Myfanwy is her name!

Discussion in 'Featured restos' started by physiopro, Nov 5, 2015.

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  1. So Myfanwy, means my love in Welsh! I am 54 now and all my life I wanted a classic VW Campervan. When 50 was fast approaching I figured if I didn't get one now it would be to late. When I started looking I could see two problems, one a roadworthy van in good condition was too expensive but also a few "restored" vans I looked at had as much newspaper as mild steel in them so didn't fancy spending hard earned cash on a pig in a poke as it where! I therefore decided to have a go at restoring one myself, how hard can it be? I had a basic mechanical knowledge, a garage to work in and Sunday's free so off I went!

    Initial picture.jpg

    Like most newbies my first mistake was to get all romantic and buy the first van I liked and could afford! Without actually talking to anybody first about what I was buying. I was 18 months into my resto before a latebayer mentioned that what I was in fact restoring was a dreaded panel van not a camper! I will just clarify that there is nothing wrong with panel vans when they are panel vans but panel vans converted to camper vans can be frowned upon in some quarters!

    Anyway first lesson, before you buy anything join this forum and listen!! You will get great advice and ultimately get more bang for your buck and unlike me know what you are doing before you start!

    So off I trot down to Lansing near Brighton to pick up a bus I haven't actually looked at, I knew it was in pretty bad shape though so there where no surprises! I actually drove her onto the trailer and proceeded to head back up North.

    Never actually having ever done a restoration before I bought a few books and formulated a plan, Bodywork first including structural pieces like chassis etc.
    Passenger side first as sliding door and runner would be a faf so get it out the way first! Rear end, drivers side, front then the roof, swiftly followed by the engine, suspension steering and finally brakes. Get the paint on, front seats in, MOT. Then finally start to rebuild the inside to my taste.

    Initially I gave myself 6 months to do the bodywork...... Thank god I didn't tell anybody else that part of my plan! I hadn't finished the passenger side within 6 months! The most important part of any project as we all know is preparation, getting the little things right then that way you only have to do it once. Trouble is it takes a long time........ Still absolutely essential though.

    I knew I wanted the van to look pretty much original on the outside and if I had known, I wouldn't have bought a panel van conversion, simply because the windows are a right faf to keep watertight! That aside I actually prefer my panel van conversion as my windows are bigger and subsequently let more light in which was important to me. Anyway because I wanted to return it to its former glory on the outside I didn't have to put too much thought into how I was going to restore it, I simply started by ripping everything out back to metal on the inside, all glass out, up on stands, wheels off and started to identify what needed to be replaced or repaired.

    So front wheel arch, including step, B pillar, inner and outer, inner wheel arch, bulkhead, parts of the floor, front and rear chassis legs, top hats, inner sill, middle sill, outer sill. Bottom half of the sliding door, inner and outer skin! C pillar, rear wheel arch outer and inner and rear quarter!

    NS rot 1.jpg NS rot 2.jpg NS rot 3.jpg NS rot 4.jpg

    The good news was that the chassis running front to back on both sides was in good condition! This is essential because as long as the two main chassis legs running fore to aft have good integrity then the chances of your bus twisting out of shape are minimal. Cab door was also good. Had a look at repo and genuine replacement panels and the difference is astonishing! The repo ones are about half the thickness and just for good measure dont fit!! Even though they are much cheaper, do not be tempted to buy repo panels, it is false economy and even if you manage to get them attached, the chances are they wont look as good and they certainly wont last as long and you will have to make sure nobody leans on your van as they will bend!!
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015
  2. So first job was to cut all the crap off! Not knowing at this point how stable the shell would be without all the stuff I have highlighted as needing to be replaced, I popped down to my local blacksmith and bought 2 x 5mm thick flat bars and once the cab and sliding doors where off I proceeded to weld the bars across each of the door Orifices in an attempt to stop the shell from twisting both from lack of integrity but also from the welding that I was going to do! I then cut all of the rust out back to good original metal. Once I had prepped all the surfaces I then proceeded to offer the new panels back up! Initially I thought I had broken the old girl as I couldn't get it all to fit correctly and presumed that she had twisted! An emergency phone call to Zed and a complete panic attack led to Zed calming me down and assuring me that the van wouldn't have twisted because of the integrity of the fore to aft chassis legs and that it was simply that I was crap, made me feel much better :). As always he proved to be correct and by just calming down and spending many hours, to be fair, I was able to jiggle and bend and molegrip the front wheel arch, inner sill, top hats and front chassis leg into place and feel happy with the relationship between the old and the new! So moral of the story is, take your time, by Original panels (they still dont fit perfect! It is not lego!!), have faith in your own ability, it isn't hard just time consuming, measure 10 times cut once. Finally never weld anything until you are happy that it will all fit!!

    NS B pillar.jpg NS front wheel arch 2.jpg NS front wheel arch.jpg NS rear arch.jpg NS rear panel.jpg NS sill.jpg NS.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  3. So that was the near side body shell welded up with fabricated metal where needed and replacement panels. Fabricating repair patches sounds really technical! well it isn't the way I did it! There are some amazing fabricators out there but all I did was to get 1.5mm sheet metal and cut the pieces to size and weld them in, again it is just a case of making sure you take your time and get it right before you start to weld. Unfortunately this means some Sundays I would spend all day preparing and at the end of the day would struggle to see what I had done. This also meant though that other days I would storm ahead and also have satisfaction that what I had done was good and didn't need to be revisited. Make sure you do it well and once!!

    I found John Schofields to be really helpful and they provided me with pressed prefabricated repairs for where the holes had been cut to make the windows and then hadn't been sealed properly and then subsequently had significantly corroded! Custom and Commercial where also very good and I found both suppliers the best for good quality panels.

    The sliding door was an interesting one. I have a right hand drive van (this was a must for me when I made my list of what I wanted in a van) for some reason replacement sliding doors for RHD are far more expensive than LHD, I guess this is probably down to the fact that there are plenty LHD sliding doors in good condition still kicking about as they have come from dry countries whereas all our RHD ones have rotted out! Mine was no exception and was rotton on the bottom 6 to 8". After looking unsuccessfully for a genuine replacement door I decided to repair mine with replacement half skins, inside and out.

    The biggest problem with repairing the sliding door is making sure the door ends up the correct height but also the bottom edge is in the correct place in space so that when the door goes back on it fits snug into the bottom seal and isnt waving about an inch from the runner!! I was talking to a friend who is an engineer about this problem and between us we came up with an idea to use a jig to ensure correct positioning of the repair panels. The outline of the bottom of the door was still there so I turned the door upside down, laid a small length of angle iron across the bottom lip the tack welded to uprights to it then tack welded the upright onto the door below where the repair would finish. This then allowed me to ensure the replacement parts not only sat far enough down but also the correct plane in space.

    Welding the outerskin on was tricky as overheating the original or the repair panel results in warping and buckling so I drilled small holes about 2" apart through the original skin, overlapped the repair skin about 6" up behind the original and then spot welded through the holes. Initially only doing about every 4th hole and immediately quenching with water. I did get some local movement but was able to contain it enough that post filling you cant see the repair. I spent all day just spot welding the repair as once I had done one I would quench then leave it for an hour before doing the next one!

    516f8ac1-d297-e28b.jpg NS.jpg sliding door 1.jpg sliding door 2.jpg sliding door 3.jpg sliding door 5.jpg sliding door 6.jpg slidingdoor005.jpg slidingdoor020.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  4. I then did the same to the rear of the bus
    NS rear quarter.jpg
    rear valence 2.jpg rear valence 3.jpg rear valence 4.jpg rear valence 5.jpg rear valence.jpg 214.jpg 521d1be0-906a-bae5.jpg 521d1be0-f16e-2726.jpg 521d1be0-f19b-15e1.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  5. And then the same to the O/S! Bit more fabricating was needed here as there was a damaged area to the offside middle panel!
    OS B pillar.jpg OS chassis leg.jpg OS fabrication front arch.jpg OS fron floor pan.jpg OS front wheel arch 3.jpg OS front wing.jpg OS panel 2.jpg OS panel 3.jpg OS panel fab.jpg OS panel.jpg
  6. And then finally replaced the front end
    Front panel removed.jpg New front panel.jpg ready for paint shop.jpg treated front panel.jpg

    I had read on the forum that cargo straps where needed to put the front end on and when I had prepped everything I realised that the panel needed to be flattened slighlty in order for the edges to fit over the A pillars. It was quite scarey as I ended up putting a lot of pressure through the cargo straps but suddenly there was a big bang and it popped on ;):burp:

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  7. Before I sent the van down for painting I made some front seats that are captains chairs. I took some old Renault Espace bases and some Westvalia seats and modified them both then welded together!
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364587540.657181.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364587558.091063.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1364587571.766197.jpg
    I was warned by fellow late bayers that they would be to high and you will notoce at the end that I dont have any sunvisors as I now dont need them but the actual seat height is fine for somebody of my height so my van is truly Bespoke!!

    So I now had a rust free van that was semi prepped for paint. It important to believe in yourself and your abilities but it is also important to understand your limitations and I had reached the point that I couldn't prep ready for painting any more than I had. so the next step was to whip the engine out then trailer the old girl down to my mate who is a whizz kid with the prep and paint!
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1365838658.266325.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1365838713.964625.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1365838730.546500.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  8. So while the van was being prepped and painted I started on the engine. Initially I was only going to rebuild the top end but I managed to drop a washer into the crank case and subsequently had to split the bottom end so decided to replace bearings down below anyway!
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  9. So meanwhile the prep on the van was moving forward and some paint was going on!

    2013-05-21 11.24.45.jpg 2013-05-21 11.25.00.jpg 2013-06-18 09.21.31.jpg 2013-06-28 17.41.53.jpg 2013-07-10 19.45.23.jpg 2013-07-16 19.53.22.jpg 2013-07-18 08.13.25.jpg 2013-07-18 19.52.08.jpg 2013-07-25 17.33.08.jpg

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
    Merlin Cat likes this.
  10. So it was back to the garage, powder coat wheels and engine cowlings then stick the engine and windows back in!
    2esu4yve.jpg engine 5.jpg engine 6.jpg u2uqa7aq.jpg
  11. So the rebuild begins!
    py6a9aru.jpg sound proof and heat resistance.jpg sound proof.jpg Trim 1.jpg u2a2epas.jpg ugu7e6un.jpg

    I fully insulated the interior to sound proof and also heat proof. I will just clarify that the heat proofing is not to keep the heat in!! There is to much glass that the heat can escape from! It is to keep the heat out! The tin top is like a magnifying glass but with the heat proofing my van is actually cool in the summer not hot!!

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    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
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  12. So upholster the seats, build the woodwork around the gas tank and fit the waterproof flooring over 10mm ply
    3uzu4atu.jpg ahagede6.jpg amevezu3.jpg aza9e8a2.jpg Gas tank 2.jpg office plastic covering.jpg petyjy6y.jpg qepevaje.jpg seats and floor.jpg sound proof and heat resistance.jpg

    I wanted to protect the carpet in the front as it is quite light in color so I ended up buying a square of plastic that would normally be used to allow an office chair roll on a carpet. I then took it to who supplied and fitted the carpets and waterproof flooring. They very kindly cut the plastic to shape and hey presto I have a nice carpet that wont get dirty!
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
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  13. Then is was off for an MOT and bang the van was on the road! The next thing I did was to take the van to Northampton Racing who set up the twin carbs on the rolling road!


    Well worth it!
  14. So then it was get a Rusty lee rock and roll bed, upholstered, make the panels as of course mine was a panel van so had to make my own!
    found a great guy to help with the trim and the roof lining! a7uqemu8.jpg aryhutu7.jpg back seat facia.jpg edevu5yh.jpg nu7yqyju.jpg Rusty lee rock and roll bed.jpg side panels.jpg
  15. Because I surf I wanted the van to reflect that so had a table made by a surfboard shaper!
    table.jpg vy3ejama.jpg

    Then it was fit the roof box where the table is stored when not in use!
    roof box.jpg Roofbox with table.jpg
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  16. Then Finally make and fit the main kitchen island!
    yja5uve6.jpg initial furniture.jpg
    5yheby4e.jpg Internal furniture.jpg yqumuqyj.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
    deano777 and Merlin Cat like this.
  17. We where finally ready for our first trip! We couldn't quite believe it! Three years of blood sweat and tears and it was all worth it! So we did our sea trials by going to Irchester country park for a BBQ
    The only fault we found was the cable from the leisure batt to the power management system was to thin so too high a resistance, which meant that every time we put the 750 watt amp on it tripped the fridge! Which functionally meant that our ice creams had melted! All in all not a train crash, so fixed that then over the next few months in 2013 we traveled to and through Wales and Devon
    van with boards.jpg van with dog.jpg
    Volksworld 3.JPG
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
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  18. We had a fantastic summer and do not regret one second spent on the van! We have continued to love using the van, we had one last thing to do and that was to put her name on!

    We have changed the back windows to sliders now so the kids don't melt in the summer but other than that we feel she is ace! We have even done a mates wedding !!
    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1428416892.764061.jpg ImageUploadedByTapatalk1429919168.762605.jpg
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  19. Thanks for taking the time to read my story and if you have an inkling to restore your own bus, remember it will take a lot longer than you think and will be a lot more expensive than you think but in my opinion it is well worth it and every time I drive my van it makes my heart sing :beer::D

    11536059_10153337221772324_2291494472235838426_n.jpg 11760162_10153408014792324_6039417974855172296_n.jpg
    This is the link to my Resto page
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2015
  20. Merlin Cat

    Merlin Cat Moderator

    Very nice. :) I really like the canister fitted between the seats and covered over. The rest of the vans not bad too! :)
    Peter Moncur, deano777, el and 2 others like this.
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