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eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
12/3/18 12:02 p.m.

Had some good weather (and some time), so more progress.  All of the destruction variety.  The passenger seat took some finagling, but I was able to remove it normally.  The drivers seat was welded to the rails, though, so it needed to be cut free.  I'll need to keep an eye out for a new seat frame to fit the chassis rails, and I will likely put some seats with better side bolstering in on the replacement frame.  As I was hacking up the driver's seat mounts, I noticed a little bit of green shag carpet on the floor under the seat.  A bit of an odd find.  Once the seat was out, the source was obvious.  It appears someone had used carpet remnants as seat padding at some point.

Anyway, once I had access to the whole floor, I was able to get a better idea of the situation.  The driver's floorpan was definitely trashed, and the passenger side was better, but still pretty wasted.  The aluminum skidplate was riveted and bolted to what was left of the pan, and in the passenger side's case, to another sheet of aluminum on the rear floorpan.  We unbolted every bolt we could find, then drilled out the rivets on the passenger side, pulled the upper aluminum sheet, and ended up with this:

There were quite a few more rivets on the driver's side, and my 3/16" drill bit was about destroyed at this point, so I attacked the driver's pan with a sawzall, in order to fully remove the skidplate.  After inhaling rust, and dirt from goodness knows how many rallycross venues, it looks like this:

Due to space limitations, I am going to try a method of replacing the pans that doesn't involve removing the body.  Before that, though, I still have a lot of cutting, grinding, chiseling, and whizz-wheeling to do.

 

One very positive outcome of this weekend's work - despite there being spray foam stuck between it and the skidplate, the chassis is in excellent shape.  No need to do any repair work there, should get by with replacing the pans, and doing some limited work on the body.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
12/18/18 6:50 a.m.

Been slowly working on getting the old floorpans out, but time and weather have not been the most cooperative.  After cutting some more of the passenger pan out, I tried to remove the small part attached to the center tunnel with a chisel and hammer.  That did not go well.

Last week, I picked up an air hammer and some chisels, and last night, finally had time to try them out.  Wow, what a difference.  Except for a small part of the front and rear, the passenger pan is mostly out.  The air hammer made short work of the spot welds.

 

I learned the air hammer does not work well when their are angles left in the metal.  I think they cause it to be less flexible.  I tried making several cuts perpendicular to the spot welded area to weaken the metal, and that seems to help.  I'll try it some more on the back part, although some of it is so corroded, I may have no option but to just cut it as close to the chassis as possible, then use a flap wheel to clean up the rust, and just put the new pan over the top.  On the front, I'm not entirely sure what is holding it on.  There are still one or two spot welds along the chassis side, but I don't know what's holding the front of the pan on.  I cut out some seam sealer, but I don't think that's it.  If there's more spot welds, I may not be able to get to all of them, and may just have to leave a little bit of the old pan in place.   The driver's side pan is in worse shape, so I hope it's easier to remove.

I need to pick up some weld through primer.  Not sure if that's something parts stores will have, or if I need to order online.

Soon, it'll be time to decide what (if any ) coatings I should do to the new pans.  They already have a finish on them, but I don't know how durable it is.  Right now, I am thinking of just hitting the underside with some Rustoleum, and finding a decent roll on bedliner for the interior.  I'll probably start a post asking for ideas in the main forum.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
1/1/19 4:09 p.m.

It's a New Year's miracle!  The floor pans are now out (or as much out as possible without lifting the body).

While removing the driver's side pan, I found the master cylinder is leaking, so I have ordered a replacement.  I've also ordered a couple of clutch cables, as it appears there was a running change in the design during the 1974 model year run.  The pedal assembly had to come out, and I may see if there are any rebuild kits with springs and such for it, as it looks a little rough right now.

Next up is to test fit and trim the pans.  The passenger pan will be done first, and the driver's pan after replacing the master cylinder, no need for brake fluid to damage the finish on a new pan.  Once they seem properly fitted, I'll clean up and prep the VW chassis, and also drill holes in the pan for plug welds.  I think each pan will also get a couple of 1/4" drain holes drilled into them before I paint/coat them, so I can just pop a few plugs out and let the water out in case any gets in.

Here's the passenger pan in it's unmodified state.  As I understand, the corners usually need a bit of trimming, and I may need to remove a bit of material from the front:

This is the most thorough rust removal I'll be doing.  There are some holes in the rear seat/package tray area that I think I am going to hit with some rust converter, cut some sheet metal panels up to cover the holes, and just bond them on.  I'm afraid if I start trying to cut out and weld every bit of rust, I'll never get it back on the road this next season.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
1/6/19 6:12 p.m.

More progress this weekend.  First, a purchase.  Someone only about 10 miles from me had a driver's side door for sale, so I picked it up.

It's in really nice shape, but I really don't care too much about the door itself, just that I got the glass, the window regulator, door card, and everything else that can be transferred over into my car.  Then, I'll probably sell the bare door, to recoup some expenses.

I started fitting the floorpan, which mainly consisted of trimming a bit off the front corner at a time, and test fitting it under the car.

It also required trimming a bit from the whole front, where the pencil line is.  I may have taken a bit more off the corner than need be, but the gap will be small enough that seam sealer should take care of any mistakes.

I cleaned off the paint on the edges of the pan that will be welded, and attacked them with an air punch.  A piece of advice - if you buy the HF air punch/flange tool, get some hydraulic fluid for it immediately.  I think most of it leaks out while the tool is sitting on the shelf in the store.  Once I filled it up with some hydraulic jack fluid, it worked great, way faster than drilling would have.  Which reminds me, I did also drilled two 5/16" holes in the pan, in order to drain out any water if it gets flooded, or if I clean it by hosing out the interior.  I also cleaned off the paint where the the jacking point will get welded on.  It'll get put on after the pan is in, since it'd probably make the pan less flexible and harder to fit into place.

At this point it was time to clean and prep for the weld-through primer.  I hit the flange on the chassis with a wire wheel, and in the corners, just used some sandpaper.  The floorpan got a thorough wipedown with some thinner and a scotchbrite pad.  Then parts were hit with primer. 

Before it gets installed, I'm going to hit the bottom and top of the pan (except where it's getting welded) with some rustoleum brush on paint for extra protection.  If all goes well, that'll get done tomorrow, and I can weld the pan in the next couple of days, and move on to the driver's side.

Looking at the picture above makes me want to attack all the rust on the car, but I know that if I do, it'll never be done in time for rallycross season, or possibly ever, so I just need to triage it, and fix the worst part, patch a few other spots, and live with it. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
1/14/19 9:20 a.m.

Tried to fit and weld the pan in this weekend, but failed miserably.  The bolt holes in the pan did not line up with the body at all.  I ended up trimming away about 3/8" off the rear off the pan to get them lined up lengthwise, and started trimming away a bit of the inner flange, in order to bring the pan a bit more inward, but it will require more.  I think I need to take about 1/8" to 1/4" off the flange before the bolt holes line up.  I ran out of time, and the next week/weekend will be too busy to get anything done.  I also will need to punch more holes, as the rear holes have been cut completely off, and the side ones may be partially removed.

I'm glad, though, that I did this with the body on, as if I had installed the pans with the body off, and lowered the body back on, it would have been a lot more work to get things to line up after welding had been done.

I'll need to find a better way to measure everything before attempting final installation on the driver's side, to cut down reworking effort and time.

 

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UltraDork
2/18/19 11:01 a.m.

Been busy getting a beater put together for a relative, but did manage to score a set of doors, a transmission, a rear bumper, and a few other parts over the weekend.  At this point, I think all I need to acquire to seal up the interior from weather is rear window glass and some weatherstripping.  Still planning on putting actual work on hold until we start getting a consistent improvement in weather.

 

Edit:  First rallycross of the season is in late April, and I have a strong suspicion I’ll just be spectating.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/20/19 7:30 p.m.

With decent weather again, I went out with the intent to get the pan fitted nice and snugly to be welded in the next few days.  I failed miserably.  Even after removing the bolts that hold it to the body, in order to allow the pan to "float", I was still running into some vertical gaps between the inner pan flange and the chassis flange around 3/16" or so.  Smacking the flange with a hammer did not help, either.  The worst spot is near the passenger seat rail.  This makes sense, as that stiffens up the pan in that area.  I think the floor pan flange has lost a lot of flexibility overall, since it has been cut considerably smaller, in order to make the body bolts line up.

So, I think I just have to live with the gap ion some places, try to plug weld what I can, maybe do a little bit of welding on the edge of the flange, and just use a boatload of seam sealer to fill the gaps.  It won't be great, but I need to remind myself it'll be way better and stronger than the swiss cheese floor pans I'm replacing.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
3/20/19 7:43 p.m.

Steel is amazingly flexible.  3/16" is as close to a perfect fit as you can expect for a cheap repro part being mated to 50 year old steel.  Clamp together the widest gap (this is why welding Vise-Grips are shaped like that) and get used to welding the parts in contact, then moving along the seam hammering/clamping/welding until you meet in the middle.

 

One sibframe connector set I installed had a one inch gap in spots.  Clamps and prybars fixed that.

 

Only five weeks until the first cancellation of the year!

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/20/19 8:45 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

It’d need to be one hell of a big clamp.  Or is there some design of clamp I haven’t seen?

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/20/19 9:14 p.m.

Long self drilling sheetmetal screws make great patch panel clamps.

EvanB
EvanB MegaDork
3/21/19 6:16 a.m.
eastsideTim said:

In reply to Knurled. :

It’d need to be one hell of a big clamp.  Or is there some design of clamp I haven’t seen?

A 24" F-clamp should be plenty large. 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/21/19 8:04 a.m.

In reply to Dusterbd13-michael and EvanB :

I did a quick check online.  Looks like the f-clamps I saw won’t have enough reach to get around the center tunnel, but I will take another look later.  May give the self tapping screws a try.  Really didn’t want to drill into the chassis, but even if it can’t bring it all the way together, it should be better than nothing.

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/21/19 8:09 a.m.

Ir slso gives a plug weld point. Well, more like a spot weld, but still.

Its how ive done a few floorpans. Ive also had to make cuts to the pans to move metal around for fit, and then weld the cuts up.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/21/19 12:07 p.m.

I was optimistic on the gap.  Ran out to the garage on my lunch break.  It’s more like a 3/8” gap at some points.  Still going to run out tonight and look for some self tapping screws.  The punch I used makes 3/16” holes, so I’m assuming I should be looking for #12 sized screws if I want to use the preexisting holes in tha pan?

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/21/19 2:01 p.m.

Sounds good to me!

Dont be scared to do relief cuts and more welding for fit. Carpet and undercoat hide a berkeleyton of sins.

Also, amazonflap wheels for the sheetmetal welds.

bashr52
bashr52 New Reader
3/21/19 2:40 p.m.

When I did the pans on my Thing, it was easier because the body was off the pan, but it took a bit of trimming to get it to fit right. I used a combination of clamps and self taping screws to hold it in place, and ran a whitney punch along the outside to make the holes for the plug welds.

If you can line up some of the body-to-pan bolt holes and used them to hold the pans to the body, you can just use some self taping screws to hold the pans tight to the tunnel

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/21/19 2:59 p.m.

In reply to bashr52 :

I did have the body to pan bolts in, but unbolted them hoping to make the chassis to pan side fit closer.  I’ll at least loosely bolt them back in before using sheet metal screws, so they don’t go out of alignment.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/22/19 8:33 p.m.

Got outside for a very short while tonight, and the self tapping screws did the trick, though I did hear a few loud popping noises that I am hoping were not the seat rails getting knocked out of alignment.  Put three screws in the worst area:

I think that'll be enough that I can plug weld the other holes near there.  There are a few other locations I put screws into, and there may still be a few more needed, but I am likely going to run back to the hardware store for shorter ones.  The 3/4" screws I got stick way far down, and I'll need to cut or grind them before using seam sealer, so there are no "surprises" down the line while working on the car.   I suspect shorter ones will need the same treatment, but I'd rather they not be sticking so far under the car while I'll still be working on everything.  Maybe the pan will actually get welded this weekend, and I can start fitting the driver's side!

 

Dusterbd13-michael
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
3/22/19 8:48 p.m.

They are just extra weight after welding. Remove and zap.the hole shut.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/22/19 9:28 p.m.
Dusterbd13-michael said:

They are just extra weight after welding. Remove and zap.the hole shut.

Good point.  I didn’t even think of that.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
3/23/19 3:29 p.m.

Well, for better or worse it is welded in:

I am not sure I got enough heat into the chassis for the plug welds to be strong, or if I mostly just welded up the holes I punched earlier.  Turning up the power any more was just immediately burning through the floor pan.  I did notice the ones that originally had screws in them seemed to weld up much easier, I'm guessing due to exposure to more clean metal.  I think when I do the drivers side, I'll keep that in mind, and use a lot more self tapping screws.

Any thoughts on using some sort of panel bonding adhesive or something else before painting and putting down seam sealer?  If there is something that would strengthen this up without too much effort, I'd like to give it a shot, especially at the front, where my welds seemed weakest.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
4/14/19 7:39 p.m.

I spent a good part of Saturday trimming and test fitting the driver's side floor pan.

It has now reached the point where it can be bolted in, but some of the washers still won't fit.  I am hoping there are only one or two more iterations of cutting and fitting to go.  I'm leery of cutting away too much, so I'd rather do a little bit at a time.

Feeling a lot better about the car right now, as once the floors are in, it shouldn't take much to make it mobile again.  I really need to start researching engine builds and ordering parts.  I think the first iteration of the engine isn't going to be too impressive - just something that can handle 70 MPH on the freeway without much trouble.  I'm leaning towards not cracking the case open, and going with a stockish or slightly bigger than stock bore to get a  1600 or 1641cc engine, maybe some mild performance heads, higher ratio rocker arms, and a dual carb setup.  I figure if I open up the case, at that point, I may as well go with a balanced crank, and if I do that, stroker cranks don't cost much more...

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
4/22/19 8:51 p.m.

There been some slow progress, just haven’t been updating the thread.  The driver’s floor pan is trimmed down to where it will fit, the holes are punched, and I just finished painting it. Still need to finish cleaning up the chassis, and cut a rubber seal, but after that, welding will commence.  Maybe that’ll be done before this weekend.

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
4/28/19 9:04 p.m.

The advantage of not having a rallycross to go to yesterday means I was able to get the driver's floor pan welded in, and the left and right jack points welded to the floor pans.

Tonight, I lifted the car by both jack points, and didn't hear any of the plug welds popping, so I am thinking that is a sign the pans are not coming off.  I'll spray paint the welded area, then hit it with some seam sealer.

I do have a question for any Beetle experts out there.  This was in the box with the floor pans, and I have no idea what they are for.  There was no equivalent on the old pans, and I haven't found it on any parts diagrams.  I asked on the thesamba, too, so if no one here is sure, I'm betting someone there will know.

 

eastsideTim
eastsideTim UberDork
5/11/19 4:33 p.m.

Last night, I ran seam sealer down the welded edges of the pans, inside and out.  Today, it has been undercoating underneath the pans, and brush in bedliner on the inside.  There's one layer of it in now, and I'm still waiting for it to dry to put the second coat on.

A ways back, I picked up an aftermarket seat frame for the car, but it looks like it won't merge easily with what is left of the stock driver's seat.  The solution:  Run to the junkyard and pick up a seat from a Dodge Neon.

The front mounting holes almost line up, but I think if I just ground them to clear it and use them, the seat would end up way too far forward. 

 

I'll do some investigating, and try to get something cut/welded/bolted together quickly.  I am getting really antsy to drive this thing in more than just my neighborhood.

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