It's ugly but it works and it's definitely strong enough!
Simple plate for the front step was a lot more tricky than it should have been
Template was fine, patch was ok but I had trouble with the plug welds. No matter what I did they'd mess up, cold weld, spatter etc. Then it started raining so I tried to get the job done in a hurry and that patch went in and out half a dozen times....
Until I realised what was happening. I'd run out of gas! First time I have experienced that, next time I'll know what to look out for.
Again, it's ugly but it's in. It will be covered in underbody stuff and the top is under a cover anyway so looks are less important.
Next job is the front wing and door sill. I'm not replacing the entire wing section. To do that I'd have to take the door off and I'm not doing that in this weather. So Im going to replace the least possible, probably only a few inches.
remember any welding within 30cm of any seat belt mounts suspension any structural points etc
need to be fully welded if parts of panels are being fitted from a MOT point of view keep up the good work
Last T4 i had was 6 years ago a 1996 reg 2.4 diesel LWB never had any welding done but that was a mini bus
worst part was the front arches and sills needed re painting by now i would think it will have needed welding though
I'm following too!! I have several mates with ageing T4's and a bit of a soft spot for them too, even tho I have the LT None of them have welders so this thread is very informative! Keep up the good work!
I replaced both front wings on a t4 a few years ago but don't remember having to take the doors off to do it. The front bumper had to be removed to gain access to a couple of bolts, van was a P reg (96)
Thanks guys. Rain stopped play. I don't need to replace the bolt on front wing, just the small section of wheel arch which runs around the door opening. The side door plate works fine but I will need to adjust the bottom roller. It has bent up over the years so the wheel doesn't "reach the ground" at that point. Looks like it rusted through because the bottom of the roller carrier was scraping along the wheel track. mIght just need taking off, straightening and adjusting.
Uhmmed and ahhed about how to connect the wing piece to the door sill and eventually decided to chop the sill in half and use only the first few inches of arch. I could then join them under the door. It was a right fiddle getting the arch piece right, then I had the brilliant idea of slicing through the door sill and the van at the same stroke, meaning I'd get a "perfect 1mm gap.
Oh. Err. WTF!
Those sheet clamps are 5mm too big for the door runner so lifted the sill up when I set the clamp. Dammit!
TIGged it back on.
Then sliced off too much. Again.
Since I had the TIG fired up I put some side extensions on the B pillar insert.
And started lining it up with that tiny fillet. You would not believe how long it took to get those things to line up side by side. That tiny little triangle bit took forever to get right.
MIGged it on with lots of spot welds.
Then did the same with the B pillar insert.
Before starting to grind off all the excess. As it happens, I started off by grinding into my finger through my new gloves.
It's worse than it looks. I wondered where all the blood was, it didn't bleed much at all but it is deep!
Finally ground off the weld to roughly smooth the panel. Being careful not to get too much heat into it or nick my fingers!
Then just flash it over with some primer in case the rains cometh.
Not wanting to make the same mistake twice, I was a lot more careful with lining up and marking out the cut.
But I still got it wrong. The two profiles are different enough that getting them to line up means one of them is going to distort. So I tacked them up for now and I'll fettle them later, possibly with a TIG puddle with a backing piece.
But it's getting there and at least I'll be able to work on that panel in the shed if its raining again tomorrow. Also probably refit the fuel tank now most of the welding is done in that area.
While I was there at the BOC shop, I bought some 0.8mm wire and tips among other stuff. The Autostar has an adjustable size feed roller so I set it up with that and the new bottle of gas, set to 5lpm with a peashooter gauge.
If I could do a weld like that every time, I'd be happy! It's so much easier with the chunky wire because you can go a bit slower, the arc seems to stabilise immediately and the heat seems to stay within the puddle more. With the thinner wire, you'd have to get the target good and hot before it would puddle or even begin to weld. Apart from a few spots, there wasn't much more to do and I finished it off double quick.
Quick flash over with primer after an even quicker grind and that'll do for the Mot man.
It's ok for a workhorse van but I know even I could do a lot better. Maybe I'll be able to prove that with the other side. Actually, thinking about it, there are a couple of small jobs around the sliding door. Maybe have a crack at those next dry day.
The shadow line is a giveaway, I honestly didn't see it until I posted the pic. I might have a go at pulling it out or I might just fill it in, that's not critical. I need to get the underside smothered in goop and refit the fuel tank. It can stay in place for the offside wheel arch and door sill etc.