Tales from a falling cargo door…

Since the last posting I made a new camper tent to go with the new upholstery. After that,I addressed the right side auto body as weather permitted. Instead of starting at the rear or front (as I did with the left) I wanted to tackle the cargo door slider. I figured completing this section would allow me to get it weather-tite, and frankly the cargo door was literally falling off the track at the closure point. And whaddapainintheass not having a shutting door can be.

To start, I removed the camper sink basin cabinet and rotted birch panel to reveal extensive corrosion. Friggin swell. Why is it that every aspect of this vehicle turns into a can-o-worms? 20130407_105332

The photo above shows some of the rot cut out. Essentially, this area is beyond repair and like the left side will require complete replacement.

First, I took measurements. The sliding door track is really an under-appreciated engineering masterpiece. If new panels are installed with so much as a 3mm deviation, the cargo door will not close/open properly.

20130407_105341(1)After reviewing this book:

which was invaluable to me, cargo door frame measurements were provided in the last few pages.

I ordered a “b” pillar from the U.K. from E. Schoefield which is a supplier of custom reproduced parts that are not found elsewhere. Once that arrived I was able to get started. I cut out the rotten “b” pillar and replaced with the well-made reproduction piece from England. Also, the end of the jack point was replaced along with the “top-hat” section that supports the corrugated decking.20130420_133629

 

 

 

Once the “b” pillar was welded in, I could safely proceed with replacement of the cargo door track and rockers.

The rockers are 3 layers deep. Finding a source for the inner and middle rocker, as well as the tracking section that guides the cargo door rollers was absolute luck. A classified seller on the Samba forums was selling the aforementioned components for only $60. They were made by Klassic Fab, so I knew they would fit properly.

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“C” pillar corrosion

The Klassic Fab components did in fact, fit well. Unfortunately the “c” pillar corrosion components were not available, so I made them myself.

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The bowl shape at the wheel well is a remanent of the Transporter model which is what the Camper is based on. The bowl offers some toe room for the passengers using the bench seat that is on the LHD Transporter. I was not too concerned about the internal cosmetics here, as it is located behind the sink cabinet – and therefor out of view.

I eventually painted all of the epoxy grey areas with the same blue top coat urethane¬† as the rest of the vehicle. The cargo door itself is in need of lower replacement, but for now, it is returned to it’s former sliding glory. Slides and locks beautifully!

Moving on to the cargo door itself, I began by removing the jalousie window to reveal a few areas of rust through. I neglected to take pictures as it wasn’t too bad. I did need to cut a 4″ x 3″ section of the middle of the window frame out, and patch in a 20g sheet to fill. After some grinding and smoothing of the welds, I epoxied and primed…

Moving my attention to the main panel below, I removed the door from the vehicle to remove the inner panel (baltic birch) remnants. The door frame was in pretty good shape with exception of the lowest 3 inches. After removing hordes of Bondo (r) the rust was apparent. This section was needing complete replacement.

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The bottom was cut off… and a new section of an aftermarket panel was cut to patch.

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After many many hours of welding, grinding, resizing, cursing, sanding, priming, and painting the door looks like this:

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