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eastsideTim UberDork
5/14/19 7:13 p.m.

Got the pedal assembly reinstalled, but due to how the floor pan is fitted, the clutch/brake pedal stop needed to be shimmed with a few washers.  Until that was done, the clutch pedal kept falling over while the cable was being adjusted, and the cable would fall off the hook for the pedal.  Not fun.

Messed with the seat today, and came up with a way to mount it, but ran into a problem.  Headroom, or the lack thereof.  I have about 1-1.5” of space, without a helmet, and my head is against the sunroof assembly.  I installed the stock passenger seat, and the problem is the same there.  I’m think I’ll either do a foamectomy to the seat or see about building a custom seat frame to lower it an inch or two.

The street wheels/tires also came in.  I think they’ll look great on the car.

Knurled. MegaDork
5/14/19 7:38 p.m.

I did drive it once.  I very VERY dimly recally driving it (the T handle shifter was goofy, the steering wheel was way too small, and I needed 3rd gear - at DWIRE'S - big motor, no RPM, short gearing) but headroom was not one of the things I remember one way or the other.

eastsideTim UberDork
5/14/19 8:09 p.m.

In reply to Knurled. :

It’s a bit different now - no more T-handle shifter, or bus transmission.

The seating is pretty much the same, though, at least height wise.  Lori can fit in the car with a helmet, with a little bit of room to spare, but it’s not going to work for me.  I even tried to lean the seat back as much as possible while still being able to reach the wheel.

eastsideTim UberDork
5/16/19 9:46 a.m.
Knurled. said:

... but headroom was not one of the things I remember one way or the other.

I just realized why you didn't notice any headroom issues.  The floorpan (or what was left of it) on the driver's side sagged quite a bit, so there was likely more headroom before I replaced them.

ClemSparks UltimaDork
5/16/19 3:03 p.m.

My '97 Subaru Legacy has a nifty, quick, mechanical-lever height adjustment on the driver seat.  not sure if it would fit the bill, but if you're going to have drivers of different heights, it might be made to work for you and I assume there are probably a few in the junkyards to be harvested.  

eastsideTim UberDork
5/17/19 1:01 p.m.
ClemSparks said:

My '97 Subaru Legacy has a nifty, quick, mechanical-lever height adjustment on the driver seat.  not sure if it would fit the bill, but if you're going to have drivers of different heights, it might be made to work for you and I assume they're are probably a few in the junkyards to be harvested.  

Should be able to be found around here.  I think I am going to make an attempt at a custom frame for the seat I picked up first, though.  Fortunately, my wife and I usually drive with the seat in the same position.

Knurled. MegaDork
5/17/19 4:35 p.m.

In reply to eastsideTim :

VW Golf seats from the 80s/90s look like they might use the same slider mechanism and they are height adjustable, too.

eastsideTim UberDork
5/18/19 8:34 p.m.

I did a quick inventory check around me, and not Mk1/2 Golfs or Jettas, although if there were any, they'd probably be picked clean within a couple days of hitting the yards.

Spent a good chunk of today, building a custom seat frame.  Initially started setting it up for a 2" drop, but initial test fitting revealed some interference issues.  A bit more cutting/welding, and it has a 1.5" drop.  Eventually, I had my frame and was able to test fit the whole thing.  With the seat clamped to the frame, I had about 3/4"-1" of clearance between the roof and my helmet, so I should be fine.  Might bump my head a few times, but it shouldn't be too bad.

After that, did a bit of finish welding, and welded it to the 2g Neon seat I picked up recently.  Sprayed on some paint, and after it is dry, it can be reinstalled.  I suspect it'll be more than strong enough for rallycross.

Someone about an hour away listed a rear window and rear quarter windows for $40, so I grabbed them.  I already have quarter windows, but it can't hurt to have spares, as I've never installed them before.  Just need to order weatherstripping, and give it a shot.


eastsideTim UberDork
5/20/19 8:39 p.m.

Weather was beautiful today, so after work, I hit the garage.  The driver's seat has been installed, fits wonderfully, and seems more locked in place than the stock passenger seat.

After that photo was taken, I installed a three point seatbelt, and will get around to doing the same on the passenger side.

Also put the new set of street wheels/tires, and am going to have to consider getting a lug bolt to lug nut conversion.   That was way more work than it should have been.  Still, the car looks great with its new shoes:

Weather is supposed to be good again tomorrow, before several days of heat, humidity, and rain storms, so I'll try to take it out through the neighborhood, and see how it runs after it is warmed up.  I put in some fresh gas today, too, in the hope that helps.

wae SuperDork
5/20/19 8:52 p.m.

I love those wheels!

dculberson UltimaDork
5/20/19 8:59 p.m.

Those wheels look familiar!

Also the beetle is looking great you’ve done an incredible job getting it put back together. 

Knurled. MegaDork
5/21/19 5:57 a.m.

It looks weird with Minilites on it instead of those steel wagon-sopoke wheels that probably outweighed the rest of the car.


It's not bad (in fact Minilites rule), just unexpected.  Merely seeing a picture of the car in full instantly gives me a "phonograpic" memory of how it sounded, too.

eastsideTim UberDork
5/21/19 9:46 a.m.

Yeah, I think the wheels look “right” on it (and on that MR2 Spyder), but it does seem weird not seeing it with the white steel wheels.  And yes, the difference is massive.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the new wheels/tires are half the weight.

Knurled, as for the sound, I really hope I never make it that loud again.  Your RX-7 can keep the prize for loudest car at the rallycross.

Jerry UberDork
5/21/19 10:00 a.m.
eastsideTim said: Your RX-7 can keep the prize for loudest car at the rallycross.

Before or after the exhaust falls off?  ("Yes"?)

eastsideTim UberDork
5/22/19 4:48 p.m.

Ordered some weatherstripping, engine tins, and other bits today for the car.  Also, started gutting the spare driver's side door, and am going to try to move everything over to the door on the car.

I think the next "major" work, though, will be to start patching the remaining holes in the car.  The plan right now is to clean out the expanding foam that is still in some of the spots, sand the really rough rust down a bit, POR-15 visible rust, then rivet or glue some thin metal to the holes.  Finally, hit them with some seam sealer, and paint it to sort of match the car color.  Anyone know of problems using stainless steel for patch panels?  I figure it'd be nice to not worry about the patches rusting out, but I don't know if there are any issues it'd cause.


EDIT:  Looks like there may be minor issues with galvanic corrosion, so I think I'll stick with mild steel, and just paint the backside of the patch panels before installing them.

ClemSparks UltimaDork
5/23/19 10:33 p.m.

I figured some day I'd have a project that I'd do copper patch panels on.  Maybe you could steam-punk this super beetle out ;)

eastsideTim UberDork
6/2/19 3:51 p.m.

More progress this weekend, and a few mess ups.

Before the car can be driven in the rain, I wanted to finish patching up the interior.  The floorpans took car of most of the holes, but there were several bad spots farther back.  Started with a little cardboard aided drafting:

Followed up with cleaning a bit of the worst rust, and hitting the remainder with POR15.  I was amazed with the coverage.  I only used about 1/2 of a 4 oz can, and that was with two coats.

I cut and fit some sheet metal, and have started painting it.  The other side still needs to get paint.  Found some Krylon that was close-ish to the Beetle's Marina Blue paint, but it looks a lot farther off in the garage light in this picture:


The exhaust has been bothering me since the engine went in.  The heater shrouding takes up a lot of space, and has a lot of sharp edges.  Took a little while to pull, though one exhaust stud was missing, and each heat riser only had one bolt instead of two.  Out with the old and busted:

And in with the new:

And here is where we started screwing up.  The J-tubes that go to the forward cylinders are two different lengths.  I checked online, and the first site I hit said the longer tube goes on the right side.  They didn't fit right.  Rather than actually swap sides like a couple of rational people, my father-in-law and I ground the heater shrouds off the original J-tubes, and put them on.  Then we tried to install the aftermarket muffler, and it didn't fit.  So we cut the remaining heater shrouds off the factory muffler, and went to install it, and it didn't fit.  At this point, we were a bit stymied, since I had just removed the stock exhaust the prior day.  So, finally, we decided to switch the J-tubes around, and everything went together beautifully.  Oops.  The new exhaust does sound and look a lot nicer than the old one.

While the exhaust drama was going on, I also extended the wire for the oil pressure warning light, and connected it to the switch on the engine.  As I understand, it only goes on when the pressure is around 3 psi or so, so it might be a good idea to install an actual oil pressure sender at some point.  There is already a VDO gauge in the car, so no need for a new one, though at a top reading of 150 psi, I'm thinking most of the sweep will be useless to me.  Thankfully, VDO makes a combo sender that can still power the warning light.  Speaking of which, in addition to the factory light in the speedometer, this thing has a massive light taking up the center slot of a three gauge cluster that is also wired to light up when the switch trips.  It'll be really had to ignore if it comes on.

The other work of the day was cooling.  Put a couple of plugs in the doghouse holes where the air is usually directed to the heater, and installed a new rear tin with no holes for the heater tubes.  I still need to put a front tin in before the rally, but that will require a bit of rerouting of the fuel line and possibly a few other items, we'll see.

I'm going to see if I can convince my FIL to stop in tomorrow to take it for some test driving, and to do some tuning.  The test drive today was my second major screw up.  To get the exhaust off, I had to remove the driver's rear wheel.  After putting the car back on the ground, I forgot the wheel bolts were only finger tight.  Took the car for about a 1 mile test drive, and it was starting to handle really funny.  Then remembered the bolts, and pulled over immediately.  Had a 1/4 mile walk back to the house, and my wife and I brought the necessary tools to jack the car up and tighten the bolts.  Drove a lot better after that, but I still haven't had it up above 40 MPH, and it takes a while to get there.  I also found out if you floor it in 3rd for a while, and close the throttle you get a nice little backfire.

I will leave the thread for now, with this picture of a butterfly that decided to chill on the car, while I was cleaning up the garage a bit.


eastsideTim UberDork
6/4/19 9:20 p.m.

Patch panels are all in, but I still need to run some seam sealer around them.  Also got the front tin installed - it was really easy to just pass it through the hole cut in the firewall, so I did that before installing the patch panel. 

I have also realized that at some point, the engine bodywork has been cut away.  I think there should be some flat areas on either side of the engine that meet up closely with the engine tins.  If it turns out I need them to keep the engine cool, I'll improvise something for now.

Another issue has been the spark plug wires, especially #1 and #3 falling off.  They always seem fairly secure, but several times, they are loose after a test drive, which explains why this thing seems slow, even for a 40-50 HP car.  There are flanges on the plug wires meant to fill the hole in the fan shroud, to keep cooling air from leaking out.  They flanges are a touch bigger than the holes, so I stuffed them into the fan shroud, and that seems to have worked.  Car makes a ton more power now, but still needs some tuning.  Has a bit of a surge at steady speeds, and mid-low RPM, stumbles a bit at lower RPMs sometimes, and backfires if you cut the throttle too quickly.

Jerry UberDork
6/5/19 8:00 a.m.
eastsideTim said:

And here is where we started screwing up.

After putting the car back on the ground, I forgot the wheel bolts were only finger tight.  Took the car for about a 1 mile test drive, and it was starting to handle really funny.  Then remembered the bolts, and pulled over immediately.  Had a 1/4 mile walk back to the house, and my wife and I brought the necessary tools to jack the car up and tighten the bolts.  Drove a lot better after that, but I still haven't had it up above 40 MPH, and it takes a while to get there.

At least you weren't a garage charging for the service.  I went to pick up the WRX last year after the suspension work and Colletti took me on the test drive.  Immediately started handling terrible, barely made it around the block including a U-turn.  The lug nuts were barely tightened.  Didn't help my opinion of their service lately.

eastsideTim UberDork
6/6/19 11:58 a.m.

FIL came by today to try to tune up the car a bit.  He’s pretty sure (and I tend to agree) the carb is running lean, with some hesitation and a bit of a surge (although he didn’t drive it enough to notice the surge).  The air filter and performance exhaust are probably not helping the situation.  I’ve done a bit of research, and the 30 PICT-3 carb is a bit of an oddball.  Probably in an attempt to improve mileage, the main jet is extra lean, and the idle jet is very rich.  I’ll pull the carb tonight and check the jets to see if the stock sized jets are still there, and order some more normal sized ones.  As a backup, I just bought a used 30 PICT-2 carb off eBay.  

TED_fiestaHP Reader
6/6/19 7:11 p.m.

  If I recall correctly, from pervious pictures, that carb has a "power" valve.

    So it is  a emissions carb, so under normal, light load it will run lean, then under load the power valve should open, which will add fuel. Not ideal, but can work....   I would replace with a carb that doesn't have apower valve.

   There are lots of used carbs available....

eastsideTim UberDork
6/6/19 8:11 p.m.

In reply to TED_fiestaHP :

Well, the problem did involve the power jet...

I pulled the jets to see if someone had already rejetted the carb. 

Stock 30 PICT-3 jets - Main = 112.5, Idle = 65, Power = 50

What I had - Main = 112.5, Idle = 50, Power = 65.

When I rebuilt the carb, I didn't even check jet sizes, just pulled them one at a time, cleaned them, and put them back where they came from.  Between this, and the incorrect gasket I found during that rebuild, I'm guessing whoever did the prior rebuild is the one who doomed the Karmann Ghia to the junkyard.

Swapped the idle and power jets around, and did a little bit of rough fiddling with the mixture and idle speed screws, and took it for another test drive.  Had a very small low RPM hesitation a couple of times, but the surging at steady throttle is gone, as is the backfiring when closing the throttle at higher RPMs.  Major improvement!  I suspect I can tune out the hesitation, as I was not being too precise with my idle tuning attempt.

When the PICT-2 comes in, I'll likely rebuild it and keep it as a spare, as long as I can keep the current carb behaving.  Not going to worry too much about ordering more jets for now, until I get a chance to get the Beetle out on the road more, and under different conditions to see if there are problems elsewhere.

Next goal is likely to rebuild the bodywork in the engine compartment to help keep exhaust heat out.


Less than a month from the first road rally it is supposed to go on.


eastsideTim UberDork
6/13/19 11:21 a.m.

Though slow, progress has been happening.  The patch panels have been seam sealed.  Installed a new door handle (with key!) on the driver's side door.  I finished gutting a spare driver's door, and started transferring parts to the car.  It now has a working vent window and window trim:

The main door glass is not installed, because I learned something.   While 68-up VW doors are mostly alike, and should bolt into any other Beetle from that era, there are minor differences.  My spare doors I am gutting are 1975, I think.  Which is the same year they made a change to the window regulators and to the mounting points in the door.  I have some aftermarket regulators on order, but they won't be here until next week.  The interior door panel also changes, but it appears to just be where trim clips are located at the bottom of the door, so they will not be difficult to adapt.

The rubber on the window trim is in pretty bad shape, but rather expensive to replace all of it, so it is getting reused, though the door weatherstripping will be new, as the pieces on the spare doors had a good amount of rust embedded in them.  I do have a bit of a quandary with this, though - the doors do not appear to have drain holes.  I'm guessing I should add one, since some water will definitely be getting into the doors through the seals?

Onto other things.  I have 4 rear quarter windows.  One is in decent condition.  One is heavily coated in rust stains.  One has some mineral stains on it that may have permanently etched the glass, and a small chip on the bottom.  The final one has a huge mineral stain on it that I am certain has etched the glass.  After efforts to clean up the three "bad" windows failed, between window cleaner, vinegar, and a vinegar/ammonia/cornstarch solution, I tried scraping the rust off the rusty window with a razor blade. 

Seems to be working, but I wouldn't be surprised if I am putting a few small scratches into it.  I've gotten a bunch more off than the above picture, and put a bunch of paper towels soaked in vinegar on top of it at the beginning of my lunch break.  I'll pull them off after this post, and see if I can remove any more.

If my wife can help, we'll try to install the quarter windows tonight.  Going to start with "rusty" first, as if it breaks, I won't be as bummed as if the good one does.  Plus, that'll give us practice before putting a better window in.  If that is successful, maybe we'll go for the rear window, too.

In the next day or so, I need to do a little more CAD to come up with the shapes to fill the gaps in the engine compartment.  I'd like to wait until the gasket that goes around the engine tin comes in, but I'm getting to a point I need to get some road time with the car before I send it off on a road rally in July.

eastsideTim UberDork
6/13/19 11:50 a.m.

End of lunch break picture - not perfect, but a major improvement:

Stampie GRM+ Memberand PowerDork
6/13/19 3:10 p.m.

Did you soak rusty in vinegar or just wipe it?

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