Friday, June 17, 2011

Back from the Welder

After almost two weeks the Bug came home from the welder this evening. It took longer than expected but the repaired sections look great. I'll be posting additional photos and details of the work soon in the Body and Paint section. Here's a photo of the repaired front firewall:


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Suspension Rebuild

With the Bug still at the welder my plan for this weekend had been to take the front strut towers apart to clean every thing up, paint everything with a coat of POR15, and once the parts arrive, to rebuild them. Saturday morning I went by Advance Auto and rented their strut spring compression tool. Once I got home I got the springs compressed but then discovered I lacked the offset box wrench (22mm) needed to remove the nut at the top of the strut. I was able to borrow one from my brother-in-law later in the day but due to family commitments, yard work, and a crazy storm that passed through that knocked out our power I wasn't able to get back out there until this afternoon. On attempt #2 I discovered I needed a socket hex wrench bit (6mm) as using a regular Allen wrench doesn't provide the needed leverage. (One of the pictures in the Bentley manual covering this procedure should have been a clue.) So it's off to Harbor Freight tomorrow afternoon to get the tools I need. Here's a before photo of how the strut towers look right now:


Thursday, June 9, 2011

At the Welder

The Bug is finally at the welder getting patched up. Not long after writing the previous blog entry last month my father-in-law told me about a small body shop located a half mile down the street from my house. It's somewhat hidden from the road and in the almost five years I've lived here I never realized it was there. I went to talk to the guy that runs it and after several weeks of trying to schedule a time to get the Bug we finally took it down there Monday afternoon. I was hopeful I'd have it back by now as that was one of the issues with scheduling, that I wouldn't bring it down there until he was able to do the work therefore minimizing the time it would be there. (I won't lie, it scares and worries the hell out of me having it away from my garage.) But the shop owner (and sole employee for that matter) has been working on insurance jobs (his main moneymaker apparently) and hasn't gotten to mine yet. Supposedly he'll have it done by early next week but I'm not holding my breath. He does good work though and the price he's charging me is very reasonable so I can't really complain.

To get the Bug down to the welder my father-in-law brought over his motorcycle trailer. The picture below doesn't really show it very well but the fit was very tight. He had measured it a while ago to make sure it would fit but it ended up only being a couple inches of clearance on each side and less than two inches at the end. Had the Bug been any longer the rear door would not have shut. And had I been any fatter I wouldn't have been able to squeeze out the side after getting in the Bug to push it inside the trailer.


Along with replacing the front firewall the front sections of the heater channels and other smaller holes are being patched and the bent front apron is being straightened. I also opted to go ahead and replace the rear apron. The one on the Bug was hit at some point in it's life and covered with a very thick layer of Bondo which has since been bent and cracked. It was easier to simply replace it with a new one.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rot and Welding

Now that the body is up on sawhorses my attention has turned to addressing the rust and rot on the underside of the body and elsewhere. I've posted a few pictures on the Body & Paint page of what I've found so far. By far the worst rot is in the front firewall and front sections of the heater channels. A few weeks ago I ordered a new firewall from OEVeedub/Mid America Motorworks. (MAM recently bought OEVeedub.)


Getting it welded however has proven to be far more difficult than I expected it to be. While my father-in-law has a truck and motorcycle trailer he's been working a lot lately and arranging a time to transport it somewhere and back hasn't worked out. I've also been out of luck finding someone that can come out to my house to do the work. So as of right now I'm stuck until I can get the welding done.

I'm continuing to probe at the body looking for additional rust. Just like with the pan the undercoating in the fender wells and elsewhere hides small holes. Along with the rot I've noted above I've also got a large-ish hole in the passenger side cross member and small holes in the fender wells and a few other spots.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Birth Certificate

A few weeks ago I finally ordered the Bug's birth certificate from the Volkswagen AutoMuseum in Wolfsburg, Germany. (After meaning to do it for years.) It arrived in the mail today and is one of the neatest additions to my collection of items related to the Bug. Definitely well worth the $50 or so it cost to get it. I've scanned and posted it to a new page in the "Everything Else" section of the website.

Now I finally know the exact day the Bug was built along with what it came with from the factory. Despite it saying under Options that two of them can't be identified I've since found out through research on that the M290 code was for rear mud flaps and the M691 code is something 1973 specific but I can't find anything else about it.

I told my wife that I wanted to frame the certificate and hang it up in the living room. Despite arguing that the Bug is a member of the family I was very firmly shot down on this. It will however go into the Bug's scrapbook for eventually display when she's done.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Black and Gold for the WIN!

Totally non-Bug related post here but as a three time graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University I am beyond proud of my alma mater after seeing them advance to the Final Four of the NCAA tournament. GO RAMS!


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sawhorses Part II

With help from my two older brothers the Bug is now up on the sawhorses giving me the space to address the rust and rot underneath. I'll be posting some additional photos soon in the Body & Paint section.


Sunday, March 20, 2011


When I built the second cart last spring to replace the original one I didn't take into account that I would need to be able to access the underside of the body to address a few issues before it goes back on the pan. Namely, repairing the front rusted out front firewall and dealing with surface rust underneath the front luggage area. I didn't want to build yet another cart so I bought a 2x4 Basics sawhorse kit along with the lumber needed, and built those instead figuring I can use them for something else later. All told I spent about $50 for all of it. Assembling it was pretty easy although the angles of some of the screws caused a issues making sure they went in without cracking the wood. My two older brothers will be coming over later this week to help me move the body over and I'll go from there.


Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring is Coming! Spring is Coming!

It's slowly but surely been warming up the last few weeks. While there have been some cold days here and there (and down in the 30's most mornings) it's been in the mid-upper 50's most days and even in the 60's quite a few times. It was a brutally cold winter with one major-ish snow storm a week before Christmas (Central Virginia missed the major, repeated snow that nailed the northeast thankfully) and I'm very glad to see it warming up. I haven't done much on the Bug in months but I've finally been able to make some progress recently.
The garage received a major clean up and I'm in the process of selling off pretty much everything I won't need to complete this project. It's giving me an infusion of cash to spend on the stuff I do need as well as clearing out clutter and freeing up additional space. I finally POR15'd the rear end of the frame last week. (For some reason I didn't do this when I did the rest of the pan but I can't remember why.). I'm also starting to price out getting the body stripped and painted. I view this as the biggest obstacle to making progress and am determined to get this done this year even if it's the only thing I end up having money to get completed.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

'Twas Cold This Morning

Pulling out of my neighborhood this morning I was passed by what looked to be an early 70's standard Beetle. This wouldn't really be noteworthy I guess except for the fact that the temperature was in the low 30's. I don't expect to see Beetles or really any aircooled Volkswagens during the winter.

Years ago when I first bought my Bug I drove it through a single winter as my daily driver. The heat never worked very well and I have some not so fond memories of freezing while driving it in cold weather as well as using a rag to wipe the frost off the inside of the windshield. (As the defrost was pretty much nonexistent too.) The lack of heat was a major reason why the following winter I bought the '88 GTI 16v that became my daily.