JBugs Video Series

1971 VW Super Beetle - Rear End Wrap-Up:

Video Overview:

We’re just about done with the final assembly of our 1971 Super Beetle and by the end of this video, we’ll technically be done, although we will have to go back and iron out some wrinkles. Either way, we’re going to install the rear fenders, tail lights and rear bumper. Then we’ll finish up by bolting on running boards and finish off the complete rebuild with a set of door sill plates. Follow along as our tech wraps up the rear end of our nearly 4 yearlong restoration project. We aren’t quite done as we do have those wrinkles, but we are close!

Video Tips:

Tools used in this video:
3/8” Ratchet with 13mm Socket
3/8” Deep Well 13mm Socket
3” Long 3/8” Extensions
1/4” Drive Nut Driver with 8mm Socket
1/4” Drive Ratchet with 10mm Socket
Side Cutters
Trim Tool
Philips Screwdriver
Drill with Philips Screwdriver Bit
13mm Wrench
Coke Cup Funnel

Other Parts Used:
Super Glue
Black RTV Silicone
Lucas Oil SAE 30 Engine Break In Oil

Video Transcript:

It's been a long time coming.
We're reaching the end of our 1971 Super Beetle restoration project and we're going to cover the remainder of the assembly now.
We start where we left in our last video with the rear end of the car up on jack stands and we begin by test fitting the fender beading.
We'll note that the long tail will sit at the back edge of the fender at the rear apron.
Like the front fender, we're going to have to trim a few of the slots to line up with the fender bolts.
We'll loosely bolt on the fender, threading in all the mounting bolts.
We spray silicone spray at the seam which will allow our fender beading to be positioned easily as we tighten the fender down.
The fender beading is set in place and we trim a few holes as needed so the beading can be pushed into place into the body.
Then we start at the front and work our way back, tightening the bolts and making sure the fender beading lines up well at the body seam.
The long tail of the fender beading, at the last bolt, is wrapped around the bottom side and tucked into the back flange on the fender.
We end up with a nice loop at the bottom of the fender.
Next, we'll snap the taillight reflector into the side of the assembly base and press it firmly in to make sure it's secure.
Then, after stretching the seal over the taillight assembly, the taillight assembly studs are lined up with the holes in the fender
and nuts and washers are installed on the back side and finally the taillight sub harness is pushed up through the hole in the fender.
Now, we can wire up the taillight bulb holders.
Starting with a single filament bulb which will install at the bottom for our reverse light, the blue wire plugs into the terminal for it.
Then, we'll install the brown ground wire at the terminal next to the reverse light bulb.
Another single filament bulb is installed at the top bulb holder, which is for our turn signal, and the black wire is plugged into the terminal for it.
The middle bulb is a dual filament unit with a dim element and a bright element.
The dim element being for the running lights and the bright filament being for the brake lights.
Without knowing which terminal on the assembly does what, the easiest thing to do is install a bulb, plug in the white running light terminal to either terminal, and then turn on the running lights.
We've got a 50/50 shot of getting the wire right, which we actually did as the bulb isn't that bright.
If we switch the wire to the other terminal, the bulb lights up very brightly.
So we swap the white running light wire back to the bottom terminal and install the red brake light wire onto the top terminal.
The running lights are turned off and the bulb holder is screwed into the taillight housing.
Now we'll get to work installing our new taillight lens.
We painted our original taillight trim rings black as we don't have much in the way of chrome trim on our car.
The rings were in good condition but the seals we're not.
Fortunately, the taillight lens seals from a later model Beetle can be used to replace the seals on 1962 through 1972 taillight trim rings.
So, with the trim ring in place on our taillight lens, we dab super glue around the edge of our ring.
Then, starting at the bottom, we set the new seal in place and trim it to length at the bottom.
We can now install the taillight lens noting that on U.S. spec 1971 and 1972 taillight assemblies, there is a reflector in the lens that faces the outside edge of the car.
Finishing up the work on the right fender, we'll install a bumper bracket seal, followed by the right bumper bracket, which has a bolt hole at the bottom of the outer lower tab.
The bolts for the brackets are installed and tightened down enough to allow the bracket to slide in and out so we can adjust the bumper later.
The same steps are followed on the left fender.
But, after we slide the bumper bracket in place, we bolt in an under the fender oil filter mount on top of it.
An oil filter adapter, with left facing ports, bolts to the mount and the mount fits 1954 through 1973 Beetles.
Just like the right side, the bolts are tightened enough to allow the bumper bracket to slide freely.
And once we've got the left side taillight assembly in place, we can now work on mounting the rear bumper.
After the bumper is set in place over the bumper brackets, the two center bolts on the face are installed and washers and nuts are installed on the back side loosely.
The remaining bolts are installed, and a screwdriver or punch can be used to make sure the holes in the bumper brackets line up with the bumper.
Once all the bolts are installed loosely, we set rags between the bumper and the fenders to prevent accidental dents and scratches.
Then, we tighten the bolts that attach the bumper to the brackets.
Finally, we can slide the bumper back and fourth at either side, as needed, to set the gap evenly between the bumper and the fenders.
Once the gaps are set, we can tighten the bracket to body bolts.
With the bolts tight, we'll prefill an oil filter with oil and thread it onto the oil filter mount.
This way we have the added capacity of the filter in our system before we put oil into the engine case.
We're nearing the end as we install a pair of Nutech satin black running boards.
We did test fit the boards before paint and body so the installation is very straight forward and we don't need to loosen our fender bolts to get the running boards set in place.
Once their bolted on, we can give them a test stand and even though you're not supposed to stand on the running boards,
the aluminum boards can handle my weight and I'm not really light.
The last parts we'll install are a set of aluminum sill plates that are made to match the Nutech running boards.
The sill plates cover the threshold between the carpet and the running board and come pre-drilled for mounting.
You could drill into the heater channel and screw the sill plate in but I don't like extra holes in the heater channel.
Remember, we had to replace the entire driver's side channel in this car.
I prefer using some RTV silicone to glue the sill plates in place.
Noting that there is a left and right side, with a narrow portion that goes towards the front and a wider portion at the rear,
a couple of spots of RTV are squeezed onto the sill and it is set in place and pressed down.
The excess silicone is wiped up and once both sides are in, we recommend leaving the doors closed until the silicone cures.
Now, we'll lower the rear end of the car down to the ground and we can see that we really should have done this before we installed our fenders.
The rear end is sitting way too low with the engine in the car and we're going to have to readjust it.
In the meantime though, we'll fill the engine up with oil about two and a half quarts to start.
We crank the engine over for a few seconds and then wait a few minutes and check the oil level.
We add another 3/4 of a quart of oil.
Then, with a few gallons of 91 octane poured into the tank, we crank our engine back to life.
We notice some hesitation which we're guessing is from too much fuel pressure, but in the meantime, we'll put the engine in reverse and back up a bit to check that the reverse light switch works.
Then, we'll check that the running lights, the brake lights, and the turn signals work.
With that, we'll call it a wrap.
We still have to raise the rear suspension of the car, diagnose and fix the hesitation in the carb, and fix a couple of oil leaks one of which was unexpected.
We'll go over all that in our next video.
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