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eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 4:59 pm    Post subject: Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh - refinish seat back Reply with quote

Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh Part II: refinish seat back

As mentioned, the seat back wood was pretty abused. The wood is a very thin Mahogany veneer glued over a cheaper fir or pine. It doesn't take much to sand right through the veneer when trying to remove gouges and scratches. If that happens, you'll have a HUGE problem on your hands trying to make it look right.

The cheesy seat cover installation had left about 100 deep gouges and punctures around the perimeter of the wood. There was no way to repair this without replacing the wood itself and I had no intention of opening that can of worms. (No, you can't fix this with wood filler. Rolling Eyes) The black cloth tape normally used to cover the upholstery seam would be widened to cover the staple marks.

The plan would be to block sand overall with 180, then wipe down with lacquer thinner / acetone several times to remove as much of the old varnish and stain as possible. Then a combination of block and spot sanding with 180 would be used to remove as many imperfections as I felt possible. Since the work would be extensive, I would use a gel stain (Minwax Cherrywood) to even out the tone of the wood. Finally, a few coats of wipe-on Satin Polyurethane varnish would be applied, sanding with 220 between coats, finished with a final coat of spray Poly varnish. This process has served me well with the other cabinetry.

It would be necessary to seal off the upholstery from this mess, so I would use a yard bag cut to size and then sealed at the working edge with painter's tape.
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I wasn't too worried about cleaning up those stains and drips, but the thought of trying to sand out those gouges and scars put real FEAR in my heart Crying or Very sad . Perfect could truly be the enemy of the Good. Here's a closer look:
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The process works. It's a combination of skill and luck. Here's a photo of it on a very messy workbench, refinished:
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With my wife's skillful application of the slightly wider black border tape, the old staple marks "go away". No longer crappy! Very Happy
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Looks so easy in photos. This was a buttload of work.

Onwards!


Last edited by eche_bus on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:25 pm; edited 1 time in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 5:58 pm    Post subject: Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh - seat bottom and hinges Reply with quote

Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh Part III: refinish seat bottom and hinges

Seat bottom
The seat bottom wood doesn't look too bad in the photo, but it had a few scars and stains worth trying to remove. As it remains largely unseen, I didn't spend a lot of time trying to get every last defect out (I'm really not that crazy). The same staple marks seen before on the seat back would remain uncovered (no black cloth tape), so the painters tape was aligned right at the upholstery's edge so the wood could be refinished right up to it.
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For a little work, the seat bottom is greatly improved. All it took was sanding and a few coats of wipe-on poly varnish. Note: it may look like the tone is uneven, but that is the way the Mahogany veneer reflects light. If I change the camera angle, the dark patches move right along!
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Hinges
OK, so we've got a couple of nice seat sections now, but it doesn't do much good without something to hold them together.

Things began in hinge-land with getting the latching mechanism squared away. I found a good replacement for that overextended spring by cutting down and re-forming the end of one from the hardware store. The tips of the small pivoting latch arms were bent such that one was basically smashed tight against its base, no longer able to move. Prying and filing got them back in good shape.
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One thing I hadn't noticed before was that the hinges and seat bottom support arms originally had closed cell foam tape applied to the surfaces where they contacted the seat. I took note of the locations so as to duplicate after painting.
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You could tell the hinges were originally dipped in paint, a common practice with parts that are difficult to spray due to hidden surfaces. As I would be spraying new paint, I opted not to strip the hinges bare, else I would have had plenty of trouble getting in the tight overlaps. There was no need to make the hinges look pretty, but they certainly needed to be sanded down to remove plenty of peeling and chipped paint as well as allow good adhesion for new paint. Big job - really thick OG paint and lots and lots of nooks and crannies! Here's one, sanded and ready to paint:
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Here's a refinished hinge, greased up a bit, with new "anti-scuff" pad in place. Oh yeah, those are grease smudges, not paint defects. Wink
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Yeah, I know. Hinges aren't real exciting. Let's put the damn thing together...


Last edited by eche_bus on Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:24 pm; edited 2 times in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh - seat reassembly Reply with quote

Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh Part IV: seat reassembly

I figured the inside of the bus would be a great spot to build the seat as it was just going to get progressively more difficult to move around. Ken at TheBusCo supplied the missing special screws and washers so everything was on hand to begin re-attaching the hinges.

First the seat back:
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Then the seat bottom:
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And ... bolted to the base ... resting after a long wrestling match with hinges, carriage bolts, and heavy assemblies:
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Very Happy It's a seat again! Very Happy

Let's put it in.
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Keith
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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Looking good ! Where did you get the white curtain retaining cord?
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:03 pm    Post subject: Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh - arm rest Reply with quote

Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh Part V: arm rest

Oh wait Shocked ... before we can install the rear seat / bed we need to do something about the arm rest!

As you saw earlier, we replaced all the curtains with ones made from new fabric. This new fabric is just a little lighter in shade and weight, so Bill Webner, the guy who made the curtains, also made us a new cover for the arm rest so it would match.

It wasn't just the color, you can see from this old photo that the foam in the arm rest was pretty tired.
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A view of the backside. Note the small nailhead spacers, also used in the Sink/Stove cabinet. Wood is very dry, with lots of raised grain. No veneer to deal with - easy to do a quick sanding.
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My wife volunteered to pull staples while I worked on another part of the bus. There's got to be a hundred of 'em!
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I guess I forgot to take a photo of the old foam. Oh well, here's one showing how it was originally glued to the backing board.
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A new piece of polyurethane foam was bought from "The Foam Factory" I noticed the OG foam was very dense, so used "Lux Foam, High Quality", the densest stuff they had. It seems right!
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Once the new foam was glued onto the board using 3M Super 77 spray glue (sprayed both board and foam for best bonding), the new cover was stretched on and aligned.
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Everything back in place. A rented electric power stapler was used to install new staples all around. Sanded backside will be easier on the woodgrain wall panel if it rubs at all.
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Looks good!
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Ready to move on to that seat installation ...


Last edited by eche_bus on Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:10 pm; edited 2 times in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 18, 2014 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Keith wrote:
Looking good ! Where did you get the white curtain retaining cord?


That is the original retaining cord. What you can see of it there is in good shape, but it needs to be replaced. Further back, it's not so good. The opposite side cleaned up well with a rub of Formula 409 followed by lacquer thinner.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

PO's Fuel Sender Hack Fix, or "Turning a Sow's Ear into a ???"

Thought I was going to post about installing the rear seat, right? Yeah, so did I. Sad

You might have noticed silver duct tape sticking out in some of the recent photos of the rear of the bus. That was an embarrassment we inherited from a Previous Owner, and covered over the remains of his fuel sender replacement job. I wanted to clean it up some and make sure it was properly sealed off before putting the rear seat in the way. Simple enough, right?

Oh, so wrong.
Under the duct tape, this abomination lurked, words for which can scarcely describe.
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Let's take a look inside, shall we?
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It's no surprise to find that when the gates of hell are opened, demons lurk within ... or lurked. And when I say "demons", I'm referring to those wonderful rodents that took such good care of the bus all these years.
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The amazing thing? The fuel sender was still working! But, no sooner had I thoroughly cleaned the debris away, I pulled off the ground wire and the sender's terminal disintegrated in my hand! Shocked So now not only did I have to fix the rubbish access hole hack, I had to replace the sender. That rear seat was not going in any time soon. Crying or Very sad

Here's a shiny new sender, calibrated, tested and installed. Before I put it in place, I had a good look around inside the tank. You'd never know it from the rodent pee induced scale on the outside, but the inside of the tank looked real good! WHEW! The surface rust will be dealt with down the road when an opportunity to pull the tank arises.
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Back to the "metalwork".
Some fool had blindly drilled a BIG pilot hole, apparently realized he was far off his target and just started cutting a rough, oversized box, way bigger than necessary. What's more, he didn't stick to the horizontal surface, which would at least keep things simple. Oh no, he just kind of went nuts cutting down into the curve where the floor goes more vertical.

It doesn't stop there. Once the fuel sender was replaced, the floor cutout was SOLDERED back in place. Not welded, not brazed, but soldered and not in a way showing any actual skill at doing so. To top it off, a metal hardware store plug was then soldered into that big pilot hole.

As best as I could tell, the access hole had been opened a second time. This time, someone took a saw to the solder work and then once done with the job, used some scrap steel strips and screws to hold thing back together. Two strips for four sides, with some feeble attempt to resolder the remaining sides. Real rocket scientists. Rolling Eyes

First thing was to remove all the blobs of solder. There was plenty. A soldering iron or gun wasn't going to cut it. I had to use a propane torch and a wooden stick to push the solder away!Why yes, working inches from a fuel tank with a propane torch is very stressful!
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With most of the solder removed, I hit it with a grinder to finally get it smooth. The results, before final sanding:
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The "fix".
The goal was to strengthen the cut out area and seal it off from any fumes or what-have-you. Toward this end, we formed a cover plate out of 20 ga. galvanized steel, bent and formed to fit. The plate was then gasketed in such a way as to form a good seal all around. Before installing the plate, the bare metal was treated to self-etching primer and paint. Obviously, no effort was made to use matching paint, as a) I still don't have paint that matches, b) this is a temporary fix and c) will not be visible once the rear cushion is in place.
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Installed.
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It's ugly, amateur and a temporary fix, but a strong and safe one that allows the camper to be used until a welded solution replaces it down the road.

Trust me. That damn rear seat is going in now!
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 21, 2014 5:44 pm    Post subject: Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh - installed Reply with quote

Rear Seat / Bed (Z-Bed) Refresh Final: installed!

Never seemed like we'd get here. With a good cleaning and waxing of the area behind the seat, there was no longer "one more thing ..."! Very Happy
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The seat was slid in place and bolted down. Half-ass details can be found in this Westfalia Repair Manual.
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Have a seat!
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Or a nap! Hinges and mechanisms work great!
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Let's go around to the back side.

I was finally able to tie up a loose end over on the closet cabinet. The table is secured to closet by a small strap. A PO had replaced the OG strap with the lovely grey one you see resting here. I didn't know if the PO's replacement was the right length, so waited until I could put the table into its storage spot before sizing a new one. This is cut down from a curtain strap and is now identical to OG. Note: on this '76 model, the strap is attached near the rear of the closet and table. On later models, the strap is moved up closer to the middle of both.
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The restored table is now at home where it belongs. What do you think of the new, improved view from the rear?
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One last look from the front. This interior is's actually starting to take shape!
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Onward to Power Inlet Box ... and Left Side Interior Wall Panel ... and Refrigerator Installation!
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Bala
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice of course.

Can we get details on the cloth tape you used?
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its not that gaffer-german electrical stuff - just this.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/22150856?wmlspartner=wlp...mp;veh=sem

When I get back into my 74 resto Ill be looking for that German stuff to try out.
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OK, this thread is over. You win.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

notchboy wrote:
Its not that gaffer-german electrical stuff - just this.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/22150856?wmlspartner=wlp...mp;veh=sem

When I get back into my 74 resto Ill be looking for that German stuff to try out.


Is this the tape you are talking about?http://www.findtape.com/product199/Pro-Tapes-Pro-G...ers%2bTape

BTW - great work, eche!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your thread always makes me inspired to do better work on mine! Nice work, and thanks for the details like where you got the foam! Did you also replace the seat cushions themselves or use the old? Would you recommend that same foam for the cushion and seat back? We'll be doing a full size bed from a '74 in the '78 and I'd like to redo the tired foam and refinish it in at least half the capacity you did...
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 1:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sort of - more like this -

chimneyfish wrote:
Do you both mean PET-cloth wire harness tape?? If it is, TESA make it:

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or you could get the genuine VAG stuff, VW part number 000 979 950 Cool

Not sure if they still do it in brown though.

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poptop tom wrote:
notchboy wrote:
Its not that gaffer-german electrical stuff - just this.

http://www.walmart.com/ip/22150856?wmlspartner=wlp...mp;veh=sem

When I get back into my 74 resto Ill be looking for that German stuff to try out.


Is this the tape you are talking about?http://www.findtape.com/product199/Pro-Tapes-Pro-G...ers%2bTape

BTW - great work, eche!

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t3kg wrote:

OK, this thread is over. You win.

Jason "notchboy" Weigel
1964 1500 S
1964 T34 S Convertible
1974 Westfalia Hardtop Campmobile
1977 Westfalia Camper pop-top
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bala wrote:
Very nice of course.

Can we get details on the cloth tape you used?

Thank you!

The tape is Renfrew Hockey Tape, bought in-store from Dick's Sporting Goods. As I needed to cover up the staple marks left by the PO's old cheesy seat cover job, it is wider than the OG tape was. The stuff I used is about 36 mm. wide. Dick's website doesn't even show it. It is listed on some other websites as 1 1/2" wide ( http://www.hockeymonkey.com/renfrew-hockey-tape-black.html ). Note, it is the basic cloth hockey tape, not friction tape. The standard width of this tape is about 1". Here's a link to that: http://www.hockeygiant.com/renfrewclthbk.html?gclid=CK6P0vur9sACFbRzMgodM2QAPQ

Edit: Here's another link to some 1" stuff. I see they have the 1 1/2" too. This is a chain with physical stores too. http://www.sportsauthority.com/product/index.jsp?productId=11306827


Last edited by eche_bus on Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:35 pm; edited 1 time in total
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 22, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

guanella74 wrote:
Your thread always makes me inspired to do better work on mine! Nice work, and thanks for the details like where you got the foam! Did you also replace the seat cushions themselves or use the old? Would you recommend that same foam for the cushion and seat back? We'll be doing a full size bed from a '74 in the '78 and I'd like to redo the tired foam and refinish it in at least half the capacity you did...

It makes me very happy to learn how my work has helped inspire others. These campers are especially challenging when it comes to restoration, and its great that we have this forum for sharing information.

There seemed to be no real need to replace the rear seat or rear cushion foam. The seats had been covered in vinyl for many years, and it seems to have protected the OG foam to a large degree. They don't smell, and aren't "crunchy" or overly shrunken.

Yes, I think I would recommend that same foam I used on the armrest for the bed/seat cushions. It's pretty firm, but so are the OG ones. My recommendation would be to get a small sample and see for yourself, as it's a pretty big commitment to buy that much foam without at least feeling it for yourself first.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 9:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche-bus,

After 25 years of beetle ownership ( about 7 in total), my wife asked me, right after an uncomfortable tent camp, "did vw ever make a camper". Six months later a 79 deluxe mexico beige was in the drive way.

I have never owned a T2 before and was worried about the depth of knowledge as compaired with the beetle forums. I could not have been more wrong. I have spent days reading your thread, and curtis, and westfabulous, and many others and I just want to say that you guys are the best. Your attention to detail and elbow grease make me want to dig right in with a tear down.

I am a woodworker by trade and your approach has been exceptional. There are so many "easy all-in-one" cleaner stain polys on the market, most people have forgotten about varnish, compound, sealing wax, oh ya, and a little hard work. The latter always producing a superior finish that will last and last.

Painting and auto body is my weak spot, and I hope I can ask you some pointed questions in the future.

I promised my wife one more season of camping before I start, and I keep my promises. THEN the gloves are off. I hope to have my own tread some day, until then my respect.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2014 6:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

beetlepete - Thank you for your post. Coming from a woodworker, your compliments regarding the cabinet work are especially appreciated. Going into this, I knew virtually nothing of woodworking, so it's been a real hair-pulling adventure at times, but have learned a lot. Nothing I encountered restoring our Mustang prepared me for the work on the wood-based interior of this camper. It's still kicking my ass, but the results are becoming very gratifying.

I have some experience with paint and body work, just no welding, as I've always decided to farm that out to the experts. Did all the pre-topcoat work (primers/fillers) on the body and primer/paint work on the chassis and individual parts on the Mustang. So, happy to help answer questions as I can.

These VW buses/campers are very hard to restore well. Good parts, used or new are really tough to come by. It takes waaaay more time, money and effort than imagined. You're wise to get some camping in before tearing into yours!

Best of luck with your new Westy, and I'll look forward to hearing from you again! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

some great work going on - looks fantastic

Smile
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus, thanks so much for this thread. I'm taking diligent notes and making references for when I get to that point in my restoration. This build is the current standard out there.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 05, 2014 5:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@rob.e and RONIN10 - thank you for the words of encouragement and support! The Westy does its best to push me down at times, but knowing this is helping others picks me back up! Cool
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