Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Anxiety Parade 2

Okay, so this is the way the left rear wing looks now.  It's stuffed. It's radius is a little bigger than the wheel arch? Worse, it hangs past the body line by about 1 inch.
Here's how the fender looked originally. We knew for years that it didn't/wasn't going to fit. The original fender that was on the vehicle was banged up (see rumpled one below) and a replacement section was made (but never applied), and then a replacement fender was started, but abandoned. Eventually I got another from a donor in Australia (and that's the one that's on the van now)
My anxiety is that this looks stupid and I'll never enjoy the van because I'm looking at the stupid stuffed fender. Tonight I was researching people who might be able to help. The local university has a math department that might be able to find a way of optimally reshaping the fender to make it fit but preserve its original appearance.

Anxiety Parade 1

As events draw to a close, anxiety mounts. Two things weigh on my mind late at night when I think about the project. One is the wing lights and, specifically, the left one. When the wings were repaired it appeared that the left one was slanted, but I was just looking at a phone. Maybe it was an optical thing. But when the wings got mounted on the van I saw them same thing again, also in a photo. Again, maybe it’s just the way the fender/wing is seated in the wheel arch OR maybe something’s not correct.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Oh, the Suspens-ion

Suspension painted and put back in as promised last week. The nicely painted “copper” brake lines pop against the black. Last night I looked at the old photos and it sure is easy to forget how much improvement has been made.
The front and rear shocks I purchased 8 years again were oddly rusted when I plucked them off the shelf, so some sand paper and 8 coats of paint later, they look good too. They’ll be popped in place next weekend along with some other bits like the prop shaft and drag link. I received the new window u-profile rubber this week. It looks like it’ll work out.
What lube do other folks use for the side door rails?

Saturday, April 1, 2017


Took the suspension off this weekend to clean and repaint it. When it goes back on (maybe next weekend) it’ll hopefully be the last time it’s off in my lifetime. Cleaning it this afternoon I noticed something that has eluded be before, a number cast into the front axle -- "ST923ESCIA". I have no idea what it means. I have previously documented the number etched in the top, but this is different. It seems that die were put in situ before the molten metal was poured. You can see in the photo above that they are raised whereas the former are engraved (post casting). I am excited to get this done because then thing can start getting assembled quickly.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Rubber...getting tiresome.

So years ago I ordered from window rubber from these guys: http://rubbertrim.co.uk/
This weekend I pulled it out and realized it isn’t going to work (see photo). The problem is with the U-channel – it’s just too thin. Now the s-channel’s dimension on all three sides that hold the glass at 3 mm x 3 mm x 3.5 mm. The channel I have is profile 391, I believe. My u-channel is 1.6 mm meaning I’ll have a giant gap at the front if I try and use it. I think I might just need a 1/8” (3/8” overall) u-channel like these ones:
Overall, not the most costly mistake to make – rubber, it’s like it grows on trees!
Elsewhere, the exterior finish is coming together. The hinges will hit paint soon, and looking at them this afternoon it’s hard to believe they aren’t original – foundry, machinist, filing and sanding, and what you see here now.
Aiming for Victoria Day long weekend for final assembly.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Cuba, Chrome and Alternator

Okay, spent a week in Cuba last month. My family wanted the sun, but I wanted to look at old cars, and they were everywhere. Most are owned by the government. The original engines have conked out and guess what they use as a universal replacement? 5-cylinder Mercedes-Benz diesel engines. If you're interested, go soon because it's changing a lot, and for the better. Traveled all over the island and there wasn't a single grocery store.
I saw a couple British cars there and managed to snap this one -- it's an Austin Cambridge from 1956, I think. Steve Diggins had one.
Moved the alternator over to the left side and hopefully it will not interfere with the accelerator cable.
Chrome pieces are going out this week.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Rear Badge

Really happy about landing one of these rare badges. It was a local find too, so maybe it was originally from my van.  It's also in great shape. I cleaned it up this afternoon. I am uncertain about what colour it should be but I have time to figure that out.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Fiddlin’ on the Roof

About 7.5 years ago the roof of my van was removed. Long-time readers will remember what it was like back then (see photos above). Today it was replaced, in the company of a couple kids that weren't even alive when it was removed. Hopefully it will remain there for the next 60 years or so. It took a team efforts of extra tall folks, and it happened in no time at all. Special thank you to them. Aaron, being attuned to the Shulchan Aruch, grew a beard for the occasion (not really). Of course, he can't be "Tevye the Dairyman" because he's 4 short of the required number of daughters. The doors need to be added next ans the rest will follow soon thereafter.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

"Man With the Van Hassle"

Updates have been absent because color sanding isn’t compelling material for blogging. Let’s just say it’s being done real nicely. Meanwhile, I keep passing this cool little van on the streets of Vancouver, usually at a filming location. I can never get my phone out to take a snap of it (besides that would be illegal), but last weekend I went to the local soccer venue with my daughters (see above) for their first time, and as we pulled in the parking lot, there it was! There was a guy in a nearby car guarding it. He explained that it was for the TV series “Man in the High Castle” which is an “alternative history” where Japan and German prevail in WW2, and colonize the United States (Canada remains unchanged, naturally). I took the photos above but I couldn’t figure out what it was. In other places my friend Marc (yea, the guy with the truck that went and got the van with me in 2008) bought a new car (see above). It’s just 1800 pounds and has an LS3 engine, giving it the same performance metrics as a Bugatti. I’m scared to drive in it. There's also some guy on the Interenet selling "Happiness is buying a Morris J Type" in shich case drugs are becoming a necessity in my life.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

True Grit

“True Grit” a 1969 movie with John Wayne, where a drunken, hard-nosed U.S. Marshal and a Texas Ranger help a stubborn teenager track down her father's murderer in Indian territory. I see a parallel.

So what do you do after you shoot a freshly painted car with clear coat? Why you sand it ot course. Colour sanding removes the orange peel appearance and, if that sort of thing is important to you, it’s a necessary step. How? Well you use the sweat of virgin unicorns, distill it, and then add it to 3M 5000 grit sandpaper. That leaves the glossy material looking frosty (see the door photo above). After it’s all done then its hit all over with wax. In other areas, the authentic 1951 commercial license plate I bought 8 years ago is painted and ready to go.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Back In Black

Earlier this week my friend Marc asked, regarding the van, "Why didn't you do something cool?"

Stuff is coming together rapidly and I have recently found myself with some unanticipated time, so it works out. Above are some photos of the front fenders, and the lamp housing painted and waiting for clear coat. They look really great, and that’s saying a lot because black shows every defect. Long time readers will remember that I found all these bits painted black (see photo above) several years ago and in the interval they’ve taken on different hues but alas they are back in black.

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Pane In The Rear (Glass)

I need to figure out how the rear glass is added, and specifically, the required profile of the rubber. The nearest completed J-Van is a ways away, so I’ll have to reply of Internet dispatches. The glass seen in the photo above is made from an original piece that I was sent from the UK. I need to know whether the glass is added from the front or back (I think back is logical) and the rubber profile.

Also, above is another photo from a catalog of two-part locking rubber, which I was thinking would be good to use in the circumstances. Problem is, I don’t think it was ever originally used for these vans. Also these profiles won’t work because I need a 0.5” offset (the ones above are just over 1/8"). So the profile would be an S-shape in my opinion with one 1/8” channel for the metal and another 1/4” channel for the window.

Anyone have idea on this?

Monday, February 15, 2016

February Flashback

Combing through old photos tonight, and I came across this (on an external hard drive). I can honestly say that when this photos was taken, I didn't see this the way you all see it now. To me it was just in a transitory stage to something fabulous.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

February 4, 2016: Let There Be Paint!

Seven years and four months after getting the van it’s been repainted. Originally I had considered other colours but in the course of restoring I found some original colour on the body, and I think those colours look pretty good, so that’s what we went with. It’s a two-part paint system. There’s a couple layers of primer then there’s three costs of colour and three cots of clear. Next we’ll colour sand it all with something like 2500 grit and wax it all. But the doors and front grill are next. After all that I look forward to rapidly assembling all the bits that are taking up space in the shop.