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Special K's 1978 Super Beetle Build
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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 4:56 am    Post subject: Special K's 1978 Super Beetle Build Reply with quote

Thought I'd document the process with showing what we started with.
From 20 ft away it looks pretty good.
It has been painted at least 3 times.

Factory Blue, some metallic light blue, final white.
Paint coming off of rims and final job wasn't too bad (if you ignore the paint runs).



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Last edited by lmar on Mon May 04, 2020 5:13 am; edited 1 time in total
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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 5:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Preliminary Assessment

Overall, we got us a pretty good deal.

Good
• Vacuumed out bottom of doors and there is minimal rust. Bubbles might be delaminated paint ( I hope). Might just have to install a couple of small patches instead of replacing door bottoms (major time saver).
• Other than front clip, there does not appear to be any body work done on the car which means it is straight. Minor rust patches on underside – but in relatively good condition given its age.
• -Heater channels appear to be intact. May have to do small patches here and there – but I do not believe I will have to replace them (fingers crossed).
• New top, cover and tires 5 years ago are in pretty good shape. Wont have to touch anything other than disassembling frame, cleaning up surface rust, repainting/powder coat, reinstall with new seals.

Bad
• Shelf has some rust in corners and near the seam where it goes from the flat shelf up the side of the wheel well. I am hoping wheel well is just surface rust (fingers crossed). I have replacement sheet metal all ready from other bug that I didn’t use. Just saved 120.00.
• -Cross members and corners appear to be intact. Just have to repair spot where rear seat belt hold down bolt tore out/rusted out. 2 hour repair.
• -Rear quarters have rust on the bottom. When I look inside body seam it looks clean – holding off ordering bottom 6” patch panels as I may not need them. Trying to keep as much original metal as possible.
• Seals are crumbling when touched. Compressed and useless – I just pulled them off in pieces. No rust under them – doors are surprisingly in good shape. Minimal effort to strip them down and prepare for repaint.
• Missing trim bits here and there. Most of them can still be purchased relatively cheaply (at least compared to Miata).
• Seats are rusted out with no support. Will probably fit aftermarket with proper mounting points.
• It was converted from fuel injection to carburetor in the past. Not necessarily a bad thin. I have a spare engine I have to rebuild for my car. Might just order a upgrade kit for it to increase displacement (1600cc to 2100cc) and throw on dual carburetors and call it a day.

Ugly
• Pans are shot. Will have to replace both sides. May purchase factory originals that don’t have the rails welded in for the seats. This way I can weld in new seat mounts and tie them into the center tunnel for strength.
• This means I’ll have to split pan from body (sigh) – I’ve just done my sedan last summer so I know what I am getting into.
• It was hit in the front (they all are) and whoever did the fix pop-rivetted the front on and the glassed over the gaps. While my initial horror of the Kluged repair overwhelmed me – the fact I cannot buy new clips for the year started me thinking. As it turns out – it was probably the best of a bad situation – as I have enough metal to graft the two parts together properly. (Lemons to Lemonade thing).

Plans
• Kirsten will have to decide if she wants to keep it white, or whatever colour she chooses. We are going for CAL resto-mod look that mimics the look of the car in the mid 80’s. Solid window stripping instead of chrome trim. Bright trim might be black (Kirsten’s decision).
• Wheels will get sandblasted to replace badly peeling white paint. May leave it polished or paint centers black to match original finish (Kirsten’s choice).
• If it was in worse shape I’d probably customize it more. As it is in pretty good condition I’ll leave well enough alone and just replace trim pieces and refresh things to make it look new.



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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2020 8:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doors and rear quarters.
Will have to do some repairs on the pinholes.
Inside of doors don't look too bad.
Had about 1/4" inch of accumulated crud and it appears the drain holes had been plugged.
Was able loosen up dried dirt with screw driver and the suck up debris with vacuum cleaner.



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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 9:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

So been taking bits and pieces off.

So far no real surprises.

Worked on the rear shelf - cleaning things off to see the extent of the rust.
Might have to fab portions of the wheel well to tie in parcel shelf.
Since I have it apart I might as well fix it properly.

Grinding down the bottom of doors to see the extent of the rust.
The last repair job had them fiberglass over the drain holes. The passenger door is the worst (new bottom). The driver door as a couple of spots of rust and will require further paint removal.

Finally started on the dreaded pop-riveted front apron. I was holding off as I was dreading the glass dust particles and mess it was going to create.

After some judicial use of a chisel, I was able to discover that whoever did the repair did not rough up the mating surfaces. Rather than a grinding messy process, I was able to get the chisel under a portion of the patch.
Using a claw hammer to pry up the patch I was able to pop it off section by section. Removing the rivets resulted in a fairly quick process (1.0 hour.).
Just have to remove the bottom fender bolts on either side and I should be able to remove it.

They ended up building an extension for the hood latch so it would lock.
Funky patches that were rivetted on bridged the scarft on front apron.



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OldSkoolSteve
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PostPosted: Mon May 18, 2020 12:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You gotta love discovering someone else's temporary fixes from over the years
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lmar
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Trying to fit what was what before the previous owners repair.

Ground down fenders to see what extent of damage was when vehicle was hit.
Suspect now that the bug went off roading or hit a curb.
Fenders are undamaged from bumpers and apron repair suggests hit from below bumper.

Front of wheel tub seems pretty flimsy. Think it is missing something in the form of reinforcement. See replacement part in catalog but I cannot for the life of me figure out where it goes. Google search comes up nada. Will try thesamba and search for key words.

Bent and rusted parts will need to be replaced.

Thinking of new wheel tub but backordered.



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Clay
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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2020 9:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have the front half of a '73 Super Beetle body shell up here in Duncan, you're welcome to either use it for reference or buy for pieces. Or I can send photos of specific areas.
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Clay
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 9:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sorry to have gotten your hopes up, turns out all I have is the windshield frame and cowl area.
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lmar
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 3:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Clay wrote:
Sorry to have gotten your hopes up, turns out all I have is the windshield frame and cowl area.


No problem. Nothing Ventured - Nothing gained.
Appreciate you looking into it.

Cheers,

L
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lmar
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PostPosted: Fri May 22, 2020 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Today's progress.

Cracked windshield rubber was hiding some corrosion.

Getting the front window out was a bear since they added some sealing compound to compensate for deteriorated rubber.

After 35 minutes of carefully applying pressure and using a wooden paint stick to "gently" pry the seal away from the frame.

Took another 15 minutes to get the remnants of the seal off the front windshield.

1 hour with the sanding disks resulted in this cleaned up area. Will have to get nasty with the bottom of the cowl to remove rust build up. It appears to be largely surface rust so I'll take care of it tomorrow if weather cooperates.

While cleaning up the cowl area I discovered the original radio antenna hole on the driver side. As I was taking off paint the dollop of bondo used to fill the hole dropped into the front trunk area.

Will probably patch up the relocated hole and use the original one.



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lmar
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PostPosted: Sat May 23, 2020 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A friend came over to day to give me a hand for a couple of hours.

Thanks to Kevin we were able to get rear passenger side windows out, interior stripped of seats and crappy remnants of carpet. Fuel tank removed. All lights removed. Serrated metal strips used to hold older front window seal removed.

Steering wheel column dropped in preparation to remove dash (Got to find a couple of pesky screws that are still holding the center section in.

Driver's side floor behind the seat pedestal is all fibreglass over metal.
Underside of car is mostly fibreglass. Driver side floor forward of the pedestal has some pretty good holes.

There is a crease just to the right of the steering column as it goes through the body from when it was hit. Think judicial use of a 2x4 and sledge hammer should knock things back into shape.

I've read that the built in air vent is subject to badly rusting. This one appears to be mostly surface rust that should clean up with some abrasive blasting.

If you look at the picture of the rear of the bug _008 you can see my 1973 standard bug that is undergoing restoration (and maybe an engine swap).

Look really closely, and behind the garbage can you can see my two engine stand jury rigged rotisserie holding the pan I rebuilt last summer.



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lmar
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PostPosted: Sun May 24, 2020 5:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Started to remove front wiring - under the trunk hood.
Found air pump that lead to the 3 air horns.

Thinking musical notes. Going to bench test it just to see what it is capable of.

I should go and buy lottery tickets.

Removed all 4 fenders and only snapped the bolt at the bottom of the apron (the one subject to road grime and sitting water).

I only snapped one bolt in the running board as well.
It is in the front driver side but I suspect part of the channel is shot.
Will drill it out in the next day and stick my head into the heater outlet to see how bad the channel is.


Ground down the areas and where I thought I'd have perforations - I am finding surface pitting instead. Haven't wire wheeled the wells yet to discover any more issues.

Only thing I found was a couple of isolated rust holes in the rear right bumper mount.

When they converted from FI to carburetor - they drilled out the rear apron for the twin exhausts - leaving the single hole intact on the right side.
Think I will go for a bubble apron with no holes as I am looking at performance exhaust.



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Bow-Wow
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 8:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

lmar wrote:
Thinking musical notes. Going to bench test it just to see what it is capable of.


My money's on "La Cucaracha".

Or perhaps "Dixie".

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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 4:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bow-Wow wrote:
lmar wrote:
Thinking musical notes. Going to bench test it just to see what it is capable of.


My money's on "La Cucaracha".

Or perhaps "Dixie".


I am with you on the first one. Seems to me I used to thumb through car catalogs when I first got my drivers license drooling over some of the "tacky" crap you could add to your car.

Had a flashback when I stuck my head under the fender for the first time and saw the 3 horns. Could picture the page in the catalog when I first saw it.

L
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lmar
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PostPosted: Mon May 25, 2020 5:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Only had a half an hour to work on the car today.

Since it was raining - I decided to work on the interior where I would remain dry.

Couldn't for the life of me figure out why the middle of the dash wouldn't come out. Ended up watching 3-4 YouTube videos until some bloke from England mentioned an 8mm nut holding it in place.

What he failed to mention was that you had to remove the fuse box cover and then part the wires to find it. Too lazy to climb out of the car to go look for a flashlight I decided to use the brail method of car repair.

Success.

Preliminary evaluation shows that there is only a couple of surface rust spots (including at the corners of the windows that are notorious for perforations.

There are more splices, tie ins, murrets, burnt insulation, thing-a-ma-bobs, etc... behind the dash. The one constant I am finding with this build is the poor shape of the electrical system. She has not been very well treated over the years as indicated by missing through hole grommets, cracked insulation, etc..

Further confirmation that the driver side heater channel may be suspect was the heater house that enters the dash was 1/3 blocked with a dirt mound. The passenger side is pristine compared to the driver one and does not show rust in the lower air outlets.

Went to take a picture and it fell back into the hose. I can just imagine how much crap was put into the interior of the car given the build up. It crumbled into fine sand which I suspect is rust particles that were deposited there when the direction of the duct changed and the build up occurred.

Looking at updating it so I can have a proper instrument cluster besides the single speedometer/idiot light.



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