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After looking at a few different New Beetles buying this donor car yesterday. Other than some dings it runs and rives great , no check engine lights . The dash is big enough to set pizza on :~)  It's going to sit until I physically have the "Smyth Performance" truck kit here sometime mid July. I'll repaint it in the matching " Resale Red"

 

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Last edited by Alan Merklin
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Beetle Pick Up....Minor progress, picked up some misc. supplies today that I will need in the build so there went that $100 bill.   The hood has two light 4" impressions at the top near the wiper arms,  looks like some one slammed their palms against it and another 1" ding front bottom. I called around for an aftermarket hood and they all go for about $200 IMHO is way cheap. Decided to try my skills at fixing it,  gently worked out the dents by applying light pressure and gentle taps to the underside of the hood working the dents from the outer area to center.  I was able to get most of it out so I'll skim coat the hood and saving $200. Need to figure a easy way to drop the rear about 1 1/4" ….Stay tuned~

What this country needs is a good small PU that handles decently and gets good gas mileage.  Can't believe the small pickups have disappeared and only now is Ford bringing the Ranger back - to find they sell as fast as they can make them! Even the Tacoma is too big. With waning sales of the new beetle (and its demise), VW will regret they didn't think of the PU!

WOLFGANG posted:

What this country needs is a good small PU that handles decently and gets good gas mileage.  Can't believe the small pickups have disappeared and only now is Ford bringing the Ranger back - to find they sell as fast as they can make them! Even the Tacoma is too big. With waning sales of the new beetle (and its demise), VW will regret they didn't think of the PU!

That iBuzz is looking attractive to me.

Best truck I 

WOLFGANG posted:

What this country needs is a good small PU that handles decently and gets good gas mileage.  Can't believe the small pickups have disappeared and only now is Ford bringing the Ranger back - to find they sell as fast as they can make them! Even the Tacoma is too big. With waning sales of the new beetle (and its demise), VW will regret they didn't think of the PU!

Agreed!   Back around 2002, I needed a truck that could:

1) tow a decent payload

2) fit in my garage

3) seat 5 if needed, 4 comfortably.

At the time, only the Dakota fir the bill.  It was a true mid-size truck with a V8 powerful enough to tow, had a crew cab, and would fit in my garage.

I am sorta excited about doing this, the build videos go into minute details a good thing. The plan is to built this Beetle truck complete it early September and sell it, Smyth was saying they constantly get calls looking for a completed one...( I have a total all in budget of $8500) After I sell that I'll probably buy a TDI Jetta / Golf diesel and do that conversion over the Winter then sell my trusty F150 

Last edited by Alan Merklin
WOLFGANG posted:

What this country needs is a good small PU that handles decently and gets good gas mileage.  Can't believe the small pickups have disappeared and only now is Ford bringing the Ranger back - to find they sell as fast as they can make them! Even the Tacoma is too big. With waning sales of the new beetle (and its demise), VW will regret they didn't think of the PU!

TDI diesel there are tons of them out there.

I know what you mean Alan.  

I rented a motorhome once and I ripped the bottom anchor on the roll out shade.  I had to order the leg, drill it properly but first rebuilt the bottom area which was aluminum siding with a whole bunch of ridges.  Ran to the local Canadian tire bought a bunch or paint cans close and managed to find the matching paint then, a bit of bondo, sanding, more coats sanding etc etc. 

Finally, the owner when I retained the unit could not see any repair so I was happy but it was a pain to spend time fixing it instead of holidaying.   I did a lot of body work when young but now it takes so much time and the new products are another education so I have stirred away for it . 

Yesterday poking around on eBay I came across a '67 Beetle chassis w/ new power coated pans, new adjustable beam, brakes, reman swing axle transmission , clutch set and a fresh balanced 1835 engine w/ title. New 5 bolt chrome Fuchs and new Continental tires. I bought it for 1/4 it's value !  Now to get it transported from Illinois to West Virginia . Depending on what's out there, it will become a new build " show" dune buggy or Speedster Project 49.

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I should offer to transport all of Alan's out of state purchases and sales.  

Get to see the country (a lot of it) and OD on Lovey's and T/A Truckstop food (not to mention "Slim Jims" and "Fronions").  

Borrow the Five Cent Racing hauler, get me a decent pickup with dual 30 gallon saddle tanks like my F250 had, and maybe another dog (like "Fred" in Smokey and the Bandit) and be on my way, delivering happiness all over North 'Murica.

In the meantime, I wonder if Kevin is delivering anything to the Greater West Virginia area and could slip in onto his hauler?  He could even get to see the National Headquarters of the Merklin Magic and Itty-Bitty Pickup Shop.

You never know what you get anymore

 

I lived up north where GM has a cold weather testing center and one week it was the official public health week so the newspaper published a large announcement but the copy editor did not pay attention and the notice read 

PUBIC HEALTH WEEK

knowing the editor he had a hard time living it down

 

Last edited by IaM-Ray

20190710_085913The trucker did show up at 8:30 AM with my chassis,  motor,  trans combo. Out of the truck comes this moose of a dog takes pee on the evergreen then promptly shyts on the next one...all in 30 seconds, nice way to start the day.  The driver glances at me  and just shrugs his shoulders.  I then notice that both front wheels of the chassis are turned inward to the steering stops , the right tie rod is ...gone ! I am on the back end of the trailer so that the driver can screw with both front wheels as we roll the chassis off the trailer , I stuff a floor jack under the front beam and whip it into the garage.  The bill is $550 COD, I count out fives big ones and tell him I charge $50 for the asteroid size lump of shyt he felt was no big deal and I have to clean up.   The chassis had minor rust issue where the '67 Beetle battery went so I wire brushed that only to discover it's sorta thin in a 5" area but the rest of the pans are perfect. Being curious I looked over the rebuilt 1835 and things do look fresh as well as the trans and I can see a new clutch in the starter opening that I had just removed. It's a new Bosch starter it would spin but the Bendix drive would not engage the flywheel. Off to Auto Zone I go to get a Beetle starter that always have in stock, come back home and bench tested it's a  ^$#@!!  dud. Back I go only to be told they don't have another it and it might here Saturday or Monday. It took 15 minutes for Auto Zone to process a cash sale refund. Then I called the good guys at NAPA , the parts guy say's it will be there 8AM tomorrow ...yippee-ki-yeah!   Back in the garage ( it's now 88 degrees with the sun baking the garage.) Checked over everything else on the chassis and all looks great what a bargain that was! So tomorrow I'll crank NAPA starter and check out the motor and trans op. Then I have to decide will it be another Speedster Project 49 ( It the guy that has a new body will accept my offer) or do a Dune Buggy  before the SMYTY Beetle truck kit gets here late this  month.

If I start doing a dune buggy, if there is interest.. I'll start another thread.

BTW if I go with the dune buggy , I'll have a set of like new polished aluminum Fuch's look a likes with new Continental 195  65 15's  available.

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Bob: IM S6 posted:

Alan:

And here you thought you were going to spend your days in West Virginieioio drinkin' coffee all day and lookin' at the mountains (and maybe learnin' to play the banjo?).

Good for you.

 The trout here are plentiful so Connie and I are finally going to get our Free Senior's Fishing License in the next week

Last edited by Alan Merklin

I see them listed as EMPI Polished Vintage VW GT-5 rims.  Assume with that size tire they are 5.5" (vs 4.5").  Specs: Offset: 20 mm/Backspace: 4" (CIP1 site says 3 3/4" but there are multiple manufacturers of wheel)/Manufacturer Part Number: 00-9687-0/Weight: 15#/Bolt pattern 5 x 205mm.  Nice looking wide 5 tires!

 

Beetle pick up post cut photos . Making the first official cut was a bit daunting because this was a nice looking Beetle in good condition.  I went through nine Sawzall blades (ends breaking) but did finish the cutting today. Now that I've done this I probably could do it again in half the time.

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Alan Merklin posted:

Beetle pick up post cut photos . Making the first official cut was a bit daunting because this was a nice looking Beetle in good condition.  I went through nine Sawzall blades (ends breaking) but did finish the cutting today. Now that I've done this I probably could do it again in half the time.

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Remind me never to leave my car parked in your driveway...

 

Lane Anderson posted:

Are you going to reinforce the structure to maintain crash integrity?

I am confident with the structural integrity of the kit,  it's very well engineered (Mark Smyth previous Factory Five co-owner) uses  premium grade aluminum and extruded bed floor. The  factory B pillars have heavy gauge aluminum gusset s added, the bed is bolted and bonded with " Corvette glue " aka 3M Panel Bond to the "cab" becomes part or the overall structure ,  it's under bed bracing and utilized multi factory tie in points to the bed assembly.  The bed - fender sides are one continuous thick fiberglass section also utilized structural 3M Panel Bond.   I've seen a photo of one that was rear ended at 45 mph and held up well to the point it was fixed.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Today I made sense out a large wire harness , I had to split two 1"  20 wire sections and pull those two from the  main harness...Opened it  from the taillights to the seat back location to ID and  relocate the factory amp and CD changer …. yeah old school but's part of a complex factory sound system.  Then capped off the rear defrost, hatch release, hatch open warning switch and sorted out the taillights . Amazingly when I powered up the harness everything worked as intended. Tomorrow I'll assemble the aluminum bed sections .

Gordon Nichols posted:

Yeah, you get into "factory" wiring harnesses on cars, especially those optioned out and come away with "What the heck were they thinking?"

As you know, most of the time no one guy was thinking.

Somewhere in the Fatherland, there was a department tasked with the sound system, and they were in another building from the safety-system guys, who were in a different country than the lighting guys. They did 53 conference calls to get it all together... but in the end just let each department have their own wires. Production bundled it all and told the guy down on the line to put it in the car. The first shift union guy figured out how to do it fast and right... but it was too much work, so second and third shift just did it the way the foreman told him to, so none of the wires actually ended up in the retainers.

After a couple of years of production, the accountants decided that sourcing wire with soy-based insulation would be cheaper. Marketing got a hold of this factoid, and the ad guys touted their production methods as green. It turned out that soy insulated wires is delicious to rodents, and so the food supply of the woodland creatures was secured by the tens of thousands of cars with this particular harness.

After 5 years of production, the manufacturer stopped building that particular model, and started the whole process over. Aftermarket parts kept some harnesses on the shelf (at $1927 a pop) for masochists who were not content to see a $2000 used car go to the scrap yard. There were no takers, and after 5 years of being dead inventory, the harnesses were sold to a salvage company, who stored them outdoors and provided a food source for woodland creatures.

It's the circle of life.

@Alan Merklin  Is there any issues with aluminum to metal reaction.  Also what about drainage of the bed?  My issue might be that the seat would not be able to rake enough to sit in the car I wonder how much seat track travel and rake is available in the beetle and wether there is more room in a Jetta.  Great concept for doing stuff around the house etc.   Now I can see the need to make a FG cover  

 

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All hardware is stainless except for the female RivNuts From what other ppl that have built say 6' is about max and that with the seat against the back wall. Jetta kit appears to have more room. The is a company that is already doing a aluminum framed tonneau cover with the gas lift shocks . One guy has made a one off fiberglass full tonneau .  Today I altered the glass sun roof track stops and made the rear drains.

Stan wrote: After a couple of years of production, the accountants decided that sourcing wire with soy-based insulation.     The 01 - through 04 Beetles has  carpet insulation  that when hot in the car it has a very strong Crayola crayon wax smell so that has to go too.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Photos of ten days further into the Beetle pick up conversation. The aluminum bed, brackets and gussets are now assembled on the car, tailgate is fitted, started to fit the fiberglass quarters today. Mark Smyth the designer really made this work with only one support bracket needing to be tweaked.  Looking at where on the build, I'm I thinking I'll have to tack another week onto the calendar...it's a different kind of build and for doing this the first time the related " Smyth Performance Beetle " You Tube assembly videos are a solid reassurance.

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IaM-Ray posted:

Looks very nice how are you finding the build process so far?  Measure 5 times cut once  

I reply on watching the build videos,  I can run them back as needed to confirm what I am doing and check the next step as a back up before I do the prior step. Only head scratching issue was how to get the gas door assembly off the fender ( it gets reused) One  screw , remove the cap and give it a good hard yank)  Every aluminum panel and brace hole is precise they are a small 1/16th pierce made by the CNC laser cutting system, all I had to do is open them up to 3 /16 or 5/16". 

Every part was cut perfect and fit exactly. The important area to check during assembly is the tailgate vertical gap measurement. I am adding two aluminum 1" x 1"x 14"  angles at the fender to tailgate area to give it additional strength with Panel Bond.  The assembly videos show Panel Bond and countersunk rivets which get skim coated.   I know better as over time, rivets tend to sink a hair and in the right light you can barely see the slight divots. I'll bond and temp screw all the FG panels in place then when cured I'll remove the screws, taper the screw holes and fill them in. FYI, 3M Panel Bond is stronger than the actual sheet metal and FG it is designed to hold together .

Beetle pick up build:  There are no written assembly instructions just the You Tube videos, I tend to be my own worst time line enemy when building. I look two steps ahead mock that up when possible seeing how it will come into play with what I'm doing now. All fiberglass panels get Riv-Nuts w/ tapered stainless bolts and some hidden rivets. So there's no room for error so I preassembled using self tap hex head screws. That idea worked showing a couple of problems that would have happened the screws show the exact pilot holes for the Riv Nuts. Tomorrow I'll Panel Bond the fender quarters, cab surround and tailgate.

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Last edited by Alan Merklin
WOLFGANG posted:

Great article in Automobilemag.com

https://www.automobilemag.com/...pickup-photos-price/

Waiting to see one at Carlisle (or a fleet of them).  Lots of opportunity for customization - 3rd brake light/bed light, bigger LED taillights, maple wood bed rails, cargo cover and, maybe, rear nerf bars!

Some now have the stainless bed strips and wood, others have used old school station type taillights.   My build has the extruded aluminum bed, flush round LED taillights   it's in primer and being painted resale red tomorrow with photos soon.

Terry Nuckels posted:

Hey @Alan Merklin, what do you think the bugup will go for?

There have been a few hundred of the Beetle truck kits sold since May  with about a dozen that I so far, know of being completed. The one that I I know  was sold  but seller ( he just bought three more kits) sold it to a friend,  I don't know what he got for it. The one I have in in VG condition and hopefully will sell for around $15k.

I happened upon a 1959 “low-light” Ghia for sale here in Central California.  It had been sitting in a garage for 15 or so years after a mid-level restoration in the early 80’s.  It sold for $21,000 and had to be towed away; to Colorado I’m told!

But I digress; while there I caught a flash of a black new Beetle pick up conversion.  I didn’t get more than a glance but it sure looked cool!

I’ve been following this thread and I’m looking forward to the finished project!

I decided to keep it the factory red because the jambs are where the fiberglass fender tabs are Panel Bonded  to.   Smyth Performance makes these kits for Beetle, Audi, Charger & Jetta. The beetle requires a lot of cutting compared to the other cars, when I got to the rear fender area it was like carving turkey layer after layer referring to the video instructions and asking myself..." Is this right " ?  I will wait to go get it in PA for a few days in a row that we haven't had snow so that the roads will be clear of sand, salt and cinders.

 

Stan wrote : As a business model for guys like you-- I suspect there's more money in these trucks than in Speedsters.  ….  No one knows for sure what the value is on a completed Beetle truck conversion. One was sold to a the Florida builder seller's friend so that really isn't accurate market indicator.  I'm sorta the first in the market when I list it in two weeks.  

Last edited by Alan Merklin
barncobob posted:

make a nice grocery getter,,a  bit feminine for me,not that its bad but ive never seen a male driving a VW(newer)maybe Vinnie in the SLO show years ago, it was pink I believe..

Not for me either, there has been a lot of attention after paint on it.  When Smyth Performance, the kit Mfg had a spot on a NE Fox 5 TV station, Smyth's phone rang for days with ppl wanting to know where to buy one that was done so there is hope ~)

Last edited by Alan Merklin

There is a guy in Florida that has built one Jetta based truck and two Beetles come to find out they sold quickly and he just bought another three more beetle kits.  I'm in Florida Friday for couple of weeks or R & R we are going to look him up and share beers and talk Beetle builds. 

With nly odds and ends tocomplete, I ran into the passenger side seat belt locking up ( not reusable) so I or'd a used one off eBay. That &%#! one too was locked up too and won't extend. Frustrating as I couldn't put any of the interior panels back in place yesterday. So when in doubt go to You Tube found a Dude's that was somewhat out there. The belt roller is sealed unit there is a non accessible hidden steel ball that once it moves into a detent from lateral force, it stays there.  He shows how to levitate the round steel ball with a magnet to get it to unravel so last night at 11:30 I get inspired .....Ta Da it works! Thanks to the You Tube Space Cadet that showed me how to do it. 

DannyP posted:

Looks great, Alan. Yes, the tailgate drops, Bob. Zoom in to the photo above and see the cut lines.

Yes, the tailgate  folds down and is secured in place with two Ford Ranger cables, the cup style hinges are from Chevy so  the gate is removable too.  When I finish it in the next day or so I'll post detailed photos.

The one thing that needs attention in the future is that the spare tire remains in the original position in a OEM recessed floor tub ( for weight) which is now under the removable extruded aluminum floor boards. It would take a few minutes to remove the screws to access it. If I do another one I'll cut out the tub and turn it over and weld it back in with a pick up truck spare tire winch in place to get to the tire from under the chassis

 

.

 

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Stan,  Yeah a TDI with a 6 speed would be nice.... I'm in Florida the next two weeks,  a guy there that I'll visit that has done two Jetta's and now has three more Beetle kits and a Jetta kit in crates...I plan on getting some Jetta build info from him as the aluminum bed constriction on the Beetle / Jetta kits are similar.  I'll do another truck conversion but right now I am well into a # 50 Speedster build for Carlisle, Pending is a " Meyer's Tow'd "  dune buggy resto for a guy from Philly begins sometime in June, I also have scheduled for " Andy" a Myers buggy body change out to in October.

Last edited by Alan Merklin

These kits are simple and very much complete including stainless hardware etc.  I did lean not to toss anything out until the build is done as there are some small oem items that can be reused. Build videos are good,  would run the video ahead a few step to see it what step I was doing now would be related of cause an issue. Do keep in mind you are building a single cab pick up with no room for storing nothing in the cab. 

IaM-Ray posted:

Do tell Stan, how would you use it?

No big mystery, Ray. I run a small business and I have a lot of projects going at any given time. There's a lot of instances where a small runabout with an open bed would be handy.

I use trucks every day, and they are (aside from labor) the greatest single cost of doing business. Trucks are a necessary evil and the bane of my existence. I'm always looking for an edge in some unconventional way.

Last edited by Stan Galat
Stan Galat posted:
IaM-Ray posted:

Do tell Stan, how would you use it?

No big mystery, Ray. I run a small business and I have a lot of projects going at any given time. There's a lot of instances where a small runabout with an open bed would be handy.

I use trucks every day, and they are (aside from labor) the greatest single cost of doing business. Trucks are a necessary evil and the bane of my existence. I'm always looking for an edge in some unconventional way.

You might want to decide if the kit fits the 2010 or before model or the  2011 and on model.

BTW 2009-2010 have fully independent rear suspension but a bit smaller inside cabin, but they are better built. IMHO, if you fit it them. 

2011-2012's are new body style have a bit more cabin space and would have an I-Beam rear suspension which may or may not make a difference in what the kit can handle in terms of weight.   Just saying those facts may help you to choose the model you want and the interior options you want. 

For a go around to get an AC compressor etc you might find it handy. 

 

@Alan Merklin,

I was running a call yesterday at a supermarket in Bloominton, IL when I saw a Smyth Beetle pickup pulling across the lot. I flagged the guy down and looked it over. His was a TDI with GORGEOUS paint - really slick looking bit of kit.

If guys could see these in person, I'm thinking there'd be a lot of interest. Really neat little trucks.

Last edited by Stan Galat

Stan did you get a photo? The Beetle truck is a style statement that works, easy to cut and assemble w/o any welding  ....there were a few teething pains with the first few that were assembled (including my red one ) we worked through it and Mark Smyth welcome the minor changes we suggested.   I might do another if it were a TDI with a manual "hand fired" trans. Andy at Hestermann Motor works ( I stopped to visit with him last spring in Florida) Andy is a TDI nut and can squeeze some serious TDI - HP w/o breaking the bank.

 

Last edited by Alan Merklin

Hardwired. It's the way I roll. It's a skinny co-ax with a 12v feed wire inside to trigger the radio display. The feed is picked up from the backup light. Less than $25, and replaced a license plate light(includes LED license light). I did replace the incandescent bulb on the other plate light so the lighting color matched(whiter light).

https://www.reverse-cameras.co...-hd-ccd-night-vision

The Cayman camera was on the slow boat, I think it took 4 or 5 weeks, but for the price with shipping I can be patient.

Same way I wired and triggered my tailgate camera in the pickup. SO easy to hook the trailer up now! In the pickup, I merely drilled a hole in the tailgate latch, right where the factory puts the OE camera. Amazon, $20.

Sorry for thread hijack.

Last edited by DannyP

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