It has been a while since my 1966 VW Bus project was introduced on the blog. House projects, other VW projects, and a 1 year old and a 3 year old have caused my progress on the Bus to be slower than I expected. During this time, I've been accumulating parts and repair panels in anticipation of working on it. Now that the other projects are out of the way, I'm back to working on the Bus.
One of the first things I wanted to tackle was stripping the paint from the lower half of the Bus to see what was hiding under the paint. To strip paint, you have several options: media blasting, mechanical removal, or chemical removal. With the large flat panels, I didn't want to chance warpage with media blasting, and chemical removal can be a bit messy, so I opted for mechanical removal using my angle grinder and these Poly-X stripping discs. Be sure to use the proper safety equipment when stripping paint like this, as dust will be in the air (respirator, faceshield, ear plugs, gloves). The Bus had 4 layers of paint and these strippings discs quickly removed the paint and body filler. I was able to strip the whole bus to bare metal, from the beltline down, in an afternoon using 3 discs.
I knew there was some body filler in spots, but didn't expect to find as much filler as was hiding under the paint. There was some minor damage under the filler, but it seems like whoever did the bodywork went a little overboard with filler. I also found a fiberglass patch in the rear apron covering up a hacked cutout to allow use of a two tip VW Bug muffler. I'll be showing how to create and weld in a patch for that repair in the near future. Now that I know what I am working with, I'll be able to properly address the damage. Stay tuned for more progress.