Today was a very very long day. We had to do a hundred and one small and big jobs to get the van ready for the yearly test. So it was a case of working as long as was needed, and probably getting up early the following day to finish off the last bits and bobs.
The main job of the day for me was to weld up the large hole in the N/S rear wheel arch. I pulled the remains of the seatbelt mounting point out with my bare hands and then cut out a big hole. It would be easier to weld one big patch in place than two small ones. I also had Damae to help me this time so made a simple patch that I tacked in place with Damae pushing the plate up from the underside. Boy did an extra pair of hands make life easier or what!
Once the panel was tacked in place I seam welded the underside of the patch inside the wheel arch. This makes the panel a bit stronger, which is important given that there will be a seatbelt mounting point attached to this patch.
Meanwhile the SVWT sanded the front panel around the grill and painted some RX5 on the rusty bits.
I’d done some filling of weld seams on the cab floor and the patches on the underside of the front wheel arch. Damae carefully sanded the filler and I then brush painted the floor seam….
….and the patches in the wheel arch.
Back at the rear wheel arch I modified the seat belt mounting point patch I had bought from JK. The mounting point was welded to a patch and was supposed to be used to fill the hole so had a tab pointing upwards. This had to be ground off as I’d already filled the hole and the mounting point needed to sit flush with my patch. Once this was done I welded the mounting point in place.
The SVWT’s next job was to find some bolts and nuts to fit the splash pan in place…..
Whilst I welded in a small patch between the floor and the rear wheel arch. Top right of the picture is a small patch to cover some rust on the inner structure of the van. Normally the wheel arch is welded to this bracing, and this extra strength is important for the integrity of the seatbelt mounting point.
The SVWT finished fitting the splash pan in place, another job off the long list of things to do.
“Hey Stan!” exclaimed the SVWT, “you never appear on photos”. Well today was my lucky day!
The final welding act of the rear wheel arch was a small closing place in the corner. This needed a small patch inside the wheel arch as well. This is now one very solid rear wheel arch all rather satisfying.
The SVWT started masking off parts of the van in preparation for some paint spraying. First the inner side panel and front wheel arch that she’d so carefully prepared…..
…..and then some tape on bits of the front panel, like the headlight surrounds, before starting to shake the can of primer.
The results of a good layer of primer are, almost without fail satisfying. The front panel looked much more solid….
…as did the cab floor and the side panel (which I forgot to take a picture of).
I did brush painted the seams on the rear wheel arch. Things were coming together slowly but surely.
We took a break for a bite to eat whilst the worst of the vapours vapourised in the garage. Once back in the garage the SVWT did some more sanding on the side of the van.
I had one more piece of welding to do, a patch over the gaping hole in the front wheel arch. I tacked this in place as to do it properly requires some more cutting of the surrounding panels. I can easily grind the panel off, do the other work and then weld it in place properly.
The SVWT had done a good job on the rear quarter/wheel arch filling and it was now time to spray some primer on. Once again the layer of paint made a big difference.
We then opened the tin of RX10 and start painting the underside of the van. There was so much to do and so little time. The SVWT started with the driver’s wheel arch…..
…whilst I started on the passenger wheel arch….
….and we worked our way round to the front chassis members.
We opened all the doors on the ground floor so that fresh evening air blew away the fumes from the RX10. Whilst Damae was painting RX10 I grabbed a paintbrush and put some primer on the rear wheel arch repair patch on the inside of the van….
….and on the underside of the wheel arch too. The rusty bits of the wheel arch and the surrounding area got a good layer of RX5. I placed a warm inspection lamp inside the wheel arch in the hope that the primer would dry enough to be able to put on a layer of RX10 later in the evening.
It was gone eleven in the evening so we took a short tea and biscuits break before returning to the garage. Damae carried on with some sanding…..
…..and I painted the RX10 on the rear wheel arch.
A half hour later we decided to call it a night. The SVWT had done enough on the sliding door and sprayed a layer of primer. It will need some more filling and sanding but it was good enough for now.
It was gone one o’clock by the time we took our dirty overalls off and headed up to the shower. I set the alarm for six in the morning as there was a list of things we needed to do before we could drive to the APK testing garage. It had been a long, long day.