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Super Beetle Window Pillar

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  • Super Beetle Window Pillar

    I think some #$% wacked the rear window of my 73 VW Bug. So before putting in new glass and seal I am considering a "better" job of patching up the car cancer at the base of the rear window pillars.

    There are clear cracks and rust areas ... ah maybe I can get a pix in here.

    Peaking around the nooks and crannies, it looks like someone filled the pillar with expanding foam as a base to glass and bondo over??? Does anyone know if such a foam plug inside the pillar was to keep engine fumes out or if this was a kludge.

    Last edited by Bob; 03-08-2003, 01:54 PM.

  • #2
    A Pix of one side.


    • #3
      A while later picture.

      Ug! What a mess. The whole interior space was full of expaning foam, much of it damp. This is going to be 98% prep and fitting; then 2% welding. Wondering if I should have started this? Suspect the other side is equally needy.


      • #4
        Wow,Bob looks like fun.I really think somebody got to that bug real good.Got any more foam?Something to Think about.You will learn a whole lot if you fixed it though.


        • #5
          Bob, I had several VW Beetles in the past and I think I remember seeing the foam in the area you are working in. Sound deadener? or for fumes? don't remember, it's been a good ten or so years.
          Might better replace it.


          • #6
            Super Beetle

            I've had a couple of these cars in my past and the foam was put in there from the factory. Why I don't know, but all it's good for is rusting out the pillar. If you'll dig a little deeper, you'll find that closer to the window there used to be a vent there. And I see on your car yours isn't there anymore. If you're going to paint this car you might want to make sure someone did a decent job on shaving that vent. If not, it may come back to haunt you! This vent is ( or in your care probably was ) the reason youre car is rusting and someone filled it to keep the water out!!
            Hobart Handler 135


            • #7
              Actually what shows in the pix is the vent opening ... it is still there; just took the cover thing off to help access all that foam. Several have confirmed that the foam is a factory thing; I guess for sound proofing and maybe to keep engine compartment fumes from getting into the interior ... and to trap moisture and make rust.

              I fiberglassed up quite a bit on the interior side that was rusting. Also sprayed a whole bunch of rustproofing paint inside.

              I have welded three sheetmetal patches so far and have at least two more to go on this side. My "stiching" is more like a zillion tack welds that happen to merge. So far only minor fires with old paint burning, mostly on the old rain gutter.

              I find that the previous filler (white version of bondo??) is pretty thick around this area. Even if I could get the new metal to conform to the old shape, it is low because of the built up filler.

              Seeking advice on how to build up and smooth the surface after I get all the sheetmetal patched. Should I use fiberglass? Is there a "better" bondo? (past patches seem to eventually crack and seperate around the edges).



              • #8
                Lead solder is best body filler and was used by manufactures for years. Use wood paddles to work hot lead about like trowel. Use more soft corboniziing flame if using OA gas torch or use air propane or air acetylene torch. Flux must be used.


                • #9
                  Would it be a concern that if that foam caught fire it would emit a poisonous gas? I don't know, I'm just asking.


                  • #10
                    This was the first insert I did. I wound up doing more like a whole bunch of tacks than any beads. Pretty humble welding, but stronger than what was there before.

                    The inner body was heavly rusted and the outside basically missing an replaced with foam and bondo ... amazing the roof stayed on. Put several layers of fiberglass on the blind side of the inner body.


                    • #11
                      This was close to the last panel. I picked the route of adding backing plates "spot welded" thru holes punched in the base metal. Harbor Freight back ordered the punch and it is still not here yet ... got another on ebay.
                      I actually got some decent beads on this one after this pix.
                      Lots of grinding.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Bob
                        This was the first insert I did. I wound up doing more like a whole bunch of tacks than any beads. Pretty humble welding, but stronger than what was there before.
                        nothing wrong with the "bunch of tacks" technique if done correctly. Some of the higher end welders have a settting for this, it's called stitch welding. once you get in the rythm of it, pull the trigger for a sec, let it cool for a sec, move just a bit, pull the trigger ... you get the picture.

                        - jack


                        • #13
                          I would not use lead unless you really know what you are doing ,you but it on once and file it down it's a one shot deal. Get a good plastic putty and it will last for years if you don't but it on to thick.


                          • #14

                            I played with the lead on some trial scraps and opt'ed back to the bondo filler. The lead seemed to go all liquid at once so shaping kinda starts over if you have to add more build up.

                            For now, I think my welding on the bug is done. I would like to get more control over thin sheet metal welding, in general. I do feel like I added a lot more structrual stability to this part of the car, even with my lack of skill with thin sheet metal welding.

                            Thanks for all the input,


                            • #15
                              Check that your lead is 30/70 (and not 50/50), then you will have some control, or a wider temperature range with which to work from. Find some TINNIT, a flux powder, to tin the work with. Steel wool in a pair of pliers works well here. Then form the lead with a carburizing flame ( long feather ) if using O/A, as stated above. Form the lead with a wooden paddle dipped in a light oil. PROCTECT YOURSELF FROM ANY LEAD DUST WHILE DOING THE FINNISHING. If going the "Bondo" route keep it as thin as possible and knock off the high spots with a "cheese grater" style of file, before it sets up firmly. This will keep your shaping and sanding efforts to a minimum.