My Beetle Restoration

July 2011 Update, Donor Heater Channels

by on Jul.20, 2011, under Body Work

Well, I haven’t done anything to the car at all since the middle of March. I’ve had time to work on it, but I haven’t had the money necessary to buy all the replacement and donor panels I need for the next step. It’s also been way too hot to do any work on it. It’s been unbearably hot in Central Texas this year! Once I have the money for the parts and tolerable weather, I will get back to it again.


I did purchase donor heater channels from a guy in California and had them shipped via Greyhound bus to Texas. It’s a fairly inexpensive way to ship big, bulky items like this. I would, however, recommend that if you have anything shipped this way to have the person shipping it to you to thoroughly wrap and protect the item. My guy did a terrible job packaging my heater channels they got banged up more than they should have. There was also sharp metal sticking out of the packaging and a bus driver cut his hand (not seriously) unloading it at my local station. The cranky old lady that manages my station complained vigorously about the poor packaging. Being partially covered in cardboard and shrink wrap was not sufficient to protect it… and it was dangerous as well.

The heater channels I purchased included the rear quarter panels. I don’t know just what parts of the quarter panels I will use yet, but I do know that I will need the inner panels for sure. I thought I was getting a matched set of heater channels, but got a pair from two different model years. I think they are close enough to my model to fit well and only the driver side is newer. I think it is only a year or two newer as it has holes in it for the wiring harness, but the vent louvers still match. These should be much better replacements than the new ones available today.

I started drilling out spot welds on the front end of the passenger side heater channel. I first removed the paint and the body sealer covering the welds with a wire brush in my drill. I then removed the remnant of the front wheelhouse. By that time, the inexpensive spot weld bit I was using was really dull. I’m going to need to purchase a much better one before drilling any more of them. There was a little surface rust under the panel, but overall it seems in pretty good shape.


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