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'63 Panel Camper to Deluxe conversion project
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 11:30 am    Post subject: '63 Panel Camper to Deluxe conversion project Reply with quote

I've been sitting on this bus for 4 years. I have finally completed all the other bus and vanagon projects ahead of it and can start the restoration.

It was a factory '63 walk through panel. When I got it there were a few hacked up pieces of a sundial interior that was used to make a work bench and storage inside it. I don't know if this van was one of the sundial conversions or not, the window holes look kinda hackish, but I still refer to it as a sundial conversion.

When I first bought it 4 years ago I cut off some of the rusted panels. This thing is SOLID, especially for New England. The only rust was the nose, the lower part of the drivers door, which I cut off and welded, and small holes on both rockers. Battery tray has a small 1" hole. All floors are solid, wheel wells are solid. The most work will be fixing the hacks, the wheel wells have been cut.... one side vent (??), a hole i the roof, and little holes all around. It has been in a garage tent at my parents house for 3 years.

The bus was delivered new to Los Angeles and I found several receipts inside it from Arizona. It was repainted to metallic blue in the 70's. It changed hands a few times in Massachusetts in the 90's before I got it.

I've been collecting parts over the past 4 years and I think I have just about everything I need to finish it. well over $5000 in parts waiting Shocked I plan to restore it to mostly stock, but keeping the sundial-esque cut-in windows and a camper interior. It will get repainted the original dove blue. It should be a pretty easy resto considering how solid it is. Hands down the most solid original split window bus I've ever seen in all New England and I've been looking for them a long time.

The engine is a 1500cc from the looks of it... will verify when I open it up. definitely not original though, its really clean.

there are lots of neat little things about it. On the inside of the engine door there are compression test numbers and mileage penciled in for a five year span of 1979-1984. It says 30,000 miles in 1980 but who knows what that means.

I hauled it to my garage yesterday. Heres some pics of the adventure:

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I'll add photos to my picasa album as I go:
http://picasaweb.google.com/eddiegood/1963Bus?feat=directlink
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williamblanda
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool project! I have a panel camper that used to be a metallic green.
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Campy
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 19, 2010 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I bought a 1963 walk-thru camper with the camper windows and a newly rebuilt 1967 transaxle for $400 some eight years ago, and spent over one year fully restoring it (new inner and outer rockers on each side, outer cargo floor section, and front floor sections). It was white but I painted the interior and exterior my favorite color: dove blue. I painted the underbody and wheel wells grey. It has a single port "H" engine with a dog house setup and an alternator. I put a camper unit from a 1979 Westy in it that I picked up for $15. It has been great to drive a bus that I restored.
Good luck restoring your bus. It takes a lot of grunt work but, boy, what a feeling when it is finished.
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GLHTurbo
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 9:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

sweet... I have a '67 walk through camper conversion using late Bay furniture...

What style windows are you using?
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Campy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 10:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was a panel that had holes cut in it at some company for the aluminum-sided windows (not louvered). My 1958 walk-thru camper has the same windows, only they are not as tall.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The windows that were in it when I got it were the Sundial/EZ-Camper style windows that have the sharp corners. They're in tough shape and need lots of glass panels replaced. I have all the trim with them.

They look just like these ones:
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I also have a set of pristine westfalia louvered windows with all the trim and hardware. They would not fit the current holes as they are taller and more narrow. They are really designed to be put in the place of kombi windows and would look a little weird if I just cut holes and put them in. Plus I'd have to weld patches on to make them fit and If I'm gonna do that I ought to just make it back into a panel.

The sundial/ez-camper windows are similar in style. I may sell the westy windows (unbelievable what they go for in the classifieds) and restore the sundial "cut-in" windows.
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GLHTurbo
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 11:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

mine has the 4 sharp corners as well. Was debating putting the "gutters" over the top of them, it never had them. My glass is pretty beat too...think I'll yank a pane out and bring it to a glass shop.

and I brought mine home on a uhaul trailer too!

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Cool Project. Take as many pics as you can as you go along.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 20, 2010 5:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

GLHTurbo wrote:
mine has the 4 sharp corners as well. Was debating putting the "gutters" over the top of them, it never had them. My glass is pretty beat too...think I'll yank a pane out and bring it to a glass shop.

and I brought mine home on a uhaul trailer too!



Looks like the uhaul car trailers are much nicer in NJ. The one I got was more rusty than the bus!

Don't worry, I'll take tons of pics. I've got sambanitis when it comes to that stuff, check out some of my other projects.

http://picasaweb.google.com/eddiegood/85Westy?feat=directlink
http://picasaweb.google.com/eddiegood/Westy_conversion_part2?feat=directlink
http://picasaweb.google.com/eddiegood/1974WestfaliaBus02?feat=directlink
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Finally got around to working on the '63 this week. I've been doing house upgrades over the past few months, getting ready for the baby who is due next month. A little time off from VWs was probably good for me.

Cleaned everything up inside, sorted through all the parts. Pulled the engine yesterday morning:

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Got a late Christmas present:

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Looks like a freshly rebuilt transmission. Hopefully whoever put it in was smart and built it up right. I never took the time to look at it, but the whole thing is painted black and the paint looks fresh, and its been in storage for at least 6 years. The bellhousing is stock 12V. The reduction boxes are still small nut so who knows.

Although still set up for 6V the clutch, pressure plate and throwout bearing look brand new.

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I'm going to convert the motor over to 12V, and upgrade it to a dual port 1641 with some new parts I had laying around:

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Campy
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 4:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Think about keeping the engine at 1600 cc. In my opinion, the thinner cylinder walls and extra heat in the 1641 cc engine is not worth it for a little bit of extra power.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 28, 2010 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Campy wrote:
Think about keeping the engine at 1600 cc. In my opinion, the thinner cylinder walls and extra heat in the 1641 cc engine is not worth it for a little bit of extra power.


I'm kinda torn on that. I know these cyls have the thinner wall. I think I'm gonna throw them on to this engine (1500 now) and run with it for the time being. I'd rather them be running on something that sitting on the shelf like they have been doing for a few years. The same with the heads. I can always change them (or the engine) later.

I built a few 1641s a while back and they lasted a lot of miles without any major issues, but I know they aren't optimal for cooling.
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i_am_cool_fred
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 9:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Campy wrote:
Think about keeping the engine at 1600 cc. In my opinion, the thinner cylinder walls and extra heat in the 1641 cc engine is not worth it for a little bit of extra power.


1000 miles before i had a seized bearing, i just did a top end on the motor (i know, i know) and this is what the 87 pistons looked like after that short time:

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whether it was cause they were 87's or something else i dunno, but i've never had that with 85.5's so i'll stick with those Wink
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 5:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today I pulled the gas tank out and spent the rest of the day sanding the interior...man what a pain. Someone had glued carpet all over the interior at some point and that glue has dried and is nasty stuff... what a ton of work.

The gas tank was an enigma. I drained it and it was just slowly dripping out of the spigot, but the tank weighed a ton. It felt like it was full of concrete. When I pulled it out i could hear a lot of gas sloshing in there, but there is something really heavy in it...blocking? the gas. No idea what it could be, but whatever is in there it weighs a LOT. I have a few good tanks to put in...I might even put a later tank in there. I might cut this one open just to see what the hell it is....not sure if I really want to know...

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Battery tray will be replaced. This is the only in tact bracket bolt and latch I've ever seen.
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Other side is good:
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Campy
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't trash the fuel tank; remove the sending unit and look inside with a flashlight. There s a baffle near each end of the tank.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 8:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cut out the battery tray and trashed corner piece today... should have new metal welded in soon.

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Andy P
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice project, Ed.
I wish the '62 Panel I picked up had been converted nicely.
It has 1-piece glass in the hacked windows, albeit Aussie safety glass, but not nearly as cool as louvre windows.
Like yours the rust in minimal.
The difference is I'm a welding amateur.
I'll watch this with interest.
Nice band, btw.
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edgood1
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

its been a while since I've worked on this. Too many vanagon projects..

anyways, after a baby, two moves and several other vanagon projects the '63 is now my focus so heres an update.

Replaced the battery tray.:

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Pulled the tranny. The gears look like a 4.375 R+P with a .89 4th.
I think I'm going to replace the center section with a 3.88 (or maybe 3.44) and an .82 4th gear, keeping the small nut RGBs. This one is geared too low for me.
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Lots of crap:
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Cleaned. The horns and everything in between is factory paint preserved from 50 years of grease and road grime:
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Up next is more cleaning of the trans bay. then prepping and painting the trans and engine bays.
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bill may
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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:08 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

GLHTurbo wrote:
mine has the 4 sharp corners as well. Was debating putting the "gutters" over the top of them, it never had them. My glass is pretty beat too...think I'll yank a pane out and bring it to a glass shop.

and I brought mine home on a uhaul trailer too!

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

may want to replace glass with lexan. surprise you how heavy the glass is.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2012 6:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I finished cleaning and painting the transaxle bay. I'm on to degreasing the engine bay...really painstaking slow work.

I test fitted a gas tank from a '74 bay. Really nice fit:

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..just gotta figure out a solution to stabilize the late model sender with the split gauge...have some ideas to test.
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