Bess the beetle - some kind of restoration

Discussion in 'Restorations' started by Sproggy4830, Sep 28, 2018.

  1. Here is my little project Bess... god bless dad, he always called his cars Bess , i can hear him now saying "come on Bess you can make it" when he tried to start his old cars

    The planets seem to have just aligned at the right time which culminated in the purchase of the car , having looked in a drawer in the garage i found loads of sanding discs of various grades , didn't know i had them, I ordered a hand hoist from Amazon but the handle didn't fit without having to do loads of filing so i messaged them and they said keep it and we will refund? A random search on ebay for Barn Find and Bess was the 1st item on the list , i put in one bid and i won it ( if the term won is correct term to use when you pay for things)

    So a week later, a £45 pound hire of a trailer , a 03.30 start and 215 miles journey to collect Bess, an hour and a half loading it up along with all the spares and bits and pieces, a 215 journey back home and its now mine - well my name on the book but for the daughter to use ( i am not that generous and i am a tight Yorkshire man after all)
    Having no real experience of rebuilding a car other than little pieces of steel to weld over small holes i look forwards to the restoration at my own very steady pace
    This is going to be a slow steep learning curve for me - and the daughter who doesn't yet know how much work she will have to put into it if she wants to drive it within 5 years,

    We look towards all the great people on here to offer advice to us on what to do and where we went wrong

    The vehicle itself has had the floor-pan replaced along with the heater tubes "professionally fitted" is what the seller said to me when i phoned him about it and on inspection it would seem very much the case much to my delight as videos ive seen of the job being done would prove the job beyond my capabilities

    The engine looks to be ok , virtually no end play but as it hasn't run for ten years i haven't tried to start it.

    Although somewhat tatty the paint does seem to be in a bad state once first viewed, i was a little disappointed when i did see it in the flesh as opposed to the ebay photos but it seems to be an honest car with no Non magnetic areas and some areas of rust showing , non of real concern with the exception of below the rear window above the little vented area, it has the really thick but solid rust there, (oxymoron) non flakes off and its solid
    I was disappointed to see only the one door on the car and the state of that had not been obvious on the ebay photos ....... i can imagine a few of you thinking didn't he look before he bought it ..... no ,as above the planets seem to align and i had a gut feeling it would be ok for the money , anyway, having been disappointed at the one door , it got worse as there was no second door,

    then it got a lot better ,

    the seller uncovers one door for the missing door that had been professionally refurbished and painted to match the car and a complete door ready for hanging with all that needed already on it

    then it got a lot better

    he uncovered a large box that contained a brand new genuine VW door to replace the one that was on the car

    he then gave me a bag that contained a new head lining kit , and a box with all new rubber seals for just about everywhere, he then gave me a box containing new door cards all round , then he had the cheek to offer me a cup of Tea , how could i refuse?.
    So that's where we are at the moment , i think i am starting with a running start , hesitant for what unknowns are ahead but sure that i will get the support from on here when needed

    Zebedee- i have read your post re your 70s bug and it is an inspiration , i just hope i don't need a fraction of the skills you have, as i don't have them
    IMG-20180927-WA0015.jpg IMG-20180927-WA0006.jpg IMG-20180927-WA0005.jpg

    So , how can you help
    1) i know bugger all about stripping panels, sanding down and prepping to paint
    2) i think the body has been off to fit the floor pans and heater tubes , would it be best to separate to strip and paint
    3) Ive never sprayed before, however i have a tiny compressor and a couple of cheap spray guns, in fact one this week from ALDI , i hope to use just to spray over areas i strip and get to bare metal , i will be prepping the vehicle as located in the last picture , on my driveway below a extension to house above , garage door to front and open at other end
    What paint should i use, Primer in particular that could stand being out in the cold over winter but not in the open air as i intend to build something to he rear of house to enclose the "garage" area.

    4) What filler is best to use under any primer i spray on , bearing in mind if the wings need too much work for my skill lever i would buckle and buy new ones but i would like to keep what appear to be the original wings

    5) any other advice that can be given such as good websites on how to paint spray, fill and sand weld etc , but i may farm out the top coat spraying to those that know better , however Zebedee seems to have done ok

    6) i live just off junction 40 M1 and your free to call in anytime for a cuppa and a chat
    PS. i WILL keep the pictures coming but remember it will be a slow paced thing , but at the same time i would want it on the road come March April (what year i don't know)[/ATTACH]
    Last edited: Sep 29, 2018
    scrooge95, Dubs, CollyP and 4 others like this.
  2. Nice little find you picked up......
    Good luck with the resto....look up the beetle resto's on here and they will be a great help to you...
  3. Rez


    I miss having a beetle. Looking forward to your updates
  4. What a lovely story. Good luck! :)
  5. Dubs

    Dubs Sponsor

    Great project! Good luck with it. :thumbsup:
  6. Sproggy4830 likes this.
  7. Well Not much done but also so much done but nothing finished,
    i have a medium sized garage in the rear garden that is filled with my daughters furniture , my bike and tools , i also have a wooden shed full of 30 years of bits i haven't thrown away in case i need them ??
    I have had an hell of a clean up of both laces, in order that i can fit the beetle in the garage to work on over winter.
    I even burnt a pair of step ladders i made in school over 40 years ago

    even a week and a half on and i still haven't finished, sorting out either place.
    i forgot ice also got a car in my neighbors garage she wants out of it - A Citroen Berlingo ,petrol and gas, ex meals on wheels van has sterile fiberglass linings and a gas fired oven (more of a keep things warm) in the rear.
    anyone fancy it please message me

    The Beetle itself sits where i left it over a week ago , however i have turned it over without any success other than realising the petrol is at least 10 years old and it gushes out of the carburetor 20181008_191416.jpg

    So i intend to at least get the engine running before i do any stripping out of the car itself, clearly the carb needs a good clean at least .
    PERHAPS a "service kit" if there is such a thing in good quality
    so any advice please , where from and what should i buy to get the carb somewhat like decent
  8. :TTIWWP:
  9. 20181010_192238_001.jpg

    Can anyone enlighten me with engine size . Emblem on boot says 1300 log book says 1493 stamp on engine seems to be illegible
    Finally now got the car in garage just need to sort out the bench tops .

    Attached Files:

  10. d 34horse single port
    Bulletooth likes this.
  11. fuel pump gasket is leaking at base fan belt needs changed
    Bulletooth likes this.
  12. Unfortunately everything is leaking . It's gonna come out and stripped to pistons n barrels . Examined and new seals then hopefully just built back up .
    It's not run for 10 years . Unfortunately I am a bit run down and laid up in bed so as the log book came today I though I would try clarify the engine size 1300 or 1500

    I also would like advice on carb kit to get as it leaks everywhere
  13. it says d on the case so thats a 1200 cc engine
    Bulletooth likes this.
  14. That's great . Thanks for sorting that for me .
  15. brilliant story, good look with the project.

    Im looking forward to updates :D
    shielsy likes this.
  16. as mork says keepus posted ask we will answer , advise is free
  17. What a great project you have bought and now the car is under cover, maybe its time to start on a voyage of discovery and give it all a good look at and draw up a list of the obvious things needing doing first. Like draining the old fuel and renewing the fuel lines and putting a new fuel filter under the fuel tank outlet.

    Drain the old oil and put nice fresh 20W50 in there. Charge up or replace the battery with a nice new one. I think it would be good to see if the engine turns over, starts and runs. With a new battery, you could see if the lights, indicators, wipers work at all.

    It will probably need some new ignition parts and carb cleaning out and refurbing. All of these things you could do yourself. Ask away on here about anything.

    I would be leaving the body and paint stuff for a while as you may well need a lot of advice and help with that and all helpers like to see more pics.
  18. Things get in the way of best laid plans . 3 weeks into owning the bug and all I've done is cleaned out a shed and three quarters of a garage . Although retired and this is the kind of project i planned to do. Life is getting in the way and I am dissapointed at the lack of any progress. I've just had 3 days either in bed or in the bathroom with the lurgies that's spreading through out the family .
    To top it just as I thought I was going to make a start tomorrow ... the fire needs looking at and a new thermocouple fitting .as we all k ow that 2 minute job will take all day most likely .
    I have had chance to see loads of YouTube videos about bodywork.
    I am ok relatively speaking with the mechanics .
    As mgbman says above I think I will leave the bodywork for a while except remove the wings if for no other reason than for space .
    A quick look would appear all new brakes have been fitted but the master cylinder looks old . New shocks fitted to rear . New ones needed for the front i think.
    The engine has had some new tinware fitted and seems no endfloat but the rest looks a little neglected . Certainly the pushed tubes are shot.

    The carb definatly needs a good coat of looking over, but with exception of ordering bushes from "nobody" on here I can't track down a supplier of a good quality service kit for it. All reviewers of kits say they are crap or you dont get whats in the pictures .
    Still pondering if I should remove body to then satisfy myself the state of the overall floorpan and for obvious easy access .
    I've managed to put loads of stuff from the garage on ebay or gum tree. Hopefully pay for a few new bits .
  19. Well time for a litttle update with a few pictures, i have been working on Bess intermittently and made some progress, i have discovered there is some rot particularly around the lower rear window frame but i have a quires a couple of cuts that are eough to salvage some bits to welds in as i dont fancy attempting to make the complex curves myself




    Choosing,locating and waiting the delivery of parts for both the carburetor and distributor has been the main delay, ultimately the carb kit i got from Just Kampers, and the parts for the distributor from America VWNOS.COM this was because for a fiber washer in England i would have had to pay £15 plus for one, but from America i got shims, felt pad for lubrication and four washers for less than £8 including postage and they arrived in 4 days.

    i stripped and cleaned the carburetor in various (i don't know if risky )ways cleaning with carb cleaner, boiling iw water with caustic soda and detergent , carb cleaner again and bottle brushes and an air line





    The carb kt was expensive considering the poor quality of the gaskets, bearing in mind i used very few of the gaskets (must be a universal kit )and the ones i used almost tore in half and needed very very careful handling, but all i needed was there, not sure i would advise going down this line agin and perhaps buying only the bits you know you need would probably result in better quality parts, certainly in the case of the gaskets.

    The distributor was a much easier task , far easier to clean and rebuild


    Not a good starting point but soon had it ship shape once i had the parts

    20181027_182838 copy.jpg


    The felt lubricating pad being replaced with new.
    paradox and shielsy like this.
  20. 20181110_132217.jpg

    the finished item,

    Now the reason i worked on the Carb and Distributor , is that i needed to know the engine would run, it hasn't run for over ten years, it made sence to me to get it going before i took it out and separated the body from the chasis.

    so having refitted them , and cleaned the spark plugs , checked for oil pressure i filled up the carb with petrol ( i need to flush out the old petrol and rubbish from the pump yet)i decided to give it a go at running .
    first turn of key was unsuccessful but just the second turn and it sprang into life

    so there is life in the old bug .
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2018

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