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 Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build thread) 
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Post Upper door lip seal
Another evening, another project.

This is one that's supposed to be easy, and great improvement for the effort, cheap, and all that jazz. My experience was a bit otherwise.
88-91 Vanagons got an extra seal on the doors that earlier ones did not. It covers the gap between the door and the A Pillar from the glass line up, basically.
It's supposed to make a vast improvement in cabin noise to add this seal to your earlier model van as well.
and, well, it's pretty cheap anyway:

http://www.gowesty.com/product-details.php?v=&id=23590

And looking at the job, it *seems* like it should be easy. Just add some 3M adhesive, and slip it on the door, right?
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no.

Holy shit, this was a MOTHERFUCKER. Heed my advice - if you decide to do this job it may just be better to wait until you're doing the whole door seal, then put this one on BEFORE the main seal goes in.

Had to improvise to get the lip of the door seal out of the way:
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Once that is done, you find that you must somehow hold back the inner part of the main door seal that's down in the channel, wile trying to slip the Lip Seal on, and get the main to ride up over it, without pushing it back off.
UHG.
I never did figure an easy way to do this. It was just plain hard. all the way down. I eventually did find a Samba thread (too late) where a guy took an old credit card and slipped it between the door seal and the metal lip. This allowed him to slip in the new seal between the two then pull the credit card out. But was still a mess.
and, what better analogy than to use an actual credit card, eh? lol

After about an hour of cursing, one seal on:

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Driver's side - and how it looks with a frontal view
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it still leaves a hell of a gap though.. and reviews on from the Samba thread are mixed. I have a feeling that most people experiencing "dramatic improvement" are really just masking already shitty condition main door seals.

We'll see I suppose
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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Thu May 12, 2016 1:20 pm
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Post New Poptop seal
Work marches on this week! Thankfully it stopped raining just long enough to put up another Christmas gift - a new German one-piece poptop seal from Van-Cafe.
My old repop was the 2-piece variety, where the flat bit that goes up around the luggage carrier is a separate part. The repop also has metal clips embedded in the channel that fits onto the flanges. No glueing necessary. Well, some of you may have noticed but mine has been falling apart for a couple of seasons.

When I went to fit the new one is of course when I realized I needed a glue. Amazon Prime to the rescue:
http://amzn.com/B00063X38M
This is also what I used to glue the new upper door seals in place the 5oz tube is plenty.

I set to work with a few clamps to help hold the seal in place:
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One lesson learned about the 1-piece seal: there's no room for error. I started at one corner and worked up over the top, and when I got to the other side things were REALLY tight. oops.

When I went to start on the back and sides, I decided to test-fit the entire length.
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Things get really tricky around the back. In fact I started there, in the middle and worked my way out to the corners. Those bends are a real motherfucker.
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finally got it all worked on
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It's a good idea to have a shop towel handy.. I soaked one end in a bit of solvent to clean up any spills, and the dry end I stuffed into my pants pocket so it stayed handy while I worked on a step-stool.
Also handy is a thin screwdriver or pick tool, which you use to run along the upper edge of the seal to "flip it out" flat.

With the rear in place, I pulled down the sides about 1/2 at a time and glued in
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Job done!
Left the clamps on overnight so that it set up in place
Image

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Mon May 16, 2016 1:28 pm
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Post Sound deadening
So another ongoing job through the last week has been some sound deadening, since I have the doors torn apart anyway.

For this job I selected a couple different products to test out. One, a generic mat from Summit Racing:
http://www.summitracing.com/parts/sum-879014

and "FatMat Rattle Trap XTreme" which I sourced through Amazon:
http://amzn.com/B00DYAF9FY

One thing that jumps out is that the Summit Racing no-name stuff is 2x as expensive per Sq ft @ $5.16
The FatMat kit is $2.52, with free shipping (if you're a Prime member), and the FatMat is about twice as thick, and comes with a roller, and uses "X" for XTREME! so, you know it's balls yo.

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Also, while working with these flat materials and doing lots of cutting, having that old rug on the garage floor was out fucking standing. Walsh knows some shit.

One gripe is how the stuff comes packaged - the Summit Racing mats were folded in half, leaving a wrinkly line down the middle. The FatMat came rolled up in a tube, leaving wrinkly lines down the whole damned piece.

On the front doors I used the Summit stuff, since it was lighter and a little easier to work with as a 1st try. One common sight you see all over the web, and the Samba even, is people blanketing every square inch of their car in this shit, like they're shielding the damned thing from cosmic rays or something. NOT NECESSARY! All you want to do is deaden those big flat drummy panels where you can. Only as little as 25% coverage is needed. Just knock around with your hand and where ever it goes Bonk! instead of Thud, try to apply a piece there.

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The Vanagon front doors are thin, and really hard to get stuff back in there. It's also highly dependent on a good bond as well, so where ever you do put it, you've got to be sure you can also get in there and really press it on. The kit comes with a plastic roller on a handle, but for other tight areas you can also use the rounded end of a screwdriver handle or something to press it on. It doesn't have to look good, just stick.

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And stick it does! holy shit! this stuff is sticky as all hell. There's not many 2nd chances if you lay it down wrong. It will even stick to it's own release paper if you accidentally put pressure on it.

The inner skins of the front doors are pretty rigid on the Vanagon. all the edges are rolled, and there's a lot of indents and details pressed in. so I didn't use a lot.

On the slider however, there's BIG areas of wide flat panel that are un-reinforced. And several areas of inner skin that just end w/out an edge roll. I used the thicker FatMat product here. The thickness makes it harder to work with around bends, but nothing too bad.
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Again, just knock around and get it where you can.

Also did some treatment over the engine. Here is one area where I really did go a little nuts, as most "road noise" is actually tire noise bouncing around in the wheel wells. So you want good coverage there. Also you'll note that in my van, there was nothing there from factory. Even in splits, don't we get the tar-paper strips? Vanagons seemed to be hit or miss if they got any sound deadening treatment back here.

I did one layer in the valleys
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Then a top cover:
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The engine lid gets some treatment as well
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The engine lid is already really damned heavy as it is, and I saw no need to increase that even more. it's a very "Dead" panel. So on top I covered only in a thermal layer and finished the edges with Aluminum tape.
The thermal product is "Reflectix" insulation - a double later of bubble-wrap like material, backed in foil
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I put another thermal later over the rest of the engine bay, using up a scrap of foil/cloth material I had leftover from the fuel tank blanket and trans hump
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One thing is that the Reflectix stuff cuts really easy and is great to work with. The foil/"blanket" stuff is a bitch to cut!

The underside of my engine lid really needed some work too. The plastic sheeting protecting the batting inside has been badly compromised for .. ever.
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The insulation is held in by a wire spring loop I pulled out by hand, then just pull out the insulation panels. Man were they gross - and weighed about 15lbs each!
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I used the old pieces as a template to cut a few layers of Reflectix
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3 layers did the trick, and secured with the OEM wire loop. Damned thing is crazy lighter! LOL
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All buttoned up
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Got some deading into the rear hatch too:
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and then a few layers of thermal, using the Reflectix material again, affixed with a Loctite spray adhesive I used on the fuel tank blanket
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and in the slider door as well
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Results are immediate. it's easy to see how people can get carried away with the sound deadening stuff. But blanketing the whole car just isn't needed. There's a point of diminishing returns.

The Reflectix stuff is pretty neat too, and I see it used a lot on theSamba build threads. A couple laters thick, and you can't feel any heat transfer from the outside panel. I need to take some measurements with my IR thermometer for fun.

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Mon May 16, 2016 2:01 pm
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
Looks good. I've got quite a bit of that foil backed bubble wrap stuff in my bus. Two layers thick on the roof, used a layer of the sticky mat and a layer of the bubble in the long side, cargo doors, rear hatch and front doors. It makes my doors sound more solid when closing and insulates the inside nicely in summer and winter, of course also does the cut down on road noise job too. My wife used to get rolls of the foil bubble wrap for free from the hospital. They use if for disposable coolers for transporting donor organs or something.


Tue May 17, 2016 9:01 am
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Post New Door Panels
Work continues on a few random things. The lack of good window seals, and that someone ripped out my vapor barrier on the doors at some point meant that my OE door panels were pretty much toast. Warped, and the holes for the clips damaged all over the place. New ones were in order.
Replacement upholstered panels are quite spendy it turns out.. but GoWesty offers a complete ABS panel replacement kit. Water impervious, yo!
They're pretty damned spendy as well, but not as bad as a good upholstered one.

Now that I have all the door innards the way I want them, it was time to button up.

Put a protective baffle behind the door speakers
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Back side of the GW panel - comes pre-marked for the various cutouts you may need. Manual vs power windows, speaker or not, etc. You just complete be cutting out what you need
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I added a layer of Reflectix and finished off the edges with aluminum tape. Also gave myself a speaker upgrade while I was in there
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Passenger door buttoned up. I didn't spring for the extra cost of the "delux" fasteners, and I may have fraked myself. The "standard" ones are just a simple plastic screw and toggle type anchor, but it's clamping power leaves a lot to be desired. Especially with the added thickness of the insulation and speaker baffle..
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Here you can see where the top edge isn't really held in as good as it should be. One good tug and those anchors pull right out. :/
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Driver's door with my power mirror switch in place. No more map pocket, as it disintegrated trying to salvage it from the old panel. part NLA
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I didn't take a pic of the slider door panel, but it's REALLY not holding on .. the row of 3 anchors through the middle of the panel do nothing at all. I'll either have to see if I can order a few "delux" anchors or just figure out an alternative on my own.

I'm also doing some other work in prep for the alarm system I've had on the shelf for years. Most people mount these in "all the empty space" behind the glove box, but instead of empty space I had this pile of crap:
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No one could tell me what the hell it was. However, after some lengthy investigtion, and deduction on my own, I determined that all this at one time had something to do with the factory optional gas heater for the Canadian market.
I spent an entire evening removing it all, and fishing out the whole harness. a bunch of it went over to the electrical panel and to various dash switches.. had to reverse-engineer it all, then spend a 2nd evening getting all the effected switched wired up as if it never existed..
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I was left with a lot of mystery crap on my electrical panel
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Since it was all down and torn up, I decided to take advantage and clean up several old projects and add in some new ones in a cleaner way. I began by removing any panel sockets that were no longer in use.
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Using the old sockets, and some I salvaged from all that crap that came out from the passenger side, I re-did my headlight and fog light relays to fit into OEM sockets that snap into the panel, re-wired my old headlight relays properly, and connected several other aftermarket accessories as if they would have been from the factory. EG - my cruise control is now wired into the panel as if my van came with cruise from the factory, and is fused thusly.
I also have any backlit accessories wired into the panel off the factory panel-dimmer port.
Fog light relay is energized by the parking lights power from a port on the back of the panel.
I also ran battery hot and key-hot (X-bus load controlled) power wires over to the passenger side for future use.
And installed my new relays in a tidy, logical order at the top.. (should pre-wired a horn relay for future use, but oh well)
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And just for fun, since I had it all down I wired in some LED courtesy lighting to the front footwells. They draw power from one of the headlight-triggered ports on the back of the panel.. fused to the lic plate light circuit I believe..
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Got a few other things going on still.. but this is the bulk of it the last few days.

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Tue May 24, 2016 1:55 pm
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
In the meantime be careful with that slider panel until you get it fastened better. The panel was missing on my old Adventurewagen, I found a really nice color matching cloth one, but couldn't get it to stay down all the way tight. Before I could figure out a better attachment, kids yanked the door open and broke the backing board on the rear edge. It was still usable later when I fixed it better, but not as nice as it was.


Wed May 25, 2016 12:47 pm
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
Willeye wrote:
In the meantime be careful with that slider panel until you get it fastened better. The panel was missing on my old Adventurewagen, I found a really nice color matching cloth one, but couldn't get it to stay down all the way tight. Before I could figure out a better attachment, kids yanked the door open and broke the backing board on the rear edge. It was still usable later when I fixed it better, but not as nice as it was.


10-4.
It comes really close to hitting the rear wheel well flare with it not following the curve of the door. I got some 8mm "plastic rivets" ordered now, which are longer than the crap mollys they came with, and hopefully have some more gripping power.

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Fri May 27, 2016 10:02 am
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Post ECU wiring clean-up
So here's a job that has shamefully gone un-done since the day I finished the Subaru conversion. All the Subie ECU, harness, relay and fuse bits have just been dangling around under the back seat all this time.

Image

I've just had it all wrapped up in a blanket and then padded with my spare towels and whatnot I keep under there for emergencies. uhg.

Started by figuring out roughly where I wanted everything to go. I had originally intended to mount it all up vertically on the side like the VW unit, but the bulk and flexibility of this huge bundle did not leave me comfortable making bends like were needed. I wound up laying everything out flat on the floor panel, and used some leftover IKEA brackets I modified to hold down the ECU securely, and then used nylon cable anchors to keep some of the other bits in place.

Image

There are 3 inline blade fuse holders, which are supply voltage to a starter relay, and low-voltage supply to the electronic circuits.. I thought long and hard about ways to mount them up somewhere easily accessible.. even cosidered cutting them out and adding in an actual fuse panel somewhere.. but eventually decided not to tempt fate, and left it as-made by Tom. I haven't had a fuse go out in 3 years, why would i suddenly need quick and frequent access now?

Thanks to Ted, I was reminded of the old heater I had removed to gain the storage space.. and it turns out that heater cover was fairly easy to modify and re-purpose into a new ECU cover! I also took some time to make a quick and dirty "fill in" panel for the bottom where it was factory cut for the heater core.
I left the wire connector in place so that I could hijack the wires from the dash to the seat for other purposes, w/out having to make new runs or drill new holes.

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I notched out the top to give the main harness a little more wiggle room for the bends, and another to leave the OBDII diagnostic port easily accessible. In the last pic you can see my Bluetooth dongle I leave in, so I can use my phone or tablet as a gauge display (and run diagnostics from it as well of course). Also mounted near the OBDII is Tom's "emulation board" which I need to access for fine-tuning at times. I keep getting an EVAP/fuel system code thrown, and that is adjusted by a tiny surface-mount POT on the board.

So, not quite what I had envisioned at the start, but I'm pretty happy with the results anyway. It's certainly better than having everything just balled up loose down there!

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Fri May 27, 2016 10:20 am
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Post A new year... a new Horror
One of my most dreaded, and procrastinated on projects for the Sycro has been to remove the whole kitchen unit and make some tweaks on it, as well as take the opportunity to address whatever rust and insulation issues I find lurking behind it. Also install the Propex furnace Diane got me a year or so back..

I've long known there were issues.. with the typical Vanagon seam rust bubbling up, and the big ole' hole in the window frame of the middle window.

A week or two ago, I finally pulled out the kitchen unit..

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THE HORROR...

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yeah, so this was WAAAY more out of hand than I thought.. complete rot-through.
the insulation had also been turned into a mouse condo in that area as well..

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I've long debated on what to do about my service hookups.. We've *NEVER* used the city water or the outside water fill, and with the 12v Truckfridge I no longer need the Dometic flue vent either.. These seem to me just more places for water to get where it shouldn't in an area already prone to severe rot.
also as this van is from the Canadian market, it's got the weird electric hookup port down low.. they just dropped the center hookup panel down and left the others up high with a gap in between.. it really lights my OCD on fire to see it!

Image

I think that with all the work already needing to be done, I'm just going to have them all filled in except for the electrical. I'm not going to keep the huge 30A cable that coils up in the cabinet though.. I think I'll just make it into a dongle and use a more compact extension cord like everyone else.. and hide a plug for my portable solar panel in there as well..

Now the trouble will be finding a shop to do this work for me economically and reliably!! I don't have the time to take off work and go all over town getting estimates, doing drop-offs, etc. M-F 8-5 only.

I'll be dropping the van off with Jason soon for a laundry list of other jobs, but he doesn't do paint / body work of this nature it seems. uhg..

One thought I had is to do the bed-liner treatment around the lower body like some have done. I actually like the look of it.. and it means that any bodywork done won't have to be 100% perfect either.

thoughts?

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:25 pm
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
Brian,
Mark down in Rolla ownes a body shop..he is a bus guy. Has a syncro also. He is or did repair Steve's "rocky" after bnnta wreck I believe

Also the body/paint guy at B&C does good work as well.

I know neither are local..but all vw folks..not really that far away.

My .02


Fri Mar 17, 2017 8:57 pm
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
I sure like my body paint guy in Hazelwood.

Bill


Sun Mar 19, 2017 11:49 am
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Post Re: Syncro Maximo Destructo! (AKA Brian's Syncro build threa
Bill & Daniel...
Do you happen to know what your guys' hourly rates run? "Economical" would be the key word in my last posting!

Unless someone has something better, my best idea so far is to have Jason drop it at Mann's Restoration in Festus down the road from his shop when he's done with his part. Mann's did Dana's bug, and the rims & bumpers on my splitty a few years back.
Their rate is $90/hr. or at least it was at that time.

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Brian W. | St. Louis MO
'64 SO-33 Hatch-Top Westy
'73 Thing
'87 Vanagon Syncro Westy / Subaru EZ30d conversion


Mon Mar 20, 2017 8:06 am
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