Thursday, September 30, 2010

1956 VW work day: Thinking of a master plan...

On my way back from the Fall Finnon Fest last weekend, I stopped by the place I purchased a 1956 VW bug from last week. The bug was covered in boxes and hard to get to when I purchased it, and many of the parts were under the bug itself. I wanted to clear a path and take as many of the lose parts as I could fit in Big Blue. Also, once clean, I wanted to see what I could do to come up with a plan to move a car with no engine, but more importantly, no transaxle. Without the axle, there is no place to attach wheels - something I figure I need for getting the bug out and on a trailer.

Here's what it looked like after the owner "moved some things" to make it easier to get to. Can you see the potential?

Slowly, in the highest heat of a hot day, I peeled away layers of boxes of odds & ends from around the bug. Occasionally I found parts - the hub cabs surfaced. I found the muffler. I found things I couldn't really identify.

Ah, yes. There was a bug under there!

From the backside, you can see the engine on the ground and the cut in the body that the PO made to remove the engine. The whole time I was hoping to find the engine tin and the piece that was cut from the body...

So, below is what I am left with in the rear end of the car. In order to mount wheels, I am going to have to put something resembling axles.

And, the engine. Now, I've heard stories about how someone decided to rebuild their VW engine on their kitchen table so they just picked it up and carried it inside. I call bullshit. I tried about 3 times to get this engine off the ground and it was way too heavy. Another thing to figure out...

Driver's side rear:

And, finally, I got to see the inside:

I'm not too sure what should be there. But there was a cool Volkswagen radio...

And, I didn't get a picture, but what did I find in the back seat? That's right, the engine tin and the piece of metal that had been out of the rear end of the body. I'm pretty confident I have everything (though I do need to get the original wheels out of a huge stack of wheels in the back corner of the garage).

Big Blue as Parts Hauler:

Note - the plastic tinted visor above.

Fast forward to Monday night. Upon taking a look at the books I have (need to get the Type 1 Bentley book now). I also went out and took Little Blue's rear wheel off to compare parts I pulled out of the garage with parts on an actual, running VW bug. Thanks, Little Blue.

Here's what the workshop is looking like after the unload:

So, here's my master plan (feel free to offer suggestions/corrections). I've assembled a temporary axle. I seem to have enough parts to make 2 of these, so I'm guessing one is bad and that's what he was trying to replace?? Anyway, I figure I hook this up to the body mounts and hook up the shocks. I'm hoping this is enough structure to attach the wheels (I'll use the spares from Little Blue and Big Blue). Think this will work?

Wish me luck. I plan on working all day Saturday to get this home!



Let's see. You've got a kid on the way, a new VW project and apparently another bus project in the garage? Ah, yes... I remember those days ;)

Ludwig's Drivers

I'm not sure Big Blue's wheels will fit the '56; I think the pattern is different. But maybe not.

@bodeswell--It's a sure sign that the disease has taken a turn for the worse. At least they're not Corvettes, right?


FP Brewer

From an engineer's perspective, I'm concerned about impact loads and other unplanned forces that might exert themselves on your trip home. Bumps, potholes, sudden stops or swerves - will the temporary axle be able to maintain itself when you load it up? I shudder to think about losing it on the highway.
Why not get something like a tow dolly from U-Haul and just strap her down ang go?

PJ Alau

I think what Brett is try to do is use the wheels as a temporary support for the bug while it is on a flatbed. If he places the bug on a flat bed as is - pan on the bed - the likelyhood of the back end getting damaged will be greater than if he puts temp wheels on it for transport, then wheels it back into the garage and put up on jack stands.

Good Luck.

Big Blue's Driver

Peter's correct. I wasn't too clear. I'm putting the temp axle on just to roll it onto a flatbed. Once there, I will strap it down as much as possible to avoid it bouncing as well as I can. The shocks will be hooked up, as well as the torsion bars. and there will be new tires on it.

LD's - the spare I have matches the axle I put together. That'll get me home at least.

BodesWell: That other bus project you see is going to be (much to LD's disgust) a DJ table...

One Hot Mess

Wow! Yeah, I gotta say that is a crazy project to start with a baby on the way, but you'll figure that out on your own ;-)

I would try to find some service with a tow truck and some experience transporting cars in this condition.

You could build a dolly using 2x4's and utility wheels to get the thing rolling onto a flatbed. One for the front end and one for the back?Something like this:

but different wheels this was built for just some rolling around in a garage. has lot's of tools and such that might provide some inspiration. Good luck!

The bug is rad!

One Hot Mess

Oh it's me, Danica

Big Blue's Driver

Hey Danica - that idea was my backup. I was a little unsure if something up on "2x4 blocks" would be safe in the back of a flatbed for 30+ miles. But that photo makes it seem much better than jack stands when a car is sitting. I'll need to remember that.

When I first bought Big Blue, I left him in the storage area with no tires. All he rested on was 4 jackstands. A strong breeze could have knocked it over. Or a jerk who thought it would be funny. I was pretty nervous putting the first tire back on...

Ludwig's Drivers

As long as everything wheel-wise is fastened down at the spring plate, I think you should leave that differential off of your temporary assembly, as it wouldn't serve any purpose and would just be in the way. Let the axles hang from some bent wire clothes hangers.


p.s. As regards the future "DJ table", you know me too well....

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