JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Rear Apron Tail Pipe Modification:

Video Overview:

Modifying the rear apron of a VW Beetle usually involves welding up or “shaving” the tail pipe openings. We’re going in a different direction though and we’re going to make the tail pipe openings in our 1971 Super Beetle a little larger and we’re going to give them a custom flare as well. This will enable our slightly modified 2 Tip GT exhaust to clear the apron without any problems. Watch and learn how easy some custom body modifications can be.

Vehicle prep: 0:45
Rear apron modification: 1:21
Apron rod installation: 2:45

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

3/8" Metal Rod
Angle Grinder
Wire Wheel
Cut Off Disc
Flap Wheel Sanding Disc
Vice Grips
Body Work Hammer
Body Work Dollies
Measuring Tape
MIG Welder

Video Transcript:

Hello! Sam here with JBugs.com
We've been working our way through numerous rust repairs on our 1971 Super Beetle, 
cutting, grinding, and welding, on the body and the chassis. While we're wrapping up, one of the last things we're going to do is modify the tailpipe openings on the rear apron.
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, and all be dangerous so make sure to use all the necessary precautions.
Our engine is running a two-tip GT exhaust which we modified so that the tailpipe 
sit parallel with the engine as opposed to pointing down slightly. The manufacturer points them down slightly as the larger tailpipes won't fit the stock openings otherwise. So, since we modified the exhaust, we'll have to modify the body to fit the new tailpipes.
We start with a couple of 3/8th inch steer rods that we bent around a welding bottle cap. 
We set one in place against the apron to see what we will begin cutting. The first two cuts we will make are near the bottom so that we can open up the bottom edges of the apron. Then we use a body hammer and dolly to straighten the sheet metal around the edges.
We set the rod in place on the apron again and mark the apron against the inner edge of the rod to give us a guideline. 
Then, we cut off the inner rolled edges 
which we'll then cut off with an angle grinder and cut-off wheel. 
We also cut a couple of relief cuts, about midway up on the opening, 
and then bend the top side of the opening down and shape the metal with a body hammer. 
We slide the bent rod into the slot we just made, to test the size of the opening 
and we note how far the rod ends stick through.
The ends are cut off and we fit the rod back into the apron again 
and shape the lower edges of the apron to fit the rod, with a pair of pliers. 
The rod is pulled out, the edges of the apron are cleaned up with a wire wheel, 
and we slide the rod back into place again to check the fitment. Once we're happy with the way it fits, the whole process is repeated on the opposite side.
With the rough fit set on both openings, 
we check that the tailpipes are spaced evenly from the upper edge and then tack weld both rods into place. 
We continue welding the rods into the apron, 
building up the welds to give a nice solid edge that we can shape as we'd like. The bottom edges are welded to the rod and the inner apron as well.
Once we're happy with the overall shape and edges, we protect the bare metal with some primer. 
We'll get a fully ready paint surface while we're doing bodywork. 
We won't bore you with all the hours of block sanding we're about to start 
but we can say at this point that they were worth the effort. The car is back from paint and it looks fantastic.
Thanks for watching! 
Make sure to click the like button below, hit subscribe if you haven't and when you need parts for your vintage VW, head over to JBugs.com