XenaCommanders Place

"Participating in Life"

Truck Blog

External Transformation Starts March 2011

Posted by XenaCommander on March 12, 2011 at 3:35 PM

In the last post I did over the Christmas and New Year holidays you noticed I was getting frustrated with chasing rust on the outside of the truck..   I kept finding signs of the cancer and made desparate attempts to cut it out but being the amateur I am was not confident that I was doing a good job....      This cancer needs to be dealt with... By professionals.    So I made enquiries from people I know and on the motorhome forum to get opinions as to who was the best at the job..  

I remembered meeting Marty from Marty's Panel and Paint in Levin a couple of years ago and the Hamilton Motorhome Show so I gave him a call and arranged to take the truck down there for him to look at.   He gave me an estimate cost to get a good job done..   This would include all the rust work.. and a total re-paint of the truck..    So we are talking here about a full transformation...    After serious consideration I decided to go ahead..  That way I can then get on with the construction inside the truck...  

The truck was booked in..   Marty said that costs can be reduced by me going down and spending some time working with them...  That week was the week of the annual Rusty Nuts Motorcycle Clubs Southern Cross Motorcycle Rally...   Sacrifices have to be made for the sake of the truck.

I drove the truck down to Levin on Sunday 6th March loaded with supplies to keep me in the basics for the week.

The truck parked in Marty's yard..  Satellite hooked up for TV...  Filling bucket with water for a portable shower that TK had purchased but I had not yet worked out how to use..!  That should be fun..!

The next morning the workshop opened and Marty arrived.    I backed the truck into the workshop to begin work...

After a walk around with Marty..   Making decisions as to what best to do...   The decision was whether to remove panels to get at the worst of the rust...  which would be better than just treating the parts where rust was visible from the outside..    That way it would expose the full extent of the rust...  It would cost in steel but would save it preparation time.    So it was a swings and roundabouts decision with a better outcome if I decided to remove the panels....     the decision was not difficult..  Just scary..  I had to deconstruct my truck...!!

Not having done this sort of work before but open to new experiences..  Marty gave me a quick lesson with the Air Chisel... or hammer... not sure what you call it but an amazing contraption it is..   I ground off the rivet heads with my grinder and took the chisel to the panel...  Result is above pic..   Peeling the truck.!

The aluminium panels that were put over the old window was removed..   It was a badly done job that I was never happy with.  I was glad to remove it.

Another panel off..  exposing some nasty brown stuff... Every time I remove a panel and see the hidden cancer I am pleased with my decision..  Interesting that the window mistake I made earlier and decided to make a larger window on this side is now redundent as I can now use the original window if I want.  But I am going to keep the larger window now.

I was somewhat distressed when it became necessary to remove the windows that I had just installed over the holidays...  But.. Needs must..  It was not easy..  That Sikaflex is good stuff and I got blisters using a fish fillet knive to cut it out....  Above you see the hole and the aluminium door panel cover coming off.

Panels off the left hand side..  Likely I will be back to remove more...

Around to the other side...   Again the windows had to come out... Except the rear bedroom one as there was no sign of rust around that panel...  we shall see..

Starting at the front...  Another horrible aluminium panel bites the dust...  Very rusty underneath that... I will be removing some of that framing to fit the round window flashing.

The air chisel makes short work of the rivets and spot welds holding the panels in place..Every panel I removed I exposed the cancer...  so it was motivation to remove the next panel.. then the next.

We decided to remove the lower guttering..   We figured that the purpose of the guttering was to take water away from any windows and doors..  and it was superflous to have two.   It would clean up the look of the truck a bit..  I did think that the lower gutter was to move the water from the centre section to the front or the back..  Not sure why as the water can go down the sides as well as down the front..   It will also avoid the main cause of the rust which was likely water sitting in the gutter channels...

My nightmare for the day...  Removing the round flashing.  It was difficult to get a knife behind so I cut the panel out first..  then got more leverage...   After much sweat and a lot of cursing...  it finally came out...

The pile of panels grew and grew as the truck got lighter and lighter....note the brown edges on the panels. The dreaded cancer...

I had lost track of time but the above pic must have been on Thursday...  As the boys masked up the insides before taking the truck out for some sand blasting...

A fine day...  Ideal for sandblasting...  Sand goes everywhere!!  Pic shows Tee on the sandblaster..  I was working on the round window frame on the other side...

The following morning I continued to fabricate window surrounds for the round flashings.  Pleased I took the welder and steel channel to finish the job..  It was essential before they repanelled and painted.  The job had to get done..   I was on the welder at 0530 that morning and didn't finish until after 1800!!  a long day..  I haven't done this much manual labour in a week for ages...  The old body was starting to protest..!

Finally completed..  The right hand side frame was the hardest..  I had to cut out a lot of the frame that was used for the hatch previously in this position...   A nightmare to cut out but with good power tools and a bit of muscle it came out.  Lightened the truck again..!

This is the final shot I took of the truck before coming back home... 

It was a very busy week..  I lost track of what happened on what day...  A great time.   On Saturday I tried to remove more panels from the left side along with the lower channels...   I managed to get the channels off but the air chisel stopped working.   Not an easy job without that so left it for the boys to remove the remaining panels I wanted to come off..  (which was most of them...)

After a final walk around with Marty and a discussion about colour schemes it is very apparent that the truck is not going to look anything like it is now..   He has come up with a proposed four colour scheme with my favourite colours in them...   The graphic is very different ..  a big up sweep the length of the whole truck..

It is a shame I have to go to Australia to work for the next 4 weeks but Marty has promised to keep me updated with progress and pics...    I will post them here when I get them...

It will be so good to have it finished.  Then I can get back to construction on the insde...

Martys Update Pics... 15 Mar 2011

Got an email from Marty with an update...   Tee & John have now removed all sheets & parts.Tee has been around entire unit with the sand-blaster & rust gobbled .  Tomorrow they will sand all frames to remove excess sikaflex ′ with sika primer ready for new electragalv sheets.The upper roof section will also be started. Lower panel-beating should also be started.

Left side all stripped...  Looks like door is removed too... Marty is going to have a go at fixing that too..  It will look better without the lower gutter channels.

The ding that I attempted to fix is exposed again..  I am sure Marty will deal with it properly...

Rear panels off...  and the bumper totally removed...   those round light mountings are also going to disappear... My truck is totally naked...!!  Not much more to come off..  so now the clean up of the frames and the reconstruction with new sheets...  Exciting..

Marty's Progress Pics 17 March 2011

Another email from Marty with some update pics...   The boys have been busy cleaning up the frames.  Etch and 2 pack primer... 

Looking cleaner already...

Corner ding getting some attention... Great to see the back without the bumper...

Great to see progress..  Shame I can't be there to help but I am sure Marty will keep me updated...


Progress to 2 April 2011

I rode Xena down to Levin from Turangi this morning as I decided to remove the final window and the panels remaining under it...  
I got a shock seeing the truck all stripped down..  The guys had removed the rear as you can see above..  but also the front panels had been removed and even the passenger windscreen..  Work had started on the roof and the framing was primed.     Sheets had been cut and were in the truck ready for installation I guess when Marty gets back from his trip to USA.

Window was removed...   Panels removed..  I tried to take a pic but my camera wouldnt turn on...  mumble..  I tried to take one on my phone so might be able to get it here...   Will post when I can..

Hah..  Managed to do it..  Not a good pic but you can see the rear window frame and panel now gone...

I didn't have my welding gear so couldn't weld the frames to the window frame on the outside..   I hope I can get the guys to do that before panelling.

More to come...


Categories: Motorhome Building, General

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Reply XenaCommander
4:16 AM on March 25, 2011 
Haha.. TK will have to ask Marty if you can have the "special" panel..
Reply TK
8:12 AM on March 24, 2011 
TKs "wee tiny mark" on the centre of the back panel is now gone.... hee hee hee
Reply XenaCommander
5:12 AM on March 13, 2011 
Hey thanks Marty.. A pleasure working in your workshop.. It is over to you now... Take care of the truck for me..
Reply Marty
5:04 AM on March 13, 2011 
Nice pictures,Nice job clive.Can't wait to see the new electragalv steel on it.You really have made the right choices.regard's Marty