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Old 12-20-2017, 02:28 PM   #31
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Default Re: Restoring Exterior Plastic Body Panels

Correct, under the panel is the sheet metal for the van. It can be removed (and destroyed in the process), and the van painted, some owners have done this. There are some photos on here from owners that removed and painted the area black, but don't have time to find them right now.

Certainly an option, and may be the best one, but I am not quite ready to give up yet.
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Old 12-20-2017, 08:25 PM   #32
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Default Re: Restoring Exterior Plastic Body Panels

Response to Hoflix: See below link/thread with links to other options for repair.

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Old 12-21-2017, 07:28 AM   #33
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Default Re: Restoring Exterior Plastic Body Panels

Originally Posted by MrTomacco View Post
Has anyone contacted a plastic vacuum forming company or a fiberglass company to make a mold and produce the plastic panels? Since you can't take it off the vehicle without destroying it, making an exact mold would require doing it on the vehicle. Perhaps a close enough mold could be made and a more resistant plastic or fiberglass be used.

An exact replica made out of fiberglass is probably the best long term solution for those wanting to preserve the original look. The only issue here would be the cost of making just a handful of fiberglass panels. The closest thing I've seen to the Westy panels in the US are the fiberglass window flares installed on vans to allow a bed to be mounted sideways in the rear. I've tried to track down off the shelf T1N Sprinter flares for a lower cost option, but they don't seem to exist. The T1N Gulf Stream Vista Cruiser was fitted with fiberglass flares at the factory, but they are not available for purchase (and very unattractive).

Here is a Vista Cruiser for reference:

In my hunt for T1N flares, I found an Oregon company called Flarespace that sells sets for newer vans. The quality is impressive, and they mount using a similar adhesive method. I imagine they could be installed without cutting the window, but they don't make any for the T1N Sprinter. Also turns out they don't make them in house. They use a company in Happy Valley, OR that produces a number of RV components called Miles Fiberglass and Composites.

(If you read through the Flarespace site, they actually mention Miles Fiberglass halfway down the FAQ page)

I have seen the flares that Miles Fiberglass manufactures for Flarespace in person, and they are flawless. With the number of flares they have made, it would probably be fairly easy for them to make a Westfalia panel out of fiberglass. If there ever is a time when a number of other Westy owners are interested in a fiberglass panel, I'd take my van there for the mold. I haven't contacted them yet, but I know that small jobs are extremely expensive at any fiberglass shop. If anyone else is farther along in the process of replicating the Westfalia panel at a reputable shop, I'd jump onboard to lower the cost. I'm not dead set on Miles Fiberglass, and would take a high quality fiberglass panel from any shop that can make one.
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