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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New Project: Camper Van

 As somewhat of a compulsive buyer I find it hard to walk away from a bargan! A local club in town was unable to keep this little Toyota Hiace in commission due to rust, nobody wanted to even look at repairing it (most likely not worth the money?) so I threw them an offer of around $300- , a bit criminal of them to sell it in my opinion considering it wouldn't take much at all to fix it up. But anyway one persons trash is another persons treasure.

So the plan was to take the seats out and convert it into a little get away camper van (mainly for some fishing trips).

First things first!
So the first step was to pull out all the seats, as well as anything that is bolted onto or clips onto the van (Lights, Grill, tow bar, locks etc), this isn’t too hard just takes a bit of time, got to be a bit careful with the plastics as they tend to break fairly easy after 20 years of sitting. The real trick is keeping everything together and not loosing anything!

After everything was off gave the floor inside a bit of a clean just to make the working area a bit easier. Now because this vehicle is off the road because of rust it was essential to discover where the rust is coming through and remove it. Now as there was a few holes rusting through the floor I decided to patch these up with the welder, if the hole was big enough it was cut out and a new plate was welded in, if the hole was small enough I just spot welded the holes. (Below you can see a batch that has been spotted and grinded back until it was flat and presentable). After anything was grinded or sanded it was immediately sprayed with a cold gal (to prevent rust).
A hole which was been welded back.

The next step was to go around the vehicle and look for imperfections (such as dings), on this particular van there were quite a few little bangs in it from over the years, I found a lot of them could be popped out but anything that couldn’t was sanded down to bare metal and bogged. Fairly imported to get the outside looking good as any imperfections will stand out when it gets repainted. Once all these are done we ran over the van with 80grit sand paper so that when I prime the vehicle it will have something to hold onto. Ideally if this was a professional job they would most likely sand the whole vehicle back to bare metal but I don’t have much time and I’m not too particular about how it looks.

Once it was sanded, gave it a quick rub down (I use metholayted spirits on a rag) just to pick up any dust and dirt. As anything the more time you take in your preparation the better the final product will look, especially when painting.

So next I primed the vehicle, then I ran over the primer with a 800 grit sand paper, very gently, just until its smooth. Cleaned it again to remove any dust and went over it with the Toyota White which I picked up at the paint supply (found this paint was really cheap, two pac, $160 for 4 litres).