Rust Repairs to 1972 Poptop Camper

We have been lucky enough to have this nice original 72 lowlight in the workshop. We were given the opportunity to help bring this lowlight back to life.

At first glance it didn't look very rusty and as fair as Kombis go it really wasn't bad at all. 

It's pretty common on a lowlight (68 to 72) for the front valance panel to rust through. Often times it won't seem so bad with only a few holes or bubbles. As with all rust though, it starts from the inside out and what seemed like possibly just an outer panel replacement turned into both inner and outer replacement

VW Kombi Lowlight front Valance Removal

One of the most difficult parts of this job is actually removing the old panels such that the new ones will fit correctly. This is usually done by drilling out the old spot welds and unpicking the panel.

It's also important to ensure you purchase the best panels you can. A lot of the cheaper replacement panels really aren't a very good fit which means you have to do a lot of modification to get it right and even then it can be very difficult.

VW Kombi Original Condition 1972 Lowlight with Poptop

Other than the front inner and outer Valance we also were tasked with repairing and painting the roof as well as replacing the poptop roof.

We always advise customers to be very carful when buying a Kombi with a poptop as rust tends to lurk underneath the roof. In our experience, rust in the roof is the most difficult part of a Kombi restoration.

VW Kombi roof and Gutter rust repairs

We find that it's very common to see gutters start to rust and often this is one of the first things you see. Most of the time, if the gutters have started to rust, you can be pretty sure the roof will be rotting under the poptop also. 

VW Kombi 1972 Roof Rust Repairs

With this 72, we were lucky that it was such a solid and dry bus. The worst rust we found in the roof was pitting which meant we could simply grind it all out. As you can see from these images the rust really had started to pit deeply in to the metal. This is why we suggest always going back to metal on the roof, at least all around the gutters. If you don't get all the rust out it will continue to spread under the paint and under the poptop roof

VW Kombi Rear Valance Rust Repairs

You may recognise these sections. This is again a very common area for rust. It may not look so bad and often people ignore this. Again, the bigger issue lurks behind what you can see. Behind this panel is  where the rear bumper mounts. If you allow the rust to progress the section for the bumper mounts to bolt up to will eventually rust through as well. As always, the best time to fix rust is yesterday and the next best time is today.

If you have any queries about rust repairs, please get in touch as we will be glad to help