Saturday, 29 December 2007

Critical Path Analysis

Just before I went away for Christmas I heard from Magpie who said, essentially, you HAVE made some progress, haven't you...and won't believe that actually I have done sweet F-A in quite a while. He is amazing, and will write to say he has had a dry spell and only had time to strip the differential, replace all the brake hosing, etc.

Anyway, now that Christmas is out of the way I am going to put CPA into practice, years after I learnt it at engineers' school; not that I was an engineer. I was on the dole and they let me on the course to make up the numbers.

Basically it is about planning a process, taking into account those conditions which will have to be met in order for the process to begin, or progress to the next stage. It helps you to anticipate order delays etc. It is common sense really, but putting the process down on paper helps a lot. It also helps you decide what the most efficient use of time, in the event of a delay, will be.

For instance, I am mounting the finished engine on the chassis before completing the wheel arches because I need some critical dimensions which I won't have until the wheels are on. I need the front scuttle on for this...but as I say, the engine must go in first, and before that, the chassis must be on wheels and suspension. Before the wheels can go on, the brakes must be done..and that process is awaiting the pull-off springs. This is an "all for want of a horseshoe nail" situation. So: pull-off springs ----brakes ---wheels----suspension----engine----scuttle----wheel arches -----rear of cab. First I need to find or make those damned springs, and while I am wating for them to arrive, what would be my best use of time? Differential clean-up, I think.

When I get home, it'll be all systems go.

Sunday, 2 December 2007

I Finished my Trailer Lock today

Click here to see some of the designing and making process. One of the most satisfying things, apart from having made it myself, is that it is made entirely with reclaimed steel, scavenged from an engineering workshop skip (with their permission, of course). The red knob on the locking pin is a snooker ball that I dug up in the garden.

Warmer in the shed than in my house!

A mate of John's has a container of stuff he didn't take to the Philippines with him, and which he has been trying to unload, so I have very fortunately acquired a two length ladder, a collection of matchbooks, some old books and an oil-filled radiator, and it is that last item that has me down in the workshop more than up in the house after work now.

I have stretched some old carpet out on the concrete floor and have been busily removing brake cables etc from the rear axle (bloody hard to do. All the fittings are rusted solid. I don't want to grind them off because I want to restore the threads). Also I've been doing rust removal, which I decided to do myself and not get P&P to shot blast this time.

On the trailer hitch front, I borrowed a second welder and finished the cheek-plate, and have since Hammerited the post and its now concreted-in base, and while I did that noticed patches of rust on the trailer, which have been nagging did them too...and while I was down there, I noticed other bits and soon enough, the whole bloomin' trailer was silver!

My welder has gone to Sealey's for them to suss out what's up with it and give me a repair quote. It is a good service: Bennetts take it to Sealey's and bring it back, no charge, and there is no fee to pay if I decide not to accept the repair quote. Hopefully it'll just be a relay problem...and cheap. I feel lost without it. The borrowed one is 100amps to my 130 and does a crappy, spattery weld....but I can't look a gift-horse in the mouth.

When the rain goes and the sun comes back out I'll fit the post and get a picture for you.

Thursday, 22 November 2007

It doesn't rain, but it pours!

First it is the welder, then it is my car battery, which has suddenly flattened itself, so that when I leapt in the car to pop over to Bennets to get a part for the welder, it wa-ah-aha-aha-ahed but wouldn't start. Damn. So, took the battery out today and have it on charge. May have to walk to school tomorrow.

Mate, John, always good with technical problems, came round and we took the main switch apart (diode not lighting), having found that the motor can be made to work off a 12V charger and that the fuse was ok. So we don't know what's up now because, using a bulb on the switch tabs we found that apart from the diode not lighting, all the other tabs would light a 12V car bulb. I did wonder if the entire circuit is being fused by the diode, of course, but it doesn't seem likely....being so inaccessible. So, we are a bit stumped and that is bloody annoying because the welding jobs are piling up and I can't afford to get someone to mend it.

May ask friendly electrician, Karl, up the road if he will run a multimeter over it and isolate the problem. Damn, wish it had simply been the toggle and easy to fix.

P&P Blasting told me the rear axle could be done for £50 ish, so I reckon I shall make myself happier and save a few bob by starting that manually tonight. I brought it inside today and put it back on blocks. I am afraid that leaving it our these last few years, albeit covered, hasn't done it any good.

Read here about Sealey and Bennett's, how the welder was repaired but how I felt ripped off

Monday, 19 November 2007

progress yesterday; frustrations today

Another of those frustrating days, today, where just about everything that could go wrong, did. Worst of all, the wire feed motor on welder stopped working and I still haven't worked out why; gas release servo works, as does hand switch, relay fuse seems ok, but tried bridging it and that didn't....not that it is a fair test because I am not 100% sure that the bridging was a good contact anyway (I'd only know that if it had worked) so I am no closer.

On the positive side, the foundation unit for the trailer hitch is concreted in now and the chassis is now in place in my neighbour, Paul's garage. The point about this garage is that it faces the road and has a double door and access is no longer a worry. I shall work on bits in my workshop, then carry them across Greta's garden, through the makeshift gate I made yesterday and into the garage to be assembled. The other great thing is that I no longer need to rent Greta's garden (though I have access) and the garage is costing me the same, so there is no net loss....and road access is gained - plus lots of room to the dry in the garage.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Strain Stops Play

Bugger, I have strained my back again....and at a time when I have two days free in a row for van stuff. Utterly infuriating. Looks like I shall be catching up on my reading.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Trailer locking post

In the last week or so I have been making this security post for my trailer. The trailer will be locked on to the ball hitch and the post will be locked upright, blocking the trailer in on my hard stand. The post will be welded into an anchor frame which will be set in the first layer of concrete, and the second layer of concrete will then fill up its sides to pavement level (over the cross bar which will anchor it further).

When folded down, the post will cross the pavement, allowing the trailer out over it and on to the road. I have yet to make the hitch lock, but otherwise it is all close to being done (and has only been delayed by my running out of Mig wire last night).

Saturday, 20 October 2007

Half Term


I am off to Bristol tomorrow with John to collect a trailer which my Dad's girlfriend is giving me, very generously, to give herself room in the garage (I must find her a suitable pot plant). We are coming back Monday, trailer in tow - on new tyres, very kindly provided by dad. John's going to help me rig up a tow-bar on my car. I have already taken the front wall down to accommodate the trailer, but am buggered if I am going to be pushed by circumstances into getting a drop kerb. My neighbours naively suppose that it gives them parking rights on the road, but it just doesn't.

Life will be a lot easier with a trailer, no question about it. Eventually I hope to build a de-mountable teardrop caravan like this one on what is now just a trailer frame.

Leaf springs

This half term I am going to go in to John's school to use the hearth to heat up some clamps I am making for my leaf springs so that they can be formed without stressing the metal. Last night I was looking at the three springs that are ready and I am really pleased with the results. Separating them and dealing with the layers of rust which had built up between them has meant that they clamp back up nicely. Removing the rust has dealt with the apparent splaying. (the fourth spring is in parts, the bushes removed and now the leaves need cleaning and rivets need removing. This will take a day's effort, no more.)

Other priorities

I also need to arrange with Paul, my neighbour, to tidy up what will be my side of his garage, then tidy the bottom of Greta's garden and have a bloody great bonfire to burn up the stock of scrap wood and cuttings....ready for handing the garden back to her. If there is time, I'll also sink a gate post between Greta's and Paul's.

The sketch dates from the operation to get the van into Greta's; the reversal will apply at the start of November, though I anticipate doing it unassembled, especially if my brake springs don't turn up soon.

Friday, 19 October 2007

Wheels look great!

Well, what do you think?
Look great, don't they!

Not bad for £20 each: shot blasted twice, 2 coats of primer and two coats of 900 two-pack.

To be fair, there was only so much that would have been achieved anyway with wheels as badly rusted and pitted as these were, so I am really pretty pleased with the result from:

P&P Blasting Services, Ipswich

These were done by professionals and in the right conditions, so its pretty impressive that I couldn't have done them more cheaply if I'd done them myself; and I would definitely not have got the result. That's impressive!. I'll be using Paul's and Phil's services again. Paul says they need seven days of curing time (from Tuesday, but I'll make it at least from today - and they are staying indoors for it!).

Cheers guys!

I can't stop bringing up my blog so that I can have a look at those wheels!
Just imagine them with new tyres and shiny new hubcaps!

Really dead chuffed.

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Magpie's Progress (..........and mine)

Have recently had regular contact with Magpie, who signs himself " Mr magpie, workaday vehicles. ( no water based paints here)" or " magpie, who is not making a museum standard vehicle. That's for the next owner !!!!" or " Mr magpie, brush and roller rule! "....


and he usually says something like, only had a half hour on ROD today so didn't get much done...and then lists a load of work it would have taken me a week to do!

Damn, I wish I could get more done on mine. I have enough time, but I am going through another crisis of confidence and, to be quite candid, cleaning rust off leafsprings, leaf by leaf, is just plain boring. Bit of a lonely old business, restoring. Wish it was over. But there is still such a heck of a lot to do.

Incidentally, after doing what was possible bashing the rims of the wheels (very resistent to hammers, though not to pavements), I delivered the wheels to Phil for blasting, priming and painting on Monday. Collect them sometime end of next week.

Saturday, 6 October 2007

A tricky problem solved - leafspring mount

It had been impossible to remove the hanger bolt from the mount when removing the springs from the chassis, so I had been forced to grind off the rivets and remove the casting with the spring attached. It was soon pretty clear that I was going to need to use the hydraulic press to force the bolt out, but this was not an easy business because the casting had to be packed with pieces of scrap steel to stop it shattering under pressure if there was no movement from the bolt.

Fortunately the bolt eventually came out. What my picture of the press does not show, however, was a large board of 10mm ply which I stood behind when operating the press....because extension pieces flew out of it with a terrifying rifle report.

Above, some of the nuts, bolts and ratchet sockets used to force the axis bolt out....with evidence of having burst sideways to escape the 12 ton force. Just as well I hid behind a shield when operating the press!

Because I hadn't been able to shift the tube in the eye of the spring, I'd assumed it was an interference fit, but searching through a parts manual, it now seems that the tube was a metal sheath on the bush. The line inside the eye (Note) makes it clear that the tube is not in the eye. Part 3 is a sandwich with rubber in the middle. I shall now have to find out where replacements can be bought, though I believe that these days nylon is used more commonly.

B & M Car Body Centre

I just had Brian from B& M Car Body Centre round to have a look at the project and to advise me on painting the cab, and he has left me feeling a lot more confident about doing it myself, funnily enough; and this is due to his generosity in recommending products and processes which will most likely do him out of my business.

He is being practical here. His problem is that if I go to him wanting two-pack he will have to get a licence to handle the stuff because of the new regulations requiring the use of water based paints, except for historical vehicles. The cost of licencing would be a significant factor in the pricing of the job - prohibitively so, he suggests, because jobs like mine at his workshop will be rare.

Brian told me that when he was an apprentice he routinely painted horse boxes with a roller, meaning that paint could be applied in a single coat, unthinned, and a satisfactory result could be achieved. Granted it wouldn't give anything like the result of spraying, but what he appreciates and what I have come to grasp is just how basic a commerial vehicle's paint-job of the era could be. Magpie's painting philosophy and the vans I saw at shows this year come to mind.

The trick to getting a really decent finish is in the priming stage; in spending the time getting the surface "flatted" so that the pits and grooves are brought up level with the rest of the material and a surface levelled off above this. I am looking forward to the feeling of satisfaction that I know I should get from this process. Brian says that Finnegans 1, a Hammerite product, will be good for this. He believes it has a red oxide content. I will check this and whether it will go on over POR-15. The POR people say anything will go on over their stuff, but I think I should ask Hammerite.

I will also test the products together. I showed Brian the radiator stand I made earlier this summer because it has virgin steel and welds on it, and of course welded metal is particularly susceptible to rusting. I am going to treat it with POR-15, in part to test it later with the Finnegans primer, but also because Brian (who says POR looks a lot like a Hammerite product he knows) suggested that I might POR-15 the whole scuttle, as he thinks it would (if tests prove it works) provide good protection on wider expanses of steel. I did think of this and had asked POR who didn't think it was normally the done thing, but then they hadn't seen anything like my van! As I have only used the product in small, localised areas, I want to see how it fares when spread over a wider surface (and how it works on virgin rather than rusted metal).

In the next few days I shall start the POR-15 process on the radiator stand and then I'll see if I can get a small pot of Finnegans and try it out.

Brian is a very useful chap to know. His outfit is based at Unit 3, Seven Acres, Waldringfield, Martlesham Heath, Suffolk, IP12 4PS. He can be phoned on 01473 811877 or his mobile 07773977349.

Thanks Brian!

Wednesday, 26 September 2007

Latest in the wheel saga

Went to collect wheels a day later than planned and there was already some evidence of corrosion (black patches). Mea Culpa; should have got them to prime them after all. Phil explained the necessity of primer for protection, within half an hour of blasting. The situation was saved by the fact that some of the wheels still had unremoved crud on them, which had been overlooked and Phil said he'd re-do them.

Then we started talking about paint and got on to how he has spray facilities there. He showed me some work they are spraying now: benches, etc., and he'd previously showed me the finish he'd got priming wheels and the finished surface of a gantry. All pretty good stuff.

I explained that the reason I had wanted to do priming and painting myself was not money saving, but because they are going to need some hammering around the rims, where they are dented. So he suggested I take them away, do the hammering and, when happy, bring them back and he will blast them again, prime them and paint them for me for £20 a wheel. It isn't two pack (but it'll be £100 cheaper. £30/wheel to two-pack would have been possible if I'd first blasted them: that's £40/wheel x 5= 200, as against £100). They won't be concours, but I reckon he will get a pretty good result and save me some hassle, as long as he does a proper job of getting the rest of the crud off.

They will be semi-gloss black....ready for tyres. I reckon that is a result.

Right, I need to get on with rim bashing.

Monday, 24 September 2007


Delivered the wheels to P&P and asked them to just blast them. I'll prime and paint them myself. Warned off Hammerite and advised to use spray-on etch primer.

He showed me some wheels which they had finished. They looked excellent but of course I have no idea what they looked like before they were done.

The wheels will be ready tomorrow afternoon, same time. Fast turn-around.

Sunday, 23 September 2007

Decided about wheels

Right, been thinking about wheels and decided to paint them myself and save the £150-200 that a professional job would have cost me towards the tyres. As a friend said, I am not aiming for concours condition here. Also, if they do get a bit chipped when tyres go on, touching up will be no big deal. I might get P&P to not prime the brake side of the wheel, and I'll hammerite it instead, as that side gets lots of crud and wet thrown up from the road.

Friday, 21 September 2007

Shotblasted Wheels

Blimey! No more buggering around with abrasives, dust, frustration....and not quite getting the results I want either! I just talked to the guy at P&P Services and they will blast each wheel for £10 and prime for £ for 5 wheels = £75. And they will turn them round in about three days. I'll take them up on Monday.

Then I need to decide whether to get Brian to two-pack them for £150-200 or spray them myself, a la Practical Classics. There's a lot to be said for the professional job, but right now I need to slow down on the money-spending, especially as I now need to get a new sender unit; and tank repair kit, which will set me back £45 plus postage.

Fuel tank next to exhaust

Last night I started stripping the fuel tank I got from Magpie (because mine had horrible holes in it) and the paint and crud is coming off nicely. I got to thinking about where it is positioned on the van. Friends say I am overly safety conscious, but does nobody else think that positioning the opening of the exhaust right under the extension tube to the fuel tank filler tube was asking for trouble?

In practice, vans had extension tubes which cleared the van sides, so that rather than pouring exhaust under the chassis, it came out the nearside, slightly to the rear of the filler, but all the same, right near any fuel drips.

Thursday, 20 September 2007


I answered the door early this morning, bleary-eyed, to see an exciting package on the doorstep: my valance! I've been looking forward to this. I ordered it a few weeks ago from my metal guru, Iain Mckenzie and he has done a grand job of it, as you can see.

The valance at the top is the original, bent beyond sensible repair and hardly worth the effort (take it from someone who's tried) when you can have a beautiful replacement like mine for £45 - with curves in all the right places and made from virgin metal! It came with a top panel (£8) which is the part on which the horn is mounted.

Thanks Iain!

Wheels and Tyres

Here is a very poor quality film (from my phone) of the old tyres being removed from the wheels at X-Spurt Tyres in Hervey Street, Ipswich. The guy said it was ok to put him on my blog because he is online in several different places, which boggles the mind. He was helpful on the subject of wheel painting. He says that with their technology, there is no reason why the rims should get chipped, as I feared, when the tyres are put on. His mate also said that they'd clean up the rims for free when they put tyres on, so I reckon I'll be going back

That said, I also went over to see Brian at B&M Car Body Centre to sound him out on the cost of 2-packing the wheels and he reckons if I can get them prepped he may be able to get the price down to thirty quid a wheel. For prepping, X-Spurt recommended a bead blaster and Brian mentioned a guy whose opeation is at Sheep Drift farm: P&P Blasting Services. I went along but they were not in. I did wonder if I'd be too small fish for him , as some of the plant standing in his yard was huge (what looked like a classic crane and a sewerage pipe....all cleaned up nicely).

I might not need X-Spurt to do the rims, but they removed tyres from all five wheels for a tenner.
So thanks, guys. I hope to be coming back to get tyres when the wheels are ready

I started cleaning the wheels up last week and without a shot blaster they take a heck of a long time and the result isn't fantastic. I read an article in Practical Classics about doing the wheels yourself with primer and spray paint, but I bet they didn't start out with wheels like these. If I get them blasted and if that costs a lot, I might possibly go for the DIY option on painting.

Saturday, 15 September 2007

A visit to Magpie's

On Tuesday, on a journey back from visiting my dad, I stopped in on Magpie to collect a fuel tank and some wheels....and to see his vans and compare notes.

Magpie and ROD 525

I was particularly pleased to see ROD 525, the tradesman's J Type truck, which Truman and I had hoped to buy together earlier this year. Seeing it brought home to me just how utilitarian some J Specials were; designed for the job but with no frills. It was inelegantly put together and roughly patched throughout its working life. This in turn makes Magpie's restoration philosophy fit so well. Some, he says, criticise the way he will hand-paint his cabs with brushes or rollers, and the way he will use pattern or even just compatible parts to get his vans mobile again...rather than being a purist.

Truman and I have talked about this before...and I have written about it. I like any classic vehicle to look look as it did when it was working, rather than when it left the factory; and I especially dislike a vehicle which is claimed to be "concours" condition, or worse still, "better than when it was manufactured". So I have a lot of time for Magpie's attitude.

People may criticise the restorer who "bodges" (Magpie's word, not mine), uses non-original parts or paints his vans with a hand-roller, but what Magpie does is rescues rare vehicles from barns and rust-piles and gets them working and running again quickly, which has to be what it is all about. And if they look a little worse for wear, well, didn't they always? These were workaday vehicles, which is precisely why they are so rare today; nobody thought to preserve them....they were too ordinary.

Magpie was very generous (coming home from work to see me) providing me with parts, contacts and tips and even a set of photos which he took when his van was used in the Dr Who episode, "The Idiot Lantern". I had no idea the Tardis was a flat-pack, did you?

Let me know if you fancy a set of 50 behind-the-scenes pictures of the making of the episode featuring the van. I think Magpie is asking £10. He is also doing Code 3 models (based on Corgi J) of the van, which will be a rare limited run. (I'll forward any enquiries).

I took some photos, especially of ROD's roof. I think I shall be using that technique - wood frame. Other points of interest were the fact that ROD had a small running-board, so that the step area could be boxed in, and she had an abbreviated passenger seat, necessary when you have an off-set engine in the cab.

Looking at the photo below, It has just occurred to me that, as well as boxing in the step area, the last user moved the near-side seat over to the left of the cab so that it sat above the step (rather than to the right of it). This will have helped greatly with the problem of space for a passenger within a cab accommodating an engine. I don't think I'd want to lose the step, or have a running-board, but I wouldn't mind having an off-set seat, and that might be possible if I made it one which folded down from the space behind the door.

Thanks for the hospitality, Magpie!

Thursday, 6 September 2007

Wheel Sizes and Tyres that fit them

(left click on images to enlarge them)

I am hoping to visit Magpie next week to see his collection and collect a fuel tank I bought from him on ebay and a couple of wheels which he is all but donating to the project. Measuring the wheels that I have revealed a misunderstanding on my part about how tyres are sized...and when you think about it it is painfully, embarrassingly obvious, but in case anyone else is unsure, here's how Magpie explained it:

".....a common error. A 16" tyre won't be
fitted to a 16" rim; it would fall off. The wheel rim
is bigger as the tyre edge sits inside the rim of the
wheel. Tyres are measured by the diameter of their
hole, so a J Type RIM measured diagonally will be
larger than the tyre size that fits it."


Sunday, 2 September 2007

Outrigger Brackets

I may have slightly over-engineered this, but as these brackets had rotted to the point where I had lost my outriggers altogether, I decided to produce new ones which will still be with us in another 50 years. Rather than using pressed steel, as was originally the case, I made it in three parts (from thicker material), welded together and to the outrigger. The weld is not pretty but it is very solid. Before welding, I drilled holes for bolting the backplate onto the chassis, and drilled the left side to allow me to spot weld it along the outrigger side, as you can see in the picture above.

The use of bolts will not make the outrigger bracket removeable but means that I won't have to weld to the chassis. I can't tell you why, but I feel I should avoid welds on the chassis itself, if at all possible. When the bolts (which also hold the reinforcement plates) go in finally, I'll secure them with a bit of weld so that they won't undo.

I shall do the other side tomorrow.

How to cook a twerp

Here's a hot tip: if you are grinding metal and your hip is in the line of the sparks flying off, and you feel your hip getting rather hot, don't brazen it out thinking to yourself that you can take it because you are a "real man",

because you could be on fire!!.

Bloody Hell.....not just my overalls, but even my T-shirt was on fire, which means I was less than a second from becoming steak -or as one correspondent put it Car-B-Qued myself - as flames leapt at my hip! I instinctively whacked them out and straight off knew I'd had a very close shave.

Note to self: ....try not to stand in the line of fire. They aren't just harmful sparks.....they are tiny particles of very hot metal.

Thursday, 30 August 2007

Progress this summer

I have achieved quite a lot this summer (schools back next week), but not as much as I'd have liked; everything takes so much longer than you expect. August in the blog archive contains 20 articles, but to summarise, this month's achievements break into four sections: the sourcing of parts, the making of others, the restoring of the engine and negotiations with neighbours.


I have bought wheel cylinders, wheel bearings, a fuel tank, VHT paint, found two wheels (one of mine was wrong and I didn't have a spare) and hard-to-get domed cold rivets for the leaf-springs. Magpie has also provided info on windscreen rubber profiles and how to fit them, wheel sizing, etc (will do a piece on this); Truman has told me that I can get an exhaust made up fo £75 - and he will collect it for me! I have found someone to do a thoroughly good job of recoring my radiator, after I have modified the frames from one provided by Colin to replace the completely rusted away ones on the radiator Truman very kindly gave me earlier this year. I had hydraulic brake pipes made up (ready flared and with threaded fittings), using dimensions from the original parts manual.

I shall be making up a parts source list in a column on the right of the blog in due course. In the meantime, Truman's blog is a useful place to look for ideas.


I made up the radiator support, the driver's side panel, the radiator baffle, cleaned up the front leaf springs, made chassis reinforcing plates and outriggers, did some experiments with the doors using a template, made a trolley for the cab front and reorganised the workshop to work on the chassis - ready to reassemble the parts on it.


The highlight of the summer - Colin got the engine finished! Marvellous. I probably should have done it myself, for the complete experience, but I am on a tight schedule and anyway am doing lots of processes other J Type owners are never forced to tackle. This way I have had an expert on the job and have been spared the irritation and frustration of having to research every stage and try to find parts I don't know the names of. And I haven't needed to work out how much wear on old parts I can allow, etc. No, Colin was by far the very best solution.


I'm glad to say that I have got convenient storage and workshop space for the van once my next door neighbour gets her garden back at the start of November, and she has even agreed (in return for me replacing her fence) for me to have a gate through to her neighbour's garage, which is where my van will be. At last I won't be land-locked! I have until then to get both sets of leafsprings sorted out, the axles back on the chassis, the brakes reassembled, the steering reassembled...and the wheels that I can steer-roll the lot through the gardens in two months' time. It all begins to feel possible now.

It WILL be done for the 60th Anniversary of the J Type in June '08! Brilliant! That means that next summer I can do something else.....for a change!

Replacing the outriggers

The outriggers on the 101 had all but rusted away, so I removed what was left of the stubs and filleting-brackets, removed side rivets and generally cleaned up the area. I then cut along the length of a rather heavy duty, welded seam,square section channel to make a length of [ shape (squared U) shape channel for the outriggers. This was wider than the original, so I had to insert a packing piece, but rather than this being a compromise, it actually adds strength (being a splint) and made it easier to clamp the material square.

After a bit of experimenting, the easiest way to line things up and level it was to turn the chassis over, with a friend's help, and clamp a length of shelf-slotting upright (to provide a level) across the main rails, and then clamp the outriggers to this to do the welding.

The outriggers are actually pretty solid - I find I can lift the chassis off its trolley with them - but I don't want to try standing on them until I have fitted the filleting brackets, which I am going to make tomorrow. Below is what's left of the old one.

Typically, I am going to slightly over-engineer these brackets because they support the step and the cab...and because my sheet steel is slightly too thin and otherwise I just have 4 mil plate, which I got at a scrappy and might as well use. I am not going to try to bend it, but will make it in 4 parts welded together. To give additional support and to reinforce the repair by drawing the old and new parts of outrigger together (in addition to the weld), I'm providing the bracket with the part drawn in orange, which will be drilled on the side opposite the suspension casting's domed rivets. (a belt and braces solution). This is the part of my van which suffered most from rust, so I am determined that the repair will be REALLY solid.