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11/30/17 2:10 p.m.

So I've been working on this truck for about 5 years now and it's been real slow going. But at this point I should have enough done that the catch-up posts will at least amount to something. The first "car" I ever bought was an 82 diesel in silver. I have an old analog photo of it somewhere, I'll post it if I can find it. I got it looking the way I wanted, but after 10 years or so the A-arm brackets rusted out badly enough I had to sell it for parts. Since then I've learned how to weld (kind of) and thought it was time to take another crack at one. Got an 83 this time, green, still diesel. 

Here's how it looked the day I brought it home. It needed a head gasket but other than that, ran fine. 

I live in Maryland so, has rust, is a given. 

So I set about replacing the head gasket. The  plan was to drive it as is for a year or two before getting into it. 

Wouldn't you know it. The damn engine exploded. 

So, a blown head gasket ended up being, two broken head studs and the head was cracked at the valves. But in classic VW diesel style, the thing was running fine before I took it apart. Just leaked a little coolant. 

Oh well, it could use a mild power upgrade anyway. 

So I picked up a newer diesel motor with double! the horsepower. 

I know, I know what you're thinking, that's just too much power. 

what can I say, 

Well, that's the back story. Look forward to some soot covered crap parts being removed and some crappy welding!

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/1/17 3:29 p.m.

Ok, so step two of the plan was to drop in this TDI motor and drive it around. 

However... I found some rust. 

So... more than I thought. Now, while the engine is out, I really have to start fixing the rust, at least inside the engine bay before I go on. I think you all know where this is going... 

efahl New Reader
12/1/17 4:56 p.m.

I search for Caddies every now and then, but if I mention them to my wife she's all like "But what about the '82 Scirocco in the garage that you haven't touched for TEN YEARS."  Whatever.

Double the HP is always a good thing, I await your crappy welding and massive burnouts.

simon_C Reader
12/1/17 5:27 p.m.

I love caddies. Don't fit in them worth half a E36 M3 though. I've also got a mk2 rotting in the garage ready to be parted out

wheelsmithy GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/1/17 6:13 p.m.

mazdeuce - Seth
mazdeuce - Seth MegaDork
12/1/17 6:53 p.m.

These are awesome and you're awesome for saving one. 

Bill Mesker
Bill Mesker New Reader
12/1/17 8:15 p.m.

I'm a bit of a diesel fanatic myself and happen to like the TDI engines. Also as of today I just passed my driving test in a 07 Touareg V10 TT TDI.... That was a bit of an experience. I'm looking forward to seeing how this pans out!

vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/1/17 9:32 p.m.

Miss my caddy. And my 81s Roc.

Carry on.

Mellonmorse, Brian Cougar
Mellonmorse, Brian Cougar UltraDork
12/2/17 9:04 a.m.

In for Rabbity awesomeness!

Links to pics are dead, I’ll have to fix them.  But I have a thread here for my not a pickup and not a GTI 84 Rabbit.

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/2/17 12:11 p.m.

Thanks for the encouragement guys, I was worried no one would have any love for these weird and slow and rare lil trucks. 

Back to catching up. 

First I cut and patched up under the driver side fender. 

Note the rather large chunk missing at the top

And the aforementioned crap welding. I feel like I get a lot better as the project goes on. After all, I got a hell of a lot of practice. 

But, since I knew the body work would quickly get out of hand. I decided to put it up on the rotisserie.

I had built this for a 77 Midget (that mumble, Mumble still isn't done, cough).  So I made a quick adaptor for the truck. 

Unfortunately, the cheapo hydraulic pump and lines I bought off of E-bay kept breaking so I scrapped it all and bought two new screw jack style lifts. 

These work way better and the Caddy was now ready to have me put way too much time into the rust repair. 

ssswitch Dork
12/2/17 11:08 p.m.

Has there ever been a rust repair that finished in a surprisingly short amount of time?

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/4/17 3:04 p.m.

Going on 4 years now... just found a little more yesterday.

Well, after getting the "truck" lifted up and stripped I was able to repair the first few spots. 

Here is where it rusted through both layers of steel. It had been repaired already, poorly of course, and more water just kept getting into the welds. 

Here is more metal cut away before I continued repairs. 

Here's the top layer going back on, you can see the POR-15 I brushed inside the Frame rails behind it. I'm pretty sure I put weld through primer on the back too... Guess I'll find out in 10 years!

And here is the Passenger side buttoned up. You can tell I was still learning at this point based on the weld quality and because I had to "massage" the panel to the right shape. That's why it looks like Danny Trejo's face there. Oh well, Patches was never meant be a show truck.

xflowgolf Dork
12/5/17 12:19 p.m.

Nice job.  A few people I've seen literally cut off the entire front clip at the firewall and splice in new from a donor car.  Also a massive project.  I started down that path with my own a decade ago in Michigan due to similar rust, and never succeeded in finishing getting it back together.  A friend of mine is going down a similar path, but we're trying to actually get his done... it's currently tacked back together with the new clip in place.  Doing what you're doing just hacking and making patches is probably the more likely path to actually finishing it.  Ha.  

So yes, plenty of us out here have similar demented interest in these silly pickups.  My old one is actually still hiding in a storage garage, stripped down, with no real front clip.  surprise

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/6/17 4:37 p.m.

Yeah, I thought about doing it that way but I came to the conclusion that I would have a hard time finding a completely rust free clip. Oh well. 

So with the Truck up on the rotisserie, I could now easily get at the floor pans. 

Here's the next section traced out and ready to cut.


And with the bead rolled sections bent to fit. 

More of the same near the back...

But at least all the practice has improved my welding. Those butt welds are a real pain in the... ass. 

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/7/17 2:37 p.m.

So, since most of repair pieces I was making were 90 degree bends I built a Press brake/ Shop press. 

I had an old cheapo jack I was never using and bought some steel tube. 

Here's the first section welded up before I realized I forgot to drill the bolt holes on the bottom.

Luckily I have a really big drill press

All better.

And done!


xflowgolf Dork
12/7/17 2:39 p.m.

I need to buy a welder.  cheeky

Looks good! 

Vigo UltimaDork
12/7/17 10:46 p.m.

I smell broken early diesel stuff! I need near-free early diesel stuff to piece together my VW-Diesel-Swapped-Dodge-Rampage. 

This (plus a complete 1.7vw gas engine dropout with mounts/axles/accessories) is what i've got so far:


Cool project!

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/8/17 3:39 p.m.

I got rid of most of the engine already, have axles and transmission still. What do you need? 


Rampage looks good though! Needs paint...

RealMiniParker UberDork
12/9/17 10:54 p.m.
BirgerBuilder said:

Thanks for the encouragement guys, I was worried no one would have any love for these weird and slow and rare lil trucks. 


 Weird and slow is what this place is about!

Love your project.

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/11/17 2:33 p.m.

Has anyone else been 90% of the way through writing a post and then have the drop down menu pop up over the 'image' button, so you click NEWS  instead and lose all your progress?


After I finished the side skirts, it was time to move on to the bed. 

It's not too rusty, mostly bent and wonky, except for the worst of it in these two spots. 


At the factory they missed two little lines of seam sealer where the bed attaches to the frame rails. So for the past 30 years, it has had two little pockets for carrying water.  After I cut them out I needed to replicate the shape of the bed. I could bend each one by hand, but.. I just built a shop press.


So I built this instead!

Here's the first test piece.


Not bad. 

I welded up the frame first. 

This time I do know I put the weld through primer back there. And...


You can still see the welds and imperfections but I don't think it looks much worse than the un-patched parts.

This one was tricky too since it's a compound curve. 


But I hit some scrap with a hammer till it was close enough.


And this one, hell, I'm almost proud of it.


According to the dates on my camera roll, after this, I didn't do a damn thing for months. Lets hope that doesn't happen again till I'm driving it.

docwyte SuperDork
12/11/17 4:05 p.m.

Pics aren't showing up in your last post for me

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/12/17 1:01 p.m.

Fixed I hope. 

Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/12/17 1:39 p.m.

I see some pictures but not all. 

BirgerBuilder New Reader
12/12/17 2:20 p.m.

Third times the charm...? I think I wasn't pulling from the shared folder on Google.

Stampie GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/12/17 3:05 p.m.

In reply to BirgerBuilder :

I'm seeing all of those now but the 12/6 post is missing pictures. 

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