Super Beetle – Cutting and Splicing

This article is part of a series of articles called the VWvortex Super Beetle Project. We are transforming a stock 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo six-speed manual into an AWD, 500hp street car. Our goal is to make the transformation as close to how an original equipment manufacture (OEM) like Volkswagen would have built it to start with. That means we are diving into the Volkswagen empire parts bin to assemble this car. The AWD system, transmission, spare tire well, rear brakes and a few other odds and ends will come out of a 2013 Golf R. The stock Beetle Turbo engine, a 200hp 2.0l direct injection four-cylinder turbo will get APR’s Stage IV upgrade and be a fully built motor that will output more than 500hp when we are done. Mating all of these parts and pieces together and doing it under a tight frame just makes this challenge even more fun.

You can find the main project index page HERE. On that index page you’ll find all the installments so far, large photo galleries and a list of sponsors that helped make this project happen.

We hope you enjoy it as much as we do putting it together!

On to the next installment…

More progress has been made today and we have lots to go over like usual. The majority of the day was spent cutting and splicing pieces out of the Golf R and moving them over to the Beetle. The main piece of the puzzle that is an issue is the spare tire well on the Beetle. The Beetle spare tire well is designed to hold a full-size spare and it simply won’t work with the Golf R’s AWD and multi-link suspension carrier. The Golf R has a space-saver spare and the tire well is much smaller. So we need to move the spare tire well from the Golf R to the Beetle. It turns out that the space saver sheetmetal section isn’t particularly expensive and rather than hack up the spare tire well from the Golf R we ordered a brand new replacement sheetmetal stamping to trim into place. More on that in a moment…

We also removed the engine and trans from the Golf R and cracked open the transmission so we could install an SQS locking differential. Turns out we ran into a snag, but we’ll get to that later.

First the factory welds on the Golf R need to be drilled out. There is a cross member that connects the two rear spring perches that needs to be removed from the Golf R and transferred to the Beetle. In the photo below the spot welds are being drilled out one at a time:

While that long process is moving forward, the seam sealer needs to be removed from the Beetle to get to the individual seams of the sheetmetal to make sure we’re getting a nice clean cut. Seam sealer is nasty stuff and again this is a long process…

In the photo below the cross member is freed from the Golf R and will be transplanted over to the Beetle.

There are a number of things going on at one time here. The photo below shows the Beetle up on the lift and you can see that we’ve temporarily installed the H&R adjustable coilover suspension and the Volkswagen Racing six-piston brake setup so that we could take measurements for our custom wheel setup. We’ll have more on the suspension, brakes and wheels later.

So while surgery continues on the Golf R, the cutting and removal of the rear spare tire well from the Beetle starts. In the photo below you can see the area to be cut has been cleaned of seam sealer and marked and the cutting has begun. There is a slightly different access hole (two to be exact) for the Golf R saddle tank that is different than the Beetle’s location, so that needs to be cut out as well:

The Beetle tire well is removed:

Then the remainder of the Beetle transverse cross member linking the two spring perches is removed to make way for the Golf R piece:

And here is the Beetle with the necessary sheetmetal cleanly removed:

The transverse cross member removed from the Golf R is test fit on the Beetle:

In the photo below are the Beetle spare tire well on the left and the brand new Golf R space-saver spare sheet metal:

After the black Golf R spare well is trimmed to fit, it is dropped in place to make sure everything fits properly. Tomorrow it will be welded, seamed and painted. So far so good:

In other news the engine and trans were dropped out of the Golf R to get the transmission out so we can install a limited slip front differential for maximum performance. The SQS differential is a torque biasing limited slip front differential and was (up until last week) the only limited slip available for the AWD VW/Audi applications outside of pure racing differentials.

So out comes the engine and transmission:

Here the transmission is being disassembled:

Once the stock differential is pulled out of the transmission, the ring gear needs to be drilled out and installed on our new limited slip unit.

However… the aftermarket SQS limited slip we received is the wrong unit. So another unit is going to have to be shipped priority from Europe so we can get this buttoned up ASAP. Here is a photo of the SQS limited slip diff that we received:

And in the last piece of news. If you remember back to our second installment we needed to use the Audi TTRS aluminum front subframe because the Golf R subframe wouldn’t fit. That also means the aluminum Golf R lower control arms won’t bolt directly to the Audi TTRS subframe, so we had to order TTRS aluminum lower control arms and those arrived today:

So tomorrow we weld, seam and paint the rear floorpan of the Beetle to get that buttoned back up.


More photos from today’s progress can be found in the gallery below in much larger sizes: