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eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper
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Tcash
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PostPosted: Thu May 26, 2016 8:07 am    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

thewalrus wrote:
eche_bus wrote:
After reading horror stories here on TheSamba about the top bolts breaking off in the upper mount or even more blood-curdling stories of the weldnut breaking loose of its welds, I repeatedly soaked and rapped with a hammer the old rusty stuff before going at it with wrench and socket several days later.


I had the inner nut break off from being too rusty on my old bus. Complete nightmare and PITA to fix. Rolling Eyes


For anyone else with the same nightmare!
Cutting off rear upper shock nut.

Tcash
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part IV: Gluing and Clamping

Thanks once more to those that have continued their encouragement during this (unexpectedly) long, long thread. As summer gets on its way and the bus remains sitting inside our garage, I keep hoping a band of merry elves will work through the nights to get this thing out camping, but it just "aint a-happenin'. Surprised My regular job has kept me away from the workshop enough lately that progress has been pretty slow but nonetheless, progress does continue.

The cabinet had a mix of laminate panels that were still very well glued but with and edge beginning to lift, and others that were pretty much half falling off. For that mix, I used a mix of solutions. The first set got the loose edges glued back down right in place, the others were entirely removed and entirely reglued. Different problems, different glues and techniques.

Let's start with loose edges.

The glue is one from a local hardware store, specifically made for gluing porous (as in wood) to non-porous (as in laminate) materials together. It's not a contact cement so it doesn't require the two materials to be completely separated, its not brittle like a superglue, but its solvent-based so it can be thinned with Acetone to adjust viscosity as required. More importantly, it seems to really work!

The "technically advanced process" is to put a bunch of the glue in the baby food bottle, pour in just a little Acetone, stir it up with the Popsicle stick, and pour it into the syringe.
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Over at the cabinet I've used a putty knife/small screwdriver followed by running sandpaper between the laminate and wood to clean under the edge where the laminate has lifted away. To keep things apart while gluing, toothpicks placed every few inches. Ready to go, I inject glue into the gap(s), making sure I'm using plenty enough to flood the area as it gets squeezed together at the end. P.S. - As you really can't use "just enough" glue, there will be a lot oozing out. Save yourself a lot of cleanup by putting masking tape along all the surfaces that will get oozed onto.
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The CRITICAL part of good gluing (aside from surface prep) is CLAMPING. Can't emphasize that enough. Want your stuff to fall apart? Just skip the clamping bit. Smile I just grab my rogue's gallery of clamps and go at it.
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Of course, that's just one edge. There is more. Oh, so much more. Crying or Very sad
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More. Still, much less work than having to entirely remove and reglue these panels.
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Hey, look! There's more gluing and clamping ... imagine that.
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The only remaining laminate that didn't need complete removal was the piece at the top of the spare tire door, so I figured it was a good time to take care of that too.

Gluing.
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... and ... clamping. Hey, getting the hang of this. Cool
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Enough of that.

Fooled ya. More gluing and clamping. Very Happy
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Be right back.
Got some more gluing and clamping for ya.
Trust me, it's not the same.
Really.
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 6:32 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part V: More Gluing and Clamping!

On to real "Man's Work": Full-panel gluing.

We begin with the thin strips that run along the top of the cabinet. When re gluing whole panels, I use good 'ol Weldwood contact cement. Anything less is for babies. Just be sure to use a respirator mask, as the fumes are ooooeee serious. Shocked To position these pieces, before gluing, I ran lengths of masking tape along the top of the cabinet, properly aligned the laminate piece, and made a series of marks on the tape and the laminate so I would know the exact location for proper fit.

Contact cement is an unforgiving, cruel bitch. Evil or Very Mad If you think you can re-position the piece once it touches the glue you will be oh, so sadly disappointed. Once the surfaces were coated with glue and dried enough to join, I kept the laminate piece tilted away from the mating surface and then shifted it side-to-side so it aligned with the marks. Carefully tilting it into place, there was a sigh of relief when the piece fit just as it had originally!

Gluing
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Hey, no clamping!
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OK, so much for the easy stuff.
The top surface of the cover (only cabinets with stoves have this) had to be re-glued, and here you see the tools used to apply the glue. I use foam brushes and a roller to apply the glue to large surfaces, and then a rubber roller is used to apply even pressure to the surface once the laminate is joined to the wood. This is important (the Weldwood can says so!).
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There's more to it though. Imagine a big floppy piece of laminate that has been coated on one side with glue. Glue that will instantly bond with the mating surface the moment it touches. Scary, huh? Yeah, it is.
So I use the same technique as the other cabinets, using a simple jig that builds "walls" around the piece. This, and the Post-It notes you see as spacers create a reasonably-precise alignment jig so at least your piece will be in the right spot when it goes in place, 'cause you sure aren't going to get a second chance.

You place a series of long dowels on top of the wood piece that act as separators, keeping the glue-coated laminate away from the glue-coated wood. The dowels won't really stick to the glued wood as this is contact cement, and you've waited until the glue is dry to the touch before taking this step. Then you place your laminate panel into the jig, on top of the dowels, making sure to check that you're bumped up against the alignment surfaces of your jig. With this piece, we (it really helps to have an assistant) stuck down just the middle of the back edge and then worked our way along that edge a bit before starting to remove the dowels, all the way working our way pressing down from the middle out.
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With a thorough rolling with the, um, roller. The laminate was in place.
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But there's the matter of the broken corner! This cover lid is perhaps the single largest piece of cabinet laminate. I had no extra piece large enough to replace the panel as a whole, and the repro laminate is just enough different in color I didn't want to use that. So, to make do with what I had, I was forced to reglue the piece that broke off. Darn lucky it was still around! Here again, clamping was the key!
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Voila! The result ain't half-bad and the crack hasn't even been filled yet.
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Next time:
You might have noticed the cabinet's laminate still looks well, kinda crappy. Embarassed That's because none of the nicks and chips have been repaired, but moreso it hasn't been polished out yet. This begins tomorrow. Very Happy


Last edited by eche_bus on Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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wcfvw69
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 11, 2016 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Man, I wish I lived closer to you. With your spectacular attention to detail, I'd even let you fix my badly in need of cabinet overhaul!! Laughing

Nice work!
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1970 Westfalia Bus
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notchboy
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Yeah you were lucky to ave the broke piece Wink

Looks good.
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OK, this thread is over. You win.

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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 8:57 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

@wcfvw69- Thank you. Hehe ... I've got two other guys that want me to do work on their cabinet and storage box pieces. If I can just get caught up! Hey, I've been admiring your work for a long while too now. Too bad we're half-a-country apart!

@notchboy -Thank you as well. I was lucky to have that piece. A PO glued it down with some really crummy stuff that took hours to remove all the glue residue, but it did the one thing it had to do - kept it stuck to the cover.

Got some laminate filler work done today. The stuff was hardening on me in about 30 seconds flat with the 80 degree temps inside the garage. The stuff comes in tubes of different colors like oil paints. You put down a dab of this and a dab of that and mix it up trying to get a color that's close. Imagine a race trying to get the color right with enough time left to spread it over the nicks and chips before hardening. Pretty much every nick had was a repeat of this. Why this stuff doesn't use a separate hardener so you can control the rate it hardens is beyond me, but I'm not a chemist, and just happy there's a product like this for fixing old laminate!
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:32 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

I aspire to one day be as anal about details as you are. You're patience is incredible and I hope to see this bus finished soon!
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 13, 2016 9:17 am    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

69Weekender wrote:
I aspire to one day be as anal about details as you are. You're patience is incredible and I hope to see this bus finished soon!


And he intends to camp in this...can you imagine what a show car would be like?
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 10:49 am    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

eche,

Glad to see you're still going at it. I know that you are all done with the cabinets but I wanted to say I agree with your varnish hatred 100%. That's why I do all my restos with Lacquer. It is what our friends at Westfalia used and is far easier to work with. Sand wood and wipe with lacquer thinner in ever increasing grits. Then brush on, no bubbles, no dust, no wet sanding. Re coat in 2 hours. I do three coats on the verticals and four on all horizontals.
Properly maintained it will last almost as long as poly, yes it does yellow over time, but we're talking 25 years from now, not bad.

The best part is that a new top coat actually reactivates or melds into the layer below it, that's why you don't need to sand between layers. Just food for thought when you become a westy cabinet restorer Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 12:15 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

beetlepete wrote:
eche,

Glad to see you're still going at it. I know that you are all done with the cabinets but I wanted to say I agree with your varnish hatred 100%. That's why I do all my restos with Lacquer. It is what our friends at Westfalia used and is far easier to work with. Sand wood and wipe with lacquer thinner in ever increasing grits. Then brush on, no bubbles, no dust, no wet sanding. Re coat in 2 hours. I do three coats on the verticals and four on all horizontals.
Properly maintained it will last almost as long as poly, yes it does yellow over time, but we're talking 25 years from now, not bad.

The best part is that a new top coat actually reactivates or melds into the layer below it, that's why you don't need to sand between layers. Just food for thought when you become a westy cabinet restorer Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy


Yep, but sometimes I wonder how I do keep going Confused

Your use of lacquer sounds like a real timesaver. Of course, I learn this now that I'm done with all the varnishing! Laughing If I may ask, what leads you to think that Westfalia used lacquer?

FYI, significant progress has been made on the sink/stove cabinet ... photos coming later today.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 8:58 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part VI: Just a little more laminate work!

With all the laminate glued and armed with my trusty SeamFil laminate patching kit, I set about getting rid of all the little chips and nicks. With summer temperatures that seem to manage the 80s most days, this stuff was a pain to work with as it would set up and then harden in little more time than it took me to get the color mixed up close enough to fool the average eye. On laminate that contains a dozen different shades of brown, red, yellow and grey that's no small feat I'll tell ya, and I still feel like an amateur Sad
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Of course, chips are most likely to occur at corners and edges, so using tape and wax paper-backed popsicle sticks as backing boards, I filled spot after spot. Here's just a couple edge patches in progress, plus a view of a nice big chunk taken out of a corner.
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The piece of laminate missing from the corner was too big to use SeamFil, but that's what scrap laminate is for. The trick is to find a small section that matches in color and grain. First I cleaned up the chipped area a bit, removing old glue and smoothing the edge. Then using tracing paper, I made a small template and transferred the shape onto the scrap laminate. A lot of work for a little tiny piece, but it's either done well or it's not!
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Now here's where you're probably going to think I'm pulling a fast one on you. I got real caught up in all the patching and matching that I forgot to take any closeup shots of the results. All I can say is "sorry" and as you see the cabinet in later shots, I think you'll agree it looks mighty fine.
For now, this is all I can show you, before polishing, but with all the spots and chips filled:
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On to polishing
This laminate is real tough stuff, but 40 years of use and sun can really take its toll. Polishing, using some of the same compounds and a D/A polisher you'd use to polish out paint can accomplish some amazing things. I follow up with a coat or two of furniture paste wax to really finish the job.

You probably noticed the scratches in that last photo on the left side of the cabinet. Here's the top. See the sun fading and haze.
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We can do better. Here's after the polish and wax. Hmmm... where did those scratches go?
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Where did the hazing and sun fading go?
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Sun fading is a tough one though. Your mileage WILL vary. Razz

I called my wife to the garage. We stood back in amazement, realizing we could FINALLY FINALLY start putting things back in this will-we-ever-get-this-thing-done cabinet! Dancing (Well, after I glue that edge spot marked with blue tape that got missed)

Next time: putting some damn things in.
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 16, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part VII: Water Tank Install

OK, I said we'd put something in, so here's one more round of photos before I sign out for the night.

After bolting on a few brackets and hinges, I set about readying the OG replacement water tank I've been hauling around for the last couple of years waiting for this moment. With a couple good rubber stoppers, I plugged the bottom holes, rinsed it thoroughly and let it sit for a day filled with bleach water. Thankfully no leaks were found, so after several flushes with clean water, it was ready to roll!

I spent a little time trying to remove the stains left by the rubber bumpers on the white plastic of the tank. They don't come out, but I'm not losing any sleep over it as the the tank is still very nice and clean.

I disassembled the drain valve, lubed it up with silicone plumbers grease, and it was good as new again. The old water pump had failed before we bought this bus, so a new one has been sitting in a box waiting.
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Threads taped, hose clamps in place. It was time for action! (Well, it was exciting for me Embarassed )
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Water bottle in, spare tire door hardware all solidly in place. Now we're getting somewhere, I guess.
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Next time: some real meat and potatoes
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:08 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part VIII: Sink Overhaul
Yeah, I know ... how many stupid pictures of a cabinet can a guy take?

All I can say is I hope this helps someone by inspiring them to dig into a project like this, or perhaps shows how a thing or two goes back together or comes apart.

Let's tackle the sink.
Here's a little idea of the shape it was in before starting. I think we can do better. Cool
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The underside, showing the original stickers and what's left of a foam seal that once ran around under the perimeter.
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I wanted to strip it down completely so it could be thoroughly cleaned and polished. Most importantly, the 40 year old drain seal wasn't going to be trusted to keep things dry anymore, so those are new replacements you see just above the old seal and drain. Why, yes, it was a total b*tch to remove that drain Mad .
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I used a couple of products to get the results you see below. The Rejuvenate Stainless Steel Scratch Eraser Kit got rid of a lot of previous owner abuse, and the Perfect Sink stainless steel polish erased decades of oxidation.
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Finally, the drain was re-installed with its new seals and the sink got a brand-new foam perimeter seal.
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Ready for more parts! Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 5:32 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part IX: Stove Refresh

What I didn't show you in that Sink Overhaul photo set was what I'd originally discovered on opening up the stove cover.
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Throughout the bus interior work, we've discovered and documented plenty of this kind of thing, which is why everything has been so thoroughly disassembled and cleaned as we've worked from nose to tail of the bus. When I read stories about people storing these campers outdoors I just figure they've never had to clean out the mess that rodents can make. You're truly penny-wise and pound-foolish to think you're saving money by throwing a bus outdoors with a tarp over it for the winter. Fear the power of small mammals! Shocked

I knew the stove worked well before taking the bus off the road, so the focus was now on cleaning thoroughly, inspection, and getting things tightened up right to avoid rattles. The most work was probably cleaning the grille of all things and with the least-satisfying results. The chrome wasn't at all corroded, but it sure was black and blue from heating.
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As I put things back together, it was satisfying to get things much more rattle-free than before by grinding down one of the propane tube distribution clamps to actually fit in the space available for it and adding some friction tape under the other.
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And here it is back where it belongs. Sorry this isn't more of a how-to, but if anyone has questions about taking these apart or putting them back together, just drop me a line. They're really easy!
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We're on a roll ... let's keep going!
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:08 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

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And then there's Stuart in the corner.

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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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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:14 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part X: Faucet Overhaul

I started with a very tired faucet. Being a deluxe model, we drew the short straw when it comes to faucets, too. The whole thing from plastic base plate to chrome body is unique and just about impossible to replace. Sure you can still buy the replacements from BD, but they don't actually fit under the lid.

What you're about to see was only possible with the generous help of two great Samba members. First, I believe it was captincanuck that cast me a new base plate. Then, when I discovered there was just no way I was going to bend the spigot tube on my new replacement faucet, local member Heliconman showed me how to remove the spigot on my original faucet, locate the two O-rings on the water diverter valve, and generously provided a replacement fitting when most needed! THANK YOU! Applause

Let's get the show on the road. by pulling an original one apart. Here's the water tank inlet side showing the ball that makes for a fairly half-ass one-way valve to keep the external shore water hose from filling the inside water tank.
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Moving over to the other (shore water inlet) side, here you see me using a small metric socket to drive the spigot and bushing down and out of the housing. When I first looked this over, all I could see was the wide flange on the end of the spigot and couldn't see how it could be removed. The flange is narrower than retaining bushing, so all it takes is a few taps straight down!
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Spigot out. Note the O-ring and bushing on the spigot tube.
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Here's all the pieces. Same O-ring size is used for the spigot and the water valve. Use your new replacement for parts (that's all its good for) or pick up new O-rings at the hardware store (they're a standard size).
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I tapped the flange on my spigot tube nice and flat so it would sit tight once re-installed. Slipping a new O-ring back on it is really easy, but installing the two used by the water valve took me at least 1/2 hour with multiple picks and small screwdrivers. The two sit right on top of each other in a single groove inside the housing, and there's 90 more ways for them to not go in than the 1 or 2 that work! Mad

How did it turn out?

Tune in next time... Wink
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eche_bus
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 6:34 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

@notchboy - WOW thank you (but you're jumpin' the gun!)

Sink/Stove Cabinet Restoration Part X: THE STOVETOP

Time to install the SinkStove Module!
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Still, needs more stuff. How about a faucet? That's my ORIGINAL faucet with new switch, baseplate, and internal parts. Cleaned up oh so very well! Very Happy
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The front face. The repainted control panel plate has sat in a box waiting for over 2 years for this moment! '76 Westys didn't have lettering on the faceplate like later years.
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The whole works. Not bad?
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So there ya go. Since this time, I've continued to move closer to installation. Over the next several days we're (my wife is a great help with this) going to be doing some more leak testing, installing the edge trim for the top cover and then putting it on, then finally getting this baby back in the bus That's all for tonight <whew> !
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PostPosted: Sun Jul 17, 2016 8:31 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

Love, love, love it.. Anytime I feel like I'm being too picky or anal, I only have to revisit this thread to realize I'm actually not THAT bad.. lol

Is the plan to enjoy the bus once you're done, camping in it again? Do you have a time line or goal you're trying to meet?

Great job as always.
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1970 Westfalia Bus
1969 Convertible Bug
1967 Standard Bug
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eche_bus
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Location: Bloomington, MN
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 18, 2016 1:01 pm    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

wcfvw69 wrote:
Love, love, love it.. Anytime I feel like I'm being too picky or anal, I only have to revisit this thread to realize I'm actually not THAT bad.. lol

Is the plan to enjoy the bus once you're done, camping in it again? Do you have a time line or goal you're trying to meet?

Great job as always.


Hehe ... thanks! Smile The standard of restoration is "as original new", and although I usually come up short with this project, that's the goal as the work is being done. I see the work you've done on yours and have great admiration for your skills and eye for detail.

The plan has been all along to drive and camp in this bus (although we're probably not going to be frying up any bacon and eggs on the stove!). I never imagined it would take this much work to bring it back to the point where I would enjoy using it though. 150K mi. and 40 years of P.O. use left the interior so poor I wanted to start with that first, yet would have run away screaming if someone told me it would take years of time. Right now all I'm focused on is getting this final cabinet back in, the water and gas hooked back up, and to be able to drive it a little before tearing into front-end mechanicals in the fall.

I think it'll see the road in August. Having the whole bus done? I try not to kid myself I'm in control anymore. Wink
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beetlepete
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Location: Monroe, NY
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PostPosted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 8:45 am    Post subject: Re: eche_bus: 1976 Westfalia Deluxe Camper Reply with quote

eche_bus wrote:
beetlepete wrote:
eche,

Glad to see you're still going at it. I know that you are all done with the cabinets but I wanted to say I agree with your varnish hatred 100%. That's why I do all my restos with Lacquer. It is what our friends at Westfalia used and is far easier to work with. Sand wood and wipe with lacquer thinner in ever increasing grits. Then brush on, no bubbles, no dust, no wet sanding. Re coat in 2 hours. I do three coats on the verticals and four on all horizontals.
Properly maintained it will last almost as long as poly, yes it does yellow over time, but we're talking 25 years from now, not bad.

The best part is that a new top coat actually reactivates or melds into the layer below it, that's why you don't need to sand between layers. Just food for thought when you become a westy cabinet restorer Very Happy Very Happy Very Happy



Yep, but sometimes I wonder how I do keep going Confused

Your use of lacquer sounds like a real timesaver. Of course, I learn this now that I'm done with all the varnishing! Laughing If I may ask, what leads you to think that Westfalia used lacquer?

FYI, significant progress has been made on the sink/stove cabinet ... photos coming later today.


I admit I don't know for sure what Westfalia used but history has some clues. Although Polyurethane Varnish has been around since the 30s It's use as a wood covering didn't really become popular until the late 70s early 80s. And was then very expensive to use.
Lacquer has the same development timeline but acrylic based lacquers were introduced in the late 50s early 60s. These had one important difference to other resin based varnishes; super fast drying times, and, more vital their ability to be sprayed by a gun, due to its naturally thinned consistence with no surface prep in between.

So from a manufacturing standpoint if Westfalia was putting out 15 to 20K campers a year, fast and sprayed was the way to go.
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79 Westfalia Deluxe, Mexico Beige
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