Vanagon Sunset

Vanagon Sunset

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Rocker Panel Protection

When I purchased my first Vanagon, I was looking for ways to dress it up and personalize it a bit.  I had a short list of things I could do to make it look "better than stock" without spending tons of money.

One of the first things that I did, was to add a bedliner product to the lower rocker panels of the van.  I like the look of it because it breaks up the huge body panels a little and makes the van appear a bit taller than it is.  I've always liked my vans to look a little more "rugged" and this is a quick way to accomplish this.  It also adds a fair amount of protection to the lower section of the body to protect from rock ships, scrapes and eventually rust.

I did some research and asked around about various products and then decided to try out Rustoleum's Bedliner that is available in a spray can. I figured that for the price, I can go wrong and I could always touch it up should it chip, flake, crack, etc.   This is available at most hardware stores, I purchased mine at the local Ace Hardware for about $9/can.  The lower rocker panels on my van took about 3 cans total (one per side, then less than one for the front and rear sections).

Now, for any project that involved paint, you have to know that prep time is usually about 3-4x longer than actual application time. The masking, paint prep and "figuring it out" is always the longest part of the project.

Parts list:
2 Rolls of thin (1") Blue masking tape
1 Roll of the thicker (3") Blue masking tape
1 Roll of masking paper (about 10" wide)
1000 grit sandpaper
Paint Thinner
Clean rag
Piece of cardboard (to use as a shield)
Old towel or cardboard (or something to throw over wheels to avoid overspray)
my '86 Westy with undercoating


The first part if figuring out your masking line.  Do you want it go over the wheel wells or stay below and follow the body line.  Do you want to do the area inside the door and step? do you want to continue it on the front and rear of the van and if so, where?  All things you'll want to consider.  The easiest option is to go online and Google "Vanagon rocker panel undercoating" or something along those lines and start seeing how other people tackled theirs.  You can always add more later, but you don't want to go overboard and then think that less would've been better.  Think it through.

Next, mask off your area with the thin tape and make sure your paintable edge is clean and that the tape is pressed down tight, otherwise you'll get paint under the tape and it'll look bad.

Then, once your happy with the line, use the thicker tape and masking paper to mask off the area/s that could potentially get overspray on them.  This product doesn't put off too much mist, but it will end up finding its way onto the rest of the van.  I usually mask up about 12" or so above the line and just be careful when I paint.  I use the cardboard as a shield for anything else and I keep a rag hand with some paint thinner on it to remove any accidental overspray.

I've used this product on 3 different vehicles now and I love it.  It's strong, looks good, goes on easy and it's affordable.
My '82 before
My '82 after

I unfortunately lost a few photos from this project, but I'll try to dig up what I can and add them into the post.

1 comment:

  1. Awesome Mike! I look forward to doing this soon on Curious George in the next couple weeks.

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