Errol, the '56 Single Cab

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Who.Me?
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Errol, the '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:23 pm

Been meaning to start a thread, but they all seem to be huge build threads, so this one will be slightly different, if a little uneventful.

This is Errol (the truck, not the feet), my '56 Single Cab...

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I've never named a vehicle before, but Errol seems to suit him

The VIN/chassis number puts the build date at October '56. I got it/him from BBT in Antwerp last September.

Delivery day...
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BBT bought it from a guy who runs an independent VW garage in Cambpell, California (Peninsula Automotive).

Found these on streetview...
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I can tell they're Errol because of the damage and because of the bedliner :?

I'm in (intermittent) touch with the previous owner and they confirmed that they replaced the engine and transaxle (they still have them). They're also trying to find the details of the owner before, who they think was the daughter of the original owner.

Being a California truck, he's pretty solid, with surface rust on the frame, so this won't (I hope) ever be an epic build thread...
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...but it has its issues.

Cab floor needs patching, battery tray needs patching, cill below the treasure chest needs patching or replacing (because the person who fitted the treasure chest door seal didn't put it on straight :x: ) and there are a couple of odd rust holes.

Someone did a cosmetic restoration on the bodywork at some point, so, while it looks nice and shiny, the paint is covering some fairly thick filler. The good thing is that it looks like they didn't try to cut out any damage - no sign of welding. And they didn't touch the interior of the cab at all.

The bad news is that some of the filler is cracked and coming away...
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(FYI ^^^I didn't do that, it's been like that for a while - that's another reason I know the streetview pics are of Errol :) .)


As the structure is solid and the body is liveable, I've been working through the 'deferred maintenance' issues instead...

Fitted a handbrake mechanism (PO didn't fit anything, presumably because they couldn't get cables to fit a big nut tranny in a '56 truck)
Replaced RH rear axle oil seal (leaking), dodgy bolts (stripped heads), and washers (just wrong :? )
Replaced RH rear wheel cylinder (leaking)
Replaced LH front wheel cylinders (seized)
Replaced all the hard and soft lines (and converted to Dual Circuit brakes while I was under there).
Replaced the Espresso in the braking system with brake fluid
Replaced the petrified fuel lines
Got the fuel reserve c o c k working again
Replaced the steering centre pin
Rebuilt the OG centre brake light
Cleaned several kilos of plaster or cement off the frame and front beam etc
Gave the engine a basic service
Rigged up a reversing light (switch on the shift rod)
Had the seats re-covered with OG-style pebble vinyl (Fabrik Interiors)
Fabricated a plate as a temporary fix for the perforated battery tray
Fitted new tyres (at last). The old ones were wedge-shaped because they unworn on one edge and worn down to the reinforcing on the other.
Pulled the fuel tank. As per my thread in the Technical section, it needs a new one...
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...and fixed umpteen other things while I was at it.

*Theoretically* I just need to treat the surface rust in the fuel tank cubby hole and repaint it, then fit the new fuel tank and it'll finally be safe to drive and road legal. :cheers:

I've loads of other pictures and through the power of internet stalking I've managed to find a few pictures of Errol taken by random strangers in California and here, but I reckon the above was long and boring enough for most of you.

But finally, one last pic - Errol is a star of advertising...
PeninsulaAutomotive_Facebook2.jpg
Again, I can tell it's him because he has some strange holes drilled round the upper edge of the drop gates. One day, I might find out what those were for :?:
Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 6:59 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Byron Bamboo
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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Byron Bamboo » Wed Apr 15, 2015 7:31 am

Lovely stock single cab.. :D
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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Toastiemaker » Wed Apr 15, 2015 11:44 am

Love it.
I need an SC in my life. Need to convince the wife that's the case.
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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:03 am

Spent yesterday treating the rust that I found under the fuel tank. I used some homebrewed phosphoric acid rust remover/converter (50/50 mix of 81% phosphoric acid and water, mixed with wallpaper paste to make it sticky).

Before...
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...after running over with a preparation wheel and a wire wheel...
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...after pressure washing and while soaking with phosphoric for the first time...
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...and after a second pressure washing and soaking...
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It needs another go, but the residual water from pressure washing was diluting the phosphoric too much.

I've managed to park the truck so I can get the treasure chest door open this time, so should be able to give it another go in the week.

The worst of the damage is located around the tank mount closest to the treasure chest door. It's eaten through the side of the mount and through the floor under the treasure chest dividing rail. The dividing rail is toast at that end.

Thankfully the rest (while heavily pitted around the hole where the fuel c o c k goes through the floor) is pretty solid. There are a few pin holes here and there, but the metal is still good and thick.

Did the treasure chest while I was in there. The black stuff is the remains of the bed liner and I might yet try to scrape more of that off, but it's come up quite nicely. Lots of OG paint in there...
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Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Mon Apr 20, 2015 8:34 am

While the phosphoric was doing its stuff, I put the cab interior (such as it is) back in.

It was looking like this...
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Now it looks like this...
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The seats were refurbished and recovered by Mike from Fabrik Interiors and they look great. I wasn't sure about the white stitching when I first saw them (sorry if I looked a bit confused when I picked them up Mike). I'm used to seeing pictures of grubby stiching that has turned black over the years, so white looked wrong , but it is factory-correct and it's grown on me. I'm very happy with them.

I'd forgotten how deep the seat base was though, and re-covering it has made it thicker. At 6 foot 2, I can *just* see out without slouching. If I pull the sun visor across, it completely blocks my view :lol: .

The kick panels are ABS, fitted by the company I bought the truck from, but they'll serve as templates for hardboard ones at a later date. The roof panels are OG though.

I also managed to pick up a fuse box cover off of ebay a couple of weeks ago.
Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Mon May 04, 2015 4:29 pm

He lives!!!
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Finally got the new fuel tank in...
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And took it out for a spin.
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Didn't have time to clear the cr&p out of the load bed. Part truck, part shed :D .
Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by kevsplitty » Tue May 05, 2015 5:59 am

Lovely :D
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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Sun Jul 26, 2015 1:02 pm

We've been using the truck for it's proper purpose lately as we're having a new kitchen fitted, so we've been gutting the old one ready for the plasterer and flooring guys.

Trips to the tip are way more enjoyable this way. We do get some funny looks though, and a few thumbs-up.

First time we did this, they made me sign a disclaimer to say that I wasn't doing it as a business :lol: I'd be bankrupt if I ran a business out to of Errol...
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Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by markp » Tue Jul 28, 2015 6:54 am

Hi Dude

fab ride ..... I do love a SC

seat stitching looks fine and I'd be well happy with how that intro looks we well done you !!

Don't worry an=bout the stoop look while ya driving we are got split screen hunch back here mate lol ...... you'll never use the sun visor mate as all you do is sit up a little when the suns low and let the roof of the cab be your sun visor ..... heheheheh I'm a 6 footer too and I do wonder if I'll grow old with a big splity hunch .... but hay what a fab story to tell ya grandkids why you have splity hunch lol

great to see you using it ...... be you only popped small loads in so you had to do more runs to the dump .... any excuse to drive him I bet

Anyway welcome and enjoy buddy


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Re: Errol, my '56 Single Cab

Post by Who.Me? » Tue Jul 28, 2015 11:12 am

    Thanks, I'm enjoying it more and more, especially when I get to use it as a truck.

    The seats do look really good and they're really comfy. I'm glad my Mrs convinced me to shell out on them this year, rather than next.

    Been taking it easy and feeling out what needs more work over the winter...
    • Lots of play in the steering despite the new centre pin, but all the balljoints feel good, so I think the steering box needs some TLC
      Loads of engine oil leaks, so I'll be pulling the engine and replacing seals on the oil cooler, pushrods and possibly the flywheel seal
      Brakes pull back and forth if I do an emergency stop. Not sure if that's due to the vague steering or problems with the brakes so that'll definitely get looked at
      Might start on making good some of the surface rust if I get enough free weekends - the lower windscreen frame has blistered in a bunch of places. Hoping it's not perforated underneath yet.
      Transaxle is leaking in a few places so I'll have a proper look at that when the engine is out
    At the moment, I'm waiting on a carb from Riverhaus which should cure a rough running problem that's been there since I got him. I'm not taking it far for fear it'll die on me at the mo.

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    Re: Errol, the '56 Single Cab

    Post by Who.Me? » Mon Nov 23, 2015 10:02 am

    Fitted Errol with the fuel gauge that I bought from Tony C (Bus&BugKG) - thanks Tony, it looks great...
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    Quite pleased as I only needed to drill one new hole - for a grounding screw in the fuel bay. I used a voltage reducer bought off ebay on the gauge power as it's a 6V gauge (the part number says that it was a Karmann Ghia gauge) and my bus is 12V, but just swapped the backlight bulb for a 12V.

    I'd been hugely underestimating the fuel consumption of the truck, so kept running it very low on to the reserve and that was frustrating my attempts to trace bugs in the fuel system. No more uncertainty now.
    Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.


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    Re: Errol, the '56 Single Cab

    Post by Aspro » Mon Nov 23, 2015 7:52 pm

    Fuel guage? What is this mystical contraption you speak of? :lol:
    On a serious note the truck looks great. Got to love a commercial vehicle. They look great and practical too. Love it. :D

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    Re: Errol, the '56 Single Cab

    Post by Who.Me? » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:31 pm

    Aspro wrote:Fuel guage? What is this mystical contraption you speak of? :lol:
    My divining technique just wasn't cutting it. I had to go all space-age and fit a dial. :)
    Aspro wrote:On a serious note the truck looks great. Got to love a commercial vehicle. They look great and practical too. Love it. :D
    Thanks. I'm happy with it. Just wish I could have got it running this well earlier in the season. I got it fixed just in time for the weather to change.


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    Re: Errol, the '56 Single Cab

    Post by Aspro » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:33 pm

    It'll be show season before you know it. Enjoy

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    Re: Errol, the '56 Single Cab

    Post by Who.Me? » Mon Nov 23, 2015 8:40 pm

    Something else I've been tinkering with. These are rails for a slide-out container to go in the treasure chest.

    The treasure chest is great for storage, but stuff slides around and anything weighty will just knock dents in to the side panels Also, anything at the back is hard to get to, so a few guys in the states have rigged pull-out containers. All the ones that I've seen rest on the treasure chest floor, but I don't want to trap moisture that might encourage rot to set in, so I'm suspending mine with a decent air gap all round and underneath.

    Haven't made the container yet, but I bolted up some steel channel the other day. Again, I'm trying to avoid doing anything that can't be simply reversed without damage, so the channel is suspended from the 'spine' beams that support the load bed using threaded bar and plates from a trailer u-bolt. The plan is to fit some spring loaded door bolts to the box that will engage with holes in the channel to stop it sliding out too far and to lock it in place when it's stowed, so it doesn't slide back and forth and smash in to the bodywork.
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    The black stuff is more of that damned spray on bedliner. I've been experimenting with ways to get it off, and I've found that a hot air paint stripper gun works well. It softens the liner before it attacks the paint, so the liner scrapes off. I'm going to have a go on the beams and the thick cargo floor, but I may have to leave it on the larger, thinner body panels, for fear of warping them.
    Last edited by Who.Me? on Mon Jul 03, 2017 7:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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