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Old August 29th, 2012, 03:32 AM   #1
andk5591
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Default New project - Bug Hearse

I started a thread while I was deciding to build this or not http://volksrods.com/forum/showthread.php?t=34297

Now made a new project update thread and included the last post from the old thread.

So here is is.

Holy crap - didnt realize its been a year since I first posted about this. I finally gave in and decided to build the car.

In response to some of the posts - I have been wrestling with a lot of things on this concept. I personally would have liked to do this like a Model T panel/hearse. BUT this car is my wifes idea and she has a vision that I need to work with. Did a ton of research and technically, this should be a smooth metal roof with elaborate panels built into the sides. But thats not what she wants.

Now I am kind of goofy with projects - it has to have a "theme", which creates a set of rules for the build - like the woodie is a late 50s/early 60s mild custom. Or her 61 which is classic Cal-look.

So - lengthy discussion with the wife on this - hack build as in a guy in Mexico had a bug and a horse drawn hearse and stuck them together, build it as a correct(?) 30s/40s era coachbuilt hearse, OR as a 60s coachbuilt that was done in the flavor of a 20's hearse. She chose the latter.

Moving along now on the project - have a 73 standard that is really solid. Been dismantling the car and fixing/rebuilding things as they come off, so that when its time to put it together, everything will be ready.

Just got done adding some temporary bracing under the roof and the bottom of the B pillars before I start cutting. I scored the rear 1/4 of a Ford Ranger extended cab to use as the base for the rear of the "cab". Borrowing a lot of ideas from some of the Volks pickup builders on here.

Once I get the body cut in 1/2 and get it off the pan, my initial work will be lengthening the pan. I determined that I need to stretch it 16" to make it look right.

Heres a very crude "paint" of the concept.



This is for basic proportions and there are really no details shown. The car will be black as will the woodwork. Rear fenders will be Morris Travelers, like my woodie. There will be carved columns on the box corners with some carved cove moldings - a little busy, but not overdone, brass coach lanterns, etched glass and of course red velvet curtains.

Since I am hell bent on stayin with a type 1 engine, will have to pull off a little trick. There will be a coffin inside, but it will also help cover a portion of the top of the engine that will protrude into the box.

I still have a lot of details that I need to work out. And, since is my wife's idea and her car, she has a lot of input on what happens. So far, she has been coming up with a lot of great ideas.

* update today - body split and removed. Pan, etc pressure washed and now documenting everything so I can do my bracing, etc
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Old September 3rd, 2012, 05:32 AM   #2
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Minor updated - This is pretty similar to the box that I will be building except that I will build a boxed in base about 24" tall that it will sit on. bike - but this is close.jpg

Below are internal temp braces before I whacked the body. These will help prevent the roof from "oil canning" and the lower body from spreading out as its moved around and media blasted.

P8230015.jpg

P8230016.jpg

Just spending a lot of time working through the bracing and frame mods. Will finish stripping the engine, tranny and suspension this week and putting a couple big eye bolts in the shop ceiling to I can hang the pan and flip it around for cutting and welding. Will be bolting some 2x6s to the floor pan perimeter to act as a jig when welding the added tunnel section and fram braces.

Really having an issue with wheel choice, which I need to nail down before I start fabrcating the box support, since it will somewhat dictate the width because I have already decided on the rear fenders. She really like the black and polished 8 spokes and I lean more toward a stock or chromed smoothied wheel.......Offsets and tire width are my concern.....

Ended up going with a set of Marathon Bajas from a 72 bug. Will be painting them black with chrome trim rings - not sure about the center caps yet.
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Old September 16th, 2012, 04:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Quick update - should be stretching the pan this week. Disassembly is taking longer since I am cleaning, de-rusting, painting and rebuilding everything I take off so its ready for assembly. What sucks is that you forget little things -like the C-clip holding in the inner wheel bearing on an IRS until after you trashed the ungodly expensive bearing......
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Old October 1st, 2012, 04:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Tunnel is finished - had to lengthen the tubes for clutch, heat, etc. Biggest pain in the ass was stretching the shift rod. Always knew they had a bend - but didn't realize that there were 2 bends. And I needed to lengthen 14 3/8". The longest straight piece on my donor rod was 12" - so I had to do a total of 3 welds. Even with clamping in angle iron, it still needed finessed a bit. Once I get the other reinforcements in, wil post some pics.
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Old October 6th, 2012, 11:34 AM   #5
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Got the pan stretched and in primer. Pretty happy and the damn thing is really close as far as square and level. I was worried since I only had it tacked and knocked it off the saw horses - made a hell of a racket when it hit the floor, but nothing got tweaked... My welds are starting to look better too. Just dont look too close. Once I get it painted, I need to install the suspension, engine and tranny to locate some of the supports for the box.

PA050038.jpg

PA050039.jpg
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Old October 9th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #6
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Good day today - On all 4 wheels instead of stands. Lengthened my e brake cables (used the inner cable from a bus) and measured, measured, measured. Used the Empi "shortening" kit for the new ends. Was real thorough and clever - used J-B weld on the cable and end as well as the set screw - those suckers aint coming out.........Cut the wrong mark. Too long by an inch.... Will fix it tomorrow.

Well - its tomorrow - almost too short now...But its OK - They'll stretch. And heating the part with a torch does break JB weld loose. Hoping to get the engine in tomorrow so I can figure out where I can add some braces for the rear bodywork. Maybe will snap a pic or two.
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Old October 15th, 2012, 02:29 PM   #7
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Finally on its wheels.

PA080005.jpg

First test drive - Shifted fine and everything works. PA140013.jpg

Unfortunately had been waiting to get it warmed up for compression test and leakdown. Comp test was so-so 120 on 3 cylinders, 110 on one. Leakdown was great on #1, but went downhill in a big way. Not shocked, but was hoping for better results Oh well - was planning on pulling the heads anyway. So - will just do new P/C, rebuilt heads, oil cooler, etc. Then its done.
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Old October 27th, 2012, 03:04 PM   #8
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

]I dunno - think I might have had a prob with cooler seals?

PA200002.jpg

PA270005.jpg


Well, engine is back together and running pretty well. Cant really take a good run to seat the rings, but not smoking (much) and the plugs actually look pretty good. Has quite a bit more stuff than before the top end rebuild. Did a couple oil changes to help flush out the crud in the bottom of the case and seems pretty clean now. This engine is nothing exciting - just a 1600 DP with a rebuilt 34 PICT3, SVDA and stock exhaust (for now anyway). Will be yanking it tomorrow or Monday to get back to metal fab and hopefully get started on the body soon.

Found the prefect dolly for doing the engine drops - your basic 4 wheel movers dolly - made one ages ago and its just narrow enough that the bottom of the case just barely sits on it. Has big casters, so my floor jack pretty much gets under it. slide the dolly under the engine, jack under dolly and away I go. Plus its not that bad to work on the engine on it. Never took it off when doing the rebuild....
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Old November 3rd, 2012, 10:53 AM   #9
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Taking my time "sitting, staring and figuring". The guy that is doing the sandblasting and helping me with the "cab" has been tied up, so I am working on a lot of the rear bodywork supports/framework. Have some pieces cut and ready to weld in, but realized that I needed to get a handle on the firewall first, which then involves the sheetmetal around the engine sides for the seals, etc. Lots of pieces have to be sorted out at the same time. I am on the third mental version of how I am doing this section and I think I have a pretty good plan now. Once I get some of the metal in, I'll post some more pics.

Just test fitting and mocking things up - more bracing needs done.
PB030007.jpg
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Old November 13th, 2012, 06:14 PM   #10
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Been cranking away at the framework. Seems like the more I do, the more that still needs done. Have made a couple revisions as I have been going. Got my rearmost frame piece in and went back and checked my measurements and almost cried. Was off almost an inch side to side....Was going nuts trying to see what the hell happened but had to quit for the night. Got up this morning and saw that my rod holding my centerline string got bumped....a lot.... I was really only off about 3/16" and its easy to fix. Will post pics in a couple more days if I ever get close to being done with this part.
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Old November 16th, 2012, 01:09 PM   #11
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Almost done with the rear framework. Cant build the forward most support until I have the cab length sorted out. There will be 1x3 box tubing on the outer perimeter, but same deal, cant do it until I get the cab done. Just have to make some cuts on my firewall and clean it up and paint it. Will be starting on the cab after Thanksgiving.

PB150024 small.jpg

From the rear you can see the framing for around the engine. Need to set it in to verify the location of the tracks for the seals around the engine rear and sides. Also, you can see how I framed the top - will be doing the bulk of engine maintenance from the top. And I calculated to weight of the metal framing - it's only about 120 lbs. Probaly another 150 or so for the woodwork - wont be too bad - and not planning to race it anyway.

PB150025.jpg
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Old November 19th, 2012, 03:17 PM   #12
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Well - closer but I threw a wrench into it. Nervous about cooling and its easier to do things now than later. Had issues with the woodie initially so decided to do something somewhat similar. Will post pics when the system is roughed in. Anyway - hoping to use a portion of a late engine lid with the cooling slots as the lower "tailgate", but not comfortable that the vents will be enough. Cut a couple holes in the ends of my firewall and running ducts from them to the front of my "bed" which will have a 325 cfm fan feeding each duct. Should be enough for supplimental cooling.
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Old November 23rd, 2012, 03:02 AM   #13
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

well - lots to do today - Got the new metalwork painted the other day and now the engine seals going in and so is the engine. Keeping my fingers crossed that I measured everything right. Will post a pic or two when I get it back on its wheels.

PB220002.jpg
Well - it fit.

PB220004.jpg

Still have to modify the rear tin and install its seal - but the side seals are in. A little tighter than I liked, but it worked.
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Old December 1st, 2012, 05:20 AM   #14
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Finished up my supplemental fresh air system. Use 6" round to 6" oval angle boots (for residential heating). Then 6" semi-rigid duct to a pair of 5" fabs. Will give me about 1/2 of the air that I need. Will use louvers on the rear engine cover for the rest. Hauled the body to be media blasted. Really agonizing over my rear engine cover area - need to nail that down before I start hearse body work. Going to borrow an early engine lid this morning to see if one of those will work as a base to start with. A late just doesnt look right, but may just fab one from scratch.

I'ts a bitch tryinig to make something look "factory".
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Old December 11th, 2012, 04:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Doing a lot of mocking up with cardboard. Came up with a cool ass end treatment that has a very distinct VW look. Working through a lot of details before any sawdust starts flying. Feeling a lot better since I now have a much clearer vision on this thing. Got a couple great ideas from a buddy that will make it a little more challenging, but a much better finished project. Really wont have much for pics for a while.
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Old December 14th, 2012, 07:42 AM   #16
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

OK - here's some pics -

Got my rear tin made and installed - Obviously the rest of the engine compartment will be finished off in sheet metal. Used early style seals.
PC130003.jpg


Here's a couple shots of the fresh air ductwork that blows air through the square cutouts in the firewall corners.. Will use 6" semi rigid aluminum tube connected to a pair of 5" fans. This is supplimental to louvers and such on engine cover
PC130009.jpg
PC130011.jpg

Mocked up engine cover and general rear panel. Has a definite VW look, IMHO. Having metal bent for the cover right now. The engine cover will have a couple louver panels in the upper corners that will be cut from a 73 bug engine lid. Bus tail lights will have housings that will stand them off the panel about 2-3". Using Euro style that will allow me to use a double filament and a single filament bulb, but am converting to LEDs. And staying with all red lenses. Actual light position TBD.

Wont be using overriders - euro early bumpers with the shorter bumper guards - Whats cool is a front bumper works nicely as the rear.

The engine lid curve is the same as a beetle engine lid and will match the curve of the rear hearse box doors....Don't even ask how much custom bent tempered glass is gonna cost for them.
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File Type: jpg PC130012.jpg (62.2 KB, 26 views)
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Old December 22nd, 2012, 05:51 PM   #17
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Taking a break till after the holidays on the hearse to get a couple things fixed on the woodie. BUT totally stoked - My cabinetmaker buddy, who helped me on the woodie and will be helping me on the hearse, was just approached to build a "motorcycle" trailer hearse aong the lines of what my hearse box will be. He wants to hire me to help him build it and we can actually do mine simultaneously. Meaning that my box will most likely cost me next to nothing to build....Is this a great country or what?
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Old December 28th, 2012, 02:39 PM   #18
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Played around with my "paint" sketch to get it closer - have about 8" of snow on the ground and the car is in my storage garage at the moment, so no "real work" happening at the moment. Color is not correct - will be black and the carvings arent there. Wheels will be black Lemmerz baja marathons with beauty rings and center caps (still need to find something that will work) - will give me an artillery wheel look.

14 in stretch 12-12 ideas bigger.JPG
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Old January 11th, 2013, 11:54 AM   #19
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Not a lot going on. Finally got the body stripped, blasted and in primer. Panels under the heater channels are going to get replaced. Channels themselves are good (WHEW!). Passenger door is getting swapped out as well. I knew there was a little mud in it, but looked like the hinge was frozen and someone really bruted it, then slathered on the bondo. Plus there was a fair amount of rot on the bottom. of course I have 2 sets of doors in the garage, but neither are from this late of a car, but a buddy gave me a damn near perfect door. Thanks Harry!
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Old January 17th, 2013, 03:33 AM   #20
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

While I am hold, my wife came up with a great idea to do some work on my work bay itself. Its under my porch with no ceiling and next to impossible to heat. Put foil faced foam on the ceiling and caulked and sealed the hell out of it. And decided to revamp my shelving etc since I had never really planned to use this bay for serious mechanical work, so there were just some random sheves. Since its small (12x16) with a small 12x10 shop on the end, I had to really go for maximum density. Plus I have my home maintainence and woodworking stuff in here. Working out really well. Will be wrapping it up this morning and its going to be sooooo much nicer working in there.
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Old January 18th, 2013, 11:05 AM   #21
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Mocking up my wheels. No - they wont be blue - powder coat black once I have them put together. I got these "plain" 32-35 Ford hubcaps from Universal Tire and ribbed trim rings from Speedway. Have to fab some steel adapter rings to sit just inside the wheel center that will allow the hubcap to just pop in. Will need some notches ground in for access to the lug nuts - but this is gonna work out. Also, I found "stick on" VW center cap emblems, so I can have the VW logo on the cap centers. Once again - going for a "stock" look. I think I have the pseudo "artillery" wheel look nailed.

P1170010.jpg
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Old March 1st, 2013, 01:03 PM   #22
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Still alive, but no progress. Body still at the shop for the cab conversion. Hoping this month to have it done and in primer so I can get going on the box. Did get the adapters done for the wheels to mount the center caps. In the meantime did front end work on her 61, and did a big bore kit for the 1200 in my 65 bug. Now if this damn snow would only go away!
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Old March 11th, 2013, 02:35 AM   #23
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

Back at it - will post some pics later this week. Getting ready to roll the rear of the "cab" and still nailing down the radius. Also working on the rear engine cover area. Figuring metal would hold up better than cardboard
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 05:00 AM   #24
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

She seems pretty happy with the look. Theres a wooden buck screwed across the roof that has been rounded over to help form the metal. Ya know, if I wasnt doing what I was doing - if I left it a little longer, would have been a bitchin' 5 window.....Now looking for a rear window.

P3200011.jpg

This is one of 2 rear corner bucks.

P3200014.jpg
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Old March 22nd, 2013, 02:47 PM   #25
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Default Re: New project - Bug Hearse

P3220006.jpg

Got the body set on the pan.

Having a hell of a time finding a basic rectangular 12x24 flat window with radiused corners. Searched the web for hours. Going to call a truck cap manufacturer Monday and see if they can help.
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[SIGPIC][/SIGPIC], 61 Cal look, "stock" 65 Bug, 69 VW woodie, 70s vintage Manx clone, 73 bug based hearse project, 67 "T" project and a 66 with probable Suby transplant.

Last edited by andk5591; March 24th, 2013 at 05:50 AM.
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