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Discussion Starter #21
Thanks ! Not many folks have made any comments about the build. There's really not a perfect section, or heading to post something like this on the Forum yet.
Stay tuned, as I have some special ideas that I plan to include into the Ute ! As the body work progresses, my posts may slack off due to the time it takes. Not much to take picts of with body work. I'll keep posting as progress is made. Thanks again
 

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Discussion Starter #23
Hey - Thanks ! I appreciate your support. I've worked with fiberglass body's before, and I'm just a little disappointed with the panels in this kit. Oh, the fiberglass quality is good, and the panels are plenty solid and thick enough, but the gel coat really could be better. I've got a lot of little wiggles and dips that will take hours to sand out. Many years ago I restored a 1963 Studebaker Avanti. I had the body bead blasted, and the fiberglass in the body was a lot straighter than what I have here today. Back then, Studebaker's Avanti body's were made by the same factory that was making the Corvette body's. I bought a gallon of a high quality body filler that is supposed to NOT leave any pin holes. After I sand the gel coat with #120 grit paper, I'll coat the entire fiberglass area with the body filler. Then I'll wet sand that by hand with # 320 paper. Of course, most of the filler will end up on the floor in a mess, but all the low spots will be filled in. Then I should be able to fill in the balance with filler primer, with wet sanding between each coat. Lots of hours ahead before any color goes on !
 

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As an 18 tear old kid I had my first experience wet sanding, I wasn’t impressed and have avoided it since. My hats off to your patience and attention to detail.
 

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Discussion Starter #25
Since I last posted anything, I decided to scuff the gel coat on the fiberglass, then spray a medium heavy coat of primer on it. Then I wet sanded that with #320 paper and you can see the results. Where it's still gray color, are the low spots. I believe that using just paint will bring everything up to the proper level. It may be that I'll have 6 or 7 coats of primer that will be wet sanded before it's ready for color, but by then it sure will be smooth.

I had new tires installed while I could take advantage of a great tire sale price. Also, I wanted the new tires on before I painted the wheels, so that the tire mounting machine wouldn't bugger up my new wheel paint. I plan to do a custom 2 color paint job for these wheels. As you can see in the photos, I am not one to spend hours taping off the tires to prevent over spray paint. Nor will I invest money into metal wheel rings to clamp around the wheels. A couple bucks at WalMart buys plastic coated playing cards that slip easily between the tire and the rim. And - they are re-useable. When I had the front fenders off months ago I needed to repair the grill and the fog light mounts, so while everything was off and easy to get at, I painted that part in the final colors. So you are getting a sneak peek at the fact that I will be painting the UTE in a 2 color scheme . Besides the '98 Silver Arrow, I will also be using some '98 Cyber Green color.
 

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Discussion Starter #26
Today was a good day, as I unwrapped the covering from the top of the cab ! This was the first chance I had to look at the total paint job. I still have plenty to do, but it's exciting to see that I'm now on the down hill slide with the project. I used DuPont single stage acrylic urethane paint and was very pleased with it. It does take a few days to really harden-up before I'll be able to color sand and buff out the lint and other floaters that always seem to find the wet paint. While I'm waiting, I will start the custom paint job on the wheels, as I plan to use both the gray and green colors on them as well. I have other special items I plan to add in to this build, which you'll see in later photos.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
HI - After all this time, this Beetle UTE is starting to look like something ! I wanted to tell you about my paining today, as I hope that passing along my tips will help others.
Tho I've been painting my own projects for 62 years now, this is the 1st time I have used Urethane paint. I've always used Acrylic Enamel in the past. It's what I learned to use in my Grandpa's Studebaker garage when I was 14 years old, and I just knew what to expect and how to handle it. My vehicles took many 1st place trophy's at shows over the years, so I guess it did OK for me !

But I have friends that run a body shop in a town near me, and they recommended I change to Urethane for this project. Their reason was because it is a paint that can stand more flexing without cracking. Since the Beetle has plastic front fenders and bumper cover, and the new truck bed sides are fiberglass, they all have more flexing that a steel body vehicle.
However, it was pointed out to me that I'd have to follow different rules when it came to color sanding and buffing. You see, with enamel paint, by adding in the hardener when mixing the paint, I have actually wet sanded some paint the day after I sprayed a fender, or door, or hood. But I was told that with Urethane, I'd better be prepared to wait at least a week before I started to wet sand, and then when I did, I would want to use a much finer grit paper.

Well, I watched several You Tube videos, and sure enough, the guys in town were right. Even tho I added the proper hardener to the Urethane paint, it was about 8 days before the paint was hard enough to wet sand. Then , unlike enamel, where I could use #1200 paper, I found that I now needed to use #2500 paper ! Also, it's very important to add in some dish washing soap to the water that you are using to keep the sanding area wet - and I mean KEEP IT WET while sanding.

Some might be wondering why I need to wet sand and buff my vehicles. I paint in my own workshop. So, when it's time to spray paint, I turn on a large ceiling fan built to remove air from the shop room. I open a screened window on the north and south side of the building so new air can enter the room. Well, with just normal screens, there is always some little stuff floating in the air. Then too, my air compressor is sitting in the corner of the shop creating it's own " perfect storm " of air turbulence , so I always end up with tiny particles of lint or dust that must be removed from the paint once it is hard enough to work with. That's called color sanding.

A few words about my custom wheel paint job. The last owner of this Beetle must have hit every curb in town, as I needed to repair all the rims.. It was a lot of work, and took a lot of time, but in the end the wheels were returned to good condition. I had new tires mounted and balanced before I primed and painted the wheels, so a tire machine wouldn't bugger-up my paint job ! I kept track of the wheel project, and from start to finish, I have 25 hours of labor in refurbishing these wheels.

About the photo of the "A" pillar ; One day while my wife was sitting in the shop, I was holding a piece of masking tape, and trying it in different ways on that post between the door and the base of the windshield. She watched, then finally asked what was I doing ? I told her I was trying to figure out a clever way to make the transition between the green roof and the gray lower body, when it was time to paint the vehicle. I actually was thinking about using my air brush and fading one color into the other.

My wife walked across the room, took a pencil, and started to draw a curved line - in the place where you now see the body stripe tape. She said she felt it enhanced the curve of the pillar, and went well with the lines of the car ! Not bad for a lady that spent 42 years as a Medical Social Worker, I'd say !! I sent away for some special body stripe tape that has a low gloss finish, and it matched the look of the rubber on the bottom of the window glass. I will also use it to go around the back of the cab.

This had become too long now - Hope you found it interesting ! Cheers -Happy 4th of July
 

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Discussion Starter #30
My UTE now has a name !! As you'll see in these photos, I decided to have some fun with the name for placing on the tailgate. The letters are made from a vinyl material that is raised from the surface, so the have a factory look to them. The tail lights are from the '66 - '67 Beetle sedan. The LED lights I used as the 3rd brake lights were in the kit, and were supposed to be placed at the tail end on the rear fenders. I thought that was way too low for people to see , and they are only 2 1/2" in diameter. So, I made up a wiring harness, and tapped into the brake light circuit, so only the bright portion works - they are bright as each has 11 LED 's for the brake use ! I wanted something else to add to the space between the lights, so searching thru Ebay I finally found one vendor with just what I wanted. The person was in Bulgaria ! But, for $16 and free freight, this emblem ( not a decal ) is in like new condition. These photos don't show it much, but if you look carefully you will see that I coated the bottom half of the rocker panel with black Herculiner. I added custom mud flaps to the Ute, and so I started the Herculiner pattern up behind the front mud flap, then ran it along the same line VW used for their clear rock chip material, but then I curved the black up again a few inches before the rear wheel well. I person it gives a neat, soft look to the whole area. I also used Herculiner inside the bed and tail gate. Now I am starting to put the interior back together. Today I installed new fabric on the headliner shell. Not a real fun job, but it looks good when done.
 

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Discussion Starter #31
MY VW BRUTE is DONE !!!! As you can see in these photos I decided to make a LOKBOX inside the front part of the cargo box. There's limited storage space now behind the seats, so I made my box 13.5" wide. While making it I had the idea that the rear panel would look like an aquarium with the proper decal. Turning to the internet, I found a business that made heavy duty decals for truck exteriors. I figured that material would be a good quality for my needs. When I contacted them, I received a fast response telling me that with the Covid 19 thing going on, their business had all but gone away, and they would be real happy to work with me ! They sent me links to 3 sites, and I was looking thru about 1500 under water scenes ! I just happened to like this sea turtle. It reminded me of the turtles in the movie FINDING NEMO . I call him Dude ! The decal on the box lid is a copy from the VW ads of 1990. It means " Driving Pleasure " . I'm going to take some photos of the interior and do another post with them
 

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Discussion Starter #32
OK - Here's what my interior looks like . When I had the headliner down, I completely insulated the inside of the top, as well as the inside of all the new panels that were part of the kit. I can now say the driving it is much quieter inside than when it was a sedan ! To give it a little more of a sporty truck-like sound, I removed the 2nd muffler that VW had in the system. I'm only using the center muffler, and it sounds great. So, this will be my final post. I hope I provided some enjoyment for those that followed this kit build. Cheers !
 

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Discussion Starter #34
Thanks for your ever present support. I hope that some how people that might be considering tackling a kit job can discover this series of posts and see what was involved.
The most important item this job takes is allowing the time to do it "right" . I can see it being a great Father - Son or Daughter project. It's not a difficult project at all. Thanks again for you support ! Ben
 

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Thanks for your ever present support. I hope that some how people that might be considering tackling a kit job can discover this series of posts and see what was involved.
The most important item this job takes is allowing the time to do it "right" . I can see it being a great Father - Son or Daughter project. It's not a difficult project at all. Thanks again for you support ! Ben
I'm impressed sir. I've been lurking in the Beetle forum for a bit, looking for ideas for my UTE. I'm about a month and a half into NB ownership. My donor is a 2000 NB GLS TDI with a 5 speed. It's dissected at the moment. I'm about to start some preliminary wiring, and a few odds and ends. I'm probably 2 weeks out on receipt of my kit from Smyth.

Do you have any tips for the wiring aspect of the job? Did you get it wired before you placed the assembled bed on the chassis?
251463
 

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Discussion Starter #36
Hi - Thanks for the kind words ! I've taken a good look at your photo, and it looks like you did a really good and careful job of cutting away the body. Congrats ! Based on my experience, I'd say you have just completed the hardest part of the job ! Yes, there's a long way to go, but you are now dealing with all new product, save for the wiring . But even that is clean and neat, so you can relax a bit and know that you are moving into the part of the project that is very enjoyable.

Wiring : Yes, you will be running the wiring before you bolt & rivet the box into place , but you will find that you will be placing the box into and out of the chassis several times while you are fitting, and adjusting small braces, and trusses that come with the kit. So, while doing that, you will be easily able to see where the "tight spots" are going to be for the wiring harness, and then you can plan the route to place the VW harness. You should not need to add anything to the wiring. All that was in the sedan should be all you need in the pickup.
This might be a good time for me to assure you that based upon only my kit experience, the CNC cutting and factory bends in the metal was 100% dead on ! Each place where I needed to drill a hole for placing a bolt, the CNC machine had zapped a 1/8" hole , acting as a center punch. When I bolted the box together, never once did I need to use a punch or drift to align holes, because the CNC machine was so accurate that every hole, in every panel was lined up just right ! All the hardware is stainless steel. I can't say enough good things about their quality control.

The only part of the kit I didn't like was their choice for the tail lights. They are 2 3/4" diameter round LED, and meant to be at the far end of the rear fender. Well, I felt that was a position too low to be easily seen by someone following me. Add to that the fact that so many people are busy talking on their phones today, and not paying attention anyway, I opted to get larger tail lights, and mount them much higher on the rear fenders. Just a personal choice there.

Please feel free to contact me anytime with any other questions. The UTE is great fun to drive, handles like a dream, and you become a 1-car "show" nearly every time you stop somewhere ! The most common question so far is " Did VW make them like that ? " It's a lot of fun.
 

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Thanks again. Since that pic a few days ago, I cleaned up a few of the cuts even more, ground down the burrs, and slapped some POR on the edges. Taking the time to do shocks, brakes, etc while I’m around that area.
I’ve been looking at taillights as well. I found a pair 4.5” lights I may go with. Did you fabricate the trim around the lights you decided upon or pic them up? I may pic up a different 3rd brake light as well and use the lights that came with the kit on my harbor freight trailer. It’s my first Beetle, but I’ve had numerous VWs. 4 TDIs (2 wagons/Golf/Beetle), a GTI, and ‘70 Karmann Ghia. 3 are still in the family. I’m retired, a full-time student, and have a bit of time on my hands.
Cheers
 

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Discussion Starter #38
The tail lights I used are new repops, meant for the '66 - '67 Beetle sedans. They came with really nice rubber gaskets, and required no trimming at all. I used the lights from the kit as my 3rd brake lights. They seem to go well with the look of the fender, but more importantly, the people following me can see when I am stopping or turning !
 

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Love those tdi’s. Are you going to show your progress as you put your Ute together also?
I’ll have to do that. I had initially thought about completing it on TDIclub as well. It’s definitely easier to post images over here.
 
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