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 > Your search for posts made by 'WVvan' found 14 matches.

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RE: Step one. Bought the van.

Here's a couple of short subject posts. While the mountains in West Virginia might not be the highest in the U.S. the difference in pressure is still enough to cause a problem I didn't foresee. Constructed the drawer that holds the Porta-potti to just be a little taller than needed. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150506-63-mj.jpg After previously cleaning and filling the Port-potti at home (1000 feet) I drove to and set up camp at 3800 feet then found that I couldn't open the drawer. The Porta-potti had swelled so much in size it's top was hitting the bottom of the fridge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150926-01-mj.jpg A temporary fix was to remove the mounting screws on the front of the fridge then slide it out enough to get the drawer open. Then I could open the gate valve that separates the two parts of the Porta-potti and relieve the pressure so it returned to it's normal size. That worked for the weekend but for a more permanent solution I've removed the small vent grid from the bottom front of the fridge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150926-03-mj.jpg This should give enough clearance so it doesn't happen again. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150926-04-mj.jpg Next subject is the electric sofa-bed. Last time I updated the controls I didn't post about it. I've revisited it recently so time for a quick update. The two actuators that drive the sofa bed are run by DC motors. To change the direction of the motors you reverse the polarity by swapping the positive and negative power leads. In the photo below you can see the first of the control boards on the right. It used mechanical relays (numbered 1, 2 and 4) to do the swapping of the power leads. The number 3 relay failed and was replaced by the larger automotive style relay at the bottom. There are two computer chips. The one at the top is an Atmel microcontroller. This is the "brains" that controls the sofa-bed. The second chip is a Darlington transistor that uses the 5 volts that the microcontroller outputs to switch 12 volts which is needed to drive the mechanical relays. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-03-m.jpg I hadn't kept up with the technology so didn't know this way of controlling the DC motors was "old school". There are now better ways. Started having trouble with another one of the relays so decided to make a new updated control board. On this new board the "brains" is supplied by a Arduino Nano microcontroller. In the picture below there are two ICs numbered 1 and 2. These are "H-bridge motor controllers". Each chip takes the place of two mechanical relays and also the Darlington transistor. The H-bridge chip can swap the polarity of the power going to the DC motor. It takes two 5v inputs from the microcontroller and uses that to indicate how to switch the 12 volts outputs from the H-bridge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-04-mj.jpg Here it is all wired up to the middle support on the sofa-bed that also holds the actuators. The disc in the lower corner is a piezoelectric buzzer to remind me to turn off the power to the sofa-bed when it's reached final position. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-05-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-08-mj.jpg The microcontroller requires some inputs to know the current position of the sofa-bed as it moves. In this photo you can see a potentiometer (variable resistor) that's wired to the microcontroller. One of the actuators lifts or lowers the back of the sofa-bed. As the lifting arm moves that small piece of spring wire will rotate in line with the potentiometer. The small white nylon cap causes the spring wire to move the potentiometer and the microcontroller reads the change in resistance and translates that to the lifting arm's position. Since the potentiometer is not perfectly in line with the pivot axis of the lifting arm the the spring wire slides slightly as it rotates so the nylon cap can't be too tight. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-07-mj.jpg The position of the of the other part of the sofa-bed is indicated by three limit switches. The controller only needs to know if it's fully open, fully closed or in the middle so only the three switches are needed. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151008-09-mj.jpg Here's a video that I posted a couple years ago that shows how the actuators work when under power. It also stars my dearly departed old friend Tiger. Youtube video
WVvan 10/29/15 08:31am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

With the warm spell last week decided to take some time off and get in one last camping trip for the year. Spent some time at Dolly Sods. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-173-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-187-mj.jpg Also spent time "living in my van down down by the (Cranberry) river" while doing some biking in the Cranberry Wilderness. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-002-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-022-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-029-mj.jpg There were a fair amount of people fishing. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-013-mj.jpg Here's why. Hard to see them all but there are five trout in this photo. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-074-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151023-079-mj.jpg
WVvan 10/29/15 08:28am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

I started this window cover project back in 2013 but didn't write about it at the time. Had to revisit it recently so now is a good time to document it. This is the side window. When constructing the side panels for the van I embedded hard drive magnets into the panels to hold a window cover. The four metal washers in this picture are held in place by the magnets. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-15-mj.jpg Here is the material that will be used on one side of the cover. It's aluminum covered fabric that's made for hot pads or ironing board covers. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-16-mj.jpg The material allows some light through and I want it to totally block light for when stealth camping so sew on a second layer of white cotton. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-17-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-18-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-19-mj.jpg Hand sew the washers onto the corners of the cover. It works as intended with the magnets holding it in place with the silver aluminum side facing out to reflect sunlight. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130701-20-mj.jpg Problem is it's kind of bland looking so need to spruce it up. I want to add a picture to the cover. Start with a roll of freezer paper. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-45-mj.jpg Also get a new HP Deskjet 1000 printer for $29. They almost give these things away so to make back the money on printer ink. Picked this printer after reading that the ink cartridge can be user refilled. Cut the freezer paper into 8.5x11 sized sheets. Do the same to with the white cotton. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-46-mj.jpg First lay down a cotton sheet then a freezer paper sheet, SHINY SIDE DOWN. Cover the two sheets with another cloth. Then run an iron on a medium heat setting over the sheets. This will fuse the cotton sheet to the paper. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-47-mj.jpg With the freezer paper backing you can now run the cotton through the printer. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-48-mj.jpg My first printing. Looks good. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-49-mj.jpg The cotton easily peels away from the freezer paper backing. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-50-mj.jpg Read that ironing after printing will help set the ink. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-51-mj.jpg To see if the ink was colorfast I gently washed the cloth. As you can see the ink didn't last. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130710-53-mj.jpg After a little more research thought I'd next try Bubble Jet Set 2000. It did a better job of holding the color. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130712-02-mj.jpg So what picture to use? Here's one of mine I like. This spot is called the High Falls Of The Cheat. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/high_falls.png The falls are on the Shavers Fork River located on Cheat Mountain. Here's a larger version of the picture. Figured out how large I'd need to make the picture to fit on the window cover then used a computer program called GIMP to resize the image. Next cut it into equal sized segments with the Guillotine tool. This was a MISTAKE and I'll show you why father down. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/gimp_desktop-mj.jpg Print each segment individually. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-01-mj.jpg The printer can't print all the way to the edge of the paper so that had to be figured in the size calculations. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-02-mj.jpg Trim the image to remove the border. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-03-mj.jpg Line up all the image segments. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-04-mj.jpg To glue the segments to the window cover I used a product similar to Stitch Witchery. It's like a plastic webbing that you iron and it melts fusing the material. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-09-mj.jpg Iron it onto the backing material then peel back the tape cover. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-10-mj.jpg Lay the image segments edges on the melted tape then cover with cloth to keep the ink off the iron as you apply heat. This glues the segments to the cover. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-11-mj.jpg Here is the finished window cover. You can see the mistake I mentioned earlier. The edge of most segments is visible. I should have printed the image segments so that there was some overlap. That would have hidden the edges. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-14-mj.jpg Here's how it looks in the van. The edges aren't as noticeable in person as they are in this picture. The camera seems to accentuate the white edge lines. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130921-16-mj.jpg I've been using it for the past two years but with one small problem. The top two magnets embedded in the wall aren't enough to hold the window cover in place if you bump into it hard enough. Time for an update. A few days ago I removed the wall panel and window cover. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151003-05-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151003-02-mj.jpg A couple image segment corners had become loose. Used Tacky Glue to secure these. Considering this cover just gets balled up and stuffed into a drawer when it's not being used the segments have withstood the use rather well. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151003-03-mj.jpg Add six additional hard drive magnets to the wall panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151003-04-mj.jpg Sew additional washers onto the window cover. Return the wall panel and now more securely attached window cover back to the van. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151003-07-mj.jpg OK. That's it for this project.
WVvan 10/20/15 07:55am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

Was stealth camping in Northern Virginia last weekend. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-87-mj.jpg Trip included a visit to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center next to Dulles Airport. It's a companion to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum that's in D.C. along side the Mall. Beside exhibits like an actual SR-71 Blackbird. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-84-mj.jpg The Space Shuttle Discovery http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-36-mj.jpg And planes of every type http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-04-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-81-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-28-mj.jpg Is the alien mothership model used in the movie Close Encounters of the Third Kind http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-37-mj.jpg If you look closely at the model you might be able to spot Darth Vader's space ship (the original Stars Wars had come out earlier in the same year as Close Encounters) http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-38-mj.jpg R2D2 http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-39-mj.jpg WWII fighters. Probably from the famous Lost Flight 19. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-40-mj.jpg A VW Van http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-41-mj.jpg And a alien graveyard. Reference to Area 51 perhaps? http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/151009-43-mj.jpg Will have to watch the movie again to see if I can spot any of these.
WVvan 10/15/15 07:47pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

This is the inverter I installed a couple years ago. Recently it started tripping whenever using the microwave. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/130421-45-mj.jpg The microwave is rated at 1000 watts but the inverter is rated at 1750 watts so it should be able to handle it. First thing I did was borrow a friend's Kill-A-Watt to measure the microwave. It measured at 1010 watts so the problem must be the inverter. Time for a replacement. Picked this up at Harbor Freight. It's rated for 2000 watts. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150915-02-detail-mj.jpg List price is $169.99 but Harbor Freight regularly puts out 20% off coupons. You can print a current one by going to this web page: http://www.harborfreight.com/digitalsavings.html This month's (October) circular from Harbor Freight has a coupon for it at $129.99 This is not a pure sine wave inverter but the old one wasn't either and I never had any problems powering equipment with it. It's about half the size of the old one. It doesn't have digital readout but an led bar meter instead. Does come with a usb output power port. While powering the microwave the meter shows half way. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150915-05-mj.jpg Since I was messing around with the electronics I went ahead and removed my a/c powered battery charger since I've never used it. The solar panels have always been enough. This was a good time to do something I've always meant to. Use the shunt resistor to find out the power usage of just about everything. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150925-02-mj.jpg A shunt resistor has a low resistance. By measuring the voltage drop across the resistor while a device is running you can find what amperage it's using with Ohm's Law. The rest of this is like a "note to self". All the following values are in Amps. Nothing turned on .2 radio, just display .4 radio, loud 1.1 stock vent fan, 1/2 speed 8 stock vent fan, full speed 13.7 sink LED .3 sofa LED .4 inverter turned on .9 TV plugged in but not on 1.5 TV on 4.4 microwave plugged in but not on 1.1 microwave on 57 water pump 4.4 fridge 2.2 sofa actuator not under load 1.5 Endless Breeze fan, setting 1 - 1.2 setting 2 - 1.9 setting 3 - 2.8 Webasto Heater start up .4 glow plug 5.1 after flame establish and fan on high (runnning mode) 1.7 final purge 1.5
WVvan 10/03/15 09:08pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... With the metal work done and coated it's time for the Bondo. Unfortunately my skills with Bondo are limited at the best of times and I was working against the clock as my period of good weather was coming to an end. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150903-04-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150903-05-mj.jpg I really needed to spend another day to pretty to it up but it is what it is. Now we get to the experimental part. If you're reading this now (Oct 2015) you might not want to try this next part until I report back on it later in the build. The lower parts of the van were originally coated with chip-guard and then painted over. People have written about using bed liner as a replacement for the chip-guard that then doesn't get painted over. I wanted to give that a try but couldn't find anyplace local that sells white bed liner. Started looking around and found this: http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150930-01-mj.jpg Kool Seal Elastomeric White Roof Coating. $20 a can at Walmart. The instructions read that one of it's uses is over painted metal. I've sure this stuff isn't as tough as bed liner but it doesn't have to be. I'm not going to be walking on it. It just has to be tough enough for the occasional stray stone or two. Searched the internet and couldn't find anyone who has used it in this type of an application before but I'm willing to go first. Start by wet sanding the paint I'll be covering then tape off the area. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-12-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-13-mj.jpg It's a little thicker than regular paint but to get a real good thickness I would start at one end and go over the whole area then give it a little time to firm up before starting again. After enough coats the roller would start "shoving" it instead of putting down a new layer so that was when to stop. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-18-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-19-mj.jpg For the first application I used short paint rollers but didn't like the texture of the finish. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-15-mj.jpg Next day stopped at Ace Hardware and bought a short foam roller. Used that for the second day's coat. Was happier with the finish. Roller cleans up with water. Following day the weather broke. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-23-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150903-21-mj.jpg While the color of the Kool Seal worked OK I initially though it felt too soft but after a couple weeks it has dried out and now feels more ridged. I'll let you know how it works long term. One advantage is at $20 a can is I'll be able to patch it easy enough if there is a problem. I figure total cost for the repair was around $120, excluding medical expenses. Medical Expense #1. Found that when welding above your head a pair of welding gloves and welding jacket aren't enough to prevent molten metal from getting between your clothing and bare arm. Harbor Freight 18 in. Split Leather Sleeves. $7.99 http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150930-02-mj.jpg Medical Expense#2 On other welding projects I've seen the problems caused by letting what you're welding get too hot. I've read that when welding sheet metal warpage from the heat is a real problem. To prevent this from happening I didn't weld in a continuous line but skipped around. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-22-mj.jpg In this photo I put one tack at one end then moved all the way to the far end and put in another tack then maybe to the middle and do another. I'd be scooting back and forth on my back in a inverted version of the "do the worm" putting the tacks far enough from each other to try and keep the metal from getting to hot. Same thing again when doing the full welding. Even with trying to spread out the heat and taking breaks if you felt the side of the van a couple feet above the weld it would be surprisingly hot. The downside to all this extra care is it took a lot of time. Did I mention I wear bifocals? So all that time I'm lying on my back trying to line up my bifocals with the small tinted window in the welding hood by holding my head at odd angles. After spending an entire day on my back welding in this position I get up the next morning and I can't move my head, at all. Felt like Frankenstein's monster. Couldn't go to work like that so that required a sick day but since it was paid that was a wash. Medical Expense#3 All this welding also requires a lot of grinding. And I do mean a lot. I wear glasses but they aren't safety glasses so I always wear goggles over them when cutting or grinding. During one Sunday my left eye started to bother me. At no time did I ever feel anything get in my eye. It just felt irritated. Didn't think much about it till I went to work on Monday and one my co-workers asked what was wrong with my eye. It was badly bloodshot. Went to my doctor's office and as soon as the PA looked into my eye my with that lighted device she said "There it is and it's starting to rust." She tried to get it out but couldn't so they sent me to a nearby Surgical Eye Center where a doctor used what looked like a mini ice pick with replaceable tips to pop the metal piece right out. When I asked to see it he told me it was probably to small to see. That was that. No further ill effects. Still don't know how it got into my eye. Since I always wear my goggles and at no time did I ever feel anything enter my eye it must have been on my face or hair and I accidentally rubbed it in there somehow. Haven't seen the final bill so don't know the cost on this one yet but with insurance it shouldn't be too bad. With my propensity toward injury, insurance is a requirement for me. So that pretty much wraps up this project. All things considered I'm quite happy with the results. If I was to do it again I'd do some things different but that's to be expected. As to the final overall look of the repair.I know it could look better but I checked from halfway down the block and from there it looks perfect! However you look at it it's still better then this: http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-007-mj.jpg One more thing. Whenever I was working under the van I had protection. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150903-09-mj.jpg My own personal watch cat.
WVvan 10/02/15 08:10pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... Here's a view of what it my tool spread looks like when working on the van. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-04-mj.jpg Replace the bottom plate on the B pillar. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-06-mj.jpg Continue covering the bottom edge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-18-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-17-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-22-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-23-mj.jpg Fox is exercising her supervisory duties. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-15-mj.jpg The final weld job is to attach this last bottom edge piece. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-25-mj.jpg After finished welding, treat all the exposed metal with Rust Bullet. This goes on in a couple of layers and helps seal any tiny holes in the welds. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150825-27-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-01-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-02-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-04-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150829-05-mj.jpg continued
WVvan 09/22/15 02:27pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... Advanced up the van to the door and the "B" pillar. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-39-mj.jpg This photo is looking up into the rocker panel and B pillar from underneath. In the lower right corner is a metal plate that spans the bottom two parts of the B pillar. This plate is totally rusted out and was removed. In the lower center is black foam. That was all removed. In the upper middle is a flap of rusted metal. That was also removed. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-40-mj.jpg This photo is look forward into the rocker panel. Finally reached a point where there is some solid unrusted metal. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-42-mj.jpg Start cutting away the rust and wire wheeling the rest. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-45-mj.jpg Looking into the rocker panel towards the front you can see that there was a second metal layer inside. I'm not going to try and recreate this. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-49-mj.jpg Weld the back plate on first. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-01-mj.jpg Here's an aid to help me shape the metal. Draw parallel lines down the metal sheet and number them. This allows me to keep the sheet centered on the angle iron as I hammer down the line. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-03-mj.jpg Weld on the front rocker panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-05-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-06-mj.jpg Since the metal is in better shape here I don't cut away as much. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-07-mj.jpg Can use a smaller replacement panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-08-mj.jpg Last replacement rocker panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-12-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150818-14-mj.jpg continued
WVvan 09/18/15 07:14pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... Clear out more rusted metal. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150726-01-mj.jpg In the front I decided to cut along the line where the curved part of the rocker panel meets the sloped side. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150726-03-mj.jpg On the back side cut away the rusted metal. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150726-04-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150726-05-mj.jpg Use the ruler and some tape to find the bottom edge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-07-mj.jpg Working towards the front of the van my method was to cut out the next section of rusted metal on the front and back then weld a 18 gauge panel onto the back side that then establishes the bottom edge of the repair. With the back panel in place that then gave a guide for the front rocker panel. To help with the metal forming I welded feet onto the ends of my section of angle iron to keep it upright. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-02-mj.jpg Form and weld the next piece of rocker panel. The first rocker panel I made didn't have the curve just right and this piece is transitioning towards the correct shape. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-08-mj.jpg When grinding down the weld on the above piece I still wasn't happy with the results and feared that I was weakening the weld. For the rest of the rocker panel welds I decided to not try and grind the weld flat but just smooth them out and Bondo over them when finished. The next rocker panel section was 30" long since that's the limit of my metal break. The metal is 20 gauge and that is about the limit of the thickness that this cheap Harbor Freight metal break can handle using it's entire length. It could bend thicker metal but only in shorter segments. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-11-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-12-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-13-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-17-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-19-mj.jpg The joining of the back plate and the front panel leaves a bit of a ragged edge along the bottom. Because of that and also to add stiffness I'm adding another folded 20 gauge section along the bottom edge. Start with a 90 degree bend in the break. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-23-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-25-mj.jpg Then use the bench vise to keep bending the two edges towards each other. Bend it in few degrees then release it from the vise and slide it down a couple inches and bend the next section. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-26-mj.jpg Keep working it back and forth until I'm left with a "U" shaped length of metal. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-28-mj.jpg Slide it onto place along the bottom edge. It's not tight against the bottom edge in this picture. Also in this picture you can see where the previously completed section of metal has been treated with Rust Bullet. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-30-mj.jpg To get as tight a fit as possible I'm using the welding clamps you can in this photo. The clamp can exert a good deal of force on a small area. I started at one end and squeezed on the clamp which compressed the U shaped piece tight against the two welded layers sandwiched within. I would then release the clamp and move over slightly and clamp it on again. In the below picture you can see the slight dimpling that caused by the clamp's pressure. The left edge of the U shaped metal has slipped down slightly. It will be tapped up before welding. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-31-mj.jpg Weld in place. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-33-mj.jpg Grind down the weld to smooth them out. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150817-34-mj.jpg With the bottom edge of the repair now consisting of 4 layers of metal it is quite solid and there is no flex. continued
WVvan 09/16/15 11:40am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

Don't know that I'll ever be "finished". Already thinking of redoing some parts of the electrical system.
WVvan 09/16/15 11:40am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

Thanks Stan. With all the endless hammering I did in shaping the metal you could call me Gunga-DING.
WVvan 08/31/15 07:44am Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... With the front and the back plate in place the end needs to be closed off. If you have a Ford van you probably know that the way the body is built that there is a recess just forward of the rear wheel well where the front and back parts of the body are joined. This is a perfect place for water and road salt to collect and cause rust. If you look at enough older Ford vans you'll see several with rust problems in the exact same spot as mine. This looks like a design flaw to me so I'm not going to bother replicating it. I'll close the end off and try to make it flush with the front and back. Do it in two parts. The first part will be the lower section. I'm making these out of 20 gauge. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-085-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-086-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-088-mj.jpg Weld in place. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-090-mj.jpg I had help as I worked. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-091-mj.jpg The second piece was going to be more difficult. It had to transition from the recess at the upper part of the wheel well to the flush part on the bottom without leaving a flat spot for debris/water to collect. With the way the inner fender is constructed I couldn't bend it to it's final shape and and still get a tight fit. Bent it as much as I could and still get it to fit in there then used the pointy end of a chipping hammer to keep banging away on the metal till it was formed to fill in the gaps on the inner edges. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-093-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-094-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-095-mj.jpg Weld it in place. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-103-mj.jpg At this point I grabbed onto all this new metal added to the van and started pulling and pushing on it. It was rock solid. Only then did I start to think I might actually be able to fix this. continued
WVvan 08/30/15 08:32pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

continued ... Use hand tools to bend the parts for the inside of the wheel well http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-072-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-073-mj.jpg Weld the back plate into place. And before anyone else mentions it, Yeah I know I'm a crappy welder. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-077-mj.jpg Tack the front plate into place. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-074-mj.jpg You'll notice Mistake #1 in the upper right corner. I wasn't aggressive enough in cutting out the partially rusted metal. I found out when trying to weld to what was left and the weld just blow right through the old metal. I cut some more out and made a small patch to fix this. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-075-mj.jpg Mistake #2. DON"T OVER GRIND YOUR WELDS! This is the first time I'm welding sheet metal like this and in wanting to smooth out the welds I ended up grinding into the metal. It made a section so thin that I burned right through it when trying to re-patch it. Probably a common newbie problem. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-081-mj.jpg In the photo above you can see lots of little holes in the weld line. I went back and fixed each one of those. Also note that the back and front plates are welded together at the bottom. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-084-mj.jpg continued
WVvan 08/30/15 08:32pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
RE: Step one. Bought the van.

Rust never sleeps One of those jobs I've been putting off. Previously patched these parts of the van but at the time the best I could do was use Bondo, fiberglass patches and pop rivets. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-001-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-005-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-007-mj.jpg I'd obviously left this go far too long but could never seem to find the time. It didn't help that the weather around these parts was near daily rain through the whole Spring and most of the Summer. When the first week without rain finally arrived I took some time off work and started in on this project. As is usual, didn't know what I was getting into. My tools were a hammer, screwdriver and angle grinder with a wire wheel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-023-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-024-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-026-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-032-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-034-mj.jpg The more I dug the worse it got. When I stopped there wasn't much left between the "C" pillar and the wheel well. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-048-mj.jpg I didn't proceed farther up the rocker panel to see how much more needed replaced since I was already feeling a bit overwhelmed by what was in already front of me. Or more to the point, no longer in front of me. Never previously having done any real sheet metal work before I wasn't sure what thickness to use. I'd ordered a four pack of 3'x3' sheets of metal from Onlinemetals in thickness's from 18 to 24 gauge. Figured I use whatever felt the right thickness. I took measurements from the opposite side of the van to see where the lower edge of the wheel well should be used that to created a posterboard template. Since this was a mostly straight piece I used the 18 gauge sheet for this part since it was the stiffest. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-049-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-050-mj.jpg Locate where the bottom edge of the sheet should be. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-054-mj.jpg Locate and drill holes to use two bolts already in place on the backside of the rocker panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-051-mj.jpg Use a hammer to bend the sheet so it forms against the backside. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-061-mj.jpg On the front side of the rocker panel I cut off what was rusted and using the other side of the van as a guide made another template. Since this piece will have a curve I'm using the 20 gauge sheet since it should be easier to shape. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-064-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-066-mj.jpg Here's where it gets interesting. I have no experience with shaping sheet metal for body panels. The only trick I know is what I used when bending the the shield for the extra gas tank. Guess I try it here. But first, say hello to my new tool. I finally bought a metal brake. Use the brake to create a bend for the edge that runs along the bottom of the rocker panel. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-067-mj.jpg Then back to my old friends, a piece of angle iron and a ball peen hammer. http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-068-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-069-mj.jpg http://larry.wvnet.edu/~van/pics/150725-070-mj.jpg continued
WVvan 08/30/15 08:31pm Class B - Camping Van Conversions
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