Powder Coating — Is It Right For My 1967 Beetle?


Powder coating produces a surface which is very durable and tough. Surfaces which have been powder coated also tend to look good for years. Powder coated surfaces are easily cleaned, making it especially popular for that reason.

However, there is a growing list of indications that powder coating is not the cure-all that it might appear to be.

What I am going to say here is cautionary. I do not yet have enough data that would allow me to say definitively that a person never should use powder coating on his vintage vehicle.

I have watched powder coating become increasingly popular over the years—especially with the vintage vehicle crowd. Chassis, engine tins, rims and seat frames and more. What’s not to like about a coating which protects and which looks so good!

My first indication of a problem came when a company powder coated a friend’s VW engine tins, including the crank and generator pulleys. The coating company failed to mask the shaft orifices, resulting in reduced shaft hole diameters in both pulleys. The coating had to be reamed from orifices so that the pulleys could be installed. This was not an easy task! And, it is difficult to remove the coating without doing some damage to the steel during the process.

Shortly, we noticed that fan belts were being chewed up at a rapid rate. After examination, this deterioration was found to be due to the powder coating in the Vs of both pulleys. Powder coating is not a paint—it often is described as “plastic”. Powder coatings are based on polymer resin systems. Under certain conditions, such as the chafing of the V belt in our illustration, enough friction can result to destroy the belt. In short order, my friend was replacing V belts, having to keep a keen eye to avoid getting caught with a destroyed belt. I rescued him on one occasion when he was caught out on the road at night in his Beetle.

The next time I heard about a powder coating problem was from the owner of a ’67 Beetle. Walter complained of stripped threads in the brake drums. At first he blamed the “cheap” Brazilian brake drums. But, the VW Community has been using Brazilian drums for many, many years without significant problems. Walter’s mechanic even blamed VW rims as being defective, which is unfounded, of course.

Then, it was revealed that Walter had had his rims powder coated.

An Internet search revealed a similar problem with powder-coated steel wheels on a particular model of farm machinery. The report talked about the need for metal-to-metal contact. The torquing of the securing bolts on powder coated surfaces, according to the report, “… is like using a plastic washer under the nut. Plastics creep under load and the nut will loosen”.

Walter and I discussed how he could rectify the problem with his rims. He used a Dremel tool fitted with a grinder to remove the powder coating. This allowed the lug bolt shoulders to torque against raw metal. Later, Walter wrote this: “Since we last spoke I did a more thorough job of removing the powder coating from the bolt holes using a power drill and conical grinder. This was a definite improvement over the Dremel I used first. I then took several trips of 40+ miles, each time following up with a check of the bolts with a torque wrench. So far there has been no loosening of the bolts.”

Not long following Walter’s incident, I received notice from a second person who had a wheel come completely off his 1962 Convertible Beetle. When I asked if the rims had been powder coated, the immediate and emphatic reply was “Yes”. The owner discovered that lug bolts on the other wheels also had loosened. In a follow-up message, the owner revealed that he had removed all wheels and had removed the powder coating where each lug bolt seats.

With these cases under my belt, I decided to interview a powder coating expert. The owner of the company took time to explain the process. He showed me special tape which is used to cover areas where powder coating should not be applied. He also explained that bolt holes, for example, should be plugged so that threads would not be compromised with the coating. He showed me special plugs for the purpose. He indicated that a knowledgeable powder coating company will take necessary precautions to protect areas of concern.

The same day, I spoke with a professional who owns a Volkswagen Formula V fabrication and machine shop. He told me of further concerns about the use of powder coating on vintage vehicles. Since each part which has been coated must pass through an oven during the process, certain parts, such as bearings, bushings, rubber parts, etc., must be removed in order that they not be damaged. Temperatures can reach 400 degreesF and higher, depending upon the application.

This professional told me that VW front axle beams are especially vulnerable to the heating process. He said that the bushings can loosen, resulting in the need to machine special bushings with set screws to hold them in place.

He then told me that should there be a necessary repair to a powder coated chassis, it is very difficult to remove the coating so that welding can be accomplished.

Todd Van Winkle’s Standard ’67 Beetle

Hello, friends. My apologies for not being able to showcase the backlog of so many great ’67 Beetle stories from around the world in a more timely manner. Growing a business is a lot of work!

Let’s shine some light on Todd’s Standard Beetle, which is a follow up from Jay’s earlier mention of David Brown’s “standard standard.” Speaking of Jay, lets all give him a round of applause for keeping the lights on here at 1967beetle.com, so to speak. Thanks, Jay! We appreciate and admire your knowledge and never ending love for the ’67 Beetle community.

I had painted a friends bug some years back, he gave me this strange 67′ as payment. I went to look at it, I noticed oddities about it that were not standard issue on a regular 67. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but she was definitely not as nice as the 67 we had when I was a teen.

The first thing I noticed was the floor covering, any beetle enthusiast knows of the rubbery type bumpy covering attached to the back seat and in the luggage area. This material was covering the heater channels, and the kick panels, also covering the chassis hump. Definitely no square weave here!

Littler strange things I noticed… One horn grill…A fuel reserve lever like my 56′ has..only one sunshade, and a cool little white plug where the hole is. No Wolfsburg crest on the horn button, just a black disc is fitted. No chrome strip on the glovebox, no ring around the speedo. Only a partial headliner is fitted, not covering the pillar posts or underneath the side windows, just a gray length of plastic covering the seam on the pillar. It just looked so cool with more original paint showing than usual.

I had to research this strange bug. She was a “Sparkafer”, or Standard beetle. No frills with this car! Somewhere I had read that there was a recession in Germany in 67, and Mr. Heinz Nordhoff just had these Standard, cheaper bugs built just to get a product out of the doors, and money for the company!!

She needed a complete resto, I did everything myself in my little one car garage…floors, heater channels, bodywork, built the 40 horse engine..and I painted it the original Ruby Red.

Joy’s 1967 Volkswagen Beetle Sedan


Joy owns a wonderful 1967 Beetle Sedan.

Eric and I have been with Joy for the entire drive….. meaning—

When Joy was searching for a ’67 Beetle in early 2014, she sent photographs of several Bugs to us. We would critique the cars and Joy would move on to the next car. The search continued until September, 2014.

She almost bought one Beetle—until the owner finally confessed to some major difficulties with the vehicle (you couldn’t drive the car for more than 15 minutes at a time or the engine would shut off!).

Finally, just when it seemed that all options had been exhausted, Joy decided that she should look at the L 633 Dark Blue Bug in St. Monica, California. Joy’s least favorite color, she told us. But the car had good provenance. It was not rusted. It was not wrecked. And it had had great care from the three previous owners.

The Bug had passable paint but needed some renewal in order to be driven safely.

The Seller allowed Joy to take the car to a shop for evaluation. The car passed scrutiny and Joy became the new owner.

Since purchasing “Monica”—as she now is named—Joy has had the car repainted, staying with the factory color.

The Birth Certificate certifies that Monica was built, February 16 of 1967 and left the factory March 28th destined for the USA. In addition, the Birth Certificate verifies that Monica has her original factory engine!

With the car now having been renewed mechanically and cosmetically, it was time to get Monica into a Volkswagen Show. Monica took First Place in the Kelly Park Vintage VW Car Show in April of 2017.

Joy and a good friend, who owns a later model SuperBeetle Convertible, are ready to participate for a day’s drive in July’s Treffen Border-to-Border Cruise.

Fuel Pump To Carburetor — Am I Safe?

Great article, Jay. I’d have to agree, lack of care is the # 1 reason so many vintage VW fires happen. With some simple love and care, we can help keep these gems on the road for the next generation to enjoy. Keep an eye on those fuel lines! -ES

I continually receive questions and comments about Fuel Filter Placement. You will find a couple of Articles on 1967beetle.com regarding the subject.

The common warning is: Fuel Filter in the Engine Compartment? You are heading for a Fire!

So Beetle Owners hasten to place their Fuel Filters under the car near the back wheel or just under the Gas Tank.

And…we believe that we now are safe from an Engine Fire. Period!

This misconception is bound, sooner or later, to wreck havoc. Because we Beetle Owners become complacent.

Beetle Engine Fires generally have to do with a Lack of Maintenance. Here’s why:

Possibly the Number One contributor to an Engine Fire is:

Failure of Fuel Hose:

  1. Installation of the incorrect Fuel Hose. The stock metal fittings in our Beetles take a 5mm Inner Diameter Fuel Hose. American fuel hose has a larger than 5mm Inner Diameter. Thus, when a clamp is installed, the American hose can become “puckered”, giving rise to the possibility of leakage.
  2. Installation of correct Fuel Hose. The correct, stock Fuel Hose has an Inner Diameter of 5mm, which accommodates perfectly to the stock metal Fuel Lines of the Beetle. Fuel Hose should be clamped to the metal Fuel Lines, using care not to clamp so tightly that the Fuel Hose is distorted. The Clamp wants only to be firmly fixed so that the Fuel Hose cannot be pulled off the metal tubing and won’t leak.
  3. Regular Inspection of Fuel Hose. Here’s where most of us fall short. We do not regularly inspect the Fuel System of our cars. I hope that you are keeping a Written Maintenance Record of your car. This can be kept on a computer or in a notebook stored in the glove box. No matter the method—keep a meticulous Maintenance Record.

And one of the most important items on your check list should be the Fuel System. Especially Fuel Hose in the Engine compartment and especially Fuel Hose from the Fuel Pump to the Carburetor.

Know when Fuel Hose in the Engine compartment was installed. We forget these things. What may seem to be only a year, quickly turns into 3 years or 5 years. Fuel Hose weakens due to several factors: Age, Heat, Vibration, Chafing and Ethanol.

Fuel Hose that has been in the Engine Compartment for more than a year probably should be removed and new hose installed. This is so easy that most of us can do it in a half hour’s time.

Heat is the enemy of many automotive components—but especially of rubber. The Core of the Fuel Hose is rubber. Heat hardens rubber and causes eventual failure. Vibration contributes to the demise of hardened rubber.

Often, Fuel Hose comes into contact with other parts in the Engine Compartment. Rubbing, or chaffing, can cause even good Fuel Hose to wear prematurely. Mitigate losses by routing Fuel Hose so that there is a minimum of chaffing.

Now, we come to the Hidden Enemy—Ethanol in the Gasoline. Ethanol causes most rubber products in our Beetles’ Fuel Systems to deteriorate. Unfortunately, we cannot find truly Ethanol-resistant rubber products for most of our VW applications. It is up to us to monitor our Fuel Systems in order to avoid this Unseen Predator.

The 1967 Beetle Community — Always Growing

This makes me so happy to read. Thanks, Jay for meeting and helping another ’67 owner! Congrats, Jessica and Charlie. -ES.

Friday, Neva fielded a telephone call from a lady saying that she needed a speedometer for her 1967 Beetle. She left a note on my desk so that I could call when I came into the office
Jessica informed me that she and Charlie had acquired a 1967 Beetle which needed a few things, including the aforementioned speedometer.

Then, Jessica said something really funny! She said…..”She’s suffering an identity crisis!” I began to laugh—it was hilarious. After I calmed, Jessica told me that “she” is “Gertrude” her newly purchased ’67 Bug. We talked a bit about naming Beetles—which thing is what my Neva is good about doing. And—laughed some more!

Well…the “identity” problem stemmed from something which the seller had told Jessica at the time of sale. The seller gave the impression that the car might be a ‘70s Model. After doing some research about VINs, Jessica looked at the aluminum VIN Plate behind the spare tire. It read 117….. “But,” reasoned Jessica…”might this not be a ’70s VIN?”

In order to get to the bottom of the matter, we discussed the other Factory VIN, beneath the rear bench seat. I told Jessica that both Auto VINs should agree and that they certainly should match the Title VIN.

When Charlie and Jessica visited this morning, the first thing which Charlie and I did was to remove the rear seat and clean and chalk the Chassis VIN. Sure enough, it agreed with the Aluminum Tag VIN behind the spare tire. Both gave proof that the car is, indeed, a 1967 Beetle Sedan.

Overnight, after our Friday conversation by phone, Jessica also had done some study of VINs on thesamba.com and had an idea of the Manufacture Date of the vehicle, assuming that it was a ’67 Bug. In fact, Jessica continued to amaze me with facts which she had been learning during her study about her Gertrude!