Author Topic: 1978 White Bus Project  (Read 884 times)

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Offline kinggeorge13

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1978 White Bus Project
« on: May 16, 2016, 07:12:41 AM »
I'm going to split my 4 bus projects into 4 different topic threads so it's way easier for me to keep track of my posts and if anyone is interested in following any of them, it will be easier for them too.  Currently I've been posting all of them to the Bay Curious "How are the Bay projects coming along" and as I jump back and forth posting about different stages of different posts, it's just a little confusing how I am doing it.  I do plan to continue to post pictures and information as I progress through each one.   

This topic thread (under Bay Curious) will be the 1978 White Bus Project.

It is a Riviera.   I bought it in Squamish back in 2013-14, where it had not run for a year.  Someone from some VW club had been helping them work on it for a few months on sporatic weekends and I don't think had a chance to get it figured out before the owner just gave up the battle and put it up for sale.  I had it flat-bedded over to my place in Fort Langley.   It was gutted inside and they had started to built their own cabinets but had not gotten very far (I removed it all).  Lots of body rust, the rocker under the sliding door was completely rusted away to nothingness and most of the outriggers/jackpoints were beyond salvage.   And of course it did not run at all.  They had listed it as a 1975 bus but the VIN and engine code both showed it was a 1978 bus with it's 2.0 L engine and hydraulic valve lifters (yay!).

So I will jump in where I left off with my previous posts on this bus.   After getting a lot of the bodywork well on its way late last year, I've noticed it's getting rust stains in a few places. The worse is around and below the engine door and also along the area under the windows near the back .   There was fresh rust along the bottom edge of the removable cover piece under the rear window on both sides.   I started with removing the left side which involves removing two (seized) Phillips-head bolts and then using a piece of 2x4 wood under the edge to be carefully hammered upwards until  it slides up and pops off.     And voila: There is the source of my rust and rust stains running down the back sides of my bus.  See pics. 

1st picture is the rust on the body under that cover piece.   See how it follows the spot-welds?   The 2nd picture is the underside of the cover.  Lots of rust to remove.
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2016, 07:18:46 AM »
1st picture is the after-effects of having to torch another frozen bolt free.  This was the left one holding on the cover piece on the side.  Had to be careful because it was a Phillips head and would have easily stripped and then I would have been in an unhappy place.     2nd picture is the other area with reappearing rust inside the vertical seam.   Clearly I cut corners there last year too so this time I used lots of wire wheel on my grinder and then my needle scaler to get all of that area down to bare metal and clean. 
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 09:50:36 PM »
Just about ready to finally repaint the white 1978 bus.   If successful, it will become the project renamed to the Blue 1978 bus.  Now for the purests out there, I'm not going with a bus blue colour but I am using the 1977/1978 Beetle blue colour known as "Barrier Blue", colour code L52K.   I think it will look good.   First vehicle I have ever painted more than just a section.   We almost got this bus painted last fall but just ran out of warm weather (we don't even have a garage).    While there seems to be no end of buses out there which have had only the lower 2/3 repainted (below the windows) and that originally was a consideration, I ended up fixing other rusty areas up around the windows and especially the two covers on the rear sides (one side covers the sliding door mechanism) and that was the end of trying to keep the top 1/3 the original white colour.   

Taping is a pain.   I imagine under the correct conditions it can be almost therapeutic but not always and especially when the rubber seals around the windows are old rubber that does not hold tape well.    But it's ready for painting now and tomorrow we will start with grey primer.   When we are done painting, we'll jack up one side of the bus and coat the underside edges with an undercoating to stop any further moisture from getting through from that side.   I'm about 75% happy with the job I've done.   I'll do better with the next one with practice, I think.    We did get the new rocker panels (inner and outter) welded in and an angle iron welded in inside the sliding door side to give it extra strength.  Replaced two outriggers and jackpoints and welded them in so pretty happy with all that.   Hopefully it will be a while before rust becomes a big issue again.  Meanwhile, all new cabinets, camping area rewired and new lights, inverter, etc, etc.   It's been a fun project and almost done.   Here are a couple photos of her all taped up.
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 06:12:43 AM »
Just a final shot of end-of-taping job late yesterday before we try painting today (in the driveway.....).  Soo-Jean got tired of finding places to put the roll of tape down.   
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline 52 split

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2016, 05:38:02 PM »
heres a simple thing you can still do, is to put twine under the edge of the rubber all around in one piece so the paint goes under the rubber a bit that way if you change the rubber out at a later date it will not show the old color underneath.

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2016, 08:26:34 AM »
So that went partially wayyy better than I expected.   We now have a Barrier Blue (L52K) 1978 bus with a 1978 VW (Bug) blue.   Props out to Horizon Paint and Autobody Supplies in Cloverdale.  I gave them the codes for the colour and they mixed it up as I waited and was able to take with me 20 minutes after arriving at their store along with a gallon of paint (enough for at least two buses as it's turned out) and a can of reducer (thinner) and activator (hardener).  It's a single stage paint so no real need to add a clear coat.   

The fun part was using our 4 homemade stands to build a kind-of painting room out on the driveway with large sheets of light painters plastic built into an 8' high wall all around the bus.   I'll post pictures below.   I used a set of Starting Line paint guns by DeVilbiss that I bought on sale from KMS over a year ago.   My compressor is a fairly large one from Canadian Tire (Mastercraft.....yes, I know but I'm on a budget) and it kept up but just barely so.  HVLP guns do what they are designed:  a lot of High Volume of air and the compressor motor ran 80% of the time I was painting but the pressure gauge at the gun showed I was pretty much always getting my needed 25-30 psi at the gun input.     

Did two light coats of light grey primer and 4 coats of the paint.  Because it was outside, I knew there would be some dust/particles that gets into the paint finish but all in all, I'm very happy with the result and it does look a zillion times better than it did (the zillion number was worked out with a fairly complicated algorithm).   I'm sure I would get some painting experts looking at my finished result with less than positive comments but I'm very happy with it anyway.  Painting went pretty fast once I started and it was an absolute life-saver I had a helper (Soo-Jean) mixing the paint chemicals together so she could just fill up my gun paint cup each time I started running low.  The giant plastic wall outside not only kept all the paint particles from colouring my house and the neighbours cars/houses from turning slightly blue, it also did a good job of stopping most of the breezes from blowing dirt and dust around onto the wet paint. 

These first two pictures are the bus all taped/papered and the four posts in place ready for the plastic sheeting.  The 2nd picture is Soo-Jean helping remove all the tape/paper about an hour after painting (we decided to not wait for the paint to fully harden and make  it potentially harder to get the tape off cleanly.   

1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2016, 08:30:54 AM »
These next two pictures are 1. of me painting and 2. of the bus inside 3 of the 4 plastic walls we made (we took down one after 1/2 hour of drying)
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2016, 08:32:52 AM »
Last pictures for now.   1. The finished main painting result.  2. a close up of the paint job, the new rocker panel we welded in under the sliding door and the new jack point (and outrigger) we welded in.   
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline westcoast-paul

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2016, 09:10:46 AM »
brave man to be painting it outside, on dirt, underneith those trees.

Offline blueberry

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2016, 10:03:52 AM »
Great Job!!!  Gives the rest of us no excuses not to try it ourselves as well!!!
Gary Endersby

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2016, 11:23:47 AM »
One bus down and four to go but at my speed and time available, I'll be lucky if I get one done every six months but it will be interesting to see how my neighbours handle me doing it several more times but with 6+ months between each one, it may be fine.   I'm glad we went to the trouble to build the "painting wall" around to keep too much mist/smell from escaping.  Apparently in California driveway painting is quite possibly illegal.  Hmmmmm......
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline Brenticon

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2016, 07:32:17 AM »
👍👍👍👍👍

Great job!

Offline kinggeorge13

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #12 on: October 03, 2016, 10:44:32 AM »
Foolish.  That's what I am.   I'm able to announce that.   It's not like at 55 I'm suddenly going to change.   The white bus (now painted blue) has had more painting progress.  I used a dark rust paint and went over all the edges of the wheel wells and the upper/lower area of the sliding door track and under the front mat where water forever finds it's way via wet shoes/boots.   Then I painted over that rust paint with the same auto paint I used on the rest of the body so it would match.   I used a small brush and felt ok about using a brush since those areas are barely seen and some are never really seen but they need protecting.   

Upon closer inspection of my spray gun paint job, I found a few small areas right around where outside parts (antenna, wipers, handles) where the paint coverage was not 100% right where the part connected to the body, all because of not perfect taping.  They were super small and the average looker would likely never notice but I did and then it bugged me to no end.    My dad used to do a lot of model building so I went and borrowed one of his super-small model brushes and then we (Soo-Jean, mostly) carefully filled those tiny gaps with the autobody paint so it would look as good as possible PLUS it would be more water-proof over the long-term.   

This is where the foolish part comes in.   I decided it was time and would be fun to get a couple days of insurance on the bus and drive it around for the weekend.   All I had to do was finish putting the tail lights back on and replace the back two side-marker lights.    So I went and bought a couple day temporary pass and then went home to put the lights back on.   Um........yeah, no.   So none of the tail light bulbs worked.   The one side marker that was original did not work and the two wires coming out the hole of the side I planned to replace the complete side marker also would not turn on it's bulb.   I did have new side markers.  I also had brand new rubbery-foam seals from CIP to install on the tail lights.  So first off, three bulbs were burned out and were super-corroded when I took them out so much that I could not read the numbers on them.   20 minutes on the internet gave me VW numbers (or some supplier numbers) but not the common ones that are used by Canadian Tire.   But the corrosion was also an issue.   The top of the three bulbs on both sides were not so bad (the single filament turn signals).   The middle one (running light and brake light) dual-filament bulbs were plenty corroded and did not come out very easily at all.   The bottom bulbs, the single filament reverse lights were stuck in and were not moving.  I could see the rust and corrosion from all around the bulb.   I started the patient game of spraying in penetrating oil and various rust/corrosion busting sprays.   

While I waited for the sprays to work, I went off to the store to try and figure out the bulbs.   Using super-fine steel wool and a magnifying glass, I was able to read one of the dual-filament bulbs and it was an 1157 so I bought a couple of those.   But the bulbs for the turn signal and backup light were unreadable (and would not come out of the backup light sockets anyways).   The only thing I knew from my searching on the internet was that they were the same bulb for both those sockets.   So I picked one that would fit and was not a too-high wattage so I would not strain the electrical components/switches supplying the power to those.    I chose 1141s for both the backup lights and rear turn signals.  For the side markers a decent fit/size/match seemed to be the 3893 bulbs.   The issue with the side marker lights not working was the wire going to the markers that provides a ground connection goes to the very back wall of the engine bay (on either side of the engine door at the back of the bus) via a spade connector (female) that goes to a male spade connector that is screwed to the wall of the engine bay.   Those connections at that point were corroded and rusted to the point no current would run through them.  So I managed to use needle nose pliers to carefully get those spade connectors disconnected so I could clean them with the steel wool and sandpaper down to clean copper again.   And my side markers are nice and new and bright again!

I finally (2nd day) got one of the reverse bulbs out but it was a lot of work just to work free one bulb.  The other one was not going to move.  Eventually and pretty much inevitably the bulb broke free from it's base and that was the end of that.   In went the needle nose pliers and as carefully as I could, I bent/folded in the edges of the metal base and just kept at it until it eventually broke free in a very twisted mess.   It also popped the bulb socket free of it's mounting but was not particularly damaged.   And thats when I was forced to learn something new and was very happy to do so: the backs of the tail light housings (inside the engine bay) pop really easily off by gently bending two plastic tabs enough to take it off.  Voila: all the wiring and sockets nicely accessible.  I pulled out the socket that was now free of it's moorings (two little flexible plastic tabs) and went at it with super-fine steel wool and fine sandpaper to get back to nice clean bright copper.   I had to use a round file to carefully remove all the rust/corrosion in the socket sides where the side of the bulb gets it's ground connection from.   Slow and careful was the trick. 

Later today I'll put it all back together again along with the new seals (once I make sure both backup lights are working well again).  I had to do a little trickery to get the new side markers installed as well (flipping the rubber seals around), using special stainless steel metal (not wood) screws, etc.   

But yeah, two days of a few hours here and a few hours there just to get all the back lights and side markers fixed up, cleaned up and working again.  Way longer than I had imagined or planned.  I've fixed the odd light problem on the other buses as one bulb/socket/connection would fail but on this bus I decided to fix them all properly once and for all and hopefully give at least a few years of problem-free usage.  Meanwhile, with a temporary permit for all weekend, the bus never left the driveway.   

-George   
« Last Edit: October 03, 2016, 10:54:51 AM by kinggeorge13 »
1975 Westy, Serenity
1975 Westy, Jack Sparrow
1979 Kombi, Pistachio
1979 Kombi, Oliver
1977 Tin top camper, Cosmos
1974 Westy, Garfield
1973 Tin top camper, Bart (now thinking he's 1976)
1974 gutted Riviera, Casper
1975 Westy, Stella
1979 Super Beetle, Penelope
1967 Fastback, Green Hornet

Offline bwaz

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2016, 03:33:11 PM »
Sounds like a typical old car owner story! ;)
brian waz

Offline BUSDADDY

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Re: 1978 White Bus Project
« Reply #14 on: October 03, 2016, 04:23:37 PM »
Yep, the old "All I've gotta' do is" with a side of "how long could it take?", been there done that, old vehicles (sometimes new ones too) occasionally present a little unforseen challenge that eats up way more time than you ever imagined. Sorry you had to make a donation to ICBC and didn't get to get much out of it, I try to make sure everything's dialed in before heading to the broker having experienced similar let downs in the past myself.

At least it was you experiencing that first hand, when a shop encounters an issue like that they usually have to eat the extra time or the customer gets all WTF? on them and starts calling them crooks.
RUST NEVER SLEEPS

 

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