1966 Cosmic Green VW Bug Home

Restoration and Customization

Body Work

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  • Chassis
    • Floor Pans
      • First step was to remove the VW bug body from pan
      • 4 people to lift VW beetle body (shell) onto stands
      • Started with hammer and chisel to break welds
      • Quickly decided to switch to Air Hammer Chisel to save my hands from the shock
      • Ground the metal clean on the tunnel
      • Tack welded the new pans to the tunnel of the VW
      • Eventually sealed the pans with caulk around the seams between the floor pans and the tunnel to keep water out of the bug
    • Tunnel
      • After removal of the body and the pans I cleaned the tunnel
      • Removed all rust and repainted
      • Replaced front and rear seals on the inspection covers

  • Body Panels
    • Front wheel Wells
      • This was the first body panels of the VW Beetle I worked on
      • These VW bug panels are rather flat and hidden from view (both inside and out)
      • Started by cutting out all the rusted areas
      • Cut the new panels to fit
      • Tack welded the panels into the bugs shell
      • This is also where I first learned to weld - I had practices on scrap metal but this was the first time actually on the bug itself
      • I only tacked these panels to the old panels so that I could replace the heater channels later without having to do extra work
    • Front fire wall
      • Cut the old firewall out mostly by breaking original Volkswagen spot welds
      • Aligned the new firewall to the quater panels, the heater channels (still old and rusted) and the "hump" in the chassis
      • Tacked the firwall and lowered the VW body onto the pan to check fit
      • Began the process of filling in the welds to make it continuously welded
      • Welding was once again pretty ugly but not a problem since it will be hidden by carpet
      • Rechecked fit of firewall to pan
    • Rear wheel wells
      • Cut out old rusted areas with cut-off wheel around shock tower mount
      • Cut new panel to fit needed area
      • Welded in new panel
      • Much quicker process and nicer looking now that welding skills are improving
    • Rear Bumper Brackets
      • Brackets were horribly rusted
      • Did not want to trust them to hold the bumper let alone absord force during an accident in the VW
      • Made lots of measurements and markings to align new brackets
      • Cut out old brackets
      • Aligned new brackets and tacked them in
      • Remeasured the angles and distances of bolt holes
      • Welded them in solid
      • When I was putting the bug back together several months later I learned that the VW bumpers did not align quite right and had to modify by the bumper brackets slightly by filing the holes in thr brackets to get the bumpers to sit right on the beetle
      • Bumpers are solid and look good now
    • Rear package shelf firewall area
      • Cut out rusted areas including interface with heater channels and pan
      • Fabricated and welded in replacement panel parts
      • Test fitted pan and body again to assure proper alignment
    • Rear quarter panels
      • Lower rear areas rusted out due to heater channel rust
      • Cut out rusted areas of the beetle again
      • Fabricated and welded in replacement panel parts
      • Ground and sanded very smooth since this is a very visible area from the outside of the bug
      • Rewelded any areas that needed it after sanding and then reground and sanded
    • Doors
      • Fixed minor dents in doors
      • Cutout and filled rusted out holes in lower door where drain was most likely plugged
      • Used very very very little body filler to make door curve fit the rest of the VW bug's line

  • Heater Channels
    • This is probably the biggest part of the project for me
    • Removal
      • The fronts and rears of the heater channels were rusted almost completely off the firewalls
      • The front quater panels were already free due to rust again
      • The rocker panels needed to be replaced too so this was not an issue either
      • Carefully removed the heater channels from the rest of the VW body
      • The first heater channel needs to be removed from the Volkswagen and replaced before the second heater channel is started
    • Support
      • The heater channel is an integral part of the vw bug's structural support
      • The removal of the heater channel will make the shell spread
      • Before removing either heater channel insure the doors are on and latched
      • Extra support is still needed to keep the bug from spreading
      • I used straps from the firewall back to the package shelf but I have seen people go to the length of welding in metal pipe to keep the beetle from stretching
    • Welding
      • Started by tack welding the heater channel to the front firewall and the rear area behind the seats
      • Tacked a couple spots along the quarter panels
      • Lowered the shell again to check alignment
      • Raised the car and finished welding
      • Spent extra time around the doors since these are very strong points to tie into
      • When the first one was done I repeated the process on the next one

  • Fenders, hood, and decklid
    • Fenders
      • Knocked out a few dents
      • Had to repair some of the bolt holes by welding a patch and drilling it out
      • Had to replace some of the fender nuts that are on the body
        • Enlarged holes where nuts were missing
        • Welded in matching nuts by bolting fender up to body
        • Rechecked alignment of fenders
    • Hood
      • This is the one part the previous owner had worked on
      • Didn't have to do anything to it
      • Horay!
    • Decklid
      • Just had to fix a few little rust spots where the seal rests