German quality

Well, after a long spell of rain, snow, ice, and more snow, we are back into the season with a bang.  Kicking off the year in style is this 2008 Burstner T625, on a rare Renault chassis, and even rarer automatic, with only 20k on the clock.

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What we have here is a one owner from new, high end, high quality German built Burstner, using a mix of the normal build materials that are common place for this great manufacture.  The standard steel painted Renault cab, coupled with an aluminium body, and a GRP rear panel.  This was booked in for our Restoration service due to the age, and the owners were not really sure what it needed, or what to expect.  They’d owned this beauty from new, and any issues are often hard to notice in these situations, simply because they deteriorate so slowly, that the owners often don’t see what we see straight away.  The cab and front roof was ok, due to the fact it was a paint and lacquer, and this system tends to not fade, but the body was all the usual dull faded, cloudy problems we see all the time on Motorhomes of this age, and sadly much, much newer.

You might just make out what looks like streaks under the window corners and from the roof, but this actually isn’t the usual streaks that Caravans and Motorhomes are so notorious for.  We’ve explained this in previous blogs, but it’s where the water naturally runs down the sides from certain points, and actually takes the oxidation with it, leaving those visible lines that are shiny.  It’s the rest of the side panels that are dull, and that’s what we are here to tackle.  The rear panel on this was full GRP, and totally dull.

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As people have come to expect from Tourershine, this is the finished result.  However, the lovely owners of this Motorhome didn’t actually know what to expect.  They had no idea how bad it had got over the years, and no idea what it would look like after we finished.  Thankfully they were out most of the day we were working, and had a rather nice surprise when we called them back.  In their words the Motorhome looked as good as the day they collected it new in 2008.  We’d fixed the only issues they knew about, and a lot more!  We knew it would be a pretty drastic transformation because we do so many Motorhomes that are faded, and tired looking, but I think because this had a slightly different mix of colours, from the nice painted cab, to the Blue bottom, this one was just a tiny bit more special from the norm.

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Discoloured Motorhome..

Today we have a very interesting job to share, a 2010 Pilote A-Class.  This job makes it a little more personally interesting for myself, because I own the 2015 version of this Motorhome, and they are not exactly the most common Motorhome we Restore. (possibly why I chose this manufacture for myself)

My customer contacted us to ask if we could help with her front panel.  The picture below doesn’t need a great deal of an introduction, because the problem is rather obvious.

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This was the photo I was sent to determine if we could fix her front panel discolouration, or advise that it would need re-painting.  It’s sometimes quite hard to work out if we can fix a problem from a photo, but they do help.  We responded with a 90% chance that we could vastly improve the front panel, and hopefully our Restoration service would tone down this obvious mismatch.  Once given the price options to Restore the front, or do the full Motorhome, the owner opted for us to do the full job.

Upon arrival we were greeted by a patchwork of different whites between the front and the sides.  The sides of this Motorhome are aluminium, the front is GRP, and the rear was ABS.  This many different materials, and the general lack of a regular polish, or a paint protection from new was only helping this inevitable state the job was in before we started.  The current owner had only purchased this Motorhome 12 months prior to us seeing it, and I suspect it looked this way when collected from the dealer.

Now, the way this normally works is a panel will discolour, or go yellow like this, because it’s faded and because the panel is dull, this makes any cleaning very tough.  You end up with a panel that tends to get very ingrained with general grime, and this makes things look yellow as in the picture above.  However…. this job wasn’t like this as i’d assumed from the photo we received.  Yes the front was dull, along with the sides being slightly cloudy, but it wasn’t this dullness that had made this job look as it does above.  Somewhere in it’s life, and not any more than 2-3 years ago, it’s had the full front panel re-sprayed.  I know this for two reasons.  1, the front panels are not a ‘painted’ finish so to speak.  They are a gelcoat finish that’s part of the manufacturing process when these front panels are constructed.  They don’t have a painted texture like this had.  It’s more of a smooth finish because it’s a painted gel they apply into the mould firstly, before the glass matting etc.  This leaves a much smoother finish, and looks lovely when these are brand new.  The second reason I know this isn’t original is simply because it was the wrong colour!  Who ever painted this front panel hadn’t bothered to match the actual colour at all.  This isn’t unusual and I suspect it was possibly painted because it had gone dull in the first place.  Pretty much no one other than Tourershine, can bring back these dull panels, and people give up trying, and have it painted at huge expense.  One of the reasons the painters struggle to match the dull panel, is because it’s dull.  So they match it to the dull yellowing colour and end up with what we can see above.  Common sense would tell any good bodyshop to match it to the sides, but common sense is a rare skill in this industry….

Anyway….

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As you can clearly see, we were able to Restore this back to a much better match.  Our Restoration process brought back the shine and with a very heavy machine polishing, I was able to tone down the off colour re-spray.  It wasn’t perfect in our eyes, but it was 100% better.  If this was originally done by us, and not re-sprayed, it would of been a perfect match, and the original finish.  Needless to say, our customer was extremely happy with the finish of her Motorhome, and with the correct aftercare, she shouldn’t need to see us again.  Our Restoration service at it’s finest.

Goodbye Old, Hello New…

It’s with a heavy heart that we recently let our 2015 Vivaro work vehicle go.  She had covered almost 100,000 miles in the 2 years we owned her, and it served it’s purpose almost perfectly, other than several issues that caused some concern for the reliability.  We decided earlier through the ownership of the Vivaro, that although it drove lovely, we wouldn’t be buying another one.  After carefully weighing up the options of better quality, and hopefully far more reliable brands, we chose the formidable 2017 VW Transporter T6.

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My business trades on my reputation for the highest quality work, and our vehicles have to match this reputation, so a lot of thought and work goes into my vans to make them stand out, and give my customers that amazing first impression from the outset.  This is obviously a theme that follows throughout Tourershine, with our matching uniforms, right down to our invoices.  This is the attention to detail we are known for, and this is what my customers have come to expect, along with our reputation for end results!

 

The T6 comes pretty nice from the factory, but what would we be if we just left it as Volkswagen designed it?     So we didn’t…

The van was lowered by 30mm to give a more aggressive stance and much better handling, then a set of stunning 19″ Savini wheels were added.  We then had our sign writer add whats known as an ‘Edition’ stripe along the bottom to incorporate the Tourershine logo.  The van was then taken to our carpenter, who designed a custom built bulkhead and racking system to house all my scaffolding, ladders, tools, products, second row of seats, and most importantly the famous Nespresso machine as you can see below.

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Finally we got our hands on her and took the T6 straight into our friends at REO Motors bodyshop in Oadby, Leicester.  Where I removed all the bare exterior plastics from the bumpers, grills, side repeaters, mirrors, and any other unpainted plastics that VW had left what we think look ‘unfinished’  These were then all painted in a Gloss Black to give that much more luxurious look, and more importantly they are far easier to clean and wax.  The van was then passed back to myself and Lee, where we could add our final finishes.  This is the critical stage where we will go over the full van and machine polish any defects from the last few weeks of work, including any transportation damage that occurred before the handover.  Once we were happy the full van was 100% we then applied a Ceramic coating to just the roof area and all 4 wheels, because we are currently testing these products.  We then applied a full Tourershield coating to the rest of the vehicle to protect our work, and the finished vehicle looks stunning.

Many people would say this is far to over the top for a ‘work van’ but I disagree.  Our vans are our business.  They are the first thing a customer sees when we arrive, they are often a talking point, and they show we have pride in our work.  What people often don’t see is the hours of work put into these vehicles, from all the work above, to the daily cleaning and detailing we carry out to our van, so that each and every customer knows they are just as important as the last.  This is why we are going into our 11th year, and this is why I love my job!

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Holy Moly it’s another one..

Yes, folks it’s yet another rare VW Motorhome!  We seem to be getting quite the reputation with these things, and somewhere out in the internet world our work keeps getting noticed.

This time it’s a T5 Karmann Colorado that we were asked to help restore the lustre back to.  As per usual, we found all we’d come to expect from pretty much any Motorhome manufacture.  Dull patchy GRP sides, dull overhead bubble, and the added bonus of a poor quality side paint job that needed a lot of attention.

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As you’ve come to expect from the Restoration service, we were more that able to return the dull bubble back to it’s former glory, and apply a coat of sealant to block out the sun’s UV damage.  The shape of this particular VW was actually quite challenging to reach right across, but we prevailed.

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The finished job look 100 times better than before we started, and the customer was as per usual happy with the finished result.  These Karmann Motorhomes may be unusual, and rare, but they are no different to any other Motorhome we do on a daily basis, so all in our stride.

VW Scandal…

Nah, not the recent diesel palaver.. (great word, and possibly the very first time i’ve used palaver in a typed sentence)

Anyway.. The only scandal here is the fact that one man can keep hunting out these rare beasts, and getting us to change them from patchy dull embarrassments, to something that wouldn’t look out of place camping in the grounds of Windsor Castle.

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This latest challenge set by what is fast becoming quite a unique customer, was another VW T25 1989 Karmann Camper.  This is the 2nd job to the Karmann Syncro blog below, and they make quite a pair.  This one however wasn’t initially as good as the Syncro we did, and this one was plagued with all the standard industry issues, from dull paintwork, deep surface scratches, hazy swirled acrylic windows, and several rather suspect patches of paintwork.  Again we were faced with the original paint that’s as thin and as delicate as it gets, and again the owner wanted it to stay as original as possible.  Hours of very gingerly machine polishing, masking, de-masking, finishing, and detailing, and what we were left with was something rather respectable if I do say so myself.  We not only managed to bring all the paint back to it’s original shine, but we managed to blend all the patches of paintwork back into this matching finish.  This coupled with restoring the damaged windows back to a crystal clear finish, only complimented the whole job.

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Pictures don’t always show a true representation of something in the flesh, but these pictures actually do.  This latest job turned out a far bigger transformation than the job below, simply because it looked so tired to start with.

Finally, this job was special to myself and my colleague Lee, because it was the final job we did in our work Vivaro, after 2 years and 90,000 miles.  Oh and now the Vauxhall has finally gone, we’ve replaced her with what…. ?

A VW of course…

1 of 30 ever produced..

According to our information, this 1989 Karmann Gipsy Syncro is one of only thirty of these models ever produced, and potentially this is 1 of only 3 in the UK, and we at Tourershine had the daunting task of restoring the paintwork.

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Why daunting? You do this every day… Well daunting because the customer wanted this rare beast keeping totally original, and as the paint was untouched and 28 years old, it had some rather challenging issues.  What we were faced with was an untouched original VW in a very surprising condition.  Not only was it untouched, but it had no evidence of any paint repairs, dents, scratches or poor filler work. (all common place in my industry) In-fact it was better than most of the newer jobs we carry out.  All we were faced with was an oxidised finish that left the Karmann in a cloudy dull state.  This is the core of our business, and fixing these issues is normal every day work for us.  However, this thing as you can see above, has the dreaded ribs that make up it’s construction strength.  These ribs are a total nightmare on normal Caravans and the odd Motorhome that still has these features.  On this job, it was even harder due to the depth of the paintwork on the edges of the ribs.  This meant our usual ‘Machine polishing’ methods had to be totally adjusted and we ended up masking all the edges whist we machined.  This cut out the high risk of going though the edges and exposing the bare aluminium underneath.  This is not actually the case on the more modern ribbed finishes, because the paint depth (thickness) is much better, and years of working the surfaces of ribs has taught us certain methods to use when machine polishing these types of surfaces safely.

After a full machine polish, we had to de-mask and very very gingerly blend in the rib edges by hand.  Making this small motorhome possibly the most delicate job we’ve undertaken.

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Thankfully as you can see above, we managed to achieve our usual glossy finish, not go through any of the edges, and keep this beautiful 1989 VW in it’s total original state.  The owner was extreamly fastidious, and he was so overjoyed with the result, he’s just booked in his 2nd job with us on his latest 1989 VW Karmann.  When you consider having these things nut and bolt restored can run into 10s of thousands of pounds to achieve pretty much the same result, it seems like a pretty good option to me, and the hordes of VW enthusiasts that want these things as original as possible.

More of the same..

Here we are again at another ‘Tiger stripe’ job.

Tiger striping is explained in detail on one of our other blog entries, so I will briefly explain what we mean by ‘Tiger Stripes’  It’s damage that are caused by the use of a cover on either a dirty, or faded surface.  The natural movement of the cover, and the faults on the Caravan or Motorhome surfaces, cause a dark blotchy, stripy effect that cannot be removed without specialist skills and products, such as our Restoration service.

cath1 This photo demonstrates exactly what we can see when we assess a cover damaged job.  The cause of this issue was the fact the Motorhome was faded and dull, and the use of the cover removed some of this dullness in patches, hence ‘Tiger stripes’

This is often blamed on the cover, but it’s not actually the covers fault, it’s a natural occurrence that is unavoidable if you cover a dull surface.  This also applies to a shinny surface, that was covered dirty, where exactly the same effect will be seen, but the opposite way round.  This sounds more complex than it actually is, but once you understand this, it becomes pretty obvious.

 

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Here we have the same bonnet, with half of it restored to show exactly what we mean, and this makes the dullness extremely obvious to the naked eye.  Tiger stripes, fading, swirls, and general tarnishing are all the same to us, and all taken care of with the same ‘Restoration’ service.  As you can see pretty clearly, we are more than capable of returning the factory finish with this process, and stop the issues from happening again with the correct aftercare processes and products.

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This is the same job, and this 2007 Cathago now looks as good as new, removing all the damage from the surfaces, then followed with a full coat of wax to prevent it from happening again in the near future.  Once again, our customer was blown away with his Motorhome finish, and told us that it’s never looked this good in all the time he’s owned it…