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Floor Pan Replacement Questions
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dreamweaver69
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 1:35 am    Post subject: Floor Pan Replacement Questions Reply with quote

Well, I just spent the last 4 hours reading through a bunch of related threads on the subject, going to vendors' sites to do some comparison and, after all the back-and-forth from different posters about quality, floorpan thickness, extra-heavy duty and the like, I must admit I am WAY more confused than when I started Smile

I just picked up 68 convertible. It's very solid but the rear floor pans need replacing. The passenger side should be pretty straight forward... only about a 18" square will be needed. The driver's side might be a little trickier...

There are some portions of the driver's side pan that are rotted through. I haven't finished sanding and cleanup, but what the previous owner did is cut through horizontally --- from left to right ---- from about 2" from the rear of the seat rails from rail to rail... but didn't cut into the rails themselves. In other words, there's a cut going left to right from seat rail to seat rail on the driver's side just above where the rear of the rails are.

I'm not 100% sure --- until I finish scraping --- but I don't think it is rusted there... I think the rust starts further back... maybe as much as 6".

I looked at the OE Vdub site (http://www.oeveedub.com/vw/bug-floor-pans.html), but can't find anything but full pan sections. The consensus seems that they have the best ??? All I want is a quality patch panel for each side but don't want to sepnd Hundred$$$ if I don't have to.... Whatchathink?

Second are questions about patching them in. I have never welded before, so I'm going to enlist a friend's help who, although is a welder, has never worked on cars. I read where we should cut the patch pan back to where it overlaps approx 1/2" all the way around, weld all the way around, grind it, smoothe it, use some sort of sealer, and paint over after etching.

Questions:

1. What is a good sealer to use?
2. There was some talk of "bolting it down" --- is this correct?
3. I want it to look as "original" as possible... how do I clean up the underside?

Thanks in advance for your comments.
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Honestly, to make it look as clean as possible, I'd just replace the whole thing. It really isn't that much harder, almost easier in my opinion. By replacing the whole thing, you are going to be spot welding rather then but welding, or worse, overlap welding.

You could replace just the 1/4 pans. Overlapping probably isn't such a hot idea, because it will rust there. Only a matter of time. If you have to do just the 1/4 then I would butt weld it. There will be a visible seam. A lot of it can be ground down, but some will still be seen. If you're not trying to build a show car, no big deal. If the pans turn out to be rusted worse then you thought, which is quite often the case, you'll have a hard time welding to them.

You can get 1/2 pans as cheap as $100 a side, as much as $200 a side. The difference is the metal thickness. Also, with a vert and half pans, you'll have to remove the jack post that comes welded to them, as the vert uses one that is welded to the body.
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Matt K.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 8:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I also try to do one side at a time to keep the floor as solid as i can so nothing "moves" when i cut the one side loose. I keep the pan properly supported so that way when a section is cut out the pan keeps its shape.
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dreamweaver69
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

thanks for the input... now I have a whole NEW set of information to process and decisions to make... here I was thinking that I could get away with partial pans and make it look "factory" and be structurally sound without repercussions Crying or Very sad

This is not going to be a show car, so I'm not worried about points.This is a car I bought for my daughter as her first car... she turns 16 in September and it is a project we are going to do together. I just bought it a couple of weeks ago and we have the mechanicals pretty much sorted out. We need to get the pans done next so we can address the interior, some electrical, and some otherthings to get it road ready and "cute".

The cost differential between two half-pans vs. two quarter-pans is substantial... as much as $300 +. While I definately don't want to go "cheap", I want to be realistic... it's not a show car, it's a first car for her, and there's a LOT of other "money pits" coming up... new top, all new interior, eventually a paint job, etc. If I can get away with 1/2 pan replacements and have them structurally sound and "looking good" top and bottom I would prefer to go that direction. If not I will spend the cash to "do it right". Whichever way I go I will definately not go cheap on the quality of the materials... cheap is cheap and quality is quality... 'nuff said.

It seems that the consensus is that Wolfburg and OE Vdub carry the best quality, while some have been happy with Jdubs and others as well... any thoughts? If you prefer to PM me rather than have negative comments about vendors I totally understand, and that information would remain "private".

And, to Matt K's post, I am curious: After reading through even more threads it is ambigious (to me) as to whether I would have to add supports to the body if I replace a full 1/2 pan. You state that I should do one side at a time and "keep the pan properly supported" ... how do I do that if I am replacing the pan? I have lots of jackstands, floorjacksm and even a forklift if needed. Any insight as to "how to" do this would be appreciated. If you have pictures that would be even better.

Thanks again to a great site and some great people who are willing to devote their time to helping others.

D-Dub with a V-Dub Razz
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Mike Fisher
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 10:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just cut out the rust and weld in a 1/4 pan. It will be Plenty strong. Who cares what the weld looks like on a floor pan! The 1/2 pan would be welded too. Twisted Evil
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 11:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just got off the phone with Wolfsberg... they only sell complete 1/2 pans --- no 1/4 pans. Their reasoning is that if a pan is to be replaced you might as well replace the full pan, so they don't offer 1/4's. He also didn't recommend doing it with the body on Surprised - His other suggestion was to purchase their 1/2 pans and just cutting away what I need and toss the rest. That would be a $450+ hit (with shipping& tax) that I don't think I need to spend, so I'm definately leaning toward patch paneling it in.

Question - I talked to a friend and he STRONGLY suggests that I weld from the bottom rather than the top. The rationale is that if I weld from the bottom and make a smoothe weld and transition it will be almost unnoticible from the bottom, and a filler / seam sealer on the top will be less noticible and covered with carpet anyway.

What's the opinions on welding from the bottom vs. the top?
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Don't scab it together with sheetmetal/diamond plate! Twisted Evil I'm selling good used 1/4-1/2 pans for 1/2 new price, but mine are cut out of squarebacks. I think they are the same in the rear portion as bugs?
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dreamweaver69
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 12:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike Fisher wrote:
Don't scab it together with sheetmetal/diamond plate! Twisted Evil I'm selling good used 1/4-1/2 pans for 1/2 new price, but mine are cut out of squarebacks. I think they are the same in the rear portion as bugs?


Sorry - Maybe my post was unclear. I would definately NOT just scab in some blanks... would definately use OE or repro pans. My point is that I don't see the need to buy a full pan and replace it if all I need is a portion of the pan. What I would do is buy a replacement 1/4 pan and do a "patch panel" from that, trimming it as needed and patching the hole left behind.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Check out M & T Manufacturing. They sell 1/4 pans that are 18g. and the 1/4 pans will save a bunch on shipping. I did a partial on the driver side and replaced the full pass. side with thier 1/4's. The over lap in the pan will be seal just fine with epoxey seam sealer and with a good quality frame seal. I sprayed POR 15 on mine and it turned out beautiful.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I just used M & T for the 1st time and ordered a Napoleans Hat from them. I had read that the new ones don't fit too well. Well, the one that came just today fits great. I can honestly recommend them now too.
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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 4:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swhitcomb wrote:
I just used M & T for the 1st time and ordered a Napoleans Hat from them. I had read that the new ones don't fit too well. Well, the one that came just today fits great. I can honestly recommend them now too.


I did only a partial "Napoleon Hat" replacement and what I used was spot on.

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Every piece that I have bought from them has been good too.

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 07, 2011 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swhitcomb wrote:
I just used M & T for the 1st time and ordered a Napoleans Hat from them. I had read that the new ones don't fit too well. Well, the one that came just today fits great. I can honestly recommend them now too.


+1 for M&T. I put in one of their rear quarter pans with the battery tray area, and it was nice and thick and well made. I'm putting in a front quarter pan on the drivers side now, and it too is good quality. I could measure the thickness if you'd like. Good to know about the Napoleans hat, as I am going to buy that next. I live about a mile down the street from them, and Kevin the owner, is great to deal with and only deals with quality parts.
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:11 pm    Post subject: vw thing Reply with quote

do you have email for m&t parts. also nice stand for body do you have plans for it, dan bateman
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:17 pm    Post subject: Re: vw thing Reply with quote

dan bateman wrote:
do you have email for m&t parts. also nice stand for body do you have plans for it, dan bateman


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 9:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here is a thought. As a 16 year old, I didn't care what my car looked like. All I knew was that I had a car! Also most teenagers probably care more about the visual cosmetics. I would be more concerned with a reliable motor, wiring and great brakes. I am in the process of restoring a 64 and I thought it was going to be a light restore as well. Problem is, when you start to tear into it you WILL find more than you think. I have now replaced both heater channels and reinforcement rails as well as bumper mounts and inner fender metal. I have also replaced the pans from WW (fantastic by the way) body and and pans blasted etc. My point is spend the money on stuff she will love and then if she still loves it down the road do it right. I think it is way cool that you and your daughter want to rebuild a cool project! Just my .02......
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PostPosted: Tue Feb 08, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All - Thanks for the posts and info. It has gotten me down the road and I know what pans I will need and where I will be getting them... your info was invaluable.

Nubby - I'm wit ya. So far we've gone through the basics on mechanicals, fuel system, and will be going through the brake system end to end and all electricals. My mission on the pans was to make sure that I did it right the first time so, if and when we go for a full resto down the road, that portion will be done.

Plans are as follows:

Floor pan replacement (everything looks rock solid).
Scrape and clean every square inch of the topside body... yank the motor scrape / clean the eng bay and front.

Once it's spic & span, all new interior (what I have is either toasted, missing or junk)

Address the little things that need attention and, finally, address the top. The headliner is pretty bad and probably beyond salvaging, so I will probably rip it and re-grip it.

The goal is to have it roadworthy by March 18th, when she turns 15 1/2 and gets her permit. Once it's roadworthy, work the following 6 months to do sections of the re-do (it's NOT a resto) until, by her 16th birthday, everything works, everything is presentable, and everything is proper for driving.

We'll see how she likes it. If it turns out to be a keeper which, for me means more than 5 years, we'll take it all back apart and have it painted, new top, etc. etc. etc. (don't think the etc's will run out when this happens).
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 1:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i think it is fantastic you and your daughter are working on a project together. i hope you have many hours of enjoyment, great togetherness. i have a 61 ragtop and a harley both of which need to be driven in a very defensive way. i dont think there are many cars that afford you less safety in a wreck than a vw bug. i know you will spent some time in the car with her to educate her on safety. let her drive the family tank for awhile! again, have a great time!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 2:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadkingdoc wrote:
i think it is fantastic you and your daughter are working on a project together. i hope you have many hours of enjoyment, great togetherness. i have a 61 ragtop and a harley both of which need to be driven in a very defensive way. i dont think there are many cars that afford you less safety in a wreck than a vw bug. i know you will spent some time in the car with her to educate her on safety. let her drive the family tank for awhile! again, have a great time!


The good news is that I have enough cars to give her a "flavor" of different driving experiences so that, when it comes time for her to make it a daily driver, she will have had the experience of driving other stickshifts and some modern cars that she will have a comparative experience. I know that Bug isn't the safest car in the stable, and anytime she might want to go further than around town she can take another car so, at least in the beginning, it will be a back-and-forth to school and around town car.
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

great plan! be careful! bug work can become highly addictive. ha!
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 09, 2011 5:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

roadkingdoc wrote:
great plan! be careful! bug work can become highly addictive. ha!



I know.... I know. I have to keep reminding myself that I MUST stay focused. I find myself communicating with Craigslist and Ebay sellers, using the "hunting for parts" as the justification for my inquiry, but coming close to picking up another one Twisted Evil. I gave some serious consideration to getting another one that was very similar to the one I have just the other day, and I've only had mine 2 weeks!!!

I have that addictive gene... I started out looking for a 69 Camaro about 6 years ago and, within 1 year of getting my first one, I had 4 of them to play with Smile When all was said and done I only ended up keeping one, but the process was quite exhausting. Now that I'm "working" for my baby girl to get her going in the right direction I hope I don't get too distracted and end up with a half-dozen of these things laying around. The good news is that, if it does turn out to become a "problem" at least the parts are WAY cheaper than most other restorations. Besides, since a Bug only takes up about 1/2 the room as a full size car it's only rational that I can get two for every other car I have, right? Crying or Very sad
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