Herbie II (1962 Volkswagen Sunroof Beetle)
This project is taking a bit longer than planned. However, now that we're working on the '63 Beetle for Tyler, it's given me good reason to blow the dust off and get mine back together, too.
So, over ten years after ordering the parts, I finally got the floor pan repair done.
Herbie, Fully Reflected:
We've also set up the 1962 pan in the barn so we can start working on it again at some point...
Spring, 2008 No new news to report on the '62 project, other than I've pushed the body shell and chassis around in the pole barn to make more room for my '50 Ford 8N tractor project, which I must get done soon.
I have had some Herbie fun with my NB, however. Needing new tires, I cleaned up the steel rims I had purchased a couple summers ago and painted them white to match the car, and had a new set of tires installed. Herb looks like he's ready to go racing!
Summer, 2005 Now that the house remodeling project is to the point where we are working inside and most of the important rooms are done, I've been able to spend a little time on the Herbie project again.
I prepped the chassis by wire brushing the rust and paint away and primed with a weldable zinc primer before welding in the passenger side floor pan. My welding skill isn't very far up there, but I was doing okay by the time I finished. A little grinding and re-welding cleaned up the "oops" spots.
In late-August, I evaluated the drivers-side pan, and decided to only cut out a patch from the original pan (where it was swiss-cheese) rather than taking out the whole pan.
Herbie: Fully Loaded arrived in theaters this summer (2005), and I had my New Beetle Herbie there for the opening day. It has been a real treat driving Herbie around town - people wave, honk and take pictures...
September, 2004 I "Herbie-ized" my New Beetle today!
February, 2004 Three years and not much to show for it (on the VW anyhow). I did finally convert that MIG welder, and it's been handy on a number of repair jobs (nothing on the Beetle, though). All of the Bug parts are stacked in a corner in the machine shed waiting their turn.
The only significant thing I've done is to buy a set of seats (from a '64) to use in the restoration. The seats are in excellent condition, and just about complete the items I need for the interior.
Don't expect much to happen here for a while. The house remodeling is top priority at the moment!
January-February, 2001- 3 hours
Not much work on the VW going on right now. I've periodically gone out and done some grinding on the spot-weld spots to get the chassis ready to weld in the floorpan. I also got everything I need to convert the welder over to MIG, but just haven't gotten the energy to do it yet... Maybe soon!
December 13-14, 2000 - 2 hours The last time I posted, I was just starting into a very hectic work schedule. Well, three months later, I'm about caught up, and finally got to do some more work on Herbie this week. I purchased an impact screwdriver set, and started in on removing the doors. This wasn't that hard to do (aside from whacking my hand a couple of times). A couple of the screws at the very bottom of the door were hard to extract due to the threads being rusty on the back side of the retainer plate. Both doors are now off, and will need to be disassembled. I also need to figure out how to remove the dirt and grunge that's sitting at the bottom of the wheelwell cavity where the door post is.
December 10, 2000 - Farewell to Eeyore I sold Eeyore today to a fellow from California who's moving back to his home town of Boston. I spent several hours getting Eeyore cleaned up and tuned up, and even went around and put touch-up paint on all of the dings and nicks that had accumulated over the almost six years I had the car. It was sad to see 'my' car pull out and drive off for the last time. I have a lot of good (and some not-so-good) memories associated with the car, but as I've stated before, I just didn't have time to try to restore one and keep the other in 'daily driver' condition at all times. I think this will work out for the best, although I'm sure I'll probably regret giving Eeyore up...
September 10, 2000 Had a really nice drive up to Toccoa today (Eeyore started every time I wanted to go somewhere - woohoo!). Temperatures were pleasant, and Eeyore had no trouble holding 70+ on the way up (okay, maybe we slowed down just a bit on the steep hills!). I got to the show about 2:30, and a lot of folks had already left by that time. After setting up Eeyore in the 'car lot,' I had time to walk around and see the vendors and talk to a few car owners. One fellow had a very original '64 like mine. Had every piece of paperwork for the car (it was his grandfather's car), too. The interesting thing about this car was that it had dealer-installed 'crotch coolers' on it. These are little air vents installed in the kick panels (where the front wheel wells are) that were ducted up to the horn grill openings on both sides. Great idea - wonder if anyone makes an aftermarket set?
September 9, 2000 - 4+ hours Showed Eeyore to two people today. Remember how I said that the electrical problem was fixed? Well, the first prospect hopped in and turned the key, and NOTHING!!! Arrrrgh! He was very understanding, which was nice, but still.. When I got home, I took the starter out and put the original one back in (which I bought when I rebuilt the engine about a year ago). Works fine now. I guess the solenoid on the other one was marginal, and the heat of driving down sent it over the edge... I spent the rest of the afternoon finishing the deck lid. The paint was giving me fits due to humidity and the lack of retarder for the paint. I finally got a somewhat acceptable coat on it, and put it all back together. If I keep this up, I'm not going to want to sell the car! I'm driving up to the SE Bug Fair in Toccoa tomorrow to shop the car around and maybe pick up some goodies for Herbie.
August 26 - September 7, 2000 - 4+ hours Eeyore's electrical problems are all fixed now, and I've been working on getting him cleaned up to be sold (snif). I've spent a bit of time restoring the engine lid on Eeyore, as it was rusting and somewhat dented up. I've stripped it to bare metal, banged on it with my body tools, and am now prepping it for painting.
August 25, 2000 I think I may have finally fixed the problems with Eeyore by replacing the ignition switch and cleaning all of the fuses and fuse block connections. We'll see tomorrow... In the interim, I've posted A Tale of Two Beetles, a photographic comparison/contrast of the old and the new...
August 23, 2000 Just checking in... No work on Herbie for the past month - my business got really busy, and Eeyore's electrical system decided to throw a fit, so he's been getting all the attention lately. Since I needed something that I could rely on to crank reliably, I took the plunge and bought a 2000 New Beetle (TDI). It's really nice, but of course, not the same as air cooled! The sad part of the story is that once Eeyore is repaired, he'll be put up for sale (my wife says I'm now two VWs over my limit!). The good thing about that is that Herbie will now get my undivided attention going forward...
July 15, 2000 - 1 hour Hmmm... My "vocation" seems to be preventing me from pursuing my "avocation." (grin!). Well, I finally got back on the Bug today, and finished removing the remaining remnant metal from the right floor pan. Details can be see on the floor pan removal page (lots of photos). For anyone contemplating this project, I would recommend that you click over to the Bug Me Video site and order their tape no. 6 on floor pan repair. It's well done, and was quite helpful!
June 29, 2000 - 1 hour Two things. One, I bought a wire-feed welder two days ago. I got to try it out this morning making some repairs for a friend. Even though it's been 15 years or so since I last welded anything of substance, by the fifth or sixth weld, I was actually making some nice looking, if somewhat wavy, welds! The welder I bought is the Lincoln Weldpack 100. I decided to not get the MIG kit for it at this time, although I may later. Without the MIG kit, you use a flux-center wire, that works much in the same was as stick welding does. As the flux burns off, the gasses from it do the same thing as the gasses used in MIG welding, although in MIG, you don't get any slag as a byproduct. Needless to say, I'm pretty happy with the purchase. The second thing is that I've removed the right floor pan! Since I took a lot of photos, I've documented the removal process on a separate page. The next step will be to use the air chisel to remove the last remnants of the old pans where they were originally welded to the center tube. Once that's done, and everything's cleaned up, the new pan goes in!.
June 26, 2000 - 1 hour Chad and I finished removing the old tarboards from Herbie's floorpans tonight, and got everything all cleaned up for the next step, which is cutting out the old, rusted floorpans.
June 25, 2000 The boys and I made a run down to Snellville, GA today to check out the first annual Southeast Volkswagen Club show (www.sevwc.com). We got there pretty late (and told them to have the show on Saturday next year!), but still got to see some really nice VWs, including a Herbie replica!
June 24, 2000 - 1 hour Didn't get too much done this week due to work and other stuff.. I did manage to remove about half of the old tarboard from the old floor pans, though. I decided to take the stuff off, even though I would be cutting the pans off later - mainly to see how bad the pans were underneath the tarboard. Turns out, they had some surface rust (besides the rotted out parts under the back seats), but not as bad as I had thought they would have been. I used a thin chisel and hammer to scrape the stuff off. It looked like obsidian (the volcanic rock), and was pretty brittle, but still stuck on to the metal quite firmly. After getting the boards off, I was able to easily scrape the rest off by hand with just the chisel.
June 17, 2000 - 3 hours I made a quick run up to the 2000 VW Jamboree in Commerce, GA this morning, hoping to scarf some parts for Herbie. I was really hoping to find a pair of good front seats, but no-one had any. I did manage to locate a radio speaker grill to replace the one that came with the car in which the PO had cut and installed a tachometer through. I also got some great photos of really nicely restored Bugs.
June 16, 2000 - 5 hours - Body Off Pan! Being inbetween projects, I had some time to kill Friday afternoon, so out came the tools and Herbie. I had received my new floorpans during the week, but had to refuse one, as UPS (Unreliable Package Service) had mangled it beyond recognition. The "Good" one had been beat up also, but was usable with a little straightening around the edges.
I had looked at other VW sites and asked folks on RAMVA (the rec.autos.makers.volkswagen.aircooled newsgroup) about the best way to tackle this project, and had initially decided to repair the floor pan with the chassis still attached to the body. However, after looking things over, I felt it would be easier to remove the body from the pan, cut away the old floor pans, fit the new ones using clamps & clicos to hold them in place and then loosely bolt the whole pan back to the body for final positioning before welding the pans in place. This process will allow me much better access to the old floor pans for removal purposes.
So... after prodigious quantities of WD-40 were sprinked (like holy water, as John Henry says at The Bug Shop), I started in on the body-to-pan bolts. I had heard all sorts of horror stories about these bolts being notorious for breaking off, and was surprised when the first couple came out relatively smoothly. Three, four then five bolts came out without a problem! I was starting to feel pretty smug by this point, and was already thinking up what I would post on RAMVA, particularly relishing the thought of John Henry's reaction to my glorious success!
However, it was not to be.
I guess these little cars really can tell what you're thinking, because the next two bolts broke coming halfway out. I got some more out okay, and then started on the two large bolts at the very front of the pan, and promptly broke the first one. The second one came out okay though. With much trepidation, I moved to the other side of the car, and started in on the bolts, expecting the worst. To my utter amazement, every single bolt on that side came out without a problem! Go figure...
The next step was to break the 38+ year-old seal between the body and pan seals. I gently put some pressure between the two using a small pry bar, and was rewarded with the sound of old rubber peeling away from the original painted surfaces. With a little tugging here and there, I had the body fully separated from the pan!
This photo says it all! The real challenge was now to figure out a way to get the body off the pan *by myself.* My first attempt ended up with a bloodied thumb. I stepped back and thought a bit, and finally figured out a way to raise the front of the body (onto my engine stand), and then use an engine hoist to raise the back of the body high enough to roll the pan out of the way. After a few chancy moments, I had a VW pan sitting in one side of the garage, and the body sitting in the other side. Woohoo!!
The body is now sitting outside on my patented VW "Dolly-Matic", while the pan is on sawhorses inside, ready for cleanup and repair work. It's now off to Home Depot to pick up tools and supplies for the odessey ahead.
June 7, 2000 - 2 hours I picked up my painted wheels yesterday and took them to Firestone today to have new tires put on. I also took all of my other assorted VW wheels (including the EMPI-style wheels that have been on Eeyore for the past couple of years) and had the old tires removed. I plan to sell the EMPI-style wheels, and to sandblast and paint the VW wheels to eventually go on Herbie. At any rate, it's neat to see Eeyore looking original again!
June 4, 2000 - 1 hour I started working on the floor pans today by removing the "repairs" that had been made by the PO. The passenger side had two pieces of sheet metal pop rivited (inside and outside the car) in the rear part of the floor pans. It took a bit of persuasion, but I finally got the pieces removed, and found that the pan on that side was pretty much a goner. The driver's side has a bunch of fiberglass on it, and I'll have to tackle that another day...
May 31, 2000 - 3 hours This chunk of time was spent hand-sanding the five VW wheels I had bought from a junkyard several years ago. A couple of them have bad pitting from rust, but they'll work fine for everyday wheels, and will be going on Eeyore when they're done. I'll put pristine wheels on Herbie when it's his turn. At any rate, the wheels are now at my neighbor's paint & body shop being painted in the original two-tone color scheme.
May 29, 2000 - Memorial Day Parade We honored those who gave their lives defending this country by attending the Dacula Memorial Day Parade today. Did you know that Memorial Day was originally created to honor the dead from the Civil War? We entered Eeyore (our old 1964 VW Bug) into the parade, so we got a little different perspective from normal this year.
Beth and the boys watched the parade from roadside, while Ed and his brother Mike rode...
There were a large number of antique vehicles, including old tractors, Model A Fords and many others to watch!
We really had a great time, especially seeing a lot of kids yelling out "Slugbug!" while punching their nearest neighbor as we drove past. We also had fun doing the "parade wave," which brought laughter from quite a few folks.
May 27, 2000 - 1/2 hour I took a break from other grimy house projects and finished pulling the brake pedal assembly out of Herbie II this afternoon. I forgot that there is a small fitting in the rear for the brakes, but I will remove that later, after I take the body off the pan. The next big step is to clean up the existing floor pans as good as possible to see what needs to be cut out...
May 20 & 25, 2000 - 3+ hours As of this evening, all of the remaining headliner material, the rollback sunroof and the remaining rubber body seals have been removed from Herbie II. I bought a heavy-duty metal shelf the other week, and spent last weekend transferring all of the stuff I had stored inside the car to the shelves. I still need to pull the brake pedal assembly and master brake cylinder, but after that, the car will be pretty much completely stripped clean. That's my 7 year old son, Tyler, helping remove part of the sunroof in the photos.
May 4, 2000 - 1 hour Needing a break, I took the matt knife to the windows again, and succeeded in removing the rest of the window glass from Herbie II (except for the door windows, which Tyler was kind enough to point out). It's amazing how small those pieces of glass really are when you get them out of the car.
April 28, 2000 - 1/2 hour On a whim, I got my matt knife out and removed the passenger side rear quarter window. It came out pretty easily. The PO had painted the car, but apparently didn't do very good prep - the top layer of paint was peeling away from the original blue-green paint without much encouragement.
April 24, 2000 - 3 hours I took advantage of the Easter holiday weekend to get a little more work done on Herbie II. After trying 'normal' methods, I finally resorted to the Ball-peen Hammer and Vice Grips method of auto disassembly. After bullying the aftermarket sway bar off of the front axle, the rest of the front suspension came out easily. So now, the front and back ends of the car have been almost totally stripped (there are a few more little things, like the brake master cylinder, to remove). I'm at the point where I need to create some more storage areas so I can move all of the components out of the car in order to finish stripping the interior...
April 15, 2000 - 3 hours After a long hiatus, I finally got a few hours in on Herbie II this weekend. I stripped all of the wiring out of the car and removed all of the dashboard instruments. I also removed the windsheild washer bottle and brake fluid reservoir, and got started on disconnecting tie rod ends in preparation for removing the front axle/beam. The PO had installed a sway bar on the front end, and getting it off is going to be a challenge, due to the way it was 'engineered' into place originally.
Late March, 2000 - 1 hour I took five rims and had them sandblasted in preparation for a respray and new tires for Eeyore. These are rims I picked up at a junkyard. One was pretty pitted - it will probably end up being the spare tire rim.
January 29, 2000 - 2 hours While in the midst of the second major ice storm in two weeks, I got some more work done on Herbie II. I've now removed the front fenders, hood, running boards and petrol tank. I have found evidence of previous repairs on the front left side - bondo and small welded-in patches. I won't know how much will need to be repaired until I can get the paint and bondo off. Thankfully, the heater channels appear to be solid, at least from what I can now see. I now have a correct steering wheel for Herbie, too.
Eeyore is running pretty well, although the choke doesn't really work well - I've disabled it for now. Also, one of the rear axle seals is leaking again, which means I'll have to replace the seal plus brake shoes yet again. Sigh...
Late December, 1999 - 10 hours Eeyore has had a case of 'bad brakes.' Actually, they went completely out on me (thankfully in a parking lot). I enjoyed driving 40 miles home in Atlanta traffic with nothing but the emergency brakes to slow me down! I ended up having to pull the rear wheels again to replace the wheel cylinders, which had started leaking. I also ended up redoing the front brakes, too, which entailed replacing the inner wheel bearings due to stuck races on both wheels. At any rate, after some help from my Dad in bleeding all of the air out of the lines, Eeyore now has better brakes than ever before!
December 11, 1999 - 3 hours Eeyore is back on the road! I put the remaining components on the car, adjusted cables, and fired 'er up. I spent most of the rest of the day cleaning out the garage, which had become a bit unsettled with all the work going on. I swung Herbie around 180 degrees, so now I can start disassembling the front end.
December 10, 1999 - 3 hours I finally got the remaining parts I had been waiting (and waiting) on today. I cleaned and reassembled the brake backing plates, axle seals and brake hardware, and put the new brake drums on. I still have to torque the castle nut down, hook up the brake lines and bleed the brakes before I can drive again. I also have to install a new heater cable. At any rate, it's moving forward again!
November 1 - 21, 1999 - 8 hours As of last night, I have the tranny and engine back in the car, along with new parking brake cables, new shocks, new tranny mounts, new axle boots and new swing-arm bushings. I adjusted the swing-arms to give me a little more height in the rear, as the car was starting to sit kind of low in the back. The engine went in a lot easier this time, since I kind of knew where to pull and push to get it to clear the rear apron. All I need to finish is a set of axle seals, repack the rear bearings, reassemble the rear brakes (with new drums and shoes), and go for a drive! Oh, and I've picked up another Volkswagen! Actually, it's a friends, who is letting me do some repair work on it for him. We've named this '66 Beetle "Bonnie Bluebell." Here's a photo of all three in a line:
October 30, 1999 - 4 hours The pressure cleaner was hauled out, and I spent several wet, dirty hours cleaning the transmission from Herbie, as well as the underside of Eeyore. The transmission is relatively clean now, although I may attack it with carb cleaner or oven cleaner to see if I can get it really clean. My first shipment of parts arrived Friday, so I should be ready to start re-assembly soon.
October 27, 1999 - 3 hours I bought some cheap casters and carraige bolts today, and cobbled together a dolly to bolt to the tranny support forks so I could still roll the car around (when the tranny from a vintage VW is removed, the wheels come out with it). I moved Eeyore outside in preparation for a good cleaning this weekend, weather and time permitting.
October 25, 1999 - 1 hour All of the extraneous cables and such were disconnected today in prep for removing the tranny from Eeyore. This story has shifted gears (pun intended) for a bit as I borrow from Herbie to keep Eeyore on the road. I figure this is all good practice for when I rebuild Herbie... I finished up by removing all of the major attach bolts, and gently dropping the transmission out of the car. This is the first time the tranny has been out since the car was new - many of the bolts had pristine black paint under them when they were removed.
October 19, 1999 - 2 hours I pulled the engine from Eeyore today and persuaded the castle nuts off of the rear axles. I discovered that the transmission mounts are about shot, so while I have everything apart...
Late September, 1999 - 2 hours I finally figured out how to remove the brake cables, and finished removing the transaxle, which is now sitting on the garage floor awaiting a good degreasing. Since Eeyore's transmission is starting to fail, I'll be swapping them out. I have Eeyore in the garage ready to pull the engine as soon as I can spare an hour or two.
September 14, 19, 1999 - About 1 hour On the 14th, I broke out the 36mm Rear Axle Nut Persuader and removed the rear brake drums. The shoes look like they have good wear left, but I'll probably go ahead and put new ones on since it's such a bear to change them. On the 19th after church, Chad and Tyler helped me remove the right rear fender. I loosened the bolts and Chad undid most of them, with Tyler helping on a couple. I have the rear deck lid off now, too, so the back end of the car is beginning to look a little sparse. I fiddled with the handbrake cables and got them disconnected from the handbrake, but the cables wouldn't pull all the way out. By removing the connection at the brake backing plate, I was able to get the cables free from the axle shafts, and will have to figure out something else to get them out of the car altogether.
September 6, 1999 - 1 hour Okay, from now on, I'm going to try to keep more accurate notes on what's been done and how long it's taken. So here goes... Pulled the left rear fender off of Herbie. One bolt was already sheared off by a previous owner, and I added two more broken ones to the pile, even after liberal applications of lubricating fluid. I'll have to replace two additional nuts where they were pressed/welded into the main body panel (they twisted out). Since Eeyore's transmission is starting to go, I'll be pulling the tranny from Herbie to use in Eeyore for now (at least until I can get it rebuilt). So far, no signs of major rust in the rear areas of the car. The pans, on the other hand, well, you could throw babies through the holes ;-). Between the fiberglass and Bondo, it gives the term 'multimedia' a whole new meaning!
Summer, 1999 Herbie is starting to become more of a parts car than a restoration! So far, I've had to 'borrow' a clutch return spring, heater cables (which I broke trying to install in Eeyore) and probably a few other items. I sold the front seats out of the car to a fellow in California who had a later model Bug. The seats that came with Herbie were not original and not correct for the '62 model year anyway. Eeyore is back on the road again with a fresh 1200cc, which is a major milestone! I'll have to make the decision on what engine to use before starting a rebuild. I hate to tear apart another engine (too much potention to mix up the wrong parts in my small garage!), but I probably need to do this to determine which engine is the better one to start with. I like the idea of the more powerful 1600 (especially in Herbie's colors), but the purist in me says 'keep it stock!'
Fall, 1998 I pulled the engine out of Herbie a while back, and have been disassembling it. The reason for all the clanking noise was that the end play on the crankshaft was about 1/8" (.125"), a little beyond tolerances! For now, I'm going to completely strip the engine down and then see how much is usable. I still haven't decided on reusing the 1600, or going back to a stock 1200.
Summer, 1997 While visiting Tara Field south of Atlanta (an airport next to the Atlanta International Speedway), I noticed an early 60's sunroof Beetle parked near some old airplanes. The Beetle had obviously not been run in a while. I asked a guy in one of the hangars if he knew who belonged to it, and it turned out that he was the owner! We negotiated a price of $1200 for the car (a '62), and I came back with my wife to pick it up. After pumping a tire up and adjusting the points, the car fired right up. I let it idle for about 10 minutes and changed the oil. After a few short test runs around the airport, I gave the owner a check, and we drove home.
I drove this car infrequently for a couple of months until the engine started making clanking noises under load, at which point I parked it. We bought a house not too long thereafter, and I was able to get the car out of the rain (the canvas roof leaked like a sieve!), where it's been sitting for quite a while waiting it's turn.