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By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-22 02:32
Hi All,
     I had some time to work on the disassembling of the Deserter on Sunday and learned many things about what it will be requiring for repairs, much more later. Upon lifting the body off the belly pan my crew and myself happened to hit the bumper stops on each side of the rear axle assembly breaking them off. It didn't take much of a hit. I suspect that the "knobby Protrusion", that rises up from the structure, has rotted away. Not having seen any before, I do not know what their shape is, thus making it a bit difficult to formulate a repair. I have been nosing around some of the parts places on the net and found some that require drilling a hole for the bumper stop's stud to pass through.
     My question is, Does anyone out there in buggy land have a fix, proper one, that I can use that utilizes the original bump stops? They seem to be in good condition unless there is something that I can not see inside the rubber.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-22 14:40
Unless you plan on offroading with the buggy you really don't need them.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-11-22 23:48
What kind of rear end is it, swingaxle or IRS? If it's swing axle you can replace the entire bracket that the bump stop bolts on with. If it is IRS, there should be a "mushroom" shaped tab in the center of the mount for the rubber to slide over and stick to. If the "mushroom" has rusted off, you could possibly savlvage on from a S/A bracket or another IRS arm and weld it in.

But unless you need them to stop the wheels from hitting the bodywork, you really don't need them as stated before

By Tom & Kathleen I 639 Date 2011-11-23 00:45
You are going to want them if you run really low as well.  Tom
Tom & Kathleen Manxter #16, Kick-Out SS #16 & FiberFab Buggy
Manx Club #1030, CVA, RBC, SCCA
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-23 02:13
     Thanks to all that replied. I kind of figured that they, mounts, could be "mushroom shaped". I have access to a lathe and believe I can fashion a couple that will allow me to reinstall the original bump stops. I like keeping things as much original as I can. That said, it seems I have discovered some more history of the buggy. I new when I purchased it that the belly pan was a 1960 with an IRS transaxle, but could not figure how they installed the transaxle into the 60s pan. Well, I got to talk with the original owner's son who told me that a friend of his father's had a beetle, 1969, that had been through a flood. The friend was going to take it to the salvage yard as scrap. They simply cut the original frame shortening welds and welded the 69 in place. They ran that drive train for awhile then procured a 1973-74 1600 dual port from a salvage yard, which is what is in it at present.
     Over the weekend I discovered that the belly pan has been patched with basic sheet steel, a descent job, but over time has deteriorated. I would like to replace them with VW replacement panels and have been looking on line.

     J. C. Whitney sells the panels which are 20 gauge. Has anyone used these before or knows of a better, cheaper set to purchase?
     I do not have a MIG welder but have brazed and gas welded much. My first buggy drained my mother of most all of her coat hangers in the house.  I know, on the newer vehicle, you are required to MIG weld most repairs. Would the Buggy Bunch recommend brazing or gas welding, or even a combination. I would really not like to purchase a MIG welder, although I have heard that the flux cored rod it OK. My MIG days used argon.

     I have many questions but do not want to put them all out there to quickly. Each time I work on the buggy I seem to have more and more. I hope all of you have a large amount of patience.

     By the way, I tried to post a picture that showed the bump stop and frame area but could not seem to get it to upload. Any suggestions?

By Bob P 2855 Date 2011-11-23 03:59

Several years ago I replaced my entire floorpan with a heavier gauge galvanized metal and used 1" square tubing for the outsides. It took some doing to get the proper shape as it had to line up with the body of course. The only problem I ran into was that I had to fabricate the section where the Gas Pedal - Brake Pedal - Clutch mount, but it all works fine now.  Of course, there are no drop sections in the floor. I get along fine without them and the seats are very solidly mounted.

As for the JCW floorpans, I ordered them, then shortened them and then tried to MIG them and eventually put what was left out for the garbage man.

If you're good at Brazing/Welding with the torch, it can be done, just make sure you have contact at the welds.

Good Luck
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-11-23 14:15
I welded an entire Beetle together with a torch and coat hangers, well at least the bottom foot of it, so I know where your coming from. the biggest problem will be getting the floor welded to the tunnel. They are 2 very different thickness' of metal and it's hard to get the bottom thicker piece melted at he same time as the pop can thickness floor, without melting the floor. Finding a MIG would be the best. I'd also find a better quality of floor like the Gerson ones if you are going to use factory floor boards. Personally I like Bob's idea of a perimeter frame and flat floors, although I'd be a little leary about welding galvanised metal, I don't like shaking for hours at a time.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-23 14:51
Mid America has the best stock floor pans.

I personally like flat floors. It makes mounting the seats easier and allows you to beef up the outer frame rails with some stronger material.

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-23 21:39
Bob, Brad and Jeff,
     Again thanks for the info.
     I looked at Mid America and could not find floor panels, that were in stock, for the 1960/69 pan. If I did what you have done I have a few questions that come to mind.
1. What did you use for sheet material and where did you obtain it? Aluminum looks to be the metal used and, from the pics, it seems to be fastened down with a threaded fastener of some sort, don't believe rivets would stay tight over time.
2. I  know that you indicated, or Bob, used 1 inch square tubing for the perimeter. I believe, that in uni-body construction, all components contribute to the strength of the whole. How would the thread fasteners stand up? Maybe this is real not uni-body construction in the true sense of the term?
3. How are you planning to install seats? Seat adjustment tracks? There's, most likely, some new, fancy wing-ding that bolts to the floor.  Innovations of present day buggies.
4. What did you use for the outer perimeter material in your build? My outer perimeter seems to be solid. Should I consider cutting, leaving a lip, and installing the panels as you have done? Maybe installing the 1" square tubing in the outer channel in addition?

     I am glad to know that others have had the experience of gas welding and that I am not alone. I know what you mean about "shaking". Zinc oxide poisoning is no fun! I am still gathering info to try and make an informed decision so have patience with me.
1. I tried to look up the Gerson panels but can only find those for 52-57 years. Am I looking in the right place? I hope not. At $400 I will be looking elsewhere.

     After posting last night I went back to J. C. Whitney and found, in light print, that they tack on a fee for being heavy or something at $65 and $95 depending if you purchase both panels or separately. I don't like companies that do that type of thing.
1. Did you use the standard or heavy duty square tubing?

     I hope I kept everyone's comments straight. If I didn't please forgive me. I hope you can make sense of my thoughts as my mind keeps going off in tangents as I am write.

     Yesterday I was mowing the lawn and cleaning up leaves. Today I am plowing 10-12 inches of fresh snow. You know what they say about Maine, If you don't like the weather, wait a minute.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-23 23:07

I have cut and pasted your questions so I don't get distracted as I respond. My responses are bolded and are after each question.

1. What did you use for sheet material and where did you obtain it? Aluminum looks to be the metal used and, from the pics, it seems to be fastened down with a threaded fastener of some sort, don't believe rivets would stay tight over time. - That is 3/16" aluminum diamondplate. I used 3/4" angle steel that is welded to the perimeter rails to lay the diamondplate on. In the rear of the pan along the tunnel the floors angle up so I cut the stock lip off the tunnel (about 12-18" of lip), weld it closed, and use the 3/4" angle to create a new lip. This gives you the flat floor.  I then lay down a bead of seam sealer and rivet the diamondplate to the 3/4" steel. Airplanes have their skin riveted to their frames without much worry. There is not alot of stress on the floor.

2. I  know that you indicated, or Bob, used 1 inch square tubing for the perimeter. I believe, that in uni-body construction, all components contribute to the strength of the whole. How would the thread fasteners stand up? Maybe this is real not uni-body construction in the true sense of the term? - Its not a uni-body. It is a pan that can be driven with no body attached. A uni-body really cannot. Its more liek the old Jeeps. A separate steel body and steel chassis. Both independent. The threaded fasteners are nut-serts and they are used to hold the body down. They seem to work just fine. If you want you can always through bolt the body. I just liked how it made the bottom a little cleaner without having the nuts showing.  Again...there is really not alot of stress there. I bet the glass would fracture before one of those nut-serts popped out.

3. How are you planning to install seats? Seat adjustment tracks? There's, most likely, some new, fancy wing-ding that bolts to the floor.  Innovations of present day buggies. - I used seat tracks from Speedway motors. $20 a pair and they work great. I mounted them to seats from a Factory Five Cobra. On my upcoming Deserter I will use them again for the seats I have unless I use my Lotus seats. They are low, which is important to make sure your not looking over the windshield.

4. What did you use for the outer perimeter material in your build? My outer perimeter seems to be solid. Should I consider cutting, leaving a lip, and installing the panels as you have done? Maybe installing the 1" square tubing in the outer channel in addition? - I used 1x2" steel. It was very solid. My Deserter has 2x2" framing. If you have stock pans your outer rail is part of the pans and will be cut out when (or if) you use stock pans again. It is not square (or rectangular) stock. It is a stamped U channel that only has strength when the floors are there. Cut the floors out and leave that rail and it will fold right up with little pressure.

Oh..and by the way. Here is the Deserter I am tearing into right now:

By Joseph S 2595 Date 2011-11-23 23:13
The best replacement pans are from WolfsBerg West in Corona, CA.
They are the thickess material, same thickness as from the factory.
Yes I wasted $200 for the crap ones before spending the $400 for the good ones.
They were shipped UPS to my house in a strong cardboard box.
The one I order came with out the stock seat track and jack pad was not welded on but were in the box if you wanted to install them. 
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-11-25 00:44
A material thickness of around .095 should be heavy enough for a perimeter frame, .120 would be the thickest I would use. If you go with flat floors, you will find that you have to extend the tunnel down at the inside rear corners (where the tunnel arches outwards. this is easy enough to do, just so your aware of it. Gerson is the brand that Wolfberg West sells, and yes they are pricey. You could build a few flat floors for the cost of them and shipping to Maine.

I use nutserts to hold my body down. I put them in my chassis before powercoating so they are sealed in really well. they are probably the best option for bolting the body down to a perimeter frame pan. No open holes in the bottoms of the tubes to let moisture and dirt in.

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-25 03:36
Joe, Brad and Jeff,
     Thanks again for all the thought provoking information and ideas, I have to say "Uncle! Uncle!"
     I am considering the flat floors with diamond plate aluminum sheet. Jeff, your build looks great!  I only hope mine comes along half as well as yours.
     Tomorrow I plan to check out some places where I might get the diamond plate. If I ultimately decide to construct floors in this manner I was thinking that I could prefab the perimeter pieces, using a jig made of plywood. The plywood jig would make them mirror images of each other, and would also match the Volkswagen's original shape. I would, however take some measurements the assure that the sides are correct to begin with. Then I could just cut the old Volkswagen's perimeter out and inset the new perimeter weldments. This would allow me to utilize the remainder of the old floor pan material to hold things in alignment. Would this procedure work or am I faced with building an elaborate jig to hold everything? Where would the most accurate measure points be? I don't want the buggy to track down the road sideways. I want smiles not snickers as I pass by. Do I need bridging, supports, of some type, to help keep the diamond plate from flexing and for seat support and anchoring?

     The 1x2 box tubing and 3/4 angle iron should not be a problem. I have a past student of mine that runs a fabrication shop that may be able to get it for me or, at least, know where I can look. Jeff mentioned using rivets to install the diamond plate, I am familiar with pop rivets, and rivets that are set down with a hand set and hammer but I have a feeling that he is describing something somewhat different. Jeff, can you post a picture? Description, web address maybe?
     Brad you mentioned an item you are calling a "nutsert". I have a feeling that these are, or are similar to, the type of threaded fasteners that are sometimes used to install rear view mirrors on door and fender panels. Can you also post a picture?

     I asked about the tubing thickness because with the 1" square tubing there are at least two schedules, thin wall and thick wall. I have a short section of each in my workshop that I use as "cheater bars" so that I don't mash my knuckles on stubborn fasteners. I am not that familiar with the 1x2 box tubing but suspect that it may also have more than one schedule. More than likely the thin wall, approx. 1/8 in wall thickness, will do fine as the original sheet steel was much thinner.

     Jeff did a great job of explaining the procedure for "Flattening" the floor. I am planning to work on the buggy tomorrow and will survey that area to see if I have envisioned the procedure correctly.

     I am planning to use suspension seats and am concerned that I would need to purchase tracks to fit them as well as how they would be attached. I would say that, from Jeff's post, the seat could be a standard attachment pattern. I have also consider going to the salvage yards in the area to look at seats. I also want to look at wheels and tires to get an idea of what may be available. I like the bulky look for both front and rear with the front wheel and tires thinner than the rear. The buggy has Keystone 14x7 on back and 14x6 on front.

     I am also considering the purchase of a MIG welder. Somewhere I read that you could purchase a Mig at Walmart?? I cringe at the thought of buying such a tool as that from a store like that. I am use to working with quality tools not C****a or T*****n. Any thoughts here from the Buggy Bunch? Price is a consideration here but I want performance, or whats the sense of purchasing it? It would be nice to have a Lincoln or Miller but!
     I am trying to not think to far ahead of the present build problem but also find that you have to think ahead because thing are connected to each other and therefore effect each other. It is kind of fun but I also need to keep thoughts under control and the wallet in pocket, at least for now. The money tree on the back lawn is keeping up so far but don't want to harvest it too often.

Happy Thanksgiving and a merry season of GIVING!
Thanks for GIVING guys
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-25 19:02
Nothing is going to go out of whack when you cut the pans out. You don't need a jig. The only time you really need to worry about the frame (pan) getting tweaked is when you cut the tunnel, framehead, or rear torsion area. Your just replacing the pans. Cut them at the front hat, then cut the pan at the tunnel (cut about 1" away from the tunnel and then use an air chisel to pop the remaining part of the pan off the tunnel lip), and then cut them at the rear being careful not to cut the small hook that is attached to the torsion housing. Once you have cut the pans I would drop the buggy body back onto the chassis and make a template for your 1x2" rails. That way you know they fit. I let mine run a little long on both ends so they could be trimmed up nice.  After you template make some relief cuts in the rails to get it bent right then weld up the cuts. Put the body back on and check for alignment then make your final cuts and weld it in place.

For the rear mod you can see in the picture below where the original lip was (under the bondo). You can see how it rises up as it goes toward the back. You weld on the 3/4" angle in a level line to get the flat floor.

3/16" diamondplate (I got my stuff here: is very very rigid. You don't need any bracing. It has got to be 5-10 times stronger than what you will be cutting out.

I used standard 3/16" pop rivets. Again...they are plenty strong enough. If you ever pop your floors due to an accident your not going to have to worry about it because you will have been traveling very fast, you would have stopped very quickly, and that little fiberglass case around you would'nt have saved your life....

Nut certs:

The tubing (from the site I posted above) comes in gauges. 11 gauge is 1/8" thick. Thats plenty.

If you go to a salvage yard then Miata or Fiero seats are often suggested. Also great seats are Porsche 914 seats. I have used the high back seats from a Factory Five Cobra:

And a Fiero:

You can also use Corbeau seats. You want something low to the floor because you will sit up to high if you get something to big. You also need to carefully watch the width. Its alot tighter in there then you think.

Wheels are whatever you want. There are adapters for Porsche, Chevy & Ford out there. I am assuming you most likely have some Chevy adapters if you are running the Keystones.

I have a Campbell Hausfeld welder that I bought from Walmart almost 10 years ago. I have built 6 cars with it. Does it weld pretty? Not really. Do my welds hold together? Yup. It takes some practice and a good flux core wire (I buy Lincoln at Lowes). Here is one on sale at Tractor Supply:

Is it the best? Nope. Will it probably do what you need it to do and more? I think so. Plenty of people will tell you to buy only the best. Can't really argue with that logic, except I can't afford to buy the best...and my cars have come out OK.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-11-26 13:46
Thanks for posting the link Jeffrey, I used the Knurled Rivet Nut style. I have a piece of 3/16 aluminum tht I use as a spacer between the bolt and the insert when I tighten them up to lock them in place. I make sure to push down hard on the aluminum so the insert stays all the way in and doesn't tighten up, sticking out of the hole

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-26 15:38
I was lucky enough to get the tool and a bunch of the knurled inserts as a gift. I use it everywhere I can.

I plan on using it for the Deserter hood and to mount the Deserter body.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-28 00:35
Hi Jeff,
     I am asking this question under this post so that I don't have to start another thread and I thought that you may have run into this yourself. Where are you running your fuel line? I do not believe that the DOT allows it to be run in the passenger compartment. I have spent most of the afternoon cleaning and think I may be able to run a new line inside the tunnel by snaking it in much the same way that electricians snake their wires through walls. I think I can then zip tie it to the old fuel line or one of the other lines inside to keep it from rattling.
     This next thing is more of a curiosity than anything else but while removing the front end I noticed two "Bull horn" like structures on each side of the front end towers, between the upper and lower control arms. What are they used for? I can only surmise that they mat be some sort of a limiting device designed to limit the amount of movement in the control arms.  I noticed, in the photos that you attached, that the later models, ball joint type, did not utilize them.

By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-11-28 01:50
The way you want to run a new line is the right way. I've run new line in the car with no problems, just used insulated clamps to hold it under the carpet.

the Bullhorn things are suspension stops on the link pin front ends. They should have rubber snubbers on them, but someguys take them off if they lower the car or else they may have just broken off.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-28 02:05
On the Manx build (the orange buggy) I ran my brake and fuel lines under the car, right down the middle of the pan. Like Brad said I used insulated rubber clamps. Unless your off-roading with the car they will be fine under there. Again as stated by Brad you can run it inside the tunnel with the zip ties but its tough to get enough of them to really hold it securely. You can get one by the shifter and then one in the back but thats about it. I would also slit some fuel line and use it as an insulator to keep the two metal lines from rubbing against each other.

Snaking a new fuel line correctly isn't easy. I would personally just run it under the pan....but thats only my 2 cents worth.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-11-28 16:24
Brad and Jeff,
     As always you guys have come up with a different way to look at the problem, running the fuel line. I just thought that running the fuel line outside, inside the drivers compartment, was or would be poor engineering and it may not pass the the DOT here in Maine. I liked the idea that Jeff put out there about using rubber line to keep the metal lines from chaffing. If I do decide to run the line inside the drivers compartment would it make any sense to run it inside the hose as Jeff proposed? That would at least give it some mechanical protection.

     In looking down the tunnel from the front end access plate I have noticed quite a bit of rust. I have vacuumed it out the best that I can but am concerned that it will rot through. How likely is this to happen? After all is done with the rebuilding and painting of the pan, would it be a good idea to pour oil, paint with the PRO15 or what to kill the rust?

     I may be getting the RX-7 seats for nothing, or close to it. I was just wandering if they would fit inside and with the desired look.

     Also I hope that I am posting properly. It just seems that this thread is not what it started out as. So I ask you veterans to set me straight. Maybe I should start a buggy build thread in another section??? I've got to go to my class so I will say bye for now.

Again Thanks for all your help,
By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-11-28 17:14
Your forum post is fine. You can make a dedicated one to your build if you like. To me the topic is your build so anything on that build is on point.

Regarding the fuel was not run originally inside the passenger compartment. It was run inside the tunnel which is outside of the compartment. I personally would not run it inside like a brake line, but that is just me. I would run it outside just like all production vehicles are run.

POR15 would be fine. I treat mine with a rust converter spray. There are several out there. I put a short nozzle like you get on brake cleaner cans and spray the inside of the tunnel. Those old tunnels are pretty solid and if you convert the rust it will last along time. Heck, many of them are 50 years old, never been treated, and still as tough as nails. In all of my builds I have only had 1 tunnel that was slightly rusted through...and those were all New England builds.

Even this tunnel (which was the start of the diamondplate pan I have previously posted) was solid as a rock:

I would get a measurement for the seats. I think about 21" wide is what your looking for. Also see how high they sit (the height of the mounting mechanism).
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-01 01:47
Jeff and Brad,
     I finally found a place locally were I could purchase the needed steel and diamond plate at a reasonable price, $214, includes the state tax. I should be picking it up either tomorrow or Friday. Online was going to cost me almost $400.
     You both mentioned the "nut-serts" for attaching the body, which sounds like a great idea, but for someone that did not get a kit as a gift its a little expensive just to put a few nuts in with. Brad mentioned that he used an aluminum plate and a bolt to install them. I looked at the website and thought that they could be installed without the "special tool", unless I am analyzing them wrong. What size nut did you use? I think 5/16-18 or 3/8-16 would be enough but you have had the experience with this type of mounting hardware. Do you know if the nut-serts are available anywhere locally? Home-depot, Lowe's, hardware store or maybe McDonald's, as a prize in a Happy Meal. Ha, Ha!

    What size pop rivet did you use to anchor the diamond plate?

    I made a pattern of the shape that the outer rails have to be tonight. Do you happen to remember the spacing and number of slits that you made in the 1x2 box tubing to make the proper arch? I was thinking about 1/2 inch apart starting from the center of the arch and adding slits until I get the desired arch.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-01 02:40
I have never seen them locally...but that doesn't mean they aren't.

I used 1/4" ones. Maybe not enough but its been two years since I sold the Manx and they guy hasn't called back to say the body flew off! Of course I also had the "show" cage holding the body down as well.

They can be installed without a tool. The way I understand it is you drill a hole in a small plate the size of the bolt that the nut-sert fits (lets say 3/8" for this example). You then take a decent length 3/8" bolt (maybe 3") and run a 3/8" nut up it. You then slide the bolt through the hole in the plate and thread it into the nut-sert.

Now I don't know if you need to clamp the plate down or not but what you do is hold the plate down and start running the nut down the bolt while holding the bolt. This will draw the bolt upwards deforming the nut-sert and locking it in place.

I used 3/16" medium rivets to secure the diamondplate to the ledge.

I started the slits where the bend begins. The tighter the bend the closer the cuts. There really is no exact science around it. Plus every buggy body is different.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-12-01 05:26
Yes you can install them without the special tool. You just ned something to to press the rivet into the metal while you tighten a bolt colapse the rivet. I'll take my camera to work tomorrow and see if I can find a nutsert rivet and show you. I used 3/8 bolts to hold my body down but I only used 6 of them.

I got my inserts at a place called Bolt Supply. They carry all sorts of fasteners. Don't know if you have them in the USA or not.

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-07 16:09
Hi all,
     I have had little time to work on the buggy lately but have been gathering the needed materials to start the floor pans during the Christmas break in a few weeks. I have most things removed from the frame, giving me more access and a lighter frame to maneuver around. The box tubing, angle iron and aluminum plate arrive yesterday and has been tucked away near the buggy for later use, only $199.03 for all. I have located a Mig welder to use and just need to pick up the wire, Lincoln brand @ Lowe's. I still have to purchase the 3/16 pop rivets that Jeff suggested but need to determine the length. Jeff, if you have a suggestion on the length let me know. I am thinking they will be aluminum rivets and not steel?
     I also have noticed that the previous owner may have cut the throttle tube off instead of the old choke cable. At least that is what it appears to be at this time. I have been looking at build pictures on the DBA, trying to find a good shot at the rear of the tunnel where these tubes protrude, but have not seen any clear pictures as of yet. If someone could direct me or provide a picture that would be greatly appreciated. I think I can work a patch if I am reading the situation correctly.
     I have been think of how I will clean the surfaces up on the pan, transaxle and front suspension. Taking into consideration the amount of salt that is used here in Maine, what does the "Buggy Bunch" have for suggestions? I have a feeling it will be "Lots of elbow grease and time. Can the or should I use the POR15 on the aluminum housing or is there a better choice?
     I was also looking at the body last night, trying to make a pattern for the new rails and discovered what looks to be "Flashing" let behind by the molding process in the inside corners. I believe that they help to brace and stiffen the corners of the body and do not want to remove them completely. I would, however, like to neaten them up a bit. Is this OK to do or should I leave them allow. They are real "ratty" looking.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-07 17:22
The aluminum rivets I get at Lowes come in small, med & large. I use the medium. And yes, they are aluminum.

There should be two tubes that come out of the tunnel on the drivers side through a piece of metal that is vertical to the top of the tunnel. The larger one is the clutch tube and the smaller is the throttle. They should each stick out between 1 & 2". I don't have a picture here, but can take one tonight as my chassis is all stripped down and waiting for its new rails.

For the pan I use a wire wheel, then brake cleaner, treat any surface rust with a rust neutralizer, and then I coat with Herculiner (under the pan, the rear torsion areas, and the front torsion mount areas). I also spray the inside of the tunnel with the Extend rust converter spray.

For the front suspension I break it all down, clean the torsion arms in my chemical tank to remove the grease (so I can install new ball joints) then paint, new tire rods, new torsion seals, new shocks (I usually paint them), new steering stabilizer (also painted) and then clean the steering box (brake cleaner) and then paint. The torsion tubes can be cleaned with a wire wheel and then a good degreaser.

For the tranny I use a wire wheel, followed by a good degreaser (I use Simple Green), a toothbrush and dental pick also work very well. It takes some time to get your tranny clean.

Then prime and paint.

Some pictures of this "flashing" are needed before I can comment on them.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-08 03:19
Hi Jeff,
     Thanks for all the good info. I had an unexpected chance to start the shaping of the rails tonight after work. I set up a jig using the pattern that I took from the FRAME Rails, which seem to give me the best outline of its shape. I took a pattern of the outside and inside profiles of the body but they were both less than desirable. I figured that the body has already been attached and it should be my best bet at getting the rails correct. After finding the center of the arc I began cutting five slits, one half inch apart, starting at the center and then adding two more on each side of the center slit. I then added slits to each side of the center until the arc fit the pattern. Twenty one slits in all. If I could have made the saw kerf wider I, more than likely, would have been able to do it with less cutting. I will try to post a picture. Not sure if it will work. I do have to complete the end cut but am not quite sure if the saw kerf method will work with such a tight arc. I may have to cut a triangular piece out to make that tight bend. Do you have any suggestions? I may have another chance to work on the rails tomorrow night after work, if things go as they did today.
     By the way what type of paint did you use on the transaxle? I am a little concerned about it sticking to the aluminum. I figured that you were going to say "elbow grease". The Simple Green was a surprise.


By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-08 03:28
The arc looks good!

What I do for where it attaches to the front frame head (I assume thats what you are referring to) is attach the rail inboard about 1-2" of the outer edge of the Napolean hat. I then use some 1" flat stock to come off the frame rail side and attach to the hat. I then fill in the top and sides of the gap.

I clean the tranny real good, degrease, spray some etch primer on (from a spray can) and use either cast aluminum spray paint of the silver Hammerite spray. I like the Hammerite spray because it gives some texture and highlights. Its also pretty tough.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-08 21:23 Edited 2011-12-09 00:58
Good Afternoon Jeff,
     I had figured a similar solution that went like this. (basically the same) Attach the rail inboard of the outer edge of the front frame head as you indicated but cut a corner of the scrap 1x2 box tubing to fill in the outboard shape.
     I need to go over the the build site tonight on my way home from work and take some pictures and measurements that I can go by. I will take a pic of the transaxle end of the tunnel so that you can see the throttle tube dilemma that I asked you guys about in an earlier post. I stopped over last evening to make a small pattern of just the arc area. I want to use it to check against the pattern, just to see if I had screwed up making the original pattern.


     I got a few moments to work on the rails before leaving for home and got the one rail to fit the arc the way I wanted. I added another five slits, one on center and two on each side of the center. Using a clamp I pulled it into proper position and placed a keeper block in place to hold it. I will cut slits on the other side tomorrow before I leave so that I can tack them into shape.
     I stopprd by the build site on my way home and took a few pictures. I shot a picture of the rear tunnel area that I described in an earlier post so that you could see the mess that has been made of the throttle tube and a picture of the left rear axle housing that seems to be rusted away a slight amount. I think I can weld the axle housing in but want to know if there a chance that I could damage or weaken the structure in any way?

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By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-12-09 01:15
The rail looks EXELLENT, nice work. As for the trailing arm rust. I think I would get it sandblasted before I did any work to it and see just how bad the rust is. The damage is usually a lot bigger than the holes you see, and it is in a CRITICAL area. I'd hate to see you go through all this work and loose a wheel on a bad bump and wreck it all. If the rust damage doesn't go much further and you are going to repair it, you'll be alright as long as you don't weld to much around where the bearings press in and it may shrink the ID of the housing and the bearings will be hard to get in.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-09 03:25
It looks like the smaller tube is broken. Thats your throttle cable guide tube. If you can find a section of tube (Lowes) that will slide over it then that should work. There is not alot of exact fit that required for that tube (versus the clutch tube which holds the bowden tube).

You can beef that area up with some plate. Drill a couple of tight holes for the tubes to slide through and weld the plate in. Like I doesn't have to be real exact there.

Thats the first time I have ever seen rust in that area of the control arm. They were bult pretty beefy from the factory. I too would be concerned over the strength thats left.

Trailing arms on The Samba come pretty cheap. Thats what I would do. replace it with a good used one.
By jim s 1837 Date 2011-12-09 10:02
Hey guys,
  This is Jim, I dont have my buggy anymore but I have a lot of parts, Let me look and see if I have a rear arm trailing arm. is that an IRS

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-09 12:47
Hi Jim,
     Yes it is a 69 IRS.

Thanks for looking.

     I read your post last night before turning in. I was a bit concerned with your thoughts so I went back to the original photo (much larger) and paid a little more attention. I notice a rusty area on the left side of the photo that may bare out what you were say about being much worse than what I had originally seen. I will try to get both trailing arms out this weekend and give them both a closer look. The original spot that I photographed seemed to be from long ago, it had been painted, at least 11 years ago so that made me think that it was caught back then and dealt with at that point. I will let you know.

     I think I can get a small tubing cutter in through the end of the tunnel to cut the tube off. I can then extent it with a short section of 1/4 brake line and a steel coupler that I can make on the lathe. I think I can reach in and braze it together. I will let you know.

     My biggest problem right now is the rust that is appearing on the trailing arm. I am concerned that if the 69 is rusted to that extent what about the 60 tunnel? I know that I have rust inside but everywhere I tap it sound solid. Of course I have not looked at the whole underneath area at this point. Like Brad has said, I would hate to do all this reconstructive surgery and find, at the last minute, that I really needed to fine a better pan to work with. I hate to waist my time!!!!

    Christmas is starting to get in the way of the buggy build at this point, so I am not sure of how much time I will be getting in the near future. My cat gave me his Christmas list last night and am still waiting for the dog's and the wife's.


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By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-09 14:27
VWs rust in weird ways. I have seen solid tunnels and rusted out front shock towers on the same car. I have never seen rust on a trailing arm like that though. I personally would not use them because there is a large load there. In a tunnel situation there is alot of area to distribute the load so one little bad section isn't a big deal.

If your tunnel seems solid then treat the rust and enjoy the ride.

Your plan for the tube sounds fine. Like I said before its just a guyide tube for the throttle cable. There is no stress on it like the clutch tube has. Anything that is smoothly done so the cable doesn't chaffe is just fine.
By jim s 1837 Date 2011-12-09 16:36
Well after looking in my stash pile I do have a set of arms, The problem is that they were going to be used for a coutom sand rail so the shock mount and the bump was also shaved off. The sand rail called for a different mount. Anyway if you think you can use them you can have them. for postage

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-11 21:39
     OK Guys, am I working with "Toast" or is it salvageable? I have tapped all around the hole and found it to be solid and there seems to be no other problems with the rest of the arm. I know that metal will get thicker the further you go from the hole. I think that I could weld in a patch but am looking to the "Buggy Bunch" for their opinion. Do not want to end up being a pile of crap on the side of the road but also don't want to spend money for no real reason.

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By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-11 21:51
Can you? Sure.

Would I? No way...especially the the cost of good used ones.

Just my opinion. Whenever something will fail it will be at the worst time.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-12 00:51
     I'll get started looking for one around theses parts and use Ebay and The Somba as back up. The problem with buying one from them is the shipping! Then what guarantee do I have that the part is serviceable? Some of the others don't ship.
     I kind of figured what you would say. I guess I just needed to hear it again.

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-12 01:41
There has got to be some old bone yards near you that have 1 or 2 VWs. If its an IRS it will fit. It doesn't have to be a specific year.
By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-12-13 01:03
I whole heartedly agree with Jeffrey. I wouldn't do anything with those arms. the rust is in an area that is very hard to fix. It is at a point in the arm where the bearing housing is supported and I think if you blasted it you would see a lot more damage there. I know I hate paying for shipping ( my 57 has cost me almost 1K in shipping large parts into Canada), but in this case I'd bite the bullet and get something shipped if you can't find anything locally, just consider it part of the build cost. Save money elsewhere or put off buying some bling you can add later, but a good foundation is critical to your safety. Wish I was closer, I'd donate to the cause.....

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-14 00:14
Thanks again Jeff and Brad,
     I am trying to find driver's side, the passenger sides looks real good, may have been replaced at one time or another. The bolts, including the pivot bolt, came out much easier than the driver's side and it seems to have a fair amount of black paint on it. Tapping it reveals solid metal all over.

     I stopped by a local machine shop this afternoon on my way home from work. He builds "woods type" buggies that he registers for the road. He said that he has some but does not know their condition. He said that he would check sometime tomorrow.

     I checked out two salvage yards also and they have no early bugs around. I also called a friend that said that her neighbor had some parts but they are only body parts. He sold his Buggies years ago and the body parts are the only thing left from the two 73s that he bought new.

     On a more positive note, I have finally got the arcs figured out for the rails and should have them completed by the end of the week. Maybe I am being to fussy. I want both rails shaped and cut to fit before I cut the old belly pans out. I am figuring that the body fit the old pan's shape so it should fit the new floor if I have the same shape and position it properly. Maybe I am going about it all wrong. I will have to rely on you guys to tell me if I am on the right track. I also have the patch for the throttle tube ready to be brazed in place.

     I Remove the brake lever this past weekend and found that the brake tubes must have been cut off when the frame was cut, leaving them just hanging inside the tunnel, about two to three inches away from the opening. This would also mean that they are no longer welded to the tunnel. I will have to think awhile on this one. Possibly, could use the Saws-All, to remove a section of the tunnel, to get at the tubes. What do you guys think? Would this weaken the tunnel if I remove the top section just behind the brake level? I would MIG it back after repairs are made, of course.

     I have a couple of my Ham Radio friends looking for an old bug also. Maybe something will come of that. I am trying guys. Just wish the daily grind wouldn't get in my way every day.

     You guys got your Christmas Shopping completed yet?

By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-14 03:48

I am replacing the outer frame rails that are on my Deserter buggy as well. Mine are 1.25" square stock but they have a few extra holes drilled in them and the ledge that was welded on wasn't right. Instead of doing alot of filling and grinding I am just replacing them. I too am making the rails first before cutting them off. The old ones fit real nice but I am going to copy a rail before I cut it off.

As for cutting some of the tunnel and re-welding it take a look at the following pics. I moved the ebrake and shifter back 8" on my Avenger build. See what you can do?

Cutting out a small section and repairing it won't be an issue. You want to have a functional ebrake.
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-16 02:12
Hi form Maine,
     Stayed late tonight, at work, to try out the flux core welder that I borrowed. Was impressed with the results that I ended up with. Its no Lincoln with argon but still not bad for the $$$$. I only burned through once, I got a little carried away with welding the 1/4 inch spaced slits. Maybe Santa will bring me a welder for Christmas. I'll have to get my letter off to him this weekend. Wore out 1-1/2 grinding disks. I'll post a picture for the "Buggy Bunch" to approve or maybe you will send me back to the bench, no pun intended. It will be Monday night at the earliest before I can attack the second rail. Time for bed. 5:00am comes early.


By Jeffrey P 655 Date 2011-12-16 03:26
Ya done good!
By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-16 11:59
I'll continue with the next one on Monday then!!

By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-12-18 01:02
Good work Thomas. That looks really good.

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-20 02:45
Good Evening Guys,
     Like I indicated in an earlier post, I scheduled myself to complete the rails tonight after work. I will post a picture. It will show them on top of each other. They seem to be exact duplicates. Imagine that! I will take them to the build sight this weekend and check their fit on the belly pan before I cut the old pans out. Should be fine.
     Sunday I got a small amount of time to make the cut in the tunnel to expose the e-brake tubes. As I had figured they were not attached and were also to short to reach the bracket, just inside the tunnel. I located a section of tubing, 1/2", and a couple sleeves that I can use to extend the tubes to the bracket. I will need to turn a small section on the end of each extension tube to allow it to fit into the bracket. Should be able to get that done tomorrow. I post pictures as I get it done.
     While working on the e-brake tubes I discovered that the clutch tube is also free on the pedal end. When I complete the e-brake I will tackle the clutch cable. I'll sure be glad to stop taking things apart and get something back together. Just seems to be endless!
     Three more day till the Christmas break and I should be able to get some serious time to work, as long as I don't get sick.
     Have a great day tomorrow,


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By Brad H 1498 Date 2011-12-20 05:03
Give yourself a big ol' pat on the back! Well done!

By Thomas B 2944 Date 2011-12-20 11:34
Hi Brad,
     Thanks for the encouragement Brad. Now I just hope the welding stands up. Would hate to see it break going down the road. I am reminded of the commercial that use to be on the tube, the one advertising some body shop of some sort. They stood on a soda, or pop can, if you prefer, then made a small dent in the can, straightened it out then stood on it again. The can crushed. Supposedly due to inferior repairs.
     I forgot to ask last night when I posted about the position of the 3/4 angle iron. Can, either you or Jeff, tell me how, or in what position, you attached the angle iron to the 1x2 box? I have been thinking about the "pedal indent" and how I am going to handle that. I have come up with a couple ideas but am interested on how the "Buggy Bunch" handled it in their builds. Do you just install the floor lower, providing the clearance needed, not sure that would work as the tunnel ridge will not be moving down any. Maybe you have some fancy, handy-dandy tool that you used? More than likely Jeff got some denting tool as a gift. Ha Ha!

Have a great day,
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