The rear end is done and the bodywork is nearing completion so I'm slowly turning my thoughts to what comes next...
Just a quick update. The shop has just taken delivery of the front panels for the bus. We decided to go for an all-in-one front sub-panel instead of separate panels as not only is it assembled on a jig and so should hopefully be nice and square, but it will also save a heap of time compared to assembling the individual panels on the bus.
In my lasts blog post Slamfest Part 1 me and the Jimp had stripped down a bay beam and prepped a design for some new side plates ready to cut them out on my CNC plasma. Cutting out the plates was a slow affair as the cutting speed for the 10mm steel plate had to be set at about 300mm per minute, any faster and the quality of the cut suffered. The design was based on a 5 degree castor with the shock tower location moved upwards and backwards to allow for use of the stock shock.
Decided to sort out the brakes today. I had already ordered new shoes, cylinders, hoses and master cylinder, and whilst waiting for the remaining engine parts to arrive thought that it would be a good idea to fix up the other things on the todo list.
Had a bit of a result this week, finally managed to source the remaining parts that I was looking for. If you've been reading the blog you would know from this post that I've been searching high and low for some bukhead tin for a 1600 lowlight. Well as luck would have it, a bloke called Gary replied to one of my wanted ads and said that he had most of the parts that I needed. After taking trip out to go though his stash of parts i walked away with a whole bunch of goodies. Not only did I get the bulkhead tin, but I also got a pair of air vents, a pair of seat trims, a grab handle and a nearside sill repair panel.
This weekend I managed to get a bit more done on the Lowlight. After rebuilding the heads last week I decided that I should really split the case and at least take a look at the bottom end to make sure that there were no gremlins in there. Whilst this will add a week or two to the build at least I will get a peice of mind until I get around to building a 2150 for it.
Last night I spent half hour out in the garage going over the fasty engine that I have spare. I want to use the 1600 barrels and pistons (and maybe heads) on the 1300 bus engine that I have.
To determine the condition I did a compression test but his was not really conclusive as I could only turn the engine over by hand which didn't really give a suitable reading. Not deterred i decided to take the heads off and inspect them instead.
Great news. Just got back from Regency after registering the bus. Fortunately there was an old rego sticker still on the windscreen so I was able to fill out the rego form with the old details and get the bus registered. Now all I need to do is get the engine finished off and the brakes overhauled. I also ordered a personalised plate too. :D
Been working pretty hard on getting the bus engine fixed up this weekend. After stripping the old fasty engine down and cleaning the barrels and heads ready for reconditioning, I decided that I would tear down the 1300 in readiness for it's new parts. I also wanted to get all of the tin off of the engine so that I could paint it.
This weekend saw the kombi roof that I brought back from Mount Gambier go off to its new owner. Andrew, the guy that bought the roof, also had various kombi bits that I needed so he dropped them off at the same time. Andrew is a top bloke and was the person kind enough to loan me the trailer to pick the Kombi up on in the first place.
Managed to spend some time this weekend going through the lowlight and taking check of whats what. The bus was packed to the brim with parts and so it needed to be unloaded to see what parts were missing and what parts needed to be sourced. The bus was supplied with some nice extras such as a roo bar and a spare full width rock and roll seat including the rear matress and all of this needed to be taken out of the bus to be able get in and take a look
Not updated the blog for a week or so, but that doesn't mean that I've been idle, just too busy to be able to get my thoughts translated into the electronic ether.
Last weekend I spent some time getting the doors prepped ready for painting. The front doors both needed painting, both having been partially prepped. The passenger door was already mostly done with only a few minor blemishes requiring attention but the drivers door needed a fair amount of work. The drivers door has at some time been badly dented and could ideally do with a new door skin, but in a bid to get the bus on the road I decided to see if I could make it a little straighter then it was.
Just picked up another project, a 1970 lowlight bus courtesy of @Matt here on Vdubber. I actually bought this several months back but only just got around to picking it up this past weekend. After a bit of a road trip to Mount Gambier and a couple of days with the very hostiptable Tully Family, we towed the bus back to Adelaide to it's new home.
We also brought back a complete roof clip section from another bay for another local Vdubber (splitmeister from AVD). This was strapped to the top of the bus and made the load very top heavy, which made for some 'interesting' driving.
Took a few days off in the week to get some more stuff done on the lowlight. My target for this week was to get the brakes finished off, get the gearbox in and paint the front doors. As I had already done most of the brakes there was only the front nearside left to do and change out the rear flexi hoses and shocks.When I removed the front nearside drum I was met by a bit of a surprise, the brakes were missing. There had been a Burnley.
With the long Easter weekend I managed to get a few extra hours in on the bus. Having already cut off the front panel and one dogleg, and made up an A-Pillar repair I decided to carry on with the front end and take a look at the dented front panel.
The front nose, like pretty much every other panel on the bus has suffered a bit of abuse and has taken a bit of a pounding. Not only is there current crash damage, but there are also some previous repairs that have rusted out and need to be repaired.
It'd been a good many years since I've camped in a bus so I'd really been looking forward to ReVolks. For the non-Aussies here ReVolks is a VW show held in Geelong in Victoria - Some 700k's away from where we are in Adelaide. The mad rush to get the lowlight finished in such a short period of time was mostly so that we could take a bit of a holiday and take in the ReVolks show at the same time.
With the cab floor on the '55 looking like it needs replacing I decided to see if I could avoid having to buy a full repair panel by using the floor from a front cut that I have stored for my 15 window project. I have the front cut to provide a dashboard and chassis member to convert the 15 to right hand drive but for some reason the cab floor is nearly perfect. Not what you would really expect on a bus that ended up getting chopped up. Unfortunately whoever chopped the floor section out did not really do a very good job, not only did they gas axe an inch off of the floor on every side, but they also managed to cut straight through the chassis member that I need for the RHD conversion. Phah.
So I decided to dig the floor section out from the back of the 15 and take a look.
Managed to get out and do a bit more work on the bus today, decided to carry on sorting out the lower nose inner panel. The panel that I acquired unfortunately turned out to be for a left hand drive bus, which meant that to get it to fit I needed to swap over the mounting brackets. The reason for this is that the two chassis rails that it attaches to are not identical and so have slightly different profiles, this means that the mounting brackets are also slightly different.
Spent some time today making up the repair panels for the bottom of the passenger side A pillar. Fortunately there was enough of the original left for me to take some measurements from. The repair panels are in three sections - two sections form the a pillar itself and another makes the bracket that attaches to the inner lower nose panel.
There's a bit of a rust issue with the tailgate on the lowlight which is also causing a bit of a leak and water to get into the bus. The rust is on the bottom of the window under the window rubber so to repair it the rear glass will need to come out. Whilst pondering the best way to fix it I had a great idea - why not replace the rear window with an opening 'safari' window. This way I could make the repair to the rust at my leisure rather than having to get it done in a hurry.
If you follow my blog or have read my previous article DIY Safari frames you're probably aware that I have been trying to roll a curve in aluminium extrusion so that I can make up my own rear safari window for the Lowlight.
Last week the fruits of my labor ended up splitting the aluminium but after doing some pondering this week I realised that the extruded profile was not being supported correctly. The dies that I had made left the edge of the aluminium un-supported which resulted in the profile splitting.
Whilst we were making the pop top we did take the time to make up some patterns for the front seats and cut out the material but that was as far as we got. Having not done any form of upholstery before trying to figure out the best way of doing things was pretty hard. Google is pretty good, but even after finding some good videos online there were some details that they just glossed over. In the end the covers just got left and no more was done.
One thing that really struck home on our recent interstate jaunt to ReVolks was how damn slow the bus is. I have often joked that when I toured around Europe (also in a 1600 bay window) you would have to go flat out down the hills just to be able make it up the next one. Well somehow the reality of driving a 1600 bus over very long distances had managed to become little more than anecdotal humour. This is a bit of a shame, as had I remembered how painfully slow driving a1600 bus was I might have opted to build something a little larger. After all, as our cousins in the good ole yew ess of aye say... 'there's no substitute for cubic capacity', or is there? Faced with the reality of having to build another bigger engine I opted to take the easy way out. Forced induction!
Since building the engine and adding the supercharger the lowlight has been pretty reliable. There were some initial gremlins to overcome such as the vastly underpowered generator, but since swapping it out for an alternator things have been fine. Fine that is until the other day.
We had just stopped off at Hungry Jacks (or Burger King as us Poms call it) to grab some well deserved mango smoothies after a day out at the beach, the bus did not want to fire straight up, which I put down to the very hot weather but I managed to get it started and drove off back to home. We managed to get about 200 yards down the road when the bus just stopped.
Been getting a bit distracted by cyclops lights recently. Not that the bus is anywhere near ready for trinkets, still plenty of metalwork to do before its time to add jewellery. So completely sidetracked I decided to scratch that particular itch and have a go at making a cyclops light myself. My reasoning was that it would be good metal shaping practice, plus I had kinda figured out how to make it in my head and wanted to see if I could actually do it.
Those of you who know me will also know that I sell supercharger kits under the moniker 'Joe Blow'. A while back I decided that to promote the kits I would put together a logo'd rat panel van - with nice Joe Blow powered motor. Orignally I was after a lowlight panel but somehow ended up with a '55 panel instead. So today I decided to start work on eliminating the tin worm. I recently cleared a load of projects from my schedule and so figuring the bus wasn't going to fix itself I decided to get stuck in.