Dakar Body off Restoration - March 2010

Well after being in denial for several years, I finally bitten the bullet and decided to remove the body in order to gain access to the side panels which have been going rusty from the inside.

Whilst its in bits I will remake the rear inner wheel arches - which I made a mistake on during the initial build 15 years ago.

Experienced builders will notice that I fitted half of the front inner arch to the rear .I blame Barry for this, because failed to tell me that he had only sent the front arches to me and that the rear would follow later. I called him and said that they didn’t fit very well and he said “you need to panel them in here and there” - so I did .After two weeks of work entombing them in sheet metal, a box turned up containing the rear fibreglass arches !!

I have a tight deadline on this - it has to be ready for the MK classic tour on the 25th April.

Yep - that’s the rear half of the front inner arches fitted to the front of the rear arches!!!

Body removal

I’ve been dreading this for years. My inner arches were attached to the body with mild steel bolts, which were totally rusty. I have tried grinding the heads off before - which resulted in a melted fibreglass. However I discovered that you could just snap the heads of with a pair of mole grips as they were so rusty.

Seemingly good condition inner arches were actually rusting away inside:

I used builders expanding foam to seal the front bulkhead - a bit too much though!

Almost ready for the lift. You may of noticed that I have a fully bonded windscreen. I’m not able to remove it (well my glass fitter said its just as risky to remove it as it was to leave it alone).

1-2-3 Lift!

With a little wiggle and the help of a couple of neighbours it came of without any problems.

And here’s the main thing I need to get sorted out - the side panels. Tried contacting Dakar Designs to obtain the fibreglass versions - but not getting any response and I don’t really have time to wait around for them - so looks like I will remake them in NS4 14 Gauge sheet.

Continued in Part Two