Thursday 4 October 2018

The front end is off

Well, I'm now in as deep as it gets with the restoration of Gretchen as the entire front has now been removed:

When I started this adventure I never thought I would be getting this savage with my beloved VW. If I did have any insight into the extent I would eventually be going to, I think I would have been too overwhelmed to even make a start!

Anyway, let me back up and go over the steps I took to remove the passenger side front quarter panel. Firstly, I removed the bonnet cable guide tube having carefully noted its position and orientation on the quarter panel. It was brazed on in several places and I will hopefully do the same (another skill I will need to learn) when I reattach it back to the new panel. The Dremel tool with mini grinding wheel was great for this delicate job:

With all the brazed welds either ground down or cut through, the guide tube came free without any trouble:

I then need to take care of a dodgy old 'repair' at the bottom of the A-post (nothing to do with me by the way). It was annoyingly seam welded to the inner arch as opposed to spot welded:

The angle grinder made fast work of it. Oh look, it appears to be another crappy old Veng repair panel:

With those smaller tasks out of the way I could then move forward with the Removal of the quarter panel. This was basically the same process as before, so I will just post a few visual highlights and spare you the protracted write up:

Cut around the top of the panel underneath the point where it meets the scuttle panel:

Had to locate and drill out a bunch of spot welds hiding at the bottom of the spare wheel well. Conveniently, I didn't have to bother with this step before as the same section on the other side had entirely disappeared due to rot: 

After a lot of patience I had the panel off:

To finish off it was a case of removing the few remaining spot welds to free the inner fuel tank and space wheel well structure, which I wanted to keep together as one assembly:

Having this section free of the car means it will be far easier to clean up and make repairs:

...And so this leaves me with a significantly shortened car, the advantage of which is that I have now liberated a couple of extra feet of precious workshop space, haha.