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My second T4, operation de-chav

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  • My second T4, operation de-chav

    This thread has popped up elsewhere so you have probably been bored by it already, I'm now18 months in so I'll post up the edited lowlights and bring you up to speed.....cue wavy line flashback sequence.....

    I had a T4 back in the early 90's, when no-one had one and mates mocked my decision, I loved it, there was no following for them, no forums, and very little aftermarket. The T4 was thin on the ground, there was only one other modified in North Devon, and builders still drove round in Transits.
    Slowly they gained popularity I sold mine and it soon seemed like T4 ownership was compulsory for any North Devon resident. I decided there was no way I’d get another.

    10+ years passed by as I worked my way through a mk1 caddy, and a couple of Golfs

    Then the T4s started to arrive at my workshop for diesel pump work and I had to take them for a test drive, the urge to have another slower grew...

    I looked semi-seriously for over 12 months, wasted time with scammers, and deluded owners selling rusty, dirty wrecks. A few came up that were good and I arranged a deal only to be shafted before closing the deal, I was gazumped or just plainly ignored.

    Then something popped up on Gumtree, initial enquiries were promising, the seller seemed sound, but the gumtree photo's were rubbish and he seemed reluctant to send more photos. We chatted some more and it all sounded good, he accepted my deal but didn't want to take a deposit and gave me his word....
    Wednesday 5th Nov bonfire night and whilst watching fireworks he rang me with his mechanic who was checking an oil leak out and fitting a couple of tyres,
    I was planning to go up to collect before the end of the week but he wanted to get an MOT and now it was looking like the weekend would be the first opportunity, I couldn’t go that weekend.
    Maybe he could hold it until the following week? I could feel it slipping away

    Thursday night, as I'm leaving work my phone gets a signal and goes mental, text, answer phone messages and a few missed calls.
    I pick up the missed calls, he's done the MOT and there's another buyer who can pick up tonight.
    I phone straight back, get and answer machine and leave a message explaining this is the third one I've lost out on and that he gave his word. Not best pleased!
    Then I got a call back, he's decided to honour his word

    I go home, confess to the wife I've bought ANOTHER vehicle, then she asks how I intend to pay for it.....
    This could be painful, because I discussed my taking out a loan a few weeks ago and she 'advised' me that it would be unwise.

    She would be happy to lend me the money, but I knew it wouldn’t quite work like that.... I had ignored her and taken out a loan regardless.

    I confessed about the loan - and she was fine with it.

    Hastily booked a half day off work and a train ticket.
    Left work early Friday morning and tried to walk the 2 miles to the station, got drowned in a torrential rainstorm and missed the train, got another train an hour later with the good news that there would be no extra charge. That good news lasted until the ticket collector decided I needed to pay an extra £70 on a ticket that cost £40 originally! I managed to get the extra charge down to £35 but the bad omens were stacking up...
    Then there was an 'incident' on the track which stopped the train for a good while, I was now running late and the sun was getting low in the sky.
    Got to Winchester and met Jaime, he drove me around for a bit and then confessed there was a problem with the mileage...

    One of the main reasons for buying this one was despite its questionable cosmetics, it was low mileage and rust free
    I knew it was too good to be true, the super low mileage would now transpire to be a complete lie - yet another wasted vehicle viewing.

    However he had indeed advertised it wrong at 96000 when the true mileage was 91000 - result!
    A deal was done and cheesewheels 5 - yet another v dub came home with me to cheese towers

    It wasn’t much of looker though….

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    OK... It was butt ugly

    Thankfully it has escaped the usual T4 mods of plastic chrome and LEDs, though it did suffer from stickerage and still bore the scars.
    The only aftermarket lights are so lame it's laughable.
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    It had a fairly extensive ICE install. drop down roof DVD player and a fair collection of amps, subs and component speakers - all seem well installed, which makes a nice change.
    The swivel based half leather rover seats are a decent place to sit, if not to my taste and they sit too high...

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    Side profile not too bad, ugly wheels and 4x4 ride height I can live with for the time being,
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    It all goes wrong again round the back

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    Let the rolling makeover begin...
    Last edited by regcheeseman; 20th January 2020, 11:19 PM.

  • #2
    Looking forward to future posts
    dyslexics are teople poo


    • #3
      Originally posted by regcheeseman View Post
      Thats a face only a mother could love


      • #4
        I had forgotten how horrible that front end is.


        • #5
          That front view burns my eyes!!!!!!

          I will be interested to watch the transformation though....


          • #6
            The stripe is a strip of white carbon look vinyl, that's covering a pair of blue painted viper stripes, I peeled it off to see what sort of mess I'm left with, an hour or so spent with a hot air gun and the white stripe came off cleanly....only problem now is

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            Blue (painted) stripe.
            Unfortunately the weather at the didn’t lend itself to bodywork (I’m working outside in the cold and wet) so I had to drive around for several weeks (months) with my stripey barryboys tastic shed-van, but I cracked on with the inside….

            Some bits turned up
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            Replacement front end - not chuffed as the bumper has a large crack in it, hardly the 'uncracked good condition' I was told it was. The front panel is rusty, but I knew that. That's a decat downpipe that I got for a decent price, it'll be just the start of mods...

            Heated, electrically adjustable leather RX 8 interior for you sir?

            £80, thank you very much.

            More cut price corrado-esque levels of bodgery and feckmuppetry were revealed...
            I wanted a 3/4 width bed/seat unit in my van, it was supplied with a full width one, with well made alcantara upholstery fitted.
            I decided cut it down to 3/4 width....
            As I took the first board off I got a bit of a shock, it WAS a 3/4 width frame but with full width boards fitted, two passengers were well supported but if you sat on the right of the seat, the only thing taking the strain was 18mm MDF and a layer of foam.
            The three lap belts were well fixed to the framework anchor points using some really soft B&Q special M10 bolts, but the frame work wasn't even bolted to the floor.
            At least that made removing the bedframe pretty damn simple.

            Cutting new upholstery boards and fitting some better three point seatbelts, with the ply cut I set about bracing the existing framework and adding a couple of decent belt fixing points. I also intend adding a storage drawer under the seat and a kickboard to tidy up the appearance.

            I decided that the framework was made from steel far too thin for purpose, I bought some box with a much thicker wall and re-made the bed framework

            The fourth one is half welded but it sits round the rear door frame so needs some more work to make it fit tidy.

            Time to redesign the hinges as cheap door hinges and 3mm strip are simply not up to the job

            Bed frames are coming together slowly, the four frames are welded up, welds were well vee'ed in and then dressed flush with grinder and a flap disc.
            Gone are then two weedy mild steel door hinges, I've bought a pack of three heavy duty stainless fire door hinges and tacked them in place.

            I want to fit on some kind of guide for the seat belt to run on, I have an idea involving a curved section of stainless
            The rear section of the bed frame has been modified to allow clearance on the rear door frame

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            Tacked the new frames in place,

            The hinge arrangement is pretty clever, when folded up the seat is shorter than the original but when flat as a bed it's actually longer than the original.
            The redesigned seat sections have better proportions, normally the front seat base is way too long and the seat backs are too short, my seat backs come up to shoulder height and the base is comfotable to sit on.
            I also added in a second locking position for the bed so that it forms a laid back recliner when parked up.

            Time for upholstery, I stripped the original leather covers from the mazda rear bench and used a few panels out of this to create some covers that would match the Mazda front seats.

            First up, the 3" medium density foam is glued to the ply boards, then a shape is cut from some 1" thick soft foam and glued down as well, my tins of MVM glue that were bought to line the van have proved very good so far - I'll need to order more now.

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            Once that has dried, a light dusting of glue over the whole foam and also on a piece of wadding which is then glued down and trimmed to size to just overlap the edge of the ply board.
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            Cover laid in place, the board turned over and the strings passed through the holes I made earlier

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            Strings then pulled tight and tied, photo below shows one side done
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            Then the cover stapled down properly and both sides tied down

            A fair few hours work in total but I'm pretty damn chuffed with the outcome
            Last edited by regcheeseman; 25th January 2020, 12:07 AM.


            • #7
              Bought a couple of cheapo barrels with keys from ebay, with a few extra tumblers? extracted from some VW door handles supplied by a mate and half a hour or so of fiddling about and I've built myself two new barrel assemblies that fit my existing keys. Good enough to replace the two that have done the usual trick and snapped in half

              The one for the rear doors took about five minutes to fit and works perfectly, the sliding door one will have to wait as the door trim has to be removed to get the handle out - I won't bother doing that until I have the door contacts and the central locking motor ready to go in at the same time.

              Stripping out the interior, I removed the amps that were screwed to the floor under the drivers and passenger seat.
              About an hour or so later when I went back out to the van I noticed a whiff of diesel, sniffing around like a dog I found that the smell was coming up through the floor, at this point I realised that the previous conversion ‘specialists’ (they seem pretty special) had screwed the amps to the floor and put the self tappers right through the fuel tank. DOH!
              I also fitted a clutch slave cylinder brace, there was no problem with what was there, though it was flexing a bit and it's a known weak spot - so a pre-emptive strike. I bought the bracket from ebay, the instructions said it was a doddle to fit and would take a few minutes - ha, what a lie, twas an awkward pig to get the master cylinder bolt and fit in a longer version, however it's done now.
              Set about the other bits of the van interior, the hideous blue panels are gone

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              Time for some more silver foiled foam, using the wooden floor as a pattern i cut out some pieces and stuck them down, before moving onto the rear arches, found out that a sharp knife and trimming as you fit works a whole lot better than trying to cut it out with scissors to size before fitting it.

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              I had borrowed a spare double seat for the front so I still had enough seating for myself and my two boys whilst the back was being ripped out.

              A chap with a couple dogs came walking by and inquired if it was my van, it transpired that he had a T4, was a T4 forum member and had been gathering kingspan for insulation that he didn't think he was going to use and did I want it.

              He even delivered it and I set to on the van, pulling down the recently fitted bubble wrap foil and ramming some kingspan in the void

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              The rear section went in easy, just cut it roughly to size with a sharp knife and push it into the cavity.

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              Kingspan in, the bubble wrap stuck back up and I could get on with sticking up the mega stretch carpet, using the handle of the scissors to work the carpet into the corners and using a brand new blade for every cut, a snap-off blade knife works well for this.

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              righto - on with the door related fun!

              First up the side door didn't unlock, found a dodgy connector in the wiring I installed previously

              At the moment the old door card lightly rubs the tip of the extended wheelarch, in order to clear the wheelarch the slide rail is spaced off the body by packing it out on nuts, a bodge but not a ugly as a wedge.

              I want to get rid of the spaced slider and the bodykit, so the wheel arch had to go, the bumper was barely attached so that went too.

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              leaving this mess behind,

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              Removed with a toffee wheel

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              Next step was to take the slider rail off as there was a patch of rust under the front edge, I cleaned up a couple of rust stains from the spacer bolt with some t cut and I busted out the autosolvol and polished up the stainless rail.

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              With the side door rested on a trolley jack I could move it aside enough to get in and clean up the scabby rust patch

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              More bilt hamber and rattlecan and the jobs sorted

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              I plugged the old holes in the arches that were drilled for the seat belt mounts with blind grommets and then stuck a coat of tiger seal on top and then gave the whole lot a coat of 3M schutz - 1 litre per arch

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              While the compressor was out I pumped the cavities with dinitrol wax, and the arches coated with 3M underseal, applied using a underseal gun and a probe.

              Rear bumper metalwork was a bit scabby - that got de-rusted, a coat of yet more Bilt Hamber and some satin black

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              Curiosity got the better of me and I wanted to see what was hidden under the random union jack sticker on the door, turned out to be a rusty patch of missing paint and a bunch of unexplained small dents

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              Next move was sorting the rust patch at the back of the door
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              Then pulled it round into the sun, to cure the paint

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              I got sick of looking at that grille

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              Having decided I actually DO like the roofrack - I've tried it again

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              Sits a little too high for my liking so I cut the brackets down to bring the rack as close as practical to the roof

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              There, that's better.
              Attached Files
              Last edited by regcheeseman; 25th January 2020, 01:02 AM.


              • #8
                Furniture and fittings

                Next job was fitting the cupboards in the van, first up - I put in the sheet of ply cut previously using measurement based on the old roof panel, it fit's and is a few mm too tall so needs a slight trim

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                The panel positioning allowed me fit some base plates to form the foundation for the cupboards
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                With the base in, I started to build upwards

                At this point I needed to check the bed still fits before going any further which presented me with a problem.... due to the door frame on the rear doors, the aperture is a fair bit narrower meaning that there's no way the bed will go back in - at least not in one piece.
                Started to add some more structure to the cupboard framework

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                Then I could start boxing in and add a few fittings
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                Now to do something about those strange non-symmetrical rear door installs?
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                It's never a great idea to have the subs and components share a cavity so I have moved the components elsewhere, removed the raised speaker mounting rings then cut out MDF pieces to fit into the now vacant holes which were hammered in with plenty of wood glue
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                Filled the gaps and the damage where I removed the speaker rings
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                Re-trimmed and fitted the sub back in
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                Last edited by regcheeseman; 31st January 2020, 12:54 AM.


                • #9
                  Mate good going nut being mean but yt was so ugly haha! Really good going


                  • #10
                    No worries this aint the other forum, don't hold back on the honesty, there's way too many sheddy lash ups and far too many blowing smoke up the owners arses!

                    Besides, that's not being mean - I've had far worse said straight to my face "Fu*K me! What a fu*king shed" - I had to laugh.

                    Moving onto another update - and the start of warmer weather in early 2015 meant I could work on the bodywork, the shame of driving it around was becoming too much to bear...

                    my front bumper sold to me via ebay "good condition, no damage or scratches" - lying bar steward.

                    Yeah right! the photo is after I started to neaten up the 4 inch long split and dent - it was much worse to begin with.

                    The rest of the bumper is ok ish, pretty scratched and faded

                    To get some airflow over the intercooler I wanted to put a hole in the front bumper but avoid the barry boy favourite of some naff halfords ripspeed mesh - First up, I marked the centre of the bumper and made myself a template from some scrap hardwood left over from making the panels

                    Then used the template to mark out the bumper, the masking tape allowed me to draw a nice clear fine line

                    Biting the bullet I chopped it out using a circular saw to do the straight edges, a jigsaw and then a flap wheel in the grinder to make the final trimming

                    And then fitted the grille from an old scrap mk2 caddy van

                    I had enough, time to get medieval, literally a three pronged attack

                    Getting the knife in first and slit the sealant as much as possible, then ease the two sections apart, straining the seal and then go in again with the knife and the pallette knife/wallpaper stripper.

                    Soon got the side skirt off

                    The arch joined it a few minutes later

                    And thankfully there was not a lot of rust hiding,

                    the worst being a scabby patch at the back of the wheel arch

                    The intercooler install aint that bad?

                    I trimmed off the excess sealant left after bodykit removal using a disposable knife blade, then I used a toffee wheel to remove the rest.
                    Thankfully the drivers side arch was indeed the rustiest of the two front ones and it wasn't really that bad, cleaned up with a knot wheel and then primed up

                    Few scabby patches dealt with along the sill

                    My 'grey' paint, I'd stirred it last night but it settles quick and doesn't look that grey

                    Even when I re-stirred it, it still looks a bit brown.

                    I had a rear bumper lined up to collect from Widemouth near Bude - turned out to be no good so I phoned Atlantic T4 breakers and he had 'bit rough bumper skin' but unfortunately would shut at midday-ish, I was with my boys at tennis until 11 and it would be at least 45 mins to get to Atlantic T4.

                    Thanks to jeb ends dawdling along at 40 - 50 and breaking for corners that a wobbly T4 could get round 10mph quicker at least, I didn't roll into widemouth until gone 12, I found his house and bought myself a bumper and had a decent chat about T4s as he failed to dodge his chores.

                    Bumper bought, had to take a photo down the beach

                    Back at home and I scotched the bonnet

                    Then I set about flatting down the front bumper and front panel, with the plan of getting some paint on

                    Camera hasn't picked it up well but it's still pretty brown - quite like it though

                    I sprayed a bit on the unprepped arch just to see what it looks like

                    For seemingly the first time since buying the van in the depths of November we had some of this

                    Shame that it was pretty blustery with it, still , have to make the best of it...

                    I gave the roof a quick rub over with some 600 and soapy water, rinsed it down and then a complete going over with scotch pad and more soapy water, another rinse and when it was dry; a wipe over with panel cleaner.

                    Then masked up

                    Time to mix the paint, I don't know how long jawel keep their standard colours on the shelf but I've had this tin unopened for about a month top, it was full of lumps at the bottom which would not mix back in, not very impressed.

                    First dust coat goes on and I don't know what has happened, but it's full of fisheyes

                    I put a coat on the back of the garage door and on a scrap bit of kingspan - no fisheyes, so it must be contaminated on the roof.

                    I let the paint dry and then give the roof another going over with the panel wipe.

                    Second coat goes on and it's better, not great but better. The fisheyes are mostly gone but there are airborne seeds and a fair bit of dust being blown about.

                    I'm just about to put on the third coat and now the swallows and starlings are active

                    carefully scrape off most of the mess and then soak it with a wet tissue before wiping it away as gently as possible

                    Four coats in and it's not looking too bad, some heavier coat with thinner paint has got rid of the peel, it's still fairly dusty, a few seeds but there's enough paint on there to polish it out - supposed to be satin black though.

                    I've been told by a paint supplier that the satin additive in the paint can drop out over time - this would explain the lumpy paint and the fact it turned out glossy.

                    Bought some more satin black and put a quick coat on the bumper just to see how it looks

                    Bit of a run and some dust but it was only the dregs of the gun to see what the bumper repairs looked like, had to get a picture because this was one fisheye I liked the look of!

                    I used some G3 and a rotary polisher on the roof to try and get a few of the nasties out, by the time I'd finished it does look ok - for a roof that you are not going to see.


                    • #11
                      The painting continues - A plan of attack...

                      hi-build on the primered areas of the van and a coat on both bumpers

                      There's been a random little scab of rust behind the drivers door that's been bugging me, not sure how to get to it

                      To start with I went in with a small wire brush in the dremel but there was still a patch I couldn't reach, I toyed with undoing the hinges a touch to drop the door.

                      Then I thought I might undo the rear bolts on the wing and pull it away a touch and see if that gave me better access.

                      At this point I realised the wing wasn't bonded in any way to the van and only held on with 7 self tapping bolts, so of it came to reveal my mobile compost heap

                      Yes - that is a tree growing in there! I've cleaned the wing out, ground out the rust, electrox primed and then some shultz before bolting the wing back on. I left the foam out between the wing vent and the airbox inlet, not sure if that was a good idea or not?

                      I've planned my paint job and broke it down into 4 sessions

                      First up the shuts....

                      1- rear doors
                      2- drivers door and engine bay
                      3- passenger door and slider

                      And then

                      4- the rest of the van.

                      My plan today was the rear doors, but today dawned grey and rainy and cold, as the day went on it got warmer and sunnier and at long last the wind has dropped.

                      I left work at four, peddled like mad to get home and crack on, it's still cloudy and colder at home - regardless I crack on with the prep work.

                      Some time later the rear aperture is prepped and mostly masked ready for paint but the mist has rolled in and it's no go.

                      I decided to plan to paint tomorrow and with this in mind I started on the prep for stage 2- drivers door and engine bay

                      The following day by 12:30 the mist has cleared, no wind and it's warming up nice....

                      Started masking up some more and stripping door hardware off, wishing I bought some decent masking tape whilst I was in town as the cheap tat is rubbish, peeling off ten minutes after application.

                      I dust a first coat on, realise a few spots I didn't mask, wait for the paint to go off and mask up properly.

                      I mix up a second gun load, pour it into the gun which promptly falls over and dumps half a litre into my workshop drawers..... fudge!

                      Another mix and a proper coat goes on

                      Bonnet underside will probably be better than the top.

                      Door frame - yes I know I've missed a bit

                      Few more coats on and there's a few seeds about, not as many as the roof painting day

                      That's stage 1 and 2 done, Not looking too bad

                      Remember the masking tape that wouldn't stick? Now the stuff on the roof wont come off, it's tearing off in strips and leaving a white stripe behind!

                      Despite the flatting on the roof stripe you could still make out the edge of the stripe in a few places, on the roof I'm not too bothered but if it shows up elsewhere on the van it's not ideal. The blue stripes are completely flatted off the bonnet but not on the rear doors.
                      The rear doors had a few dents in it that have been filled, but they needed some final finishing so I thought I'd spray on a few heavy coats of hi build to cover slight imperfections and the remnants of the blue stripes.

                      That'll do it.


                      • #12
                        Loving this post cant wait for next update.What a transformation already
                        dyslexics are teople poo


                        • #13
                          No need to wait - here's what happened next...........

                          Another fine dry saturday - stage three and a bit is go!

                          Doesn't look too bad, but the blooming stripe edges are still there - should have hi-built the bonnet as well

                          Should be fun trying to get this one back on

                          With a keen eye on the fact I want to use this van for Summer I best up my game, I booked a day off on the friday for painting, time to formulate a plan...

                          This week I need to

                          flat both sides, doors and wings of the van
                          remove side windows, attack any rust and prime
                          flat bumpers, and add more hi-build if required
                          remove door windows and seals
                          remove lights
                          wash down + panel wipe
                          mask up
                          erect gazebo
                          remove door handles + mirrors and prep for satin black

                          all to be completed before thursday evening.....

                          It's now Monday afternoon, best get cracking

                          flatted down one side last night

                          Made half a start on the rear bumper, not bad progress and I think I'm ahead of the game

                          On the downside, a few large sections of paint that were done during the second batch of painting have reacted slightly, took a few days to appear and it manifests as a light crazing/bubbling, you can see it in this photo because the dust from the sanding has settled on it

                          It's not occurred on any of the areas where the paint was laid on thick, just on the edges where the paint was feathered out, areas that would have got sanded down and painted again anyway.

                          Well the weather ruined my plans for the Friday

                          But it brightened up for the following weekend

                          Got the van nestled in it's temporary new home

                          Bumpers flatted and setup on the trusty workmates, one borrowed from my neighbour hence the sheet to protect it

                          Rigged up a board to hold the mirrors and handles by screwing them in place

                          Two guns on the go, alternating between satin black in my trusty mini bergen and anthracite grey (brown) in the finex fx3000, worked well giving enough time between coats.

                          The bumpers looked pretty good after a couple of coats

                          Another three coats later

                          Van not too shabby either

                          Closer inspection shows enough peel for a peugeot, still, six coats on leaves me enough to wet sand

                          And one almighty run

                          Still, it don't look too bad at 10 yards

                          Time for some paint correction.....


                          • #14
                            Great work love the colour
                            dyslexics are teople poo


                            • #15
                              Mate I'd pay you to do my roof in black!!