Pearl’s Rolling Restoration

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by Cloppper, Jun 12, 2019.

  1. This was me in April 2017, the day I bought Pearl our 1973 Westy, oh Happy Day! [​IMG]

    We’ve had two great summers, camping, festivals and days out, from Scotland to Cornwall. And we want to keep that up while my son Bob is still small enough to fit on the Cab bunk! But being 46 years old Pearl needs some TLC, so I’m going to do what I can in the winter, and continue to use her in the summer.

    Before I could start, I thought a van port, to protect it over winter, would be prudent.

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    Last edited: Jul 10, 2019
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  2. From day one I knew the sliding door needed attention, a rusty rear side window, the windscreen seal replacing, (along with whatever lies beneath it!) The underside was pretty solid, arches too and the battery tray had already been done. That just left the back...

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    And finding the chassis end, where the bumper attaches, patched up with cardboard and fibreglass!

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  3. The MOT ran out at the end of summer ‘18, and though it’s exempt, I still want to MOT it. Not least because I’ll be driving my family round. But also by way of ensuring my amateur restoration abilities, are up to scratch.

    After a visit to a few welding places I realised the bill was going to be pretty hefty. And as I’d been reading the resto threads, notably @JamesLey ‘s (a comprehensive guide to restoring a bus), I was inspired to buy a welder for £250

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    And some clobber,

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    Throw in a few clamps and magnets as birthday presents and I was good to go... So I did nothing for 8 months. Probably through apprehension about the size of the task, it being winter and other such excuses.
     
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  4. It was the better half booking tickets for Bestival at the end of July and a mate who wanted me to deliver his bride to be on their special day in August, that finally made me pick up the angle grinder at the end of April and start cutting stuff!

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    And a little more...

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    This was enough to get a decent look at the chassis end and work out how the repair panels would all come together. I’d ordered an inner and outer valance, ‘D’ post sections for both sides and chassis end. Which is what I started with, replacing the fixed nut to hold the bumper.
     
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  5. [​IMG]

    This was a big moment, the first new metal welded to the van! I don’t know why I’d been apprehensive, I was bitten by the welding bug, this was going to be great fun! And though I’d read people on here say ‘welding isn’t that hard’ and not really believed it. Turns out they were right!

    With the nut correctly located, that flange on the right would turn out to be in the wrong place, so after the ‘D’ post and valance repair I’d need to cut it off and weld in another in the right place. Seems repair panels all require a bit of fettling, but that’s half the fun!
     
  6. I should say at this point, I taught myself to weld by watching YouTube for an evening. And by having a go.
    Top tips from YouTube, be patient, too fast/hot is not good. The thinner the metal the slower you go. Apart from that it’s just, clean the metal, zap zap zap, clean ‘dress’ the welds, repeat as necessary. (For body panels add; prime fill, sand, paint)

    All that said, if you see me doing something wrong or there’s an easier way, please let me know. Knowledge is power and I’m eager to learn.
     
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  7. Next was the inner valance. Which after cutting away more of the left ‘D’ pillar, turned out to be rotten just along the bottom and on the right side. So I cut back to decent metal and welded in that section of the replacement panel. This is it with the old bit below

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    And here, the right side with the first of the ‘D’ pillar pieces in place prior to welding.

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  8. The 1st ‘D’ pillar piece on the left

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    And the 2nd

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    This also shows a previous repair I found beneath a weight of filler. It’s a lap jointed repair. I decided to cut it out and replace it with a butt jointed piece.

    The right side outer skin repair was smaller, so I did that first. At this point I was still apprehensive about welding the exterior skin. As it’s the thinnest metal, but actually it went in alright.

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  9. Glad my thread is of some use to others! Looks like you’re getting stuck in there mate with some tidy looking welds going on.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  10. Good luck with the restoration fella, keep the pics coming!
     
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  12. Excellent, a new resto thread!! Good luck!!
     
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  13. That looks very handy! The unreachable welds play havoc with my ocd! And who doesn’t love a new tool! Though there’s only so many times I can say ‘yes dear, but with all the money we’re saving on welding!’
     
  14. That is one tool you won’t regret!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  15. I’ll second that
     
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  16. Amazing welding! I'm going on a welding course next weekend so hope to learn a little so I can start some small jobs. Luckily don't have bags of rust!
     
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  17. Did you end up finding a local course, or is that Dorset Centre for Rural Skills?
     
  18. I’m missing pics of the left side outer skin going in, and though it was bigger than the right, because I cut out an old lapped repair, it went in well. Here’s a later pic which also shows the extra tab for the outer valance to wrap around (cheers @JamesLey, your resto thread was handy here!). And the repair to the lip that holds the seal. I salvaged a piece from the old valance for this.

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    Then it was testfittastic for the last piece!

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    But then it rained for a week...
     
  19. [​IMG]

    Valance welded on nicely. And folding the ends over the tabs was kinda fun.

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