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From Rags to Restoration


{Wheels.6.1}: Frank Vehafric {fvehafric} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 13:45:44 CST (4 lines)

Another popular topic from the old forum.

What's your current project? Do you have questions, advice or just
need to whine?


{Wheels.6.2}: Jil {rabbit} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:06:55 CST (1 line)

1957 Cadillac. Receiving a Chrysler 440 and hydraulics.


{Wheels.6.3}: Frank Vehafric {fvehafric} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 16:28:55 CST (8 lines)

59 Tbird, getting ready to do ball joints, bushings and tie rod ends
in the next couple of weeks.

I ain't whining yet, but just wait.

I did have it out for a spin in the sunny weather this weekend. It
does get the looks. For some reaon that makes me feel really smug and


{Wheels.6.4}: '85 VW Vanagon; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 18:28:45 CST (8 lines)

Muffy Mazda's home paint job has held up well, 1.5 years into it.
Only one small spot under the bumper where there was a dent has
rusted through the paint (I primed it with a rusty metal primer, but
I couldn't get every dot of rust sandedoff in the dent area...that's
probably why.)

That makes me feel happy-- and a little smug (the 60 dollar whole car
paint job. yeehaw.)


{Wheels.6.5}: Daniel Hagerty {captainbill} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:22:07 CST (4 lines)

Ooh, patrice, you have an 85 Vanagon?  Is the Westfalia camper one?

My parents had an 84 that I just loved, and I've always wanted to buy
a mid-80s model to restore and use for camping.


{Wheels.6.6}: '85 VW VanagonGL; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:28:55 CST (17 lines)

ok, I'll adjust my tagline, Daniel...there's just enough room there
to add "GL", meaning no (unfortunately) I just have the 7 seater

But I took out the middle (2 person) seat and made a plywood and foam
bed that covers 2 of the 3 seats of the rear seat. That leaves me
room for 2 passengers total (in seatbelts anyway) and a bed that
comfortably sleeps a 5'8" me (and one other person if I *really* like
them ;-)

I don't need to do anything at reststops when I want to stretch out,
and the backrest of the rear seat is nice for being proppedup to read
in bed...there's storage under the bed for slide out plastic tubs,
and just enough room in the foot space by the sliding door to pull
them out without opening the door...and this way I don't have to
close up the bed and my storage to get to the engine in the back (cuz
when I break down I like to recline while the faeries fix the thing


{Wheels.6.7}: Daniel Hagerty {captainbill} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 19:40:31 CST (8 lines)

Cool, so you've customized it. :)

I'm a huge fan of VW vans.  Despite their numerous quirks with regards
to engine and performance, I've found their interior design,
particularly, the mid-80s camper models, are amazing.

My parents and I camped through 38 states one summer when I was 15.
It was great.


{Wheels.6.8}: '85 VW Vanagon; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 20:05:12 CST (18 lines)

I've added some other touches I like, such as drilling in brass snaps
so my curtain panels snap on-- way better than hanging curtains that
let in light as they hang down-- and away from-- the body of the van.

I don't think I'd be that comfortable in a pop-top-- I tend to travel
in the northern (cold) reststops I don't feel safe
sleeping where only rip-able canvas stands between me and "The
Highway Slasher"...and in the woods critters go through fabric easier
than metal or glass, too.  But if I was in Florida I might feel

And I never wanted the stove and sink set-up-- I don't cook much at
home, why would I start on the road, what with all those restaurants
I'm passing ;-)  A plug-in cooler and a 12V water boiler that plugs
into the cigarette outlet are plenty for a hot cuppa tea or soup on
the road, and sammich fixings.  Without those I feel like I have more
room in the GL for clothes, the cat's stuff (he travels with) and
bedding than I would a camper.


{Wheels.6.9}: Michael Cerkowski {michael33} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 23:25:33 CST (7 lines)

   Do you have a second, semi-isolated battery for those accessories?
If not, that's one addition I'd make.

   By "semi-isolated", I mean a circuit that either automatically
keeps it charged but doesn't use it to start the engine or drain the
starting battery, or can be switched in and out of the same circuit as
the engine battery.


{Wheels.6.10}: '85 VW Vanagon; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 23:39:49 CST (13 lines)

Nope-- I only run them when I'm running the engine, though.  Then I
plug an inverter into wherever I'm parked with the appliance plug
attached. When I'm away from a plug-in camping for any length of time
I plan on no refrigeration and a small wood fire to heat water.

I do have to remember to unplug things from the cigarette lighter
when I turn the van off, though-- unlikethe Mazda the cigarette
lighter is active when the key is out of the ignition.

I checked out a solar panel for the roof and extra battery...but with
all the accessories and such taking up space--ack.  Coolers and
heating elements really suck up the jiuce and I'd need heavy deep
cycle batteries and 2 panels at least-- rather rough it.


{Wheels.6.11}: Michael Cerkowski {michael33} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 23:44:01 CST (7 lines)

   You don't need to solar panel for this application - just a big-ish
AGM battery, a low-power cutoff and switch to let the alternator
charge it while driving, and a decent alternator. If you wanted to get
Green and Fancy, you could rig a relay to the brake light circuit that
only let the alternator charge the storage battery while you were
braking down one of those big hills. The poor woman's regenerative


{Wheels.6.12}: '85 VW Vanagon; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 23:49:30 CST (6 lines)

Right, it's just the size and number of batteries I'd need when
parked for a few days-- I'd rather plan on doing without than give up
that much storage apce and have that much more battery acid getting
ready to leak ;-)

Remember, I have KittyKat crawling all around the van....


{Wheels.6.13}: Michael Cerkowski {michael33} Tue, 24 Feb 2004 23:56:44 CST (2 lines)

   For more than a couple of days, it probably would be impractical.
AGMs are sealed, though - you'd just need to put it in a box.


{Wheels.6.14}: Frank Vehafric {fvehafric} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 00:31:54 CST (6 lines)

I saw, in a tool catalog, a photo volataic battery trickle charger
that is small enough to sit on the dashboard and plug into the
cigaret lighter. Now, it won't generate enough juice to run your
stuff, but if you misestimate your battery usage and discharge your
battery it will, in a few hours of daylight, recharge your battery
enough to start the car. It was like 12 bucks.


{Wheels.6.15}: Michael Cerkowski {michael33} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 04:10:31 CST (4 lines)

   The best bottom-end idea, I think, is to pick up one of those
sealed lead/acid car jumpstarters. I have one, and have only used it
for a jumpstart once. Mostly I use it for power failures and as a
portable 12 volt power supply.


{Wheels.6.16}: Doug White {dwhite} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 10:29:14 CST (4 lines)

{2}  Do you mean "lowrider" hydraulics, Jil?

Man, I'd love to take a ride and bounce around in one of those
cars---just once!


{Wheels.6.17}: Jil {rabbit} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 13:16:33 CST (3 lines)

One and the same. The car isn't going to be designed to bounce,
though. Just to bring it up to ride height and then drop it on its
rockers once it's parked.


{Wheels.6.18}: Doug White {dwhite} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 14:06:27 CST (1 line)



{Wheels.6.19}: '85 VW Vanagon; '89 Mazda 323 {patrice} Wed, 25 Feb 2004 15:21:23 CST (6 lines)

re {14}, I have a solar trickle charger that also solar charges A and
AA batteries, and has a 12V out line and 6V out line to plug or clip
onto other little devices to recharge.  I think it cost me $35US at
the time...I take it with mostly to recharge my Walkman and
flashlight batteries, but I have used it on the van battery when
parked in the cold for a long time.


{Wheels.6.20}: Joseph Kang {jsk} Wed, 08 Dec 2004 09:49:18 CST (3 lines)

You folks might enjoy this website:


{Wheels.6.21}: Joseph Kang {jsk} Wed, 08 Dec 2004 09:49:45 CST (18 lines)

A description of the site:

 About the Old Car Manual Project

First and foremost, the Old Car Manual Project is a library: a central
place where anyone can come to get the information they need.

How this happens is by volunteers scanning their hard-to-find
documents into a digital format, so that everyone can have access to
the information in them

Why are we doing this?

Why not? But really - one of the hardest parts of restoring or
servicing old machines is getting decent technical information. Often,
it's difficult, impossible or expensive to obtain. We think that this
kind of information should be freely available, as a public resource
for the preservation of our industrial history.


{Wheels.6.22}: 92 SVX, 59 TBird, 68 F250 {fvehafric} Wed, 08 Dec 2004 11:07:04 CST (1 line)



{Wheels.6.23}: Jil {rabbit} Wed, 08 Dec 2004 14:42:40 CST (1 line)

That's great, Joseph. Thanks!


{Wheels.6.24}: Joseph Kang {jsk} Tue, 04 Jan 2005 16:38:17 CST (3 lines)

Something more for the fans of classics...



{Wheels.6.25}: Jil {rabbit} Wed, 05 Jan 2005 07:46:51 CST (1 line)

Jalopy Journal is a great website.


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