Fridge Panel Repair

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Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 10:37

I had the benefit of buying what looked like an immaculate van but which came with huge learning opportunities that reveal themselves over time - constantly keeping me engaged in the pleasures of the T25 (not the pleasures of driving and camping; just fixing German engineering). After discovering a useful tip of removing gas shield when using gasless wire, I started a thread on Brickyard http://www.brick-yard.co.uk/forum/welding-tip_topic86258_page1.htmlafter. However, the project has extended, I'm out of tips, and I needed help a lot earler so I thought I may get direction here.

I've already bodged the wheel arch on one side - seam welding and grinding back. MM describes this as bodge of first order but I think I've found better ones elsewhere on my van. I'm going to try and do it better from now on.

Suspicions about the van started when I decided to fix a rust bubble around the power hookup. I found lots of filler and decided to take off the side body kit panel:
Image

Some weeks later I have finally taken out the interior to reveal what is behind the fridge:
reveal.jpg
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Like me at the start of this project, they hadn't heard of seam sealer. Point A is filler squeezed through holes:
suspicionsaroused.jpg
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 10:54

First I think I need to sort out the floor.
Help1.jpg
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A is a hole so I've got to cut around there and see what happens.
B looks suspicious but solid. I'm probably going to take a look though.
It seems like the later jobs would be easier if I took the rail C off completely.
The top cover of the sill D is completely gone for the whole length of C. Not sure what to do...

This seam doesn't look too bad. I'm thinking of wirebrush, krust/vatcan, rustoleum:
help2.jpg
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I think the inside of the B post is going to be OK, just:
BPostInside.jpg
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 11:04

The outside of B post looks bad where it joins front wing so I already bought the panel and will cut off existing to see inside:
bPostOutside.jpg
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At the moment, I think the inner sill is solid. Assuming that, I would really like some advice on how to fix the outer sill and the top of the sill. I have already bought a centre panel http://www.alanhschofield.com/ourparts/ ... 9159C.html . But, to do a proper job and avoid another first class bodge, should I get an outer sill like http://www.alanhschofield.com/ourparts/ ... 09294.html and then put plate over the top to cover the sill and join up with the inner sill?
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 11:15

Another question about the other side of the van so off topic...
The B post on RHS in front of sliding door (LHD van) is holed at bottom. Why? Is there likely a leak in roof/guttering that collects in B Post and rots it from inside to out? Or can it just rot outside to in (hope so)?
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 11:25

To help stop the bodging, I upgraded my Chinese aviation tin snips to some heritage 14" Gilbows off ebay:
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 26 Aug 2016, 18:26

A pack of cutting discs later and I'm off topic already - this is more than just the fridge panel.

Front wing, outside b post, sill (I've worked that out now), tall panel, rear wing:
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Platform thing, lower rear and upper rear corner panels:
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I didn't like doing the platform thing on the other side... not sure how to do it - I can't get in there to spot weld.

And looking at wheel arch seam from inside, I think I should replace the panel above the arch while I have the insides out:
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Good news is that the inner sill is like new and the inner b post will only need a small patch. And, I've already got rid of 90% of the rust in a single day!
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby New Kentish Campers » 27 Aug 2016, 05:46

Take your time and be methodical and you'll be fine.

One thing you might want to check so as to avoid future tears, is that front wheel-arch. I've replaced a few and they tend to hide rust underneath the factory sealer. I can see you've ground some areas off so that tells that you had rust bubbling through?

If you can, cut it off at fit a new one. You've got to weld it anyway

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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby davegsm82 » 27 Aug 2016, 08:57

One word of caution, if you're going to replace the upper panel with a non-genuine item, make sure it's of comparable thickness to the original.

I replaced mine with a JK one and it's warped already even though I took all the precautions that I could, the metal is half the thickness of the original. If you can save the tall panel then it will be a lot less work.
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 27 Aug 2016, 10:23

I've got the whole wing so I guess I could put it on. It does look a little dodgy at the front end.

I now think the B post is the first thing to sort as everything hangs off that. I can then either put the wing on, or go to the back and work forward.

I made an infill out of a bit of the panel. Bent it in a vice and tapped it with my Chinese hammer and dolly. The dolly is probably cast iron but seems OK for my use. The metal round the door was very thin and easy to blow through - I tried the flattened copper pipe trick which helped a little but still Ive got holes. A little more filling in the arch then ready for B post outer skin.
Auto focus on the camera isn't working great, but it hides some of the mess in the welding.
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 27 Aug 2016, 17:48

B post and inner arch reconstructed. Maybe an easy morning tomorrow fitting a front wing? Then I'll feel like I've made progress. I'm really not looking forward to the rear platform.
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 28 Aug 2016, 10:49

Easy jobs always turn difficult. Spent an unpleasant time under the van covered in sparks as I grind off the screws holding the lhs of the front spoiler. Spoiler off but bits of screws still on wing. They seem to be high tensile as drill was going nowhere.

Thought I may as well take off the door body kit to make sure all is good:
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But the nut on left is too corroded to get a spanner on, and the bolt on the right (I'm pointing at) just spins - it is a dome head so I can't stop it. Please! Any tips how to get these off without damage? Pull too hard (I already over-did it on the left) and you just pull the door skin out.
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I did cut the wing off. It wasn't too bad compared to other places but it was just starting to get under the underseal so probably best. Rain stops play for today I think.
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Any ideas on those bolts?
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby davegsm82 » 28 Aug 2016, 12:34

jhobson wrote:But the nut on left is too corroded to get a spanner on, and the bolt on the right (I'm pointing at) just spins - it is a dome head so I can't stop it. Please! Any tips how to get these off without damage? Pull too hard (I already over-did it on the left) and you just pull the door skin out.
IMG_8029.JPG


Very quickly tack weld a nut onto the top of it, or try and cut a slot in the top using a hacksaw blade or dremel.

If welding, keep a hosepipe in one hand and as soon as you withdraw the lance, hose it down. The plastic may suffer but should survive.

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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 28 Aug 2016, 13:05

Improved working conditions (sun, mat, torch) and the odd combination of dremel and 9" angle grinder :shock: did the trick. Glad I got away with that without injury.
IMG_8030.JPG
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 29 Aug 2016, 15:20

Wing on and a delicate coat of paint which I'll let dry before seam sealer tonight:
IMG_8033.JPG
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99% plug welded. Hope that was the right thing to do. 6mm along the top and 7.5mm where there was more metal.

I've now discovered the footstep on both sides has gone. Thought I'd cut out all the rust but it just keeps on coming :( The bight side is that I'm almost looking forward to welding that. My nemesis is still the rear plaform thing which is probably up next.

I've already done the other side and today I found it full up with water - I have the rear lights off so I guess it got in that way. Is there supposed to be a drain? Wish I knew what I was doing.
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Re: Fridge Panel Repair

Postby jhobson » 30 Aug 2016, 17:13

By the way... this is what the van looked like just a couple of years ago. Amazing what filler, a quick overspray,side panels and new transfers can cover. And this was the worst side of the van:
IMG_6702.JPG
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