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Shannon's 73 Thing
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 6:06 am    Post subject: Shannon's 73 Thing Reply with quote

My wife has decided she wants a Thing. I am excited and have begun searching for one. However, I know very little about them. I am a Ghia and Bug guy. I am not afraid of a little rust, I am fairly good at welding thanks to my 67. However, I'm not sure what metal is available. When looking to buy a Bug or Ghia, if it's rusted, I know if that part is available, and a cost so I can negotiate a price. Where is the source for Thing metal? What are some hard to find parts I should be aware of? What else do I need to know to be informed before buying?
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Last edited by swhitcomb on Sat Aug 13, 2011 9:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Ferretkona
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

All the sheet metal is available, just not cheap.
I would walk from rusted out pans, but Ghia pans fit right in.
Rusted beams would be my biggest worry. Replacements are available but time consuming.
Any thing sold should have a top, soft top or a hardtop. Sometimes you get both.
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Semper_Dad
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 10:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pans are easier to replace than rocker. Rocker rust scares me Shocked
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SilverThing Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 11:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Semper_Dad wrote:
Pans are easier to replace than rocker. Rocker rust scares me Shocked


Rocker rust was one of my main items to watch out for when I was looking (a few years back - 2002?). It seemed most cars I looked at had rockers that were rusted through in the rear right in front of the rear fender and a couple had at the front of the rocker at the front fenders. Even in dry southern Idaho this seemed to be an issue. At that time I don't think there were aftermarket rocker panels and I wasn't too familiar with TTS so I wanted to make sure that I wasn't going to be buying a car that required repair panels I couldn't get. I recall that the rusty rocker issue narrowed my decision down to two options: a white 74 and the silver 73 that I ended up buying. I don't remember what the deciding factor was (the white 74 was in really good shape and a lot closer to my house). Whatever.

Pan rust under the battery was a given in my book. I just made sure the entire pan wasn't rusted out. The car I ended up buying has a patch welded over where it rusted out under the battery (and the PO moved the battery to the driver's side Confused ). It is on my to do list to either replace that entire pan or just the patched section (the pan is in good shape for the most part).

I was also watching for a car that had an AM engine case. The engine case was kind of a funny item to be picky about when I think back on it. My thought at the time was to build a sportier engine (could do that with any engine I had gotten). I think because I had a car that was mostly original (minus the silver paint job and the wind up clock in the dash - one of the previous owners was a pilot, or so the story goes), I have opted to go for maintaining originality as much as possible with my repairs.

I was a little apprehensive about the BN4 gas heater, but Mike Humeston spoke very highly of them (he's the Thing guru of Boise). As long as you don't bypass the safety features, it is a safe little unit. It also gets hot and fast. When the Thing was my daily driver, I could fire up the heater after I started the car and before I had gotten to the end of the block I would have full heat, even on near zero degree days (I lived one house away from the end of the block btw). My only complaint is that it can take some time for the heat to circulate to the rest of the car; your feet get warm though.
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The drivers side rocker is toast. It had some inner rear wheel well rust. Needed floors. It has late beetle seats, no top, and no doors. The engine included with it was fairly trashed.

That being said, it was $800. Is that a decent price, or should I keep looking?
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Semper_Dad
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swhitcomb wrote:
The drivers side rocker is toast. It had some inner rear wheel well rust. Needed floors. It has late beetle seats, no top, and no doors. The engine included with it was fairly trashed.

That being said, it was $800. Is that a decent price, or should I keep looking?


There are certainly ones in better condition out there. Main issue here is the rusty rockers and wheel well. Not for novice or beginner in my book. Pans are easily replaced compared to rockers. Everything else is bolt on.

I'm not afraid of knowing my limitations. I'd pass as a first car. Maybe if I had another one running already.
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kubelmann
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

$800 for a running and stopping Thing is a deal.... You could even find a second car use the first as a parts car and sell the surplus parts or stock pile to keep the good car going. You can spend $800 on the parts that are on the rusty one fairly fast.
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 3:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It isn't running. It includes an engine that isn't installed. Not sure about the brakes, but I was just assuming they were trashed and already planned on replacing them all the way around.
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 07, 2011 5:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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NOVA Airhead
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sean:

So you are going for a Thing? Sounds great. Let me know if I can help.

Rocker, frame head and windshield frame rust are the big issues to look out for. Also there are some Thing specific items that can be pricey if they are missing - i.e., wiper motor.

Overall the Thing is much easier to work on than a Ghia - particularly the Rockers.

Some sources for parts:

http://www.thingsforthething.com/catalog/
http://www.eisparts.com/thing.html
http://stores.thingparts.com/StoreFront.bok

Some of the general VW parts vendors also carry some Thing specific items such as Jbuggs and WCM.

$800 for the car you have described sounds like a good deal.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I look for a complete Thing as possible. Finding the parts to put together a Thing can get expensive. The used parts cost more for a Thing than they do for Beetles and Ghias. They are on par with the split bus parts cost.

If you are not going for a "correct" restored Thing, then it helps the cost somewhat. Seats for a Thing can get spendy if you want original. If you do not have to have the rear engine protection skid plates, then any type one based engine block will work. If you are not going to off-road your Thing, a Beetle beam will bolt right in if yours is rusted out, (the spindles are specific to a Thing and give it its lift in the front). Thing rims are specific, but again, aftermarket rims can be a cheap alternative.

A '74 may be a better basket case to get than a '73 basket case due to the gas heater in a '73 being expensive to restore to good working condition. The '74 used the old standby heat exchangers which are much cheaper to aquire and make their system work.
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 7:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks guys. The $800 Thing was a little scary. Today I found one for about $4000, but it's $6000 ahead of the $800 one. The new one is a 73. Going to look at it this weekend.

I'm not afraid to do rust repair, but my wife wants something she can drive fairly soon, and I've learned over the years that rust can snowball quickly. I'm not good at making it "good enough" so I can drive it. I quickly go into full resto mode. I think the new one I'm considering may be a happy medium. The paint is ugly, and the engine tin needs to be cleaned up. Otherwise, it's a much better starting point. Just have to come up with the $.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 8:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Each $ over the $ 800 spent right now on your "starter" Thing is worth $ 3 in effort plus parts down the road.
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, I have come up with the money. I'm going to look at the car this weekend. Unless it's a complete piece of junk, I'm going to buy it. Hopefully, Shannon will be driving it to ST4.

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are those pictures of the Thing in question?
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes the 2nd more expensive one. Not the $800 one.
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This is the $800 Thing:

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 09, 2011 8:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

swhitcomb wrote:
This is the $800 Thing:

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Ouch, that will take some time to put back together. Is that the engine in the back?
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swhitcomb
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, and it was a complete mess too. It wasn't the original, it was a universal case, had a type 3 oil filler installed instead of a block off plate, a tri mill exhaust that exited through the decklid, and a coil that was zip tied because the captive nuts were broken off and there was a giant hole where they should've been.

I made a list of all the things I would need for it, and the price. It was quickly at 5k and I would have to get my 67 Bug out of the garage to do it. Just too much of a project. I decided to just spend more on a better car.
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 10, 2011 2:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The second one looks pretty nice, especially the engine. I paid that for mine and have put a fair amount into it since then. At some point would like to put a 1776 with dual carbs in it. The nicer you can afford to buy the more you're going to save getting it there yourself.
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