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I just finished up the pan and the engine should be done any day now, so I'm getting ready to gather up 5 of my closest friends (possibly the hardest part of the process ha!) and put it all together. I'm wondering if you guys have any tips for a flawless procedure. I've measure the 4 main mounting holes and they're spot on but I'm sure there are a few things I haven't even thought about.  Any advice would be greatly appreciated 20240512_180251


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It is much easier to wire the body (or clean up sloppy wiring) when the body is off the pan.  It is a royal pain to do wiring upside down under the dash!  Are the accelerator and clutch cables new?  Easier to replace them now.

Forget how many tubes of silicon sealer I used when I attached mine (years ago).  I'd have about 5 tubes on hand.  Check side-to-side rear tire clearance.  The driver's side always seems to have less clearance to the outer opening lip.  Try to maximize what you can get.  Something is off on how the subframe is mounted or the body is off.

The body is not that heavy - so if only 4 show or 3 strong ones --- it can be done

@WOLFGANG has got it right.  Soooo much easier to make sure everything under the body is buttoned up now.  Steering, brakes, suspension, wiring.  If there is anything you want to upgrade? Do it now.

I've inherited speedsters with obvious things that were neglected because the previous owner wanted to get the body on quickly and see some results.


I followed the CMC build manual.  To give the thin pans strength they need all the bolts that VW used originally (not bolts but bolt locations).  I used stainless steel bolts but doubt anyone will ever separate the body from the pan (know I won't).  I just used the silicon - no OEM body gasket.  Ha, I noticed the build manual says 6 people to lift the body!


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My guess is that the body weighs around 300 lbs.  I put mine on the pan with only four of us, one at each wheel arch.  Offers of Pizza and Beer help to get people to come.  (Everything-on-it pizza and Craft Beer, for sure).  The second one I did, I used an electric winch from Harbor freight hung from the garage rafters and it lifted it with ease.

It really helps to "dry fit" the body to the pan, figure out where you have to move the rear of the body (front, too) for equal spacing wheel arch lip to tire on both sides and then think about the final fit (you may have to mess with the bolt holes after adjusting the body left/right).

I did the same as Wolfgang with the silicone caulk, but used the big, contractor size tubes and ran two 1/4" beads down each side and across the front and back.  Then, lower the body on and get the rear centered left/right and a couple of bolts in.  5 regular tubes of caulk are needed, but get six to be safe.  I used clear, but they sell black silicone caulk, too.

Pay attention to the area right over the tunnel top in the front of the cockpit and fill that triangle void with caulk.  Same goes for the rear in the center.  Have a friend hold a drop light in the cockpit at the rear of the tunnel and along the back of the footwells to see where any gaps are and fill them now from the front or rear - Any way you can, especially right in front of the rear wheels.  Same thing up front across the Napoleon Hat section where wheel splash could get in.  No such thing as too much caulk around the pan - You can easily trim or ignore the excess.

After dropping the body on and getting it even left/right, anchor the body to pan at the four corners with bolts.  Each front corner gets two bolts.  I spaced the side bolts at each corner and then about 16" apart and used 5/16" bolts and the original VW oval washers under the pan.  Some places got nuts above and others that were blind got Rivnuts into the body sub-frame and bolts into the Rivnuts but I could borrow a pneumatic Rivnut insertion tool from work.  You might want to get the el cheapo mechanical Rivnut inserter instead, if you go that route.  Once they're inserted right they aren't going anywhere.

Don't forget to install the front body support.  It attaches to the top of the H-Beam up front and then to the underside of the body just ahead of the gas tank.  VERY important that gets installed correctly to keep the body from cracking between the headlights and frunk opening.  

That's all I can think of right now, but I probably left something out.....

Twenty years ago, when I was a younger man, I took the body off and on a 1958 KG that I was restoring numerous times, by myself, with nothing more than a floor jack, a few 2x4's, jack stands and a Little Giant ladder.  I would guess that body weighed around 500lbs.  Work smarter, not harder.

I don't know the reason these guys are using all that silicone. I have done several body off VW's and always just used a new pan gasket that I glue to the pan with gorilla snot, aka weatherstrip adhesive.  



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Yes.... dry fit the body to the chassis being sure the outer wall rear tire measurement rear to wheel well lip clearance is close to same left to right..  you can yank it over to one side a bit if needed. ( Note if needed some of the wheel well lip can be removed if clearance is needed but be sure to leave at least 1/4" of the lip edge for support )      On some new builds I've set the body on 42" tall saw horses and did most of the dash wiring, gauges, switches, mounted the deck lid and frunk' lid and latches etc. Do not install the door mechanisms and handles while on saw horses this needs to be done when the body has been bolted to the chassis .

I did the same thing from the rafters of my garage on my second build, but used a borrowed Harbor Freight electric winch similar to this:

The winch was rated for 1,500 lbs. and the body weighs about 300 so an easy lift.  My garage had a truce roof (no center support columns) so I got a couple of 12' 4" X 4", laid those across a bunch of rafters and strapped the winch to the 4 X 4s.  I used slip chains from the winch cable to the corners of the cockpit so I could level things and away it went, but using cargo straps might be a better idea to fine tune the leveling (good idea, @Wrenn Smith ! ) if you can get some rated for over 150 lbs each.  Must have put it on and off 6 or more times until I got it right.  

I'll see if I have a picture of the body on the lift.  All I have on my phone is this one, when it was waiting behind some house projects:



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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

Found 'em!

The winch made it a one-person job and with the remote buttons I could finagle it around close to the pan to get it centered.

easy peasy

Here's the winch and 4X4s across the rafters.

heavy lifting

Slip chains bolted to the body frame.

lift points

Here is the body levitating.  That "rope" down the driver's door is the control for the winch.  I can't believe how much junk I stuffed into that garage - And it was just a seasonal home!  🙄

up and away

The winch also worked well for working on the pan:

pan assist

And to answer another earlier question, on this build, my second Speedster, I used a VW body seal around the cockpit.  I think I sort-of glued it in place with some black silicone caulk just to hold it from moving around when positioning the body.  This is the rear corner, driver's side.  You can use more caulk at the intersections to get a good seal.  This is probably better than the CMC recommendation I did on my first build (without benefit of this group of helpful people).  

left corner

Here you can see more of that VW body seal across the rear of the cockpit.  Be careful to triple-check for any gaps across the back as shown as that whole seam is notorious for leaking water on CMC cars.


That's about it for the second build.  Hope this helps!


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Last edited by Gordon Nichols

My home shop in PA I had sandwiched ( screwed and glued) a piece of 3/4" plywood between  2 - 2x 8 x 6'. That was then positioned and secured over a span of 4 ceiling joists . I bolted a large screw eye through the 2 x 8's and that eyelet hung below the ceiling ...I used a Harbor Freight Come a Long ( chains affixed as Gordon posted) to set a many speedster bodies and a few Chevy V8's into T Bucket Roadsters.

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