Thursday 29 March 2012

How to repair a rusty VW on a budget?

Junior Banksy gets 'tagging' the bus

If you have read any of the previous post or seen the shopping list it looks like its going to cost over £500 to pass the next MOT, leaving nothing for her paint job and nice little extra shiny chrome bits. Allready plans to go to Big Chill or Beatherder festivals are scrapped. However as i have started to do as much prep work before she goes in for welding (no way I'm welding myself, the dyspraxia and short attention span would spell disaster) i am beginning to think i may actually be able to enter into the 'show & shine'  Barbara at our local show this summer : alive and vdubbin 

In two weeks i have got to all the rusty bits in the body work and removed paint and rust with wire brush shank thingy on my drill and extra course sandpaper and then re sprayed in primer. A couple of the small rust spots revealed some larger holes and gaps that required filling ( My thoughts are that any of these i can fill well will mean more time before i need to completely replace all the less than perfect panels)

I will try and give a step by step instructions on how to repair holes and dents and show you what a complete amateur can achieve. To be honest the results are not perfect but are a major improvement on some areas that were looking like a medieval cheese grater before and should get me through the MOT at least.

First of all i have to pay thanks to my lovely neighbours who have put up with me doing most ofthis work on the street. I have had no complaints and people have seemed to enjoy watching the changes take place...i have also never been 'so up' on the street gossip. However if you are doing this kind of work outside your front door in public space its important to keep it clean and safe.

Its also a good idea to get yourself a club membership sorted, my local club membership entitles me to discounts at a wide range of car part shops/suppliers. I avoid the big firms and prefer to use a local business that will offer you better advice and support in my view.

Rules for working on the bus on the street :

1. All drilling, electric sanding and grinding to be done between 11am and 3:30pm
2 .Keep tools, leads and chemicals tidy and out of the way
3. Sweep up as you go and use dust extractors on the equipment.
4. The body fillers are very noxious and for some reason reminded me of my days as a punk(?!) Strictly speaking you should not be filling this stuff on the street or let it's dust from sanding  go down the drains, i don't want any dead dolphins on my conscience or get the toddler next door addicted to solvents.
5. I refrained from blasting out dubstep on the stereo whilst i worked.

How to fill a hole
Barbara's back end gets some attention!
Step 1. Clean out all the rusted metal, inevitably making small holes even bigger, but unless you get all the corroded bits out it will only bubble up again soon. Also applied 'Krust' anti-rust treatment to the edges. I hear a product caled Vatcan is good but i cant find it in the shops here. I then cleaned the surrounding metal with white spirit to remove any grease or dirt left.

Step 2. On the engine bay hatch above the small holes were filled with P38 which is easily sanded back to a smooth finish. I used small quantities of this noxious and nasty stuff and built up the filler so it was just proud of the metal surround.  You need plenty of glossy cardboard to mix the stuff on (cornflake packet worked well) As it was hardening (which happens all to quickly so you have to work fast) you can trim off any excess filler. I used a razor blade which along with a donor card made the ideal 'spreader'. I wouldnt recommend using your platinum visa card however!

Step 3. Finally sound down the filler to a smooth finish level/flush with the surrounding metal. Any uneaven spots or 'craters' will soon be aparent when you spray with the primer after. If its not perfect its time to dig it all out and start again at step 1.

Sanding down the filler

This gaping wound (below) on the rear wheel arch required 'bridging' and filling with aluminium mesh and required using the harder P40 filler over the top of the mesh and then finally a layer of P38. 

step 3 looks more like a dodgy cake icing!
Finally all patched up and ready to go!