before and after – quite a difference with the clean up process!

back to life, back to reality… back to bare metal!

Whilst I was out having fun and enjoying seeing all the different buses on display at the SSVC organised Brighton Breeze event, it was good to know that my bus was in good hands with the guys at Resto Classics who were busy making a start on getting the underneath cleaned up and trial fitting the new front disc kit.

wheels off – time to get stuck in underneath the bus…
wheels off – time to get stuck in underneath the bus…

The trial fitting of the Fellows Speedshop front disc kit on the front of my bus certainly attracted a lot of attention from visitors to the Resto Classics workshop.

Fellows Speedshop disk brake kit for wide 5 wheel fitment
Fellows Speedshop disc brake kit for wide 5 wheel fitment

It’s funny but they immediately wanted to know what kind of monster engine is fitted in the back, maybe they’re thinking… 😉

a porsche engine bolts straight in t-shirt, available in a range of colours…
a Porsche engine bolts straight in t-shirt, available in a range of colours…

One of the great things about using  Epoxy Mastic 121 to protect the underneath of the bus is that it can be applied successfully over the components once thy have been cleaned up with a wire brush, rather than having to have the entire underneath of the bus media blasted. It should still offer the same performance as coatings that are applied over blast cleaned steel. So with that thought in mind, it was time to get under the bus and get some cleaning up started…

before and after – quite a difference with the clean up process!
before and after – quite a difference with the clean up process!

Fortunately for me, the slightly OCD nature (in a good way) of one of the guys at Resto Classics, bizarrely rather enjoyed the challenge of getting stuck in and cleaning under the bus! The results of his work were rather impressive! 🙂

reassuringly solid and cleans up pretty nicely
reassuringly solid and cleans up pretty nicely

It was quite an amazing transformation seeing the underneath of the bus getting cleaned up and any surface rust removed…

great to see how well the original German metal cleans up!
great to see how well the original German metal cleans up!

Some areas were a lot harder than others to get reach by hand, so took a bit longer to clean up and prep, but where there’s a will, there’s a way!

some areas are going to be harder to get to
some areas are going to be harder to get to

I guess this would be the major advantage of getting the bus fully stripped, rolled and blasted? That would be a lot more involved for my purposes. That kind of full on restoration was not what I was after, or for that matter, what the bus actually needed! The original German VW factory steel was largely in great condition. I really just wanted to clean it up and maintain it in this state for a good few more years to come. I wanted to give it a more sympathetic renovation to help preserve its original condition.

some areas have awkward access and take longer to prep
some areas have awkward access and take longer to prep

Although generally the underneath of the bus is incredibly solid, there were a couple of bits that I knew about which needed some minor attention. There were a couple of small pierced holes (from some kind of pick maybe?) in the cargo floor from its previous early life in California. The holes were remarkably clean and solid and didn’t let in water!

pierced holes in the cargo floor
pierced holes in the cargo floor

At this stage it seemed a bit over the top to cut around and weld a new section in. With a hammer and punch, the original metal was folded back in place which pretty much closed up the holes again! Remarkable just how much thicker a gauge of steel was used on the original floors compared to some reproduction panels I’ve seen! Once cleaned up of any surface rust, this could then be sealed with seam sealer.

original German factory metal in amazingly solid condition
original German factory metal in amazingly solid condition

With my sense of perfect timing, I arrived to give a hand with the cleaning up underneath when most of it had already been done! ‘Fortunately’ there was still some stuff for me to crack on with! Once all the preparation and cleaning up was complete, I could give a helping hand applying some Granville Rust Cure Heavy Duty Rust Converter to any areas of bare metal, so that it was all neutralised and protected from rust. It’s a tough old job doing this by hand, easy to see the attraction of getting it blasted, but hopefully it will be worth it when it’s all done…

 

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