Saturday, January 10, 2009

Winter Distraction

The past three weeks has seen record snowfall in the Greater Vancouver area. The highway out to the barn that stores Victoria is treacherous in the best of circumstances, and the driveway up to the barn is about 200 yards and unplowed. The result is that I haven't done anything since December 16 and this past weekend was the first chance I have had to get busy. In the meantime, I've researched some parts, planned and bought a sandblasting cabinet. The photos above are of Harry's barn. There's a smaller one next to it that he uses and, upstairs it has a bar, pool table and other distractions. Interestingly enough for those reading this outside North American, in the background of the first photo you can faintly see a road going accross the frame. On the other side of that road is the US. Yes, the only thing that seperates the two countries is a road and everyone seems to respect the border.

Okay, I read online how a small propane torch could be used to heat up body filler that could then be crapped off. I knew that Victoria had some pretty big patches on Bondo where she was "restored" while being converted into a camper-hot-rod. Well and tried the torch and it worked really well. It caused the filler to bubble slightly and, at that point, I just tore into it and peeled it away. I'm going to try a paint stripping gun next. It'll be less costly to use. One section near the rear wheel on the right side was patched with an aluminum piece of sheet metal and they about 5mm on filler was applied on top of it. I knew it was there, because I could see it from the inside. In any event, I worried about corrosion owing to two different metals until it was pointed out to me that aluminum is inferior to steel in terms of the nobility table.

This weekend I also removed the steel floor and carefully put it aside to use as a template for a new one. Basically the floor is three strips of interlocking metal. Where they interlock provides a longitudinal structure. Cross ways there are concave metal "bridges" (imagine the frame cross members turned upside-down) that are fixed to the frame cross members. The upshot is that the wood structure shown on Trumans blog exists in the form of a metal structure on my van, and it is fixed permanently to the frame.

Like elsewhere on the van, things proved rusty and hard to remove. I faithfully removed the first few screws (the easy ones) and then I brought out grinder. I have four carriage bolts still running through the frame (I cut the heads off), but they don't seem to want to come out no matter how hard I smash them. I emptied about a half a can of lubricant in them before I left. That plus a heavy duty socket wrench should help next weekend.

Lastly, I removed one whole brake assembly (I'll explain why later). Every one of the nuts that held the back plate to the suspension was a different size! Does anyone know what the proper size is supposed to be? I think 11/16, but I'm not sure.

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