As many of you are aware, when you start removing rust from your Beetle it can easily feel like a losing battle. Thankfully there are a wide assortment of replacement panels available for almost every trouble spot and year. On project #Super71 we are chasing the rust out of the front firewall, heater channels, and rear cross member areas. These areas are tricky spots since it seems like everything connects in these locations.
Before we can replace the rusty metal with some fresh new replacement panels we needs to hack out a large amount of the original sheet metal. Don't worry about how bad your VW Beetle ends up looking at this stage of the project, It's not supposed to look nice at this point. Your objective is to get to solid metal so you have something worth welding to.
In the case of Project #Super71, we removed the rear cross members, and a large chunk of body metal that they were attached to. This included the inner wheel well and heater channels. Since we have no plans to run heat in this car we also cut out the shaped metal that allows the heat exchangers to enter the Beetle under the rear seat. We will fill this area back in with new sheet metal after everything else is competed. While we were working in this section we also removed the thin metal where the seat belts mount. We saved the heavy metal plat that the belts actually attach to, and will re-attach it once we fill in the whole with fresh metal.
Up front we had to cut out the front firewall. It was a rusty mess filled with body filler and expansion foam. There was no way to save this. We ordered a replacement firewall from CIP. Before we can repair anything up at the front we need to remove all the old seam sealer and cut out all the rust metal. So far this area has proven to be much more work than anticipated.
We will follow up with some of the smaller repairs we needed to tackle before the new firewall / cross member assembly can be welded into place.
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