Restoration of Project Panther

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by bagpus, Sep 22, 2019.

  1. That’s a post to bookmark!
    Kruger likes this.
  2. Welding something like this is a lot like engine building...a lot of fiddling and measurement, the last steps welding/assembly don’t take all that long in comparison. And with both, there are always surprises.
    nicktuft, JamesLey and davidoft like this.
  3. Agree with you 100% @orwell84. The big problem was that I thought genuine and VW brazil were 2 different things, which of course they are not! Took a while to get them to fit, but based on the advice of yourself, James & Zedders I have remade folds and trimmed down areas which were a problem so can't thankyou enough. I'm currently working on the B post and inner arch, then will fit the arch and hopefully post photo's of the progress very soon.
    JamesLey likes this.
  4. Bit of an update on the front arch. As these are genuine arches you would expect them to fit, however, given all the great advice received above I prepared myself to administer surgery to the single most expensive panels.

    First I refolded the step area using Zedders pictures and the info in the Haynes restoration book as a guide and using a cardboard template which marked out the profile of the floor. Then I screwed the panel in place and used multiple pulleys to pull the step inboard as much as possible.

    Then tack welding at the B pillar and working forward, pulling the middle section out to match the profile of the door, then using the pulleys anchored at the chassis rail to pull the step area back into line

    IMG_0674.JPG Tack welded at the rear, screwed in place at all other areas. See the middle section which goes in to far, this was pulled out as tack welds were added progressively going forwards to bend it in place.

    IMG_0675 (2).JPG
    Looking better
    IMG_0679 (2).JPG
    IMG_0680 (2).JPG

    Next onto the front panel as there is loads of filler and lots of rot around the windscreen surround.
    IMG_0678 (2).JPG About 1" thick filler.
    IMG_0681 (2).JPG

    Not much left of the window surround
    nicktuft, Kruger, Coco and 3 others like this.
  5. Good work in the step!!

    Mines well out of shape... the PO had obviously not asked Zedders for his sage advice!
    nicktuft and Coco like this.
  6. Thanks, really pleased with how it worked out
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
  7. And now onto the front panel! A bit like the doors where I knew they were rotten, it was really good to get the angle grinder out and cut out what possibly could be the last part of wholesale rust.
    IMG_0686 (2).JPG

    The windscreen inner panel needs replacing but the deformation panel and lower inner seem solid...... need to strip it back to bare metal, however, it's looking promising.
    Last edited: Oct 20, 2020
    Valveandy and JamesLey like this.
  8. Decided to take the dash out as it needs some work, then it was easier to cut out the inner windscreen panel
    IMG_0714 (2).JPG
    The air box seems in pretty good nick

    IMG_0713 (2).JPG
    How it looks from inside. I've taken loads of pictures of the wiring.

    I've tried fitting the front panel and I'm realising that my efforts are really the same as other threads. @JamesLey @MorkC68 and @brothernumberone -guys, would really appreciate your advice- You have all said these panels (which seem to small) need the edges teased open to get the panel over the lip, do you still keep with the same fold or do you remake the folds and can you explain in more detail how to do this as I don't want to crease the panel?

    My guess is that the material spec of the steel has changed at some point and the tool will have originally been designed with an amount of spring back. If the revised material doesn't spring back at the same rate the panel will be narrower and shorter (but marginally deeper). A panel like that would be expensive to retool so it's unlikely to be a different tool.
    JamesLey likes this.
  9. JamesLey

    JamesLey Sponsor

    The panels come with the edges folded over a bit too much for you to be able to pull it over the A pillar.

    You want to open up the edge on one side a little, hook the other edge over the a pillar and pull the panel across the front to hook the slightly opened edge onto the other a pillar (gripping the panel at the headlight bowl and indicator aperture).

    You're not re-bending the edge to make the panel wider, just opening it up enough to be able to get the thing on.
    nicktuft likes this.
  10. Thanks James, appreciate your reply... thought I was going to have a hernia trying to get it to fit last night!
  11. An important bit to remember is the airbox, make sure there’s none of the old panel left on it and dolly the edges so they’re completely flat, the front skin needs to be perfectly flat against it.
    I find I end up rebending the edge slightly on the side I pull over the a pillar, mostly up around the swage line. Not deliberately, but just because it won’t fully pull over the edge of the pillar.
  12. Sorry for not replying before now, I forgot at lunchtime as we had a meeting come up all of a sudden.

    For us, we gently teased the edges out similar to what James suggested and when its fitted up, tease them back to form a tight folded seal.

    This video shows how John, the gent who restored this bus fit the front panel and folded the edges round:

    I think there are 30 videos in the series, I watched them all back when I was furloughed and enjoyed watching them, the detail and content was great, well documented.
  13. Great advice, thanks for taking the time to reply
  14. Thanks @MorkC68 will have another go this weekend. The video's look great and I've never seen them before so will be watching. Appreciate your reply, cheers.
    MorkC68 likes this.
  15. I don't know how anyone restores a van without turning it on its side!!! You have done a fantastic job whilst keeping her upright and on her wheels and pretty swiftly as well. Enjoy the rest of the journey.
    bagpus and JamesLey like this.
  16. It may be too late but...Did you give the deformation panel a good prodding. Mine looked great, but there was this one little pinhole. It ended up being full of rust scabs and I ended up replacing it. They rust from the inside out but it takes a long time to break through as the piece is 2mm thick. It was the last nasty surprise on my bus.
  17. Thanks @orwell84 will give this a good inspection based on what you found- don't want to be replacing it in 18 months.
  18. I've been doing numerous trial fits of the panel and think it is getting somewhere close
    The edges still seem very tight but I'm working on the advice that you have to roll them over gradually.
    The top edge, around the windscreen looks to fit except on both sides at about 3/4 width-see below.... so
    IMG_0737 (2).JPG

    The centre windscreen area above the airbox fits really well and the measurements also tie in, it's just these areas which don't follow the line of the inner panel.... is this normal?
    nicktuft likes this.
  19. Had the top half of my front panel replaced in January this year. Was a best quality part from Schofield and the panel beater said that it did need prising in.
    Yours looks spot on. Really like the way you got the front arches to match the cab doors. I job I must tackle some time ....
  20. Thanks @nicktuft I’d like to be able to take the credit for the arches but it’s really the advice from the experts on this site which made the difference.

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