General Bluebell the 900e Amigo

OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
- great if you are at a festival etc.

Out of interest, do you have any wind-down stabilisers (like those fitted to caravans) to stop the van rocking? With all the weight up top I suspect it will get a little rocky when the wind blows.

No stabilisers.:eek:

Anyhow, I've made my best effort and finished the roof now. I would have been happier to see it a bit more taut but the mechanics of the thing just don't give much possibility of that. But it's tidy enough and looks like a factory-finished item inside. In fact, because I've been using better materials and fixings than original, with stainless-steel screws and bolts and plusher vinyl and fabric, I think it's better than original.

Whilst the basic framework is as found, everything else is new, even down to the ball-bearings in the sliders, so the whole thing feels and smell likes new. I've got it all working properly now and this has stopped the sliders from being a bit wobbly. Now the sleeping baseboards are in it's all gone nicely rigid.:eek: I tested the fit of a full(ish) sized adult and it's not a huge bed but big enough. The fibreglass roof curve provides the headboard where your pillow probably ends up and that gives a bit more room.

I'm very pleased with it and with myself as this has been a huge undertaking; but it has been much more enjoyable than I expected and makes a change from welding and painting.

Next target is to finish the trim of the passenger compartment. I have some new, thicker vinyl and also need to varnish the back of the trim-boards and glue them in as an addition to the screws in order to stop them from warping as they did last winter. There's also the small matter of a sunroof to fit.:cool:

To answer an earlier question from Gary50, today I noticed the heater does have a tiddly little fan built in.(y)
 

Attachments

  • NOV_6384.JPG
    NOV_6384.JPG
    9.2 MB · Views: 14
  • NOV_6376.JPG
    NOV_6376.JPG
    9.9 MB · Views: 14
OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
It's been raining all day so I decided it was the right time to refurbish the windows. I use such a big name for this because they are were in a right state. Absolutely filthy and covered in paint speckles. The worst of them is heavily marked with spatter from a grinder or welder (not mine!!!) and ideally needs replacing. Luckily, the heated rear screen ( remember, you can't see through it because of the kitchen units :D) looks undamaged.

The sliding window must originally have been custom-made for these vans which will have had the window-openings cut out by the motorhome constructor from a panel-van. Amazingly, the specialist manufacturer is still listed as operating from a base in Birmingham, but I don't hold out much hope of finding a spare locking-catch still available.:eek: It's from the days when things were really well made by hand and with the removal of some 3mm rivets and a bit of manipulation, it all came apart very easily. This allowed me to clean all the grooves and seals and make it almost like new. The seals were in excellent condition, which was obviously a great advantage.

So I would now appreciate if anyone has a fixed side window or catch going spare although I suspect I will just have to get the glass specially cut.

Typically, although I'm now ready to put the windows back in because the rubber seals have arrived very promptly, I first need to re-cover the window surrounds with some thicker vinyl and that might first mean cutting another set of surrounds from 3mm marine ply; we'll see.:bang:
 

Attachments

  • NOV_6394.JPG
    NOV_6394.JPG
    2.9 MB · Views: 8
  • NOV_6400.JPG
    NOV_6400.JPG
    2.6 MB · Views: 10
  • NOV_6395.JPG
    NOV_6395.JPG
    2.8 MB · Views: 10
  • NOV_6399.JPG
    NOV_6399.JPG
    2.5 MB · Views: 6
  • NOV_6396.JPG
    NOV_6396.JPG
    2.3 MB · Views: 10
OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
I finally got round to fitting a some windows. I've done a few before, including the windscreen on my 500 and they've all been easier than the Amigo. The difficulties are partly because I've not used this type of seal with an infill strip before, the window openings aren't all exactly the same and are uneven as they were cut by hand and not at the Fiat factory and mostly it's hard because I also have to accommodate a turn-up of the internal window-surround vinyl.

But after a few hours' struggle I have three windows fitted. I have a big tub of water-based lubricant used for slipping drainage-pipes together and I found a generous wipe with that was a great help. I have to say, this type of window-seal is very positive and I don't expect any leaks.

The internal vinyl has been rucked up by fitting the windows and isn't as neat as I hoped it would and I may be able to do some tweaks. But I will have to accept that trying to get fairly non-stretch vinyl to do compound curves is not easy for anyone including the original manufacturers.

I've also fitted the sunroof with a generous bead of PU sealant. This hinges open and creates a really nice interior and allows excellent ventilation above the cooking area. It was a very long-winded item to renovate as I couldn't remove the glass and needed to strip and paint complicated pressings of steel and aluminium. The roof has become a bit grubby over the last few weeks having gathered a patina of pollen and dust; but it will shine up nicely when I'm finished.
 

Attachments

  • NOV_6444.JPG
    NOV_6444.JPG
    2.4 MB · Views: 13
  • NOV_6445.JPG
    NOV_6445.JPG
    2.7 MB · Views: 18
  • NOV_6450.JPG
    NOV_6450.JPG
    2.1 MB · Views: 12
  • NOV_6451.JPG
    NOV_6451.JPG
    2.3 MB · Views: 13
  • NOV_6454.JPG
    NOV_6454.JPG
    1.9 MB · Views: 11

Gary50

New member
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
263
Location
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
Looking good.
I'm assuming that you have already done/thought of this... make sure you squeeze a bit of sealer between the window rubber joins (looks like yours are in the middle at the bottom, as are the ones on Connie). This will make sure that you don't get any water leaks/traps to rust your window opening and/or stain your nice new interior.

I wasn't sure about fitting a sunroof to Connie (she already has a standard caravan roof vent) however, your comment about providing ventilation above the cooker makes good sense - adding fit sunroof to my to do list.
 
OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
..... make sure you squeeze a bit of sealer between the window rubber joins (looks like yours are in the middle at the bottom, as are the ones on Connie).

I followed some advice about fitting VW windows in non-factory conversions, which is basically the same as the Amigo. That was to make the join for the seal at the top and then the join for the filler strip at the bottom.

I have a tube of window-sealant at the ready but considered that using it at installation would be the last straw in terms of the challenge and it would end up everywhere. The dimensions of the rubber I used ended up being probably at the maximum the window opening could tolerate with respect to the thickness of the central part of the "H" of the rubber. I was also taking it around a radius far in excess of design. Consequently , once the filler-strip was installed it created a very tight seal. I doubt it will leak although I remember when fitting double-glazed units in the house, the bottom corners had to be given a bead of sealant despite the hi-tech rubbers they use, so only time will tell.

On the back burner I've started on the winding windows and the quarter-lights. The frames to the latter have a familiar look of decay after being steeped in a phosphoric acid solution for a few days and this also removed the black paint from the aluminium channel. So I'm not sure whether to simply paint with epoxy and live with it as it's covered in rubber when assembled, to weld it up properly or to fibreglass. I need to find the latches so they can be re-bonded to the glass and get hold of new winding mechanisms and bottom channels for the glass.

The internals are really getting there now and as it's raining today I will make up the last of the window surrounds and side-panels; so maybe more here later. :)
 

Attachments

  • NOV_6401.JPG
    NOV_6401.JPG
    2.9 MB · Views: 9
  • NOV_6402.JPG
    NOV_6402.JPG
    2.4 MB · Views: 9
  • NOV_6446.JPG
    NOV_6446.JPG
    2.8 MB · Views: 9

Gary50

New member
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
263
Location
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
Your quarter light frames look in reasonably good shape - one of mine had almost dissolved at the bottom but there was just enough left to attach a strip of new metal to give it strength.

I managed to get hold of new (expensive) quarter light rubbers which happily cover the frame so didn't need to make the repair pretty - they were a pig to fit though as there was very little give in the new rubber (and still leak).

The problem I've got now is bonding the spindles to the glass. I've tried various adhesives in the past (as did the previous owner) but none of them lasted and the glass kept falling out :( (I've taken a pattern of the glass in case it happens again and I'm not as lucky to keep them in one piece.)

At the moment I have a temporary fix using Gorilla tape - this works as long as you don't try to open the quarter light. I've bought some two-pack adhesive which is supposed to work well with metal to glass bonding. The problem is trying to work out how to clamp everything in place while the glue sets overnight.

Ideally, I want to replace the spindles with ones with a 'U' shape channel that allows the glass to slide in and will be gripped from both sides - probably using a grub screw on the inside to lock them in place.

Thinking back to my school metal work classes making them shouldn't be difficult - providing you have a lathe and milling machine (as much as I would love to have them I can't justify them for one job - especially as we are moving house soon).

I'd be very interested to see what solution you come up with... or if someone else has already mastered this please share.
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
Blimey...six more months of inactivity.....on the campervan that is. I've been very busy on lots of other things including the completely novel (to me) hobby of beekeeping, which seemed to consume the summer. But today I went out to turn the van around in the garage so that I could get at the back end and get in the side door again.

Despite being left with an uncharged battery for half a year (the battery that came with the van all those years ago), the engine fired up (at the very last possible turn of the starter.:D) So expect a bit of a flurry of activity as I intend to complete the interior trim, fit the rest of the windows and have another look at the water-pump situation.

I've also dug out surplus spares to sell, which include a brand new tailgate and a side-door for a RHD vehicle. When I get the eBay listings sorted I'll put a link here.
 

Attachments

  • NOV_1583.JPG
    NOV_1583.JPG
    10.8 MB · Views: 10

wjskir

New member
Joined
Feb 5, 2021
Messages
7
It's been raining all day so I decided it was the right time to refurbish the windows. I use such a big name for this because they are were in a right state. Absolutely filthy and covered in paint speckles. The worst of them is heavily marked with spatter from a grinder or welder (not mine!!!) and ideally needs replacing. Luckily, the heated rear screen ( remember, you can't see through it because of the kitchen units :D) looks undamaged.

The sliding window must originally have been custom-made for these vans which will have had the window-openings cut out by the motorhome constructor from a panel-van. Amazingly, the specialist manufacturer is still listed as operating from a base in Birmingham, but I don't hold out much hope of finding a spare locking-catch still available.:eek: It's from the days when things were really well made by hand and with the removal of some 3mm rivets and a bit of manipulation, it all came apart very easily. This allowed me to clean all the grooves and seals and make it almost like new. The seals were in excellent condition, which was obviously a great advantage.

So I would now appreciate if anyone has a fixed side window or catch going spare although I suspect I will just have to get the glass specially cut.

Typically, although I'm now ready to put the windows back in because the rubber seals have arrived very promptly, I first need to re-cover the window surrounds with some thicker vinyl and that might first mean cutting another set of surrounds from 3mm marine ply; we'll see.:bang:
Wow doing the windows seems like quite a job. I will be removing mine soon as I prep my 850T before it gets sent to a body shop.

I was wondering what is generally done about replacing the window seals. Are they available on ebay or can you buy some sort of material by the meter and cut it to size it yourself? I will be doing all of the windows and from what I have found on ebay original gaskets are not too cheap. Are they still produced or would I be buying 30 year old rubber?
I have never done a job like this before and any advice would be much appreciated!
 
OP
OP
fiat500

fiat500

Patinated Peter
Joined
Mar 7, 2005
Messages
5,792
Location
Nairn
Wow doing the windows seems like quite a job. I will be removing mine soon as I prep my 850T before it gets sent to a body shop.

I was wondering what is generally done about replacing the window seals. Are they available on ebay or can you buy some sort of material by the meter and cut it to size it yourself? I will be doing all of the windows and from what I have found on ebay original gaskets are not too cheap. Are they still produced or would I be buying 30 year old rubber?
I have never done a job like this before and any advice would be much appreciated!

I've not been coming near this part of the forum, nor near my van for quite some time. It's been neglected due to other interests and projects which include upgrading our regular campervan to a relatively modern motorhome which is also need of some minor work.

The glass and seals on UK campervan conversions would not originally have been Fiat parts. Generic rubber profiles were used and these are still avilable from specialist and kit-car suppliers in the UK. But the original rubbers may be out of shape if measuring for replacements and the original sizes may no longer be available. I took a gamble and obtained some which I have made to work.....just.

One of the problems is that my van was converted from a panel van and the windows were hand cut by the conversion company. This means that the opening sizes are variable and some windows have been easier to fit than others.

I'll do a proper update on things within the next few weeks.
 

Gary50

New member
Joined
Apr 14, 2013
Messages
263
Location
Fordingbridge, Hampshire
Wow doing the windows seems like quite a job.

Hi
Replacing the windows/rubber seals isn't as difficult as it may first seam but it is a two person job.

If you want to keep the original look the windscreen rubber is a specialist part which come up on ebay from time to time - Ricambio may be able to get one for you (showing as out of stock at the moment), approx £160.

The side/rear windows can use generic rubbers - I got mine from Rubber Stock. They also supply all the door & roof seals etc. and will happily supply samples so you can make sure the profiles are correct. On another thread I've listed the profiles I used (can't remember which thread at the moment).

The generic rubbers come in a roll that you cut to size.

Tip:
When cutting the side rubbers make sure you cut them to the aperture NOT the window. I made the mistake of cutting to the window size, when fitted I ended up with inch gap at the bottom/join which I had to cut a piece to fill - not too obvious but annoying. Either way use a good quality silicone sealer to stick the ends of the rubber together to prevent leaks.

To fit:
For the windscreen fit the 'original' rubber to the glass and run a strong piece of cord (the stuff you use for curtain pulls works well, don't use wire otherwise you will cut the rubber) round the rubber that will fit to the aperture.

Using a couple of glass suction cups place the window so the rubber seal locates in the bottom edge of the aperture. The person outside gently but firmly presses against the glass while the person inside pulls the 'draw cord' to pull the seal into place. Aim to finish at the top middle.

Once in place, using the suction cups, move the glass around to make sure properly seated. You will feel a satisfying 'pop' when correctly positioned.

The side windows use the same principle. However, due to the profile used I did find that they needed a lot more pressure to push/pull them into place.

Cheers

PS. There are a few YouTube videos showing how it's done. Search Classic car window rubber replacement.
 
Top