Projects can take a while…

Nowhere to go…

Unfortunately because of the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions, there have been fewer opportunities for road trips, travel adventures or car shows. The bus has been used more for local food shopping trips! It feels like the longest winter of discontent!

snowtime… its official, winter is here!
snowtime… its official, winter is here!

Due to the age of my bus, it qualifies for free UK road tax and an MOT exemption. I know some people still like to get an MOT regardless, but I prefer to use the opportunity to spend the money getting a full service and check over at my local garage, Resto Classics. They have the experience to know what needs checking and adjusting, plus it’s an opportunity to get odd jobs done at the same time. Ideal way of keeping things in tip-top operational condition.

Regular maintenance

Not much wear and tear to worry about, but I thought I’d still get all the fluids changed. This included getting both the main gearbox and reduction gearboxes flushed and refreshed with new oil. Engine oil is the most obvious to check and maintain, and as such, gets a regular change, but gearbox and reduction gearboxes can easily get overlooked. They had not been done in my ownership, so this seemed the ideal opportunity.

the refurbished sump plate fitted with a drain plug to simplify future oil changes
the refurbished sump plate is fitted with a drain plug to simplify future oil changes

Not sure if it’s part psychological or not, but I always feel that the bus drives better, smoother and quieter after a visit to Resto Classics. This was defiantly the case, the fresh oil made the gearbox and reduction boxes feel and sound way smoother and quieter, happy days! Small changes, big difference.

fewer road trips, more daily driver duties
fewer road trips, more daily driver duties

Although there have not been many opportunities to get out and about camping with the bus, it has allowed me some time to think about and plan what little updates and upgrades I want to do to the bus moving forward. Some from necessity, some from a better awareness of what’s required, some just because and some just to finally try and get things finished! Remember the headlining I was trying to make?

Project persistence

Like with a lot of things during the lockdown, with the pressure off, things have tended to slide in terms of timescales. The headlining I was making is a prime example. I had a concentrated period of measuring, cutting and making the headliner itself. Then it got to the stage of what finish it would have and getting it fitted. At this point, things stalled.

Firstly I wasn’t 100% sure what finish I was going to go for and without road trip adventures to look forward to or use as a deadline, my motivation sadly dissipated. However, there are some big, exciting changes in the pipeline (more to follow). This has helped to focus the mind and get re-motivated to finally get it finished off.

Choice of finishes

With the plywood cut to shape, it was time to get them finished and fitted. Over time, I’d grown to love the space-age silver insulation interior roof ‘finish’ since fitting it! I loved how that helped reflect any available light in the interior space. Anything new had to compete with this!

sorted – the roof is now fully insulated with the Triso Super 10 plus insulation
sorted – the roof is now fully insulated with the Triso Super 10 plus insulation

Light interior

Keeping a natural wood finish was the obvious way to go, but I thought that might darken the interior a bit too much once a matt varnish had been applied? I also explored the idea of some kind of distressed paint finish? Thought this might fit with the original character of the bus? However, after some experimenting, it just didn’t feel or look quite right.

testing the ply cab headliner fit
testing the ply cab headliner fit

Keeping it simple

In the end, I decided to keep things simple and opted for a subtle satin ‘Frosted Silver’ paint finish. So having made the decision, time to get painting. Making the most of a break in the weather, it was time to commandeer the kitchen and get a couple of coats of white primer/undercoat on.

first coat of primer/undercoat completed
first coat of primer/undercoat completed

With a couple of coats of primer/undercoat applied, stage one was completed. Once fully dry and hardened overnight, it was time to rub it down in preparation for the final topcoat.

time to get painting
time to get painting

Cool colour

The ‘Frosted Silver’ colour is pretty subtle, but I love it! The very pale light silver/grey should look great in the bus once it’s done. A nice little homage to the space-aged silver foil insulation it will replace as a roof finish.

satin frosted silver paint for the final finish
satin frosted silver paint for the final finish

Frosted silver finish

Once the primer/undercoat had been allowed to fully dry, stage two was to rub it down ready for a couple of coats of ‘Frosted Silver’ top coat. It’s great to be finally be getting to the finishing stage of the headliner project, it’s been a while!

headliner into finished frosted silver colour
headliner into a finished frosted silver colour

Now all I have to do is get it fitted…

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