Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Bulkhead panel (toeboard) replacement

For Beetles with torsion bar front suspension a third party bulkhead panel is available, but for cars with

McPherson strut suspension there is only a VAG panel, which is very expensive. The third party panel can be modified to fit McPherson strut cars.
If this is a first-time repair, begin by drilling out the spot welds which hold the old panel in position, then splitting the welds. if the car has been 'got at' and the panel is plated or has been replaced previously and MiG welded into position, grind away the welds until the panel comes free.
Offer the new panel into position and tack weld it, ensuring that the lower line of the panel matches the profile of the chassis front end. When it is correctly positioned, seam weld it in, starting along the top edge, down both sides. When you come to the lower portions, weld a little, let the metal cool, then weld a little more before again letting the metal cool, to prevent heat build­up from destroying the belly pan gasket. It is preferable to carry out this work as part of a full. body-off restoration and, if this is the case, tack the bulkhead panel securely into position with the body on the chassis for correct alignment, then seam weld with the body raised to improve access.
If you wish to weld the torsion bar version of this panel into a McPherson strut Beetle, then firstly dolly the edge lips so that they lie flat, then position it correctly and measure the gap between the panel edges and the flitches. Cut strips of steel to make up the gap and weld these to the panel before offering it for final welding into position. It is also necessary to weld in plates to cover the gaps from within the front wheelarch.

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