There was a break in the weather today, which gave me an opportunity to get over to the van and test out some of the steel pieces we’d made up for the windscreen (thanks Greasemonkey).

As you can see, the top of the windscreen surround is looking rather rotten, so much so, that you can see the crappy expanded foam through what’s left of the ‘cornice’.

So I got the angle grinder out and cleanly cut out what was left of the outer skin between the roof line and the inner windscreen surround.  It really didn’t take a lot of effort!

A bit of brushing and grinding cleaned out some of the expanded foam and tidied up the surface.  Thankfully, it also dried the metal out a bit (that foam holds some water).

The new pieces we’d made were of 1mm steel (thinner than the last lot, but still thicker than what’s on the van already).  This made it a lot easier to bend and shape.  The top of the surround has a slightly curved profile in two directions, which was easy to form with a bit of muscle.  I also held the piece in its intended position and marked areas where I needed to cut a little extra rust out of the roof, and these bits would be folded over and welded in to make a stronger joint (hopefully).

And with those tabs bent over…

The plan was to butt this up against the tidied roof line, weld and then cut back the protruding remaining steel from the piece, which is easier done when it’s in final position.  There was a natural hole in the inner skin so I welded the edges of this on to the new piece from the inside (see the iridescent patch).  Then the rest of the piece was tack welded on to the remaining metal.  As before, this is difficult.  Where the existing steel is thin this just melts away and eats further toward the roof.  A long stitch is impossible as the excess heat is likely to warp something or set fire to my roof!

And then it was just a case of cutting off the remaining tabs, grinding down the welds, and then applying a few more tacks in between.

Not beautiful, but it holds.  It’ll be stronger when joined to new pieces to finish the rest of the top.  Out came the Quiksteel to tidy up and protect the joints.

That can be sanded down at a later date, but at the moment I want to protect the new steel, so pulled out the primer and gave it a quick coat.

Next time it’s continuing with this new top channel, and then tackling those corners.  Hopefully I can get these pieces to bend a bit more!

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