Super Beetle Project Car Part 2
From the March, 2009 issue of VW Trends
The headliner is next, after,...
The headliner is next, after, of course, we pull down the dome light. It is secured with a pressure clip that was easily removed. Of course, ours broke the moment we touched it, but in the bag it goes. It's a good idea to leave the wires alone so you can have a leader to run the new harness through the A-pillar. You'll thank us later.
The perforated headliner surrounding...
The perforated headliner surrounding the window simply peels off, while the leatherette headliner piece that covers the B-pillars needs to be carefully removed from the serrated spikes that clamp it down. Use a putty knife or the spatula to bend the serrations outward. Be careful not to break them or cut yourself, as they are sharp.
This is the front seatbelt...
This is the front seatbelt attachment point. If you've got your camera out, it is a good idea to knock off a shot of this area. After we redo the headliner, we will probably cover over this hole and lose it. When we put in the seatbelts (it's the law, you know), we'll need some help finding it again.
The 1971 Super Beetle was...
The 1971 Super Beetle was the first car that received a fresh air ventilation system with a two-speed fan, shown here. Remove the fresh air hoses that lead to the two ducts into the cabin. Three Phillip's head screws and a hex nut at the bottom free the box, but you still have to undo the wiring and the two Phillip's head screws that holds the control bracket to the back of the dash. Don't forget to remove the knobs, of course.
Without the cumbersome fresh...
Without the cumbersome fresh air box, we get a wide view of the mess behind the dash. Hoses, wires and stuff clutter the scene. At the top is the windshield wiper motor. Left is the glove box and fuse box at right.
Now, let's pull out the seats, as it is probably one of the easier things to remove. For our '71, unhook the coil spring, pull up on the adjustment lever and slide out toward the front. Easy as pie. If you have a 1972, you'll have to unplug the seat belt warning buzzer wire and depress the leaf-spring stop before sliding it out, and if you have a '73-and-later, you'll have to contend with the adjusting lever, the plastic covers on the seat runners and a leaf-spring stop in the seat's bracket. Don't forget that 1973-and-later seats pull out to the rear.
The rear seat bottom easily lifts out, as it does the same for every year VW made prior to January 1972. After that date, there's a hook on the seat frame and a cleat on the floor that secures the two together. The rear seat back rest comes out with a 12mm socket and some contortionist body moves. The package tray carpet is attached to the rear seat back rest and can be cut at the base with a utility knife. Leave on the seat covers and set the four items aside. For now, we penned a big "D" on the driver's seat to keep them straight (even though the seats themselves are identical), and we'll revisit them later in the series. Now back to the car.
Let's turn our attention to the carpet and the sound deadening materials underneath. Simply put: If you've got it, remove it by whatever means you find most fun. I let my dog help, as she likes to chew stuff. For the front main and threshold carpets (and pillar headliner pieces), you'll have to first unscrew the Phillips head screws that retains the front footwell heating outlets, remove the rear seat locating rail and kick panels with a 10mm socket and unbolt all seatbelt attachment points. This aside, the carpets simply tear out. Good dog.
Under the front carpet hid the ever resilient tar boards. These are a three-ply board made up of Styrofoam sandwiched between two layers of a tar-like substance. Of course, the bottom layer had fused itself to the pan and would only come up with the persistent scraping of a putty knife, which took about three hours to get it all removed. The silver lining is that, underneath all of this was a pristine, smooth floor that just needed a coat of Por-15 to shine like new.
Behind the rear seat was another story, however, a very depressing one. This is where we ran into our first major problem. Rust, rust in a big way, and like rats in a bakery, if you see one, you know there's hundreds scrambling behind the walls. The more carpet we uncovered, the more rust we found. So much so, if it had an engine under there, we could have almost adjusted the carb through the holes. In England, they call this problem "teabag," and you can see why. What rusted parts of the package tray that didn't pull up with the carpet was easily pushed through with slight finger pressure. The cardboard backing (the tan part that looks like a dried lake bed) was fused to the rear of the package tray and had to be sanded off, while most of the tar paper was still solidly glued to the remains of the metal. We employed a putty knife, 60-grit sandpaper and a wire brush to remove the surface rust, tar paper and glue. Make sure to spray all exposed bare metal with a rust-inhibiting primer so the problem doesn't continue. Be careful with the sanding and scraping around the joint sealer you find in the corners, a soft, malleable glue-like material that is there to keep moisture out of the body's joints. As for the rest of the rusted package tray, we'll have to cut it out and welded in a new one. I'm not looking forward to this, but again, Hobart 135 to the rescue! Removing most of the car's features is a straight-forward ordeal and can be done with the simplest of tools.
With everything torn out of the Super, we were left with boxes of dirty parts and an empty shell, aside from the steering wheel, pedals and door and vent windows which remained in the car. As well, we decided to leave the door handles and striker plates so we could still secure the door and not have to worry about tying them down each time. We'll show you the R&R of these before we begin to paint. The next day, we towed the Super Project 71 down to John Chabot at Topline, the best Super-Beetle-only shop in Southern California, a very logical place to go.
We'll pick it up there next month, as John takes a look at what we have to work with, recommends a few modifications and tests the reliability of our suspension and steering systems. Then we'll rip it all out and start from scratch.
This confusing mess of wires...
This confusing mess of wires was easy to remove, because most of it was speaker wires and those silly horns. We got out our wire clippers and began cutting wires. Some important components to look out for are the three relays attached above the fuse box. From left to right they are: Low beam relay, turn signal/emergency flashers relay and door buzzer relay. We'll cover these and other wire-related things later in the Project. And remember to leave alone the main harness as it passes from the engine compartment to the main cabin on the driver's side to the left of the rear seats. It is an important connection that's nearly impossible to redo.
The working end of the Super's...
The working end of the Super's emission control system is this plastic "expansion chamber" located under the cowl. Fuel fumes flows up into this tube when it expands from the tank. It then condenses and flows back into the tank. As well, a line forces expelled fumes to the rear of the car and into a charcoal canister under the right rear fender. This whole thing is supposed to stop fuel vapor and fumes from escaping into the atmosphere. To be correct, we'll have to get this working again.
As you can see, times have...
As you can see, times have changed since the earlier Beetles, because there is a lot of "technology" associated with the fuel tank in 1971, as evidenced by the amount of hoses attached to it. When you remove these hoses, dump the clamps and get new ones. And make sure you mark where each one goes, otherwise you'll be stuck. Nah, you won't; we'll show you were they go.
With all the wires gone, the...
With all the wires gone, the trunk area is starting to clean up. Wow, look at that old Clarion speaker! That's gotta go.
From the rear, the interior...
From the rear, the interior is pretty well gutted. The next step is to clean off all of this glue, get rid of the stuck headliner sisal and vacuum everything spick and span. Let's tear out the dingy dash pad.
Along the bottom of the pad,...
Along the bottom of the pad, as it wraps underneath the dash are six screws similar to this one that have to be removed.
Notice only half the dash...
Notice only half the dash came off. It's glued, yes, but it should have pulled up easier than this. We must have missed something.
And yes we did miss something....
And yes we did miss something. Behind the dash are two 12mm nuts like this one, one on either side of the trunk. The threaded part is attached to a metal strip that lines the inside of the dash pad.
After carefully removing all...
After carefully removing all of the surface rust, debris and stuck tar paper and sound deadening material, we painted the rear area with two coats of primer, one a deep etching sealer and the other a rust preventative primer (both had from our local home supply store). If you put your thumb over the picture to cover the huge holes in the tray, it looks pretty clean, right? There's still work to be done back there, as this is only a temporary fix.
While we were in the painting...
While we were in the painting mood, we sealed the floor pans and battery tray with two coats of Por-15. If you get any on you (or anything else), you'll have to live with it until it wears off, so we recommend latex gloves (especially if you have a date with the wife later that night and all she does is complain to the waiter about how embarrassing your hands look).
There's nothing unusual about...
There's nothing unusual about anything on the exterior. The body molding pop off with the spatula (you may want to buy the cook in your house a new one at this point), the rubber grommets on the rear badge unscrew easily, as do the screws for the tail light housings.
You may notice that this Super...
You may notice that this Super has the "old style" Super deck lid. Later in the production run, they changed the line to include 26 louvers (instead of the 10 you see here) and a fan-driven cooling system. The fan leaves a rectangle indentation right behind the license plate and helps ventilate the engine compartment.
The mirror simply unscrews...
The mirror simply unscrews from the body. The antenna comes off by unscrewing a small threaded washer on the outside but is removed by pulling the aerial in through the trunk.
Here we have it, after a good...
Here we have it, after a good day's work, a clean slate of a car and an artsy, pompous shot to finish it up.
G&M Schapp-Powder Coating
12520 Magnolia Ave., Unit L
Coker Tires-BFGoodrich Tires
13187 Chestnut Street
12520 Magnolia Ave., Unit K
Eastwood-Paint Remover and Sealer
263 Shoemaker Road
The Real Source-One Mid America Place
P.O. Box 1248,
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