly in the middle so using shorter sections can account for that. I made up a repair section, the bottom lip will be 12mm and the upper 15mm with a joggled edge taking the lip that you see down to 10mm. So I cut a strip at 27mm x 280mm.
My folder managed to get an even fold on the shorter piece.
Then used the joggler.
A little bit of tweaking and tapping I got a nice repair section waiting to be fitted.
I forgot to mention that once I had cut the rusty section out I drilled 4 holes for spot welding the lower lip and I also painted the rust converter/primer inside. I also sprayed more weld through primer on the repair section.
I used the mig to tack it into place for convenience.
I still need a lot more practise with the tig but you can see here that it leaves a lot less weld to dress up.
Couple of minutes with the grinder and job done, well, 1/8 of it anyway.
Next piece, same as before.
I done another 3 sections when I started to wonder if it would actually look OK with filler on it. I didn't want to jump ahead a stage but just before I left for the night I thought I would put a quick skim on filler on a little piece as a sample of how it may look when finished, just to reassure myself.
Not too bad, remember this was only a quick 5 minute test piece, I will be sand-blocking this section much better when it comes to that stage but I felt quite happy about it.
This is as far as I got with the repair sections this weekend. There will be about 4 more sections to make then its a curved section at the back which I will hopefully have a proper shrinker/strecher by that time to help me with.
This month has been not bad. I have been busy with other things other than the van but i have managed to get a bit more done on the van. I waited 17 days for the gutters to be made, i was told 4 days but that never happened. Which is why i hate having to out-source work. If its not in my control i get annoyed, but anyway, i did get them back and to be honest, they look great.
The one i made is the one in front and the engineering shop one is at the back. You can see that having the proper machinery beats the hand folded one.
Before i started with the guttering I thought I should finish the patching of the drivers side waist-line. No point working on two areas at once.
I kept working my way along in 280mm sections. As the van tapers to the rear the curve becomes more defined. That calls for some serious shrinking and stretching. I have practiced it manually like I've said in the thread already but it is tricky. So, i bought myself another new toy with the money from the Consul.
Its a Metz shrinker/stretcher. I got it from EBay, there is a guy who sells them new through his site for £250 but also puts them on eBay at £10 starting bids. I bid and won it for £117 plus P+P. I think he puts them on his site at that price so that when you do see them on eBay you think your getting a huge bargain and more likely to bid. I wasn't too sure about how good it would be but im very impressed. I never used one before but i find it quite easy to get the hang of, you just put the metal in and pull the lever down and it does the work for you. When stretching, the teeth on the jaws grip the metal and pull it apart, thus creating a curve on the angled lip. When shrinking it grips the metal and 'nips' it together. The only hard part now is to work out where on the metal you need to stretch/shrink. I forgot to take a pic of my practice piece.
It did get some use at the end of this repair section.
This was the tricky one that really tested the shrinker/stretcher for me.
The rear corner, I done the usual and marked out a 15mm strip to cut out. Again, i forgot to take pics (aaaarrgh) I cut the repair patch out, folded the lip over then joggled the edge. I made a template out on paper by tracing around the top edge of the area on the van i cut out then used the shrinker/stretcher to get the panel to that shape. It wasn't too difficult, i did over shrink a bit but i just swapped the jaws over and re-stretched the area.
You can see the repair section matches up quite well, i was happy with it anyway. I tig'd it all the way round.
Little bit of a clean up and thats the waist-line on this side finished. I don't think i will need to do the same to the passengers side. It seems that when it was laid up in the field, the van leaned more on the drivers side and the rain collected on that side as the passenger side wont need completely replacing.
With that done i decided to make a start on the guttering, at last!
I started on the front. There is a guy (forum name sidspop) who has restored a pick up cab version of the Thames and he had to replace the guttering also, I liked how he managed to get the guttering to curve so I decided to try the same. First thing i needed to do was make a template of the curve of the front. I had some off-cuts of Perspex so i was able to hold that in the windscreen aperture and using a marker pen, scribe the curve. I then cut it out to leave me with a nice fitting template.
Then i traced that onto a bit of strong wood used for flooring.
I put a slit into the strip of guttering every 50mm, just enough to be able to bend it. Then i put a screw into each section to hold it in place on the wood so it wouldn't distort when welding back up. I used the Tig again so it would be a nice clean weld and not so much to grind away. When welding i was starting to get a bit of contamination when welding the flats. Im assuming it was the fumes and smoke from the wood burning away. I decided just to do the vertical parts whilst screw down and Il come up with another way of doing the rest of the flat parts. I wanted to put the gutter in place on the van so i brought out yet another new toy i got.
Clecos! , There used more in the aero industry to hold down sheet metal on the fuselage/wings etc.. but there really handy for the auto restorer too. There basically re-usable rivets. You drill a 3.5mm hole through both pieces you want to join, use the pliers to push the prongs down, put it through and release. They grip with 18lbs of pressure and hold the panel your working on in place.
Looks not too bad, the gutter does need more work done to it before i attach it to the body but this gave me an idea of how it would look.
Im going back to the garage tomorrow plus i have Thursday and Friday of this week which should make for a more filling update next time. Although i am moving house this week so we'll see how much i can (or allowed ) Get to the garage.
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
If anyone is wondering where i get the ambition to do something like this then I'd have to say its my dad. His latest project is a VW trike. Its a project thats been going on for a few years now, almost ten years to be precise. It has been built under completely different circumstances to me. Its only recently really that he moved from working on it outside to inside a shed he built.
My dad said he had ideas for a VW trike from years ago, back in the 80's i think but he never had the money or time to do it. It wasn't until my brother, Ross, started a job for a motorbike dealership as a mechanic and managed to snaffle a few bits for my dad to make a start on. I say a few bits, what he got was 3 Harley frames, a fat boy petrol tank, a twin seat, Front forks, and other misc. parts so that got the ball rolling.
It was a while ago so i don't remember how my dad ended up with the rear half of a beetle chassis and engine. His vision of a VW trike is a low slung affair with long forks and a good rake. My dad is very old-skool, everything you see has been cut by hand, i don't mean using a grinder but literally a hacksaw and lots of filling.
This is the earliest photo i have on my trike of the build. At this point he had welded the frame to the beetle engine/gearbox mount and he even made the wheelie bar at this point.
The last pic you can see a nice bit of engineering detail. The hand brake for example, You see infront of the hand brake lever there are two pulleys, well, you pull the hand brake lever, a cable runs underneath those two pulleys where there is a lever which pulls the pulleys forward which puts the hand brake on. The panel just behind those pulleys is form a washing machine which just so happened to look good on the trike. Those foot pedal levers are another hand cut and bent item.
The next photos were from about 2-3 years ago, He had the engine painted and detailed by this point.
My old bike project in the background
Bonus picture of my crotch!
These pics were taking last year i think. My dad put the tank and seat on to see how it would look.
These pics were taking a few weeks ago when he got the engine running.
Its not far from being on the road now. I cant wait to see it driving down the road and maybe getting a few shots aswell. I love this trike, to me its all in the detail, its like engineering art. My dad has an image in his head of how it will look and thats exactly how it will look. There has been a lot of parts that have been a complete ball-ache for my dad that no one, not one person will ever see or appreciate the full extent of effort thats been put into this. The indicators for example, The original Harley switches were designed to be on-off , that is, you have to keep your finger on the switch to keep the indicator on. Not very good when you have to use your hand to change gear at the same time. So instead of scrapping the Harley switches, my dad got switches designed for table lamps and made his own copper switch mounts inside the casing so it would work as he needed it to. Even the main ignition switch has been totally stripped inside and had new internals made by my dad. This trike is a real one off, its art.
The trike isn't the first thing my dad has done. I have some pictures of him and my mum back in the day, i think late 60's early 70's.
This was his first project car i believe, a proper rear oval window beetle, way back when they were just seen as a cheap old car. Thats my mum standing beside it. The idea for the beetle was a street buggy and my mum chose the colour.
Check out the flares! Great photo of my dad.
The engine guard was made from old gas pipe i believe.
After that, The next big thing was a custom morris minor. Started in the late 70's, to me this is the car that epitomes my dad. I have such a strong link with this car and my childhood that i wish i knew where it was today.
This is what he started with, he bought it off his brother for £5 i think.
As usual, a lot of the work was done outside at the back of his old home in cramond. The wheels have been reversed and banded. I can remember what the rear axle was from, the front was a Wolsley i think.
The engine is a V4 from a Ford Corsair, i remember it sounded beautiful, really loud.
After a while he managed to move it into his work.
The rear bumper was from a Renault 5 and the huge spoiler was a truck roof spoiler. The wheel arches were from a ford Mexico.
It was painted Miami blue and silver.
This was it finished and my dad took some shots of it next to a standard morris to compare.
It even won a few car shows.
At the same time he managed to build a trailer to go with it.
And a buggy to keep my brothers entertained.
Unfortunately a few years after it was complete, someone braked hard infront of my dad during a bit of road rage and the car was heavily damaged. I think my dad was going through a bad time and couldn't afford the garage rent so it had to go. It was sold to a guy near gilmerton i think and i only ever saw it once again driving past me. I would do anything to know where it is now.
After a while my dad decided to build a motorbike for me. I remember being young, about 8 or 9 and feeling so excited seeing this motorbike being built.
The engine was from a Yamaha passel, the forks were from an old monkey bike and the rest my dad made himself.
My dad has some amazing creations.
I had so much fun with this bike. It taught me a lot for my future of riding bikes on the road and it was the best way to spend a Saturday. When i think back to my childhood i always think of going out on the bike as being the happiest time of my life. No job worries, no money trouble or stress, just get on the bike and have fun.
Theres tons of other stuff hes made but these are some of his best. He self-taught himself everything and i respect that so much. I have followed his lead and taught myself a lot too. seeing the amazing stuff my dad can do gives me the confidence that i can do the same. If somethings broke, Il try to fix it. If something needs made, Il make it. When i was younger i guess i was always trying to emulate my dad. Its what got me into working with metal, fixing cars and having a keen interest in anything mechanical or engineering.
My dad is pretty much the reason i can do what i can. I like my dads attitude of "I could make that" rather than "i could buy that". I try to follow that also, i don't want to pay someone to do something that im pretty sure i can do.
I've been concentrating on the guttering since the last update. The last time i wrote i had just tacked the front gutter in place. Continuing from the front i went along the passengers side.
I've tried to keep the gutter sticking out 10mm from underneath. I'm not being too critical, +/- a couple of mm wont hurt and probably keep it more authentic looking.
You can see that i actually had to cut the back angle off the guttering. It turns out that I should have had 2 different angles of guttering made up but , well, i had already spent £85 on this stuff so lets not waste it eh. It wont affect the strength or anything. It just meant i had to be more careful about the angle it laid at.
The bits above the doors were a little more awkward. The roof and guttering curve yet the door is actually flat. So at the widest point you actually see about 18mm of guttering. I couldn't fit the doors as i have the braces welded in place. I drilled 2 screws into the body of the van and tied a bit of string taught so had a straight edge to substitute for the door frame.
I then decided to make a curved piece to join the front and side together. It went easier than i thought and it was another good use of the shrinker/stretcher i bought.
Like i said earlier, i had to cut the back edge of the guttering. To help with making sure it would stay at the right angle now i tacked a piece of 12mm Square bar to the body and clamped the gutter to it. That way i could tack it and know it wouldn't distort.
I made my way to the rear. The rear gutter will actually stick out 15mm from the doors. Which isn't stock but i think it looks ok none the less.
Another corner piece.
Then the last piece to join the side to the rear.
Another corner piece shrunk to shape.
If you were wondering how i managed to get the curved sections this is what i done.
First i got a piece of thin card (tesco sell them in the art section quite cheaply) and traced the curve and cut it out to match.
Then i measured 10mm outwards and drew the curve. Ikea is a good source of free pencils
Cut a small section of guttering.
Use the shrinking jaws to make the curve.
Then check it everynow and then with the template until you get it near enough bang-on.
After a little tweak, adjusting and cutting you end up with a corner piece ready to be tacked on.
Its been a little tricky trying to join the sections together to make it look like on piece without kinks.
Last few section to tack on the drivers side.
And were done. The whole guttering tacked into place, yey!
Looking slightly different to how it was when i bought it. I like looking through my old photos to see how far ive came along.
Now i get to start another tedious task of welding up the slits i made to make the guttering more flexible. I cut every 50mm on the gutter and there is roughly 10 metres of guttering so that is nearly 200 slits to now weld up, not so yey.
This is how I am planning to do it without making more work for myself and to hopefully not distort the guttering much.
Using the old copper plate trick again i experimented on a little bit. I cut a piece of polished copper and clamped it into place underneath a slit.
Then used the Tig welder to fill in the gap.
As the mild steel doesn't stick to the copper it leaves it flush underneath, the bit that everyone will see. this is exactly how it looked once i took the copper off, doesn't even need ground down. The good thing about the copper is it acts a bit like a heat sink too so it should hopefully help to keep the distortion down.
I continued on for about another foot. Stitch welding the gutter to the body as well
After a little tidy up with the grinder and a light coat of etch primer i got this, not bad. It added a lot of strength back into the gutter too.
It had moved slightly but il wait until its all welded in place before i mess around neating it up with the hammer and dollys. Hopefully it wont take me too long to get through the welding then i can make a start on the roof panel.
I got the guttering all welded up.
I think it was around 200 of those little slits to weld (booooooring), it has distorted slightly but ive been able to get the worst of it out. I went and bought a new toy to help me, a sliding hammer. Similar to this one.
It came in handy as i cant actually get a hammer in to tap the gutter out. and if i used a bit of wood , the angle i have to hit it at would push the gutter down at the same time. With the sliding hammer i can pull it out horizontally...... if that all makes sence? it does in my head anyway.
Unfortunatly, just as i got to welding the joining pieces of the guttering on the outside i ran out of Argon gas, bugger. I now need to sort that out, I usually get my gas through BOC which costs about £80 for a yearly rent, £60 a re-fill, and £15 misc. Ive heard of a place local that does it for £57 a bottle and a refundable £55 deposit, think il check them out.
In the mean time i thought i better cut the bracing out of the door frames and check to make sure the doors still fit and the guttering looks ok with the doors inplace.
Passanger door looks ok, the frame doesnt have the rubber seals in so the door is fitting further in than it will be when finished. the gap looks pretty even all-round.
Mmmhhmm, looks like this door skin and frame will need a bit of work too.
Drivers side looks not bad either, there is a bit of a bigger gap at the top between the frame and gutter, mabey about 3 or 4 mm bigger but i could make up for that in the door frame if it comes to it.
This door skin and frame isnt quite so bad.
When i went to the garage today i had planned on just washing my car but i decided to start the roof plans. I had to make a table 4 and a half foot wide and just over 11 foot long. My brother got me 2 old tables that his work was going to chuck out so using them and two bits of 50x50 from the bracing i made a frame for the table. I then screwed down some MDF down to make a large work surface.
My mate Crighton came over after his work and helped me to put the roof ontop of the table. It was good to see the roof at a better angle again, ready to asses what needs done. 3 of the corners are pretty crap and all along the drivers side has rotted too.
Passangers side front corner.
drivers side front corner.
drivers side rear corner (probably the worst corner).
along the driver side.
The main panel overall isnt that bad though, just around the edges.
The plan is to now cut off the remainder of the old guttering on the roof, strip the paint and rust, repair the sections that need done and re-attach. It has a few strengthing ribs inside that bolt to the main body of the van and originally a lip that went aroudn the perimeter of the rood that would be spotwelded to the guttering. Im not going to do that though as the chances are, water could go in the seams and start the whole rust proces again. Instead, im going to not do the lip and i will run a continous weld all around the roof. With the tig it should keep it neat.
More picture of the roof repair to follow when i get some more argon.
Its been quite a busy month at work. One of the guys got made redundant so its put my work rate up a bit. Its also meant having to work late and help out on Saturdays, extra money so i cant really complain but its meant less time at the garage.
Last time I wrote I had just laid the roof on the table, ready to get cut up. I thought I would start on the front corners and work my way round the drivers side. The first thing i done was take the paint off around the edges of the roof to assess the metal work underneath.
This was the first corner I started on, It was the worst front corner so best to get it done and out of the way.
I flipped the roof over to take the surface rust off the inside edge too. You can see the cross brace i welded in to help it keep its shape when I removed it from the van.
This is the offending corner upside down.
The corners are a compound curve so that made shaping it a little bit more tricky. I did a lot of humming and hawing at it. Trying to figure out how to go around making a repair section for this part. I came up with a plan of cutting it out and making a basic template to work from. I haven't tried a compound curve repair before, so this probably isn't the right way but it worked for me.
No use for you anymore.
I taped a thin bit of cardboard to the area.
Then after a bit of snipping and more masking tape I had the rough shape mocked up.
Cut it out and I have my template.
I seem to have jumped a few steps ahead here. Basically I traced the template onto a sheet of 1.2mm and cut it out. I clamped a piece of 50x50 angle in the vice so that it was clamped in a V shape. I then used a round head hammer to tap a concave and trying it against the roof numerous times, using my hands to give it a final tweek and shape. I tacked it into place, i cut strips into it to help me with the stretching and shrinking principle.
Then all welded up when i was happy with it.
And a good dress up.
Yey! a complete corner, that wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
The next again night i went back and started on the other corner. This one was in a bit better shape than the other.
Marked out, ready to get cut up.
I done this section in 2 patches, the mainly straight side and a tighter corner.
Tacked up and ready to weld.
*grind, grind, sand, clean*
Close enough to the opposite side for me.
I called it a night, looking forward to getting back to it again shortly.........
Unfortunately, the week before the caustic tank at my work burst. We use it to strip the paint off the old Cast fireplaces and radiators. Coincidentally, we have just got a lot of radiators needing done, quickly. The tank was made from plastic and had been repaired lots of times in its 20 year life span with Fiberglas so it was starting to look past its best. I checked out prices for other tanks big enough but the cheapest plastic one was pretty thin material and cost £1050. I thought it would be best to make a new one from scratch out of 3mm plate and 50mm angle. I was annoyed as it meant losing a weekend and a few nights on the van but it was actually good to do something different from the usual, a little bit of a challenge. I made it 8ft length, 45 inches tall and 2 foot wide. I gave it a lid and as it was metal i could add a heater. Caustics working properties increases tremendously when even a little bit of heat is added so i used a basic 27 inch central heating boiler coil. I also made sure to weld on a drain tap to this one, the plastic one had to be emptied via buckets and long waders, not fun. I added insulation to help with the heating and keep costs down.
Was really happy with how it turned out, lets see if this lasts 20 years.
I also had enough time to make a unique handle for my fiances boss's stove.
After the tank was done i had to miss a few nights at the garage to get the radiators done and ive just worked yesterday to give my boss a Saturday off ( he never gets them). So, back to today, the 18th.
Meet the newest addition to my growing garage stuff. This heater has been here since i moved in and its never been touched. I remember trying it out when i first moved in and it never worked so its been collecting dust ever since. Well since its now officially winter i thought id try to fix it. I changed the ignitor as it was looking quite duff but that never helped. I thought id service everything and that never helped, occasionally it would light up and go out, so id strip it all down again, try something new and it wouldn't work at all then it would etc.. After a lot of head scratching and time wasting i figured it wasn't making much pressure, all the seals were ok but on closer inspection to the back plate could see hairline cracks around the bolt mounts. I used soapy water to confirm my suspicions and yep, the back plate was knackered. All the air pressure was being lost. I ordered a new one and i thought id may aswell replace the filters. Since then its been great, works a treat and heats up the space fairly quickly with its 77,000 BTU rating. I'm using diesel to fuel it right now but will be moving onto paraffin when i get the time to get some as it burns cleaner and cheaper.
Enough of that crap. Back to the roof.
This is the drivers side, which was pretty bad all the way along. Oh, i forgot to mention. You may remember how i tried to make my own guttering which never worked very well and so i was left with 10 pieces of 50mm wide 1.2mm strips 4 foot long. They are now being put to good use as repair sections for the roof. Never through anything out, thats my motto! (probably got it from my dad).
I tried a couple of experiments before i got on with the roof, what would be the best way to put a curve on the strips. I tried the angle in the vice in a V shape first.
It kind of worked but I couldn't get enough pressure on it with the hammer so i flipped it around in the vice so the jaws pushed the tube into the angle.
That probably worked a bit too much, it did curve the strip but only in one place. The next idea was clamp the strip in 2 bits of angle and tap it around a piece of tubing. Like this :
This gave me the effect i was wanting, a nice gentle curve.
Back to the actual repairs, i forgot to take a photo of my first repair part. This piece of the roof held a hinge for the pop up roof and consequently had rusted a little higher up which required a bigger repair section.
New panel made up , i joggled all the top edges off the repairs to help with lining it up and clamping into place.
I done another repair after that and that was 3 sections all tacked up.
I was leaving to go home in the next hour so i thought id finish off this section.
The other difficult thing about the roof is trying to figure out far down the panel actually comes. The passenger side is pretty complete so ive used that as my reference and measured from the centre out and a bit of free hand to cut the edge off the panel.
A little before and after.
I then went home and had a nice roast beef and veg dinner, delicious.
The Christmas holidays are coming up soon which means i get a full week off. So with a little careful planing spending time with Jana and the van i should get more done. I would love the next update to be about the roof being attached back on atleast, we shall see.
Happy new year everyone! , lets see how far I can get with the van this year.
I continued progress on the drivers side of the roof. After getting the first half of that section done it was time for the rear. My battery was going flat in my camera so theres not so much detail for this day.
I started by doing the rear corner then meeting in the middle.
I pretty much followed the same idea as the front corner, marked what i wanted to cut out and made a template.
Then cut it out, tap tap, tack in place, weld and dress up.
Corner sorted, time for the side. There was another larger section which held the Fiberglas pop-up roof in place that need replaced.
New piece in.
All the other smaller sections in and welded.
And cleaned up, this was when my battery did die so i couldn't get another shot of it from the rear.
That was that for that day. Before I left I checked over the other side of the roof and decided that the metal was still not bad and any little repairs i could do would be ok done on the van.
When i went back I figured out what i needed to do to re-attach the roof. I flipped it over upside down to inspect it.
I had intended to leave the ribs in place and clean around them but very quickly realised that to not do it would be foolish so they came out. (cross bracing was just to stop it warping.)
You can see the repairs from the other side with the joggled lip here. Quite a lot of surface rust from what im assuming would have been condensation. Luckily none of it had rusted through and the top was still smooth to the touch.
I took all the paint of the ribs first to refurbish them.
They were ok, just a few bits of weld to fix them from when i was removing them.
The smaller rear ones were also drilled out from the rivets and painted. I etch primed them, then a coat of normal primer and then i used some Citroen white from a job i done to paint inside the channels of the ribs, just to protect them. This is another thing i recommend, a white board. Its good to write lists, doodle pictures and communicate with the guy i share the garage with.
Larger ribs done. They had felt stapled onto them to stop drumming against the roof panel. I decided to just use heavy-duty sticky foam to do the same job.
Whilst i was doing the ribs and waiting on the paint dry i took all the paint of the underside of the roof. easier to do it on the table than the van. I etch-primed the areas that would be covered by the ribs.
With the piece on the front that had surface rust, i cleaned as much rust off as i could and gave it a coat of the special rust sealer primer then more etch.
Then I bolted the ribs to the body of the van. It was easier this way than to attach them to the roof first.
Then!, it was time for the next stage. The thing which i had been waiting on since taking the roof off. Now it was time to stick the roof back on. My dad came along with a nice welcoming flask of coffee and muscles. Alastair ( the guy i share the garage with) was also roped into helping with the lift. It went pretty smoothly, lifting it up and walking from the front to back and dropping it into position. I felt really quite excited to see it with a roof on again. Like im getting nearer and nearer. When big things like this get done it looks so different!.
less talk, more pictures.
I still need to tack the roof into position which means lifting and pushing to get the perimeter parallel to the guttering but its looking promising so far. The only thing thats annoying me is the passengers side rear corner which i think i may need to add metal onto but il see once i start tweaking and welding. I'm feeling quite happy and chuffed with myself, another big step made!.
He has his hat back on.
- Posts: 21
- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
I was just thinking what sort of a twat would try to tow a heavy trailer with a tiny car, then remembered how many daft things I've towed!
Keep up the good work!
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- Joined: Thu May 26, 2005 12:02 am
- Location: Whitby. Where the sun always shines.
Something your going to have to bear in mind for whatever engine your putting in is heat. Not for the engine but for you and your understanding half's legs. If you're bombing around the south of France on a hot summers day with no air con and a big V6 burbling away you're going to know about it!
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- Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 1:08 pm
- Location: Gloucester....(ish)
regarding the punto, he is now in the big scrap pile in the sky. It was a good car, only cost me £70 then scrapped it for £190. The cost to keep it on the road was starting to out-weigh its self financially.
Aircon would be nice but i will have windows, i know it will get pretty hot but i will use decent heat reflectors. Plus im scottish and putting on something which wastes more petrol doesnt agree with me.
I have done a lot of welding since my last update. With the roof back on it gave me another boost to get on with it. The next task was 'How do i get an even gap between the roof and gutter'. After a bit of thinking i cut some 12mm thick MDF into rough 3 - 4 inch squares and wedged them in between the gutter and roof which gave me a good size of spacing and held everything down tight.
With the wood in place i could go inbetween them and tack weld the roof in place, then when i took the wood out i was left with a nice finish.
I started to weld it up once everything was tacked, starting with the front.
The majority of the roof was sitting nicely on the gutter but towards the rear the gap was huge, about 12mm in places. I just decided to put lots of weld down and build it up. Once it was welded it gets ground down anyway.
Once it was all welded and cleaned up I got a bit carried away and couldn't wait to start the lead-loading. I really wanted to lead the roof to fill any pin-holes that may have been left with the welding but i also wanted to lead between the gutter and body to add extra strength. I took more photos of this part but its not really relevant anymore, I will explain why.
I had spent about 2 hours or so on this bit, it was my first try with the lead and after spreading it about, heating it up and sanding it to a nice shape i realised i was wasting my time. You see, when i would go to put the lead inbetween the body and gutter i would have to re-heat the gutter area up again which would melt the lead and it would all fall out. I'm really glad i realised that before i had done the whole roof. Another one of those restorers lessons, think and plan always. The plan now is to do the lead-loading between the body and gutter first then i will use body-filler to tidy up the welds on the roof.
Easiest way to do lead-loading is on a flat, where gravity can help the process. Time to flip the van on its roof. I had never actually put the van a full 180 degrees over before so this was novel for me. I got Alastair ( guy i share the garage with) to help me roll it over as the weight of the chassis being at the bottom would now be at the top and just a bit more likely to keep going once i start to roll it. I did hurt my back though, i was trying with all my might to lift it and i never realised Alastair thought it was going to roll too much so he was putting resistance against me rolling. I did feel something in my back twang a little but it wasn't until the next day the pain started., anyway, it will heal. It was unusual to see the van upside down so i was quite excited to care about my back at that moment.
Heres how i have been doing the lead-loading.
First i get the grinder with a wire wheel attached and clean the metal up, then i get a rag with white spirit (turpentine) to remove any grease or oil that may be left.
Once thats been done i get my tinning paste and brush it on to the metal. Using a handheld blow torch i heat it up until it starts to bubble and all the lead in the tinning paste melts onto the body. Once its cooled down slightly i use a damp brush to wipe away the paste but leave the thin coat of lead on the panel.
Then i use the blow torch to heat the end of the stick of lead and kind of push and twist it on the body until it snaps off. Then using the wooden paddle rubbed in tallow i heat the lead up to different states depending on what i want to do with it, usually a buttery consistency. Then i use the paddle to smush/prod/poke it about until I'm happy with it.
Once I'm happy with it its time to file it down then sand it smooth with 80 grit. I will be going over it with a light skim of filler in the future.
I managed to get the whole drivers side and front done in the same way.
Getting there, slowly but surely i will be nearing the stage when i get to prime the upper half and thats the next milestone I'm looking forward to.
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- Joined: Wed Jan 25, 2012 12:24 am
- Location: Edinburgh
An awesome and inspiring project showing what can be done if you put the time and effort in - now I don't feel so worried about tackling the small bits of welding on my midget!
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- Location: United Kingdom
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