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The rust spot on the door isn't too bad, but I think the pitting is too deep to remove mechanically. So I've treated with Bilt-Hamber Deox gel, which is a lot slower than the Deox C liquid, but I don't have anything big enough to immerse the door!



A rust converter might have just turned the surface black, but left untreated rust under the surface - now I know there is nothing to bubble up again after a few years.

I'm waiting for some paint to arrive for the door, so in the meantime I've started on the front brakes.



For almost 70k miles slowing a 2 tonne van, I think they've lasted amazingly well! So have stuck with the same brand as a replacement.


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That deox gel is great stuff. 

What do you think about the black areas that remain in the pits? I'm going through the process on my Jowett roof and can't decide whether I should consider it done or to try to continue until it's all shiny

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I would try and get the black stuff out - I think the way it 'removes' rust is that it converts it into a substance which is (should be) non-adherent. I found that if you agitate with a stiff or even wire brush, it will help this removal. Otherwise you may still get untreated rust trapped underneath.

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It may well be ok, but ive got no experience to say either way. You might already know this, but it helps to cover with cling film to stop it drying out. I imagine that covering the whole roof would be a massive ballache though. 

I've paused the brake work for now, as one of the dust seals has popped off, and the caliper piston is slightly rusty. Repair kits aren't too bad, but again will have to wait for them to arrive. So a couple of simple jobs - the awning light was an early LED type, and was just a bit too dim for reading comfortably. Added to that, despite being a decent brand and supposedly waterproof, it wasn't and some of the emitters were starting to flicker.


The new one is brighter and despite feeling more cheaply constructed (it was cheaper), looks to be better designed to prevent moisture getting in. It's at a better angle too.


Another quick win was the rear dampers. I did the fronts in 2020 so I wasn't too surprised that one of the rears had sprung a leak. I couldn't find genuine VW but Sachs/Boge were the OEM, so hopefully the next best thing.


I put my new toy to work, and everything came loose easily.


It's an impressive little impact gun that'll get into tight spots, but TBH I probably didn't need it.

In 16 years only one fastener hasn't been reusable, and I'm impressed by the negligible corrosion on the damper bolts after 29 years and nearly 300k miles.


Even the nuts are copper plated to prevent seizing, something I've only ever seen on exhaust manifolds before.


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Cleaning up the rear of the door I noticed a few more rust spots. This is by far the worst, so not a disaster.


I was going to treat with gel, but then I realised I could just about dip the corner in Deox C liquid for speed and effectiveness. 


After a few hours immersion, most of the submerged rust has gone. 


Some of the deepest pits remain, plus the part which was above the liquid,so I've flipped the door round to get that in.


The area which was previously submerged has cleaned up nicely, so hopefully the whole thing will have by the morning.

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It took another day of immersion, but all rust now gone. The black spot you can see is actually a pinhole, so the metal is very thin. At least I know the inside is similarly rust free now too.


I've dipped the opposite corner in there too - there was next to nothing showing on the outside but I know it must have got into the seam slightly. Still, for a 25 year old door I'm not complaining! 


The de-rusted corner has now been protected with a coat of Zinga; as an added bonus the pits left by the rust removal give excellent mechanical adhesion - it won't stick well to a smooth surface.


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Bodywork, even to my mediocre standards, always seems to take forever. There were a few chips on the edge of the door from handling, so I've sanded those back and primed.


Next stage was to apply the top coat. Again I've gone for Rustoleum Combi-color, mainly for ease of application. Getting the colour on was the quickest part of the whole job!


While that's hardening I've been stripping down both sets of latch and sliding mechanisms, and using the least worn parts from each to make a good set. I'll keep the rest of the bits as usable spares, as the parts which aren't shared with the Bay window vans are getting a bit scarce.

Brake caliper pistons have arrived so can finish that job too hopefully this weekend.

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The door hardware is now assembled and fitted to the door, and I've insulated it also.


One of the welds around the handle mechanism has a crack, so welding that up is all that's stopping me fitting it. I started to weld and promptly ran out of gas, so will have to go and get some tomorrow.

It's struck me that a possible reason for the long brake pad life could be the fact the caliper pistons are rusty!


This is pretty disappointing, as I fitted  new calipers in 2013, and I rarely take it out in the salty winter. The pistons don't even seem to have any plating, so have rusted at the first sign of water. The dust seals had popped off on this side, being (not) held on by a wire spring clip.

The new seals have a rigid portion, which is a slight interference fit on the caliper body. If the effort to fit them is an indication of how well they'll stay on, they should be ok!


Both pistons are now moving freely, so onto the original job of pad replacement. One side down!


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I've given the inside of the door a good squirt of Dynax S50, and hung it on the van after greasing all the roller and hinge bushes. The dent to the previous door I think had distorted the frame slightly, as I could never get it to shut without a hefty slam, no matter how I adjusted it.

So after an hour or so of tweaking the newly fitted door, it was rather satisfying to be able to shut it smoothly,  for the first time in my ownership! 

But, there is a problem.


A freshly painted door makes the rest of the paintwork look tatty, not helped by bitumen splatters last year after driving on a newly tarred road in heavy rain.

We are in serious danger of mission creep! The green paintwork was done in 2013, so has lasted reasonably well for a quick job.

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That's the way I'm leaning! But first the mechanicals - in-between polishing the Airstream I've sorted the other front caliper. I could have probably left it as it was moving fairly freely, but I couldn't quite move the pistons back by hand like I could on the rebuilt side. So it would have bugged me not to!

Inside of the caliper cleaned up ready for the new seal:


Piston lightly smeared with rubber grease:


This means that any moisture getting past the dust seals shouldn't corrode the caliper or pistons.


Job done!


Next is the rear brakes. There's nothing actually wrong with them (that I know of!), but I didn't check them at the last service for the simple reason I was planning on changing the rear tyres around now. So will give everything the once-over while the wheels are off. I'd been trying to squeeze a few more miles from the rear tyres, but seeing as we're heading to France this summer, don't think they'll last another 2000 miles!

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Rear brake time. There's a few little touches on this van, that I'm sure wouldn't have lasted through today's cost-cutting exercises. No need to hammer the drum, or use a puller. Just insert 3 M8 screws, and draw it off towards you.


It wasn't seized on, but was binding on the shoes slightly so resisted my efforts to pull off by hand.

No problems here...


...so just a few drops of oil on the adjuster threads to keep them moving freely.


I worked the adjuster up and down the threads a bit to make sure all was lubricated. The other side was much the same, until I spotted this:


I changed both cables 40k miles (8 years - how did that happen?!) ago, but could only get hold of a pattern part for one side. Guess which one has failed!

Happily though now, parts availability seems to have improved slightly so I've ordered a genuine one from VW Classic Parts - £27 including delivery from Germany.

While I wait for that to arrive I did a little cosmetic job. When I bought the van it was being used as a motorbike race van with an awning channel roughly screwed to the side (see first post for a picture). We replaced the top piece with a roll-out awning, but left the the vertical channels in place as I didn't really want to weld up the holes and risk setting fire to the insulation.

But then I had an idea. First of all droll out the self-tapping screw hole and countersink it.


Then fit a sealed countersunk rivet.


Dipped in Zinga prior to riveting, and this is the result. 


Annoyingly, several of the shafts snapped proud of the surface so had to be filed flat. But I reckon with a quick rub down and coat of paint they should be almost invisible. 


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One of the other things which had been done to this van before I bought it, was fit a mains inlet socket. Badly. It's not even straight, and the edge of the hole hadn't been painted. Consequently it has rusted over the years. Time to sort it out! 


All rust now removed, although I'll live with the slight angle - don't really want to weld it up and remake the hole!

I wanted to replace the self-tapping screws and use threaded inserts instead. But first I had to make up a crude tool to fit the inserts. M8 screw, drilled out to 4mm.


Then screw on a nut, and thread an M4 screw down the middle with a washer under the head. Unscrewing the nut will push on the washer, expanding the insert and lock it in place.


All fitted and ready for paintwork. A quick freshen up is getting more involved!


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I've actually been able to trim the opening slightly, and with a little directional enlargement of the socket mounting holes, the alignment is much better. 

Onto another section of bodywork:


Also dating from before purchase, it had been hammered out Father Ted style.


I'd already replaced the lower panel in 2007, but had thought little point in doing more with a mahoosive dent in the door! I managed to flatten out the metal to some degree, so it was no longer proud in places. Then applied sone filler, although more than I'd like to have done.


The upper part of the repair, the metal has actually been pushed into the door shut aperture slightly, exaggerated by this photo above.


It's not so visible from straight on, as it's simply a squarer edge than the original edge below. But it's hugely improved, and is perfectly acceptable to my eyes given the amount of minor dents all over the rest of the van.

It's a good sign that VW now appear to be supporting the LT more spares-wise. I hadn't been able to find a genuine handbrake cable previously, only one side from a dealer clearing out old stock. But now both sides are available via VW Classic Parts, and postage from Germany is probably faster than Hermes in this country!


Hopefully I'll get it in for an MOT next week.

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