The Wheel Arch

Besides the conversion work, I had to undertake the normal restoration work required on a car of this age. Typical trouble spots for the Type 4 are the sills, the wheel arches and the inner wings. This car would be no different.

When I cut away the box-section stiffener on the front of the wheel arch, I found a large hole in the arch itself – you can see the tyre through there! There is also a large hole in the sill.

So this had to be patched. Here, the first patch has been spot-welded in place.
The holes in the sill are also made good – they would need to be finished off from the underside in due course.
However, when I got round to checking the hole from underneath, after my enforced break, I found that the damage was more extensive than I had at first realised.
Another view – I had welded a couple of plates in whilst installing the door frame but I now realised that at least one of them would have to come off again.
I have removed the temporary patch from the outside and have cut the sill back a bit further. Here I am offering up a new plate to close the inner part of the sill box section.
The first few spot welds are made to hold the new piece in place. As can be seen, this is right by the rear subframe mounting so the repair has to be done properly. I have moved the rear subframe mounting retaining plate clear of the sill to give myself room for the initial welds.
I then had to make up a closure plate for the bottom of the box-section within the sill. Here is it after the first weld runs. They need another run before touching up ready for the outer sill cover plate.
The outer panel clamped in place. The row of spot welds is for a backing plate for a butt weld along the joint.
A view from the underside after the initial welding runs. I have had to completely remove the retaining plate and rubber bushes for the subframe mounting to give myself room for the spot welder.
Here it is after grinding flush. The bottom edge was carefully spot welded at close centres through all three thicknesses – the original, the inner box closure and the outer sill cover plate. I have now replaced the subframe retaining cover plate. The small hole you can see is for the bright trim strip – the welded joint will be hidden under it in due course.
When I turned my attention to the right-hand side, I found light surface rust inside the box section apart from at the bottom where there is a small hole – much smaller than the left-hand side! I also uncovered a hole in the sill.
After a thorough wire brushing, the hole looks a bit bigger!
After the patches have been finished on the wing. There is still that hole to fix in the sill.
View from rear – you can just see the patch on the inner wing.
Finally, I had to patch the remaining rust hole in the outer sill. Here it is ready for welding. I have taken the patch from a piece of the bodyside – all original materials used on this job wherever possible!