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starting a sebring rebuild...

lykip

Member
I have started the rebuild on my Sebring. when I first bought it, i saw frame rust and thought I could get under there and take care of it. I went on to address the brakes first because the motor runs well and the transaxle seemed ok. When working on the front brakes i noticed that the drives side wheel was farther forward than the passenger side.....further investigation found a previous repair where a plate was welded in without squaring the frame.
Rather than test my skill with a complete weld in part, i decided to find a rolling frame. found one in Winston Salem NC and went to pick it up. The guy kept explaining to me that it needed frame rails and heat channels, and i kept explaining i wouldnt need them for my kit car... 300$ and 13 hours later that roller was in my driveway and i passed out. ( funny.. sc highways helped with some of the rotten frame removal.. shook the drivers side right off.
original plan was to use transaxle and motor, but. found out this frame (66) is swingaxle and the one currently under the car is (believed to be 72) IRS. (66) transaxle goes through all the gears and i was told it works, so i will hope.....
i cut out all the parts not required for thee sebring, then i pulled off the tar paper and used a paint stripper and wire brush on the rest.
then used rustoleum auto primer on everything. then covered that with truck bed liner, and covered that with auto undercarriage spray.
ill be moving onto the brakes this week.
 

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letterman7

Honorary Admin
You can swap the IRS rear components onto that frame. It's a common conversion requiring only the trailing arm brackets to be purchased and welded in place. Good thread here: https://www.thesamba.com/vw/forum/viewtopic.php?t=410944
There isn't anything wrong with a swing axle. Yours may have had the front beam replaced with the later ball joint version, but if it's truly a '66, then it would stand to reason it has the b/j front with swing rear. My first car was that way. While the body is off, purchase a camber compensator and install it on the rear. It will help with the handling. Transmissions are interchangeable - if the '66 is shot, throw your known good one in or send one or the other out to have it built into a freeway flyer.
 

lykip

Member
busy working on the rebuild over the weekend. i got some pics from the passengers side of the bulkhead rot ( pan kit is currently on, not the one I'm freshening up). on the drivers side it appears that the rot was so bad they just welded a plate over it. unfortunately, even if this were sturdy, it is not square ( pushes drivers front wheel forward over an inch in the wheel well) napoleans hat pretty well rusted out on drivers side as well so kit is basically resting on the tube. ( rear bolts are there but rusted pretty bad)
 

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lykip

Member
this weekend i got the wheel cylinders replaced and the brake master cyl. will get new lines run and bled hopefully this weekend. Then on to the front beam refresh
 

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lykip

Member
hi All,

no pics this time ( only have the brake lines in on the rolling pan) was hesitant to mention it before for bad lucks sake, but GA finally processed the title... was scared when it took two months.. and the lady at dmv said she " had to add some 0's to make the vin long enough) I thought for sure I was gonna have to retitle as special construction. today its confirmed mine in my name.
now on to the question. I have a MD special vin applied in the place whereBremen/ arx puts the build tag. did they happen to stamp the build number into the fiberglass? anywhere? I would love to know what number I have.


thanks for the help!!
 

lykip

Member
No such luck for me. Some remnants of the original bremen tag there but not enough to decipher. I may reach out to MD MVA and see about the history. Possibly they have that in the file from when it was brought to MD.

I have all the mount bolts cut out on the body and am ready to build a frame and lift it off.

Sidetracked i started some custom taillights. those are corvette taillights and a trimmed charger grill. Quick mock-up
 

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lykip

Member
Pulled the dash to replace the guages. Will probably add some side cameras and a couple flat screens to view them. Also working on that empty space where the bumper was.
 

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lykip

Member
I am hoping to raise and lower the suspension with air shocks and an on board compressor. I have attached pics of the setup and hope you guys can give me some insights. I will he using a camber corrector also. My rear seems extremely stiff. Will i need to soften it for the air shocks to work? Up front there appears to be a home made height adjustment cut into the top beam. With that adjustemnt removed the front air shocks do lift-lower the chassi. This aftermarket adjuster doesnt look to clear my Sebring body so i will probably remove it. Should I weld the top beam at the height i want and cut the rest out? Or just cut the adjuster- letting the air shock alone handle ride height.

The whole torsion beam thing confuses me.

Thanks for all the help !!!!!
 

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letterman7

Honorary Admin
Well, here's my take: the only way an air ride system will work is to completely remove the torsion bars from the front and rear, allowing the suspension to "float" freely. Can it be done? Sure, but you have to put something in place on the front beam to actually hold the trailing arms in place. I don't know what that getup is on the front suspension, but it looks like someone fabbed - and pretty well - a getup that would take a linear actuator or hydraulic piston to adjust the beam and ride height on the fly. I wouldn't change that. The rears.. the only way to change ride height is to actually change the torsion settings. Air shocks will do nothing in lowing the car - the car has to be lowered before you add the air ride. And if you haven't done it on a VW, read how to - it's an easy way to lose a hand or a finger if you're not careful. And, take this into consideration: you have a swing axle. Lowering the car will vastly deteriorate the ride. The camber compensator is meant to dissuade a lowered stance to enable the wheels to stay planted on the tarmac. And.. your wheel bearings rely on the oil in the transaxle for life. Lowering the car will put the angle of the tube in the wrong direction, starving the bearings. Not a good idea. If you're doing all this for a static display and not while you're on the road, fine. If you plan to "pan-scrape" while underway, not the best idea. You're butt is only 4" from the pavement... you need all the space you can get under the car.
 

lykip

Member
Been a while but making progress. Im ready to swap over to the new vw chassi. Theres a winch at the top rated at 2500. Any words of advice warnings or horror stories to share before i give it a go?
 

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letterman7

Honorary Admin
Looks good to me. 2500#s is plenty to lift the body. Just double/triple check the gantry stability and that you actually have room to roll the chassis out. There will undoubtedly be a rogue wire or fastener somewhere, so go slowly and have someone else there either actually working the winch or checking for hold-ups. If it seems like it's straining to come off the chassis - stop and find out why.
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
Exciting moment!!

Please, please, please put some cardboard and a few blankets/comforters/an old kids mattress over the windshield. We would love to have a replacement for that windshield (Sebring)...

...but we don't. :(
 

nbb350

Member
...or find 4 strong buddies to lift at each end of the 2x4s. they can tell you if they feel resistance as they lift. a winch will just pull until something breaks!
AND nothing will be above that precious windshield!
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
I know you will eventually be successful with our without our input so feel free to disregard any advice. I have moved and removed several bodies (we're talking about cars here, right?) and one of the things that surprised me is how much vertical height my winch and linkages used up. In one case I was in a garage in which I felt like the ceiling was plenty high, but by the time I got the winch in place I only actually had about 12 inches of "lift" left, which was not enough to clear my chassis and its customizations. I solved that one with 4 cables and a few pulleys that made the rigging go up, over, and then DOWN to a single come-along anchored to something in the floor. That worked spectacularly well and let me lift the body to within about 4 inches of the hard points in the ceiling. That set-up allowed me to easily take the body on and off many dozens of times as I worked on different things. But that would require a second gantry in your case, which might be overkill especially if you're not planning on taking it on and off multiple times.

You have just one lift point. Which brings me to point/story #2: Last year I had to move a Sterling body in my back yard in order to relocate it and put it up on sturdy sawhorses. I had a backhoe, and tried to pick it up from one point directly above what I guessed to be the body's center-of-mass. What I found was that it was really hard to guess the center of mass AND rig to achieve that point with no slack, etc. But then I replaced ropes with ratchet straps from each corner up to the bucket. The cool thing about the ratchet straps was that I could easily individually adjust them so that the load hung level and true. Because your set-up is a "lift from one point" set-up, you might wanna try that so that things lift evenly. Clarification: Don't try to lift with the ratchets. Just use them as the rigging so you can level it easily. I still think you might need to use a pulley to change directions in order to lift high enough. Lowe's has nice garage-door pulleys for cheap. And like Rick implied, don't skimp on bracing and checking your gantry. The body with top and glass probably "only" weighs about 350 lbs tops but that makes for an exciting pendulum.

Back to the original thought: I know you'll prevail. :)
 

farfegnubbin

Site Owner
Staff member
I just revisited your photos and I see that your winch is on the top surface of the gantry. All else being equal, I guess you shouldn’t have trouble lifting it high enough. Cool.
 

letterman7

Honorary Admin
Just for comparison, my custom Sterling hoisted by (2) 4" wide tow straps to a chain with 2 hooks on either end, over the hook of the hoist. Bottom of the I-beam of the hoist is about 10' from the floor. The hoist is a cheap Harbor Fright 5000# number and it easily lifted the body - once I cleared all the connections. And I wish I had all that room back in the garage :) Now totally littered with projects...

Norm Rose Sterling build.jpg
 
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