JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Frame Head Repair:

Video Overview:

While we were replacing the floor pans in our 1971 Super Beetle we also had to repair the front frame head support. This area is often referred to as the “Napoleon’s Hat” understandably. While we could have cut off the entire section as we did have the replacement, our tech prefers patching in the ends. Follow along as he cuts out and repairs the ends of our Super Beetle chassis.

Vehicle prep: 0:53
Frame head removal: 1:10
Frame head replacement: 2:02
Frame head installation: 2:38

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

Angle Grinder
Wire Wheel
Cut Off Disc
Grinding Disc
Pocket Knife
MIG Welder
3/8" Drill Bit
Vice Grips

Video Transcript:

Hello! Sam here with JBugs.com
In our last video, we showed replacing the floor pans of our 1971 Super Beetle. 
Part of that process was repairing the rust damage on the frame head 
but we didn't want to tie that repair into the floor pan video as it isn't a typical part of the process. We do, however, want to cover that and show you all at home. So, while we're borrowing my friend's shop, we made sure to film it all for you.
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.
With the floor pan out of the way, we start cutting along the frame head with a Sawzall, 
all the way through the rust and into solid metal. 
We swap out to a grinder with a cut-off wheel and cut down through the body flange area, 
down to the previous cut and finish off the cut at the top so we can remove the rusted top portion. 
The end of the bottom plate has some rust damage as well so we cut away the rust 
but we make sure to leave the two body holes, which aren't rusted, in place so we can use them for alignment.
On the top side of the chassis, we ground down the remaining flange of the frame head 
and clean it up with a wire wheel so we can locate the spot welds. 
The spot welds are drilled out and the steel scraps are hammered, chiseled, and pried off. 
The edges of the bottom plate are cleaned up.
Then we set the new frame head in place, on the chassis, 
and line up the end with a long flat head screwdriver. 
Setting the replacement piece in place helps to locate a cutting point for the patch piece we'll use 
and we cut the section off with a cut-off wheel. 
We set the patch piece in place and we can see that the internal bolt braces 
need to be ground down so it will sit flat in place. 
Once we have the patch piece test fit, 
we drill out some holes in the edge of it so we can use them to weld through when we install it later.
The bottom edges of the patch are cleaned up, 
we spray the inside of the frame head with a rust converter, and then we clamp our repair piece in place with a pair of vice grips. We weld the patch in. We seam weld the entire edge at the cut. 
Then, we fill in the holes we drilled 
weld the original bottom plate first then the patch piece. 
This is referred to as a plug weld or a rosette weld 
and is the easiest way to duplicate the original spot welds. The welds are smooth out with a flap wheel on a grinder.
Then, we get to work on the bottom side. 
A paper template is made, 
we cut out a matching piece of metal from our replacement frame head, and we weld it in place to the chassis. Then, all the welds are smoothed out and the repair on this side is complete. The entire process repeats again on the opposite side once we had cut out the floor pan there.
We end up with both sides repaired, 
we clean up the frame head with a wire wheel and spray paint the chassis to protect the metal. 
Of course, once the frame head was repaired, we were able to install our new floor pans and o
f course, we'll have newer videos of the repairs to our Beetle out soon.
Thanks for watching! 
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