Steady Eddie 72 Body Restoration

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by SteadyEddie, Oct 10, 2017.

  1. Hi All,

    I suppose the first thing I should say is that I'm a total beginner at restoration but after realising how much it would cost a garage to catch the amount of rust I need to, there was no other option than to have a go myself. That means everything to follow is complete amatuer standard and I hope no one follows my lead as I'm probably doing it wrong, in reality I rather hope I can use this to get some feedback and advice on what I'm doing wrong and how I could do it better!

    Anyway, disclaimer out of the way, lets get to the resto!

    As a bit of background, back in September 2014, a friend said they were selling their 72 Westy and would do me a good deal (ha yeah, like there is ever such a thing!). So me and my girlfriend of six months (who didn't even have a driving licence at the time) couldn't resist and soon enough pooled our savings and picked up 'the Rusty Bus' and quickly renamed him Eddie after our first breakdown in Edinburgh.

    Not knowing anything about campers apart from spending my childhood spotting them from the back seat of the car, I was quickly out of my depth and relied on a garage to do all the immediate work to get it through the MOT.

    A couple of years later and after surviving a mini tour of Europe in the van this summer, me and my now fiancee have given ourselves a year to get the van ready to be our wedding car for next September - nothing like an ambitious deadline to focus the mind!

    This was Eddie on the day we bought him
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    Lo and behold, his old name of The Rusty Bus wasn't a lie
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  2. So, after discovering the rust, the work began! - in the garage that is:

    New Jacking points
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    Passenger's seat at seatbelt mount
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    New floor sections and wheel arches
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    Driver's footwell
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    The finished product
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    And that was where funds ended! It made it through the MOT but the bodywork remains rotten, roll forwards to the present day and I realise there is nothing for it but to try and do the work myself! what could possibly go wrong...
     
  3. Present day and I've bought myself a sanding wheel for a powerdrill and start digging into the paint around the rust bubbles but all I can find is filler. It didn't take long for me to ditch the sanding wheel and buy an angle grinder with a twisted wire wheel to get the job done properly. In Hindsight I should have taken photos of the bodywork beforehand but I promise you it didn't look too bad to begin with.

    It doesn't take long to realise it has had numerous repairs done and lots of money spent on it, but none of it spent well! the bottom 4-6 inches has mostly been replaced with new panels but they have simply overlapped the original metal and bodged the welding before covering the mess with well over an inch and a half of filler.

    Old rear left wheel arch repair
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    Holes in the repair - note the sliding door panel to the left should curve in, that's because its been bodged out of three sections of sheet metal
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    Rear lower corner panel with some dodgy welding
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    Nothing left of the sliding door runner
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    Front panel is completely rotten
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    Looks like the upper section was repaired at some point
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    You get the idea!

    So last weekend I stopped getting distracted poking about and started getting to work.
     
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  4. Blimey, you have your work cut out. Good luck and keep those pics coming!
     
  5. Rear wheel arches came off no problem, the tack welds didn't need much cutting, note the jaffa is the original paint, this arch was simply welded over the old metal, then repaired again later at the bottom!
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    shortly followed by the back corners
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    Realising the scale of the job ahead, I bought myself a welder, watched some youtube videos on how to weld and used the old wheel arches as welding practice (not bad for a first weld if I say so myself)
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    so practice over and I had a go at fabricating a new angle piece for the boot lid hinge mounting point
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    The first weld is in. Scruffy but no one will see it once the outer panel is on
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    Last edited: Oct 10, 2017
  6. That's about it for now, the first bit is in but there is a lot more to go.

    I've had a go at cleaning up the rear pillars
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    they don't look too bad but the left one will need some sort of repair

    I've also seen the repeated threads about fuel hoses and took the opportunity to check my breather pipe, yep, looks like that needs addressing too
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    In the meantime, all the spare parts have arrived, is it obvious I've been saving up for this for 2 years
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    So that just about brings this up to date. I don't really know what I'm doing but I've fumbled my way through life this far, why change now! Any suggestions of what I need to look at next before I get distracted with other bits of rust? My thoughts are to drop the engine to a) avoid the risk of fire while cutting and welding near perished fuel lines and b) be able to get inside the engine bay and treat everything from the inside. Any suggestions welcome?
     
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  7. Looks like you've a good project there! For cleaning metal up I've always found strip and clean discs better than wire wheels. They're not as aggressive and seem to work quicker.


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  8. Flakey

    Flakey Sponsor

    Yep get the engine out and the fuel tank, amazed you've not set fire to the foam seal yet :eek:
     
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  9. Some project to learn on :thumbsup:. Well done so far but as Flakey says take the engine out first :hattip:
     
  10. Hi all. Thanks for the replies and encouragement! Funny you should mention the foam seal... that and my hair got a little warm ;) I’ll be wearing a hat from now on!

    Decision made then, engine out this weekend! Another job I’ve never done before but it seems a realtively achievable task!

    Thanks all!
     
    art b likes this.
  11. Flakey

    Flakey Sponsor

    Don't worry about your hair, you'll have none left soon :D
     
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  12. Rez

    Rez

    I got married myself less than a month ago and spend the last year practically living in my garage restoring my own van.
    I made it on time (barely) but it took every waking moment.

    I'd say you're mad to consider it I guess it's too late for that! :D Instead, I genuinely wish you the best of luck.
    You'll have nights where your sofa is too appealing to leave but try to get SOMETHING done every night. The amount of times I said to myself that I'd give it half an hour to do X or Y and 3 hours later I'm still happily out there.

    I'm back from Honeymoon 4 days ago and 3 of those I've driven my van. It's all been worth it.
     
  13. :cool:
     
    JamesLey likes this.
  14. I would have advised to keep it as a rolling resto ...ie do one corner bit at a time , it stops you getting demoralised and it keeps reference points ...
    BUT best of luck .....once your married your life will be over anyway so make the most of it .....
     
  15. I'm about to do the same. Starting from a similar point, experience wise. But hey, I don't mind telling you, I'm pretty excited! Best of luck dude!


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    JamesLey likes this.
  16. Thanks everyone for the support!

    JamesLey - Interesting suggestion. The disks I started using on the drill were similar strip and clean type disks. They were very slow cutting through the filler compared to the wire disk but I see your point when it comes to rust. I'll give that a try next and see how they compare!

    Congrats Rez, that's what I'm aiming for! I'm gradually taking over the house and garden one bit at a time. If I get the engine out that gives me something to tinker with in the shed if its raining and I can't work on the van. I don't mind setting fire to my head every now and then but electric tools in the rain is a step too far even for me.

    I did consider the idea of a rolling resto but to be honest, that's sort of what it has been since we bought it. A wedding gives me a good excuse to actually spend some meaningful time and money putting it right rather than simply chasing repairs here and there. That said, I can promise everyone this won't be immaculate when its finished but as long as I can drive it to the wedding, I'll call that a success! - I couldn't bare seeing it in parts for more than a year, i want to be driving it.

    Nice one Cloppper, best of luck with yours!
     
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  17. Afternoon all, another weekend and another update.

    I've followed everyone's advice and had a go at dropping the engine. After getting the four bolts off the transmission and a lot of shoving and wobbling to no avail, I finally realised there is an extra support bar running just behind the rear valance which was holding it all together, with that released the engine came out without a hitch. I didn't read anyone saying about this extra support bar so I assume it's either a late bay thing or an aftermarket job - hope it's not a sign of historic damage!
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    So to the front (of the van) behind the fan cowling I looked at the teeth on the engine to spot a little surface rust. Hope this is nothing major but it hasn't done any damage.
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    In for a penny, I soon had the fuel tank out, not really sure why I took it out but at least I can see how the van's looking. Also it gives good access to all the fuel pipes. A full set of rubber fuel lines and breather pipes is straight onto the shopping list!
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    Why stop there? At this point I had no idea what I was doing so trying to blag it, I just kept pulling bits off. All the upper panels and insulation in the engine bay came off to reveal the remains of a rather nasty fire! someone was lucky enough to catch it before it did any more damage.
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    At that point my back started to ache so I worked my way round the front to continue the stripdown, has anyone seen the mighty bodge that is tin foil indicators?
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    After getting bored on the front, I got distracted again stripping the sill between the sliding door and rear wheel, there are at least 5 patch repairs and some horrendous welds! more bodges to cut out!
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    Eventually I realised it it was time to do something productive so with the help of the future Mrs fabricating the parts, we got to repairing the rear pillars and some inner panels
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    I'll accept it's not perfect but it's certainly less of a bodge than it was!

    Big thanks to my other half for her efforts and my neighbour who gave us a lift with the engine!

    I have next week off work so I'll hopefully make some serious progress then, any suggestions of what to attack next?
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2017
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  18. By the look of things,i'd attack the previous repairer !! :eek:
    Good luck with your project, there will be times when you may think what i'm I doing or i'm fed up just battle through, it will be worthwhile in the end fella.:thumbsup:
     
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  19. Flakey

    Flakey Sponsor

    When people say it's just 4bolts they're lying :D
    You took the fuel tank out because it's the right thing to do when you're doing loads of welding in the engine bay :thumbsup:
     
  20. Looking good mate. I'd probably start with your sills. You mention you had some work carried out under the van. How far did they go? From the above pics it looks like your middle sills need some work which usually means the inner and outer sills need doing too.


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