Sent my van in for it's MOT a few days ago. It failed on a fair few minor faults such as lights etc.. which wasn't unexpected.
However, the guy said that there was severe rusting on the underside (you can push your finger through in several places), mainly affecting the sills. After a lengthy discussion with his boss they decided it wasn't failable on the rust at the moment as it was far enough away from any load bearing points. However, he said I'd seriously need to consider whether it's worth spending any more money on to get it fixed.
I'm in the process of converting it into a camper and have put a lot of work in (fitted insulation, installed side windows, a rockroll bed, I even made my own custom made bookshelf!). Other than the rust, and a slight problem with the radio, it's a great van, and I've already had some great mini-trips in it, so I really don't want to get rid of it, but I need to be relistic. Is it worth getting it welded up, probably at a large cost, and if so does anyone have any idea how long term a fix this would be?
In reply to MikeR: Do you fancy spending a couple of hundred quid and getting a MIG welder and working out how to weld up sheet metal and sorting it yourself? With a bit of practice MIG isn't that difficult. You'll keep it going forever then
That would be my advice too. Keeping old vehicles on the road becomes pretty uneconomical when you have to pay people £30/£40 per hour but learn to do it yourself and you're set. Give a man a fish..etc
In reply to Baron Weasel:
I've done a bit of interweb research on this cos my bongo is getting a bit rusty around the arches.
Consensus seemed to be that it wouldn't work. Not that anyone should necessarily listen to advice on the net...
After you weld it up put on marine primer like Jotun jotamastic 80/87
But again what van is it? Is it worth putting your time and effort into it?
As you got to remember you have to cut out all the metal that has rust on it (you can't weld to rust) and what is a small hole can end up being a large panel replacement quite quickly, but the good thing about welding floors is it doesn't matter what the weld looks like as long as its strong
In reply to MikeR:
Yep, thats the way forward, somewhere like machine mart you could get a clarke MIG for around 200. I'd recommend a gas set up as the gassless ones tend to be very smoky and spattler a lot. Gas can be either a lease of a 'big' pub size cylinder which could be costly but would last a long time if you were doing other jobs that paid cash. The small disposable gas bottles are about a tenner each and last an hour if lucky but that said, if you only connect it and open the valve during actual welding they can last a long time. The thing with welding cars is that you have to accept your initial estimate usually turns into double the area and work you first thought it was! You also need to be fairly competent with a spanner, indeed you'll need a comprehensive tool kit plus a load of other stuff too - left, right and centre snips, loads of small G clamps and mole grips, flap wheels and drill and an angle grinder with cutting and grinding wheels. A decent pair of gauntlets, overalls and helmet is needed too. An auto darkening helmet are the dogs but don't skimp on a cheap one - you only have one set of eyes.
I used to look for MOT failures where the failure points were structure / welding and bought and sold many, many cars and welded em up and got em MOT'd with my rig. It has paid for itself many times over. I have even had my own car wrote off after I did the welding - the mrs got t-boned by a 4x4 at 40mph 2 years ago in a mondeo I'd replaced both sills on. I went to look at it in the compaound afterwards and not one of the seams I'd welded had spilt so a huge confidence booster.
Heres an example of what can be done fairly easily at home: http://s786.beta.photobucket.com/user/blanchie14c/library/Wheel%20arch%20repair
Thanks for all the replies. The van is a SWB Iveco Daily, 2005 reg.
I've never tried welding before so hadn't really thought of doing it myself as a possibility, but I'm learning several new skills as I go along with the conversion. Is it really that easy to learn how to weld to a standard where I'd be able to fix it myself and it still be safe? The rusting is fairly extensive, at least along the passenger side.
In reply to MikeR:
It's not too hard once you have the welder set up correctly, else you'll either blow holes in the metal or not penetrate enough and it'll be a weak weld
Lots of practice on a old piece of metal (same thickness as your van)
In reply to MikeR: its easy enough to pick up mig welding to a level where you can patch up a car just takes a bit of practice. mig is one of the easier processes to learn use the 0.6mm wire with gas and you cant go far wrong get a load of thin metal to practice on first. biggest tip would be make sure the metals clean and rust free as mig will not work very well otherwise. just remember it wont make you a welder though that takes years of training and work lol.
In reply to MikeR: I had one of these a 2001 I think. They are quite heavy duty vehicles, the running gear is more like that of a lorry. Brake calipers kept seizing where it was not being driven enough, very expensive. Great vans to drive though.
In reply to Gwain: Yep, had the brake calipers seize a few months after I first got it. Was pretty expensive it get replaced. The guy in the garage suggested leaving it in gear with the handbrake off if leaving it for extended periods. As you say a great drive though, and a fair bit more space in the bake than a VW.
In reply to MikeR:
It can be easy yes. I got taught to stick weld but self taught MIG. 90% of the work is getting to the areas that need cutting out, removing parts, seats fuel/brake lines and prep so you need to be a fairy handy spanner monkey to start with. When you cut a bit out you need to think how you are going to proceed from there. Where I can I'll buy a pre-formed repair sections - sills/archs etc but many times you have to make it yourself. I buy 2x4 foot sheets from a motor factor and make a cardboard template first, transfer it to the steel and cut the section for real. Then trim to fit, clamp up and away you go. As said above, you can't weld to rust, or paint or underseal or muck and carpets catch fire very easily! The edges of what you are going to weld need to be cleaned back to bright shiney steel. Take a look at the many classic car forums as most 30/40 year old classics have had major welding rebuilds and most of them have been done at home DIY style. If you can find a mate or something who does this anyway and watch him do a job it'll be a huge help.