Beetle Project - It jumped up and bit me!

The Beetle project is still alive and kicking (my ass)! I’ve gotten a few things accomplished since my last update which include evicting the asshole holding the beach ball from my instrument cluster, giving Scruffy his first bath in 8 years, finally getting him registered in my name, and starting work on the suspension.

I knew that my Beetle that I now call Scruffy hasn’t gotten a bath in quite a while but I didn’t know for how long until I finally got to talk more about the car with my step dad. Come to find out that the last time the car was wash was when I washed it back in 2010 after replacing the front fenders, bumper, radiator support, timing belt, and water pump. So needless to say Scruffy looked like a moldy science experiment gone bad.

Scruffy’s first bath in 8 years!
Photo: Scruffy

I ended up having to do 2 full wash and scrub sessions to get all the mold off but in the end it was totally worth it to see him actually shine again for the first time in years!

Who knew he could clean up so well!

Now we move on to the part where Scruffy jumped up and bit me!

2 weekends ago I finally had time while helping my mom and step dad out to replace the original control arms and ball joints which I knew were toast. I figured that it would take me 3 hours or less to get both sides done but I was so wrong!


I started with the drivers side and everything seemed to be coming apart ok until it was time to remove the nut on the ball joint. I got the nut about half way off when the ball joint would just spin and thought “no problem, I’ll just put the jack under it to put some weight on it so it wouldn’t spin”. Well that bright idea didn’t work so I ended up having to rip the rest of the boot off around the ball joint, clamp it with a pair of vice grip pliers and then use a small pry bar under the nut to get it off because I found once it was off that the threads had stripped which is why it wouldn’t come off.

I finally won but man that ball joint pissed me off!

After finally getting the ball joint from hell off I moved on to removing the bolts from the control arm. As I said earlier these were the original parts so they put up a small fight to the point the socket on my wrench broke while I was pulling full force. So needless to say my arm went right into the brake rotor with a lot of force causing me to scream quite a few choice words at the car.

The day after Scruffy bit me!

Unfortunately just the drivers side from hell took me 3 hours and I still had work to do at my parents house for them so I only completed the drivers side.


While working on it I discovered that the inner and outer tie rods were shot as well so I decided to cut my losses, limp the car 30 miles back home, and park the car till I had more time. The not so fun part of limping the car back home was driving with the steering wheel now half turned to the left while going in the straight line due to the one half of the car having new components and the other half still worn out as hell.

Since I don’t feel like driving the 30 miles up to my parents house to work on the car I will be doing it in the parking lot here at my apartment today with my friend who is driving up from Greenville, SC to help! The goal for today is to replace the passengers side control arm and ball joint along with replacing the inner and outer tie rods on both sides. Then dropping it off for an alignment. I also want to if time permits, look into possible vacuum leaks on the engine. I really want to get Scruffy back up to daily driver status as quickly as possible because driving my 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe (mom mobile) 70-80 miles a day back and forth to work, picking up my kids, and running errands is eating me alive with gas costs due to it getting only 20-22 mpg. As where the Beetle gets around 32-38 mpg doing the same runs.



Share This Story

Get our newsletter