Author Archives: paul

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle V – Sill Part One

There was a small little hole in the sill on the front left side, but after inspecting it a little further the small little hole reveals as a dirt and rust filled water holding mess. I drilled a hole below the sill for the water to drain off, an sawed the hole into an rectangular shape:

I’ll need to learn welding of some sorts to fix that hole in the future. I am currently not owing a welding helmet, I would like to get an automatically darkening one, but these are usually above 100€ a piece. Hopefully I’ll find a cheaper solution to that.

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle I – temporary lost

I am a bit behind my reporting schedule, but several things have happened the past days. I’ll post them in chronological order.  First of all the rust on the fuel tank cap is back. I really should have used zinc and a bit more sanding on it:

I am going to use a different rust converter on it, it might help when it arrives: It is called owatrol rust converter.

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle IV: Roof

Still not easy finding before pictures, but examining the archives, i found this litte landscape of rust:


Maybe not looking that bad, but still, this is the number one location for rust on T4s – causing water flooding everywhere it can cause damage inside … Therefore it totally earned my attention in the war of rust battle IV 🙂

Clearly, this is not a professional paint job. Also it seems the white of the roof of the VW T4 is slightly brighter by age or by default, but still – it prevents one of the most vulnerable spots of rust and invading rain water.  Sadly on some spots I’ve painted the rubber seal white, which left me no choice but to paint the whole seal a bit more white than I’d have retrospectively. Anyways, the VW T4 looks a lot more worthy than before and hopefully will not develop rust issues on the handled spots soon..

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle IV: Roof - total final result

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle IV: Roof – total final result

There are two more areas to treat soon which I have been avoiding due to the required experience: sill and back right wheel case hole. I am really looking forward to solve this 🙂

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle III: left front area

Unfortunately I forgot to take real before pictures… but still the war against rust is still something really exhausting. The more I circle around the car, the more I find spots that are worth being treated against rust and future conservation. Still collecting experience my quality of removal improves every time, currently I am using a automated wire brush for most rust removal. After that I apply rust removal followed by zinc spray and undercoat before I apply several layers of color matching paint.

Still that progress leaves some transition between old and new paint, but I’ll hopefully improve that soon by gaining experience. Until then, I’ll try some polishing and maybe freestyle paint grading 🙂

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle II: trunk

It’s getting impossible to document all rust removal progress, but just to keep the blogging alive, here are some more pictures of the battle against rust on my T4.

After a few more hours of sticker removal and cheap polish, the result is amazing:


VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle II: trunk – back after treatment and polish

VW T4 Project – War against Rust – Battle I: fuel tank cap

Today I took my first approach to fight the rust on my VW T4. The previous owners tried to hide the worst spots simply by spraying white paint over it, but missing the right white color and not removing the rust beneath properly, the T4 has several spots that need a bit of work. To have an easy and reversible start I decided to begin with the fuel tank cap. It is demountable by three screws, which came in pretty handy looking at the rainy weather. Therefore I could move into the workshop and try my best to remove the rust:

For matching colors I consulted my service book and looked for the colorcode of my T4 which is 902 white grey. It’s possible to buy a can of this color at the local car parts shop for 12€ for 400ml. After applying three layers to the fuel tank cap, the spray can is still more than half full and will be used on other spots, like wind screen and sills soon.

VW T4 Project – first adjustments: digital voltmeter

During my first trip I tried to charge my devices directly from the T4s’ main battery. Over usage would have resulted in a dead battery causing the car not to start at all, which is why I needed some kind of indicator, if the battery is capable of charging my stuff: a voltmeter.

This is why this afternoon I added one into the main console, nothing really special, but as the first adjustment worth mentioning.

Also if the power consumption of the measurement devices is minimal, I added a switch to the setup as the 12V cigarette lighter seems to hot wired to the battery which would cause the battery to discharge while the measurements would be taken. Furthermore measurements during driving wouldn’t be really helpful as the tend to fluctuate depending on enabled consuming devices like headlights or windscreen wipers. It’s a simple setup, but I like switches that increase the feeling of sitting in a cockpit 🙂

VW T4 Project – first trip to Darss peninsula – Baltic Sea

A week has gone by since I bought the Volkswagen (VW) T4, no more time to waste until the first long range test of the vehicle. Most issues reveal only after a longer distance like the 600km from my hometown up to Darss an peninsula of the Baltic Sea. Accidentally this weekend Pentecost (Pfingsten) took place so I had three days to spend at the sea and avoiding usual camping sites.

Besides the pictures the VW T4 made a good impression. The new summer tires remarkably made the car less noisy. The missing cruise control lead to two tickets from speeding ( even if I usually drive slow and safe, but navigating through an unknown area with a new car and bad signposting).  I will need to wait until the fees arrive but I hope they won’t get me too hard.

In summary, the VW T4 totally passed the test of traveling a longer distance and the simplicity of its electronics might be a strength in the future 🙂

VW T4 Project – pictures from underneath

Today I had the chance at my local workshop to look at my VW T4 from beneath. Even if the pictures are taken from below a hydraulic lift, the light setup was semi optimal. But still I’d like to share the pictures for the sake of documentation:

So the bus is currently at the workshop for changing motor oil and coolant, and repairing a small corroded wire under the hood. Everything else looked quite good, before the next technical inspection, a new exhaust, new breaks in the back, some rubber seals might be necessary. Also a new diesel filter might be something to invest.

I also got some cheap tires for driving in summer about 4 years old on new steel rims which have been used only for one summer on a car. The time to use the car for traveling really comes closer day by day.

Things to be done next on my VW T4 Project

  • curtains – i have already brought magnets and special non-transparent cloth with heat reflector for that
  • building a bed (foldable from wood)
  • building a kitchen – this is required to get the T4 taxed as a camper, which is way cheaper
  • creating a power circuit that is capable of supplying my laptop and some technical gadgets that I am planning to do

Thats currently it, we’ll see whats up next 🙂

VW T4 Project – from bumpy to beauty

I recently brought a 1998 Volkswagen (VW) T4 (102PS) with an TDI Diesel engine.  In the first two years of its existence it served as a transporter for a shelf building company. During that time it drove about 90 000 kilometers. After that a local shooting association used it to transport its members to competitions. To finance the running expenses of a car multiple sponsors put there advertisements on the car which over time really lost there color and already low at start appealing experience.

By that the VW T4  gained another 210 000 kilometers and was treated like an unloved but needed pack mule.It was held in a small garage and most rusty spots got repaired by big amounts of cheap spray cans and big swipes of protective undercoating at places like the inside hood.

The car is really simple, so its easier to explain what electric components it has than to list that is hasn’t. It has air circulation, a radio and a small version of a pre-heater. It lacks of an airback, ABS, ESP, air conditioning, CD, MP3,  particle filter, navigation…. But the brakes where ok, the cambelt at point of being bought had about 45 000 kms left, and after two days of scratching and cursing it really gained some temporary beauty levels:

I am currently rebuilding the insides of the T4 to match the German regulations of being a camper. This would be really nice as it saves taxes and insurance policies a lot, but decreases the amount of available seats (which is currently 9) to about three to four.

I am exited where this journey will lead, but I surely will document all the technical improvements on my beloved old VW T4 called Rudi Rumpel.