Rhubarbs ( and custard ) resto

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by Poptop2, Aug 11, 2011.

  1. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    The story so far ---

    About two years ago we sold our beachside holiday home in Cornwall - sad sale, but the place was becoming run down and there was a succesion of leaseholders doing their best to get developement plans etc anyhow we sold and on the long haul home up the m5 our thoughts turned to future holidays.

    The common consensus was a campervan after five years of going to the same place we had a urge to see more of the country - along the way we were passed by loads of vws , bays t25s and even the odd splitty - ahhhh i love them Lou my wife sighed pointing to a bright yellow bay and quietly smiling to herself remembering our previous bays and carefree hols ( before kids ), me too shouted my 14 year old ," what "asked my 5 year old "them old bangers ", i kept quiet , having owned two previous bays i didn't think it was the right choice -nice vans but a lifestyle as apposed to a regular ride.

    In a desperate attempt to keep some sanity and room on future Hols i started pointing out the passing t25s - this was met with quiet umms and reserved praise - i was going to have to do some persuading.
    August 2008 while logging into ebay i was sent a 15% discount voucher , i immediately typed in vw t25 and bang there she was - in builth wells abandoned in a garden hedge a 1982 aircoolled t25 kampa buy it now £600 , what with 15% off that was £510 - i hit the buy it now - bingo a millie second later and i was the proud owner of god knows what and £510 lighter.

    A week later she was sat on my drive - she came with no interior a leaky roof and smelled like pidgeon loft , but as a bonus she did have a full service history and drove like a dream - for 12 month's i along with a friend who could weld toiled on her - new poptop , new bespoke interior, porsche seats , overhauled engine and a nice shiny spray job then it was off for the dreaded mot , a freed up brake calipre later and she was motted and as i sat in her rereading the certificate i was suddenly convinced the long nights and all the hard work was worth it -now time for home and decide where we are going for our first break .

    As Lou and i talked and the kids listened quietly and the truth began to dawn , they were'nt bothered about her , the t25 that had been sat on our drive that we had named naff taff and quietly rejuvenated from a sad flat tyred shed into the thing of 80s elegance with gleaming everything did nothing for them ,suddenly i was a flat as a squashed hedgehogs wallet and not to put too fine a point on it i sulked - a lot !!

    It was during this short very brief almost unnoticable six week sulk that a chap who owns a t25 westy from two streets away popped by - he asked why i had not used the van , i told him the family were not over excited by it and as nice as it was and no matter what i thought of it they preferrred bays " why don't you get a westy bay then - you should get quite a few grand for that now " he said .

    And that was that .within a few hours the digi cam was out and it was on ebay - i sold her within two days for £3250 and the search was on for a bay.

    I scoured ebay , autotrader, exchange n mart and small ads anywhere , i pressed the bin button on ebay twice and twice the van was sold before i could get to pick her up , i even settled for a devon in halifax and agreed to view even though it involved a 140 mile journey a night off work and drawing £3000 cash from my bank account - i was halfway there when the phone rang and the friendly yorkshire voice i had been speaking to earlier said " don't bother making the journey mate i have just sold it" to tell you what i thought of him and what i wanted to do to him or anyone with a yorkshire accent at that moment would probably get me certified so i won't.
    We had all but given up hope of getting a bay with the miserly three grand we had to offer .


    One monday morning i was perusing ebay in my usual nonchalant - you have nothing to offer me or that i want way , when all of a sudden within that minute a m reg westy loads of money spent which only needed a little tlc and was in hampshire near to where work was taking me that night was listed for £2800 buy it now , i trembled slightly glanced at Lou and bashed the bin button once again --

    But this time i was right on the case i emailed the owner with my number stressing i was in ernest and the item was now mine could she please not sell it before i had chance to come and pay for it that evening , it was all day before she finally replied , by which time i had emailed her thirty two times and complained to ebay twice.


    Of course its yours said a sweet angelic sounding lady on the other end of the phone ( she had been at work all day and phoned as soon as she got home -oops)," yes we are in all evening , yes i will direct you in when you are close , see you later" - that lady is so lovely i droolled to Lou , "she is actually keeping it for me" " is'nt that what normally happens ?" asked Lou - "No it blinking well is'nt" i shouted despair and relief showing in my terse reply, God she had no idea of the things i had been through .


    That evening in the dark i made my way to hook , i was duly guided in by the sweet voice of earlier and arrived just as the street light was turned off for the night ( thats my excuse and i am sticking to it ) The sweet voice had breasts , very large breasts and a very low cut top and on the odd occasion i actually looked her in the face she smiled , in the dark i prodded and poked and groped ( the van that is ) and all appeared satisfactory , nice interior , new doors , engine sounded sweet , no oil leaks and no smoke , i remember mumbling something about a little welding does'nt matter as i have a mate , all in all with the dark , the breasts the complete and utter blind faith in ebay ,sweet voices and large breasts - i was a pratt.

    The following day Rhubarb as we had named her duly arrived on the back of a breakdown truck and the driver made a throw away remark about needing a good welder and plenty of patience , i laughed paid him his £155 and waved him goodbye , oh how i wish i had paid attention and sent it straight back with him .
    The next few days saw me become a member of thelatebay and numerous other westy /bay owners groups , in short i was addicted , not only was i addicted i was the proud owner of a westfalia vw t2b rhd p33 m plated genuine jobby , i was the bee's knee's - except in the next day or two i was to find the chassis rot and boy was there a lot of chassis rot , new floor pans new doors but a lot of chassis rot- god what had i done ????.
    within a short time i became familiar with terms i had yet to understand - top hats , beams , deformation panels and lots of other hitherto unknown vehicle crevices , i also learned jk ,vwheritage and schofields numbers off by heart - was i repairing the van or replacing it and to make matters worse this time i had no welder mate as he had gone off lorry driving abroad - enter Bryan the new welder ----


    Bryan had been recommended by a friend at work who spends the time he is'nt at work doing up cars , " you'll like Bryan" he said " cheap n all " he gave me Bryans number and he was duly summoned to Rhubarbs rescue .#


    As i waited for Bryan a million thoughts were racing through my mind none more so than was she worth it and would he ask that - i need'nt have worried 58 year old Bryan was so laid back about it i thought about getting him a couple of cushions to lie on , he'd seen it all , had rebuilt worse many a time he just could'nt think of any at that moment but within an hour he had told me the deal , i supply the panels , do the cutting out and the grinding back of the welds and he welded - for £20 an hour payable every five hours - Deal , what was there to lose volksmagic had just quoted me 4-7 grand to get her roadworthy : in 10 hours i would be £200 out of pocket and have a good idea of his abilitys .

    He turned up a week later looked at my cutting out - said " you will have to get better than that " then spent the next three hours putting my efforts right and showing me how its done free of charge -It was at this point i made the final decision to carrry on


    Over the next two weeks he rebuilt the front offside chassis member , replaced the inner and outer sills , repaired the inner chasssis ,replaced all the outriggers and jacking points on that side , repaired the lower body and charged me £350 , i still have to grind the welds, prepare for paint and cut out the passenger side bits ready for him to weld , but its being done between us , at a price and pace i can afford - meanwhile i have learned how to remove a front beam and lots of other bits that i will never believe vw intended to ever be removed and if they did they did'nt make it easy-- TBC-----
    So now , here we are, i have owned Rhubarb two month's in that time i have spent £2800 buying her , £155 getting her home, £500 on panels , £100 on peripherals ebay items and such and £350 to Bryan the laid back welder ( who i keep popping out to to see if he's still awake as his legs don't move much when he's welding ) so far i am pleased ish with the progress and along the way i have met some delightful tlb members and their vans .


    Bryan it turns out is not the worlds neatest welder and i have a lot of grinding off to do , he has a habit of trying to save me money ( short term ) by plating instead of replacing and i find myself constantly reminding him we have the part so i would prefer it replaced which i think is alien to his way of repairing , that said he is a really nice bloke who hopefully will, become a friend and if he says he's gonna be here he will be here , he works, quick hard and leaves me clear precise instructions , he has even trusted me to have a go at welding - but i'll keep that to unseen places in future - he is a top man doing me a big favour .


    The drivers side of rhubarb is welded up and now awaits my delicate almost surgical touch with the angle grinder ( oh dear ) , the repaired areas are now sprayed in with red oxide to protect the weld and metal until i can get on to it , i thought it best to let Bryan the laid back welder get his part of the job done before i get in his way .


    This weekend i have spent quite a bit of it exploring the nearside with my scalpel like angle grinder removing the front chassis members , front jacking point and door step , i have also removed the deformation panel and decided the front end below windscreen has to be replaced , the funny thing is she still looks good in the dark !! or is that just me trying to justify my obvious embarrassing error of judgement ?.


    whilst eating a late lunch yesterday My dad who was over for the day asked how it was going ,i filled him in and Zeds words came back to haunt me , ," why did'nt you spend a little more and get a good one ?" he asked , it was at this point i filled him in with the whole story , the t25 , the ebay let downs the Yorkshireman and the breasts ," Bloody hell - they're only old vans " he said - " you would have thought people would be glad to get rid of them "-- Philastine !!!

    So - i logged into ebay and armed with new found knowledge typed in vw bay t2 westfalia , we hyperthetically had a budget of five grand then sat there for over an hour trying to find a good one ,needs a little finishing , might need this or that , don't know have'nt checked, has not been started since we parked her up ( two years ago ) , will have to be towed away as no tax or mot , sad sale growing family forces sale ( i would have thought that was a reason to keep a van ) , then there are the ones with a massive blob of oil on the ground beneath the engine or the wideboys selling obvious tart ups or vans that had been bought done and never had a spanner on them in the 2 years the seller had owned them , i could see dads eyes glazing over ( it was a big lunch ) crikey you would be taking a chance on any of them son " he said in despair -so i changed the price £15000 - now your talking -some obvious boners but we were in the right ball park , the thing was dad suddenly realised if you want a good van you either buy a doer upper and do it up with all that involves or you crank up the initial spending and in Zeds or dads words get a good un , trouble is a good un is gonna cost some serious wedge , so i am beginning to feel a little better about rhubarb , when Bryan the laid back welder has done and i have pawned the house , kids ,wife and watch , i will have a basic westy to sort out - brakes , brake pipes , electrics ,carb , running gear , painting etec etc and on and on -- tbc--


    Update 22 , 9 ,10 - inspiration needed enthusiasm waining --


    Since my last post Brian the laid back welder failed to show for over a week - turns out he took on a small job and it went on and on and he lost my number - while he was away it gave me time to tidy up his work and workspace a little , it was then i realised he is a decent chap but has little idea of bays or their importance to their owners .


    To me my bay is my hobby , investment and future holiday home , but to him its just another job to get ready for the mot and move on .

    Now there is nowt wrong with getting it prepared for its mot after all without it me and she who must be listened to will be camping on our drive a lot , but there are standards to a resto that Brian the laid back welder seems to think are just being fussy - aaaaaaaaaaarrrgghh , the fact is i can't afford a major resto company and mobile welders are extortionate .

    Anyway i am truly grateful and so far he has rebuilt the front chassis members completely, he has the ns sils outriggers and jacking points to do , centre rear and back crossmembers , front valance , panel and side door repair ( lower inner and outer ) - i am cutting out and he replaces so a lot gets done quickly as he only has the welding to do i even clean the job up .

    The problem with me at the moment is - although i have most of the panels to finish ( still need centre and rear crossmembers , deformation panel, and side door repair sections ) my funds are getting low - i do have options , i could sell my bongo or other things to raise cash , i can't work any more hours as i already do more than enough overtime just to pay my way - i could sell other things such as my boat etc but i have worked hard for these and get some pleasure from them, so am i at the point where i buy a cover and leave her for the winter or do i get Brian the laid back welder to carry on as he's still keen and achieving loads , then when he's done the welding cover her up for the winter and concentrate on getting the interior rubbed down and ready for the refitting of the camping interior.

    Decisions , decisions do i need a break from her , will Brian the laid back welder return if i pause the resto , will i fiind the enthusiasm to carry on if i pull a cover over her for a few month's , do i learn to weld myself and save costs, or do i get Brian the laid back welder to finish his bit then pull the cover over her - i have just made Rhubarb my beloved westy sound like a budgie in a cage or worse a corpse - by pulling the cover over her i mean one of those jk things not a shroud , but when its on i have the ability to walkpast her without checking out the progress , condition , oil leaks , wheels etc every time .
    UPDATE 25, 10,10

    Well i bought a cover last week ,another one as my original one was considerately stolen , but that aside the resto is coming along nicely .

    Rhubarb we have come to realise is never gonna be a concours motor due largely to unsightly but effective welding , however she will be nice because i have a good friend who owns a spray shop and i am ok at prep and will take as long as the job needs .


    My wife Lou the optimist or she who must be listened to reckons i will have her finished by christmas , but i don't think so ,the tin worm has made good use of the 38 year settling in period and each time i tackle a new section i find its spread way and beyond the bit i am about to tackle with my laser guided grinder .


    Luckily most repair sections are available from my prefered supplier vwheritage and the advice given by Nick there is invaluable , its a strange thing but i am not the only person at this stage of a restoration project ( never i hear you say ) and the feedback he recieves about each panel he is only too willing to pass on , with a good supplier and help from people on this forum i am finding the jobs i tackle a little less daunting.

    That said there was a time recently when i posted pics on tlb of some of the less tidy welding my welder was doing and stated my discontent , the replys were overwhelming - he was rubbish , 12 year olds could do better and some said they could weld better than that before they could weld - i was devastated , all that money , all those panels and all that time down the drain , god what was i to do - he had ruined my pride n joy and charged me for the time he spent doing it - man i could have cried --

    I did'nt - i waited for Bryan the next day and showed him the resto thread - he was incandescent with rage at my betrayal , why had i not confronted him first before showing the world the worst of his work and asking their opinions after first stating my doubts , i felt he had a point after all thats what i would normally do - before becoming a member of tlb.

    i think i was so eager to share my experiences , i quite forgot etiquette and peoples feellings .

    Bryan said he had now got to finish the project just to prove his self worth and restore some pride , he also said he would become a tlb member just to keep abreast of any further slurs on his character - meanwhile i stated if i was unnhappy with his work i would say so and if i wanted to use other people i would - at times .

    Good Friends have been around to inspect the work done on Rhubarb , one is Chris my local garage owner and a mot man and the other is steve my mate who owns a spray shop , both agree some of the work is rough but all is passable - just , and with hard prep will be ok --phheeeww !!.

    I will get some pics up of the resto in the next few weeks - sorry for the long story but i thought i owed you that :)

    As she came

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    What we found
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    How she's coming along
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    I think they pulled Rhubarb out next and the lady with the boobs stuck it on ebay--
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  2. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    So this is the position i am in ---

    So almost a year later and Rhubarbs close to the finish line , my good gawd what a year .

    As some of you will know i august last year i bought myself a vw tax exempt westfalia camper , it was not a good purchase , when i got her home i found some extra undetected rot , paradox came around and found a stack more and i cried ,i had just spent a year doing up my t25 and now i had another task , but this time it was a mammoth one -- grrrrr

    Talk about embarased , i had posted on these forums , shown all my mates and generally boasted about making a bloomin shrewd purchase , oh the egg on my face almost hid the crimson glow , the best of it was i was not exactly a novice dubber -- my mates have had hours of humour out of my faux paux --

    A year later and the egg is cleaned a little and you can no longer toast bread on my face , she's nearly there !!
    The help recieved on tlb and eb has been brill , my new mate Bryan the welder has been a brick and i have worked me nuts off .

    Some of the surprises my van has kicked up over the year have been immense set backs ,some of the work i have taken on has been overwhelming , i mean how on earth does a relative novice take on a rusted through torsion beam -- pure self belief and will power i suppose , it was eased by a couple of good replies on my resto thread and a eager welder .

    God knows why i have chosen vanfest this year as my aim ( i do know why really - 5 years going without a roadworthy vw !! ) and hopefully we shall make it , just need a run of easy jobs and a blind mot man and Bobs yer uncle motted and campin .

    As i may have said before , no way Jose is Rhubarb EVER going to be concours but i don't give a stuff , so long as she's roadworthy and safe -- i'm gonna be camping in her , if your ever see us at a show , say hi and we will make you welcome !!

    Rhubarb is welded , there is a little bit by the battery box to do , but that is cut out n ready for the welder -- a hour or twos work .

    The main structual work is done , torsion tubes , sills, outriggers, jacking points , front beam , chassis , door steps , arches , floor pans front panel , inner valance and front panel all done and painted to primer , the underside is painted black ,. and i am at present filling and priming the bodywork .
    so in a way result - yay , but -- i still have to raise the near side torsion bar i spline , i have to refit the master cylinder , replace the brake pipes , adjust brakes , fix the horn , indicators which don't quite do what they are supposed to , connect speedo and prime the whole vehicle , all of which i am perfectly capable of doing " normanale ".

    It does'n seem too much when i sit here and write it all down but in reality , i have been working , sleeping living breathing Rhubarbs resto for a year now and i am finding it hard to motivate myself .

    Needless to say , i have spent out on her , holidays have gone by the wayside and time i should have spent doing other things have been confined to posting on the latebay and generally being a driven dope , and its now the school hols , my lads are missing my company and the surf boards are calling at us every time i go into the shed -- come on boys the surf is up -- i hear them call , and i want a break with the lads where i can reconnect , duck em under , give em wedges and say no when they ask for money for the arcade .

    We never went away we spent a couple of nights in the tent in our garden and laughed a lot .since then i have refitted master cylinder , brake reg and most of the brakepipes .

    some pics --

    torsion tube
    we found this -- both sides :(
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    "http://i863.photobucket.com/albums/ab191/poptop2/rearbeam003-2.jpg" />
    fixed it like this after a lot of head scratching
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    how i fixed it
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    and inner stregnthener
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    cover plate
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    inner piece slotted home
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    easy innit !!

    How i did the sliding
    slider repair
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    took it off again and did this -- tartan i have no taste , i know :oops:
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  3. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Pre site meltdown my ongoing project were these --
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    Well they're fitted now and i am waiting for the headrests to be finished
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    Very pleased even though i like tartan and have no taste ;)
     
  4. jesus ye don t mind how bad they where till ye look back , you ve come a long long way classsssssssssssssssssssssssss owen nw :eek: :eek: :eek:
     
  5. Woodylubber

    Woodylubber Obsessive compulsive name changer

    well done malc, keep up the good work :eek:
     
  6. Wow there bright
     
    womball likes this.
  7. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    ^^what Owen said you've come a very long way mate well done for sticking with it :)
     
  8. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

     
  9. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

  10. Lord Charles

    Lord Charles Day's Away Mod

    Keep it up Malc, loving the tartan.
     
  11. bright is the way forward owen nw
     
  12. Love the tartan K+ for being original!
     
  13. Great story Karma for your patience.
    I read every word. :)
     
  14. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

     
  15.  
  16. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    Lou n i have had a litte chat and the outcome is , Rhubarbs on hold , we have decided that although she only really needs a few jobs to get her motted we don't have the time to squeeze in another holiday this year .
     
    So the plan now is get the jobs done between now and December , then mot her in january ready for next year .
     
    it is a bit of a set back as i had my heart set on vanfest or dubs in the forest , the fact is she's over taken my usual routine , we have moved house this year and although we are not ready to decorate it yet we will be doing so in the spring and i will not have time then to work on the van as well .

    The jobs left to do are -- brake adjustment and back plate renewal , fix indicators and horn and get the last bit of welding in the engine bay finished , i am going to take her to my friends garage and let him sort the brakes , he does a good job and i would feel safer with a pro doing them rather than me with me bodging sticks . i will of course try and do the indicators and horn myself even though i am no auto electrician, the welding will be done as soon as i want it done and its only a coupla hours work , but we have holidays booked and would find it hard to get away in her this year so -- next spring we will be camping in her


    A pleasing thing happened this week , the headrests for the seat turned up , the seats have come to symbolise my whole resto in my mind , the reasoning behind this is -like Rhubarb they have taken more time and effort than orignally thought , they have been made good again when really they shoulda been binned , the workmanship is very good and they have transformed the cab of my van much like the van has transformed our live's -- and like my van i am very pleased with them - tartan , i have no taste but i like em very much --

    It is difficult to get a good angle in a tight garage , but they have gone from these

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    to these -

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    And i love em !!
     
  17. looking brilliant poptop, love the seat colour ;) doing a awesome job, K to ya :)
     
  18. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    thanks Dinky .
     
  19. those are sexy looking seats!
     
  20. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

     

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