1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 9
Dusterbd13-michael MegaDork
1/10/19 7:41 a.m.

Sawzall surgery and mud grip tires seem the only logical choice. Along with a lift kit.

Torkel New Reader
1/10/19 7:43 a.m.

At least, you are entertaining the GRM gang! :-D

All jokes aside: you might want to just part out the drive train and scrap it. Two reasons:

- Priorities. You have other cars, other builds and other stuff to do. Value your time.

- Take a moment to visualize your red hot boiling rage, frustration and regret when this thing has you fully broken down, anchors buried, E36 M3-out-of-luck somewhere on the route of the Gambler 500. With some drunk GFs midnight visits, the sex just isn't worth the aftermath. Get another car for the Gambler: a car you enjoy, a car that is simpler, a car you can forgive.

The cake isn't sweet enough to be worth the guilt. The hangover isn't worth that 8th beer. Blondie won't look as good in daylight.

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/10/19 9:23 a.m.

I’m pretty sure it’s now a “Beat”le...

edwardh80 Reader
1/10/19 11:21 a.m.

This has been a fun read so far! Sorry for all the time you've put into it that you won't get back.


I may have missed it, but could you not have used a plumbers butane torch/acetylene torch to heat that broken bolt to break the bond?

java230 UltraDork
1/10/19 11:25 a.m.

Im all for the mud terrain tires and sawzall to fit :D

AAZCD Reader
1/10/19 11:28 a.m.

Ok... here's where my mind is on this right now. The biggest challenge is the windshield.

When I evaluated the car, I found that the drivetrain and mechanics of the car are still in decent shape; Engine, transmission, steering and brakes all work well, all four wheels point in the same direction and roll smoothly. The oil that leaked was almost all coming from the air filter box.

Video: https://youtu.be/VsY9qrjU54A

How do you fill the air box with motor oil? You invert the car, making the valve cover the low point of the engine. The filler cap is connected to a swirl and breather tube that leads to the intake. Since the car rolled to the driver's side, most of the oil went to the air box rather than the intake manifold. There may have been a slight hydo-lock when I first tried to start it, but the smoke is diminishing the more it runs now.

What does it need to be driveable for a significant length of time? A radiator. I think that's all.

For the windshield, I think I can bend the A pillar and roof back into shape enough to have a windshield installed. The Speedster idea sounds cool, but is probably more of an investment into this project than I want to do. If I can cut off the top and mount a piece of Lexan in front of the driver and be street legal, then Yes.

Sawzall surgery and mud grip tires seem the only logical choice. Along with a lift kit.

That is the plan. Remove and cut away the broken stuff. Add some mud tires - probably just front. Grab parts as needed from my VAG scrap pile to make sure it has functioning lights, fenders, and whatever else it needs.

Here's what I found about windshields in Ok and why I think my best course is to keep the A pillar and replace the windshield. https://www.autoblog.com/2016/05/19/windshield-laws-in-oklahoma/

Tyler H
Tyler H GRM+ Memberand UberDork
1/10/19 12:55 p.m.
AAZCD said:

But Then...

I wish that I could say that was the end of it. That I held firm. No means no.

Like an ex-girlfriend that keeps showing up at the door at 1 am. I know it's a bad idea. I know I should say, "Thanks for the memories, but it's really over this time." ...but I have been thinking about a Gambler 500 car https://www.facebook.com/events/172066503207119/. Maybe just have it dropped off and look it over. No commitment. no...

Shortly after posting, I got another call from Sam. He didn't want the car impounded due to fees and access. Could he please have them just tow it to my house? I can have it free, he just doesn't want any more charges or complications.

Me: "Are you sure? The car isn't going to be worth fixing and I don't need the parts."

Sam: "They are already on the way. If you just pay the towing fee, I'll give you my gaming computer. I don't have the money and want to keep this off my insurance..."

Me: "Fine, I'll take the car. I don't want your stuff. We can sort it all out later. Just take care of yourself today."

What's it say when the Junk Car Guy doesn't even want a free New Beetle?   If it comes back again, run.

Professor_Brap GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
1/10/19 1:27 p.m.

I can link you some good info on lifting the new beetle if you decide to go that route. 


white_fly HalfDork
1/10/19 2:06 p.m.

So, I found a few videos of people cutting windshield glass on youtube, and it doesn't seem to be super difficult. Maybe you could practice cutting the broken windshield or any other glass that will be thrown away and then be in good shape for a replacement windshield. It seems to me cutting the glass might even be less effort than straightening the pillar. Certainly, the speedster would be a good look!

AAZCD Reader
1/11/19 9:35 a.m.

In reply to white_fly :

Well Patrick, you got me thinking about it one more time and my final answer is No Speedster. In the past I have tried transplanting windshields  only to have them break near the end of the attempt. I looked at the possibility of an A-Pillar transplant from a Boxster or Jetta. Could be done. Isn't going to happen on this car.

Yes, a Speedster is Cool, but too much effort for this car. Given my lack of fabrication skill, I think that the closest I can come to Safe and Legal is going to be a replacement windshield.

I did find this while searching "New Beetle Gambler 500", and it does provide some inspiration:

Now, I'm headed to a used tire shop to negotiate some 285/75/16 All Terrains that I saw yesterday.

Edit: I had to slow myself down... The 285/75/16 sidewall is too tall for the frame at the rocker panel end. 265s will be tight, but fit. I'd like to make the 285s work though. Hmm...  spacers, saw, hammer... Thinking.

FunkyCricket Reader
1/11/19 10:38 a.m.

i'd like to see 285's on that car.... hahaha

AAZCD Reader
1/11/19 12:57 p.m.

In reply to FunkyCricket :

I'd like to see it too, but now I've figured out there's lots of reasons it won't work. Either lots of cutting and about a 2.5" spacer, or redesigned front suspension to fit them in there. Now, I'm taking inventory of what wheels I have and what options won't be too painful.

BirgerBuilder Reader
1/11/19 2:29 p.m.

This thread makes me very happy.

Here is another inspirational photo.

Get out there with a hammer and a sawzall, use them until you're not mad at the car anymore! 

Jerry From LA
Jerry From LA SuperDork
1/11/19 3:45 p.m.

Part out the drivetrain.  Punt on the rest.  These guys are egging you on because it's entertaining and fun - for them.  For you, it's an albatross.  SWMBO will be pleased too so it's a package deal.


captainawesome Reader
1/11/19 4:07 p.m.

What is this, the no fun forum? The guy is wanting to do the Gambler with a car he couldn't care less about. Like he said before, he has NOTHING TO LOSE. Why not at this point enjoy the fruits of his bolt removing labor with a little backroads shreddage?

AAZCD Reader
1/11/19 8:16 p.m.

To those who tried to talk me out of it. Sincerely, thank you, but I'm going to do it.

Let me clarify; I do not have any genuine animosity for this car. When I started this thread almost a year ago I was very frustrated with a repair that had gone bad. Writing about it here was a way to vent that frustration and find some good advice on how to proceed. The advice and egging-on that I received helped turn it around into a fun challenge and took the car from pending scrap, to an inexpensive lifeline for a kid who couldn't afford reliable transportation. (Don't worry about Sam now, he's going to be okay.)

Now the car is back and I'm only out the towing fee, which I declined to have repaid. In a sense, I helped someone out, and now have a free platform to build and run in a Gambler 500. I like working on cars. I like fixing broken things. Today was a good day. Pouring rain and the temperature in the 30s. I relaxed in the garage with Lenny Kravitz, Sheryl Crow, Some Ozzy... and started building a Gambler.

It's all going to be okay.

(...and that's the last intentional selfie you'll see.)

AAZCD Reader
1/14/19 8:36 p.m.

Here's a little update. 

The radiator has been replaced with one adapted from a scrapped MK3 Jetta. Not an exact fit, but this project isn't about making things perfect. For now, it's partly held in place a little precariously  with a couple wraps of rebar wire - not my final answer. I am going to make a skid plate to protect the oil pan and a brush guard for the front. When I do that, I'll get the radiator firmed up a little better.

I didn't settle on a set of wheels and tires yet. Options are: 6.5 x 16" wheels on it now, 6. x 15" with the same lug, a few sets of 17" audi wheels, and a set of 6 x 15 steels from an E24. To fit all terrain tires, I'll go with a 20mm spacer or adapter (a little over $50 on eBay). No rush to figure that out yet since I'm passing on getting the used 285s. Depending on the clearance I get with the tires, I'll decide if I need to lift it.

The roof is pushed back enough to replace the windshield now. It's not pretty, but it's going to be partly cut away anyway. I did use a jack and 2x4.

Video: https://youtu.be/Ew_isl3QPxE

Hoondavan Reader
1/14/19 9:32 p.m.

This is a great thread.  That is all.

Mezzanine Dork
1/15/19 5:14 p.m.

Sooo...kiddie-pool flares as shown in your inspiration photo above: will they be included in your build? They should.

AAZCD Reader
1/16/19 9:28 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

I like the kiddie-pool concept, but in execution, I bet it rattles like hell over 35 mph. I really like the roof of that car and plan to make a not-quite-so-nice cargo roof for mine with some scrap I have.

For the front, I tried out a few concepts:

B5 Passat = No.

Boxster? No...

Maybe a little trim? Keeping as a back-up plan:

Pool, no. Tire, yes. This might work. Thinking it could do the front bumper too:

GoLucky New Reader
1/16/19 9:59 p.m.

I really like the wheel flare made from a tire! The idea of bending and not breaking is great.  You may want to include some serious pull/lift points on the front bumper for recovery and trail mechanic purposes. 

Pete Gossett
Pete Gossett GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
1/17/19 5:31 a.m.

In reply to AAZCD :

How would a “brush guard” built from scrap look on the front vs. a bumper cover?

AAZCD Reader
1/17/19 2:11 p.m.
Pete Gossett said:

In reply to AAZCD :

How would a “brush guard” built from scrap look on the front vs. a bumper cover?

It would look super awesome.

Picture these: DIY grill guards

With welds like these: Bad welds

And I think that you already know how a bumper cover looks..?

One of my few regrets in life is that I scrapped the fenders and hood from this $100 Copart gem:

Truth: I really haven't focused on that part yet. My concern is protecting the exposed radiator and oil pan. A bumper cover won't do that. There's no reason not to have a bumper cover and brush guard/skid plate.

BirgerBuilder Reader
1/17/19 2:33 p.m.

Tire flares and a welded bumper for the win! 

AAZCD Reader
1/23/19 12:47 p.m.
captainawesome said:

Weather has been in full donkey wee wee mode, so it's just going to sit for now. ... Working in the cold wet gravel sucks.

I'm in the same weather as Captainawesome and agree with the assessment. At least this car runs and drives okay. Today I put the Beetle out and covered it and put the Honda Element in the garage. The HVAC blower just quit and needs to be fixed. After that I may do a Boxster water pump as preventative maintenance before leave home for some business travel.

Since my last update I replaced the driver's side mirror, cleaned up the interior a bit, and worked on a template for the tire fenders. I have some 25mm wheel spacers on it now and they will help a lot with tire fitment. I'm not going to go too extreme just to keep from giving myself more problems. Sticking with the 5x100 bolt pattern, keeping my good 16" tires as spare and buying some 15" All Terrain tires with a 28" to 29" diameter depending on what I find.

1 2 3 4 5 6 ... 9
Our Preferred Partners