Woody - owned by the Diddymen clan

Discussion in 'Featured restos' started by Diddymen, Aug 19, 2015.

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  1. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    My name is Diddymen, I'm a rust addict and this is my story.........

    I bought my van back in September 2009, and despite owning another classic vehicle I broke the cardinal rule of buying the first van I viewed.

    I bought Woody with the view to doing a complete nut and bolt restoration in slow time .....I didn't quite realise how slow that time would take. Having had a good look around the van, I had noted all of the areas which needed work and thought I could have it on the road in a year, possibly 2 .....try over 6 years! And I hadn't ever driven a VW T2 in all that time, so I wasn't sure I'd even like it once finished!

    So first rule of buying a restoration project is what ever time you think it will take ....triple it, the same rule goes for cost and effort involved, and how ever bad a rust bubble looks it is 3 times as bad under the paint!

    To be fair, I could have got it on the road in a year by patching up, and only doing the bits that needed attention for the MOT, but that wouldn't really be a nut and bolt resto now would it. And one of my driving motivations was to try to retain as much original metal as possible while making the repairs look as near to factory as I could get them.

    So after parting with £3300 for a non running van, which at the time seemed a bit steep even though it was filled with over £1000 worth of spares and body panels, I hired a man with a flat bed truck and had it trailered back to castle Diddymen.

    I'll let the pics do the talking for a while

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    Before I got it into my garden it had a brief stay in the neighbours back garden where we tried to start it. I bought a new battery but it wouldn't turn over. We traced the problem to the starter motor.

    A few days later a new starter was fitted, and a little cranking later, the engine fired into life.

    Testimony to the resilience of the air cooled lump considering that it hadn't run for 4 years before I bought it ....so the fuel was 4 years old!

    I had been told by the previous owner that a new Vega engine had been fitted and only done approx. 20K miles, never the less its always a risk buying a non runner and taking a sellers word for things

    So that was how the van looked as I bought it, a few nasty scabs, a few rust holes in the usual places but luckily not many previous repairs to unpick

    next was cutting and welding
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  2. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    So work started on cutting out the rot and welding new metal.......

    For the first year and a half I must have spent on average at least 10 hours every weekend working on the van, I lost count of how much time I spent under it grinding or wire brushing off rust back to solid metal .....Mrs Diddymen began to only recognise me from the waist down....and at the end of a long day, the bottom of a hot bath would run red with rust.

    Fitting the best panels I could get hold of, when I could, repro panels when only these were being manufactured or making my own, Slowly new metal began to go back on. Where possible always saving as much of the original van as possible, even to the point of unpicking original panels, removing them from the van carefully, repairing them and re-fitting. It became a borderline obsession!

    Working outside throughout the year was not always fun and came with it's own challenges .....dodging rain showers, high winds blowing welding gas away and having to make sure that any welds or new metal work were pained and protected by the end of the day

    ready for more pictures?

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    and that is just a small selection of the metal work
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  3. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    So after the metal work came the filler and sanding, filler and sanding, filler and sanding, filler and sanding .................

    Every project is going to need some filler, quite enjoyable when you start off, but after a while it becomes more than a little tedious. Get the metal work as straight as you can before starting will help ....a bit, don't rush this stage and think 'that wil'l do no matter how sick of it you get, it is this stage that will really make the difference to a good paint job.

    I spent weeks sanding by hand, flashing over some non porous primer in between as I was still working out in the elements.

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    it was about this time in the restoration that I was extremely fortunate to be given a space in GingersVW workshop to finish off the body work ...in the dry .......in exchange for certain favours of course :eek::oops:

    so with the help of Ginge, my dad, Honky, Paddy & Dawson we hauled it out of the garden ....well they did and I took the pics :)

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    and then it was more filling, sanding, filling sanding, a bit of rubbing down, then more filling, sanding.....

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    Filling and sanding is a real art, and you can only get it so far by eye, its a process where you have to feel the van for low/high points.........and after a few more months, it was ready to go to the paint shop. In reality I'd got it as flat as I could and I couldn't wait for the paint shop to take over.........I was sick of it!

    and that took me to about September 2012 ....so yes, 3 years to get it into the paint shop
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  4. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    so on to paint....

    after a bit more rubbing down by the body shop they applied more primer

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    the interior was painted.........

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    ........and everything got a coating of paint too

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    and or course most importantly the van itself!! choosing the colour was always going to be tough, as once on there is no going back

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    to get to this stage is like 100 Christmases at once ......but tainted with a little nervousness as it now has to go back together with out scratching any thing.

    and having gone this far I couldn't really start putting dirty or rusty bits back on

    so next is reassembly, the part I was most looking forward to ........in reality the expensive bit
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2017
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  5. Diddymen

    Diddymen Moderator

    reassembly started by re-fitting all the doors, catches and glass

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    then the poptop could go back on

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    every panel was coated with sound deadening

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    I made and fitted a new wiring loom

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    dash was re-fitted along with heater pipes, heater cables etc, then the instruments were re-furbished, cleaned and re-fitted

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    all the mechanicals were cleaned, re-furbished and painted

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    New headliner was made by Mrs Diddymen

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    engine was stripped, de-greased, new seals, push rod tubes, alternator, powder coated tin ware were fitted before re-installing it

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    All of the fuel system was overhauled with new R9 fuel lines being fitted, and since then I have bought new ethanol proof fuel hose and an automatic fire suppression system. It is worth noting at this point that poor fitting, old and degraded fuel hose is the number one cause of fire in old VW's. Even if you are not contemplating a restoration, check your fuel hoses and connections regularly including those on the fuel breathers and the fuel filler pipe

    So, with the engine and fuel system overhauled, filled with oil and fuel it was time to fit a battery and crank over to get oil pressure. Once the oil pressure was up and fine, I could re-connect the coil and with a bit of trepidation crank over again.

    It fired up first time which was a relief.

    At this point in the restoration it was Aug 2013, so the engine had not fired for about 4 years! ....again, at least this time it had fresh fuel!

    A few more weeks of fettling, re-fitting little bits and pieces followed before I piped up the courage to book the dreaded MOT....I needn't of worried as it passed with flying colours (the 2nd time after I had re-bled the brakes:oops:)

    And so it was time to drive it home .....Ginger was probably sick of it in his work shop as it had been over a year since taking up residence with him.

    So, nearly 4 years to the day after I bought it, it was back home finally with an MOT

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    And did I enjoy my first drive in it? .......of course I did :)

    The van was still a long way off being finished at that point (are they ever?) ........I was basically an empty shell, and a rather expensive (and slow) 2 seater!

    So next was the interior fitting out and all those other little finishing touches
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2017
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