Z bed repair

The bed’s in better shape than I thought; kept all the wood except for the bottom panel.

I took the rotted old bottom and clamped it to a nice new plywood scrap ($2.01) to mark it for cutting…

…and to duplicate the mounting holes for the l-brackets that hold the top of the bed on:

Unclamped, trimmed the right side of the board to match the original. Because of the different slope of the Vanagon’s firewall, I made the bottom a bit longer in the back.

Flipped it over, inserted the bolt, and marked the area to countersink by tracing the bolthead:

Dremeled out the countersink area until it could almost swallow the bolt (compression of the wood upon tightening will take care of the rest)

The latch engaged nicely, but there was a tiny gap and it seemed like it would rattle. Thinking that maybe a bit of felt around the door edge would help, I noticed that someone had already done this right near the latch. Factory? Who knows. I scavenged a piece of padded vinyl from an old palm pilot carrying case and glued it in place. The door now has a smooth, firm feel when it closes, and won’t clatter when I’m rolling down the road. Since it’s an old VW, this means that I have about 2,340 sources of clattering and squeaking to go.

Made a coutout for the rear heater, hit the slight surface rust on the hinges with neutralizer, and assembled everything but the cushions, which I think I’ll completely redo. I need to find out where to get big blocks of foam and a bolt of suitable fabric in NYC…

One cut today would provoke howls from orthodox VW nuts (if the ’68 bed in the ’85 Vanny hasn’t done so already). The front panel of the zbed was longer on the driver’s side, but the laminate was badly chipped there and there are going to be cabinets on both sides anyway, so I trimmed off an inch or two to match the passenger side. If you’re so anal that that bothers you, you would have replaced the entire panel anyway, so relax.

I expected that everything not made of metal would be just a template, so I’m happily surprised I can keep the front…a lozenge-shaped door would be a bitch to make.

Man, it sure is ugly like this, but it’ll be nice soon:

For those of you with a z-bed in need of assembly or repair, here are some detailed photos that may help (click for full size):