There is a very good set of videos available to help you work on your Volkswagen. Called Bug Me Video, it’s a multi-volume set that covers maintenance, disassembly, and more. Created by Rick Higgins and family, the videos are informative, simple, and to-the-point.
I picked up a piece of 4’x’8’x1/8″ Masonite (hardboard) from Lowe’s today. A 4’x8′ sheet of hardboard is enough to do all four panels and then some. About $7.
I’m going to use this to repair my driver-side door panel, which has a warped and torn and decayed backing, but still has some vinyl with a few years left (maybe). So first, I’m going to separate the vinyl from the hardboard, and use the hardboard for a template to cut out the new door panel.
There’s the vinyl, then there’s a trim piece (like beading) that goes around the perimeter. There are staples all around the perimeter holding on the beading, but the staples don’t go completely through the door panel. They’re not bent like normal staples — just stuck in a little.
Because my panel’s hardboard backing is in pieces (and some pieces are missing), I have to re-assemble it. But it’s also warped badly, so I’m going to try to flatten it before I try to put the pieces together. My approach is to wet the hardboard, and lay it out flat with some heavy weight stacked on top. At the Vanagonauts website someone name Chris talks about this very thing.
There are only three cuts to be made — the rectangular pocket opening, and the two circles for the window crank and door latch handle. Then, I will need to drill the holes around the edge of the backing (and NOT through the vinyl, of course) for the press-in fasteners that hold the panel to the door itself.
Restoration of vehicle comes down to three things, it seems: 1) Repair 2) Replace 3) Protect. You have parts to repair, or parts to replace. Then you want to protect all of the parts. The biggest enemy of an old car is rust, I think. So when I repair or replace a part, I want to make sure it’s protected and will last as long as possible. There are a number of product offerings designed to remove rust or retard the rusting process. I’m not sure it can be stopped completely. But, then again, I’m not a chemist.
I’ve looked at some of the products, and scoured over the forum postings at theSamba.com to find out what others are using and which ones seem to work best. There’s always a trade-off. You can have a great product that’s expensive but works well, or one that’s cheap but not as good, or one’s that mid-priced but involved more installation steps. I want something that will work reasonably-well, but I want to minimize the number of steps needed to use it. And I need to establish a methodology for working on the car, so that the steps I take are clearly defined depending on the repair needs of any given part. I don’t want to take the entire car down to bare metal, but some of it definitely will be. So I need a process for both painted surfaces and bare metal. Since I’m going to try to spray primer and color, I want to spray a lot of area each time and not be repeatedly mixing and cleaning paint supplies. This means there will be some parts that are prepped, and then set aside for future priming.
A couple of the heavy-hitters in the rust-protection world are POR-15 and MasterSeries by PM Industries. I have chosen to go with the MasterSeries Silver, and another product that PM Industries sells called Captain Lee’s Metal Prep. POR-15 has a lot of fans in the rust world, but the MasterSeries seemed to be more flexible and simpler in its application.
After emailing the nice people at PM Industries, I have concocted the following workflow:
IF I GO TO THE BARE METAL
1. Use Capt. Lee’s Metal Prep, and the panel can sit for a while (months, let say.)
2. Then, when I’m close to primer time, use the MasterSeries Silver. Body filler can be used before or after this step.
3. Spray primer. (it can then sit for a while longer, if I’m not ready to paint, and the primer doesn’t have any time requirements.)
4. Color paint.
If I don’t go to bare metal, of course, start with step 3.
There are some areas like the back/inside of a chrome bumper, for example, where I can just clean it up and use MasterSeries Silver on it. If MasterSeries Silver sits for more than a week, then primer/paint has a harder time sticking to it. But if it’s not going to be painted (like the bumper back), it doesn’t matter.
I think this method will work for me. I still need information on selecting the correct primer. Don’t want one that requires painting soon after applying it. I don’t have the time to do all the repairs, then all the priming, then all the painting. Some parts will be finished and have to sit for a little while. MasterSeries is supposed to be able to work with any kind of primer/paint.
Ok. Let’s order it. Three quarts of MasterSeries Silver ($78), 1 gallon of Captain Lee’s Metal Prep ($29.95). $15 Shipping. Total — add $122.95 to the Beevis Bill ™.