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1981 (@wileythewesty) TDI conversion, from ground up
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 17, 2020 6:16 pm    Post subject: 1981 (@wileythewesty) TDI conversion, from ground up Reply with quote

My lovely lady came home with a 1981 Vanagon (FI) she picked up on craigs out here in Cali.
My first car was a 62 Ghia, had buses, bugs.. road tripped in Vanagons and all that, but this is the first time as an adult I've owned one.

I dont know much about the vanagons, but Ive been doing research on this VIN, common problems, things folks do to upgrade em etc.

Sounds like the holy grail is a syncro vanagon with 200 original miles kept in a garage and started up to cycle the oil every week by a meticulous owner.

The flip side (of usable vanagons) is the 1980-83 airhead. Somewhat unreliable, less fit for subaru converstions (just have to roll your extra radiator up front). Who knows.

My VIN tells me that its indeed an 1981 Vanagon, aircooled.. but that its not a camper, but a vanagon. It has the pop top, which is in .. too good ... of condition. I ripped out some trashy polyester hippie headliner that someone put in and found that the pop top is a conversion, as I can see where someone did a somewhat questionable sawsall job and left some unpainted metal.

Oddly enough, someone DID do some extra conversion to camper by adding the driver side water/power/gas connections, mounted a stock propane tank, and cut the floor drains and all that.
The kitchen was completely removed and most of the interior was this terrible rotted MDF that someone had custom built. It matched the stock build mostly with some additions, and really Rococo hardware. There was a pretty janky cork floor that someone had recently installed.
I ripped it all out, really trashy work, and looked like crap. Lots of rot anyway.

I also started marking areas of rust or paint that has rust bubbles. Did a little bit of sanding on the long side, getting rust spots out.
I found some bad bondo job down by the driver quarter panel. Ill likely take this into a shop and have them cut/replace some of the metal sections that are really jacked.

Mostly this will be a build log thread as I cut through this.
Couple questions though:
1) is there a recommended way to seal the exterior body lines?
2) is there recommended wood to use on the interior?
3) are there any detailed plans on rebuilding interior to stock.. i.e. are there plans with dimensions on what stock here was?
4) are there any recommendations or places to focus on now that im down to frame internally.. i.e. sealing certain areas or adding this or that in this or that place.

Here are some pics:




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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 23, 2020 8:40 am    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Just an update here:

photos:
https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZQh7B86rGEHEs9RP9

Since this pic, ive gutted the ASI interior (it was pretty wrecked)

I also yanked everything out that was screwed in or sealed on.
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Been redoing the undercarriage and powder coating the wheels.
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I stripped everything reasonable off the underside with a wire brush, wire wheel, sand paper, paint stripper attachment on a drill, chisel, etc.
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just finished my second coat of por15 and then next itll be 3m rubber undercoating on top of that.
Should be doing that in the next few days.
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:21 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

recently, after i finished the underside:

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i moved up top and started the shell paint work:

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during that, i opted for cutting out the front rad inlet. I know, some haters are going to hate. But I can always put it back if i want.

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While getting ready to primer the rear half of the vehicle, i decided to paint my gas tank. I had walnut blasted it to prep for powdercoating, but then in more inspection realized that there are plastic filters inside the tank- so i opted for red rattle can.

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I also dropped the transaxle, engine
and replaced metals in both lower B pillars, rusted slider by B pillar, repairing someones BAD idea to drill screen doors into the window rubber, both rusted out step plates and both sides rear behind the wheels.



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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 4:23 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

oh yeah, shippin the transaxle to matt steedle and the boxeer engine should be in sometime in the next 30d
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M_atthewanderson
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 23, 2020 9:43 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Great chassis cleanup. While down there I would recommend replacing suspension bushings, especially the upper control arm bushing with a polyurethane replacement.
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:36 am    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

M_atthewanderson wrote:
Great chassis cleanup. While down there I would recommend replacing suspension bushings, especially the upper control arm bushing with a polyurethane replacement.


Yikes those are expensive. What’s the gain?
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 6:40 am    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

M_atthewanderson wrote:
Great chassis cleanup. While down there I would recommend replacing suspension bushings, especially the upper control arm bushing with a polyurethane replacement.


Yikes those are expensive. What’s the gain?
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:13 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

today, i dropped the first coat of primer over the whole exterior. Here it is..


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now to sand the spots that are visible and then lay another coat of primer, block sand with black rattle can, and then a final primer coat for final paint
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Vanagon Nut
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 2:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Nice. Looks like you've done this kind of thing before. Wink

Some (most?) aftermarket "OE" type upper control arm bushings tend to wear very quickly. In my experience, this is especially true if they see a fair amount of washboard, potholes on dirt roads. I'm sure others found the same thing. There's a huge thread or two here discussing premature wear, designs, etc.

IMO, if one has a "forever" bus, the poly UCA bushings are more than worth the expense.

Neil.
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1981 Westy air cooled to 15º ABA swap: http://tinyurl.com/y9n4xob8

50º ABA Swap in to '88 Westy: http://tinyurl.com/yap5hpwt

Vanagon VAG GAS engine swap Google Group:
https://tinyurl.com/2f24rmh

VE7TBN
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M_atthewanderson
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 24, 2020 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

charleslabri wrote:
Yikes those are expensive. What’s the gain?


True, but cheaper than doing it again from parts and effort perspective, especially if you include a proper alignment. Nothing like that upper control arm squeak.

There is the Whiteline option.

They're the only thing I would do while down there,
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Second coat 🧥 of primer after spot putty on the little stuff and a 220 grit sand


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jlrftype7
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 4:43 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Really nice Cool Cool Cool
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'68 Westy- my first VW and vehicle/Bus- long gone.- sold it to a traveling Swiss couple....
'67 Type 3 Fastback, my 2nd car- also long gone
'69 Semi-Auto Stick Shift Beetle, my wife's first car= yep. still long gone....
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Sat Jul 25, 2020 5:37 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

today spent the day spraying another coat of primer, and then doing x pattern blocking with a 9" sander block and black rattle can to mark the low/high spots.

looks ugly again with the spot putty, but soon ill put my final primer coat on the van which will be urethane (these two coats have been poly)
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:27 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

lunch break today, i ripped all the seams with a dremel and a 3/4" wire wheel. Ill add seam sealer in AFTER my final coat of urethane primer.
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 7:50 am    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

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seams sealed!
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2020 5:11 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

cut the roof off for a kustom tin top conversion thats not just a little hole cutout

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 21, 2020 10:22 am    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

Looks really good, great job righting that wrong. Did you find your seams were okay, no pitting?

I hear the smokes thick there, stay safe.
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

M_atthewanderson wrote:
Looks really good, great job righting that wrong. Did you find your seams were okay, no pitting?

I hear the smokes thick there, stay safe.


I redid all the seams, so theyre good now Wink
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 05, 2020 12:42 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

upper bed rear!
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Braces for bed!
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Braces for pop top bar!
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interlux primer on the luggage rack!
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charleslabri
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 06, 2020 3:05 pm    Post subject: Re: 1981 (@wileythewesty) Vanagon Airhead 2.0 FI. Build Log Reply with quote

ooook, doing some door work today:

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dont even get me started on the slider. Feels like someone hit it a bunch of times with a baseball bat and then left it in a rusty boat for 10 years.
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