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Hidden Westy storage space exposed! (front seats)
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laffin_boy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 9:59 pm    Post subject: Hidden Westy storage space exposed! (front seats) Reply with quote

It's true.

When I was redoing the interior of my '83 Westy this summer I discovered that VW, in their infinite wisdom, put a 3" empty space under the platform that supports the ft seat swivel base and then closed it in so that you can't get to it. When I looked closely at it I realized the the sheetmetal covering the front of this cavernous space was not structural at all. Reaching for my trusty Sawsall I removed the unwanted section in about 20 seconds flat. (If you have access to a Sawsall w/ a sheetmetal blade just make a curving cut down from the top and when you reach the level of the "floor" of this space just let the blade guide itself along this "floor". Then flip it over and cut back to the other side.) I filed the edges smooth and then wrapped them w/ 600MPH tape. I also trimmed the carpeting even w/ the level of the "floor" & and saved the cutoff carpet pieces. (see below) The exposed space under the right front seat looks like this:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


Then I made trays to fit into these spaces. I used 1/4" MDF sides and a 1/8 plywood bottoms. (The trays are stronger that the materials sound because I used West Epoxy and made a "cove" fillet out of epoxy putty on all joints.) The exterior tray dimensions are 2 1/2" high x 12" wide and the right tray is 12" long while the left tray is 15". (There's a vent duct in the back of the right compartment that prevents full use) I used some of that grippy rubber mesh material that's available in kitchenware depts. I then trimmed the cutoff carpet piece to fit and used it to cover the front of the tray for the "stealth" effect. Also you'll need to notch the tray for the swivel base release lever. Finished tray looks like this:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


To keep the trays in place when you have to do a panic stop (Westy panic stop = "God! Will this damm thing ever stop?!?!") I epoxied some magnets on the back of the trays and then made right angle brackets that get epoxied to the floor of the tray space. On the right side there's two holes in the platform top so that you can put epoxy on the brackets, slide the tray in place and then seat the wet bracket bottoms to the floor through these 2 holes w/ a screwdriver. On the drivers side the bracket got epoxied to the front side of the aux battery compartment because the 15" long tray uses all of the depth available. Here's what the brackets looked like on the back of the right tray:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


So here's what the new drawer looks like in 1/2 way open:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


And closed:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


I like the fact that you won't notice them unless you go looking for them.

-------------

But wait - there's more!

At the lower right rear corner of the closet cabinet there's a "cutout" that slopes down toward the floor. This is another spot that has usable storage space that hard to use in stock condition. I trimmed the cabinet so that the storage space behind it is fully exposed. Then I made a tray to fit. It looks like this:

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


This tray is 14 3/8" x 9" x 3". I put a couple of holes in it to be able to grab it easily. The tray is sized so that it clears the eng comp lid completely. (IE: you don't have to move the tray before you lift the lid) The back wall of the cabinet has a stud projecting forward so I have a foam shim on the back lower wall of the cabinet space to provide clearance and to keep the tray from rattling.


Tom
'83 Westy
(soon to be 2.1 powered)
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wbx
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Hidden Westy storage space exposed! Reply with quote

laffin_boy wrote:
It's true.

When I was redoing the interior of my '83 Westy this summer I discovered that VW, in their infinite wisdom, put a 3" empty space under the platform that supports the ft seat swivel base and then closed it in so that you can't get to it.


Nice work... I'm glad to see someone finally put a drawer there. I've heard of a guy putting a CD changer there, but that is kind of archaic in today's world of Ipods. So what do you think you'll put in your new cubbies?

-Damon
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lovedavdubs
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice work Tom! That's pretty crafty. I've had a similar project in mind. Only difference is I want to cut out the section and reinstall it with a hinge so it flips down. I'll be relocating my power inverter to the hideout under the drivers seat. That way its right next to the aux. battery
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msinabottle
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2006 10:40 pm    Post subject: Thank you! Reply with quote

That's a very complete posts, excellent photographs, on a great subject. I want to do something similar with Winston, although it's complicated by the fact that I don't own or know how to use a Saws-All and that both my seats have batteries beneath them. I also tucked some of the wiring from the auxiliary battery under the driver's seat, but I could always do the passenger's seat.

What I'd like to put in MY little drawer is the removable faceplate for Winston's radio. Right now it's under the horrible flowered seat cover and I really want to get rid of that. Ideally, you wouldn't know the drawer was there--I was thinking of a 'push and release' door catch.

Thanks again, and...

Best!
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laffin_boy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2006 7:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damon:
Quote:
So what do you think you'll put in your new cubbies?


Can you reach, open and retrieve what you want from the glove box while you're driving? (It's hard enough to get guys to even look at a map - let alone pull over to look at a map.) The real question is how many things that i'd rather have in the driver's cubbie will I leave in the glove box?


msinabottle:
Quote:
I want to do something similar with Winston, although it's complicated by the fact that I don't own or know how to use a Saws-All and that both my seats have batteries beneath them.


A power jigsaw should work. Sawsalls can be rented at most any tool rental shop.

I also have 2 batteries. The empty secret space is in front of and separate from the battery compartments. No interference there.


~Tom
'83 Westy
(soon to be 2.1 powered)
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Wellington
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

MightyArt pointed out another spot you might want to use also, it exists right above the closet in the back. The space between the ceiling and the closet is empty.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 5:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lovedavdubs wrote:
Nice work Tom! That's pretty crafty. I've had a similar project in mind. Only difference is I want to cut out the section and reinstall it with a hinge so it flips down. I'll be relocating my power inverter to the hideout under the drivers seat. That way its right next to the aux. battery


I was planing on that myself, just picked up an invertor at a truck stop this weekend on the way up to the "fire on the mountain" campout in GA that should fit nicely there! ALlthoug I have been considering cuttng the swivel section entirely out on the drivers side its kinda a useless swivel at least I have found it to be.
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amishman
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 8:03 am    Post subject: Re: Hidden Westy storage space exposed! Reply with quote

Real nice work. Do you have finish picture of the back drawer all the way pushed in and how does that one stay put or does the back matress keep it in fine?

tj


laffin_boy wrote:
It's true.

When I was redoing the interior of my '83 Westy this summer I discovered that VW, in their infinite wisdom, put a 3" empty space under the platform that supports the ft seat swivel base and then closed it in so that you can't get to it. When I looked closely at it I realized the the sheetmetal covering the front of this cavernous space was not structural at all. Reaching for my trusty Sawsall I removed the unwanted section in about 20 seconds flat. (If you have access to a Sawsall w/ a sheetmetal blade just make a curving cut down from the top and when you reach the level of the "floor" of this space just let the blade guide itself along this "floor". Then flip it over and cut back to the other side.) I filed the edges smooth and then wrapped them w/ 600MPH tape. I also trimmed the carpeting even w/ the level of the "floor" & and saved the cutoff carpet pieces. (see below) The exposed space under the right front seat looks like this:


Then I made trays to fit into these spaces. I used 1/4" MDF sides and a 1/8 plywood bottoms. (The trays are stronger that the materials sound because I used West Epoxy and made a "cove" fillet out of epoxy putty on all joints.) The exterior tray dimensions are 2 1/2" high x 12" wide and the right tray is 12" long while the left tray is 15". (There's a vent duct in the back of the right compartment that prevents full use) I used some of that grippy rubber mesh material that's available in kitchenware depts. I then trimmed the cutoff carpet piece to fit and used it to cover the front of the tray for the "stealth" effect. Also you'll need to notch the tray for the swivel base release lever. Finished tray looks like this:



To keep the trays in place when you have to do a panic stop (Westy panic stop = "God! Will this damm thing ever stop?!?!") I epoxied some magnets on the back of the trays and then made right angle brackets that get epoxied to the floor of the tray space. On the right side there's two holes in the platform top so that you can put epoxy on the brackets, slide the tray in place and then seat the wet bracket bottoms to the floor through these 2 holes w/ a screwdriver. On the drivers side the bracket got epoxied to the front side of the aux battery compartment because the 15" long tray uses all of the depth available. Here's what the brackets looked like on the back of the right tray:

So here's what the new drawer looks like in 1/2 way open:

And closed:

I like the fact that you won't notice them unless you go looking for them.

But wait - there's more!

At the lower right rear corner of the closet cabinet there's a "cutout" that slopes down toward the floor. This is another spot that has usable storage space that hard to use in stock condition. I trimmed the cabinet so that the storage space behind it is fully exposed. Then I made a tray to fit. It looks like this:

This tray is 14 3/8" x 9" x 3". I put a couple of holes in it to be able to grab it easily. The tray is sized so that it clears the eng comp lid completely. (IE: you don't have to move the tray before you lift the lid) The back wall of the cabinet has a stud projecting forward so I have a foam shim on the back lower wall of the cabinet space to provide clearance and to keep the tray from rattling.

Tom
'83 Westy
(soon to be 2.1 powered)

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r39o
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

[quote="laffin_boy"]Damon:
Quote:
So what do you think you'll put in your new cubbies?


You can "stash" what every you like. Smile Smile
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wbx
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

r39o wrote:

You can "stash" what every you like. Smile Smile


Yeah... just don't go across the canada border. I've been stopped there so many times... Rolling Eyes

-Damon
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'84 Westy (first owner).......but my daily driver has pedals
My "perspective" mantra:
A Volkswagen Vanagon is just a material thing,
As such, it is of the earth,
And if i need to, I can let my Van go.
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airkooledchris
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wbx wrote:
r39o wrote:

You can "stash" what every you like. Smile Smile


Yeah... just don't go across the canada border. I've been stopped there so many times... Rolling Eyes

-Damon



Especially when going north from the Glacier NP area. That little-used border seems to have the most 'nosey' agents working there.

My wife and I were held up for nearly 40 minutes there once, while they dug through ALL of the supplies we had with on our 6 week trek. (even took the time to open and smell all 14 rolls of film I had taken thus far.)

they almost didn't let me bring in my leatherman! (had to go ask someone if it was ok)
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

We cross at S.S. Marie in Michigan yearly. We have the most trouble getting back into the U.S. If the kids are with us, no search. No kids, search every time. I really don't look that dangerous.
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 2:13 pm    Post subject: Secret Stash Reply with quote

Awesome find! Good Idea! I put my amp in there. My battery box doesn't cover that area like I see your's does so I was able to slide the amp in there from the battery side. I may have to rethink where I have the amp at!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

airkooledchris wrote:
wbx wrote:
r39o wrote:

You can "stash" what every you like. Smile Smile


Yeah... just don't go across the canada border. I've been stopped there so many times... Rolling Eyes

-Damon



Especially when going north from the Glacier NP area. That little-used border seems to have the most 'nosey' agents working there.

My wife and I were held up for nearly 40 minutes there once, while they dug through ALL of the supplies we had with on our 6 week trek. (even took the time to open and smell all 14 rolls of film I had taken thus far.)

they almost didn't let me bring in my leatherman! (had to go ask someone if it was ok)

Geez....I just came across the border from Vancouver about a month ago, and didn't have my birth certificate handy. He says: "In MY country you'd BETTER have things ready! SECONDARY!
I had to search a little bit to find it, (got a lot of stuff in there), and all the while they're standing there, arms crossed, sunglasses on, (it was raining). After I found THE DOCUMENT they asked: "Did you buy any marijuana while visiting Canada?" I probably wasn't thinking when I said "No, in fact I haven't smoked anything in at least a couple weeks" ( the truth ). They looked at me ( I think ) for about 30 seconds without saying anything, then said I could "proceed".... no search. With the long hair and beard, I was sure all my stuff would be piled along side the van, but....
maybe next time. Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 4:46 pm    Post subject: thanks for the excellent post Reply with quote

i would love to see something just as detailed when you do your 2.1 conversion. i plan on converting my 84 westy this winter and am collecting any info i can get
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 6:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the dimensions Laffin_boy.

I hadn't considered building a box for mine. I'd just put maps and campground guides under there.

PS did you visit my site?
www.griffco.ca/interest/vw
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laffin_boy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2006 9:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wellington noted:
Quote:
MightyArt pointed out another spot you might want to use also, it exists right above the closet in the back. The space between the ceiling and the closet is empty.


Thanks, I found that one too. I made a "passthrough" in the drivers side wall of the overhead cabinet and a matching one in the closet cabinet so that I can reach that space through the overhead cabinet.

amishman asked:
Quote:
Real nice work. Do you have finish picture of the back drawer all the way pushed in and how does that one stay put or does the back mattress keep it in fine?


No, the box is recessed back into the space far enough so that it doesn't cover the eng comp lid at all. In other words the tray doesn't interfere w/ lifting the lid. The semi-rigid piece of foam that I glued on the inner rear cabinet wall tensions the tray and keeps it from sliding around.

ohioplatt asked:
Quote:
i would love to see something just as detailed when you do your 2.1 conversion. i plan on converting my 84 westy this winter and am collecting any info i can get


Ok, i'll take pictures as I put things together but it's not going to look very "conversionish" 'cause my 2.1 is being built using a 1.9 block & heads. (which also means that I reuse my existing 1.9 plenum chamber & intake runners.) But i'll describe the internal mods, my costs and my initial reactions.

spitsnrovers:
Quote:
I hadn't considered building a box for mine. I'd just put maps and campground guides under there.
PS did you visit my site?
www.griffco.ca/interest/vw


Quite a project. I can reach the drivers side tray while i'm driving but the trays probably wouldn't be as useful to you 'cause you're now so "tall in the saddle" w/ these new seats.

~Tom
'83 Westy
(soon to be 2.1 powered)
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EXITSTRATEGY
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hmm, i wonder what it would take to lower the seat mounts into that space. it's nice to see the sky when driving.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 18, 2009 4:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I did this mod a few days ago. It was fast easy, and satisfying. I borrowed a friend with a well-equipped toolkit and his Bosch angle grinder. (Wowzer, what a cool tool that is, somehow I had never used one before). The job was done after 10 minutes and after a few dramatic showers of sparks. Still don't know what will end up in that space; maybe the front component speaker crossovers or the amp.

Canadian border agents, please don't read this post Shocked

Tom, thanks for sharing this great idea!
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sc-surfer
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PostPosted: Mon Jan 19, 2009 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very nice writeup!!

I put a subwoofer in one and an amp in the other....no drawers for me, but the stereo sounds great now!!
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