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Father Son Bus restoration project
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Thu May 02, 2013 4:14 pm    Post subject: Interior Restoration - Seats Reply with quote

It's hard to believe my teenage son is putting over 10K miles per year on a 35 year old vehicle that spent 20 of those years rusting away in a field, but I'm hopeful he'll be enjoying it for many more years to come. That said, the interior that we cleaned up during restoration, has not fared so well, as the vinyl has dried out over the years and started to crack and peel, so our next project is to recover the seats.

Until we move on to air conditioning, I believe replacing the vinyl with cloth is a must to survive the brutal Texas summers, so we settled on a nice yellow/orange plaid fabric from Busdepot. It's kind of sad to think that over the next few years I'll be seeing less and less of my baby boy (who's growig up way too fast) and grandpaw's bus, but I'm enjoying these small projects here and there, just the same Razz

Here's a few pics of the stripped seat fabric, and some of the covers I had made at a local upholstry shop from the pieces

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Earl 78 westy
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 2:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause Applause
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2013 4:04 pm    Post subject: Finished seats Reply with quote

Boy what a difference with the new covers installed Laughing Using the old covers as a template the upholstry shop made the front seats with my supplied fabric for $90 each, and the middle one for $130. They fit like a glove, but it still took some stretching to get them on. From what the guy told me, it's a pretty substantial savings to just bring him the covers, vs bringing the whole seat.

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Ater the rear seat is finished, the ratty looking interior panels will be next. I purchased 5 yards of plaid fabric, 7 yards of brown vinyl, and 7 yards of 1/8th inch foam backing, so the materials spend was about $385, but I should have enough to recover all the panels and all the seats. The foam backng does an awesome job of eliminating any small lumps or imperfections in the seats before covering with vinyl, but my middle seat also required new hair pads from Wolfsburg West (costing about $90 delivered), as the original pads were long gone. The hair pads feel very comvortable, but I still gave them a couple of extra layers of the 1/8th inch foam, for a little extra softness. The finished seat feels totally awesome!
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Yes, I left the ash tray off the middle seat on purpose. Those seats turned out too nice to see them get blemished by a stray ash. I'll be eliminating the ash trays in the panels as well.....
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Bala
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PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2013 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those look great!
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 10:11 am    Post subject: Interior Restoration - Final Chapter Reply with quote

Well it has been quite the journey, bringing this old bus back to itís former glory, and we finished the last step in the process (repairing the interior panels) over Fatherís day. Kind of fitting, really, that my last installment of this story comes after an important father son holiday At this point, all the big things that needed to be fixed are done. So anything else that gets updated, going forward, will be my sonís responsibility.

After installing the custom plaid seat upholstery, the interior panels were still looking pretty ratty. Even though we had previously made new 1/8th inch thick masonite door panels for the front, and re-used the old vinyl, it was starting to peel loose again, due to the brutal Texas heat. I found out the hard way that the only contact adhesive that wonít come loose from the heat is Landau Top adhesive, so with the rear panels already disintegrated and the front panels coming apart again, I decided to just redo everything the right way with new vinyl and good adhesive.

A 4í x 8í sheet of masonite only costs about $9 (2 sheets were required), and new vinyl costs about $100 for 8 yards. (this was also used for the seats, so Iím not sure how much was used just for the panels, but 8 yards was just enough for everything. Foam backed vinyl is best for the panels, but way more expensive, so I bought 10 yards of surplus headliner material for $10, which has a 1/8th inch foam backing and sandwiched this between the vinyl and some sew through batting (another $10 worth) to give some depth to the decorative lines I had sewn into the vinyl for the panels. After I cut the vinyl, foam, and batting, and laid out the deco lines with a grease pencil and yardstick, the local upholstery shop sewed the deco lines in the panels for $65. Then all I had to do was glue the finished vinyl to the masonite panels with the landau top adhesive. Before doing this, I coated all the masonite panels with a good soaking coat of polyurethane (an extra $20), so they wouldnít warp again, like the originals did from exposure to moisture. Excluding labor (and there was a lot of it), total cost for all 6 panels was $223. There was also quite a bit of frustration lining up the panel clips (recycled from the originals) to go back in the holes, but after the first one, we just transferred measurements from a fixed reference point to each of the remaining panels. The extra time spent doing this eliminated a lot of swearing and pounding of fists on the rest of the panels, as they just popped right into place.

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white74westy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause
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1967250s
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 11:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Beautiful job. Great tutorial, too. I've been thinking of re-doing my '72, too. Can you tell us where you got your vinyl ( are they national) and do they have alabaster and black?
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SmokeyJoe
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 12:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What a great story, even better bonding experience and a great bus. My dad and I have worked on many cars together in my life. My bus will be the first I am doing on my own. So I do have a question for you on your stereo installation. How and where did you wire up the system to the battery power?
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curtis4085
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

question,, may be a dumb one.. on your front door cards you said you used new vinyl if im correct? how did you put the factory pleets in the vinyl to have it look original? If the pleets came that way wich vendor did you use to supply the vinyl?
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Jalabert
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 4:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As others have said, great bus and love your work.
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 7:16 pm    Post subject: Answers to questions Reply with quote

1) Radio Install - The Retrosound radio has 2 power leads. One has to go to a continuously powered circuit (hot all the time) to maintain clock and channel presets. The other power lead has to be wired to a circuit that's only on when the ignition switch is on. This circuit powers the built in amplifier, and will draw enough current (even when the radio is turned off) to drain your battery in a few days if the car goes unused that long. I tapped into both of these circuits in the back of the fuse box (under the steering wheel) I can't remember which circuits are hot all the time and which ones are switched on by the ignition, but they are easy to find with a volt meter. Others here on this forum can probably tell you exactly which fuses to tap into.

2) Vinyl was purchased at Capital City Upholstery (locations in both Austin and San Antonio TX. I'm not sure if they have a web site, but they have every type of auto vinyl imaginable, as well as leather, suede, felt, foam, or otherwise. They also cary the Landau top adhesive (which is the only thing I've found that actually holds up to serious heat.

3) The deco lines or "pleats" as some may refer to them on the interior panels were sewn into the vinyl. I roughly followed the pattern from the original panels, but with fewer lines. My personal preference is that with the sewn in pattern, more lines would have looked too busy. I didn't sew the lines (A local upholstery shop did that), but I did lay out the pattern using a white grease pencil and a straight edge. This is an essential step so the upholstery shop has a good straight line to follow with the sewing machine. The marks from the grease pencil wipe right off when they're done. When you sew the lines, you need to sandwitch the foam between the outer vinyl and a stiffer batting fabric; this will make the stitching sink down in the foam a little, so the finished line stands out more. without the stiffer batting fabric, the stiching will just pull the foam down without making the line on the vinyl stand out much. You can get the batting fabric at Hobby Lobby or Michael's stores. It's apparantly the same stuff they sew into shirt collars to make them stiffer.

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1967250s
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 17, 2013 8:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent. Thank you very much.
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hoagy86
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Applause very nice with it all now love the connection that was passed on to son very cool
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skid
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 12:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am in love with your seats!
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Kirk
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I hadn't seen your seats before, man you did great work there. Shame to part with this bus. You did great work.
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 11:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Skid / Kirk.

Yes the color combo on those plaid seats turned out really sweet Very Happy I've never seen them on another bus with brown vinyl, but it all goes together really well.
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heiko910
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 5:27 pm    Post subject: Re: Body Work Reply with quote

69BahamaYellow wrote:
I have been busy, so I missed a few questions from previous posts. The bus was a gift from my dad to my son, so at least the starting price was right Very Happy With the motor, brakes, tires, suspension, and miscellaneous other mechanical replacement parts, I have about $3,350 in it so far. I hope my son appreciates the investment; heís starting to get very demanding on all the stuff that needs doing, and ďtoo busyĒ to do any of the work. Iíll admit, Iím loosing my patience with him, and this whole project was suppose to be about father/son bonding. I could have him in a nice (and much safer) Porsche 924 or Saab 900 for less than just my parts investment so far. Sorry for the rant; sometimes you just gotta vent. Oh, and yes, one of the other posters noticed the tail end of my Porsche 911 in one of my pics (you were correct on the nic)

While I have been looking for engine main bearings (with little success), I have been working on some body repair. Except for the rust, the majority of the paint is in excellent shape. The pics below show some repair work in progress. I started with some mini-sanding disks, attached to my cordless drill to grind down the rust and surrounding ľĒ or so of sound paint. I then used the Phos-pho-ric acid rinse to neutralize the remaining rust, filled the pitting with epoxy filler, and sealed it with several coats of Dupont epoxy primer to bring it up to the level of the sound paintwork. Car Quest carries the correct Panama Brown/Dakota Beige in a catalyzed single stage enamel (Dupont Ful-cryl), so I bought some and sprayed it on in my garage with a $9 Harbor Freight mini-spray gun. This paint produces an awesome finish and I highly recommend it. The color match is nearly perfect also, which is impressive, considering I just gave them the factory paint codes and they mixed it with no laser color matching. I should also mention that the primer got many hours of sanding with 200, then 400, then 600 grit paper before the final finish went on. When it's completely dry and I feather in the edges with 1000 grit paper and rubbing compound, I'll post some before and after pics.

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Hi there,
Love your write up.
I have a Bay window myself and I am always tinkering around. Now I want to repair a few small paint damages. You mentioned a mini spary gun that you used. Was it an Airbrush system or a regular paint spray gun?

Thanks,
Heiko
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shiningstar76
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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2014 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That interior is so 70's it just makes me feel like a kid again. I love it.
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69BahamaYellow
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PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2014 5:54 am    Post subject: Accessory Switch for Retrosound radio and final panel fit Reply with quote

It has been a while since posting anything on this thread, but since I see a lot of bay window owners installing the RetroSound radios, this one will be useful addition to finish off the radio install we did in this bus last year. Because there is no "accessory" position on the ignition switch, you can only listen to the radio when the engine is running, or you have to add a separate power switch, but then I read a few threads about using the door buzzer circuit as an accessory switch. This seems like a perfect solution, because there is a small switch in the ignition that powers the buzzer whenever you insert the key. The circuit to the buzzer is completed by a ground contact in the driver side door, but the important part is that the grey/black wire that powers the buzzer is a perfect accessory switch with one caveat (it only supplies power with the key in the ignition IN THE OFF POSITION. As soon as you start the engine, there is no power from this circuit (at least not on a 1978) The other threads did not mention this, but there is a solution, if you use a "double throw" relay to power the radio from 2 separate power sources (one from the door buzzer circuit and the other from the ignition on circuit). A double throw relay looks just like a standard relay, except it has an extra spade lug (5 total); There are certain "accessory" relays that also have 5 lugs but are not double throw. The key difference is the switching lugs on a double throw relay are labeled "87" and "87a". If you find a 5 lug relay with two "87" labels (one without the "a"), that's just a single throw with an extra lug and will not work for this application.

The diagram below shows how to wire everything up so that the radio is powered just by inserting the key in the ignition switch. I can't tell you how much of an improvement this is Laughing I also included a couple of pictures of the relay installed in the fusebox. There were 3 extra positions in my fusebox for relays, so I just installed the double throw radio relay in the slot between the buzzer and the headlight power relay. By using a couple of single position female to dual position male spade lug adapters on the relay, no cutting or splicing of wires is required (so this is completely reversible) and looks just like a factory installation.

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One final note is that we finished the rear speaker cover using 1/8" Masonite and vinyl "contact paper" from Home Depot. This stuff has held up perfectly (no peeling in hot or cold weather) and is nearly identical to the factory vinyl used on the front kick panels and rear luggage compartment panels, except that maybe the leather grain texture is slightly more visible.

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I repaired my luggage compartment panels a few months ago in this thread, and I'm happy to say they seem to be a perfect repair.

http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=590467&highlight=luggage+panel
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Das Awesome
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 5:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ya got anymore updates? Im so jealous of the bus! I reslly want a '77 transporter, with a homemade camping interior. Too bad im only 12. Anxious
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