KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

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andym
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby andym » Sun Sep 11, 2016 1:02 pm

Another one completed at KCW!!
Andy In Modesto


Maybe Subaru parts could fix it?

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kevinb
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby kevinb » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:13 am

rustabus wrote:Is this Beauty going to the Utah show before it heads to the Northwest for its interior??? :-k :-k :-k

Yes...that's the plan. Although we'll probably sleep in our syncro westy on Friday night. 8-[ :-# :-$ Greg is already underway on the interior but the bus won't make the trek up until install time. Hopefully, this thread will continue with Greg posting pictures of interior build and install.

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rustabus
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby rustabus » Mon Sep 12, 2016 6:57 am

Great News!!! Keep us updated!!!!! Smile Smile Smile

campingbox
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby campingbox » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:21 pm

Let me start off by saying that '56 Westy racks are a totally different animal compared to the later racks. I think there are maybe 10-15 of the normal 55-57 sloped subhatch racks known to exist, so they can be considered pretty rare. There is only one known original front roof rack from this era - and it's for a sunroof bus. It had five legs with a single leg that comes down in the center. Clara calls it the spider rack, but I don't know where the other three legs go. "Not for sale!" I have been told many many times by the owner. He won't even let me post a photo of the thing! And he certainly won't let me look at it in person.....

Anyway, these early racks are made out of square tubing and are solid at the bottoms so they are notorious for rust. The lower feet and clamps are totally different than the '59 & later racks.

In addition to being super hard to find they are alot of work to restore. Assuming you can track one down for an obscene price, then you get to blast them and spend the next 40 hours in the metal shop cutting open and replacing the bottom 6" of the legs. Once the metal fab is done and you have them all painted up, yes, they are painted, not galvanized like the later ones, then there are 15 wood slats instead of later ones which have 13, and these slats are held on with 75 screws instead of 39. More holes, more countersinking. I used to consider restoring a westy rack to be a weekend project, but these early ones can take months. As far as restoring or reproducing a westy rack, this has to be the hardest one to do.

Anyway, Kevin has these three buses getting dolled up and no racks so he asked me to see what I could do about making a few copies.

I started out with a fairly simple piece - this is the support bracket for the uprights. Four needed per rack. They are very similar to the later ones but are a little shorter with a little bit less of a curve. I thought about finding later ones and modifying them but Kevin needs what - 30 or so of them for the three busses? That seemed like a lot of them to track down.

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campingbox
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby campingbox » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:27 pm

Next up were clamps. About a year or two ago I had tried to make a set of dies to stamp these out but I crashed and burned. I read some books on diemaking and got a few ideas on how to approach it differently.

They are a little over 3mm thick, so it's not the easiest material to bend.

The silver painted piece in the middle is an original.

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The original one is sandwiched in the middle.

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campingbox
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby campingbox » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:32 pm

Next up were the rack feet. I studied all of the early racks I had, and determined that no two were perfectly identical. I knew Kevin needed 32 or so for these for the three buses and I really didn't want to make them all by hand, so I developed a series of dies to stamp them out and weld them together.

The new one is sitting in the middle - originals to either side.

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campingbox
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby campingbox » Fri Jan 06, 2017 3:42 pm

With that done I started working on bending the tubing. I tried a number of different off the shelf benders but none of them were delivering the look I wanted. I then build my own bending tools and got frustrated and the project stalled for a few months. I finally came up with a method that duplicated the look of the original pieces - and did this without making them look like they rolled out of a machine. The idea here was to match the distortion and tooling marks of the original pieces as best we could.

You can see in this photo how the inside leg is caved in. I'm not sure why Westfalia did this - I'm no engineer but it might be for strength. When I first started I thought it might just be distortion caused by bending but I had no problem bending square tubing with almost no distortion - the real challenge was to bend the tubing and have the same distortion as the originals legs.

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Here's two original racks and a front and rear set of legs for Kevin's '56.

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Cleaned up and hung up for primer.

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Originals were painted with red oxide primer with silver paint on top.

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Franz
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby Franz » Fri Jan 06, 2017 4:13 pm

Nice attention to detail Greg. =D>

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vwfool
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby vwfool » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:11 pm

Holy crap, those are nice. =D>

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jb
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby jb » Fri Jan 06, 2017 8:52 pm

Very impressive work Greg! =D>

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Tyzel
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby Tyzel » Sat Jan 07, 2017 7:02 am

Wow, nice work Greg!

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OGPaint
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby OGPaint » Sat Jan 07, 2017 9:31 am

Great job so far Greg, it's obvious how much effort has gone into this project. Gorgeous

JRW
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby JRW » Sun Jan 08, 2017 12:03 pm

Those look awesome Greg I remember you telling me about those ,cool to see them done

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john jones
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby john jones » Mon Jan 09, 2017 5:34 am

Awesome Greg and Crazy attention to detail... =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>

tranny is somewhat in there. Wink Ms Monroe looks happy.. =D> =D> =D> =D> =D>
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I feel like a campfire in the rain.. :-&

campingbox
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Re: KB's 56 Spring Frame Westfalia *driver*

Postby campingbox » Thu Jan 19, 2017 2:34 pm

Thanks!

I painted the legs flat silver.

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Clara & I milled up some slats. Lots of holes!

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Mocked up a front rack to get ideas for wood length. This rack will need slats that are just a little bit longer.

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I straightened out some scrap tubing and built a rack to hold the slats during finishing.

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Pretty hardwood.....

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First coat done.

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