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Getting my 1969 Sunliner camper back on the road

Discussion in 'Resto Corner' started by Squalo, May 12, 2013.

  1. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    OK this will probably be a drawn-out topic with infrequent updates and lots of excuses, but having a build topic here might also help push me along with the project...

    My member intro and Kombi history is here:

    http://forums.kombiclub.com/showthread.php?34642-1969-Sunliner-camper-on-the-Sunshine-Coast

    And this is what we are starting with:

    [​IMG]

    I am still not entirely sure what direction this build will take, but it had to start somewhere - so I've just spent about three hours pressure-washing the exterior, to see what we actually have to work with. I got the idea to pressure-wash it after reading another KC members topic in which he revealed old signwriting on his panel, and I thought it might also let me see some of the past history of mine. Also it seems to be a good first step towards seeing whether a bus is suitable for the current in theme of 'patina'

    And so it did - the dodgy home-job green paint that a previous owner had slapped on went flying, showing me the dodgy home-job prep. Looks like this bus wasn't treated with a lot of care in a past life. Also looks like we've gone straight past 'patina' and landed on 'rat' :lol:

    Anyway, I kind of like the way it looks after the clean-up, although there's still a lot to do - haven't done the top-most bit of the poptop, nor the interior.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
  3. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    actualy looking realy good n sound
    might be lucky :)
    bit of work on the front and some spots in the rear but overall a good bus.

    have some carcases at home[tandur/traveston] that may have some useful patches if you want to look before i chuck them

    col
     
  4. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    That's what I told Mrs Squalo when she came out and rolled her eyes - "You should see the OTHER ones!" :)

    It's pretty good, really. I have restored EH Holdens and other old vehicles so I know what to expect as far as fixing the cancer. But for now the plan is to find and stop the rust, then put the bodywork on the backburner and focus on the mechanicals. I am semi-interested in a modern water-cooled powerplant but the more I look at it the more I think I should keep her as original as possible, so the Type 3 twin-port 1600 sitting on the floor will probably get the guernsey to get her motorvating.

    Cheers Col, I would love to come by and check out your donor vehicles sometime, and just talk VW in general - I'll send you a pm.

    Can anyone tell me whether the gearbox that came with the Type 3 motor will work in the bus?
     
  5. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Apologies in advance for the essay, but this is partly me thinking out aloud, and partly reference for later when I've forgotten what I'm doing and need to go back in time and get back on track :cool:

    After many hours of surfing the net, my plans are beginning to firm up now. I've actually given it all a lot of thought over the last 5-10 years, so really all I've been doing is seeing how others have gone about their rebuilds, and getting an idea of what it's going to cost. The cost is almost irrelevant to be honest, the bus owes me nothing but the rewards it will bring are immeasurable, and it will never leave the family until whichever one of my offspring is faced with that decision many years from now.

    As much as I'd love to restore her as a Sunliner - I have never seen such an early bus converted by Sunliner, and believe me I have been looking for years - the camper style just doesn't fit into what I want to do with her. I have a fairly seriously modified Nissan Patrol for family touring duties - dual Airlocker diffs, winch etc. - plus a Jimboomba camper trailer. Also got a BlackWolf Turbo 300 Plus tent, so we are pretty well covered for camping. I certainly had some great times traveling in the old bus but life is different these days so we will be doing all our serious family holidays in the Patrol, mainly for reasons of practicality and safety.

    So, the bus will basically be our local (Sunshine Coast) weekend transport - trips to the beach, to soccer games and BMX race meets, going out for dinner - stuff like that. So I'm thinking we'll be going with the Microbus treatment to allow her to seat 8 (three kids plus their besties, and mum and dad up front), and we'll swap the poptop for a big canvas sunroof from Parisbeetles. Therefore, a full set of bench seats. Do I have to have it engineered for the seats and seatbelts?

    I'll fit a cargo barrier behind the third row, and behind that will be the spare, along with a 40 litre fridge hooked up to the second battery (got a 60 litre in the Patrol). The roof rack will hold a solar panel to help keep the batteries in business.

    The Patrol has an Ironman pull-out awning on a full-length rack, and it's great to have - I will probably fit one to the bus as well. 2m long (along the bus) and 2.5m when pulled out, freestanding, and can be guy-roped down when the wind picks up. I have a rear one on the Patrol too so we'll see about a rear one on the bus. A Foxwing might be the go, in fact.

    As far as wheels go, I like the wide 5 steel wheels - it has the 14" skinnies on it, but I also have a set of widened 15" steels and I had planned to lift it and put offroad tyres on the wides... now we're going the other way and lowering it. I want 15" or 16" wheels so have been looking at the alloy options and the Empi GT-5 style looks the business to me.

    For suspension and brakes - I will definitely convert to discs at the front, and possibly all round. Still researching the options for dropping it, but I'm going to find it hard to go past the Red 9 Design wishbone front end, and perhaps the matching rear:

    [​IMG]

    Not cheap, but I fitted an RRS strut suspension front end to an old Falcon I restored, and it was superlative. It literally drove like a modern car. So I know that this sort of gear is money well spent, and once you've replaced all of the worn out bits you're halfway to the cost of stuff like this anyway. And if you get a bit silly with the powerplant you don't have to worry about the rest of the bus keeping up with the grunt :)

    If the wishbone conversion is ruled out by the Minister For Finance, we'll go coil-overs instead, but she is pretty good with this sort of thing - she had an EH Holden that she'd had restored and was riding a Triumph sportsbike when we met, so her heart is in the right place.

    And for the motor, well there has to be a limit somewhere and I'm applying it here - we'll use the twin-port 1600 that I bought at the Bargo swapmeet (the first one not held at the Bargo sportsfields due to it outgrowing the venue, it was at the AgView grounds near Camden instead) nearly 20 years ago. It was sitting on the ground, with a lawnmower fuel tank, a battery and an oil pressure gauge hooked up, the seller kicked it into life and it ran like a swiss watch so I handed over the $500 and took it home.

    The gearbox out of the Type 3 came with it. Are there any issues with using that box in the bus? I guess it won't be as strong as a bus box, but how are the ratios for pushing a brick through the air?

    And lastly, the cosmetic treatment. I think decisions on this will be left to last. I do like how she looks at the moment, and with the rust repaired perhaps this is how she will stay for a while - good paint costs so much, and I'd rather have the dollars under her than all over her. I was thinking of a few body mods - swapping the tail lights for a set of round glass tail lights out of a Commer van on my uncles property, stuff like that - but I'd hate to ruin a half decent early Lowlight, so we'll stick to original as much as possible. Obviously new window and body rubbers all round, probably with a switch to sliding glass.

    More as and when it happens...
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2013
  6. kombikate

    kombikate Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    macedon
    G'day Murray, I just completely restored the front end on my 70' wide 5 twin cab. I kept it with the original drums, added csp adjusters, and replaced eveything else from ball joints to drag links,king pin, tie rod ends, steering dampner, all brake components and bearings etc. I dropped the beam out my self and cleaned it throughly. I thought you may be interested in what it cost. The csp adjusters fitted $700, parts roughly $500. To have the beam and brakes assembled $960. So, that gives me a total of around $2200. No doubt the Red 9 design would be better in nearly every aspect, but it just depends on budget and how you use your Kombi. Looks brand new, I'll try and post some pics tonight. Cheers Shaun
     
    Squalo likes this.
  7. oldman

    oldman Super Moderator Staff Member

    Messages:
    8,463
    Location:
    Avalon Beach NSW
    Nice lookin' base !! Love the small rack on the back of the bus - that's a bit different :cool:
    Sounds like you know what you're in for...nice you have history with the bus too.
    Can't beat a Red 9 front end & as Shaun posted, by the time you add up all the bits'n'pieces plus labour etc....sometimes it's a better end result to go the whole hog straight up.
    "Quality is remembered long after the price has been forgotten", as the saying goes.......

    Look forward to the resto. Cheers, Mark
     
  8. 68BUS

    68BUS Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,434
    Location:
    Brisbane
    Sounds like you have good plans.
    If I can make a suggestion as it does not sound like you are skimping on costs.
    Instead of fitting a late model awning to the side you could go something that looks a bit more period correct.
    http://platinumtrimming.com/stand-alone-kombi-awnings/
    Thomas on here owns the blue lowlight shown in the page. The awning looks terrific.
    I think the costs are about the $1000 mark but it will look period at least.
    I think it is a fold up not a roll in one though.
     
  9. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Thanks guys for the comments and suggestions. I like the awnings you suggest Brad, will definitely investigate those.

    Thanks for the front end rebuild figures Shaun! The Red 9 system is looking good :)
     
  10. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    I bought the latest VW Australia mag today (is that what it's called, I left it at work...). Issue 38 I think. First VW mag I've bought in 20 years :)

    Anyway, it has an article on the Red 9 front end, which was timely... but when I got to the bit that said "makes the bus feel 'modern'" I got a cold chill!! Is that really what I want... I loved how it drove when we were on the road, will it be less 'fun' if I go to a modern front-end??

    I know I said earlier in this topic that I'd achieved the feel of a 'modern' car with my RRS strut conversion to an old Falcon, but that was a 1967 XR ute with a 302 Windsor V8. That vehicle really needed the gear.

    So, thoughts are flying, maybe the first thing I should do is clean up the front end and see what it's like.

    Shaun that mag I bought today made me realise who CSP are, their gear looks the business.
     
  11. kombikate

    kombikate Member

    Messages:
    97
    Location:
    macedon
    G'day Murray , here's a pic of my front end. I think your right in terms of ride, you don't want it to feel to modern. I'm a sucker for originality and feel the drum brakes will pull me up fine for a weekend cruise. Anyway if I ever get the time, I'll start a resto thread. Gotta love a lowlight though! Cheers Shaun image.jpg
     
  12. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Hi Shaun - thank you for the pic. I love seeing stuff like that, it is great motivation.

    OK, we're definitely on the fence regarding the front end... but there's plenty of time between now and when that decision needs to be made.
     
  13. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    A small step towards the mechanical side of the project - picked up an as-new parts washer off ebay for $45. Not sure where I'll fit the bugger but on the plus side I should be able to degrease an entire engine in one go :) Got my eye on an engine stand too.

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,101
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    The Red9 also fixes your steering box issues too.

    Its an all round package.

    Looks great of you have the money.
     
  15. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    I talked to the supplier about it recently and saw one under a splitty, I'll be holding my breath when I make the payment but I doubt whether I'll have buyers remorse once it's rolling under the bus :)

    I'll go with discs at the rear too, no use doing something halfway. I've decided to run the twin port 1600 I already have to get her up and running so the money that might otherwise have gone into the drivetrain can go towards the suspension and brakes now. And if we power-up down the track there's no problem with running out of handling or brakes.

    The wheels are coming off in the next week for blasting and powdercoating; even though I want to run Empi GT5s or Escras I will still want a set of stockers with new tyres so they might as well look good!

    I will want to get the hubcaps rechromed, can anyone suggest a reputable electroplater on the Sunshine Coast or in Brisbane? (Gold Coast too, will travel for a quality job).

    I have a set of stainless steel XB GT 14" dress rims that I will use as well if they'll fit, although it might be hard to resist selling them if I get them restored; they are worth a few bucks, and I might need the bucks to put into the rest of the project!
     
  16. chris taylor

    chris taylor Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,887
    Location:
    adelaide sth aust
    Hi Squalo, A kombi that drives in a straight line, ,dosn,t wander, feels like a modern day you beaut van ,no thanks, not for my money, half the fun of owning and driving a kombi is the feeling ,[ that im driving it not its driving me] and the sheer pleasure I get from doing that, if I wanted to drive a bus that good I would drive the wives new Honda Oddessy.:eek::(
     
  17. Syncro27

    Syncro27 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    6,101
    Location:
    Terrigal, NSW Central Coast
    Love this bus - where's it at Squalo? :)
     
  18. cbus

    cbus Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    sunshine coast
    Murray.
    for comparison
    A fully reconditioned front beam with decent shocks and tyres can handle well above most people s talents and be relaxed to drive.
    Obviously that's with back end also sorted.
    One set up as such suited my younger hoon days when I also drove the wifes mini LS, a realy stiff suspension P76.
    Lived in the hills of outer melbourne and drove it as hard as gravity could accelerate it downhill.

    lowering a couple of inches increases the 'car like' o_Ofeel

    I haven't driven on a red 9 but expect it would be well ahead again.

    Having a kombi that handles/ steers well and also a bigger motor does not detract an ounce from the kombi driving experience :D

    personaly I would fully sort and lower 2" with bigger rims , good tyres ,new box if ness, rear disk brakes and something like konis unless you intend to realy throw some cash at this 'projest'
     
  19. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Alas, Scott, it hasn't really progressed, other than some bits I've got in the workshop and have cleaned up and painted. Separated from the ex nearly 2 years ago and this became a low priority.

    The bus itself is still on a property nearby. However the workshop now has room for her... so sometime in the next few weeks she'll be brought down and the work will really start.

    Cheers for the info Col. I was going to bring the kids down to Aussie World on Sunday morning to catch up, but we went the other way instead, ended up on Teewah Beach in the Patrol.
     
  20. Squalo

    Squalo Active Member

    Messages:
    213
    Location:
    Sunshine Coast QLD
    Progress, of sorts... today the bus was taken from the property it's been sitting on, and relocated to a mate's place. In the next few weeks it will end up in my workshop, just deciding whether to get it sandblasted first.

    The rust hasn't been sleeping, and I was somewhat concerned that it was getting a bit beyond what I could cope with - but a mate (member Donovan here) came out for a look and set my mind at ease. He's done a few Kombi now and reckons mine is an excellent resto base. Whew!

    There's no perforation rust in any of the chassis/beams, the left front guard dogleg and left sill are also rust free. Front floorpan has some holes, rear floorpan is pretty much intact. Otherwise, rust in all the usual places (or, 'the only rust is around the holes').

    Roof is excellent. The poptop I have is different to most and has protected the roof beautifully.

    My mate lives less than a kilometre from where the bus was, on a low traffic dirt road - so we just towed it with my Patrol. First time I've 'driven' it since 1995, and boy was it fun. Anthony got us up to 35km/h (all uphill and the brakes still work!!!) and yep, it felt exactly the same as I remember it feeling :D

    Yes we dropped the roof before we departed.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2017
    Syncro27 likes this.

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