NYer_in_MI
Ok, guys.  I have to admit that there is probably no saving Gunter's original rear apron.  Someone at some point in the car's life bondo'ed the crap out of it... material that is now cracking.  One triangular-shaped chunk of bondo has all ready fallen off, exposing quite rusted metal beneath.  It's a small fissure, but the rest of the cracks are making Gunter's rear end look terrible (it wasn't that great looking to begin with, when I first purchased the car).

Is the apron a weld-on sorta thing, or is it something one can bolt on?  I would like to either purchase a new apron, or at least find one that's more intact on a salvaged Beetle in a "bone yard" somewhere.  Please give me advise.

Daniel
Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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My73Vert
I had this problem on my first bug, a '71 standard beetle. Unfortunately, the rear apron is a weld-on. I don't think going to a bone yard would help, since you would be faced with the dilemma of removing the welds on the replacement apron.

I think your best bet is to buy a replacement and have it welded on.
So much bug, so little time
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nipper552003
Daniel-  unfortunately, if you are seeing a little rust around Bondo'd repairs, there is more invisible to the eye, insidiously eating it's way, molecule-by-molecule of steel every day.  Your repair is an easy one for a good body man, who can remove the rear apron and weld in a replacement clip.  That's the only way to truly stop the damage and fix it right.  Are there other areas on Gunter similarly repaired and rusting?  If so, you should make the decision if it's important enough to do all the repairs at once, and then have your car repainted... See what I'm getting at?  (Read restoration here) That's why most of us who have restored our cars  a.) will never recoup all the money we have in them if we sell them, (and don't tell our wives how much our "project" is gonna cost!) and b.) will not drive them in inclement weather where road salts and water wreak havoc on them. Gunter sounds like too nice of a car to just be a beater.  Good luck in finding a good body and paint man!  Attached is a picture of my body and paint man, Ed Smth, who's been painting cars since they were called jalopies, and keeps his (unfiltered) Camels rolled up in his shirt-sleeves.  He did all my bodywork and paint for about $1350.00.
John
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nipper552003

Ed Smith, body and paint man, Bryan, Ohio...

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nak45z

i would buy a new apron, and do the removing yourself.  that is what i did.  remove both rear fenders and deck lid.  to avoid any damage to them.  and i suggest to leave the rear apron removable.  you won't tell that is been left removable.  and just take the apron to be painted after you have sure fit the apron.  that is just my opinion.  i also had the same problem.  here is a pic of the removable rear apron..

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NYer_in_MI
Yeah, I knew that the rear apron was gonna hafta go.  Somehow, I knew that it was a weld job, too.  Actually, I have access to a good body man, I just am scraping together the dough to get a few things done.  I have a rear pans that also need to go in, soon.  Beyond that, the car is solid.  I've checked it out stem to stern.  I knew the rusted areas when I bought the Bug.  Gunter was meant really to be a daily driver, but I would also like to put him right as well!

Thanks guys
Daniel
Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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nipper552003
Daniel- shoot, you may be able to get by with just the rear apron repair and painting just that section.  I had 1/2 of the passenger side floor pan to repair, and did it myself.  The original owner had a repair made to a rusted-out area under the battery.  Then the repair (extending clear under the passenger front seat) re-rusted out.  I took out the old (brazed in) repair and bought a replacement pan section and hammered it to fit, then pop-riveted it in place with lots of seam sealant and then coated the underside with rust-proofing.  It won't win any awards at a show (no mirrors under the car ) but it's very solid, doesn't show under the carpet, and since I won't drive my bug in inclement weather it should last a long time.  How many new cars today will survive 4 decades of driving to have 3 repairs made to a floor section? 
John
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NYer_in_MI
John,
Sounds pretty fantastic to me!  Thanks for the input!

Things have been on hold for Gunter as, around the same time that I'd bought the car, the Other Half had lost employment... temporarily.  It was a problem that has been hence dealt with via a brand new and a better job.  With me alone having footed the bills for a month or so, our money had to go to silly things like rent, groceries and utilities (such nonsense).  In the mean time, Gunter makes a good regular driver and a reliable automobile all the way 'round.

The things that are "wrong" with the car are easily fixed things, for the most part.  I've dug all 'round that thing, and I've found nothing amiss that doesn't normally wear out a bit on an old VW (the pan rust, for instance, is focused mainly in the rear quarter pans, under the back seat).  Eventually, I will one day have to do a possible pan-off resto, to ensure that the car is put back to spit-spot condition, but that is not yet in the cards.

My biggest annoyances, aside from the crap body work done by a previous owner, deal more with the small mechanical and electrical bits that I need to replace / rewire / rework.  The speedo doesn't work, for starters.  Of course, I can tell approx how fast I'm going by the sound of the rpm's and by what gear I'm in.  Generally, I just follow traffic, as Gunter is no Porsche... though he does have plenty of pep when needed in city driving, I'll admit.  Still, I'd like to know how fast I'm driving for safety's sake and because I want all of my car to work, thank you! Ha ha.

Also, the gas gage has ceased to function.  It had been working somewhat, when I'd first purchased the car.  After Gunter's first fill up and full use of a tank of gasoline, the needle has remained at below the "Reserve" R mark.  Occasionally, very much so too, the needle has risen to around the bottom line of the "R" zone.  Then, it ceases to function at all, once more.  I have owned a total, now, of three Supers, so I already have a feel for about how far I am able to go on a tank of gas (pretty darned far, actually) but I admit that it makes me nervous never knowing exactly how much fuel that I have.  In the mean time, I've been topping it off weekly (maybe 3 or 4 gallons at a time... the most was 6 gallons).

Since the speedo isn't working (I assume it's a snapped speedometer cable) the odometer is non functional as well.  I've had to keep a log in my glove box of approximate mileage to keep track of maintenance scheduling (I've already done Gunter's 2nd oil change myself in my father-in-law's garage).  Still, again, I would like to know more precisely what is going on with my car, rather than guessing.

The fresh air blower fan (under the front bonnet, behind the dash) isn't connected / doesn't work (not sure which, yet).  I've had to do window defogging the pre-1968 way... keeping the car in motion; keeping a vent wing cracked; trying to not breathe directly on the windshield (there are, of course, instructions in the owner's manual concerning defrosting / defogging the front cab windows using the car's own heater system.  I do find that these instructions / suggestions by VW help, but they only help so much in a normal Michigan winter, like this one. 

The speedo dial light stays on, whether or not the head lights are on, while the car is running.  Also, on the head light switch, when the first click outward is supposed to turn on only the driving lights and tail lights, my head lights come on as well on this and the final click outward.

I had read Loren's post about the problem with the door seals.  Mine had been completely dry-rotted off at the tops, allowing in wind and sunlight.  Before the first snow fell, I managed to get new seals put in.  They were, however, the fat Brazilian seals (what the &*%#$$%##!! did they need such thick seals for?).  Now, in cold weather, my driver's side door won't open from the out side without some difficulty.  Also, one does almost have to roll down a window to fully close the doors.  At least I've effectively blocked out the wind from my doors!  Also, on the eve of applying the door seals, I'd replaced the rear deck-lid seal and the front bonnet seal as well.

The glove box insert (the original pressed card board one) is rotted and holed in spots, held together with duct tape to cover the holes.  The most predominant spot is the part of the insert where the remote trunk release lever is located.  For this reason, some "clever" wit re-routed the trunk cable to the spot where the gas flap cable had been (see pic)!  I have grown quite tired, therefore, of my gas flap being held closed with Velcro (please don't laugh).   

Oh, and take a look at what some nim-rod tried to do to this poor car... this is how the driver's side front quarter looked when I bought the car.  I have since bodged a few coats of primer and paint to temporarily at least protect the fender / front quarter from corrosion (see last and 2nd to last pic).  Also, the fender beading has dry rotted (1st pic) and needs replacing when I get the body work done ( I have the beading all ready, just not yet put in).

Beyond all of these things which, as I've said, I consider to be "regular" and fixable problems, Gunter is one neat little car.  As someone very wise once said, recently, can you image any of today's cars lasting for decades on end in the way that these cars have?  As I have no garage of my own, thus no dry place to work on Gunter myself, I have had to rely partially on an auto repair shop down the street who will still (thankfully) work on old air-cooled VW's.  I have some of the things that I need to put some of Gunter's woes right.  Other things I have yet need of getting.  I await, in the mean time, with bated breath, for Spring while Gunter faithfully putters me around where I need to go.

Daniel 


Daniel Mosher
Resident Cartoonist

www.allaircooled.com
www.superbeetles.com
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flash

Daniel,

Sometimes it's seems these little German marvels just keep running on pure "heart" and gumption.  You'll see none of the Saturns sold today on the roads in 30 years.  They're throw away cars.
Sounds like all the problems you list above can be over come slowly, but surely with a little patience and care.

Loren
Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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