So the Facebook Group VW-DIY-IT! Body, Metal, Interior has been an excellent resource for watching people’s solutions to metal issues across the entire spectrum of air-cooled models.
I’ve been saving some discussions that I suspect I’ll need to readdress in the future and one of the key ones that I know will be an issue will be the dreaded Death Foam found in VW Beetle sedans made after 1970.
Fellow member Kris Nyberg shared some of his own pics and this is a technique/method of attacking the problem that I can see myself following given that ultimately, the repair hides a lot of the new welded sheet metal under the headliner.
Now Żuczek’s drive side rear vent (Fig 1.) has a lot of paint damage and surface corrosion that is indicative of a deeper underlying possible cancer in the form of the foam VW inserted here at construction. While this foam did cut down on some noise and vibration, it was never intended to still be around 50 years later. Over the course of those 50 years, the foam, in most environments, causes moisture to be maintained and causes the metal to rot from the inside out. It sucks, but I doubt it was on the minds of the designers when it was originally planned.
The passenger size is showing a bit of paint issues below the vent (Fig 2.) but this could very well be the same issue.
Regardless of what is discovered at deconstruction, the plan will be to remove the foam on both sides, repair whatever damage is there, and then seal it all internally with whatever product meets what is found.
Now Kris responded to my inquiry on the options for tackling this with some pics of his own removal/repair from the interior.
Since this is a total decon, I am thinking that this may be the best initial point of entry and removal of the bulk of the foam.
In Figure 3, he cut out a large but simple rectangle behind the rear seat, staying clear of the pop-up mounts. This exposes a massive amount of area and a good bulk of the foam can be removed and then, through both vertical motions as well as rearward motion, the other areas should be able to be reach with tools.
The patch in this area is straightforward, with minimal bending and clean straight weld areas. This entire area ends up under carpet anyway so it allows some forgiveness for what will no doubt be some pretty shitty welding on my part.
Now one thing he’s done (Fig 5) is shave and delete the vents. For me, loving 70’s era bodies, the vents are kind of a distinct decorative feature so I’m not yet sure if I’ll keep them or not. I suspect I will, as I want to use them for a bit of the contrast color on the body, not necessarily the black stock look.
You can see some additional repair work he needed to do on the quarter panel due to the rust from the foam. I suspect I’ll have some of this as well.
Other reference pics from around the net: