1972 Commer PB - another Resto thread

LMR

Member
Hi folks

I have been registered on here for a while and been reading up on other people's vehicles. I took the plunge and bought my Commer PB last year. It is a van that has been written about previously


A little about me. It has taken me a while to realise this, but I am a car addict. The Commer is my sixth vehicle in my "collection". My day job is office based, my spare time is spent looking after vehicles in various states of repair. I am a reasonable, amateur, self taught, mechanic, and have recently started to teach myself to weld. I am fortunate to have a decent space to work on vehicles.

Plans for my van. I learned many years ago not to plan too much, as my plans always have an element of mission creep. But as a starting point, I will be addressing 2 areas, engine and chassis

Engine

I bought the van with the cylinder head removed as one cylinders valve seats were damaged. These have now been repaired. New valves were supplied when I purchased the van, and I have sourced NOS valve springs. I will be building this back up in the next few weeks.

Chassis

I knew the rear spring hangers needed attention. Having removed the rear axle this weekend, that is the case, and some repairs will be needed where the wheel arch tubs meet the floor. I've had a prod and a poke around the rest of the chassis members and all seems solid. I hope that remains the case when I get the wire wheel mounted onto the angle grinder.

I know bodywork will be required, but I am blocking that out of my mind for now!

I will post updates as progress is made, and will no doubt be asking plenty of questions.

A couple of photos of my van just after it was pushed into the workshop

IMG_0980.jpeg

IMG_0981.jpeg

Thanks for reading
 

jimberlake

Well-Known Member
Lovely van and space! Welcome to the forum and can’t wait to hear progress. Any pics of your other vehicles?
 

LMR

Member
Lovely van and space! Welcome to the forum and can’t wait to hear progress. Any pics of your other vehicles?

Okay, photos of my cars in the order purchased. As you will see, the Commer is the first non German purchase for a while. Hopefully the cars show that I aim for a reasonable standard, and will be doing the same with the Commer. Be warned, I am work methodically (for that, some would say very slowly!!)



Porsche 911 (964)

Bought 11 years ago (when they were still unpopular and affordable). For first 5 years of ownership this was my daily driver. I have since carried out a fairly decent mechanical overhaul and had a full glass out respray done by a professional



Mercedes Sprinter Camper

Bought 10 years ago. I used to compete in motorsport in sprints and hillclimbs and this was used as my support vehicle. I no longer compete so now used for weekends away and annual trip to spectate at Le Mans 24 hour. It has needed welding a few times and plenty of mechanical work.



Porsche 914

Bought 6 years ago. An eBay bid with a story! Can was in California, so had it imported and have carried out a full nut and bolt mechanical restoration, engine build and complete body overhaul, with paint by a professional

upload images free

BMW 540 touring

Bought 5 years ago. It was a cheap car to buy. Plenty of work done since to get it to a reasonable standard. My most versatile car, daily driver, long distant cruiser, and gets used as a van for ferrying car parts. Photo is flattering, it needs some bodywork.


picture upload no sign up

BMW 2002 (2000 touring)

Bought 3 years ago - this is my next restoration project. Again, photo is flattering. Paint is very flat and does need some welding.
 

LMR

Member
Brilliant bit of work space and great that you’re starting the restoration.
Thank you. I used to have a decent garage at home, but that was lost with divorce papers...... Since then I have worked on cars on driveways, in lock up garages and now I rent a unit a few miles from home. I sub let space for car storage to make my space a reasonable price. It isn't the warmest place to be in winter, but with overalls on stripping rust, that keeps me warm!
 

Panky

Administrator
Staff member
Hi and welcome :)
What a fantastic collection, I particularly like the 914 and the 2002 - overlooked classics compared with others out there.
 

S0updragon

Well-Known Member
A great herd of beasts. There is a thread on here on making an drip feed oil burner winter heater.
 

LMR

Member
Hi and welcome :)
What a fantastic collection, I particularly like the 914 and the 2002 - overlooked classics compared with others out there.
Thank you, both of them are amazing. The 914 was very satisfying to work on, and the end result is lovely. I had intended just to give it a tidy up, but mission creep soon kicked in to the point it was an extensive project. The end result was definitely worth it. I am going through a dilemma with the 2002, give it a quick tidy up, or go for the full blown restoration. I will think about that when I am lying under the commer with my angle grinder removing rust!
 

LMR

Member
A great herd of beasts. There is a thread on here on making an drip feed oil burner winter heater.

Heating an uninsulated workshop is an issue. Up until now I have being using a propane has heater. I am always nervous about using anything that has a naked flame for the spark potential and the condensation it creates. Being an industrial unit means I have 3 phase supply. During the heat wave I managed to pick up from eBay a very well priced 15kw electric heater, so should be warmer this winter!!!
 

LMR

Member
I have a few technical questions, hopefully you folks can help

Chassis coatings - I am jumping ahead on myself here, but when I eventually get the rust stripped and welding done, what should I coat the underneath with? On my Merc sprinter I have used Dinitrol 4941, but that has been over the existing paint / underseal. On my 914 I used a 3M two pack stone chip product (super expensive but with amazing durability) and them painted that body colour. I have also experimented with UPOL raptor coat on another car which gives a tough finish. I have also looked at Rustbuster two pack epoxy, which seems to cover all bases with adhesion and durability. What have other people used or recommend?

Leaf springs. When I get these out, what can I do to restore them? Wire brush the rust and treat them, paint them? Advice would be most welcome.

Fuel tank. My tank looks like it has lived at the bottom of the sea, but appears sound and leak free. Has anyone good or bad experience with POR15 fuel tank product for inside the tank? Any recommendations or products to avoid for external coating of tank? Paint / powder coating?
 

S0updragon

Well-Known Member
I can find out what the body shop guys used in my tank. I imagine leaf spring coating would have to be flexible
 

Panky

Administrator
Staff member
All the products you mention are really good (from reports on other forums) but personally I'm a bit old fashioned. Any surface rust I wire brush the living daylights out of it then treat it with Aquasteel rust converter (but not on bright, clean new metal), then a coat of zinc primer and a top coat of chassis black. I have been known to go mad in the past and use Shultz underseal stuff.
For your tank I would recommend a nice shiny new one from Commeracer, made from aluminium and with a useful increase in capacity, they are well worth the investment.
 

jimberlake

Well-Known Member
love that collection and thanks for sharing, 914 my personal favorite. Regarding the leaf springs if they've sagged, and likely have, you can get them re-tempered at reasonable cost. Suspension wise other cheap tricks are to refill the rear Armstrong dampers with a slightly thicker oil and use Hilux front shocks - these need a small amount of grinding on the lower eyelet to fit in but well worth it for £40-50.
 

PaulJL

Well-Known Member
Heating an uninsulated workshop is an issue. Up until now I have being using a propane has heater. I am always nervous about using anything that has a naked flame for the spark potential and the condensation it creates. Being an industrial unit means I have 3 phase supply. During the heat wave I managed to pick up from eBay a very well priced 15kw electric heater, so should be warmer this winter!!!
You need a waste oil burner. I built my own and it gets my 42x18 uninsulated garage toasty warm.
 

LMR

Member
Life has been getting in the way, but I have spent a few hours with the Commer. I have had a good prod and poke around underneath and have a fair understanding of where I am at.

Wheelarch before any cleaning



And after a run around with a wire wheel



i was pleased I found mostly metal. Some repairs required, and some dodgy previous repairs need removing, but overall, not too bad, or at least, not as bad as I was expecting

The front spring hangers after the first clean up appear to be very good



The rear spring hangers definitely need work!







Some welding has been done in the past in that area, and not very well

The rear section of the floor also is past its best, with plenty of patches welded over



Given the condition of the floor and the welding needed to rear spring hangers, I figured it made sense to remove the floor. After drilling out many spot welds, I was left with this.



I was intending to save the rear panel. But I found that someone had carefully rebuilt it in filler many moons ago. I'm amazed how well they had sculpted the flutes in the bodywork!



I have been around the chassis rails and vacuumed the loose rust out. Next job will be to properly wire brush the chassis members that don't need welding, start applying rust treatment, and order lots and lots of new parts. I think mission creep is starting!
 

LMR

Member
Martin

I have written a list of things I need from you! I’ll be in touch in the next couple of weeks
 

Saul

Active Member
Glad to see it appear back on here.

For the record...... none of the dodgy floor repairs were mine :)
 

Saul

Active Member
Fuel tank. My tank looks like it has lived at the bottom of the sea, but appears sound and leak free. Has anyone good or bad experience with POR15 fuel tank product for inside the tank? Any recommendations or products to avoid for external coating of tank? Paint / powder coating?

Fuel tank was coated internally with the kit from frosts (Por15 according to my old thread) so although it looks ropey on the outside it should be good internally. I was having loads of issues with snakeskin so thoroughly cleaned the inside and coated it to keep the original tank instead of replacing.
 
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