View original topic: Rust Repair - Driver's Side Floor - Accelerator Pedal Area Page: 1, 2  Next
Forthwithtx Sat Mar 07, 2015 9:08 pm

"I've been putting this off for far too long." - Bilbo Baggins

I have two Vanagons. One is on the road to redemption, the other just gives up its parts to the other one. Both have rusty holes underneath the accelerator pedal, so I suspect I'm not the only one with this problem.

Today, I decided to buck up and get the job done. Since the donor Vanagon had nothing useful in the same area, I was going to have to full-up fabricate a repair. Here's what it looked like to start:

First thing I did was to put some cross-hatch reference lines outside of the repair area to show me where the accelerator pedal fasteners go. That way, I can locate them after the repair is in place. The lines are kind of faint, but they are there if you look closely.

Then I took a piece of thin cardboard and cut it to fit the dimensions I wanted for the final repair.

None of the bends are sharp 90-degree bends, so I marked the beginnings and ends of the transition areas on the cardboard template.

The donor van had a clear area on a panel that was damaged in a wreck at some point. I traced the template onto the skin.

I cut the section out with a high-speed die cutter.

I cleaned up the edges with a file and belt sander.

Transferred the bend lines and other references to the repair part.

Using only a bench vise with some aluminum angle as jaw protectors, I "step bended" the areas forming the inboard bends that mate with the center tunnel, as well as the slight left-to-right crease.

I threw some tack welds into the dart to help the part hold shape and gave it a test fit.

Continued to cold work the part, using the vise, a hardwood dowel shaped to use as a bumping block, and a big hammer.

Test fit again.

Started work on the front area.

On the next fit, I was reminded that the front area had two transitions. Here, I have begun adding the second transition.

The fit is looking good. Cleaned up some bumpy areas, smoothed things out, and primed the underside.

Cleaned up the jagged rusty hole and wire brushed/abraded the surface rust areas. I primed it afterward with some rust arresting primer.

Now, many of you probably don't have Cleco's, but they come in really handy for this sort of thing. Others might just use a welder. As you may have noticed, my weak skills as a welder are not enough to overcome the limited ability of the cheap HF flux core wire welder. So I opted for rivets. I used to be a USAF aircraft sheetmetal guy, so it's what I know...

Deburr the holes.

Apply sealant (Blackjack) to repair area (note the channel I filled with sealant, instead of trying to make my patch fit the trough).

Install rivets.

Seal underside of patch with more Blackjack.

Cleaned up for priming.


Pick up holes using cross-hatch lines from the first step, transferred back onto the repair part. They didn't exactly line up with the holes in the pedal, but I was able to get a good placement.

Drilled new holes and installed pedal with two 3/16" carriage bolts.




dhaavers Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:29 pm

Nice fab skills. Your van is gonna last forever... 8)

Terry Kay Sat Mar 07, 2015 10:56 pm

Just an FYI for future fabrication work.
Hammer & dolly the panel to fit well as you did, then in the corner's & longer straight runs drill some hole for pop rivets.

Then in leau of the black jack tar undercoating use 3-M Urethane Windshield adhesive, or 8115 -M body panel adhesive.
They both repel moisture, and it would take a Mack Truck to separate the panels once the adhesive is cured ( 12 hours )
You also can lay a bead of either on the bottom seams, which would never leak--and cause the panel to be bullet proof.
last winter I did my good friends Prevost motor coaches front end where he misjudged a toll booth on the right hand front corner & entry door.
I had a hell of time removing the front end panels & sparating the door skin & lower moulding.
It was all 3-M windshield adhesived together--
I played hell getting it apart with some finesse so I could get it back together again in one piece--terrible stuff to get apart.
I glued it all back together with the same product.
Overnight setting up time--but it's as solid a s a rock--tough stuff, excellent product for water proofing and making a panel stick like no tomorrow.

djkeev Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:11 am

Nice repair!

While in general I do not like laminating metal sheets, there are times where it works well.

Make darn certain that zero moisture gets between those sheets or rust will return rapidly!

Terry suggesting panel adhesive is spot on. It holds ferociously, it is moisture proof and easy to use.

No matter how I were to fasten metal down I'd use automobile quality seam sealer to ensue a complete water seal.

I worry about your pop rivets being exposed to moisture.

Except for your choice of sealant, I give you a high grade....... :wink:

Thanks so much for documenting and sharing this with all of us. I KNOW it takes time to do and I for one really appreciate your tutorial.


Forthwithtx Sun Mar 08, 2015 6:16 am

I'll have to look into the automotive-specific products you guys mention. Here in my part of Tx, we don't worry too much about rust, but the vehicle could end up anywhere, I suppose. I do plan to hit the underside with some additional undercoating, and the topside with something as well. I was thinking roll-on bed liner, or something like it.

There are a couple more spots in the cargo area that need attention. I'm thinking welding for those, but I'll have to find a nice MIG I can borrow. Or learn how to use the flux welder a bit better.

candyman Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:39 am

Nice work dude! Great attention the curves and stampings on the original floor. That repair will last a lifetime

Terry Kay Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:40 am

The issue your going to have with applying any urethane bedliner over the top of the asphault / oil based undercoating will be, it won't stick on top of it now.
You have an oil based product on there, your going to have to stick with that type of product to keep it from falling off.

Something is much better than nothing, I was just bringing the 3-M products up because they are much more permanent, forever sealer, expecially in an area as the floor panel.

Vanagon Nut Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:27 am

nice "panel" beating!

I have an appreciation of shaping metal so it was neat to see the piece take shape.

Very timely post as I have a couple of small rust hole repairs to do at RR fender well. I recalled the old cardboard trick. I may overlap the repair pieces, and weld them in, but the 3M option may be better, all told.

Thanks for posting the pics and "how".


alaskadan Sun Mar 08, 2015 9:52 am

Nice fab work! It shows that you know sheet metal. Its great to take a flat pc of metal and manipulate it into such a 3 dimensional shape. Whilst many can create straight line boxy shapes, it takes practice to form complex curves by stretching and shinking . Not many people know to call that cut a dart too. With those skills you probably be a great welder with a good welder. I cant stand flux cored wire personally. I use a lincoln 100 with gas and its such a sweetheart of a little welder. Good work.

Terry Kay Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:16 am

<<I may overlap the repair pieces, and weld them in, but the 3M option may be better, all told.>>

Another reason I mentioned the 3-M products to use in this sort of situtation is that most folks are not willing to buy, rent, lease, beg, borrow or steal a mig welder , or torch.
Nor do they have the time to learn how to use either-- don't want to, nor are they interested.

A weld is the best, sometimes as in this sitation where the metal is thin--half crusty, the body panel adhesive is as good if not better than the welding process--
Plus it automatically will seal up and displace any more water infiltration into the repaired area.

If you have plenty of time to allow the adhesive to cure, this is would be the way to go--especially in this crusty foor area.

CHARLIE-DONT-SURF Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:28 am

Awesome thread chap. Love it.

The only bit that let's it down is where you wrote

"I step bended"

I then read the rest of the thread in the voice of Ralph Wiggum.

Check out your screen seal to prevent a reoccurrence if you haven't already done so.

Vanagon Nut Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:33 am

thanks Terry. I'd prefer to weld but have next to no experience welding on a vehicle. Especially on thinner gauge, rusted out areas. But then I like a challenge. ;)

Yes. i see Forthwithtx has a flux wire feed setup. @ Forthwithtx.: FWIW, I never once regretted buying a shielding gas tank. Haven't tried stainless yet but the trimix I'm using works fine with steel and should work with SS. My Hobart was set up for a gas connection.


Seems they've improved it adding a 5th wire feed speed. Edit: meant: "5th wire tap" (power) I'm finding I can run mine on a shared 15 Amp circuit (so far ;) but would prefer my old set up using the dedicated 20 Amp circuit I ran.


Zeitgeist 13 Sun Mar 08, 2015 11:41 am

I like those Clecos. I too would've just welded this, but using the temp rivets would often help even when overlap welding panels like this. I need to get some of those. Great job

Forthwithtx Sun Mar 08, 2015 4:19 pm

CHARLIE-DONT-SURF wrote: Awesome thread chap. Love it.

The only bit that let's it down is where you wrote

"I step bended"

I then read the rest of the thread in the voice of Ralph Wiggum.

Check out your screen seal to prevent a reoccurrence if you haven't already done so.

I am somewhat of a grammar "National Socialist", but when it came to the past tense of the common sheet metal term, "step bend", "step bent" didn't quite sound right. I am open to correction. I'll have to look up that Ralph Wiggum reference.

You actually answered a question I had concerning the possible reason for the rust. It appears to be originating on the inside of the vehicle. When I pulled the cork pad, it was wet. Fortunately, I have new seals for the door glass and windscreen.

djkeev Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:20 pm

That water by the pedal often comes off of your shoe.
Rain, snow drips off of your shoe and settles at the pedal base.


djkeev Sun Mar 08, 2015 5:26 pm

If you decide to go the panel adhesive route, you will find that the adhesive price isn't huge, the dispenser gun will set you back a frightening amount.

I came up with this easy low cost solution utilizing a standard sized dispenser gun.


Forthwithtx Sun Mar 15, 2015 2:15 pm

Well, I finished up today. The plan was, once I got it repaired and rust (hopefully) arrested, to build a swimming pool out of truck bed liner.

The asphalt based floor covering was full of cracks and I noticed that when I removed the stuff in the repair area, it had moisture underneath. Also, it didn't seem like a good thing to paint over. So, I removed the rest of it and cleaned up the residue with mineral spirits. I also wire brushed out the rusty areas in the enlarged area of concern, applied rust converter primer, and re-sealed them. You may use your sealant of choice. I used something I had (not blackjack).

So, here it is with the area all cleaned up, sealed, and primed.

I glued a plug into the hole revealed by the removed asphalt mat.

You may have noticed that I missed a hole! It popped out after the primer was applied. The black on white made it clearly visible. If you go back into the previous photos, there it is! I don't know how I missed it.

So, I took a small piece of aluminum tape and backed up the hole from the underside. You can see the underside of the plug. Again, just something I had in my collection.

The main area that I resealed. There was actually a small hole revealed after wire brushing, but not worth my time to repair.

This is after the truck bed liner was applied. I used an entire spray can in several coats. The material preferred to be sprayed with the can upside down, by the way. Use a respirator and/or spray in a well ventilated area. I had a little fan going, in addition.

The film strength of the material would probably be too much after it is cured, so I removed the masking tape while it was still wet.

Re-installed the accelerator pedal.

Once the bed liner is completely cured, I'll go underneath, pull the aluminum tape, and hit it with some undercoating to seal both sides, including the plug, to help retain it.

Bambus Mon Apr 18, 2016 9:21 am

ZOMBIE THREAD BUMP! just to say thanks for this thread-- it is just what i needed to see after finally pulling up my front carpet this weekend and addressing my own longstanding pedal rot.


cawvin Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:16 am

Thought I'd share some photos here, I got into this job yesterday. It all started with sound deadening the engine decklid, but before long I had the hole interior pulled out. One thing leading to another...

I've had a wet floor problem for a little while, despite refreshing the front windshield seal. I think I'll have to get in there with some sealant. Anyhow, that's how it looked when I finally pulled up the sound foam & carpet. The asphalt-based floor covering was pretty haggard looking, so I scraped it out and began sanding:

Once I got *all* the rust (ha) sanded off, I applied 2 coats of rust treatment:

And am in the process of letting that cure for 24hours. What are folks' thoughts on the 'bathtub-type' paint scheme for the front floor? I picked up these two products:

Thinking of laying down a few coats of the rubberized undercoating, and then bedliner over that. I'm tempted to leave the passenger side be, as it looks just fine:

But maybe I should continue my theme of goin' to town, and go to town on the whole floor?

Forthwithtx Tue Apr 26, 2016 10:11 am

cawvin wrote:

I've had a wet floor problem for a little while, despite refreshing the front windshield seal. I think I'll have to get in there with some sealant.

My water problem was solved by resealing the two body seams coming down from the windshield, above the headlights. YMMV

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