Quiet on here the last few weeks, so I thought I'd do a quick write up on the fun and games I'm having with my other toy (give you an opportunity to laugh at my stupidity!). It's a 1982 LHD AIR-COOLED vw camper (T25) westfalia pop-top, affectionately known in our house as Norma...
She is a very original 'westy', with a lovely cared for interior that looks very fresh for 35/36 years old. Exterior is a little scabby in the usual places (seams mainly, and some scabs coming under the window rubbers and in the lowest bits) but nothing like as bad as some of the rusty VW's you see around. The van was in Germany until 1996 and was imported by an enthusiast, this shows in the general condition and she looks to have been extremely well cared for during 100k or so mile life.
We bought the van last April from Kent, The journey back to the midlands was nerve racking. 200 and odd miles in an untested 35 year old van with no fuel gauge! The journey was made worse as I has no sat nav and my wife had offered to let me follow her home, I'm not sure how but we ended up using the tunnel and incurring a 'dart charge' for both the van and the wifes car!
Things have been better since then, we've had a couple of nice holidays in her and mile by mile she is proving to be very reliable (we've done 1500 miles in her so far, three times the annual mileage I'm doing in the Jag!). Having owned other old VW's in the past, I wasn't expecting a lot from the driving experience, the bay window vans are very slow and the handling promotes plodding rather than progress - quite different to the Jags - but these T25's are worlds apart from the older stuff and are actually very enjoyable to drive, not powerful, but not woefully underpowered either!
Originally I was just going to run the van and stop her deteriorating any further, but I've the got the VW bug again and need to make this van right
So, back in September I decided to bite the bullet and get the van renovated to a similar standard to all my other cars.
The work started by dealing with the obvious rusty bits on the bodywork, some rust was cut out, new metal let in. This photo only shows the repair with primer on, but trust me, there's new metal under there (The big rusty scab that was here can be seen in the pictures above). There a couple of other patches low down around the sills too but I can't seem to find any close ups of them. Many happy hours spent with a willing friend who's handy with the welding kit - cost me a few beers but nothing extortionate
On checking the underside in more detail, I was pleased that my initial assessment when I bought the van was correct. The van has been regularly treated with dinitrol or similar (not the thick underseals) and it is near new under there, thankfully no nasty surprises. You can see in the photo above a dodgy looking horizontal line to the right of the indicator lense, this turned out to be a big heap of filler hiding a dent - something the body shop would find and fix properly later.
Then the seams were rubbed back, the PU sealant removed and the metal joins rust treated. New PU sealant applied to the joins and then primed and rattle can (very poor colour match!) to protect it until the full paint job.
Now I thought we'd sorted the welding at this point, but when the body shop started to prepare the van for paint, they found holes in the doors, window surrounds, tail gate and sliding door! Funny what a flap wheel reveals across the common weak points!!! So, windows out, Lots of new metal welded in, she really is starting to look very solid again.
A couple of weeks back, she was looking very much improved and nearly completely dent free and prepped for paint.
A couple of weeks and she'll be home, although it's been way more work than my friendly body shop quoted for, dread to think what the bill is going to be
Then it will be on with the to do list (what would life be without a to do list
) - In no particular order and I'm bound to have forgot a few things -
Re-assemble with new bumpers, bike rack, mirrors, trim etc
Twins carbs need rebuild and rolling road set up
Drive shaft to be replaced
Constantly squealing front nearside brakes to be sorted out
MOT in March (Along with the Jag and the Audi)
New cab carpets to be fitted
Front seats to be re-padded
New powdercoated wheels to go on
Fit proper 3 point rear seat belts (currently lap belts, but there are proper tested long seat belts available that bolt in the original points used for the mini bus version)
Fix the overnight heater (which currently has no fuel feed and no exhaust!)
Fix the fuel gauge
So it's a good job the Jag is fairly well sorted really!