Repairing a South African VW Split Screen Kombi

This is a very unique bus to Australia. A factory 1974 split screen right hand drive. These were built in South Africa up to the mid 70's and were a cheaper option that the baywindow which was also available for purchase at the same time. From the factory they came with the higher ratio beetle gearbox and a 1600 engine. They used the tooling from the Brazilian buses but the sheet metal panels were all stamped in South Africa using a better quality steel.

This particular bus lived in the mountain in South Africa away from the ocean for most of it's life so it's still in very good condition. It's in the shop at the moment for some rust repairs to the roof. The owner is a valued customer who had work done last year on his baywindow bus. We are very fortunate to have the opportunity to work on this beauty. And, I must say, I very much love the colour combo.

South African Split Screen Kombi with Rood Rust

If anyone has restored an old car, you will know that rust can be a can of worms. What you can see is usually just the tip of the iceberg and this is no exception. The few small rust bubbles on the roof didn't appear too bad but as we started poking we realised we really had to cut out the whole section or it would only come back again in full force.

VW Kombi Splitty Rust Repairs to Roof

Once we had cut the roof open it exposed the inner panel which we could see was also rusting quite badly. There really isn't an easy option to remove the rust in this case. The only way to get rid of it permanently would be to cut the entire roof off but that is definitely overkill for a bus that really isn't too bad. In this situation to we used POR-15 rust sealant which effectively stops the rust in it's tracks and seals it to prevent further oxidation. 

VW Kombi Split Screen Bus POR-15 Rust Seal

After the inner panel has been treated we are able to weld in some new steel and it's reading for finishing and painting. This treatment saves tens of thousands on rust repairs and will buy the customer many years before needing to address the roof again. 

We would recommend POR-15 or a similar product for many of these similar areas. It can only be applied directly on to rust or exposed steel. In cases where you cannot get to your internal cavities easily we would recommend treating these areas with either fish oil or cavity wax.

If you have a Kombi that needs some rust repairs or other restoration work, remember that Righteous Kombis is here to help.