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Old 06-21-2014, 03:44 PM   #1
Gonzo_Matt OP
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1965 VW Double Cab Bike and other stuff hauler

Soooo....I know there are a few VW folks here, I figured I would share my build. I was posting up about it on the samba, but honestly, those people drive me nuts.....

I have always been way into VW's. I have a 71 Westfalia camper that my dad bought when i was 4, I grew up camping in it, drive the piss out of it myself in high school and such, and my lovely bride and I left our wedding in it. I have owned somewhere around 100 various bugs, busses, thing, ghias, etc and actually own a VW shop now.

The VW I never got my hands on, but always wanted was a pickup. As a bit of history, VW (and other coachbuilders) used the bus as a base to build trucks aimed at the commercial market. They eventually grew to have 3/4 ton ratings, and innovations that chevy and ford ripped off 50 years later, like 3 door extended cabs, tailgate steps, etc.

Fast forward to 2013, I was lamenting to my wife how I wanted a double cab VW, but that they were so damn expensive. We were at a show, and after checking one out, she agreed that they are pretty badass. Her exact statement was "They won't get any cheaper, you want one, just buy one." I really couldn't argue with that logic, so I started searching.

After about a month, this dude popped up in the samba classifieds.



Now, for those who do not know, the samba is a VW forum, mostly populated with know it alls, and the classifieds are notorious for being anywhere from 50-100% over priced. It's almost like it's a competition to see how asinine your prices can be. With that backstory, I was lucky to find a truck I could afford on there, I was amazed to see it listed for roughly half the going rate of similar trucks.

I got in touch with the seller 15 min after it was listed, we had a long conversation, and he was convinced that my intentions were to look for a truck to build and keep, and that I was not trying to make a quick buck. The truck was in very solid shape, but had been wreck and repaired. The repairs were done to a decent quality, but it would take a large investment to make it roll through barrett jackson for $100k. Basically, it was exactly what I was looking for, didn't need a ton of rust repair, was complete, but was still rough enough that I could load it up with scrap or firewood and not feel bad.

The problem was, it was 660 miles away, and we had my son's first birthday party to plan and get ready for (we just added onto our house and I was trying to button it up).The seller stepped up as an awesome guy and was cool with me waiting over a week to grab it up, even though I am quite sure he could have sold it much quicker. We struck a deal, and I was on my way to owning my dream truck.

A week and 2 days after I sent a deposit, I hooked my trailer up, picked up my buddy Tom, and we hit the road at 5:30 am. After some Waffle House, a slight incident at a toll booth crossing the Hudson, and a whole lot of driving, we arrived in Rhode Island.

We made quick work of loading the truck, checked out the sellers nice Single Cab VW, and hit the road for home.



All I really remember about the trip home is chatting with people about VW's at fuel stops and stopping for a couple of 20-30 min naps, otherwise, it was one of those experiences where you just count the mile markers and everything just turns into on big blur of white lines, up hill down hill, pass a semi, construction zone, pass a truck, be passed, fuel up, white lines....

Eventually, we made it home at 7am the following day. I fell asleep for a few hours, then went out to admire my treasure.

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Old 06-21-2014, 03:59 PM   #2
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After sorting thorough was was included with the truck, I began to see how big I had scored. It came with pretty much all of the hard to find parts, like the rear seat, truck only fuel tank, most of the glass, and most importantly, the drop down bed side gates, which are stupid expensive to replace

I ended up stuffing the truck into my garage, where it sat from August until April of this year, when I decided I needed to get it rolling and set a deadline of July to have it on the road. There are some rough areas on the body, but like I said, I want to use it as a work truck, so the plan was for a cheap paint job that was easy to maintain. The truck originally was Arctic White (boring), I wanted it to be a brighter color, but still maintain the old truck feel and be somewhat legit. I decided on Krylon Satin Jade, which is very close to a stock VW color, and available from amazon for $25 a case shipped. I ordered up a few cases and got to work stripping off the rust and house paint....

Various parts, like the entire interior, had been sandblasted then just left to rust, so I used a combination of phosphoric acid, wire wheels and sanding discs to strip and treat it.

I attacked the interior first. Unfortunately, I destroyed my cell phone and all the photos of this process are kaput. IT was pretty boring anyhow.


I also decided that I was tired of pushing it around my shop on dollies and spent an hour getting it running. It has a bus tank it in now, but I also have another tank which I assume is correct for the trucks, I left the bus tank until I can get the other one cleaned out and POR 15 the tank area.

I pulled the filter screen, cleaned out the pick up, tossed a battery in it and gave it hell. It fired after I poured fuel down the carb, and after some quick diagnosis, I replaced the gummed up fuel pump and carb with ones I had on the shelf, and it settled down into a nice idle and responded quick when I hit the throttle. I dropped it in gear and drove it out of the garage on it's own power....what a great feeling.

Here she is with krylon satin jade on the nose, and ready to do the damn thing.

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Old 06-21-2014, 04:01 PM   #3
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More progress, front bumper assembled, painted, installed. Dash painted and going together.


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Old 06-21-2014, 04:05 PM   #4
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That looks like a super fun project!
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:22 PM   #5
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ooooohhh buddy, i'm in... thesamba prices are a joke!
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:28 PM   #6
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Subscribed! Good luck.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:28 PM   #7
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At this point, the engine needed to come out. While it ran great, and didn't leak a drop of oil, I was fairly sure that it had a mouse condo in the cooling tin, and the transmission mounts need replaced. Out it came (took almost 14 minutes, I was off my game). I stripped the cooling tins and found the aforementioned mouse nests, some purple power and a power washer cleaned it up, I rattle canned the cooling tin, and just happened to have the correct distributor in my parts stash(it had a crappy aftermarket one). So it now sits on the bench, awaiting the transmission mounts to arrive in the mail.




After I had the engine ready, I decided to put the windshields in. Mostly so I don't break them. This idea struck me Thursday afternoon and I fought the seals for a solid hour and a half, to the point that I was completely pissed. The windows use a rubber seal, the glass goes into a channel in the seal, then the whole thing goes in the bus. I could not for the life of me get the damned seal to stay on the glass. I finally called it a night and started drinking rum.

Middel fangers...



Friday morning, i went out to the garage with a fresh mind and the seals practically fell onto the glass.... I normally like help to install glass (one person on either side) but decided to give it a shot and had both windshields in in under 5 minutes.....sumbitch...





Satisfied with my victory, I moved on to the front suspension and steering. One of the spindles was boogered up, however, I had managed to procure a replacement (yay). These use a king and link pin set up, It is stupid simple, and a friend of mine rebuilds them, so off they came and into a box to get shipped off for new bushings and bearings.



I continued my day yesterday by painting the insides of the drop gates with good old fashioned rustoleum enamel. I figure it is as good as most any other option, thick as hell, and easy to touchup. I slapped a nice coat on them, then jumped on my Versys and hauled ass to my nephew's birthday party.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:33 PM   #8
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I hate you.....
















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Old 06-21-2014, 04:40 PM   #9
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This morning I dropped my wife off at the airport, she is going to be out of town for work until wednesday...did I mention we have a 2 year old son? We have a 2 year old son, so my garage time is kinda limited the next few days to when he is napping.

Sooo...while he napped today, I knocked some shit out.

I wanted to get the gates back on so that they would be out of my way. Several of the mounting bosses (basically floating captive nuts inside the body crossmembers) had bolts broken off in them. No real easy way to replace them, and using an easy out and some heat failed pretty miserable. I ended up drilling them, then realized I don't have crap for metric taps here....so...in the spirit of old school VW people just making shit work, I redrilled and tapped all the bosses to 5/16-18 and bolted the gates ups.



Fancy black paint...



Bitching tailgate step...eat it ford, VW had this locked down in the 1960's...



I also scored a crappy chrome nose emblem off my buddy today, a few coats of paint and it was looking tasty...

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Old 06-21-2014, 04:42 PM   #10
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I'm heading out to take the boy to the park now to wear his little ass out, if he falls asleep at a reasonable hour, I'll spend some more time on this damn thing.
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Old 06-21-2014, 04:45 PM   #11
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Thanks for the kind words, this is a quick and dirty, get it on the road thing. This winter I am taking on my original paint 65 eleven window bus. Putting it on air ride....

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Old 06-21-2014, 05:23 PM   #12
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NICE! I love the build progress.
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Old 06-21-2014, 05:36 PM   #13
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Nice.
Thanks for sharing.
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Old 06-21-2014, 06:55 PM   #14
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Wow, that is bad ass.
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Old 06-21-2014, 08:12 PM   #15
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Nice! Reminds me of Mustie1's rebuild of a 1959 single cab on Youtube (if you want to kill a whole day...)
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