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Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:15 am    Post subject: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Here she is: My 1973 Super Beetle.

This is the first car I ever owned, and was my daily driver all through the 90's.
Then I (sadly) parked it in the backyard to rust away for about 20 years.

My kids and I have decided the time has come to restore it. It's certainly a basket case at this point, and anyone in their right mind would probably have it hauled away for scrap.
But this car has a lot of sentimental value to me, and will be an awesome project for me and the kids.

We started the tear-down a few weeks ago, so I'll post a bunch of photos of what we've done so far.

-Jeremy


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calvinater
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:47 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Welcome great father kid project, they look psyched, have fun and post pics.
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:52 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

First we had to free up the wheels. The front has disc brakes, and those wheels turned fine. The brake shoes on the rear had rusted tight to the drums and needed a 4' steel bar to help crack them loose.

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This wheel sat deflated in a pile of wet leaves, and is totally rusted out.


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I don't have a garage, so we built a temporary shelter around the beetle. I'm calling it "The Cocoon".


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Once inside, we pulled the fenders and dropped the engine.

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Pulled a door and freed the chassis from the body.

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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 6:53 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Thanks, C!

Gonna be a lot of work, and hopefully some fun as well. Smile
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Murmsk
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 7:15 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

What a fun project to do with your children. Reminds me of my first rebuild with my Dad....in the backyard we still talk about it on occasion. 59 ghia. Wish I still had that car!!

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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2019 7:23 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Awesome, Murmsk. I'm hoping to build those kind of memories here as well.

In the last few days we also pulled the tranny. This car originally had an auto-stick but I converted it to standard 'back in the day'.

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We pulled apart the rear end.

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Chassis completely freed. It's in better shape than the body, but still needs a lot of help. Top of the framehead is *mostly* solid, but will require some patching. The bottom of the framehead looks good, except for right under the Hat. Both pans will be replaced.

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The rear end has been sandblasted (WOW! what a mess) and primed in epoxy.

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We picked up one of those cheap blast cabinets from Horrible Freight. Did a quick test: It actually works pretty well!

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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 9:57 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Here's the worst of the chassis rot: where the frame head connects to the tunnel and pan.

*most* of the frame head is solid. I have a bottom plate on the way, but will probably not use the whole panel. My current plan is to cut at the red lines in this picture, and just use the rear of the new panel to rebuild under the Napoleon Hat. If the new panel is thick enough, I might use part of it to rebuild that rotten section of the tunnel. OR I'll fabricate a new panel for that out of 12 gauge.

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beetlenut
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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 10:24 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

I had to replace those sections on my 74. The bottom replacement framehead part I got was nice and thick. The tunnel metal on the bottom is surprisingly thin, so fabing up replacement panels out of 18 gauge isn't too hard.
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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

This one's going to be interesting. It must be nice to have all that free labor. If you don't have enough you can always make more but then you have to feed them.
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Thu May 30, 2019 11:41 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Nice! Thanks for the pic, Beetlenut. It's encouraging to see this exact repair has been done before.

And as to the free labor... yeah, we'll see how long that lasts. Attention spans tend to shrink proportional to the dirtiness of the job. Smile
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PostPosted: Fri May 31, 2019 3:31 pm    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Great to see this, another 73 Super being saved! Mine has been coming along, and was in truly horrible condition to start with. You have some work to do, but the result will be worthwhile.
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Sat Jun 01, 2019 7:04 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Thanks CVW! I just looked at your gallery. Wow! Coming along indeed. I'll need to dig through your photos in more detail later when I need inspiration.

My new best friend (FedEx) just delivered the frame head bottom plate. Comparing it to the original, I'm a bit underwhelmed. I guess I had higher expectations when I read the words "Excellent Quality" on the website I ordered it from.

First of all: look at these holes! They're twice as big as they need to be. I'll need to fix that or it will keep me up at night. (really)
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Also: the 'waist' is really skinny where the control arms attach. If I was replacing the whole bottom panel I'd be disappointed. But since I'm just using the rear of this panel it will serve my purposes.
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After surgery prep my first incision will be this tunnel section.
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But before I hack that section out, I made a template of what the repair panel should look like.
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I also ordered a Napolean Hat (of which I'll use only parts).
Since the tunnel will be open, now seems like a good time to swap out the fuel line. I think mine is in good shape, but I'll switch it out for a new stainless line. Another thing that will help me sleep better at night.

Next up: I'll probably whack out the floor pans so I have better access for that tunnel/framehead repair.

Happy Saturday!

-Jeremy
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 5:54 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

I started cutting out the rot, and drilling out spot welds so we could separate the panels. Looks like I'll have some welding to do inside the tunnel as well.

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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:42 pm    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

I did a bit more chopping today.

With the rear of the frame head bottom plate removed, I got a better look at the tunnel rust and inside of the NapHat.

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I used tape to mark where I planned to cut. It's a pretty tight area, so I'll resort to the dremel for some of it.

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No matter how many fancy cutting tools I buy, it's amusing how often I resort to these:
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Next I'll sandblast this area and fit some patches.
I might get to warm up the welder soon! I'm looking forward to adding-to instead of taking-away.

-Jeremy
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vamram Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Wow, crazy project. I'm Hooked!! Makes my '73 look like it just came out of the showroom! Very Happy How's the free labor working out...?
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:37 pm    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

The last few steps have been pretty tricky. So my pair of "free laborers" have primarily been "observers" for that.

Once I have the frame head and structural welding bits complete, I plan to turn my minions loose cutting out and replacing the floor pans.

Oh, and I bought one of those Harbor Freight manual tire changers this week. My minions will also assemble that tool, dismount the tires, and sandblast the rims. Perfect tasks for "Semi-Skilled" laborers.

Thanks for chiming in Vamram!

-Jeremy
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2019 5:13 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

A lot of that rust in the framehead and tunnel was probably from a leaky master cylinder. I had the same areas that I had to replace on mine.
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Now that you're in there, good time to replace the shift rod bushing. I used the Eastwood Internal Frame Coating to do the entire tunnel. https://www.eastwood.com/eastwood-internal-frame-coating-14oz-aerosol.html It comes with a two foot long hose to get into hard to reach places, so I did it from the access panel in the rear, into the ends of the frame horns, and from the front metal I removed by the framehead. Did a nice job.
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Wetstuff wrote:
... I spend more time shaking it than directing it?! I get a pretty decent blast for 8sec. then have to shake it again.
- Words to live by right there!

My 74 Super rebuild thread: http://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?p=6507104#6507104
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jeremy.g
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 5:04 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Master cylinder, you think? I was guessing most of this rust was the result of water coming in the fresh air vent and windshield. And then leaking down the front bulkhead (which also has rust damage), and then pooling in the 'low' areas of the tunnel/frame.

I wouldn't doubt a leaky M.C. contributed as well. It looks pretty gnarly inside the NapHat where the brake plunger mounts.

The perfectionist in me wants to use the proper thickness of steel for these repairs. I have some 12ga which is WAY too thick. And some 14ga which is SLIGHTLY too thin. So I ordered some 13ga which should be just about right.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 8:54 am    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

That cocoon is bigger than my garage! Better equipped too. Great idea.

I sure wish I had saved my first bug, even as rusty as it was. This is a motivating build.
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2019 12:57 pm    Post subject: Re: Jeremy.G's 1973 Super Beetle restoration Reply with quote

Thanks Buggeee! Reading through the rebuild of your '72 is one of the things that motivated me to start this thread.

The Cocoon has been great. It's 18'x20' which seems to be a pretty good size for a single-beetle restoration. I wouldn't want to attempt this without some sort of shelter.
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