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Tag Archives: VW Caddy

  • DIY Spray On Bed liner How-To.

    Trucks are initially designed by the auto manufacturer with the idea of using it as a workhorse. They give you proper rated tires, heavy duty leaf springs, etc. right from the factory. But with most trucks, they only paint the bed with the same paint as they do the exterior of the truck. This looks great on the dealer lot, but the first time you attempt to actually "use" it as a truck, you will find that the paint chips and comes off quite easily. This then leads to rust in the bed that can eventually spread (mental note: "Rust=Bad"). A bed liner is by far, the best solution for any truck that you plan to carry any cargo with.

    For those following at all over the past few months, I spent a good portion of my summer restoring an old VW Rabbit pickup truck. Now after painting the exterior of the truck and detailing the undercarriage and engine bay, I had the truck looking much better than it did when I first got it. The only nagging issue was that the finish inside the bed of the truck wasn't fitting the part. Even though I plan to only use the bed for carrying minor loads (maybe a junkyard trip or two with it), I still wanted a finish that would allow for the bed to stay looking good. I also wanted the finish to be tough enough for me to load "stuff" in there if need be.

    I ended up choosing a kit we offer called "Shake and Shoot Bedliner Kit". This kit is designed to be extremely user friendly. In this case I wanted something I could do in an hour or two, and not waste the entire day.

    I had never done a spray on bed liner on my own before, so I decided to be overly cautious and mask and plastic off the entire back end of the truck. I wanted to take every precaution to keep from a mistake getting bed liner on my fresh paint!

    Here is what the bed looked like to start off.

    I then took a wire brush and brushed out any loose surface rust and paint. Even though the bed liner will stick to most anything, you still want the base you are spraying to be as solid as possible. I then followed up with Rust Converter on any of the areas with heavier rust. Once the converter had fully done it's job, I hit those same areas, and the rest of the surface rust with Rust Encapsulator to stop and seal any further rust from occurring under the bed liner. I know that we preach it a lot here at Eastwood, but making sure you prep the work area correctly, will definitely make the final product that much better.

    Once all of that was taken care of, I went overly cautious with my masking off the back half of the truck. Anytime you are painting, there is no harm in masking off an area a little more than you will need. This keeps any chance of getting over spray where you don't need it. I used some plastic sheeting and painters tape to get it all covered up. Keep in mind that the areas you tape off close to the edges of the bed will be where the bed liner will stop. I decided to "hard edge" the top of the bedsides with the painters tape along with just below the rear window. This would allow me to keep the nice green paint I sprayed in those areas in tact, and leave a nice contrast with the black bed liner.

    The products needed to do this job are pretty minimal. I choose this kit just for that reason. Aside from the Shake and Shoot Bed Liner Kit that I already mentioned, I chose to use our basic undercoating gun to apply the bed liner. This kit comes with two different extensions for applying your coating. In the end I found it was much easier to stick with the stock nozzle on the gun. It was fairly accurate, and allowed for me to keep a spare hand free to hold my airline from touching the wet bed liner while spraying. For someone with a truck with a larger bed, the extensions might come in handy to hit those hard-to-reach areas with out straining too much.

    Mixing the parts before shooting the bed liner is extremely easy. It really is as simple as the name of the product suggests. You first add enough of the "Part B" catalyst to the "Part A" can to fill up to the line they have on the label. Once it is filled, thread the cap back on the "Part A" can and shake for a few minutes until the catalyst has completely mixed in. Once it is fully mixed, you can remove the cap on the can, and thread it directly onto the undercoating gun. This is very handy, as it saves from any mess mixing and dumping the chemicals into a special container for the gun. I told you this was going to be simple right? One thing to mention, is that the bed liner has a moderately quick "pot life" after it has been mixed. It calls for about a 45-60 minute life in mid-70 degree weather. Because of this, you want to make sure that you have everything "ready to go" before you start mixing the bed liner.

    Since I had never used this particular undercoating gun and bed liner, I decided to do a test spray on some cardboard to dial in the spray pattern to where I felt comfortable. The gun is actually quite accurate with little over spray if you dial the tip in a bit.

    Once you have your fan pattern set how you like it, you are ready to spray the bed. I chose to work from the middle out as I sprayed. Once it lays, it seems to blend together pretty well. One thing to mention is that you want to make sure that you keep a pattern running the length of the bed as you spray. You don't want to spray side to side, then along the length of the bed, as it will possibly give an inconsistent finish. Once you are spraying you can also notice that the heavier you lay the bed liner on, the more textured the finish becomes. This is something you may want to pay close attention to if this is more of a "show vehicle". If you watch closely, you can keep the texture about the same through out the entire bed. I ended up using three of the four cans of bed liner on my truck. My truck is relatively small, so anyone with a much larger truck may consider purchasing two kits to be safe.

    Here you can see the bed after I had just sprayed about half the bottom of the bed.

    The light sheen of the coating can be seen immediately after I was done. If you look closely you can see a spot I had resprayed where I had gone a little light on a previous coat. This blended just fine into the existing bed liner I sprayed.

    After everything had fully cured (about 2-3 hours later), I snapped some pictures of the final look of the bed liner. You can also see in the second picture how I laid the bed liner moderately heavy to get a nice texture to the finish.

    A week later, and I can say I am very happy with the bed liner. It held up well to some engine parts I had loaded into the bed to carry around. I simply hit the bed with a power washer, and it looks just as it did when I was done. This was a nice change to some of the other major jobs on the truck I did like my Gas Tank Restoration job that I covered in August. It didn't take all day, wasn't all that messy, and I wasn't covered in stinky old fuel, so I was happy as could be!

    Feel free as always, to comment with any techniques or tips that any of you have used!

  • What's the chance?

    Anyone that has done almost any kind of automotive work can probably remember a "whoops" moment. You know the one, where it seems like your life suddenly went into slow motion. It could be the bolt you dropped down into then engine bay, or the screwdriver in your pocket that you sat down in your seats with...etc. You always look back and just have to shake your head.

    Recently for me, I had one of those moments that really ranks "up there" with some of my other "whoops" moments. On old VW Rabbits there is a timing hole in the transmission which allows for you to aim a timing light to set your ignition timing (you all see where this is going right?). The hole is slightly larger than the size of a half dollar. From the factory these came plugged with a plastic cap that threaded into the hole. Unfortunately these are almost always seized into the transmission, and the first time you go to remove them, they become brittle, and fall apart. This was the case on my VW pickup truck project. Since the truck is almost done, I just left the hole open figuring there isn't much chance of dropping anything in it. Boy was I wrong!!

    It all started with wiring up my new electric fan to the radiator, It requires me to remove the battery to get to the mounting bolts. As I walked over the truck with my mini ratchet and 10mm socket, I bent over to loosen the positive terminal, when the socket decided to slip off of the ratchet. It proceeded to bounce only once, on the edge of the battery, and "SWISH" (Imagine a NBA player hitting a game-winning 3 pointer) right into the timing hole in the transmission. All I could yell to myself was "What's the chance of that!!!". After a few angry attempts with needle nose pliers, I knew I was most likely going to have to remove the transmission, all for this one little socket. I was not pleased.

    I went into work and talked it over with a few of the guys here in our office. Being that all of us are "Car Guys", they all had a similar story of that time when they dropped something down into an engine, transmission, or just into the engine bay, only to spend days fishing it out. It then dawned on me.. we recently pulled out a old Video Scope that we used to carry in our catalog. This thing is a few years old, but still works great. I figured with the video scope, I could locate where in the bell housing of the transmission that the socket was laying. Then, I could insert a strong telescoping magnet into the hole, and hopefully lift it up out. Being a "gadget" nerd, I was all for playing with..... errr..... I mean.... "testing" the video scope!

    I am happy to report that after a few tries, and about an hour fishing the camera around in the hole to locate the socket, I was able to get it out! This was quite a relief, as I was dreading having to remove the transmission again! Along the way I snapped a few pictures. You can spot the "Stanley" on the socket on the monitor, it was all the way at the bottom front corner of the bell housing!

    What was your most memorable "whoops" moment? What did you have to do to fix it? Post a comment and share!

    Click the pictures below for the larger versions of each!

  • The cure for rusty-tank syndrome

    It's one thing to have to fight rust that is easily accessible, like on floor pans or quarter panels, where it isn't too hard to get to the problem area.  Nothing is worse than restoring a vehicle, only to find that the fuel tank you have in it is full of loose rust and coated in varnish. I recently fell victim to this exact problem with my VW pickup truck project. I had gone through quite an extensive job in getting this truck to the stage where it was almost drivable, only to be stopped dead in my tracks. If you are unfortunate (or masochistic) enough to have to go through this process, I decided to do a fairly universal "how-to" pictorial of how to go through this process.

    Now, faithful Eastwood readers, I feel that we are good enough friends that I can tell you "how it is" without sugar coating it. This job is going to be messy, dirty, and downright unpleasant. You have to figure, if the gas tank on the inside is rusty enough to cause an issue, the exterior of the tank and it's mounting points have to be that much worse. I found that that was exactly the case on my truck. It seemed like everywhere I looked, under the bed of the truck had surface rust, the outside of the tank being the worst of it for sure. As I dug into it, I found I really had to work to coax the nuts holding the gas tank straps to come off. Luckily I had grabbed a can of CRC Freeze-Off before starting on this. We just started carrying this product, and I will admit, I was a bit skeptical to say the least. I mean, come on, it "freezes" the rust off? But J.R. from our R&D fame assured me that it was the cat's meow as far as rust fighting penetrates go. So I doused the threads on the stud, and the nut itself, a few times with the freeze-off, and let it sit. After working the nut back and forth, a little tapping with a small hammer, and some baby-talk to it, I was able to get both nuts to thread off with out breaking a stud or having to cut the nut off. I would say that the freeze-off gets my approval!

    After assuring that I didn't have to cut off any nuts or mounting studs, I removed the fuel pump lines, the fuel filler hose to the tank, and any associated breather hoses. I then dropped the fuel tank down out of the truck. I've found that your average floor jack is perfect for this job. Once the tank was out, I set it on a fender stand to work on it (not before cleaning the acorns off the top of the tank!). I started by draining the fuel out completely. You can see from the picture of the pre-pump filter, and also of what was left in the drain pan, just how bad the rust and dirt inside the tank was. This was the 4th fuel filter in a matter of a week. Each time I would attempt to drive the truck and hit a bump, the filter would get clogged with more rust. Also note the pictures of the inside of the tank that I shot, if you look closely you can see the piles of rust still in the tank, along with all of that varnish! I tried to knock all the major rust off of the walls of the inside of the tank by dropping some old chain into the tank and shaking it around for a few minutes (I told you this wasn't going to be fun!). Follow all of this up by spraying the pressure washer inside of the tank, trying to flush all of that rust you knocked loose out of the tank.

    After getting the tank out and drained, I realized that I wasn't going to be able to just use our tank sealer kit and restore the inside of the tank, I was going to have to do something about how the outside looked. I decided to choose our Tank Tone Kit. This kit is made to help treat and convert surface rust on the outside of the tank and then you apply a silver coating that is fuel resistant and leaves the tank looking like the day the vehicle left the showroom. I needed to first, assess the corrosion and make sure that I wasn't attempting to restore a tank that possibly would rot out and leak after a year or two. I hit the tank with a wire brush and a metal scraper to get all of the heavy stuff off first. After checking the tank for any thin spots, I started applying the rust converter that is included in the kit. Luckily I have a small 10 gallon tank in that truck, so only one tank tone kit was necessary. I would suggest at least two kits for an average full size car or truck. Because of how extensive the rust was on the outside of the tank, I let the rust converter sit on the tank for a full 24 hours.

    I took pictures below showing how the converter progressed over this time. The last pictures you can really see how the surface has changed color of the rust all over!

    Here is the rust converter working after only a few hours on the rusty tank.

    Now here is after 24 hours with the Rust Converter working on the tank. Notice how much more of the rust has now been turned to a blackish purple color. The outside of the tank is now ready to be primed and top coated!

    This is where the process of restoring an old gas tank really begins to make you rethink why you are doing this project yourself, but I can assure you... if you stick with me, the end result is surely worth it! I used one of our Tank Sealer Kits For Cars, again two or more kits may be needed for larger tanks. I plugged the openings in the tank using tin-foil and appropriate length screwdrivers. This kept the chemicals from getting all over the place. The first step is adding a bucket of our metal wash, which has been diluted with two gallons of hot water. You then shake, and turn the tank to get the metal wash to soak into all surfaces and etch the metal. This is a process that you will be very, very good at by the end.

    After draining and rinsing the tank out, you follow up with a small amount of muriatic acid diluted in a half gallon of hot water. This acid is NASTY stuff, the bottle was smoking when I opened it... that is always a sure sign that this is not a chemical that you want to get on your skin! Again, mix the acid with the water, dump it in the tank, slosh the tank, drain, rinse. You can see how brown and contaminated the liquid coming out of the tank was still at this second step.

    At this point I tried snapping a photo showing how the inside of the tank was beginning to be etched and brought back to clean metal. Pretty neat to see, but tough to photograph!

    In the next step, you dump an entire bottle of fast etch in the tank again, to clean and etch. Once you have drained that all out, you add one small can of Acetone to clean the surface, and help evaporate any other water in the tank. Each of these chemicals are the same as the others, dump in the funnel, slosh around in the tank, drain out.

    After I got the majority of the acetone out, I let the tank sit upside down for an hour to let the chemicals evaporate inside. I then used 1.5 bottles of the tank sealer and sloshed it around in the tank. This time I took much more care, making sure all of the surfaces inside were covered and the sealer wasn't puddling or filling the center baffle. I let the tank sit upside down to avoid this and it also allowed the top of the inside of the tank to get some coverage.

    The sealer fumes are very intense, I got too close and accidentally breathed in the chemicals when trying to shoot the photo of the inside of the tank, and it made me gasp and nearly faint. The lengths I go through to get everyone a thorough DIY article took their toll that night! Crazy stuff. Subsequently I got a headache later on in the evening. Moral of this story is, DO NOT under any circumstances, breathe in, or inhale the fumes coming out of the tank after the sealer has been applied!

    The instructions then called for you to put an air nozzle in the tank and run it at at a low PSI to help dry the sealer and stop it from puddling too much. Since I don't have an air compressor at my home garage just yet, I decided to rig up the exhaust on the shop vac to circulate air inside the tank. I left it on for about an hour, and it definitely seemed to do the trick.

    Once the tank sealer had dried and there were little to no fumes remaining, I applied the Tank Tone to the outside of the tank. This really made a world of difference. I still have trouble convincing friends this is the same tank!

    As they say in the repair manuals, "installation is the reverse of removal," so I lifted the restored tank back up into the truck. Luckily it all fit back into it's home pretty easily, and I was left to admire my handy work, and reflect on the restoration process . As many can relate, sitting back and admiring your handy work can be a catch 22... while it allows you to appreciate the end result of the hard work you put into restoring something, it also allows you to see the imperfections and faults in everything around it! I now noticed all of the suspension parts, and brackets under the truck that had minor surface rust on them. Not to mention the spots on the floor beds of the cab where I had applied our Brushable Seam Sealer and I felt like those spots needed some undercoating to give that OEM finish back to the floor boards, and match the fresh look of the gas tank.

    So that begun the process of again using Rust Converter to treat and convert all of the surface rust, as well as prep the surfaces for top coats. I sealed the treated areas with Rust Encapsulator, and followed up with a top coat of our Satin Extreme Chassis Black. I felt this gave the undercarriage parts a nice understated "OEM" finish, and also gave me the piece of mind that the rust wouldn't be coming back to haunt me years down the road!

    All in all, this was a very tedious, long process. But, I am happy to report that since restoring the tank, the truck is now running well on its new engine, and is very close to being road worthy! I can't wait to hear what the exhaust shop thinks of the undercarriage of the truck when they build my custom exhaust this week!!!

    Keep up the hard work, and as usual, any and all comments, questions, and advice are welcomed here if you leave a comment!!


  • The engine is out!

    Looks like our crew over at Penn Manor got a bit of headway done on their VW truck project. Always a great idea to clean and paint parts before you put them back in the engine bay! I'll leave the details to one of the students to explain!

    Hey Matt,
    It has been a while since we last gave you an update, so we have a lot to tell you about.  We decided to pull the engine out to thoroughly clean it and to open up some area around the shock tower.  We power washed the engine after plugging any open holes, then de-greased and painted the block bright green as visible in the pictures. we are currently reassembling the engine outside the car and plan to drop the entire thing back in upon finishing rust repair.  We realized that the damage to the shock tower is rather bad and may involve replacing the majority of the wheel well, but the other rusted locations are not bad.  We would like to do as much to the body in preparation for paint, but we do not have the facilities to paint it, so we are looking for a painter. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share.  I have attached several pictures for the blog. The first is the removal of the engine, the second is the cleaning and the third is the painted engine.


    Sounds like they have a bit of rust repair to tackle on this truck. Im sure our blaster, welder, and rust coatings will come in handy!

  • May I Introduce?

    Today we are pleased to add a new section to our blog. These entries will document the storyline (as mostly written by the students) of the restoration and rebuild of a diesel VW Rabbit Pickup by students at Penn Manor High School in Lancaster, PA. We hope to help them along the with advice and some products to help their project move along. I think this will be a great chance to see them grow and hone their skills (not to mention maybe inspire some of our adult "beginners" to take on a project or two of your own!). Ill let one of the students Tyler kick it off with his background on the truck.

    My name is Tyler Newswanger, I am one of the students from Penn Manor working on the Volkswagen diesel pickup.  A basic history of our project began a few years ago when our chapter of TSA was working on creating bio-diesel.  We wanted to continue our experiments and create a larger scale operation to create bio-diesel and have a vehicle to run it through.  We wanted something that was unique and yet still usable. After searching several weeks, and several failed attempts, we were able to find our 1981 Volkswagen "Caddy."  It was in an old garage of which the owner was tearing down and had to remove the contents (see attached photos).  It was delivered to our school with needs of a replacement head gasket and repair several spots of rust damage (see attached photo of driver's side shock tower).  In the past week we have set up a schedule to work Mondays and Fridays after school and start removing the head.  We are currently in the process of cleaning parts that we have removed and finally removing the head.

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