Weekend How-To: Floor Pan Replacement, Welding and Protection
December 9, 2010
One of the most common projects in automotive repair and restoration is the replacement of a rusted-out floor pan. Andrew White, owner of Apex Autosports, provides rust prevention advice and shares tips for plasma cutting and MIG welding in his walk-through of the restoration process on a 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle.
Cars calling the Great North home face the most challenges when it comes to withstanding rust damage. Humid, rainy summers and icy, salty winters cause a serious amount of underbody and surface damage forcing owners to properly maintain their ride or else pay the price. Floor pans, especially on classics, take the most beating from natural elements. Often built from 16- to 18-gauge material, it doesn't take long for the orange devil to leave its mark and begin eating holes through the floor requiring a replacement. Andrew White, owner of Apex Autosports, a performance muscle car garage in Grafton, Wis. has seen it all when it comes to weather damage and shares his fabrication techniques for replacing a rusted out pan with a reproduction, as well as some tips for protecting it against the elements.
Rust cannot hide for long from the talented hands of Andrew White, owner of Apex Autosports, a performance automotive restoration shop based in Grafton, Wis.
White needed to replace a floor pan on a 1975 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible because the owner noticed the floor was getting squishy under his feet, which is one of the first signs of floor pan rot. According to White, car owners notice floor pan rust more heavily on the driver side compared to the passenger side, which is a result of salt trucks dumping salt down the middle of the road in the wintertime. Unfortunately for the cars, salt is a leading factor for rust in floor pans and other bodywork. White's advice is to replace a rusty floor pan as soon as possible to avoid additional problems. Start to finish, it's roughly an 8-hour job and can be easily broken up over a two-day weekend with a MIG welder and a plasma cutter.