Where to begin…

Projects like this require planning, organization, patience, and cash. Well, of the four we’ll see which lasts longest.

I want to tackle this project in an organized fashion – starting with autobody. Wht autobody and not mechanics? Because weather limits what I can do body wise… I need to capitalize on temperatures above 60 degrees…

We decided to start on the rear. That includes hatch, engine bay door, bumper, and associated corners…

Original Hatch

We removed the hatch, which appeared at one point to have a ladder mounted, and pulled the seals. The glass was removed, the coatings were removed. The white exterior seemed to be painted with latex house paint that was peeling everywhere. Using wire wheels, and sanders outside, bare metal was exposed. Only pin hole rust spots were drilled out and mig welded closed. The window edge was sealed with epoxy sealer and the bare metal treated with Phosphoric acid. We did use some 1/16″ skim bondo on a dent that was inaccessible, and primed with epoxy primer.

Back Hatch Primed

Hatch primed

We topcoated the hatch with a single stage urethane, added new seals, and moved into the engine lid and rear corners…

Arctic White Over Metallic Blue #17

The engine lid hinges and carrier were ordered from . The carrrier was mig welded into place at he ends, and spot welded along the trunk edge. Our Harbor Freight 240v spot welder worked great.

The lower corners and battery tray were cutout and replaced also.

Rear section nearly complete…

4 thoughts on “Where to begin…

  1. Hi, I would love a response! First off, congratulations on your bus and good luck with all the hard work!

    I just bought a 1973 VW camper bus, manual ( stick shift) and am towing it back from North Dakota to Indiana on a dolly. I have it on the front wheels like you do with the back wheels on the ground. I have been told by a few people on my trip home that towing it this way can ruin the transmission. did you have problems with the transmission when you got home or is that only the case for an automatic? I am very nervous now hauling this home and would appreciate response with your experience

    • Sorry for the late response. As you probably found by now, towing this was/is not an issue for the manual transmission. I did, however place a 2×4 to hold the clutch down just in case. I hope all went well for your situation!

  2. Hi there! I purchased a 71 Riviera in October and am now also in the middle of a restoration. As i began, i realized i needed to go deeper and deep than i had initially planned. I have stripped her down, and really only need to drop engine and dash to have it bare. But as i removed my windows, on three of the windows, sliding door, rear left, and middle left, the bottoms of the window frames, are rusted out in places. I saw you dealt with that too, and i was wondering if you built the bottom piece yourself or if there were replacement parts for that you used? You bus looks great and I hope to get my bus looking as good soon too! Its so great to see so many of us doing this ourselves! Its been a lot of work with a lot left, but I love my bus and i really enjoy getting her to look like I’ve always wanted 🙂 Thanks for your time, sorry for the novel and thanks for any help!

    Jake

    • Hi Jake,
      Sorry it has taken so long to reply, as I do not log into my site often. The resto has kept me busy. Regarding the widow sills, I simply cut out the rot and welded in new metal. One trick I learned to duplicate the external radius: let’s say you have a 3″ section of rot at the base, cut a 4″ piece of sheet metal and give it a 3/8″ 90 degree bend. Tack that bend to the lip of where the window would sit. Then starting at the top take a cut off saw and cut the original rotted metal along the perimeter of your new metal. Just do a inch or two on each side. Then tack weld at the new edge. As you do this the metal becomes hot, so a simple tap with a forming mallet will bend the new metal over the old profile. Cut the next inch of old metal out, and repeat. Then bead weld the edges. To clean up I use a 90 grit grinder wheel to feather the welds down. Good luck with your project Jake!
      PS. I assume you are already a member on The Samba? If not, go there as everything you ever want to know about the Type 2 is there.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *