I was out in the garage again working on some additional preliminary jobs before I can get into the real work. This time around I was making sure the body of the Super Beetle was safely secured and wasn't going to fold in half as I attempt to replace the rear cross members and heater channels on Project #Super71. I am using the same system I used for the 1973 Super Beetle project, but this time around it's a little more formal. In addition to keeping the body from coming apart at the door jams, the tube frame I put together also helps keep the body more or less straight and in its proper position at all times.
I first installed the same steel angle iron brace I fabricated for the 1973 Super Beetle in the location for the bottom of the rear seat. This is a known dimension that uses stock holes on the body. Once the angle iron brace has been installed I can be pretty sure the width of the car won't change. After that I use a collection of custom made braces that I fashion our of electrical conduit (flattened on the ends) to secure the door jams on both sides. From there I added additional braces to help set the width throughout the car, and two more triangulated braces in the front section to help keep the new interior brace from getting skewed.
This is a pretty simple setup but it has proven to work effectively in the past. For those of you on a tight budget, this is an extremely affordable solution and can be modified to suit your needs pretty easily. This entire brace cost me under $10. Keep in mind that I left the doors in place until the new heater channels are welded in securely.
Now that the entire body is sitting safely up in the air and should be holding its form, we can move on to removing and replacing the rear cross members, then working on one heater channel at a time. I don't recommend cutting both heater channels out of your Beetle at the same time. The old heater channel may be rusty, but it still provides support to the body, and helps keep the car in shape. You can also use it for reference if needed, just like when you do your rear drum brakes.
Before I installed the new brace, I was able to roll out the floor pan out from under the body for the first time. This makes it much easier to work on the body or the plan. Once I was done working I simply rolled it back under the body and called it a day. I also got a solid look at the condition of the floors and surrounding metal. I think a full floor pan replacement will be in the works. Stay tuned for details on that job sooner than later.
Thanks all for now. See you online!
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