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msinabottle Sun Nov 27, 2005 10:34 pm

Well, that's another series of battles eventually won.

All right, I've mentioned that Winston had a hole in the tent canvas, which is original, and he's an '84, and that the screen was utterly gone, and that the zipper for the tent flap window was also disintegrating. I do mean disintegrating, the teeth were pulling out of the edges of the zipper. Yes, I need a new top, I'll get a three-window design of modern materials when I can afford it. I can't now. So, here is what I did.

I went down to the best fabric store in the Denver area, Denver Fabrics, to get beige iron-on patches to patch the holes. They had those, and then I found that they also had grey 'No-See-Um' netting, that's a much finer mesh than the original VW tent screen. I bought about six feet of a 54" bolt, enough for my repair of the tent screen window and with some left over to make a screen for the skylight--haven't done that yet, I have to figure out how I want to go about it.

Besides the screen and the patches, I also bought about eight feet of two-inch iron rug edging, it's the same material as iron-on jeans patches, I got it in beige that matched Winston's tent. It's used to keep rugs or cross-stitching material from fraying at the edges.

I decided that a 24" x 40" panel of the mesh would work to cover Winston's window, and at a hardware store I bought a heavy snap kit, 'for repair of tents and awnings,' and one refill. Then I took a laser chalk line at home, cut a double-section of the mesh (folded over) for extra strength.

Using an old iron on a table, I folded the tape over around all four edges of the rectangle and ironed it so that the adhesive adhered to the other half of the tape, through the mesh. I used ordinary staples to make that job easier and removed them when I was done. DO NOT LET THE IRON TOUCH THE MESH, it will melt it. When I was finished I had a rectangular panel of screen. The adhesive on the tape edges wasn't all that strong, but it wasn't going to need to be.

With a screw-awl I found I began boring holes through the tape and mesh and hammering in the snap buttons at regular intervals, the more the better, I put six on the long sides and three on the short sides and would have put in more if I hadn't run out of snaps. HAMMER THE RIVETS (there's a little drift and anvil that comes with the kit) FLAT. If they stick out AT ALL the SNAPS WILL NOT CLOSE. I learned that, like so many things, painfully. That was how I spent my Thanksgiving, aside from dinner, and the Broncos. The snaps now hold the edges of the tape on VERY firmly.

The following day I went out and started (with horrible reverses) pop-riveting the 'female' snap ends to the front of Winston's canvas. That canvas was very, very thin. As in, 'poke your finger through it' thin. I had to put on more iron-on patches--we have a little ironing board for sleeves, I used that and an iron I'd heat up in the house to warm Winston's fabric and then apply the patches. It's nice if you have someone on the other side of the canvas holding the 'backboard.' I used a short ladder to get to the upper part of the tent's front from inside Winston.

You want the shortest 3/16" ALUMINUM pop-rivets you can find, the shortest I could find were for 1/4" which was a bit too long. I used metal, I'd suggest aluminum 'backing plates,' which are really just #6 washers, on the back of each rivet, and a slightly larger washer on the other side, in between the snap and the canvas. The panel went over the entire window--extending past the shot zippers of the old screen, which was utterly gone, and the flap, still there, but unzippable.

Even with the back plates the rivets were going right through the thin canvas until I had the happy inspiration of using cloth adhesive tape as a reinforcement. I know they make single-sided 1" cloth tape, but I couldn't find it, so I used double sided cloth carpet tape and left one side's backing on. I put strips of that on the inside of the tent.

Then I started putting my rivets through that and the canvas, going around to measure, making a thick black dot where the hole was to go, then punching through the tape and canvas and putting a rivet through each 'female' snap. You can reach through the window and under the screen to hold the washers, snap, and rivet in place, and then just compress the rivet until the stem pops out. With the backing tape, I quit going through the canvas when I tightend a rivet. I could also have used that iron-on tape I used to frame the screen, I just didn't have anyone to help me for that. The tape can also be used to hold something you're trying to rivet in place.

Be sure the screen is laying flat before you position the rivets... I did the upper two corners first, then two more on the top edge, then the bottom two corners... I got one tear of the canvas when I was trying to force a difficult snap, but that was soon patched. As I said, you want SHORT rivets, flanged ones wouldn't need the 2nd backing plate, if you can find 3/16 flanged pop-rivets. The reason you want short ones is that the expanded part of the rivet almost always sticks out and interferes with the action of the button on the snap. I did a lot of filing. A Dremel would have been lovely if I'd had current.

By thunder, it worked--the new screen lsnaps in place over the hole, I can still remove it--with some difficulty--if I need to open it for, say, access to the luggage rack--and it's see-through, flexible, and it doesn't look bad at all. With the tape and the back plates the snaps never did tear even that old canvas. and I had to take the new screen off several times because I HADN'T HAMMERED THE BUTTON RIVETS FLAT. May you all profit by my experiences, some of which were pretty ghastly. Took me a day and a half to do this job, should have taken much less.

Fixing the flap--once again, I wasn't going to mess with a shot zipper. I used the pop rivets and backing plates and the carpet tape to pop-rivet strips of velcro to the flap and the front of the canvas inside the tent, I put three on the top of the 'arch' and two more half-way down for extra strength and to let me leave the window 'half open' if I desired. Again, there were annoying mistakes, but it all worked. The flanged rivets are better than a rivet and a backing plate, one less thing to drop and disappear out the door of the Vanagon.

Winston's tent is now completely usable, patched, and screened--there were gaps along the base of the screen, but it would take a very strong and determined mosquito to crawl up through them. I'm not worried, and if I were doing it all again and had a helper, I could have gotten rid of the gaps entirely. A tent shop probably could have made me the panel and saved all that labor, there might be better ways to attach snaps to cloth than pop-rivets. You can't use the drift and anvil on a vertical surface, though you can use it when you're making the new screen.

And I am very tired. I had to move Winston one night after I got his refrigerator finally running on Propane, and when I turned the key--nothing! I charged the battery, and researched 'dead starter,' and so at 1 in the morning I crawled out under him, tapped the side of the starter with my Leatherman, and... After a few tries... the starter engaged.

When the weather warms, and it's terrible now, I'll clean the
transmission ground, the connections to the starter and try to prevent more corrosion--I found some dielectric grease at Pep Boys--and when I can probably replace the old Bosch with one of the Go-Westy Hitachis. But, he started and ran several times the following day when we used him to get some of the supplies.

The next act of interior restoration is to mount the new central cabinet face-plate I got from HowardVW to replace the hole where the air-conditioning unit was. That shouldn't be too bad.

I earnestly hope.

Best!

Big B Sun Nov 27, 2005 11:48 pm

Clever duck :D

mightyart Mon Nov 28, 2005 7:46 am

Ask Santa for a digital camera this Year. :wink:
You can get a simple one for the garage real cheap.
And if you ever have to sell Winston you have a visual record of all the work you've done.
Good Post!

msinabottle Mon Nov 28, 2005 10:46 pm

Actually, I do have access to a digital camera, I took an entire series of what was in need of repair on Winston shortly after I bought him. My plan is to take a second series of all those areas repaired when I get that cabinet in--which could be as early as next weekend. Then I'll post net-friendly versions.

I should have mentioned that he collapsed perfectly--I told a friend standing near to shoot me if he heard a tearing sound, out of mercy. I thank you both for your kind words--they are balm to my torn fingers... and stiff arms... and painful neck... and sore knees... and...

Best!

Captain Pike Tue Nov 29, 2005 5:27 pm

I need tp replace the canvas on the 84 westy and this time I'm going to sew a new one. I got an A in home EC in junior high and now see my sewing machine as another tool. Cotten canvas with a doner zipper off the old one. New screen to go with it. I made new seat covers for the last westy and it turned out great. I'll use the old one as a template, should be interesting.

msinabottle Sun Feb 19, 2006 2:52 pm

I DO try and keep my promises... This first photo shows Winston with the 'snap on' No-See-Um mesh window I made clearly visible. Didn't quite get it centered, but, hey:



Here's the view from inside of the cover 'buttoned up' with those pop-riveted strips of Velcro, zippers be d_mned:



And here's the patch on the hole where, I think, long ago the rear hinge caught the tent fabric:



Promised the pictures, delivered. Wish I could be out working on him now.

climberjohn Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:10 pm

If you have just holes in the insect netting and your zipper is still in good shape, Fancher's sells a nicely made replacement net. I have one from the and it works perfecto.

link:
http://fanchers.com/223/Screen%20Replacement.htm

Sir Sam Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:33 pm

climberjohn wrote: If you have just holes in the insect netting and your zipper is still in good shape, Fancher's sells a nicely made replacement net. I have one from the and it works perfecto.

link:
http://fanchers.com/223/Screen%20Replacement.htm

Holy old thread batman!

1621 Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:34 pm

Sir Sam wrote:
Holy old thread batman!

:lol:

I sometimes choose a triple-digit page at random and look through some old threads. Sometimes you find a little pearl buried in there that needs to be shared.

DAIZEE Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:44 pm

I dug out some iron on patches I have for Scooby's pop top. The problem is that Riviera's are not canvas and I will have to be VERY careful doing this repair job as the material used will most likely, probably melt. I may not iron and just glue the patches on. I have all colors and I'm thinking of using the bright colors to show a 'dog patch' like tent. But I will probably do it with taste and sense for resale value.

I have lots of little jobs to do but can't do anything right now, what a waste of time .

50 Kafer Sun Jul 11, 2010 3:54 pm

Great find & link, worth looking at for other stuff besides VW.

climberjohn wrote: If you have just holes in the insect netting and your zipper is still in good shape, Fancher's sells a nicely made replacement net. I have one from the and it works perfecto.

link:
http://fanchers.com/223/Screen%20Replacement.htm

msinabottle Sun Jul 11, 2010 10:51 pm

And yet I have so few stickies...

:shock:

The patches on Winston's OEM canvas are holding just fine, thank you. I did have to reinforce my rivets a bit on one corner of my 'snap on' replacement screen with some more of that patching TAPE. That worked quite well. I keep toying with the idea of replacing the old canvas with a new Sunbrella 3-window (That Canadian company,

http://www.atelierspk.com/west_english.html

looks rather good for that), but I get so much air with the jalousies, and the repairs I did seem to be holding up so well, that I keep letting it slide.

Best!

Bntbrl Thu Mar 21, 2013 9:37 pm

How long did the repairs hold for?

msinabottle Fri Mar 22, 2013 12:36 pm

There were holding fairly well when I pulled that old tent last May. I did get some pulling where the rivets were through the old worn thin canvas, but strips of cloth and that 'Tear Mender' glue held pretty well! The repair even held when the roof popped open at highway speed--twice...

:shock:

And other parts of the canvas gave. There are, these days, kits to replace a torn out front window, but my method worked and held!

Best!

Bntbrl Fri Mar 22, 2013 1:53 pm

I was wondering how well the TearMender held up. The flfs didn't hang over 2 oz bottles. Ill try another friendly local fabric store.

djkeev Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:38 pm

msinabottle wrote: ?................The repair even held when the roof popped open at highway speed--twice...

:shock: ...........

Twice?

I think you need to make a flag set up on your sun visor. Flag down, top may not be latched! Get out and check it.

The only weakness of this system is getting into the habit of dropping the flag when you set up camp! :shock:

Dave

msinabottle Fri Mar 22, 2013 2:53 pm

Quote: Ill try another friendly local fabric store.

Forget that! Go to an Ace Hardware Store. They stock it. My big bottle congealed, so I've been buying the smaller ones since.

The roof popping up was a matter of the latch needing lubrication--the first time, I didn't use enough, and I didn't realize that if the pin sticks OUT, it's not latched. It's been great since, but the repair took it--I just had to do other repairs.

I have a full checklist for putting to sea after camping:

VANAGON WESTFALIA PRE-DRIVING CHECKLIST


1. Rig rear bed to bench, secure all loose interior gear. Check upper berth for improperly stowed items from lower section. Make sure tent window(s) secured.

2. Secure all cabinet and interior doors. Restore seats to ‘driving’ positions. Close all exterior windows, check to make sure that they are securely latched.

3. Close and secure sink, stove, and refrigerator. Secure tables against rattling and shifting.

4. Lower tent without latching. Close and check skylight. Exit van.

5. Remove and secure all external gear, such as the gray water tank and hose. Check rear hatch and secure. Make sure tent canvas tucked under top.

6. Turn off Propane system unless running fridge. Check and remove external connections. Enter van and stow gear from exterior.

7. LATCH TENT, CHECK LATCH. LATCH SHOULD NOT PROTRUDE.

8. Lock all exterior doors. Check mirrors and clearances. Start Van. Hit road.


Best!

djkeev Fri Mar 22, 2013 3:46 pm

I remember my Dad driving off more than once in the 68 Westy with the top UP!

Then again he was OLD! .........oh...........wait.........what's that?............I'm as old as he was when he did such a stupid thing? :shock:

BTW
My Dad did indeed make a sun visor sign and he used it religiously!

Dave

Bntbrl Fri Mar 22, 2013 6:31 pm

I'm heading to Ace now...

tam_shops Fri Mar 22, 2013 7:03 pm

Thanks! Copied and printed! Now to get it into my Westfalia book w/ vacation mechanics and other stuff I'll forget even though I've read it 18 times...
msinabottle wrote:
I have a full checklist for putting to sea after camping:

VANAGON WESTFALIA PRE-DRIVING CHECKLIST


1. Rig rear bed to bench, secure all loose interior gear. Check upper berth for improperly stowed items from lower section. Make sure tent window(s) secured.

2. Secure all cabinet and interior doors. Restore seats to ‘driving’ positions. Close all exterior windows, check to make sure that they are securely latched.

3. Close and secure sink, stove, and refrigerator. Secure tables against rattling and shifting.

4. Lower tent without latching. Close and check skylight. Exit van.

5. Remove and secure all external gear, such as the gray water tank and hose. Check rear hatch and secure. Make sure tent canvas tucked under top.

6. Turn off Propane system unless running fridge. Check and remove external connections. Enter van and stow gear from exterior.

7. LATCH TENT, CHECK LATCH. LATCH SHOULD NOT PROTRUDE.

8. Lock all exterior doors. Check mirrors and clearances. Start Van. Hit road.

Best!


As for patches, I like the Nylon self-adhesive ones by Gold Zack:
http://www.fabric-dreams.co.uk/Repair-Patches:::341_913.html
The package has an umbrella on it, there are different sizes (and shapes). I've had one of their patches on the canvas for our stroller for over 4 years, in a load baring section, with out problems...

There are other ones by Dritz that may be worth trying and easier to find there:
http://www.google.ca/imgres?um=1&hl=en&cli...&ty=35

And, still more by Bondex:
http://www.amazon.com/Jo-Ann-Fabric-Craft-Stores-045-903/dp/B001LXIEG2

As for the screen, if there are holes in it and the zippers comes out, why don't you take it and get some screen (can buy at our sewing store and/or hardware store), then bring it to a local seamstress and have her resew the original zipper onto a new piece of screen? If you find the right person, it's pretty cheap. I don't bother to hem my own pants b/c the lady charges me $10 and it takes me an hour by the time I do it beginning to end and clean up...

tam



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