Body & Interior 2of3

Body Work

Even though there was no major damage to the van body work on any scale is a chore. This van came with a rear hatch off an earlier Vanagon which had the rear window wiper deleted. (but the 84 had originally been equipped with one) I actually liked the look that it gave the back and decided to continue the look by removing the hatch keyhole (not having a key for the hatch also influenced this decision) and eventually adding a trunk popper so at the press of a button I have access to the back.

We start by removing the interior paneling and hatch release guts, now we have a general idea of what we are going to be working with:

I want to also dynamat back here which the rest interior will be getting soon anyway:

I started by covering the hole with some backing metal. I found a washer that was about the size of the hole and started to weld it in:

Remember that when you’re welding you will want to alternate sides with the tack welds to prevent from concentrating heat in a single place, this prevents warping:

Fill in the hole in the center:

Grind it down and apply the body filler. I chose to use body filler that contains fiber glass resin / fibers:

Rubber undercoating for some rust prevention:

Sanded down, ready for some regular filler:

Closer shot of the newly shaved hole:

After using filler / glaze this is pretty much where I wanted to be at:

Primer and ready for paint:

I decided to paint over the primer with some temporary black as I heard that primer will absorb moisture / impurities:

The now removed lock cylinder pieces:

I attached a cable to the trunk release enable fairly easy access in-case the trunk popper fails:

Hole and grommet inserted for the cable to come through:

I also carpeted the panel:

There was one area of concern when it came to the damage that was on the van, this didn’t look like it would be too much of a hassle to repair:

It’s a little rusted but at least it not all the way through:

After grinding off all of the old rust and cleaning everything off I banged out the dent and applied the filler accordingly:

Remember that when you’re applying your filler that you’ll need to sand 80& of it off:

I used a orbital sander to help obtain the fender shape:

As long as you take your time it’s not hard to obtain the results you want:

Banging out the remaining dent:

After you apply the fiberglass mixed filler you’ll want to apply a finer, light filler to skim the top for the smoothest possible surface:

After that you put on the glaze to fill the finest of holes:

Last a little temporary paint to keep everything in order until I am able to put proper paint on:

I like black it allows me the best possible surface for judging my work:

After completing the fender I started to tackle other places on the body. I went out and purchased a stud gun so I don’t need to drill holes through the metal to pull the dents out. I actually am pleased with the results:

There is still some final sanding that will need to happen but overall it looks nice!

Not sure what caused this up front but came out with little effort:

Pulling the center of the crease in the metal:

The rest of the paint in the general area was ground off before applying the filler compound, I just liked referencing off the glossy surface when shaping the metal:

After sanding off down the fiberglass layer I applied the smoother filler:

I wasn’t able to get all the sanding finished so I will need to come back to the areas during the final paint prep process for more attention. More body work to follow…

I found some NOS mirrors and since mine were cruddy I picked up a pair.


Before putting manual mirrors on your van remember to set the mirror to a position where you can install it without moving it and then tighten the nut underneath the base all the way tight. Then put some thread-locker on over the stud threads and install mirror. This will prevent your mirrors from blowing in at highway speeds (the passenger blows in at about 95 and the drivers side has held to over 110mph so acceptable for highway, but not autobahn use)

Temporary rubbers until I purchase the 15″ wheel and tire package. (will be a result of big brake upgrade)

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