Bulkhead (Panel Behind Front Seats) Removal

by Bob Wallace

More of concern with this conversion is the absence of the bulkheads (dividers) behind driver's and passenger's seats. In place of these I found triangular braces (3" - 4") welded at floor level behind the seats. Original or converted? Good thing or bad? I get a nice warm feeling reading/hearing about how VW designers over-engineered the structure of the bus. I get nervous thinking that a converter or PPO thought they knew more than VW.

The removal of the bulkheads is a modification desired by many people to enable the fitting of rotating seats which would make the cab seats usable while camping and giving a larger usable space in the rear; and is very effective.

For the 78 and 79 (or maybe just 79) model years VW did produce T2s without bulkheads but only in Deluxe minibuses; the strengthening which replaced the bulkhead was an L shaped bracket 250mm long on each leg, 20mm wide and 8mm thick at the corner tapering to 4mm thick at the ends. This bracket goes up the door pillar and out across the rear upper edge of the seat pedestal. NB dimensions are approximate and are from memory of a friends bus.

Because there were T2 busses made by VW without bulkheads the VW Type 2 Owners Club contacted VW about the removal of bulkheads and received a written reply that this did not affect the structural integrity of the vehicle PROVIDED that a strengthening bracket is used in its place.

So from the arrangement you describe (and the vehicles age) I would think that think that the bulkhead removal has been done by a previous owner or converter.

You yourself must judge if the strengthening and workmanship used in removing the bulkheads is adequate.

To help you with this VW themselves still produce T2 busses in Brazil and these come off the production line WITHOUT bulkheads neither do they have the late 70s L shaped bracket but a triangular plate in the corner. This plate is 180mm high, goes across the bus for 250mm is 1mm thick and has a 5mm lip bent forward at right angles to the plate on the sloping edge. The plate is from the same sheet of steel as the rear side of the seat pedestal. These measurements are accurate as I've just been out to my 1998 Brazilian T2 and measured them.

As a point of interest the seat belt mountings are now taken through this plate rather than down through the seat pedestal.

Please (everybody) note, that it is the consensus of opinion on this list that the T2s being produced in Brazil cannot be legally imported into the USA or Canada (please consult the archives for details). Therefore threads on the importation of T2s from south to north America is a banned topic on the list. Also I did not import my van into the UK but bought it from Beetles (UK) who import them commercially; their web site is www.beetles-uk.com I will not reply to E-mails asking me how to import Brazilian T2s into any country in the world even the UK. Sorry.

good luck
Bob Wallace
Bristol UK
1998 T2

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