The front section of the VeeDub ReDub chassis is made up of two main structures:
The Front Bulkhead Seat
The Front Suspension Structure
On a classic Beetle, the front bulkhead of the body is mated to a structure that stretches across the front of the pan and goes up and over the tunnel. We will call this structure the front bulkhead seat.
We decided to replicate the front bulkhead seat by layering CNC cut sheet metal pieces, a steel bar and a bent steel strap.
First we welded doublers on the underside of our tunnel structure. These add a little more rigidity for bolting up the body but more importantly, they double up the material underneath the crossmember that the lower control arms will bolt to. This crossmember was welded in after finishing the front bulkhead seat.
On top of the floor we welded a steel bar that goes through the tunnel and spans all the way across to the sets of bolt holes on each side. The steel bar was capped with 1/4 inch thick plates and a bent piece of 1/4 thick steel strap. At the same time, 3/16 thick panels were welded between the steel bar and the steel strap.
Next we moved forward to build up the front suspension structure. Where the Beetle used a torsion beam front end with trailing arms, we are using coilovers with short and long control arms.
Our structure is made of 1x2 rectangular steel tubing and various thicknesses of CNC cut sheet metal. The 1x2 tubing is used to make three crossmembers and two upper control arm mount tubes.
In the following photo you can see temporary tools that were CNC cut to help align the control arm mounting points. At each mounting a point, a rod end was bolted to the tool along with the mounting plates that needed to be welded to the frame.
Some of the CNC cut sheet metal pieces act as braces to support the crossmembers. The rest of the pieces are mounts for control arms, shocks and the anti-roll bar.
One piece still missing from the front end is the tube that the front of the Beetle body will bolt to. We will install this after our first test fit. But next up will be the rear suspension structure.