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Trashman Mon Jun 06, 2016 12:38 pm

So about a month ago I bought a 1968 deluxe bay window and I haven't been able to really work on it too much since since I'm in finals right now and I'm trying to be sensible and study. Well my last finals are tomorrow and I can finally work on it after that. I thought I'd start somewhat of a build thread since I wish I had done it for my last car. Things definitely won't move quickly as I am on a college student budget but you can bet pretty much every dollar will go to the bus. I guess I'll just start from the begin and go on from there. I started out with a 1987 mk2 GTI that I had bought when I was 16 and sold that to fund buying a bus. I was surprised how quick it sold since it was not smog-able since I put a pair of side draft solex c40's on the 16v that was in it. I think it was only two days later that I went to go pick up the bus. I took the ride home in it really slow and it took about twice as long as it should have, about six hours. I took it easy because it was very hot that day and I didn't want to push an engine that I didn't know yet and the rear tires were also from 1999, so I was a little paranoid about them blowing up and ruining the sheet metal. The brake lights didn't work on it so I've been sorting through wiring since I've gotten it and replaced both the brake light switches for good measure. I have brake brake lights now but only one of them works when I have the headlights on. I've went through every ground for the lights and they all seem good so I've turned to the headlight switch and sure enough the rheostat in that was broken so I ordered a new one. Hopefully that solves that problem, but in the meantime I guess I'm not doing any night driving. I didn't have a key to the doors so I got a key cut to code and it turns out the PO did some rekeying so I had to mess around with the tumblers so that the locks would work with my key. Now all the doors lock with one key. I'm also waiting on some tires to get here so I don't have to worry about the dry rotted ones that are on there. I bought some portawalls too and have since decided not to use them so if anyone want a set of 14" portawalls hit me up hahaha. My next thing to attack is the paint. The bus was originally neptune blue but the PO gave it a terrible coat of rattle can primer. I'm going to strip that back to the OG paint. The also used to be some "art" on the back covering up a fender bender that I need to take off too. I'll try to keep this updated with pictures every time I do something on it. Here are some of the pictures:

The car I sold to buy the bus

Pics of her now

need to get that ugly white gauge cluster back to black

Pic from the PO with the "art"

With my soon to be twin

qwerksc Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:34 pm

I see your bus on 7th ave.

Trashman Mon Jun 06, 2016 7:47 pm

Thats me hahaha.

richparker Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:19 pm

Welcome, I'm glad you made that long trip home with success. '68 is a great year bus, I love mine! It is a one year only model that has some unique features. Here's the '68 only thread. I look forward to reading about your progress.

Trashman Mon Jun 06, 2016 8:40 pm

richparker wrote: It is a one year only model that has some unique features.

Yeah, I've figured that out with the missing rear view mirror, missing wipers, and broken brake fluid reservoir. All the 68 only parts... So far I've slapped a 69 mirror on the 68 mirror part, jb welded the reservoir :oops: , and am planning on a later than 68 wiper retrofit.

richparker Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:15 pm

You can change the '68 reservioir to a '71 with ease. You can also put late model arms on the '68 posts with set screws. Neither is year correct but they work.

Pics from my bus

Trashman Mon Jun 06, 2016 10:22 pm

I was actually going to do exactly that for the wiper arms, and I was going to go off of that picture of yours. Thanks for posting it! As for the reservoir, its not leaking as of now and I'd like to keep that original for some reason, call me crazy hahaha.

Trashman Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:35 pm

I did some work on the bus yesterday and today. Yesterday I changed out the headlight switch due to a broken rheostat hoping that it would solve some light issues I was having. The brake lights don't work right when you have the headlights on. Since that didn't work, I'm back to searching for bad grounds somewhere. At least I get to return the switch now and get my $25 back. That wasn't very interesting. Today was a bit more productive. My girlfriend helped by cleaning all on the interior metal of the bus and the seats. That seats came out great and I wanted to reupholster them but now I'm doubting my self a bit since they cleaned up so well. While she was doing that, I started stripping off the rattle can primer that is in it so I could get down to the OG neptune blue.

For this section I just used a rag and some acetone-free nail polish remover. It's a pretty labor and time intensive process but I think it came out better than I could have asked for. (It took almost two hours for that one section) Tomorrow I'm going to try using oven cleaner to strip some more paint and see if I can get the same results in less time. If not I will stick to the nail polish remover since it is so much cheaper. I have considered wet sanding but I think that has the potential to be a bit too abrasive and I really like how it came out today. I also got a $5 off coupon from O'rielly today so I went ahead and picked up some new spark plugs and I'll throw those in tomorrow. I plan on trying to strip off about that much paint or even a little bit more each day and it should be done in a week or two.

I do have a question for everyone out there. On the opposite rear corner of the bus there is some sheet metal damage and I want to pound it out a bit from the inside. Is there any way I can remove some of the interior sheet metal to get to it or do I just have to reach my arm up on there with a hammer from the engine compartment? Thanks.

qwerksc Thu Jun 09, 2016 7:39 pm

I saw ya working on the bus on my way home from work. next time I'll stop and say "hey". It is gonna look good after, you know, the Effort!

secretsubmariner Fri Jun 10, 2016 8:47 am

68Transporter wrote: OG neptune blue.

gangsta gangsta

damn, why would anyone want to cover up that blue? It's coming back REALLY nice. Good work. More pics!!

Trashman Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:26 am

So I was able to do some more paint stripping yesterday and boy are my hands sore now. It's coming along slowly, but never the less coming along. I have found the best way to strip the paint though. What I have been doing is spraying down the panel with heavy duty safeway brand oven cleaner and letting that sit for a little less than ten minutes or so. Then I'll hose that off and wipe off all the primer that didn't come off after hosing it. Then I go in with the acetone free nail polish remover by hand to finish up the remainder of it. I like doing it this way because the oven cleaner does the bulk of the job without really touching the blue, and then I can finish by hand when I have more control. Heres what we're looking like right now. The front is about 75% done with the nail polish remover and the side is just oven cleaner right now.

Got some nice patina going up above the vent. I like it a lot.

I can't wait to get it all off so I can give her a polish I can put my deluxe trim on!

1967250s Sat Jun 11, 2016 11:02 am

I do have a question for everyone out there. On the opposite rear corner of the bus there is some sheet metal damage and I want to pound it out a bit from the inside. Is there any way I can remove some of the interior sheet metal to get to it or do I just have to reach my arm up on there with a hammer from the engine compartment? Thanks.[/quote]
Be careful on that corner. Watch a bunch of videos on YouTube about bumping metal first. If you bang it out from the inside, it will stretch the metal and be very hard to reshape. Find a book called Metal Bumping( I found it free on web) short but explains metal work by simple methods. Basically, you need to do opposite of what you think, first remove secondary damage, (usually removes most of the dent!) Then smooth dented area. Watch glide kings videos. Though they are on a splitter, they show very good repair technique.

Trashman Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:02 am

Alright guys. I have been putting in quite a bit of work into the paint of the bus since I last posted. I have been continuing the method I said works best for me before, the oven cleaner then nail polish remover, but I have been a little heavier on the oven cleaner since it makes the job so much easier. What I have been doing is spraying on the oven cleaner and then once a significant amount of the blue is exposed I go in painting on the stuff with a brush so I don't ruin the blue. Then, once I've gotten to a point where there isn't enough primer to really paint on, I go in with the acetone free nail polish remover. After that I give it one final wipe down with the nail polish remover with a clean rag and then get to buffing with a rubbing compound. I have yet to wax anything because there are some spots that I may want to buff out a little bit more. I really love the patina it has on it too. But I guess pictures do all the talking so here ya go!

First one here is with the gauge cluster and glove box stripped back to black.

This is with the whole passenger side sprayed with oven cleaner without any painted on yet.

This is the start of buffing.

Finished product on the front, just not waxed.

And the side. Needs some more buffing in spots and a wax.

I also through on some new tires yesterday and feel much better about driving it longer distances now. I know the front tires look very small but I'll need them that small once it is lowered, which shouldn't be happening too long from now. I also fixed my fuel gauge as it wouldn't register anything before and now it's all good. I don't feel like I have to fill up nearly as often hahaha. Hopefully within another week, I can get the passenger side and rear all stripped down. I do have to repaint the panel that the fuel fill is on since it was taken down to bare metal for the art that was on it and the engine hatch because it was a replacement and it yellow. I also picked up a hub cap from a local antique store since I was missing one. Got it for 8 bucks. I'm feeling really good about all of it though!

secretsubmariner Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:38 am

Well color me Neptune, that thing ROCKS.

Got a question for ya on removing the primer.

You're using oven cleaner, letting it sit for less than 10 minutes.

You're using acetone free nail polish remover afterward to get the small stuff.

What type of scrub are you using? You said a clean rag to wipe it off, but are you scrubbing with 0000 steel wool? Scotchbrite pad?

Just wondering, I have a lil bit of spray paint to remove still. :P

Trashman Thu Jun 16, 2016 11:46 am

secretsubmariner wrote: Well color me Neptune, that thing ROCKS.

What type of scrub are you using? You said a clean rag to wipe it off, but are you scrubbing with 0000 steel wool? Scotchbrite pad?


Thanks Tony! I'm just using a regular rag for the scrubbing. I am afraid that something tougher would hurt the paint and the more porous it is the less it holds in the nail polish remover. Just a lot of elbow grease!

SGKent Thu Jun 16, 2016 12:00 pm

it was probably worth more if the PO had left it that Neptune blue instead of spraying it with gray primer. If you repaint all of it properly be sure to get before photos for a future buyer so they know you weren't painting it to hide anything.

whatdoesthisbuttondo? Thu Jun 16, 2016 1:07 pm

Looks so much nicer. Love that colour!

Pinetops Thu Jun 16, 2016 4:42 pm

It's hard to beat that color, congrats.

Trashman Sun Jul 17, 2016 2:16 am

Well I haven't posted an update on here for a while simply because work on the bus had to take a temporary break since I was moving and dealing with school some more, and some oral surgery to top it off. I have gotten a little bit done though. I took down the one rear passenger panel down to bare metal as there was no original paint on there and hit it with a few coats of primer and put some fresh seam sealer in the seam back there too as the old stuff was replaced by bondo in some spots and was just looking a little sad. I also started to uncover what was under the bondo on the rear drivers side corner. It was in better shape than I expected but I wasn't expecting that big hole in the middle. I guess I have a little bit of welding to do back there.

And speaking of welding, I started ordering some of the parts to narrow my beam and put adjusters on it. Oh, and also make some custom rear springs plates. It should be a lot of fun. Sometimes I think I should re-evaluate my priorities as I'm buying parts to lower the bus before it even has door seals but then I always say "it's summer time. Who needs door seals anyways? It's not even raining outside yet" Hopefully I will wise up soon hahaha

Trashman Thu Aug 04, 2016 12:48 pm

I started on narrowing my beam this week. It's probably going to take at least another week as I can only have access to the shop 3 days a week, but I think I'm making fairly good progress. So far I have the beam narrowed 5 inches and welded back together, braces welded on and the OG shock towers cut off. Now I'm just cleaning it up a bit and cutting out the new shock towers out of some 1/4" plate. Hopefully I will be able to get my WW beef cake adjusters welded on by the end of today but that might be a little optimistic. Anyways, here are some pictures of my progress. I will update with more pictures when I can.

Just to add, I will also be installing WW drop spindles when everything is all said and done. The rear of the bus will have some custom drop spring plates that I'm making and dropped a spline or two.

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