VW Syncro Westfalia - Build Log with Pics

Discussion in 'Shiny Things' started by Hodakaguy, Jun 25, 2012.

  1. rider1150gsadv

    rider1150gsadv € Fl Keys Fishing Guide €

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    Florida Keys/Ft Likkertail , USA
    Fantastic build and attention to detail!!
    Congrats!!!
  2. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,112
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    Getting ready to install the truck fridge. The Truck fridge is a modern fridge with a modern compressor that will actually keep food cold! The original fridge is marginal at best. The truck fridge will give slightly more capacity than the OEM fridge and is shorter as well...allowing storage, electronics mounting etc under the fridge.

    First up...change the color of the fridge. The fridge comes only in black, I decided to change the color to grey to match the rest of the interior and make a more "factory" looking install.

    A couple pics of the fridge as it comes from the factory.

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    A red Scotch Brite Pad is used to scuff all the plastic and metal painted surfaces so the new paint will adhere properly. Here you can see the difference between the scuffed and non-scuffed plastic.

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    Everything is scuffed, masked, cleaned and ready to paint.

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    Here's the paint that I used. It's SEM plastic paint, this paint remains flexible and adheres well to plastic.

    SEM 15183 matches the factory grey trim color almost perfectly.

    SEM 13023 is a low luster clear that will make the grey the same sheen as the factory rubber trim.

    SEM 38353 is a cleaner that you use to clean/prep the plastic before painting. It's formulated to not melt/hurt that plastic.

    I also used a Tack Cloth to wipe down the surfaces before painting to eliminate any lint pieces.

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    And Painted.

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    I also have matching laminate for the lighter grey that I will be installing in the fridge door.

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    A couple close ups

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    Hodakaguy
  3. zgfiredude

    zgfiredude Old Fart in Training.......

    Joined:
    Nov 23, 2009
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    Aspen, Colorado
    There are quite a few wrenches "missing", I know that feeling well! :D
  4. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

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    May 31, 2008
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    2,100
    Location:
    SaddleRock, Colorado
    Where did you get this truck fridge?
  5. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,112
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
  6. Xtremjeepn

    Xtremjeepn Motorhead!

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Oddometer:
    2,100
    Location:
    SaddleRock, Colorado
    Thanks
  7. PaulGinAZ

    PaulGinAZ FNG

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2007
    Oddometer:
    260
    Location:
    Chandler, Arizona
    Nice job! I love the attention to detail that you have given this project.
  8. eric1514

    eric1514 (R)

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2005
    Oddometer:
    342
    Location:
    ID
    From that site



    I guess I don't understand, but 2.5 amps average for 24 hrs is 60, not 22 and 60 will kill a 100 amp/hr battery in one day. Is my math wrong?

    Eric

    P.S. Beautiful build.


  9. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,112
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    The fridge cycles and doesn't run continuously, just as needed. When running it's pulling around 2.5amps, with a total amp draw of 22 amp hrs daily. If it's real hot out or you are opening the door a lot the fridge will cycle more and use more current.

    I plan on eventually installing a roof mounted solar system and onboard charger to keep the house batts topped off when parked. For now they will charge when the vehicle is running, parked and plugged in to 110v shore power (charging through a on board charger) or if parked a long time I have a Honda 1000 Gen that will charge through the shore power plug as well.

    Hodakaguy
  10. slackmeyer

    slackmeyer Don't mean sheeit. .

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,180
    Location:
    Berzerkeley, CA
    That seems odd, or amazing, that the fridge when running would only draw about the amount of power required to run the fridge light (30 watts eq 2.5amps x (nominal)12v.) I'd check that draw before I headed out for a few days. . . . but I have no doubt that you will check it thoroughly :wink:

    Really nice build.
  11. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

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    Location:
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    LOL...yep already checked it before I painted the fridge :-). I wanted to make sure the fridge was 100% operational and check the amp draw as well. I also wanted to make sure there was no parasitic load when the fridge was in the off position, otherwise I would add a on/off switch going to the fridge.

    When the compressor first kicks on it pulls about 3.5 amps, then quickly stabilizes at 2.4 to 2.5 amps while running. Then I turned the fridge to the off position to verify it wasn't using any power....and the meter read 0.037 amps, Hmmmmm parasitic load? Then I realized I had the door removed at that point and the light was on, pushed in the door pin and I got 0.000 amps. No parasitic load when off and the light takes 0.037 amps :-)

    Light draw. I didn't snap a pic of it running.

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    Hodakaguy
  12. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

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    Ok...time to get started on the fridge project. Started removing the fridge today and quickly got side tracked on another project lol.

    Removed the fridge door and the trim around the fridge. Yep...this is where I got side tracked already. Thanks to another Samba member I got the idea to use the old fridge door as a new closet access door. Before I cut the trim piece to match the new fridge I wanted to use it as a pattern for cutting the new door in....soooooo better get that out of the way now :-)

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    Separated the fridge door from the cabinet door.

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    The closet is pretty deep and has a lot of storage capacity, unfortunately the only access is the tall skinny door above the rear table (red arrow). It's not very convenient to get stuff in/out and you have to dig around to get to stuff on the bottom.

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    With the rear door removed I used a square to draw a level pencil line so I could place the trim piece on and mark out the opening. You can see a light pencil outline of the cut out.

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    Tape applied to keep the laminate from getting scratched. I built a home brew Westy hospital tent to try and control the dust during it's open cabinet surgery :-)

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    Drilled a small test hole with a hole saw to see how it cut through the laminate. Worked good but you have to go really slow to keep it from grabbing as it goes through the laminate.

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    Ok...a few more trial cuts with the 4" hole saw and then it was time to cut the corners in.

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    Used a square and a jig saw to cut the rest of the opening out.

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    Used a router to cut in a groove for the original trim from the fridge.

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    And installed. This will make it a LOT easier to get stuff in and out of the closet. Looks like it came this way from the factory!

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    Door open. I'll make a shelf to install inside so it will be easier to utilize the space more efficiently. The trim is still loose in places in this pic.

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    Last project for the night, applied some silicone to the groove and taped the molding into place. I'll install the door again in the morning and move on to the fridge install.

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    Hodakaguy
  13. troidus

    troidus Long timer

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2010
    Oddometer:
    16,328
    You may want to put something down on the floor ribs in there to keep them from getting scratched up and rusty. It may cut down on noise in the cabin and heat in the closet, too. (Based on the rest of this build, you probably have already custom-made something just for the purpose and haven't told us yet.)
  14. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

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    Lol. I actually have a piece of carpet that goes in the bottom, but I removed it before cutting the opening to make clean up easier :-)

    Hodakaguy
  15. Rainmaster

    Rainmaster Been here awhile

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
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    462
    Location:
    Sautee-Nacoochee, Georgia
    Anal retentive is as anal retentive does.:clap..... LOL and I mean that as a complement,! I truly admire the effort in this build. Looking forward to the camping reports.:deal
  16. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,112
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    Today's progress.

    Took the Syncro in for an alignment first thing this am. I knew I had it close with the garage alignment but the steering wasn't quite right, just had a weird feel to it. I wanted to get it checked before it started eating my new tires, I'll have it re-checked after I put 1500 miles or so on it and let the suspension bed in properly.

    Well the front was off a bit (figured that) but I had the back close enough that he didn't charge me for tweaking it to exact specs, only charged for a front end alignment. :-) It drives a lot nicer now with a normal feel from the steering wheel. All the T3 Urethane bushings are great, nice solid feel in the front end!

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    Next up...Propex heater install.

    Headed to my friend Mike's house and pulled the stock fridge.

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    With the fridge out I was anxious to check behind the insulation and see if there is any rust forming. Water can leak in from the outside hook ups and once inside gets trapped and forms rust. I pulled back the insulation and poked around...nice and clean, no rust :-)

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    Cutting the access holes for the Propex heater. I decided on the under the fridge location since it will take up the least cargo space. I was originally going to mount it under the rear bench seat...but it would take up a large amount of that area and I use that storage space a lot.

    My friend Mike recently installed his Propex in this location and so far it's worked great.

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    Checking layout with the supplied pattern, getting ready to drill the two holes for the intake and exhaust piping.

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    Holes cut and sub floor removed. I painted the bare metal with POR-15 and later applied a coat of high temp RTV on the edges. You need to get the Propex as low as you can so you can have a air gap between the fridge and the heater.

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    With temps in the Mid 80's it was getting hot inside the bus...time to roll out the awning. Man what a difference, the interior stayed a lot cooler with the awning out.

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    Propex mounted in place. I'll be using foil tape to wrap the edges around the openings. Here the cover is open and I'm getting ready to hook up the power and control wiring.

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    Running the wiring for the thermostat and controller. I'm using these screw on type wire retainers, you just screw them down then slide a snap tie through the slots, makes for a nice neat wire run.

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    And wiring up the thermostat. Having the new closet door in the rear worked great, had a lot more room to work in there and run the wiring :-)

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    More tomorrow.

    Hodakaguy
  17. jdiaz

    jdiaz .

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    Feb 27, 2002
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    32,324
    Location:
    Flyover State
    If this camper was being offered on the GoWesty site, it would cost $86,000.
  18. bassogap

    bassogap Haulin' the kids around

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    Feb 25, 2005
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    1,778
    Location:
    King Co, WA
    And would be listed as ***SOLD***.
  19. riverdog

    riverdog n00b

    Joined:
    May 4, 2013
    Oddometer:
    5
    I never join forums, but I found your build somehow and have been following you with this project since almost the beginning, and just had to join here and complement you on this amazing build. Ive never seen such attention to detail and your skill level is second to none. After looking at the prices of other Syncros for sale, I'm certain you have a six figure camping machine. Good work!
    The best part of all this is you and your Dad working on it together.

    Jeff
  20. Hodakaguy

    Hodakaguy NorthWest Adventure Rider

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Oddometer:
    2,112
    Location:
    Eastern WA State
    Welcome to ADVrider! Thanks for the comments. I'm getting really close to having it ready for camping season, we have a couple trips coming up soon and we can't wait! My father and I have done quite a few projects over the years, I feel really blessed to have been able to do them with him...memories I'll never forget!

    Thanks :freaky

    Hodakaguy