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1963 15 Window resurrection
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:44 am    Post subject: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Hello. I have been thinking about doing a build thread for my bus for a while now. I have had it since August 2015, but just recently started getting going on it. It is very rough, and will need everything: Parts, Time, and money. I am planning on doing the majority of work myself.
The below photos are from when my son and I found it.
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This bus has been off the road since 1971. It was owned/driven by a music band in central Maine. From what I was told, it was in an accident. It ran over an electric pole that had been hit and broken by the driver in front of it. The front drivers side wheel was pushed back, tweaking the frame and bending the front end. When I found it in 2015 it had been sitting since the accident. 44 years. It had been parked in a field at the home of a guy who owned a foreign repair shop, where it sat until the field became the woods. My son and I found it after some persistence. I am extremely excited about putting this bus back on the road.
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crukab
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 9:54 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

That Bus looks familiar, I think Nate Jung sent me pics of it a few years back, but I could be wrong. Good to see another 15 window being saved ! Good luck on your resto, keep the pics coming.
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:01 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Hey Tom,
I sent Nate a few photos from when I picked it up. I brought it down to Kittery last spring on my trailer for the dust off. I will put more photos on ASAP.
Thanks
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Pinetops
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:42 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

You're brave! Congrats, 15's are the best, totally worth it.
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 10:51 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

It will definitely bad a huge challenge but I agree it will be worth it. My son is pushing pretty hard to get it going, so we will have to make it happen.
Thanks
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 4:57 pm    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

I noticed you posted your M-code plate in the gallery
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July 8th, VIN 141048

My '63 15-Window is also July 8th, VIN 1141066

They are super close!
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sat Feb 18, 2017 5:58 pm    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

I had seen your m code plate in another forum and thought that was neat. Two walk through 15 window deluxes built 17 apart. I wonder if those other 17 were walk through 15 windows?
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:49 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

OK, I am going to try not to write a book here. I just uploaded all of the relevant photos to the gallery to get caught up to now. Here is the rambling back story:
I met this guy with a repair shop about 5 or 6 years ago. He had a 66 Beetle for sale. I stopped to look at it, and talked to him for a while. He said he had a barn full of parts. I was trying to contain myself and asked if I could check out what he had. He said he was going to get in and organize, and when he did, he would call me. I never got the call, and put it in the back of my mind. I stopped in twice a year for the next few years until he said I could go and meet him there on a Saturday. I showed up, and he was not around. Bummer. I went back to his business the next Monday, and he apologized and said he forgot. I asked if we could meet the next Saturday, and he said OK. I don't think he had ever met an obsessed VW guy before. At that time he said he had some other VWs, a Squareback, another Beetle, and a Van. I kept my composure and said I would like to look at the vehicles also if possible. The next Saturday my son and I went to the guys shop and he was not there. I called him and did not get answer. Since we were an hour away from home, we decided to drive around. (I was hoping to find the guys house) We drove around for about 20 minutes and saw a nice looking late model Beetle in front of a house for sale. I thought maybe this is the place. It was not.
Long winded, sorry.
I knocked on the door and was sent to the garage. I knocked on that door I asked the guy if he knew the guy I was looking for, and he said the guy was in the garage. What? The guy that owned the Beetle was working on a muscle car with another guy who WAS THE GUY. He was suprised to see me. I apologized for interrupting them. He said he forgot again (I do believe he was forgetting, he is an older guy with alot of irons in the fire) He said he was sorry, but could not go to his house to let us in his barn. We were deflated to say the least. I asked if we could go and look at his vehicles. It was raining, and I think he felt sorry for us for having come out twice already. He said OK. He was not quite sure where they were, other than behind his house somewhere. He lived around the corner from where we were. We drove around the corner, and found his house. He said he was going to call his wife and let her know we were coming. We knocked on the door and she answered and told us where he parked his junk vehicles. She got her jacket and boots (yes, it was raining, and she was going to give us a tour) We walked down the road an into his property. He had a small junk yard with a bunch of random vehicles. We did find a roached out Super Beetle, as well as an even more roached out Squareback, a few bays, a Vanagon, and a bunch of other foreign and domestic cars.
Still not done.
We walked through the woods some, and found a bunch of metal, and other rusting vehicles, but not what we had hoped for. We walked back to the house and the lady mentioned some cars in the garage. She let us go in the guys garage. Inside there was a nice 70's Squareback, a late standard Beetle, and a couple of old hot rods. Really awesome, but another story.
She said she thought there were a few more cars and maybe a van behind the house. We walked through the woods, and found this:
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And this:


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Add these:

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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:13 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

I could not believe what I was seeing. This was the VW grave yard that was made before the guy started organizing things. These vehicles were brought here and put in this field when it was still a field. These vehicles had been here since the 70's. I looked over the 63 15 window, and it looked complete (minus the middle seat) We found the drivers door which I found under some leaves:



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It was also missing the drivers side torsion arms, hub, etc.
The 63 was full of junk (and some good stuff) was sunken in to the ground, and had leaves filling the rain gutter. It still looked great to us. The 60 15 window did not look as good (It was sitting on it's side with the chassis rusted into the ground beside it) Evidentally someone needed the transaxle, so they ripped the body off.
The beetles were all rough, but had a lot of parts that were savable (another story)
We walked back to the driveway and thanked the nice lady, and went back around the corner to see the guy (I am now hoping I am not going to be banned for being a nuisance)
I told him we found the buses and cars and were interested in making a deal.
We made a deal, and plans to come back when the weather was better.
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:27 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

We (my son and I. He is my cohort in all things VW) went back to see the bus a second time with no rain, to come up with an extraction plan. We had no idea how we would get these buses out of the woods. we walked all around and settled on a path that needed some serious grooming. (it is amazing how the landscape changes over 44 years) We came up with a plan that would involve 2 chain saws, a winch, 6 sheets of 3/4 plywood, a shovel, a rake, food and water, a come along, a chain fall, chains, straps, ratchet straps, jacks, blocks, rope, etc.
Here are some photos of our second trip out. No rain this time:
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Alot of people may have walked away from this, but in Maine this bus is close to mint.
The guy I bought the buses from said this bus was owned by a rock band who ran over a utility pole, and bent the front wheel. This happened in 1971, and it has been off the road since then. The odometer says 12ish K miles, so I am guessing 112,000 It was only on the road for 8 years. I have some contact info from the band, and will make contact.
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 5:56 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

So when we went to extract the buses, the plan was to jack the bus up and jam some plywood and a cart underneath it, and drag it out. It sounded so easy. First we had to clear a path. I am not sure how many trees I cut down, but I chunked up all of the hardwood, and I would say there was at least a chord. If anyone has ever been in woods that grew out from a field, than you know that there are many smallish trees close together. We cut and cleared one day, as well as empty out the inside of the bus.

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Anything that was not completely rusted away we brought home (except for the animal poop, etc.) I am pretty sure that every forest creature in Maine has lived/camped in a VW bus at one time or another, and set up the next day. I had to jack the bus quite high up to get the plywood and cart underneath. When things were finally set, we brought the electric winch down, and hooked everything up, and things started to move. Unfortunately not in the direction we had hoped for. The cart I made was very strong, but the Harbor Freight wheels I bought (They looked heavy duty) Were not. Instead of the wheels pivioting when we were trying to bring the front end around, they folded over and spit out all of their bearings. We did manage to get it pointed in the right direction with floor jacks and sweat.
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Plan b had to be created. I thought if I had a couple of trailer axles (I know a guy who I thought might have a couple) I could somehow get them under and drag it out that way. It was 100 yards away from where I could get my trailer. I went to see my buddy, and while we were looking through his axle pile, I saw this:
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It is part of a boat trailer. It looked perfect. I thought if I put a couple of 4x4 posts across the top (He had those too) I could set the bus on it and drag it out.
It worked great. The hardest part was getting the bus up high enough in the air. It was not easy. It took 2 more days, but we got it. For some reason, we did not take many photos, but my son took a bunch of videos. If I can figure out how to post a video on youtube, I will try to post them.
Anyway:

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If you notice the barn in the background, the guy was home for the second day of our extraction. When we pulled the van out of the woods, he had not seen it in years, and was suprised that it was not in worse condition. I was pretty worn out by then, but asked if I could perhaps look in the barn. He said I could. He also said that he thought there was a set of roof windows from a bus that was wrecked. He put them in there somewhere 20 years ago...
I spent about 2 hours digging around/organizing the barn and found a bunch of good stuff including the glass. We made a deal, and drove the bus home.
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 6:06 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Once we got it home, I unloaded it and kept it on the cart. I could push it around by myself fairly easily while I got it rolling. One of the tires ended up being rotten. Lucky it held up while we were extracting it.
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I had a 65 13 window bus that turned into a parts bus. It was BG SWR and had the correct color cargo doors and a deluxe front bumper
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I also used the torsion arms and hub from the same bus. I got all of the drums freed up and got the bus rolling.

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Once I cleaned it out, I was suprised to see how straight it was for the most part, after being in the accident, and sitting for so long. I started to wax it and the paint shined right up. I then began the plan to get it back on the road.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 7:30 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Fantastic stuff great story! Book marked Very Happy
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:01 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Great recovery. The only thing better would have been if you had done a drive out, ala Kombisutra.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 8:06 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

It really did clean up well considering! Will you be putting on a whole roof clip or patching it? Thanks for posting the backstory, I love that kind of stuff. I think most of us can relate to dealing with a bunch of obstacles just to find a bus and then dragging it out of it's resting place. My extractions have been easy in comparison to this one though!
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 9:34 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Applause Popcorn
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Wooowwww. Great story. Let us see some more photos.
Well done.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:36 pm    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Looking forward the progress.

FYI. If you have bad odors from animal urine go to Petsmart and get Natures Miracle Urine destroyer. Buy a gallon bottle and spray the areas that smell. It will get rid of the funky urine smell.
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 12:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

Great job pulling it out of it's grave to give it another life. I enjoyed the story as well.

I hope you continue to update this thread.. Very Happy
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Burlyhammer
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PostPosted: Sun Feb 19, 2017 4:40 pm    Post subject: Re: 1963 15 Window resurrection Reply with quote

As far as the roof repair goes, I am going to try to repair the top. None of the gutters are rotted suprisingly. I have a bunch of roof parts, including an entire roof clip if it comes to that.
I did get the smell out. I washed it out, and removed everything from inside it.
After we got it home, I started building my garage. Up until then, I had been building my house (15 years) It is very difficult to live in a house you are building, but that is yet another story...
I had set up the pad for my garage a few years earlier, so I rented a mini excvator to dig the footer/honch, built forms, and set it up for concrete:
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I taught my son (12 at the time) how to run the compactor, and at the same time, the value of a good education.
We poured concrete on October 23rd 2015.
Then construction began:

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