I started early this morning. I had a date in mid-afternoon with an MRI scanner which sort of got in the way. I discovered I didn't like being in the first MRI scanner so this was a second go at the scan in an 'open' MRI. The hospital had given me some pills to block feelings of anxiety so I could have my scan. The only downside was that I would be dopey for at least eight hours. So the morning looked like my only chance to make some progress on the van.
There was some more filling, sanding and painting today and I started with some filling on the rear quarter, outer rear wheel arch and the sliding door. With the APK looming on Friday I wanted the van to look as presentable as possible.
I also did some more filling and sanding on the front panel. I didn't have the time to make it look perfect but needed it to look OK.
Then it was time for some welding. I had to find a way of fixing the corner-step sections of the front bumper to the underside of the cab step. I decided to make some captive bolts instead of the more normal captive nuts hidden inside the cab step. Positioning of the captive bolts (or nuts) is crucial, as you can see from this picture the holes in the new cab steps are nowhere near the holes in the bumper brackets.
To help me position the bolts I welded some thin sheet metal tabs to some flat headed bolts.
After sanding the VW logo from the front of the van, removing layers of Woolies primer and gloss white paint......
.....the SVWT helped me put the front bumper in place. With it sitting right I could now put my bolts in place. Once they were in place I bent the tabs up so that they touched the side of the cab step.
Damae interrupted the proceedings to take a picture of me hard at work.
Before removing the bumper I tacked the tabs in place. Damae pushed the bumper up hard against the cab step to ensure that the bolts were in the right place. We repeated this on the driver's side before removing the bumper and I then welded the bolt heads to the cab step.
I tend to use captive bolts for a couple of reasons. If you have a captive nut (that is one welded inside a box section) it can be difficult to get a bolt out once it is rusted. The captive nut can break away from the sheet metal around it if the welds are badly rusted. As the captive nut is hidden in a box section you can't get a spanner or some mole grips on the nut so you have a bolt on the outside that rotates merrily. It is hard to grind off a rotating bolt head and access to the bolt head can be quite limited.
With a captive bolt you can grind flats on the exposed end of the bolt and grab it with mole grips. Then you can undo the nut with a spanner, or alternatively you can use a nut splitter to break the nut off. It is also easier to position a captive bolt using tabs, or by welding the bolts to a repair section than welding captive nuts inside a box section. With a captive nut you have to first drill a big hole in the box section and then make up a plate with the nut welded to it.
Essay over, back at the van what was going on? Well as it was near what I expected to be the end of my working day I decided it was time for some painting. With us out of the garage the fumes of drying paint would not be a problem. First up were the rear quarter panel and the underside of the replacement driver's door.....
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