My Beetle Restoration

Archive for March, 2012

March 2012 Update

by on Mar.09, 2012, under Body Work

It’s been nearly a year since I’ve done anything on my car. I haven’t given up or lost interest, but still have the same issue of not having the sufficient funds to purchase the replacements panels needed to start the extensive rust repair. I would prefer to have most, if not all, of the pieces that I know I’m going to replace to be able to fit and align them together and to make sure everything is going to work. With so few reference points remaining, it’s going to be tough enough to get each panel in its proper place and having the adjacent parts should help quite a bit. Even with all original parts, it would still be difficult to get everything aligned properly and since I’ll be using a combination of donor parts and aftermarket repair panels, it’s going to be even more difficult for them to be properly aligned and fitting, structurally sound, and not looking Frankenstein-ed together like they will actually be.

Outside of structural and cosmetic concerns, my main concern is that the doors will work and fit well. My goal is for them to fit as well as they did when they were new. This will require the following:

     1) The ‘A’ and ‘B’ columns are equidistant. The measurements between the two columns on each side need to have the same measurements at the top and at the bottom, and the gaps between them and the door need to be even all the way up and down.

     2) The ‘A’ and ‘B’ columns are parallel vertically. By this, I mean their positions along the body of the car and not having one column tilting more towards the inside or outside of the car than the other. This will make sure that the door lays flat against the frame around it.

     3) The ‘A’ columns are structurally sound and do not flex or move. In order to be able to support the doors via the hinges and to maintain their alignment, the ‘A’ columns will need to be rock solid. I know that the lower portion of my passenger side column will need to be replaced. The bottom hinge was frozen and that area would give way when trying to open the door. Deciding just when to replace this is going to be difficult. On one hand, replacing it first will ensure that I have a more stable hinge mount to position and align the door and heater channel, but on the other hand it may just not make any difference. So many pieces have to be replaced and there will be a lot checking and rechecking as I go. Planning ahead will be critical to all of this working out, but even then, I’m sure there will be surprises and things I may not have expected that I will have to deal with.

     4) The hinges are working freely, but without excessive play. The play will make them droop and if drooping enough, the bottoms will rub on the heater channels. This will also make it impossible to align them properly and have the gaps around the doors and frames be even. This is probably something I need to address first since my hinges are worn.

     5) The positions of each heater channel are a) parallel to the bottom of its corresponding door and b) providing the proper clearance from the bottom of the door to prevent rubbing.

     6) Last, but not least, the gaps between the door and frame are correct — not too narrow or too wide.

I’m anxious to get started and to move from the planning/guessing stage to the doing stage. At this point, making mistakes is still progress.

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