The Airbox

The fresh-air intake box sits below the windscreen and, apparently, is a known problem area in older cars, especially those that are allowed to sit unused. Dust and debris builds up in the base of the box and attracts the damp with inevitable results. I found that the box on this car had become blocked and had consequently rotted through. I didn’t know exactly how bad this was until I started poking around – and it was really bad!

This is what it looked like after I had removed all the rust and loose paint. The steering column and dashboard have been removed – this is a radical rebuild! But if the project is worth doing, it’s worth doing properly.
It was even worse underneath! This view is only available after dropping the front suspension and removing the fuel tank. All I could do was to cut the rot away and repair it. By the way, the shiny bit on the left of the picture is the mounting for the front roll-bar.
A view from the inside again with the lower part of the box cut away. I have already treated the rusty metal with Kurust and watched it turn blue!
Because of the shape, I decided to retrieve a sound box from another car – I chose my old Fastback as it had already donated the door frames and the box was in much better condition that this one. After trimming everything to match, I tried fitting it in place.

How many of you knew that VW changed the shape of the airbox and fan in the last year of production? I didn’t until I tried to fit these two together! But that was a main-stay in VW’s advertising for the Beetle – the constant small improvements over the years. But it makes for frustrating times when you are trying to restore the cars now and find you need a part that was used for one year only and is now as common as hen’s teeth!

It needed a fair bit of trimming and persuasion before it fitted. Then I drilled for a line of pop-rivets (this is non-structural and too awkward to weld) and I gave it a generous application of Finnegan’s No 1 primer between the surfaces as well as the outer surfaces.
And here you can see the drain aperture – not very sophisticated – it just dribbles out down the front of the bulkhead! It will receive good attention from my paintbrush during the rest of the work and a regular hosing down through the intake to stop debris building up again once it is back on the road!