TECH TIP Technical Index

Getting Floored

by Mike C. -

Floor Pan Replacement Ė III

Itís been a rather involved battle, but youíve made it this far. Those floor pans are really looking good now. Nothing like the smell of fresh paint and the feeling of knowing you wonít fall through the floorboard when riding down the street. As far as finishing up this part of the project, there isnít much more here except putting the body back on the chassis. Before you proceed with the reinstall, think about things you would like to accomplish. If you need to rebuild the front and/or rear suspensions, engine, transmission, brakes, shifter and related mechanisms, get all this done before you bolt the body back on. It is a breeze to work on all this with the body removed. If you have to replace any fuel line, brake line, parking brake cables or tubes, clutch cable or tube, or heater cables and tubes, itíll be a lot easier this way. If youíre really into restoring your ride for maximum detail, do it all now.

Donít forget the floor pan perimeter seal. I like to use windshield sealer rope that comes in a flat roll. You can get this stuff at Autozone and is well worth it. Just lay it around the perimeter of the pans and wherever the body makes contact with the chassis and floor pan. When the body is placed on the chassis, it will squeeze the sealer rope down and make a perfectly tight seal. Once youíve done everything you want to the chassis, get your buddies to help you set the body back on. Once you have the body suspended about an inch above the chassis, note the general alignment of the bolt holes. If possible, try to get a few bolts started before putting all the pressure of the body weight on the chassis. This way, youíll know that the holes will line up. After that, let the body sit fully on the chassis. I hope you had any wiring out of the way of the pans before you set the body on. If not, youíll have to peel the body back off to get the wiring out of the way and reseal the floor pan. Unless you were really lucky and the original bolts werenít broken, stripped, or rusty, I would only use new bolts in the reinstall. Stainless bolts are often available in restoration kits and are well worth the investment. Take a metric tap of the correct thread and pitch, and use it to clean the threads of each bolt hole. Coat each bolt with a good anti-seize compound and tighten them down snugly. Donít forget the bolts at the top of the tunnel inside the car at the front firewall. Reconnect your steering mechanism, all wiring, fuel lines, and heater components. You might even put the carpet back in, but if you are going to do bodywork and paint the car, donít reinstall any new upholstery until you have all painting processes completed.

You will want to put some kind of sound deadening on the floor pans before you put the carpet back in. Read the articles on sound deadening for more details on this. Stand back and admire your project. This is a big step in making the whole car feel solid and airtight, which has always been the big trademark with the Volkswagen. Youíve come a long way and are ready for the parts of your restoration that you can actually see.

The holidays are here. Take time to relax with your family and friends. Enjoy the honey-roasted bratwurst and have a great holiday season!

Your VW Maniac and tech specialist,
Mike C.