'71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

For road racing, autocrossing, or just taking that curve in style. Oh yea, and stopping!
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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Thu Mar 30, 2017 10:29 am

Great advice as usual. I need to go back and re-read this whole thread, since there's lots of good stuff I've probably forgotten. I'll start trolling ebay/craigslist to see if I can round up some used Bilsteins.

I have the Topline Maxx Extreme struts in the pile 'o parts (3-bolt) These are the version with the threaded collar, so ride height adjustment should be easy. Our SCCA region has scales too, so I'll be able to do a little corner balancing. http://toplineparts.com/lower-your/maxx ... 71-73.html

I saw Summit has springs pretty cheap, and with the Topline struts, changing them out should be pretty easy.

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Sat Apr 22, 2017 10:24 am

I now have some nice Wilwood reverse mount swing pedals in hand (with 10" arms.) A quick test fit shows that If I wanted anything close to the stock pedal location, the pedals are too long, and the foot pads only inches from the floor. I was getting nervous, wondering if I would need to do big rework of the sheetmetal and steering column in order to get a good pedal height.

After a little monkeying around in cad, I think I'll be OK. With aluminum racing seats, I think the seating position can be pushed back about 6" or 7" from stock, and several inches lower. This will allow the pedals to be pushed back, and get good pedal geometry. I'll need to do the seats and pedals at the same time to be sure everything works together. Until then...I'll probably mess around with how to fabricate a swing gas pedal, with the same geometry.

Sorry - I had to do picture attachments again. Links from Photobucket don't appear to be working. Not sure if it's a site issue, or if Photobucket just sucks.
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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Tue May 02, 2017 9:33 pm

More planning and parts - not a lot of hard work done though.

I did manage to fill in the numerous holes in the dash, with sheet metal and filler. You have no idea how many stinking holes there are, until it's time to patch them all up. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to cover it with a typical baja-type aluminum dash, or make individual pieces for each of the large areas.

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Planned out the wiring. Not much to it without all the street legal stuff. It would be even simpler, but I have two unused switches and 4 unused fuses, in case I want to add something down the road.
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Ordered some nice Sparcos, and some of the wiring bits. Image

..And after 6-frikin' months, MAM finally received and shipped my quarter panel. No communication verifying I still wanted it. I'd be more pissed, but I did want it, and it hasn't held up any other work on the car.

Image

And it looks like Photobucket links are working again. Hurray-Thank You!

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Jadewombat
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by Jadewombat » Sun May 07, 2017 1:00 pm

Man, 6 months, that sucks. Those little holes are the most time consuming. Looks like you got to the core of the project though (solid structure now)??

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Mon May 08, 2017 10:04 am

It's getting there. I'm waiting to do the door bars until after I get more of the interior sorted, since they'll make it more difficult to crawl in and out of the car.

I'm sort of hitting mid-project slump, where it feels like progress is slow, and I have so much more to do. I have some other projects that need to be done, and will occupy several weekends. Maybe after I get back onto the Beetle, I'll feel more refreshed and motivated.

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Thu May 18, 2017 10:02 pm

Kind of quiet here..

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f4zyjLyBp64

So here's my weekend project. A little scary for me. I'll need to see if I can find a good spot weld drill bit tomorrow.

Image

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Piledriver
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by Piledriver » Thu May 18, 2017 10:38 pm

Spot weld cutters:
The ones from Harbor Freight work very well, dip in oil, line up on pre-punched center, and have at it.
Let it do the work, it will.
The ones from Northern Tool suck, and shed their teeth within a couple cuts even with extreme care
(too hard or too thin)
Might want to pick up a spring loaded centerpunch and/or a few cobalt 1/16" bits to drill good through pilot holes.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Fri May 19, 2017 10:04 am

Good to know about the Harbor Freight cutter. I was going to make a trip to a specialty hardware/tool shop, but there''s a HF on my way home.

I'm most nervous about getting a decent butt weld on the flat sheet metal joints. I have a HF sheet metal flange tool. I might try to use that on the flatter areas to get an overlapping joint. I think I'll also try to bend some sheet metal in the sharper contours, to use as a backing - with some rosette spot welds.

Does this sound like a reasonable approach - or is there something different I should try?

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Piledriver
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by Piledriver » Fri May 19, 2017 1:29 pm

Pick up some HF butt joint clamps while you are there, as well as a copper backside paddle.

ESAB sells a softer MIG wire called "Easy Grind" specifically for body work, "workable" with hammer and dolly.
Most MIG welds are hard as ~concrete nails, and really should be annealed with a gas torch before hammer/dolly work.

It's low carbon steel wire, so its not as strong as std MIG wire, thus ~only for bodywork and like.
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Mon May 22, 2017 11:40 am

So, I got up Saturday morning, and got to work. Being overly enthused, I hacked out the entirety of the panel, up to the bottom of the window. This ended up being a mistake (See Below).

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The HF spot weld drills worked great. I drilled a few too deep, but for the most part, I was able to get the panels removed without disturbing the original sheet metal too much.

Image

So here's my mistake - the fitment of the replacement panel is horrid. I had hoped to only have a butt-weld seam at the back of the panel, and use factory spot weld locations everywhere else. I should have left the factory sheet metal in place below the window. Now I'll have a seam anyway, and the replacement sheet metal below the window isn't even close. I'll probably have to bend my own to get it right.

Image

After all that, I'm able to get a decent fit for the lower part of the panel. The gap at the door is pretty good, and I lined everything up on the accent crease along the side of the car. The fender bolt locations are nowhere close to factory. I stopped short of tacking anything in. I'm going to order the workable welding wire that Piledriver suggested first. The HF butt clamps work pretty good, where I can get access, and I'm glad I have them.

Image

So, like every car project ever - a planned one weekend job will become a one-month job. ;)

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Piledriver
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by Piledriver » Mon May 22, 2017 11:48 am

ChadH wrote:
Mon May 22, 2017 11:40 am
So, like every car project ever - a planned one weekend job will become a one-month job. ;)
That's .sig worthy.
You have all our sympathies...
I, for one, regularly embrace our new robot overlords, as I am the guy fixing the robots...

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GS guy
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by GS guy » Tue May 23, 2017 7:08 pm

How about stitching some of the original panel back in place - around the window opening? That OG metal is likely to be a much better fit that the aftermarket stuff!

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Tue May 23, 2017 11:05 pm

GS guy wrote:
Tue May 23, 2017 7:08 pm
How about stitching some of the original panel back in place - around the window opening? That OG metal is likely to be a much better fit that the aftermarket stuff!
..If I had used my brain and planned better. I can use what's left of the factory part as a template to get the curve right though. I think I can salvage the compound curve at the corner of the window. You're right, the replacement metal feels like its half the thickness of stock.

I'm tempted to see if I can find someone selling just this area from a cut up car. I don't want to drag home a whole donor car for this though.

Ill chalk it up to learning. It'll get fixed one way or another. At least I'm not trying for a show car.

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ChadH
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Re: '71 Super Beetle Autocross Build

Post by ChadH » Sat May 27, 2017 2:58 pm

I've got the lower panel in. I'm pretty happy with the results. The back seam isn't perfect, but a light skim of filler should take care of it. Again, look at the location of the fender bolts - sheesh, it's like they were just placed at random. I'll likely be using wide fiberglass fenders, which won't be pre-drilled anyway, so it'll work.

Image


For the top, I'm trying the replacement metal. After a lot of bending and tweaking, I think I'll get a fair fit. I'll need to work the part in as I weld it. also, there was no way here to slide in the little bar on the butt clamps in this location - so I just welded it to the thin part that holds it. I'll just cut the clamps apart after I'm done. After all the tweaks and beating on this metal, will definitely need filler over the whole area. It'll still be better than the 1" thick filler that was over the original panel I cut out.

Image

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