The Fake Jaguar Thread

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This photo shows how I temporarily had clamped the round torsion tube, to the square frame tube, going perpendicular to it and 3 inches lower.
This is the same square tube that holds up the rear bumper & the back of the body. (Now that the body no longer rests on the muffler.)

That long tube is 45’d off, on the fore end, and it bolts up through this little spacer arrangement & the tin floor pan. And nothing else. That angle you see is the only crossmember & it just misses.

I don’t know what morons designed this stuff but you cannot imagine how flimsy it was without the additional braces and bracketry.

To be clear about this, what you have is a teeter-totter. In the middle is a fulcrum bolted up under the transmission and it is really solid.

In the back you have the bumper and the rear body weight, and then in the front you have it bolted to the thin floor pan with no reinforcement.

That’s why I initially added those U-bolts & angles.
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Looking at my photographs of the new struts, I decided that I need to do a test fitting of the engine. It looks like it might be a little tight around the rocker covers.

I needed to check the front beam axle for straightness and other damage and I set up the front end with a straight pipe to find out how twisted, in fact, it really is.

Hoisting the axle assembly, drum to drum.



The adaptor or “appliance” which extends the frame.

It’s twisted down 0.5° on the driver side, and it’s pushed back about 3/8 of an inch from the passengers hub, at the drivers hub.

We had an unexpected rain, and I managed to get most everything covered up in time; but some of my stuff is out there getting wet, and I was out at 2 o’clock in the morning trying to channel the water away from my steel.

I’ll have to get out there in the morning and dry everything off with a blower so it doesn’t start rusting, but at least the car itself is dry.

Anyhow, after I do a test fitting of the engine I’m going to put some indicators on this chassis and make a relief cut to see how much it springs back. I think I’m gonna get most of the twist and warp out of it with one cut to the spine.
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These four bolts hold the front axle assembly and the adaptor on.



So the adapter or appliance is now separated from the car and you can see the back of it.

The Volkswagen headframe looks pretty scabby but that damage won’t be obvious until I clean off all the rust and paint.


I set this up with the level so I could see how badly the frame was bent and it is a bit worse than I thought.
I have had a strange problem, and It turns out I was lucky that I failed to solve it on the first go.

Since I first bought this car, whenever it was unladen, it has sat crooked in the rear. I thought the left rear torsion bar needed tightening to bring the rear up level.

When I attempted to adjust it, It didn’t want to come apart readily. Not even with modest prying action. I decided to put it all back together until I could manufacture/buy a substantial puller.

But yesterday I started looking more closely and I found this:

The left swingarm stop looks normal .

The right one looks bent.

There was a core shift when the steel was cast in 1972. It has always been this way.

In addition, the car drove straight, when it was loaded with people. The torsion bars are seemingly equal in adjustment, when under load. I never needed to touch them.

I found there was plenty of metal there, so I shaved it down with a Dremel until the arms sat equally on the stops. Here I have the swingarm propped on a small hex nut, while I shaved the stop down.

Now the swingarms sit at the same angle at rest. The body will look level now, at rest.

So…..even a blind squirrel finds a nut sometimes.
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I spent a lot of time burnishing hardware on the rear suspension arms, shock absorbers, and axles, and giving them an anti-corrosion coating.

I am making my first relief cuts in the damaged frame area, and here I stopped to change the cut-off wheel.

My plan from the beginning was to aim directly for the nuts.

I got to a point where it was starting to catch the disc and it was because the frame is starting to relieve itself. I have just started the first cross cut, so I will know more after I complete that.

Meanwhile there was an ancient mouse nest, with some kind of tiny seeds in it, concealed in the tunnel. I caught that on fire and had to blow it out of the tunnel with an air hose.

I expected something like this and I have a fire extinguisher close by, plus a garden hose, but it was very minor in the end.

Just a bit stinky like a hay fire.
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I think I’m gonna get most of the twist and warp out of it with one cut to the spine.

Well that turned out to be highly optimistic. I cut completely through the bottom and cut off the heavily welded areas to eliminate the weld draw, but it only sprang back about 1/4 of what I had expected.

That means that it was probably just bent before it was welded, and it was never really straightened.

It’s just very difficult to see the damage with the naked eye because the shape of this thing is so irregular.
I returned to working on the rear suspension yesterday. There were still too many layers of paint over dirt and rust. I started cleaning it up and I was going for the patina look.

But when I got those spring plate covers off I found that one was terrible and the other one was totally unusable. Which sounds funny because they were still working when I drove the car.

This is a two piece welded assembly. It’s designed to let the water drain out of it, but the drains on this one are totally clogged with rust and dirt.


The other one was even worse!

I bought these chromed versions sold by EMPI, And this is one more example of why I would steer people away from their parts.


These were made for a slightly different car, with dual spring plates, and I had to remove the four stand off bushings. Fortunately they’re only lightly riveted in, and after drilling them out 1/32” they pop loose with the aid of a vise.

The first one went on perfectly well. This one took some rework. The hole pattern wasn’t centered up perfectly when they stamped this and spot welded it.

I had to re-drill all four holes to 1/2” diameter in order to get it to center up, and even then I did a little bodywork to it, defacing the chrome, because there was not enough socket clearance after moving the holes.

This one is still not centered correctly and I will have to slap the holes a little more to get it backwards 1/16”

I have bought many products from EMPI over the years, and some of their stuff is just fine. But some of the stuff has extremely poor quality control and this is one example. Also I didn’t care about the Chrome as it was nothing to cheer about regarding the quality of the polish or thickness of the chrome. I’m going to etch them and paint them black.
I was determined to get the bottom off of the headframe today, and armed with my trusty grinder and a few cut off discs I laid into it with gusto.

I don’t have a rollover trunnion, so I just hoisted the frame up in the air on its tail bones.


After cutting all the way around I realized that some of the metal I thought was rusted completely away inside the frame was still attached. I had to cut a window into the frame so I could see what was going on.

So this is what was going on. Big patches welded under the frame, and lots of toasty mouse nests, roasted with the grinding heat.

I plugged that window back in place, and you can see that the original tunnel bottom in that area was completely rusted away and there is no original Volkswagen bottom left inside the headframe.

Looking up inside the tunnel, I can see more mouse nest.

Also I see I just barely kissed the fuel line with my grinder. Just enough to wipe the rust off.

You can see I still have another foot of Tunnel bottom to remove here but this will be easy by comparison to what I have done.

Twisting the headframe around into alignment will be no problem now, because it is quite flexible with the bottom removed.
I chopped out another foot from the bottom of the tunnel, and then I flushed out the whole frame with a garden hose, and an air hose, and the high-volume air hose from my shop vac, until it was all dry again.

In the process I uncovered a considerable amount of mouse nest and debris.

Evidently the mouse hole wasn’t big enough and they had to take a torch & enlarge it.

I found both of those bits still inside the frame.

Here you can see the butchery on the brake pedal.

I removed the pedal set so I could figure out how far the rust damage went and it goes another foot on the driver side. Was this the car sitting in a swamp?

It’s been repaired but it looks like I’m going to have to do some repairing to the repairing. The good part is this doesn’t have to be official Volkswagen anything when I get done. It can be completely custom to my wishes and that’s what I’m shooting for now.
Here is a better look at some of the rust I still have to deal with inside the tunnel. Fortunately it doesn’t go too far.

The red X is the wall of the tunnel and the shiny edge you see is the cut off tunnel bottom. The white arrow points to a weld bead connecting the tunnel bottom to the patch on the outside of the frame.

That is the back of the patch that you see above the weld bead looking through the rusted out holes.

That eeld was made through a big window they cut in the tunnel and then welded back in place.

The red circle indicates the fuel line. Just for reference.

That cancer you see is the tunnel itself. Here is part of what I cut off already.
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I put this mock up together on the floor to get a better idea of what I was going to do to the front floor of the car. This is looking from the passenger side.


The area in the first bay of the frame (The skinny one on the right side) will be basically inaccessible when the car is assembled. This is where you would normally put any additional ballast, because the front of this car was so light.

The big middle bay will be for the fuel tank. Batteries will be in the small bay to the left.

Here it is looking from the top.


This is actually the compartment for the fuel tank, the battery & the fuse panel, and there’s not really a luggage compartment. It needs to be open to the outside air for drainage and elimination of fumes.

Just how open I have not yet determined.

You can see that I am adding some weight to the frame of this car so I won’t be needing redundant ballast.
My wife wasn’t 100% happy about all of this, but she’s 200% happy that the mice are gone.

I’ll be happy when the car is a little more rust free and doesn’t go down the road like a Uni-Mog.

I am not joking Luke. Because of the rust and flaky design, it was so flexible that the independent front and rear suspension were acting quite independent of each other.

Also, there was not enough weight on the front wheels, even carrying an extra battery up there for ballast.

It definitely locks up the front wheels first, though with drum brakes, ehhhh…. You gotta want it.

The gears are plenty low, and this machine will move lots more weight than it carried when I bought it. The seller was sure to have a full gas tank right up front when I drove this for the first time.

I decided I needed to carry half as much gasoline and a lot more steel.
Yesterday I got out the wire brushes I burnished the the mating surfaces of the appliance & headframe. I didn’t strip everything yet but I cleaned enough up enough to mount them solidly. There was a lot of dirt, rust, and paint, and some minor welding irregularities, which I ground down flush.

There was still something rattling around in the tunnel, so I hoisted the back bumper 7 feet off the ground and banged on the tunnel with a rubber hammer.


I quickly dislodged this butchered remainder of the old clutch cable housing.


There was a little more dirt and a bit of string but that was everything that I could get out of it so far.

Here you can see that the tunnel still has a 14” long patch on it. This is directly below the patch at the gas pedal, but somewhat longer. I will have to strip all that stuff down soon and figure out what to do about it.


After I get the new frame rails set up I was going to remove the entire headframe back to this turquoise line.


But I think I will leave the top of the tunnel a bit longer to make a good lap joint into a box crossmember. I think the bottom of the tunnel will be cut back a bit more.
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