JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Rear Engine Compartment Prep:

Video Overview:

Our Super Beetle project is nearly complete, with the front end finished, we can now get to work on the rear end and we’ll get the engine compartment ready for the engine. Our tech will show you some tips and tricks to installing the firewall and rear engine seals, before installing the rear apron plugs, a decklid stop and a decklid seal. Then we’ll finish up the engine compartment with a heavy duty firewall tarboard kit.

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:
Silicone Spray Lube
Wide Trim Tool
Narrow Trim Tool
Rubber Mallet
Razor Knife
Small Flat Blade Screwdriver
Heat Gun
1/2” Drive Socket

Video Transcript:

Hi! I'm Sam with JBugs.com

And we've now got an engine compartment ready for an engine.
Now that the front end of our Super Beetle is done, we're going to get to work on the back and get it ready for our engine.
We'll start by installing the firewall seal.
The firewall seal sits into the grooved channel at the bottom of the luggage compartment.
The channel does have a missing section though to allow room for the cable throttle tube.
We start with a chisel and we make sure that the lips of the channel aren't crimped down.
We want them to be open and clear to make installing the seal that much easier.
Then, we spray the channel with silicone lube and set our seal into place into the bottom lip of the channel.
We leave an inch overhanging on one side and we have the long lip of the seal pointing down, not up, towards the transmission.
The seal will need to be trimmed at the opposite end once it's fully installed.
Once the seal is in the bottom lip from side to side, we use a wide trim tool to push the top edge of the seal into the top lip of the channel.
It is slow, tedious work, but a rubber mallet can help make the job a little easier.
Tapping along the top edge of the seal, down along the lip, to get it in place.
At the corners, a twisting motion with a narrower trim tool works best to install the seal.
Once the seal is fully installed, we trim the extra length down at the opposite end.
Now, we can get to work on the rear engine seal.
The rear engine to body seal installs into the body and horseshoes around the engine.
The 1967 and later style seal that we're installing here sort of resembles a J.
The top flatter edge will install into the grove on the body.
The seal rolls up and drops down and then, underneath the bottom of the engine tin, it will hook back up to provide a seal at the engine.
We've installed the seal temporarily here to demonstrate a cross-section.
We start installing the seal by pushing it up against the firewall and setting it into the bottom lip.
We work in segments starting with the channel against the side of the engine compartment.
Once the bottom side of the seal is in place, we use our wide trim tool and a mallet to tap the top into place.
Once the seal is in place there, we work the seal into place towards the center of the apron.
Then continue working our way around in segments to the opposite side of the engine compartment.
At the opposite end, the seal is mocked up, trimmed to length, and then installed.
Now, we'll get a new decklid seal installed.
We start by spraying the channel on the body and then the seal with silicone lube.
We start at one end and leave about a half-inch of the seal sitting up past the channel.
Then, we hold the seal with one hand and press it into the channel while stretching the seal down with the other.
Every few inches, we'll pull the seal back a bit to relax it.
We can't emphasize enough how important it is to have a clear channel.
We thought our was, but obviously, we did miss a small piece.
The seal is installed all the way around to the opposite end and trimmed to length.
Then, we'll finish off the engine seal by installing rear apron plugs into the holes at the sides of the apron opening using a small flat blade screwdriver.
And we'll screw in a new decklid stop.
We'll finish up our engine compartment prep by installing the firewall tar board.
That starts by checking then punching a hole in the left side firewall piece, for the engine wiring harness.
We use a large socket and hammer to do the trick nicely.
Then, we heat up the perforated portions of the tar board so they can be bent up before installation.
Note that the triangular portion will sit at the bottom of the engine compartment and the rectangular portion will sit against the firewall.
At the car, the engine wiring harness is wrapped up and guided through the tarboard.
Then, the tarboard is set into place covering the tail light wiring.
And all the tabs, two at the bottom, one at the back, and the three at the angled side are bent over to hold the tarboard in place.
The opposite side piece is installed the same way but doesn't need a hole as it covers all the wiring.
Finally, the main tarboard piece is prepped by punching a hole for the reverse light wiring and cutting a slot.
Then, the tabs at the bottom side of the firewall are bent down towards the transmission and all the prongs on the firewall are checked to make sure they're straight.
The tarboard, which had been sitting on our windowsill so it's warm and flexible, is bent or bowed slightly from side to side so it can sit into the engine compartment.
Then, it's lifted in place towards the top of the engine compartment, in between the body panels.
The reverse light wire is pulled in place into the hole we made.
Then, the tarboard is pushed down over the numerous prongs, using caution as the prongs can be sharp, to hold it in place.
We use our heat gun again to warm up the tarboard around the prongs.
Then, we tap the tarboard down with a hammer and bend the prongs over to secure it in place.
Once all the prongs are bent over, we can use our heat gun to warm the bottom edge of the tarboard above the transmission.
We bend the board back into the tabs.
Then, we fold the tabs over and tap them in place to finish off the installation.
With that, our car is now ready for an engine.

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