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Installing GAB-FAB Weber Windows for Carb Access
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ap_sand
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:18 pm    Post subject: Installing GAB-FAB Weber Windows for Carb Access Reply with quote

I just finished installing the GAB-FAB Weber Windows (http://www.thesamba.com/vw/classifieds/detail.php?id=989492) this weekend. We actually have Kadrons that will soon be replaced with Dellortos, but what the hay!

First a couple of notes. I deviated from the recommended installation method. Like any change from a proven system/process, this cost extra time and effort, probably more than doubling how long it took to do the installation. What’s the change? The package included Aircraft “AD” structural rivets. Where these inadequate for the task? No, most likely not. I decided to mount the frames with high strength 8x32 hardware instead. The reason is that my 17 year old has taken on a personal challenge to leave no body panel unmolested. He has almost achieved this goal with the exception of the rear bumper/apron/deck lid. I wanted to make sure that there was enough structural strength that if (when) he bumps this end of the car, it will be less likely to buckle the side walls. I will be following up with brazing in the window frames when we pull the engine later this summer. For “Normal” duty, I’d stick with the provided hardware.

Next, we removed the fenders for the installation. It is possible to do the job with the fenders on if you have a right angle drill for the rear most mounting holes. If you have the fenders on, you will need to squeeze some of the rivets from inside the engine compartment (and have the engine out to get to them) or use a gun and bucking bar.

The photo’s move from one side of the car to the other because my photographer was busy mowing the lawn and was not always available as I worked one side in sequence .

Anyway, the first photo shows the fender removed to reveal the target of our assault.
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Here we’re cleaning it up and discover some tape and fiberglass “patches”.
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The frames for the windows are curved to fit the body and fit comfortably in one position fore and aft. You have some positional flexibility vertically. Feel underneath the edge and locate the “ceiling” above the cylinder heads to make sure your layout clears it. Note the contours stamped in the body at the lower right corner of the frame and at the middle left mounting hole.
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Once you decided where you want it located, mark it. Mark it close to the frame on the outside, and make the marks about ¼” small on the inside to leave a flange. You will later bend this over against the inside of the frame.
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I used a Dremel with a “heavy duty” cutoff disk to make the opening. WEAR SAFETY GLASSES TO DO THIS !!! You will be throwing steel filings, cutoff wheel debris and pieces of the wheel that shatters when you twist it in the slot or catch it on the edge. I tried a fiberglass reinforced disk and it wouldn’t shatter but it wore down as quickly as the regular cutoff disk did and was LOTS more expensive. Leave the corners uncut. You don’t want to end up with a sharp corner in the cutout because it will tear when you hammer it over later.
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Cut the corners on a 45 degree angle.
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With the rough opening cut out flatten the stamped body contours to that the frame will sit flat. Note that the tip corner of the bumper bracket needed to be trimmed out of the way.
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Using a 1/8” carbide burr to round the corners.
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Smoothing/deburring with an aluminum oxide wheel.
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Smooth any surface irregularities that would keep the window frame from sitting flush against the body. With this the rough opening is complete.
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Since I elected to use #8 screws instead of the included structural rivets, the mounting holes in the frame needed to be modified. First they were enlarged to 11/64” ( I didn’t have the proper number drill at home). The holes are laser cut and the heat affected zone around them is really hard. Make sure you use a good bit, fast speed and a slow feed.
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Of course changes compound. The head diameter on the screws is significantly larger than the rivets that the holes were machined for and the countersink angle is different as well. Here we’re re-countersinking. Not shown is that I cheated. This countersink is a cheap piece of crap and didn’t work very well. I cheated and used a “center drill” to get about 85% of the way there, but it was the wrong angle so I finished it up with the pictured countersink. After 16 holes it’s ready for the trash.
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Here is a picture of the properly countersunk hole with a fastener. The one on the top right corner is done as well. The dimensions of the original holes are visible in the top left corner hole as well as the one on the right side. The included rivets are visible in the bag.
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To mount the frame to the car, hold the frame centered around the opening. Mark and center punch the location of the top center mounting hole. Drill for either the rivet or screw. I used a #26 drill to be able to tap 8x32 threads. Deburr both sides. If using screws, tap the hole, and screw the frame in just snug. If riveting, cleco the frame in place. Here is where using screws really starts to eat up time. With the 11/64” bit that you used for the clearance hole to center in the bottom center hole of the window frame and drill just enough to make a starting dimple for the #26 bit. DON’T DRILL THROUGH!
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Remove the frame, drill with the #26 bit, deburr and tap.
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Put the frame back in with both screws just snug. Use clamp(s) if needed to pull the frame to the body, mark the next hole and repeat the center/remove/drill/deburr/tap. The reason you need to take the frame off is if your hole is off center you will bind the tap and risk breaking it off. If you are using the rivets, you can center drill, cleco, clamp, drill… All with the frame in place.
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If you’re riveting, once all the holes are drilled, remove the clecos and frame, deburr the holes, cleco back in place and squeeze the rivets. Otherwise, once all the screws are in place, tighten them all up but don’t over tighten, there are only a couple of small threads in the thin sheet metal and it’s easy to strip them out. Put self locking nuts on the back side and tighten them down while holding the screw from turning out. I used 5/16” screws and they were just long enough to have one thread come past the nylon insert in a shear (thin) locknut. This will keep the screw from pulling out and also act like an acorn nut and help avoid catching your hands on the ends of the screws when working inside the engine compartment.

Next, take a tap the exposed flange down against the inside of the window frame.
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Trim off any excess sheet that sits above the surface of the window. Visible inside the bottom left corner is one of the lock nuts. Screw on the cover and you’re done!
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Again, when the engine is next out, I’m going to replace the screws with shorter ones and braze the frames in place. Unless you have special circumstances driving the decision, I’d strongly suggest sticking with mounting the frame with the included rivets. It will save you time, have less in the engine compartment to snag on and be plenty strong.
I believe the GAB-FAB Weber Windows are a quality product, easy to install and fairly priced for what you get. I’d recommend them for anyone running duals in a T1.

Andrew
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wompninja
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 1:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tutorial.
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Glenn
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for posting, it's been added to the FAQS/Sticky.
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Dale M.
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

think I would have just put in generic fuel tank door.... To much work, to many screws....

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Dale
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the2ndcashboy
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 5:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you didn't want to use the rivets (which probably have a higher shear strength than the body panel anyway) you could have gotten some Hi-lok type fasteners that would have fit the original countersinks in the frame. They come in steel or titanium. No fussing around trying to enlarge countersinks in hardened steel.

If I was going to modify it for added strength in an impact, I would just add a few more rivets. Right now if that area flexes it will bulge/tear the metal at every fastener.
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If anything comes out perfect it just means your measuring tools are substandard.
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ap_sand
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PostPosted: Tue May 15, 2012 7:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale: Bigger than a fuel door, but not too big.

the2ndcashboy: It's not hardened steel, just mild. It's that the countersink wasn't make of much better steel! Besides adding more rivets would have required drilling and countersink MORE holes. I want to not have fasteners at all and will braze it soon. Just counting on the boy NOT doing it in until then. The fasteners will be replaced with short ones that don't go past the sheet metal. They will only be there to hold position for brazing, then will remain as corks.

I'm very familiar with Hi-Loks. Have you ever fought with them to get them out (besides their being priced as if they were made of gold)?
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They're not hard at all to get out. Especially if you can get to the backside. Just spin the locknut off. You can actually use standard NAS type nuts on them too if you dont want to fuss with the frangible collars they are designed for. Just size it so it so the nut doesn't hit the "shoulder" when you tighten it down. If you have to drill them just pilot the head with a #40 and then drill the head to the appropriate size to pop it off. You do need good quality drills though, especially if you have the titanium version of the hiloks
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Dale M.
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ap_sand wrote:
Dale: Bigger than a fuel door, but not too big.



I can get a gas cap through fuel door you can not get a "jet" through a fuel door?

Dale
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ap_sand
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 7:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the input guys. Guess I'll weld back in some factory NOS panels and redo it right.
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the2ndcashboy
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't mean to criticize your install, it looks pretty clean. I was just offering some fastener options for other people that might not want to use the rivets. There are also several NAS high-strength screws that use the "426" countersink (which is what it appears those rivets are).

FWIW, you said you're going to be running dells, so those doors aren't as critical for you as they would be with webers. They'll help you remove the carbs if you're running a stock fan shroud with heater ducts though. Probably would help with spark plug removal too.
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esde
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

ap_sand wrote:
Thanks for the input guys. Guess I'll weld back in some factory NOS panels and redo it right.


HA! I think it's a pretty cool idea. I've got Kadrons as well at the minute, and a set of Dells waiting to go on, and yes, access to the mixture screws looks tight. But, most of the jets go in through the top anyway, so the panel would mostly be to get #1 and #3 plugs, and mixture screws. Anyway, I think you're over thinking it with the brazing, or strength of rivets. If your car gets rear ended hard enough to bend that spot, how the panel is fastened is probably not going to matter much.
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PostPosted: Wed May 16, 2012 2:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dale M. wrote:
think I would have just put in generic fuel tank door.... To much work, to many screws....

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Dale


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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 3:06 am    Post subject: carb access Reply with quote

Someone needs to fab up a set of these for a bus!! getting to the plugs can be a pita with dual carbs and manifolds. Installing the windows would have to be with the engine removed though cuz the fender trick will not work on the bus
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 6:07 am    Post subject: Re: carb access Reply with quote

Cptn. Calzone wrote:
Someone needs to fab up a set of these for a bus!! getting to the plugs can be a pita with dual carbs and manifolds. Installing the windows would have to be with the engine removed though cuz the fender trick will not work on the bus


At least on a bus you can remove the engine access panel and get to it from the top........
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PostPosted: Thu May 17, 2012 8:21 pm    Post subject: bus Reply with quote

Access panel for certain years only, although McTuckey fixed me up with a boat hatch which i installed and makes work and LIGHT so much better, I still need some panels which I will make myself. The plugs can be a biatch.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 9:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I know this is old but I just got the new Hot VW's October 2013 issue and they show an install of these.

looks like another thing to add to my build.
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 08, 2014 3:35 pm    Post subject: Thanks Reply with quote

Thanks to the people that take the time to create how to threads like this one. It's a great help to those of us learning how to do these types of projects on our own. While I have a great classic vw shop in town there is a lot of pride in completing this type of thing myself. Simple as it may be.
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 09, 2014 10:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tip: Instead of using a small Dremel cutoff wheel, use a 1/4"-5/16" drillbit to drill a hole near the corner of the inner radius where you are cutting away metal, then use a jigsaw with a metal bit to cut through this starting hole along the line of metal panel you are removing.

bnc
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 1:04 am    Post subject: Re: Installing GAB-FAB Weber Windows for Carb Access Reply with quote

Are there any out there with quick access latches?
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jl_1303
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 03, 2015 5:55 pm    Post subject: Re: Installing GAB-FAB Weber Windows for Carb Access Reply with quote

My car is a '74 Super Beetle.

It has ribs like this:

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I wonder if anyone has tried fitting the carb window to this.
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