Wednesday 16 December 2015

Fitting the rear chassis outriggers

To ensure correct alignment of the rear outrigger/pan supports, I needed to drop the shell back on the chassis. This enabled me to match up the bolt holes with the shell and provided me with essential datum points. I enlisted the help of my generous pal 'Chimps' to assist with the heavy lifting. He is no stranger to shifting this lump of rust around and was previously involved with 'Operation: Beetle Relocation'. My thanks goes out to him for devoting most of his evening helping me out on a cold wet December night. We attempted reunite the shell and chassis in several ways, but to cut a long story short, we ended up opting for 'plan B' following strained back muscles and colourful bruising to my forearms (don't ask!). 'Plan B' involved removing the shell from the wooden supports and taking it briefly out of the garage. Then we removed the chassis from the wooden rotisserie and laid it flat on the floor of the garage on top of some wooden beams just so that it was slightly raised. We then brought the shell back in the garage and dropped it over the top. Then bolted on the front beam and loosely bolted the shell and chassis together. I was then able to position the rear outriggers and offer up the new floor pans:

It was obvious that I would need to rework the profile that joins onto spine section to get an optimum fit. The better the outriggers fit, the better the bolt holes under the rear seat would match up and the tighter the pans would fit to the lip.

Out came the outriggers for a bit of prepping. First up was to drill a few holes on the outter edge of the dirvers side ready for plug welding. I then positioned my fabricated support bracket (remember that little beauty from the last post?!) underneath using a couple of small G clamps. Utilising a reference photo on my laptop I was able to visually fine-tune the angle of the bracket to ensure it was in the correct position. VW never put them on totally square it would seem):

I then plug welded the bracket into place from the topside through the holes I had previously drilled:

Good signs of penetration on the bottom is what I like to see:

 Dressed the top edge and gave it a lick of primer:

The outriggers also needed minor adaptions to make them correct for a RHD car. Time for a quick round of 'spot the difference'...

Having manipulated the profiles to roughly match up with the spine of the chassis, I bare metalled all the areas to be welded, offered up the outriggers and added the first initial tack welds with the shell lifted up for better access:

Then dropped the shell back down to check the fit:

There we have. A lot of repeated lifting, but time saved down the road as I know the chassis matches up with the shell like a glove! All thats needed now are the final bead welds to fix these pieces into position ...but that will just have to wait for another time as I have family festive business to attend to!

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