Thursday, February 26, 2015

Windscreen Removal

Well, the prep for painting has really gotten underway now. Today's brief post is about removing the windscreen and what lies beneath. Depending on your windscreen, you may be removing it to replace it. If that's the case, you may not need to take as much care as I did. My glass was perfect, but I needed to get a look at the metal surrounding it as well as get the paint underneath it. One more seal is worth the rust containment.

multiple passes
For tools, you only really need a box-cutter / X-Acto. Extend the blade halfway. Approach the bus from the front and go to the top corner of the passenger side first. Slide the side of the knife blade against the windscreen with the sharp side pointing down. Cut the rubber seal from top to bottom by sliding the side of the blade against the windscreen. It will resist, so that's why we're only using half of the blade edge. Don't press too hard; let the knife to the work. The harder you fight it, the more likely you will scratch your windscreen. Extend the blade to 3/4 length and run the same seal edge top to bottom. Extend the blade to full length and repeat. This time, you should hear that satisfying noise of the knife against the A-pillar. The rubber should separate from the glass and just hang there. If not, gently run the knife along the A-pillar being careful not to disturb the paint. It is possible a previous owner painted the seal on, ran caulk to try to stop a leak or glued it in. Glue is not necessary for this seal. Nor is caulk, but I've seen some crazy road-side repairs go untouched for years, and caulk is definitely one of them.

Repeat the cuts for the driver side and then the top. By now, there should be rubber hanging off the bus, or sitting in strips by your feet. Nicely done. If its an old seal, some of those cuts were very difficult. If it was anything like my first seal replacement on my bus, there were a few spots where I was able to cut right through very easily. I discovered that those spots also aligned with rust. When I cut off the seal the other day, it was only a few years old, and held very well. I'll be getting another Bus-Depot seal for the re-install later.

Bottom Cut Last
Pulled away a little bit
The best is saved for last. When I did my first seal, I had to be careful while I cut the last section. It wasn't holding very well, so I had to keep one hand holding the windscreen while I finished the cut. The newer seal, though, held strong even after I cut off the bottom. The windscreen held to the bus. It held very firm, actually. Your experience may differ, and you may want a buddy around when you make your last cut (as I did a few years ago).

Pop It Out
Old seals don't hold well, so the windscreen may just fall out once you've made your last cut. In my case, I reached one hand through the front door and pushed towards the front while catching the edge out front. This freed the sides, but the center still held. I had to grip the windscreen from the bottom near first the driver side then the passenger side and gently pull forward. Slowly, the seal gave in and handed me my windscreen. I carefully set it where it wouldn't get scratched and pulled out the remains of the seal. If yours was glued in, this could take some time. You want to get back down to smooth metal.

Now What?
glass out. rust inspection
I looked at the rust treatment I did years ago with some POR15. I was impressed. From my memory, the rust had not meaningfully advanced. Still, I needed to sand the whole opening to make sure. It looked pretty good, so I decided I would just expose the rust (read: sand and Dremel) and re-treat it. Then, I'll just handle it like any other metal panel: prime and paint with lots of sanding mixed in. Since it lives under a seal, there's no point in adding Bondo to the rust pits except as practice for visible spots I need to do later. Still, I'm going to skip Bondo'ing here.

As always seems to happen, this small painting effort has grown into a pretty big deal. Next up, removing the dash-top, more rust inspecting and sanding. Apart from deciding how far to go with paint on the interior, I think I'm almost done with the initial prep work. I still have lots of sanding and such to do, though. Unfortunately, that doesn't lend itself to print very well, so it might be a little while before my next few posts appear after this. Thanks for following along.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Removing the Slider

Continuing down my path, today's post is about removing the sliding door. Sure, the Bentley has a section about it (5.11), but like the front-door window removal, there's always a little something to clarify.

Getting at It
We start with the splash guard that covers the rail running underneath the rear window. The Bentley (section 5.10) is right in that there are 3 fasteners to concern yourself with, but at least in my case, one of the Phillips-head screws in the Bentley picture is actually a bolt and nut. The first 2 are obvious. They are Phillips head screws and come from below the guard at the rear and just front of the middle. Depending on your individual case, you may need to hit these with PB Blaster to get them to come free.

rear catch
At the front, there is a difficult-to-access nut. This is not shown in the picture in the Bentley. At least on my 1972, there is a Phillips head bolt head inside the bus that threads through to a 10mm nut where the Phillips head screw is in the Bentley picture. If you put a 10MM crescent or box-end wrench on the nut, you can remove the bolt from inside using a Phillips head screwdriver. This is not in the Bentley instructions.

Once the fasteners are removed, tap on the underside of the cover with a rubber mallet. It should free relatively easily. Within the instructions in the Bentley, a cinch-down bolt and bar is pictured. It has a Phillips head, and should be loosened first. In my case, no amount of PB-Blaster would free the cinch-down bar before I got the cover removed.

There is a simple seal between the cover and the side of the bus body. When the cover comes free, this seal will come free with it. The existing one looks fair, but a pair of replacements would be $15 at BusDepot (see here). I tossed it into the keep pile, delaying the decision until the other end of the painting effort.

Door Off
Once the splash guard is off, removing the door is actually pretty easy, but you need a buddy. Again, though, the Bentley falls just a little short. Maybe it's my reading of it (section 5.11). Before you start pulling the door off, there is one step the Bentley forgets: removing the rear catch. If you slide the door all the way open, the inner handle catches on a bracket. That bracket needs to be removed before you try to remove the door. It is held on with 3 thick Phillips-head screws.

rear support in the channel
Now, like the book says, open the door halfway. There is a break in the channel in which the rear support runs. The rear support slips through that opening. Have your buddy hold that end of the slider, taking care to keep the rear support from banging against the side of the bus. The two of you now roll the door all the way to the rear. While holding the rear-end of the sliding door (and facing the side), have your buddy take a single step back away from the bus. Then, while you hold the front edge, your buddy lifts upward, tilting the door. Keep tilting until the front top roller can slip out of the upper channel. Hold the door firmly now and pop the bottom roller out through the gap in the bottom channel (picture 5-37 might help). Set the door on something stable that won't scratch it. I used the passenger seat I'd removed and set against the side of the bus.

Inspect and Prep
With the slider fully removed, you can see all of the little rust spots which were barely visible before you removed it. The bottom edge of my door had a fair amount of surface rust, but no holes. The edge of the body, however, wasn't quite as fortunate. The front corner of the door, under the seal, has some rust spots and a few tiny holes. Some work with a Dremel got the rust removed and the holes clarified, but I need to think about how I can contain the inner side of the rust hole so the rust doesn't spread. Something I'll have to figure out soon.

I removed the door workings to make sure no rust had appeared underneath them. Other than the bottom edge, the door looks clean. I scuffed the paint and got after the rust. More work is needed there before the door is ready.

workings removed
The lower roller channel was filthy. 40 years of mud, oil and grease had made quite a mess. Using a putty knife, I scraped the bulk of it off. Then, with Goop-Off, I scrubbed it clean enough to sand without grime gunking up the sandpaper. Happy to see there wasn't any rust (just patina), I lightly sanded the lower roller channel.

Last, the body panel under the door had some caked on grey gunk that looked like concrete. Neat. After chiseling off the worst of it, I sanded the rest and roughed up the paint. The drip rail on the bottom had some surface rust, but no holes, and nothing remotely structural. A moderate sanding effort later, that area is ready for priming and painting. I removed and sanded the cinch-down bar, concluding that it will need paint to keep it from being patient 0 for the next round of rust in the slider area. I'm not sure it will work as well with paint on it, so I will look for a new replacement.

That's it for today. I still have to finish the rust sanding on the slider, but otherwise the door and door opening are ready for the next step. As always, thanks for following along.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Stripping Doors

As you may have surmised from my last post about paint prep, I couldn't just stop at the nose. We'll see how far this goes.  For today, I'm focusing on getting the front doors ready. I do feel compelled to explain why I'm going for the paint this winter. Most of the recent years, I've spent my wintertime spare time on Mt. Hood, playing in the snow. El Nino or some other weather condition has hit the Pacific NorthWest with spring-like weather for most of January and, so far, all of February. Tulips and Daffodils are sprouting while our beloved SkiBowl looks more ready for mountain biking than downhill skiing. Sadness. So, I'm taking the opportunity to focus on getting the bus cleaned up and shiny for music-festival season. Onward!

Insides First
inside stripped,
sanded and taped
This seems obvious, but first, the inner door controls and door card need to be removed. The door latch and door pull are simple Phillips head bolts. Pop them into a ziplock bag marked for their respective door. The window should be lowered all the way and then the winder removed, but keep it handy. Then, carefully pull the door card with a tongue depressor (or something similarly harmless) popping the clips out of their rubber homes. Your door should have a plastic sheet behind the card. Peel this sheet off and stow it with the rest of the door bits, preferably labeling the heap in a way that's meaningful to you. As you can see in the picture to the right, here, I put everything into a plastic bag for the door, and put that bag into the hole in the door. Won't get lost that way :) Now you can get after the window trim.

The Bentley does a fine job of explaining how to remove the window, vent wing and trim in section 5.9 of the first chapter. I wouldn't want to misdirect, but there are some opportunities for clarity in their process. The book describes removing 2 window-track bolts, and the picture shows where the front one is. The "back" one is in the middle of the window track, but below the lowest point where the window might travel. There's a picture a few pages back (figure 5-14), though the narrative in section 5.9 doesn't reference it. They are both 10mm bolts.
The book also says to remove the Phillips head bolt from the vent wing housing after removing the felt from the top of the roll-up window channel. What it doesn't say is that you need to bent the little tang on the vent wing housing downward so you can tilt the housing back to the rear on removal. But, don't do that yet. There is a missing, but helpful, step right here after the removal of the felt strips and inner scraper: removing the window glass. Remove the 2 10mm bolts which hold the bottom of the window pane to the window winder assembly. The roll-up window will now float freely in the door. With one hand, lift the window up and catch it with your other hand above the door sill, leaning the window towards the inside. It should lift right out. Once the window pane is out and you've bent the little tang downward, the vent-wing housing easily tilts back and can be removed. These steps augment steps 6 & 7 of section 5.9. Last, remove the outer scraper and chrome-y surround trim.

Outsides Last
outside stripped and sanded
The outer door handle is held on with 2 Allen head bolts (Bentley section 5.5). These can be reached much more easily now that the window is gone. If you left your window pane in, roll it all the way up so you can get to the Allen-head bolts. Once removed, pull the handle off the door and thread the bolts right back in again. Set the handle with the door-specific heap you had from the "Insides First" steps above. The strike plate could be removed at this point, or it may be taped off. User's choice. I removed one, but the other was so tightly attached, I chose to tape it rather than strip the Allen head bolts. The same decision could be made for the latch assembly. I left mine in-place and taped them for the same reason I left the strike-plates: strip fear. I also removed the pin from the door-check (Bentley 5.4), but left the unit in place. For getting at some areas with sandpaper, it proved useful to have the door able to open more widely. I looked at removing the doors, but, like the strike plates, the Allen head bolts seem paint-sealed, and I didn't want to strip them. I still might attack them with an EZ-out so I can make sure I've gotten all of the rust traces dealt with. We'll see.

The front reflector comes off with a Phillips head screwdriver. Beneath mine, I found surface rust, but that easily dusted off. You can see the rust scar in the picture. I've thought about replacing the reflectors with operable lights that key off the turn signals on the front. More thought needed there. I'm not sure it would do much for improving visibility, but its not a new idea. Scroll down to post #12 here.

Last, we have the mirrors. I closed the passenger door hard once a few years ago and the mirror glass popped out. I have had a devil of a time finding replacement glass. All that the online vendors want to sell you are the crappy Chinese-tin full mirror replacements. Boo. So, I've been driving without a passenger-side mirror for a while. I may just break down and buy the more spendy (Brazil or German made) pair of complete replacements. Anyway, the mirrors are threaded into a nut that is welded to the door on the inside. So, it just screws in and out. You may need to break the seal with PB Blaster or a pair of pliers.

Like the prior post, everything that you intend to reuse needs to be tagged and bagged. Anything you intend to replace needs to be collected together and documented. This is a great opportunity to replace ancient fasteners, and one you should definitely take, but be careful how many fasteners you put in a "replace" baggy without any labeling. You could find yourself with a vehicular jigsaw puzzle trying to figure out which fastener was for which assembly. Ask me how I know :) Keep general assemblies together. A ziplock baggy costs a few cents. Hours of trial and error later can cost you a hairline, or just some sanity. Either way, the few cents is cheaper.

That's it for today. Thanks for following along. The tear-down continues next time-