There is nothing more upsetting than getting an unexpected dent or ding in your cherished Volkswagen Camper or bus. Whether the dent originated from an error on your behalf or from a rouge driver whilst you are getting your weekly shopping, they can ruin the pristine lines of your VW Bus. And as many of use are aware getting these types of repairs carried out at a automotive body shop can be very expensive.
Most UK body shops will charge at least £45 an hour and even for a small dent you are looking at between 3 and 5 hours worth of labour. That’s a cool £135-£225 for a small dent in your VW van, just think of how much beer one can buy with that lot. Fortunately for drivers with dented VW Campers there are some methods you can use to remove those unwanted dents and scrapes for a very small amount of cash and some hard work. It has to be said though, not all dents will respond to the DIY approached but it is certainly worth a try. As long as you don’t make things worse, what have you got to lose! If you cant fix the problem and things are not any worse than they where when you set out then at the very worst you will just have to get the dent repaired at a professional bodywork garage. Nothing lost, nothing gained. And you could end up saving yourself a lot of money.
There are a number of things you will need in order to attempt a DIY dent repair. Firstly, you will need a dent repair kit. These are sold a nearly all automotive shops and can also be brought from specialist suppliers from the Internet. Normally these will contain everything you will need to remove small dents or scratches and some things they even contain special suction cups so you will not have to drill a hole in the bodywork. Drilling creates another issue of having to fill the hole once the dent has been removed.
Before you start you will need the following tools and kits:
1 .Dent pulling kit or pulling tool
2. A dolly (metal flattening tool)
3. Metal working hammer
If you know anyone who has a Dolly and/or a metal working hammer then you can avoid having to purchase these items. Just make sure you give them back.
The steps needed to complete a dent repair are as follows:
1. (only if you don’t have a dent pulling kit), drill a 4mm hole in the centre of the dent using a power drill. you might want to use a metal punch to make a small indentation so your drill does not slip.
or; attach the dent pulling sucker or glue the plastic adapter to the centre of the dent (this will depend on the kit brought).
2. Thread the dent pulling tool though the hole you have drilled or attach the dent pulling tool to the plastic ring that you glued in to the middle of the dent. Then pull on either tool to flatten or pull out the dent.
3. Carefully hammer the front of the dent with the metalworking hammer whilst holding the dolly up against the back of the dent. It may be necessary to enlist the help of someone else to hold the dolly in place.
4. Use a medium grit wet and dry paper to remove all the paint from the dented area. try to remove the paint to at least 50mm more than the dented area. Then fill the entire area with a good quality body filler (P38).
5. Allow the body filler to dry completely, then carefully sand the area with wet & dry paper which has been wrapped around a block of wood. When sanding, begin with a 36-grit wet & dry and work up to a 120-grit wet & dry.
6. Get a good quality primer and apply at least 5 coats leaving 15 Min’s between each coat.
7. Sand the primer using a 600-grit wet and dry. This will help to remove any scratches. The area should then be touched up with a matching automotive spray paint. If the paint is not smooth, re sand and repaint the area until you have a smooth surface.
8. After a few weeks use t-cut to get a final polish.