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Scott Faivre Fri Oct 20, 2006 10:29 am

Back by popular demand... :D
I still get a lot of emails and PM's about this process.



In order to perform this job, you must properly support the body! If the body is not properly supported it will fold up like a taco! My friend "Wilson" and I worked on getting my car properly supported before we tried to correct any door gap issues and doing the final welding on the support rails.

My car was very solid before we began. I could have continued to drive it the way that it was, but it was redone by a complete amature. They used box tube and angle iron to "fabricate" new convertible support rails. It was ugly, and I wanted this car to be top notch! I've developed a bit of a "following" from other convertible owners as I've taken on this project.

If you click on the picture above, you can see my gallery page devoted to the restoration of this 64 convertible. I hope this helps!

Here's the link if you can't get there by clicking through on the picture above: http://www.german-pride.com/Joomla/index.php?option=com_gallery2&Itemid=43&g2_itemId=745

If you have any questions, shoot me an email!

Scott Faivre

vdubinit Sun Oct 22, 2006 2:39 pm

yes lets see some more pics of this process I actually need to replace the heater channels and the support rails


You can see here I installed some round pipe in between the doors but installed it in a way that I would be able to keep an eye on the door gaps the hole way thourgh the heater channel and support rail replacement process








RIght here you can see that I bolted a plate were the rear quater window regualtor would bolt then I welded a crossbar from side to side
I did it this way to try to elimate welding so much on the actual metal of the car

you can also see the round tubing between the door lams is finally welded to the rear plate which is bolted were the convertible top frame would bolt and is also welded underneath the cross bar

the lower door jam round pipe is fianally welded to the lower seat pedastal

I took the whole "lets make it a boxed jig" type of braceing for my vert just because it does have alot of rust in its lower section






as you can see in these phots it a very tight fit to get the round pipe to fit in the a pillar jam with the door still bolted on but its possible

the upper round pipe i had to notch it a little because it was about an 1/8 inch to wide to sit flush on the actual jam so I notched it a bit so that it sat flush on the jam and also "wraped" around the door pillar and then i welded it up its very strong as I can stand on all the bars at 190 lbs :D







hopefully this helps people, but finally I would like to see other peoples jigs and I would really really like to see a detailed step by step process of replacing ""BOTH"" the heater channels in a convertible (I've seen it done in a hardtop but never a convertible) , and some deatiled pics and steps for replacing the support rails thanks for taking the time to read my post

Scott Faivre Sun Oct 22, 2006 9:02 pm

Your car is a bit crustier than mine was. I didn't need to do as much bracing as the integrity of my body wasn't jepordized by rust. We designed my braces so as to NOT have to weld to the body. (which would require additional bodywork time to correct the "welding marks.")

Since my body was solid we were able to attach my braces at the top hinge location, and at the striker plate on the door jam. Mine bolt in. If you want to see more pictures of them, click on that image on my first post, or view my gallery for the 64 by clicking here: http://www.german-pride.com/gallery2/gallery2/v/vwprojects/sfaivre/album01/

I would imagine that replacing heater channels on a convertible would be VERY difficult. 1st because the convertible's heater channels are covered with additional metal that "filets" and reinforces the body. Also, since the support rails are welded to the heater chanel, you would have to remove both pieces, and then you would have a 2 piece car! :shock: That would be very scarey! It can be done, but you'd need to take A LOT OF MEASUREMENTS, and set up your car on jig that would hold in place, and MAKE SURE IT'S LEVEL! It's a tough project, but one that would worth the effort with a valuable car like your oval window kabrio!

Scott Faivre

fouled-plug Wed Oct 25, 2006 11:53 am

im doing the same type of job on my 68 convert Im at the point were the body is on a homemade dolly with a sheet of plywood atop.
i was informed that i would loose value if i swap to a differant pan,
should i?would you? it makes it easier for me,but if the value overcomes the work needed then im reconcedering.
on the body the exterior looks good but down where the body bolts to the pan there is alot of rust and damage not so much around the suport channel but underneath it where it bolts down.
i was thinking of taking it and having it sandblasted or should i grind away
the rust around the bottom and see what is still strong and maybe cut another body on the bottom side and try and replace any rotted metal whats the best approach.
how do i post a picture

Scott Faivre Thu Oct 26, 2006 10:53 am

fouled plug,
I sent you a message in response to your questions.
Scott Faivre

fouled-plug Thu Oct 26, 2006 11:50 am

hey scott
i dont understand how to post a picture through your site but thanx anyhow,
i wanted to ask you about the cutting and welding.
do i buy the body parts new?like in CIP1.
or should i wait tell i get another beetle and cut and reuse them,
i was planning on buying one anyway so can use the pan cause mine is to far rusted in my eyes, they tell me it"s not hard to recondition the pan but money wise it"s a lot,
any thoughts you might have would be helpful
do you have a site or more pitures of the cutting and welding you did that maybe i could copy.
thanx in advance

7bug6 Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:48 pm

hi great post ...........I have question : I have to replace two heater channels and I wonder what if I cut them out and start from the bottom up.That way I do not have to do any bracing. I have seen this on few web sides,(look sipmple) BBP restoration they do this almost all the time ,what difficulties I'm facing and which is the batter way thx

Scott Faivre Thu Nov 02, 2006 1:59 pm

7bug6 wrote: hi great post ...........I have question : I have to replace two heater channels and I wonder what if I cut them out and start from the bottom up.That way I do not have to do any bracing. I have seen this on few web sides,(look sipmple) BBP restoration they do this almost all the time ,what difficulties I'm facing and which is the batter way thx

Sedan or Convertible?

Scott Faivre

7bug6 Thu Nov 02, 2006 2:02 pm

sorry......... it is covertible

Scott Faivre Thu Nov 02, 2006 4:54 pm

Since the convertible support rails are welded to the heater channels, that would be impossible to do. You will need to remove the support rails in order to replace the heater channels. This is a VERY big undertaking. You will basically have your car cut into 2 pieces. A LOT of Measurements and bracing must be used.

There's a guy that hangs out at German-Pride who is very well versed in doing this type of repair. (He goes by "Hey Wilson") He helped me out immensely!

Scott Faivre

7bug6 Thu Nov 02, 2006 5:48 pm

thx Scott......
did U ever see the side http://www.bbt4vw.com/BBT%27s%20restoration/1950cabriobob/index.htm they do this all the time and looking at the pictures, evrything fall in place strarting with the floor ,heater ch. 'support etc.....do u think it is that difficult thx again and How I could talk to mr "Hey Wilson"

Scott Faivre Thu Nov 02, 2006 8:49 pm

7bug6 wrote: thx Scott......
did U ever see the side http://www.bbt4vw.com/BBT%27s%20restoration/1950cabriobob/index.htm they do this all the time and looking at the pictures, evrything fall in place strarting with the floor ,heater ch. 'support etc.....do u think it is that difficult thx again

YES! It is very difficult. I haven't seen that site before. Thanks for sharing! It's hard to tell from those photos with no description, but they look like they are taking several cars and making one. They have not reassembled the back and front halves of the car yet. You might want to watch their build closely and see if you can pick up some ideas and tips to make your restoration go a little easier.

7bug6 wrote: and How I could talk to mr "Hey Wilson"
I'd shoot him a PM or an email through German-Pride, or put up a post in the Autobody Workshop forum. He hangs out over there a lot.

Scott Faivre

James Dwan Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:17 pm

Does the 78 Super need supports welded before removing the body from the chasis? I have heard there is enough support and it is not needed. I know that rust is not a problem. Thanks in advance

Scott Faivre Tue Dec 19, 2006 7:45 pm

James Dwan wrote: Does the 78 Super need supports welded before removing the body from the chasis? I have heard there is enough support and it is not needed. I know that rust is not a problem. Thanks in advance

It all depends on the condition of the body. If your body is sound and not rusted, you'll be fine. I'm a bit of a worry wart, so I'd leave the doors on, and keep them shut. Got any pictures of it?

Scott Faivre

James Dwan Wed Dec 20, 2006 7:38 am

Yeah I believe the PO did a really good job on the body - he owns a body shop.
It looks like they powder coated the pans as well as completely painting the body and I can't find any rust on it - not bad for $1200. It arrived in about 1,000 peices with a motor out of a pre '67 Bug & half the wires cut :cry:

They did not align the body and only put in half the body bolts and left the heater ducts off so I gotta take it back off. I WILL keep the doors shut though :)
I'll take some pics of the interior this Saturday. Oh it's for my wife - pink just isn't my color :lol:

Scott Faivre Wed Dec 20, 2006 2:13 pm

I'd say for only $1200 you did just fine! :D

When I replaced the convertible support rails on my car, I had to redrill some of the body mount holes, because the support rail holes were slightly off. Now that could be a result of my pans being replaced once before. (I can't tell for sure, but they might have been done by a previous owner.)

Is that the same issue that you are having?

Scott Faivre

Xyclone Tue Jan 16, 2007 1:46 pm

Hey Scott or any vert guys,

I'm judging feasability on this vert fix since this is the first vert in my stable. The P.O put the body on another pan (which is spotless!) but he must have tweaked something being the doors currently dont shut (well one sort of does, but the other one doesnt at all) and have an extra 1/4 of gap a the top :-o (but for 400 bucks you can't be picky right ;-) )

Right now from the looks the support rails are toast (two sets came with it :-D) and the bottoms of the channels are all but falling out (new ones with it too). The weird thing is apart from the carpet strip the tops of the channels are in damn good shape! even the heater doors and such are still there (unheard of for me!).

Having not worked on a vert before I dont know how rigid the tops of the channels really are, but I think I can atleast use them as a reference and just replace the bottoms and the rails.

What I'm thinkin is take some straps from front to back from each bumper bracket and shut the doors best they are and try pulling things back into alignment (to an even door gap top to bottom), hold it there, then replace the bottoms and rails? I've only done full channels in bugs, so I dont know how much metal I'm working with with all the extra vert metal on top of the channels :-/

Heres some pics of it, need to snap a few of the door gap, but I think you understand where I'm coming from





Scott Faivre Wed Jan 17, 2007 12:19 am

Do you know how the original design of the convertible was set up? It was a sedan heater chanel with a convertible support rail welded to the bottom of the heater channel.

It hard to diagnose your kabrio's needs without actually being there. If I were you, I would build a support rail like mine in the picture above and then remove the body from the pan. If the car is severely rusted, I might add more bracing before removing off of the pan.

Once you've got it positioned like mine, cut off the rusted out support rails and examine the heater channel. If the heater channel is still has its structural integrity you can clean it up and weld new support rails on to it.

As for your door gaps, that can be a whole bunch of things. The door braces that I've got are adjustable so that I could set the gap BEFORE welding anything. However, the true way to adjust the gap is to shim the body above the beam and above the rear suspension. There are rubber shim blocks that get worn out and crushed over time. When that happens, the door gaps open up. Sometimes it requires metal washers to in addition to the rubber shim in order to get the gaps set right.

Other causes for bad door gaps is improper door install and adjustment, as well as worn out hinges.

I've mentioned it several times to others asking questions, but click on the picture above, or CLICK HERE to view my gallery with all of that topic covered.

Shoot me an email if you need any help!

Good Luck with the project!

Scott Faivre

Tram Wed Jan 17, 2007 9:05 am

Out of curiosity, who carries replacement rails? I've looked, but havent found any. I'm interested in finding some for a future Frankenproject. :twisted:

Scott Faivre Wed Jan 17, 2007 8:41 pm

I got mine from Wolfsburg West. Click on the pic below to see their info page on the rail.



Scott Faivre



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