THE VERY DAUNTING FRAME REPAIR ON VP:
We have now started stripping the outer skins, as the shed we have built for the conversion process is complete to stage 1 (during summer). Stage 2 (complete closure) will come when weather gets cooler. In the meantime its drag all the tools inside every day, damn it!
The building is basically a greenhouse construction (we used to do this for others in another life) with a plastic roof and Solarweave sides. We have fitted a 2 sided shade screen to the bottom cord of the trusses. It is silver on top and black below. This material reflects the head back into the roof void where it is vented from the openable ends. It is a very cool environment to work in, even on the hottest days.
A little more rust was found than expected, we estimate it will add another 2 months to the project to repair with new steelwork, but with all skins off, this is the easiest time to do it.
Unfortunately our farm product is very popular at this time of year so the work time on the project has been limited. However the kerbside rear corner is all but complete, mostly new construction with just a couple of small rusted areas to replace.
While the boys keep at the rear corners I have started stripping the front, suprise, suprise more rust. At least we are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, which simply shows us how long the tunnel is !! Easy to understand how one could become disheartened and give up.
We have been working on both ends at once, Bill on the front end, the 2 Kiwis on the rear. Unfortunately one of them has had to return home for a couple of weeks so things will slow down in that time. Other than that same old, same old, chasing rust. We have divided the coach into 3 sections, the 2 rear corners and the front. This is just for rust repair, not for the roof lift, floor lift or door move. we have completed one rear corner, now we know what we are up against the other rear corner will be done in 1/3 the time. Although the rust in the front looks bad, most of it is in areas that are to be modified anyway. Once the steps are gone, and if you intend to carry your spare in the bin area (as we will) there is an enormous area down there to be used for storage. There are already studs welded in the bin area for the spare so this has been done before. Looks like careful bin planning comes next.
For the last couple of weeks one Kiwi has been in the land of the long white clouds. However we expect him in tomorrow so we should be able to pick up the pace from then (15 March). We have decided to concentrate on the front area as it involves so many other things than just a few rust repairs. e.g. wiring, seats, headers, windscreens, wipers etc etc. All of this can be done, it does not matter where the roof is, lifted or not. The following pics are of the storage area created where the steps were, and of the very cunning placement of 4 gas bottles.
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Got the second Kiwi back today so with 3 of us working on it things moved along quickly. Brent tackled the front corner post which took quite a while to remove as it is attached to the electrical control box. Fortunately we only had to remove the lower half, which was a bonus. Mike took on the area behind the right hand front wheel where we found some extensive repairs were needed. Bill spent half the day looking for a new 9″ grinder as his Makita gave up the ghost (after 20 years). Things are now ripping along nicely.
We are now 3/4 of the way around the coach with our corrosion repairs. While it has been a longer process than expected due to the fact that our crop is in high demand at this time of year, we feel satisfaction in what we have accomplished, the standard of the work we have done, and the changes we have made to eliminate the built in rust traps. At this stage we are finalising the area holding the screens in, then it is on to the last wheel well !! Will buy the boys a bottle of something then. After that, on to the roof lift.
We have completed the time consuming windscreen area repairs and are ready to refit the front screens when it suits us (after lift) The drivers side rear wheel well is by far the worst part of the coach, as far as rust goes, so we have had to go further than the others to do it properly. Should finish in the week after Easter then onto the roof lift.