JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Floor Pan Replacement:

Video Overview:

Rusted out floor pans are a common problem for many VW Beetles and where the driver side pan on our chassis was in good shape the passenger side wasn’t. So, while we have the body out of the way, we replace both pans so they match. Follow along with our tech as he shows how he goes about removing the original pans and installing new heavy duty floor pans to our Super Beetle chassis.

Vehicle prep: 0:50
Floor pan removal: 1:27
Floor pan prep: 3:18
Floor pan installation: 4:44

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

Measuring Tape
Angle Grinder
Wire Wheel
Cut Off Disc
Pocket Knife
MIG Welder
Impact Driver
3/8" Impact Driver Bit
13mm Socket

Video Transcript:

Hello! Sam here with JBugs.com
We just finished up with a bunch of major body repairs on our 1971 Super Beetle restoration 
while we're borrowing a friend's shop. While we're still here, we're going to get to work on the chassis and we'll start by cutting out and replacing the floor pans. 
While the floor pans were out, we did have to do some repairs to the front frame head 
but we'll cover that in a separate video.
Before we start, we'll make sure to say, wear appropriate protective gear. 
Work in a safe and well-ventilated environment and only perform work that is well within your capabilities. 
Cutting, grinding, and welding can all be dangerous so make sure to use the necessary precautions.
Before we cut anything, we'll take a few measurements of some of the pan mounting holes. 
This will make lining up the pan and body later much easier. 
We measure the position of the first hole from the front and the second hole from the rear 
getting a reference point from the tunnel and from the front to rear, respectively. On the driver's side, we also measure the position of the pedal stop that's bolted to the pan.
We have our chassis lifted up on its side so we can better show the process and we'll start with a Sawzall. 
We cut the passenger side pan along the edge of the frame head 
cutting into the pan but not the actual frame head itself. Almost all the way down to the tunnel. Along the tunnel, we use a cutoff wheel to cut a slot into the pan that we can slide the Sawzall into. 
Then, we cut the pan along the edge of the tunnel 
and [when] we get closer to the rear, we make sure not to cut through the heater cable tube.
At the rear of the chassis, I prefer to leave the rear floor brace. 
It is seam welded to the chassis and has additional bracing at the torsion housing. So, if it's in good shape, leave it be and cut the new pan replacement as needed. Some replacement floor pans come with the brace attached. Some, like the heavy-duty pan we're installing today, don't.
We cut the pan along the edge of the brace, down to the tunnel. 
Then, back at the front edge, we cut the last bit down to the tunnel and the pan can be removed. We cut the heater cable tube from the pan so it can be reused. We get to cleaning-up the chassis where the floor pan sits. 
I use a hammer and chisel to break and peel away the small strip of floor pan that is spot-welded to the tunnel. 
It can be tedious but takes less time and is less damaging than locating and drilling out all the factory spot welds. 
We flip the pan over, so we can work on the driver's side 
and after we remove the pedal stop, 
the pan is removed following the same procedure.
After we remove the spot-welded strips there, 
we clean-up the edges of the tunnel, 
repair the frame head, 
and then begin measuring our new pans. The heavy-duty pans we're installing come with the rear cross brace and the jack support unattached. 
We set the pan on a chassis and then verify the holes on the new pan are correctly drilled 
by comparing them with the holes on the original pan. Next, we can start to fit the pan to the chassis.
We start at the rear, as the original cross brace on the tunnel, has a mounting hole 
that gets overlapped by the new pan. 
We can use that as a reference point 
and we trim the rear of the pan to fit the back edge of the chassis. Then, we get a front-to-rear measurement so we can trim the front edge of the pan as needed. We set the pan in place on the chassis and verify the position for the front mounting hole.
Our front-to-back position is good but the pan needs to be narrowed a bit. 
So, after trimming along the inside edge of the pan, 
we set it in place, 
and verify the measurements for all the mounting holes. The front of the pan is massaged with a hammer a bit, to fit the front frame head. Then, we measure and trim the opposite side pan using the same methods. 
Once both pans are trimmed and test fit 
we'll clean-up the edges on the chassis, 
and paint them with a rust preventer.
We do the same thing on the bottom side of the pan halves themselves. 
Then, we can set the passenger side pan in place, 
scrape the edges clean on the top side where we will be welding, 
and then we'll get to welding the pans to the chassis. 
I lay down a bead of weld, every inch or so, along the front, 
and the spine of the tunnel from front-to-back. The edges of the pan at the rear cross member and the front frame head are completely seam welded.
The heavy-duty floor pans don't have the provisions for a battery, leaving the choice up to the installer. So, 
I fab up a stock style lip out of a piece of angle iron 
and after verifying the position from the original pan, 
I weld it in place to the new pan. The original heater tube cable is cleaned-up and it's welded in place on the pan. 
We weld a fender nut in place at the cross brace for the battery clamp plate to bolt to later. 
All the edges and welds are painted to protect the bare metal. 
The driver's side pan is installed following the same steps. We install the cleaned-up pedal stop and verify its position using the measurements we took earlier.
Then, we'll do some clean-up and seal all the seams on the pan and get it ready for reassembly. 
But we won't bore you with all that. 
Keep an eye out for our next video where we'll cover the repairs we did to the frame head.
Thanks for watching!
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and when you need parts for your vintage VW, head over to JBugs.com