Rear arch tall panel replacement.

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davegsm82
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Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

I decided to replace the rotten rear quarter on the bus last week, unfortunately once I'd removed the old one the heavens opened and everything, including my spirits got thoroughly drenched.

Only got round to actually fixing the panel back on properly yesterday as I need the van soon so had to make it 'livable' again.

The panel is a 'Klokkers' panel and although I'm happy with the fit, the metal is nowhere near as thick as the original, feels very flimsy off the van although admittedly, once spotted and seamed, appears to be fairly rigid when fitted.

Being the first 'big' panel I've ever replaced meant that I had no idea how I was going to reattach the arch area on the new one, since the lower arch portion is actually part of the inner arch, the tall part of the panel attached to the C-pillar and everything on the D-pillar above the seam is spotted down to this area from above, effectively from inside of the van.

For this part I left a 15mm flange of the old arch where it hadn't rotted away, the spotted through this onto the back side of the complete new arch panel. A wet cloth on the outside of the panel (held in place by my ever-suffering live-in assistant) was enough to stop me blowing straight through the flimsy new panel while welding sort of upside down, head in the wheel well, praying that splashes of molten metal wouldn't find their way to any sensitive areas below.

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This is before I removed the lower arch section.
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Rot.
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More Rot.
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Argh! More rot.
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Tacked in and raining.
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I treated the more inaccessible rust by removing the loose stuff using a scraper/chisel and then coating the whole area with Kurust, with a second coat on some areas where it was particularly bad. The hole in the D-pillar was filed back as far as I could reasonably get due to the reduced space in there and basically 'patched over' with a similarly shaped sheet. Not proud of it. I will investigate this further in the future as I intend to cut the already rotten bottom out of the D-pillar where my intercooler sits presently. Would be nice to get a proper mounting bracket in there when I have time too.

The inner arch was repaired with pieces of the old panel, but this could only be done once the new skin was in place, as I had to make up the fillet using a piece of cardboard as a template to match the inside contour of the skin, then the complex shape was cut out of steel and then welded into place on the arch then spotted to the skin.

Once the panel had been spotted into place along the bottom and 3 sides I then set about seam welding the top edge where I had fitted it under the cut edge of the original panel. This was a mistake and completely unnecessary as I kept blowing through the new skin, it's all practice though. It got dark so I quickly ground back the top edge and skimmed over it with knifing putty. A bead of Seam-sealer down the D-pillar should keep out most of the moisture until I get back to it on thursday.
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davegsm82
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

Couple of pics as it is, seam sealer will be cleaned up later.

Seems to line up ok, doesn't look too badly out of place other than the stickers and the colour!

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Door has dropped slightly so looks out of line, needs a new rear rail to solve this as there's a visible divvet near the front where the door drops by a couple of MM.

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Wish I'd bothered to find my masking tape for the seam sealer but that's not a big issue.

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Plasticman
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by Plasticman »

the saealant gets applied with a cartridge gun and the excess removed straightaway with spirit wipe , well thats the easy way
mm

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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by boatbuilder »

You can build up the "divot" in the sliding door rail with some weld and grind it smooth.
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davegsm82
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

It was literally pitch black when I finished up and was fed up so didn't bother to wipe it off, I will just have to clean it up when I get back to it in the coming days.

Regarding the divot, I'm not entirely sure my welding skills are up to the task but I could certainly give it a go, it's all practice at the end of the day.

Dave.
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weegaz22
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by weegaz22 »

davegsm82 wrote:It was literally pitch black when I finished up and was fed up so didn't bother to wipe it off, I will just have to clean it up when I get back to it in the coming days.

it's all practice at the end of the day.

Dave.

How difficult did you find this dave?, as Im contemplating doing this myself as i have had a quote of 300 with me supplying panels to do it, but reckon i could get an ok welder for that, its just been a few years since i have welded anything, and even then it was on truck chassis so you didnt need to worry about blowing through too much, did you cut off the bulk of the panel and grind back to the opposing panels seam line? as i have looked at the panels online but cant see if they come with a seam like the original panels?
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davegsm82
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

weegaz22 wrote:i have looked at the panels online but cant see if they come with a seam like the original panels...

Yea, unfortunately they don't :(

That's why I had to leave a 15(or so)mm seam along the original inner wheel arch where it forms the lower part of the outer arch. If you want then I can take a photo to show you what I mean, would probably be better than me describing it.

regarding the ease of fitting, I'm not an experienced welder at all, I've only owned a MIG welder for a year (bought the same day as the camper I should add) and I've not done a great deal of panel work so far. However if you watch a few videos and read the advice on the forum then trust me, you'll figure it out and actually be able to do it no problem. I think a lot of the problem is that people feel a lot of trepidation about taking an angle grinder to their pride and joy, I was reluctant to do so but I was so sick of the panels laying around that I decided just to get on with it and start cutting, once I got into the meat of it, it was genuinely no problem.

If you want to maintain the original seam then your only option really is to buy the separate panel components and replicate the original design, I can't see why it would be necessary as it's really no better or worse the way I've done it. Actually thinking about it, this way may be better as the original welded seam along the top and front of the wheel arch was starting to rot inside, by drilling out the spots and separating it I've now been able to clean it up and stop any further rot. Perhaps that's a plus point.

300 notes isn't bad, I'd have paid that to have this done as it took me a good 8 hours to do from start to finish, however if you can essentially get a free welder out of it and a ton of experience then I'd say go for that option. :ok

Dave.
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weegaz22
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by weegaz22 »

any extra pics would be grateful, the ones you have already shown have gave me a clearer picture already as i have no idea of the structure underneath so it more or less sits ontop of the old panels seam edges then gets seam welded around?

i know i'll have to probably cut away a fair bit of inner arch near where the holes on yours were as on my van the arch has hit a fence post and the exposed metal was then left to rot, the front half of the arch itself is now just rust so all the arch will be cut away, is there anything on the new panel at the arch to weld to like a small seam? or are you having to spot/tack it onto the flat panel itself? it just looks like the new panel is made the original way with 2 90 degree seams meeting each other on the upper flat panel to the lower arch panel, or is that just a pressed in crease to make it look original?

cheers
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davegsm82
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

weegaz22 wrote:... or are you having to spot/tack it onto the flat panel itself? it just looks like the new panel is made the original way with 2 90 degree seams meeting each other on the upper flat panel to the lower arch panel, or is that just a pressed in crease to make it look original?

cheers

Precisely. Its tacked through from the back, that's where the wet cloth comes in to stop it blowing through.

The is absolutely no seam on the new panel, you will have noticed on the pictures on various websites of this panel that there are NO rear shots showing the 'inner' construction, it is indeed just a pressed crease made to look like the original construction. This is a blessing in some respects as a seam would hold moisture and eventually go the same way as the old one. No seam means less to worry about rotting away.

I'll get some more photos up tomorrow and show what the inside of the drivers side panel looks like as I haven't fitted this one yet (and might not!). Also the inside edge of the inner arch where I've attached it directly to the panel.

QUESTION: what sort of underseal/stonechip protector should I use which will be something like the original VW whiteish coloured 'foam' type material as was applied to this bus? Is at least 5-6mm thick in places and has made a very good job of protecting the bus so far. Or is there anything better?

Dave.
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davegsm82
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

Took some photo's, the ones inside the arch are a little blurry unfortunately.

This is the upper rear, the welds broke out through the side of the inner arch section where I popped holes with the Joggler, this is more my amateur welding skills than anything else.
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This is what those welds look like on the outside of the panel.
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Front section that I had to rebuild with part of the old panel.
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Upper front of the arch showing spots.
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Dave.
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by pandp38 »

Doing a great job there Dave, its not very pleasant working outdoors under a makeshift shelter.
Keep the pics coming in.
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weegaz22
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by weegaz22 »

pandp38 wrote:Doing a great job there Dave, its not very pleasant working outdoors under a makeshift shelter.
Keep the pics coming in.
Paul

+1 :ok
I had been looking for a thread showing this to give me an idea of what i was getting into but couldn't find any.

Dave you say you had fitted the top seam under the original panels but said you wouldn't do it like that again that as you kept blowing through, if you were to redo it again how would do it? put it on top? or get the panels to meet edge to edge and butt weld it?, I'm assuming on top as you then have the thicker vw original panel underneath to prevent you blowing through that, but you know what they say about assumption being the mother of all **** ups :mrgreen:

on the other 3 sides did you use a joggler with hole punch to punch out 5mm holes on the backs of the original seams then plug weld from the inside? then seam weld the edge?
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by davegsm82 »

weegaz22 wrote: +1 :ok
I had been looking for a thread showing this to give me an idea of what i was getting into but couldn't find any.

Dave you say you had fitted the top seam under the original panels but said you wouldn't do it like that again that as you kept blowing through, if you were to redo it again how would do it? put it on top? or get the panels to meet edge to edge and butt weld it?, I'm assuming on top as you then have the thicker vw original panel underneath to prevent you blowing through that, but you know what they say about assumption being the mother of all **** ups :mrgreen:

on the other 3 sides did you use a joggler with hole punch to punch out 5mm holes on the backs of the original seams then plug weld from the inside? then seam weld the edge?

If I were to do this over, I would put it on top and wouldn't bother welding all the way along. I did it this way this time because I wanted the lip to be folded under, such that it would prevent any water from collecting in the seam. Butt welding would be best but the new material is about half the thickness of the original VW panel, I'm sure with more practice or a better quality panel I'd be able to do this as I was able to quite easily butt-weld fillets into the arch and front floor pan where rust had punched through.

So yea a breakdown of the other sides (as I did it, your methods may vary);

D-pillar - Use Joggler to punch 5mm holes all the way down the new panel. Plug weld from inside wheel arch and inside of van behind interior panel, you will need to slice a notch out of the back of the new panel where it meets the inner arch (about half way up).
C-pillar - Use drill and spot weld bit to make holes in the new panel, the folding of the panel makes it difficult/impossible to use the Joggler hole cutter.
Very Bottom of panel (about 8" area) - Again drill panel with drill-bit, both this and the C-pillar are easier to do with panel in place (welded upper edge) as when the drill bit cuts through it will make a clean area that the welder will strike on. I coated everything behind with Kurust/Vactan and its not easy to weld through so best to clean it with the drill bit.
Arch top and curved front edge - 1) Remove all traces of original upper panel by drilling out original spot welds where access allows, for the others, a sharp chisel (i used a wood chisel) flat against the arch and pushed under the piece to be removed will make short work of the welds. Clean and treat the area with a rust treatment as water will have been sitting between the original seam and rots it.
2) When cutting out lower arch, leave a small section (about 15mm) all the way around as seen in the above pictures. Use the Joggler to punch holes along the whole edge of this section. Weld outwards from inside the wheel arch with a wet cloth or similar on the outside of the panel to stop it blowing through and damaging the surface badly (also helps to have someone pressing down on it to minimise the seam gap).

This is all the advice I can think of at the minute. Any more questions then just ask :ok

Dave.
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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by Plasticman »

can do you as many threads as you wish but this is indicative of how i usually do them , spot holes tend to be 6-8mm dependent on location
http://archive.club8090.co.uk/viewtopic ... 8&t=119181" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
mm

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Re: Rear arch tall panel replacement.

Post by weegaz22 »

Got my panels from brickwerks in today, these ones have seams all the way around except at the top so looks like I'll not be leaving a 15mm edge to tack onto like you had to dave, i'll be cutting back and going on to the original seam by the looks of it
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