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eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper
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Biscuit79
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 15, 2014 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Or is it possible to just make myself? It looks simple enough, but I can't get a close enough view
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 16, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Biscuit79 wrote:
Question for Eche regarding the carpet trim pieces you got zinc plated; I am missing the straight/flat piece that goes behind the platform for the passenger seat. Any idea if there is a reproduction of this piece? If not, does anyone by chance have an extra? Let me know- thanks a bunch!

Or is it possible to just make myself? It looks simple enough, but I can't get a close enough view


@Biscuit79 -The straight piece that goes immediately behind the passenger seat pedestal is a very simple part and wouldn't take much work to create a new one from galvanized sheet steel. It is a simple "L" shape with 2 (or 3 I don't recall) holes for retaining screws.

No one reproduces this or any of the other galvanized carpet trim pieces. Trying to find and actually buy good used replacements is an experience best left to true masochists. Wink
I can provide you with a good photo and dimensions should you decide to make one yourself. If so, please send me a PM to let me know.

@Everyone -in just a few more days, I'm gonna show you something new that'll knock your socks off. In fact, I'll go so far as to say you've probably never seen one quite like it. Just wait ... Cool
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:41 pm    Post subject: Refrigerator Power Control Panel Restoration Reply with quote

Refrigerator Power Control Panel Restoration
I'm going to go out on a limb a bit and say I'm about to show you something you may never have seen before. A new late Westy fridge control panel.

The photos I've seen of other deluxe Westys and control panels put up for sale seem to always show them scarred and faded. The gold printing is dull, the black chalky, and the whole thing showing every tired mile since the late '70s.

Today I show you a new one. No, not a lucky NOS find (yeah, that could happen Rolling Eyes ) but how I returned an old beat up one to look and work like new.

Original condition
Here's the one that came out of our bus. Not a pretty sight. To those that say "it's patina" ... well ... bite me. Speak to the hand
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Backside. You can see where moisture must have dripped down from the window above at some point.
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It all begins with a teardown. Gotta get to that steel panel.
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Panel Restoration
I had a spare panel from a '78 so decided to tear it down and proceed with stripping off the paint. Ah ... naked steel. Wink Afterwards, the panels were scuff-sanded and phosporic acid-etched to prepare for paint.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


My wife (who is quite skilled in this area) created new artwork that *exactly* duplicates the original panel. Fonts, graphics all the same as when first made. Once the panels were painted, I had them silkscreened from the new artwork. I'm confident the new gold epoxy ink is a good match to the original which had been preserved where some of the mounting screw heads had covered it.
Note: although the artwork was precise, something at the silkscreeners' introduced a very slight vertical growth so the top line sits slightly above the center of the top screw holes. If I do more of these, I'll be sure that gets fixed.
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I picked one and charged forward.
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Switches and lamp
Each switch and the lamp were tested, cleaned and polished.
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Kind of fun seeing some parts plugged into the fresh panel! Smile
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Timer and knob
I tested both timers on hand and picked the most accurate of the two. Let's see what can be done with that crusty timer and knob...
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Cleaned up pretty nicely, really. Knob was the most work of all.
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Starting to look like something!
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Fuse Holder
The silkscreen on the fuse holder was pretty far gone, but I located some NOS ones. Original on the left, but that's an identical but brand-new one on the right! Cool
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


There we go ... no wear in sight.
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Meter? Nope - Wiring
At this point I was really struggling with the meter restoration. I had two of them on hand, but each one read differently and one had a broken coil mount inside. Attempts to fix that one went from bad to worse as the "ancient" plastic disintegrated. I set the meters aside and went on to wiring.

I cleaned up the wiring, and straightened, polished and coated the connector terminals and spade lugs with Gardner Bender's Oxi-Guard grease. Note: I believe the white connector is unique to '76 as it was changed later to a square one with more robust pins.
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A shot of most everything wired back together.
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Meter? Yes
Ok, back to the meter. There's not a lot there, but its made about as cheaply as can be, not to mention its nearly 40 damn years old. I was able to clean the face artwork up quite well, but despite polishing the plastic and soaking it in bleach, just wasn't happy with how yellow it still was. (Have since learned about another method that might have worked)
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So I located another old meter from surplus, just as a case donor. There it is on the left.
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Transferred parts. Now we've got something!
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Done ... and installed
With the "new" meter in place, the control panel was complete. Time has been erased! Very Happy
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Here it is installed over the refrigerator. Click on the image to see it bigger.
Would you like yours to look like this? PM me.
Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.
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busdaddy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 7:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow!, I'm very impressed!, nice work!
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow. Shocked
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guanella74
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

x3. Jiminy Christmas, man! Beautiful work!
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wcfvw69
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You continue to set a new standard for attention to detail, perfectionism and utter commitment to setting the bar higher than most can achieve..

And you know what?? You had me at hello!! lol

Seriously, you're doing a fantastic job and I love seeing your updates!!
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Tcash
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 23, 2014 9:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause Posted in Tech Tips
Thank You
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curtis4085
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 25, 2014 4:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Impressive. I want a wife that can do artwork like that. Please save that silkscreen for others!! Maybe make and sell a duplicate, if your planning not repopping these. Could just sell the screens and color details so one could do it for themselves.

Keep up the great work. I need to get a video camera. No time nowadays to photo all my projects. I have 4 buses I'm working on at the same time Shocked just love documenting the progress as you do. Your quality work inspires others to do the same.
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Wasted youth
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 26, 2014 3:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... Very Happy Kick ASS!

I have a meter with the same faded, scratched problem. I was thinking about using my leftover Headlight Restoration Kit from when I re-polished the plastic headlight lenses on my wife's Honda.

And... thanks for documenting, photographing and sharing!
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2014 1:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Was out of town for the last several days to another part of the Frozen North.
Thanks to all for the wonderful compliments!

I've been looking into offering a restoration service for these panels, so aside from locating a cost-effective silkscreener that can print on painted metal, was also researching the availability of replacement parts. I found a real "mixed bag" and still have a few leads to chase down before having a clear picture.

Thus far, the meter and the mechanical timers may be the sticking points. Used panels are just a crappy source of replacement parts as a) they're nearly 40 years old and b) the crummy used panels go for at least 50 bucks. The trail enabling me to identify (part numbers and characteristics) for either of these parts is pretty durn cold, believe me. I know the meter is made by Emico and the timer by Lux, but trust me, this knowledge hasn't led to anything useful. Yet. Will decide what to sell once this has all had a chance to shake out.

I'd like to get some sense for whether there's even a market for this. I see so many cosmetically-challenged Westys here, and this panel is used from '75-'79, but only on Deluxe Westys. Not only do I wonder how many of these are still around, I worry more that there are more than a handful of owners that care that their old panels look like crap. I'd like to believe there are, but the VW crowd I've come to know doesn't seem much concerned with how things look (with several notable exceptions, thank goodness). But, they do care about how things work and that brings me full circle to thinking that maybe it would be a desirable service after all if I could just find all the replacement parts.

@wasted youth - that kit might help, but very likely won't address the yellowing. I've had good luck polishing with Eastwood's plastic polish and a buffer, but it takes a very cautious hand to keep from peril. That didn't help the yellowing much either.

One more thing ... Rolling Eyes
The panel project posting is likely to be the last one for quite a while. Crying or Very sad My wife and I rent a house and recently learned we have to find another place to live while its still very much winter. We're struggling to find a new place with a workable (dry, space to work) 2-car garage that will allow cats (we have two), and there's a fair chance we'll have to put much of everything into storage and move into an apartment until winter is over and more houses are available again. That means no bus work and we're scrambling now to pack everything up into movable condition. Just glad this didn't happen when more of the bus was apart.

May work on properly reproducing some of the Westy decals meanwhile. Will make those to sell.

Will still check in here regularly in any case. Thanks again for all the encouragement and support! Very Happy
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Wasted youth
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 29, 2014 9:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:
One more thing ... Rolling Eyes
The panel project posting is likely to be the last one for quite a while. Crying or Very sad My wife and I rent a house and recently learned we have to find another place to live while its still very much winter. We're struggling to find a new place with a workable (dry, space to work) 2-car garage that will allow cats (we have two), and there's a fair chance we'll have to put much of everything into storage and move into an apartment until winter is over and more houses are available again. That means no bus work and we're scrambling now to pack everything up into movable condition.


That... just... blows. Evil or Very Mad

Well, if you want to walk away from frigid-assed winters, your friends, your job and your way of life, the house next door to me is for sale. I think they moved away grumbling about 'all those junk vw vans next door' or something. Razz
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wasted youth wrote:
eche_bus wrote:
One more thing ... Rolling Eyes
The panel project posting is likely to be the last one for quite a while. Crying or Very sad My wife and I rent a house and recently learned we have to find another place to live while its still very much winter. We're struggling to find a new place with a workable (dry, space to work) 2-car garage that will allow cats (we have two), and there's a fair chance we'll have to put much of everything into storage and move into an apartment until winter is over and more houses are available again. That means no bus work and we're scrambling now to pack everything up into movable condition.


That... just... blows. Evil or Very Mad

Well, if you want to walk away from frigid-assed winters, your friends, your job and your way of life, the house next door to me is for sale. I think they moved away grumbling about 'all those junk vw vans next door' or something. Razz


Thanks for the (very humerous!) post. Frankly, we'd give up a lot of those things if we could conceive of actually affording housing in your state. Here in the Twin Cities, rents are ridiculous, but from what I've learned of much of CA, they're incomprehensible. Wink

We're waiting on approval, but it seems our luck has taken a giant turn today when we found/visited/applied for a house with a Dancing big *heated* two-car garage Dancing in the part of town we'd hoped for. It was the only house in our region/price that came up in the listings this week and we were the first to call on and see it. It's been a seriously bleak outlook up until last night - but no longer! Very Happy
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curtis4085
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 30, 2014 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My fingers are crossed for you man!! Hope it all works out!! With a nice heated garage you will be right back at it in no time.
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Wasted youth
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 12:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Really hope it works out. Exclamation I have moved many times in my life, and it is always a big pain in the ass. Best of luck to you and your missus, the rates are still pretty good.

Now, about that air conditoned garage for the San Joaquin Valley... Wink
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70westie
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent work!!

Good luck on the house!!

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RONIN10
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 31, 2014 7:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Lord, I don't think I've Deen a better quality restored electrical panel. Top notch work as usual. Sorry to hear about thetmove, but it sounds like you've lined up a pretty sweet setup. Congrats!
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We've been approved and signed on to the lease. It's official, so as of February, it's heated garage time and work can resume! Whew! Anxious

One of three possible projects will get started then:
    Finish front door work and install restored door panels.
    Sink/stove cabinet overhaul.
    Overhaul exhaust system, thermostat system, heat ducts.
    Remove and overhaul jalousies/seals.

I'm dying to rip into that exhaust system, but reminded of the saying "be careful what you wish for". I just know there's surprises a' lurking. I had to put the sink/stove cabinet back together and re-install it back in the bus temporarily for the move, and it reminded me just how much work its going to be to restore. Then again, aside from the remaining door work, none of this is in the "little fun project" category.

I've heard from just two members about restoring their fridge control panels. Any one else interested?
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very impressive!
If I had a deluxe I'd be interested in a restored panel. Smile
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Wasted youth
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 06, 2015 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a panel like yours... but I don't have a Westy. The panel was sort of like an afterthought find at my junkyard. It certainly could stand a restoration. Don't have immediate plans for it, but thought about making my 1973 bus a tin-top camper down the road. Count me in!
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