VW T5 Bulkhead

Bulkhead Removal

And the dreaded bulkhead frame

Our T5 panel van had the usual metal bulk head which separates the cab from the rear loading area.
The bulkhead is made up of two parts held in place by a few bolts which are attached to a brackets which in most parts are spot welded to the frame.

The first task is to simply pull away the headliner strip in the cab to reveal a few hidden bolts which secure the upper section of the bulkhead to the roof.

Once these bolt have been removed you can continue around the sides and floor in the rear loading area of the T5 removing the nuts & bolts and releasing the bulkhead.

Once removed you will notice that there are a few sections of rails attached to the chassis which held the bulkhead in place.

VW T5 Bulkhead frame
VW T5 Bulkhead frame

Door pillar upper sections. The bulkhead frame on here was just bolted in place so all that was needed here was to pop the door pillar trim off to get to the bolts. For this we just needed a few trim tools to prevent any damage to the plastics.

Remove Trim
Remove Trim

The first step was to un-bolt the upper seatbelt retaining bolt, then it was just a case of working around the pillar trim with a trim tool and popping out the trim clips to expose the pillar.

Bulkhead Frame
Bulkhead Frame

Once the upper rail was removed our attention turned to the lower section and bottom rail spanning the full width, both of which were spot welded.

There are a few options here but the one we found that worked for us was a combination of a small cutting disc and a cold chisel.

Angle grinders are too big and clumsy here so we used a Black & Decker Rotary Tool with a metal cutting disc. At first I thought they were going to be too small and flimsy but man was i wrong. It’s got to be one of the best things i purchased for working on the van.

Cut Spot Welds
Cut Spot Welds

Cutting spot welds was like cutting butter with such a fine blade. I cut as much as i could reach and then simply used a cold chisel and lump hammer to simply pop off the rest.

bulkhead-spot-weld-cut2

It sounds a bit brutal but it worked really well and it was a case of just grinding down the odd weld after the frame was removed.

pillar-bulkhead-frame-cut
(A quick tip here is to use an heat resistant soldering mat to block the sparks from burning your leg or front floor mat from the grinder)

Once done simply cover any exposed metal parts with aluminium tape or zinc primer and replace the pillar trim which just pushes back into place using the white trim clips and free up any trapped door seal down the pillar with a trim tool.

Total time from start to finish: 3 hrs

Tools used:

Black + Decker RT650KA Rotary Tool with accessories in a Kit Box
Dremel Speed Clic Mandrel
Dremel SpeedClic Grinding Wheel
Dremel SpeedClic Metal Cutting Wheel
Solder Mat
Zinc Priming Aerosol Spray Paint
48mm x 10m Aluminium Foil Tape
Door Panel, Car Trim Removal Tool Set

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