Looking underneath - a cautionary tale

Discussion in 'Buying a VW Camper' started by zedders, Feb 21, 2014.

  1. PM me what you want Keith
  2. what is the rear axle beam like Zed? I would imagine if the rails are that bad, the point where the rear beam attaches to the chassis wont be very solid.

    I'm asking because that part is very badly rusted on mine and am looking for either comfort by looking at worse cases or inspiration for repair. (i'm in self denial)
    Merlin Cat and Silver like this.
  3. I'm also in denial about that at the moment, I'm working backwards from the front and I'm not going to look at that bit until I get there. A quick glance sees repairs but who knows who did them and when they were done. I'm not of a mind to chop it out until the front half is tickety-boo. :)
    Sven likes this.
  4. If (or when) I buy another bus I going for one like this buddy iv learnt big time !!!
  5. @Wispy I had you as well as others in mind when I started this thread. If a prospective customer asked me to fix all this stuff as "the job" I'd take A LOT of talking into it. After all, the bottom line is one wouldn't be in this mess if one had been prepared to get ones clothes dirty/wet. Harsh?
    Wispy and Lasty like this.
  6. Poptop2

    Poptop2 Moderator

    I have mixed feeling on this thread. They are very lucky to have come to you, you will fix it properly and make sure the van is up to scratch again, great!

    People pay £8.5k because their mind says - pay dearer get better, So long as the seller gives them enough bull they are very unlikely to go probing and getting their clothes dirty- god forbid. On the other hand, if it's a complete tidy van otherwise ( which I somehow doubt from what you have shown so far) Then £8.5k is not a lot of money in comparison to a new one, If they pay you a couple of grand to finish off a otherwise very tidy van then I suppose it's a result in a way?
  7. Great advice @zed my first bus was nice on top and a rotter underneath.

    My new one I spent an hour under it with a tack hammer. Screwdriver and small chisel. No welding needed but 2jacking points had to be got. Got the seller to drop the price for the parts and labour.

    I would also recommend bringing a decent sized magnet. Under seal and primer can hide a lot of history.
    Lord Charles likes this.
  8. I would rather have a nice top and ugly underneath...:thumbsup:

    I bought this off vzi


    but look inside


    The outside was mint as well...

    First impressions, the ugly stuff you can fix..

    But yes have a look underneath for 2 minutes...:D
    Poptop2 likes this.
  9. T
    Thanks Zed :)

    You'll be pleased to know I've spent a long time today on my hands and knees under a bay with a torch and a penknife :thumbsup: Top advice here, and not at all harsh to tell folks not to be dazzled by a clean shinty bus.
  10. Ah, but they didn't come to me for this work, I just got lumbered with it because I'm like that. I really don't want to do it!

    I know what you mean, but by the time the troubles rears it's ugly head the money has been spent on shiney wheels, power steering, shiney exhausts, twin carbs, lowering, covering the interior... the stuff you want to spend money on. Owner is sanguine but cheesed off with the seller obviously, mainly because it wouldn't fair well in a crash would it? Wife and two veg on board and all that. :)

    Marmite happens but it can be avoided. Knowledge is power, hence the thread and where I posted it. :)
  11. TBH this is one is as bad as it gets (covered up). There are loads like this but they're usually displaying all the jagged edges and priced accordingly. Any luck? I'm damned sure Lowies isn't like this!
  12. Makes me glad that after it's last service in January the mechanic at Westside told me mine was solid. I absolutely cling to that one-word description.
  13. Lord Charles

    Lord Charles Day's Away Mod

    Great advice @zed just because it has shiny wheels and nice paint doesn't mean it isn't a pear underneath.

    I was talking with Mel Hubbard a few months ago and he said that out of all the buggies he has sold no-one ever looked underneath, they just stared at the shiny metalflake. A friend of mine always takes a pea hammer with him when he looks at buying stuff so he can have a good tap - this sometimes upsets sellers and when it does he just walks away.

    Trying to look underneath a lowered bus can be difficult but better to make the effort than count the cost later.
  14. When someone gets it into their head that they want a VW camper / bus, it is all too easy for them to be blinded and buy a bus that look good from the top without examining the underside - the presumption being that if it's OK on top, it'll be OK underneath. As you point out many things can be hidden by under-seal etc. It is well worth anyone looking at buying reading threads like this and seeing pictures that have been posted.

    I bought my first bus before I was ever on the internet, with a little knowledge and experience of older vehicles I figured that I would know what to look for. I ended up buying a bus after a cursory examination - thinking the floor and chassis looked OK only to find later on that they were not quite so. I learned a lot with that bus and it was in no way a shed and as bad as some of those pics. It ran for 4 years with minimal welding being done before being sold rather cheaply as a project vehicle. I think I was lucky. When buying the bus I have now I knew much more about what to look for and where to poke about. I could see past certain areas of rust on body panels but was far more concerned about the state of the chassis. My bus has those clean straight lines mentioned and I went with a blunt instrument to poke about the underside (despite it being winter temperatures!) This was exactly a year ago. I am happy that my bus is quite solid and I know where I am starting from in regards to any repairs that need doing as time goes on.

    I hope that would be owners look in on sites like this and read the advise of people who know what they are talking about like @zed in order to get a decent bus and not be fooled into buying some of the crap that is out there.
    Lord Charles likes this.
  15. @Neptuneblue I did exactly the same loosing many £k's on my first one and like you I'd learned a lot in the process and the next one was really good and also dirt cheap. :thumbsup: Loosing about £6K on the first focussed my attention!
    Neptuneblue and vdub brvs like this.
  16. I was recently asked to go and look at a bus by a LBM the bus had been completely restored two to three years ago and then re sprayed approx one year ago by present owner as he didn't like the colour. Said bus looked really nice when I first got there
    I still feel it is in reasonable condition but once looked underneath there where several things that hadn't been addressed properly!
    Drivers side top hat above forward chassis leg and Jacking point hadn't been replaced or repaired, despite renewing said chassis leg and jacking point!
    Bottom of both inner sills where suspect in places
    Drivers side chassis leg that sits behind the rear wheel needed plating.
    Both inner wheel arches in the rear had not been replaced or repaired when both outer skins had been clearly renewed!
    Not sure what it is called but the vertical pillar at the back of the van on driver side, despite new rear valence being fitted, was rotted out!
    Because of the apparent poor attention to detail that had been shown by the restorer I looked closer at the paintwork and considering it had been resprayed only one year before the bottom of the cab doors and sliding door where already beginning to bubble!
    There was also something going on on the front panel
    The other thing to mention was that the owner was a delight and I believe had absolutely no idea that the van was in need of welding or in fact the possibility that the restoration was anything but a top class job! My point is that it is not about judging the owner it is about judging the van but also judging the quality of the restoration parts that you can see which will then help you to determine the quality of the work you can't see :)

    Once I pointed the faults out to the owner he was mortified and immediately offered to drop the price to allow for the work that needed doing(MOT runs out in 3 weeks!)
    This could still be made into a nice van but it will need 2 to 3 thousand spent on it and therefore asking price of £11,500.00 in my opinion is too much he did however agree to £10,000 while I was there! What do people think this van is worth taking the work needed into consideration? Engine is a type 4 goes ok, seems a bit underpowered and clutch right at end of travel but not slipping. Interior is a bit tired but works well, pop top is fine but tatty
    The van has full power management system built in with leisure battery, and electrical hook up!
  17. Lord Charles

    Lord Charles Day's Away Mod

    I am making this a sticky in the hope that as many potential van owners as possible take note.

    Thanks for all the valuable input.
  18. This is brill advice.

    I had to ask the eventual buyer of my Aussie bay to look under the bus just so he knew how solid it was !!!

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