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sammyraymango

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Reply with quote  #1 

Hi all.

I am new to the forum, thanks for letting me join [smile][smile]

I just purchased a 1978 Beetle Convertible.  Runs good, and - I used to be an aircraft mechanic - I can keep it that way [smile]

However....  there is major rust underneath the car.  How could there not be ? The car has spent much of it's life in coastal Florida.....

This rust I am describing as "major" since, today, jacking the car to change a tire, before my very eyes the chassis member that the jack point is on - is that perhaps called a  "heater channel" ? - started bending and twisting........

The floor pans are not in such bad shape, no holes at any rate, but wherever I look at what you might call "structural" stuff - steering and suspension attach points and the like, under the car, there is an awful lot of rust.

Being new to this, and unwilling to crank up a welder myself (I am getting old) it seems I have at least 3 options:

a)  Live with the rust until it falls apart (this is less than ideal, and probably unsafe).

b)  Find a local bodyshop I can trust (hmmm.....) and have them start cutting and welding.  Throw hundreds of dollars at new parts - perhaps a parts list something like this ?

http://www.mamotorworks.com/VW/product/floor-restoration-kit-48-pieces-includes-heater-channels-hardware-jack-points-and-floor-pans_361105

and ultimately rely on the enthusiasm and competence of strangers do do a proper (and cost-effective) job of aligning and welding......


c)  Purchase a second car, perhaps a project that has been given up on, and make one car out of two. 

This choice is much more within my capabilities than extensive sheet metal and welding, especially if I could purchase a good "frame" - ie the underneath/"chassis" part.

I would appreciate any input and advice, since poking around the forums it seems others have gone down this road/roads before me....

If I were to look for another vehicle - what model years would have the same "frame" as my 78 convertible please ?

I guess that's a lot of questions......

Thank you.

Alan
Monday 2/20
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bob

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Reply with quote  #2 
I am not sure about the standard Beetle but the interchange on a Super Beetle is 1974 to 1979, if there is excessive rust under your entire car maybe your car was flooded at some time, usually on hardtops what happens is the front and rear window seals leak from old age and the battery eats thru the floorboard under the back seat, since you have a convertible, they just leak, depending on where you live there will be a VW show on April 9th at Mills Pond in Ft Lauderdale, Fl, you can go to thesamba.com to see about VW shows in your area to find parts or cars, good luck

Bob
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sammyraymango

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Reply with quote  #3 

Thanks Bob.  That is very helpful [smile]

And thanks also to the several members who "pm'd" me.

Shaking it out,  I believe this would be a good solution for what I am trying to do (put my existing good body and interior and engine onot a good chassis) :


http://vwparts.aircooled.net/NEW-VW-Beetle-Chassis-Swing-Axle-and-Ball-Joint-p/oem-vw-chassis.htm


But the ad says "no longer available".  Oh dear.

Maybe someone knows where - if at all - such a complete chassis is available ?

Maybe this was old stock/OEM surplus and such things are long gone ?

Regardless, if I cannot procure such a "ready-to-go" chassis then I believe my brief flurry with VW-restorations will come to an end.

And I will just try and sell my '78 good-runner Convertible for what I paid for it,  which was 
$ 1500  (oh boy). 

I am too old for cutting and welding.  Engines and such, yes.  Major bodywork no.







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bob

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Reply with quote  #4 
It looks like you have the perfect parts car, if you find another convertible it might have a blown engine, a ripped convertible top, bad wheels and tires or bad seats but since you paid 1500 it's worth that for the parts alone, I go to the VW shows for the parts but you can drive yours till you can find something better.

Bob
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Wayne

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Reply with quote  #5 
We have rust up here in Canada due to the amount of salt used in the winter but I've heard the vehicles that are close to the salty oceans have the same problem. I patched up some rust holes in mine then added fiberglass and undercoating to hide the mess and I never saw it again.
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Wayne Dean

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bob

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Reply with quote  #6 
I usually find it's the cars from up north that rust from the bottom up and the cars from the south rust from the top down, the only other case is when the cars have been flooded, the whole frame is rusty. 
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sammyraymango

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Reply with quote  #7 

Thanks guys.

After much thought I have sold the car.  It was kinda poignant to see it disappear into the distance, but to fix this thing properly would have mandated much more time and effort than I have to give.

On a high note, the gentleman who bought it was clearly very familiar with these issues, and entirely unfazed by the work he is getting into. 

So it is going to a good home [smile]

I appreciate everyone's input.

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Wayne

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Reply with quote  #8 
Are you considering looking for another?
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Wayne Dean

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