JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Front Fender Removal:

Video Overview:

We’re back to work on our 1971 Super Beetle, getting it ready for bodywork and paint. Our tech will cover some tips for removing the old dented and rusted front fenders and we’ll show what can happen when removing 50 year old fender bolts. Once the old fenders are gone we’ll fit some new aftermarket fenders and show how important it is to test fit everything before painting new body parts.

Vehicle preparation: 1:00
Front fender disassembly: 1:24
Bumper removal: 2:32
Front fender removal: 2:39
Front fender test fit: 3:23
Headlight bucket test fit: 3:40
Front fender test fit: 4:03
Turn signal test fit: 4:46
Vehicle reassembly: 5:00

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:

1/2" Impact Driver
19mm Socket
Impact Driver
1/4" Drive Extension
8mm Socket
3/8" Drive Ratchet
3/8" Drive Extension
3" Extension
13mm Socket
13mm Deep Socket
1/4" Bit Adapter
#2 Phillips Screwdriver Bit
13mm Wrench
Body Hammer
#2 Phillips Screwdriver
Flat Blade Screwdrivers
Adjustable Wrench
Side Cutters
Vice Grips

Video Transcript:

Hello! Sam here with JBugs.com
We're back to work on our 1971 Euro Look Super Beetle project 
and we're going to continue the disassembly at the front of the car. 
The original fenders aren't rusted through but the front left has seen an obstacle or two in its time 
and there is a good amount of surface rust on the bottom side. 
The passenger fender isn't bad but we recommend replacing the fenders in pairs 
so the shapes and lines of the fenders match.
Getting started we chalk the back tires of the car, 
jack the front end up, set it on jack stands, and we pull off the front wheels. 
We'll also note beforehand, take pictures of the positions of all wires 
or other parts you aren't completely familiar with, to make assembly easier in the future. Save all the hardware you've removed and whenever possible, attach the hardware back to whichever part it belongs to.
The turn signal assembly is removed from the front fender. 
Removing the chrome and lens isn't required but removing the two nuts on the bottom side is. 
The assembly and base are pulled off the fender, 
the wires are disconnected, and the seal and wires are pushed down through the fender. 
Next, the headlight ring retaining screw is unthreaded 
and the headlight trim ring is removed so that we can access the three screws that hold the assembly to the fender.
Once those screws are removed, 
the headlight assembly is pulled and the headlight plug is disconnected from the back of the bulb. 
If you're going to be replacing all the wiring this step isn't necessary 
but if you plan on reusing the original wiring and the headlight plug, spend a minute to remove the wiring terminals from the plastic socket. Removing the terminals is simple and only requires a small flat blade screwdriver. 
Push it into the socket of the wiring terminal at the small notch to release it 
and pull the wire and the terminal at the back. Once all three wires are removed, the wires and the grommet are pushed through the back of the headlight bucket.
Next, the left and right bumper bracket bolts are removed and the front bumper is pulled off the car. 
Now we can get to removing the fender itself. Spraying the bolts with penetrating oil a day before is highly recommended as it will help loosen the rust and debris. 
As we remove our bolts we find that some of the body nuts have fallen out 
and have been replaced with a washer and standard nut. 
Once all but one of the bolts have been removed 
the bolt from the fender to the running board is removed the last bolt is unthreaded and the fender is removed along with the fender beading. 
With the fender out of the way, we can see that most of the body nuts are in place 
but one has been twisted and two are missing completely.
They will all be replaced or repaired during bodywork but first, we will test fit out new replacement fender 
so we bolt it up to the body and the running board. We always recommend test fitting any replacement parts before painting. Our fender lines up extremely well which means the damage to the front of the car was minimal. We continue the mock-up by test fitting the headlight assembly. Once it's installed, we try to install the headlight ring. 
We can see here that the headlight sits too low in the aftermarket fender. 
This isn't a big deal as there are multiple mounting holes in the assembly 
and after some careful repositioning of the assembly, it's reinstalled and we can install the headlight ring.
The process is repeated on the opposite fender and while test fitting the headlight assembly 
we can note that with the assembly high enough in the fender to fit the trim ring, the lower screw can't be installed. 
So, we cut a bracket from a piece of sheet metal 
and screw it to the lower mounting point of the fender with a self-tapping screw. Then, we mount the bucket to the new bracket with another screw. It's a simple modification and tricks like this are often necessary when using aftermarket parts. 
The alternative would be hours of bodywork on an old dented and rusted fender 
so a few minutes of test fitting and some minor tweaks and modifications are well worth it.
We won't be using the stock turn signals in our car but if you'll be reusing yours, make sure to test fit them as well. 
Drilling into a freshly painted fender to install turn signaling that doesn't quite line up isn't fun 
so test fit everything before painting. The front bumper is reinstalled noting that the brackets are only loosely installed on the bumper. Once both brackets are bolted in place onto the body, the bumper hardware itself is tightened up. Finally, the wheels are reinstalled and the car is lowered down to the ground so the body lines can be checked. Then, we'll pull it all apart again and get the fenders over to the body shop.
Thanks for watching!
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As always, when you need parts or accessories for your vintage Volkswagen, head over to JBugs.com