Progress on the Beetle is moving along. We have the fenders bolted down with new fender beading. The German running boards are on and looking really nice and the door glass is all in and functional. We have also removed the old exhaust system in preparation for the new one that is on its way. We also cleaned the engine up some while we were at it. The new turn signals are on and wired up as well as the head lights. We have also installed the new triple plated front bumper after we sandblasted the original brackets and repainted them semi gloss black. This one is really shaping up and it wont be long till its off the upholstery shop to get a new head liner.
A few parts trickled in today so we were back on the bug. We finished installing the sound deadner on the luggage compartment and on the roof first thing. You would be amazed at how much that stuff will quiet down a car. We then finished rebuilding the vent windows. Well the right one anyway. Once it was complete and the glue was dry on the felt channel it went into the door. Next was the other felt channel that goes at the back of the door and finally the door glass. This all went very smoothly. We were also able to install the license plate housing and the speedometer. Guess you will have to see that next post. I forgot to snap a picture of it. We also completed a bit more of the wiring and ran the brake lines from the reservoir to the master cylinder. Not super exciting stuff, but progress none the less.
Still plugging along on the VW. The wiring is coming along nicely. All of the major wires are run and most things are hooked up. We are waiting on some parts that is keeping us from finishing that up so we are installing what we can to keep things moving. Once we get the speedometer and the steering column installed that mess of wires will be cleaned up a little. We secured the wiring back at the firewall and started installing the insulation back there. VW made little flexible hooks for the wiring to run through when these were new but the aftermarket parts don’t put them on the ones made today. This firewall was replaced at some point a while back so we had to add the clips to hold the wiring. We are making good progress each day. This little VW will be back on the road before you know it.
Not that I was really expecting problems, its just a little nerve racking when you first hook the battery up to a car you just rewired. Luckily everything went very well. The ONLY problem we had was I wired up the headlight relay with two wires crossed. The stamps on those relays telling you what is what are mighty small and I mistook 56b for just 56. We tested every operation and they all work. Its a big relief. We also installed the door windows, the outer window scrapers and the moldings. We also cleaned up the quarter glass moldings and chrome trim. We were on tap to install the quarter windows but Murphy and his laws showed up. One would think that if you purchased a “body rubber KIT” it would include everything you needed. Well, it doesn’t. So, we have a few more tid bits of rubber parts on order. Yesterday we bleed the braking system and checked for leaks this morning. All is well with that too. Tomorrow we will install the gas tank and if all goes well, maybe a short video of the first start up.
The engine is is! We received the parts we were waiting for yesterday to allow us to install the engine. There are two very important seals that go around the engine bay that help keep the engine cool. They must be installed before the engine goes in. We installed them, then checked over the clutch, pressure plate and throw out bearing before the install. Once the it was in, we made all of the necessary connections for the coil, generator and fuel lines. We installed the battery and the negative cable but didnt hook up power just yet. It was late in the day and I wanted to have plenty of time to make sure I have triple checked all of the connections. This is not where you want to rush things thats for sure.
Today we installed the upper dash pad that we rejuvenated this week and the new lower one. The freshly painted defrost vents look really nice against the dash pad. We also had to black out the area around the vents to give a more finished and cleaner look. The hands free microphone looks right at home beside the gas gauge. We also buttoned up a couple things with the wiring and installed the new throw out bearing. We have a quite a few parts on order that should get us really close to finishing this project up. We can’t install the engine until these parts come in, but I did get notification that they have been shipped and are on the way. Im looking forward to getting the engine back in and bringing this Ghia back to life.
Today we rejuvenated the original dash pad for the Ghia. I really wish I had thought to get a before picture. The transformation was really impressive. I used a product from a company call CarWorx. This product is supposed to last for years. We started by thoroughly cleaning the pad with a degreaser. We then went back over that with a milder soap. Once it was dry, we applied the CarWorx per the instructions. I couldn’t believe it! It really looks brand new. Now for the engine. A complete tune up was done consisting of points, condenser, distributer cap, rotor button, plugs and wires. The valves were adjusted and the oil was changed. A new header and clutch and pressure plate rounded out the engine work. While all that was being done, we painted the engine tins to clean things up a bit. The new header will allow for a little performance upgrade while offering a slightly deeper sound over the stock muffler. After all this work was done, it was test run to be sure it all worked like it was supposed to and now its ready to go back into the car.
We had a pretty prosperous day on the Ghia today. We were able to get the wiring pretty well wrapped up. The back up lights were wired up today and the switch tested. Its about the only electrical part that hasn’t been replaced so we tested it to be sure its working properly. Sure enough its working so the back up lights should be fine. We still need a few parts so we moved on to putting the doors on. It took 3 people to make sure they went on without any bumps or bruises but we were able to get them on just fine. They lined up pretty well. Once all the door rubber is installed we may have to tweak a few things but so far so good. The switches have been mounted and looking good in the dash. That lowered stance really looks good on these VW’s. We hope to get the engine back next week from getting a tune up and new exhaust. If we do, we should be able to hook the battery up and start testing all of the circuits. We have gotten many compliments on the color. The owner had a great vision on that. Stay tuned.
I was able to do a little more wiring today on the Ghia. We installed the early front turn signals for a much cleaner look than the big bulky original ones for this ’71. We also installed new headlight buckets. The old ones were in really bad shape, rusty with broken adjusters and springs just wasnt worth trying to fix them. I also snapped a shot of the wiring thus far. We are still waiting on an emergency flasher unit and a headlight relay so we can finish up the spaghetti system. The new voltage regulator came in today so we wired that up too while we were at it. Its been a long road but this Ghia has come a long way and is looking really nice.