Jay Salser Posts

1967 Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Z-Bar Update

Russ Keller, a reader and good friend of 1967beetle.com sent the following information with photos to back up his studied position. His thesis called for “loading” the Z-Bar by altering the travel space at the bottom end of each Operating Rod. With the space filled, the Rods are “loaded”. They are not “waiting” for a “loading moment” when the Z-Bar will be activated.

Russ Keller says:

Because the Z-Bar was active only in harder turning as an anti-sway, it was too little too late.

On our ’67, we engaged the Z-Bar all of the time by installing a polyurethane bushing to take up the 2 inch slack prior to engagement. In this way it was always ready in play and we didn’t have the delay in rear suspension stiffness when needed. It was there right away and really improved the cornering and over-steer. Here are a few pictures we took when we installed the z-bar bushings. It was a cheap and easy improvement and the urethane came in black so it matched the look. It was a big improvement for little $$.

After a few hard test drives we experimented with the length of the test bushing.

Because we bought an extra long piece of the hollow material from McMaster-Carr, we could cut test samples. These ranged from 3 1/2″ down to 2″.

The 2″ was the pick by the drivers–my son, “VW Gary” (Gary Drennen from Gary’s Aircooled Service) and me. As I remember, since the 2″ bushing did not quite fill the space on the Operating Rod, that little bit of “slop” prevented the back (of the car) from feeling springy or bouncy. Springy is a technical term of art…..”Federnd” in the original German.”

Thank you, Russ, for sharing your experiment with us!

1967 Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Z-Bar


Jay Salser does it again, folks. Many many ’67 Beetle owners around the world appreciate the fruits of your labor. – ES

At some point, I accumulated some Z-Bar (Equalizer Spring) Components. I decided to sort these and at least learn their Names and Part Numbers. There’s not much future in calling parts—“the thing-a-ma-jig”. You get the picture.

I know that a lot of 1967 Owners won’t be excited by all of this, but there are some who enjoy knowing about the “minutia” of their cars. For those—I decided to post the information which I have accumulated. Thanks to David Brown, I have been able to acquire those VW Part Numbers which I could not find on my own. And, Neva Salser whipped out her Digital and snapped a multitude of photos from which to choose some for this exercise.

Note: The Z-Bar continued into the 1968 Production Year for 1968 Beetles so that the Z-Bar is not a one-year-only part.

In Europe, the Z-Bar took a different configuration. Also, somewhere in there, the replacement for the Z-Bar with which we are familiar was superceded by the one in the photo below.

Challenges of Vintage Car Ownership

Challenges of Vintage Car Ownership

An older article we wanted to put in the spotlight again, as we’ve been receiving a lot of emails on this topic.

Before I knew “Jonesie” (not his real name), he had purchased a Beetle which, by all logic, should have gone to the crusher. Never had he revived a car, much less a Bug. But, he had disassembled the car, removed the body from the chassis and proceeded to cut and weld and renew the car.

By the time we had met and become better acquainted, he was driving the vehicle but experiencing some major difficulties due to poor advice which he had received and some poor workmanship from a shop which rebuilt his engine and did some front end work.

I took Jonesie under consideration and introduced him to a bonafide VW mechanic and engine builder. Almost immediately the mechanic identified some of the problems. Together, we began solving and drawing the car out of its slump. It was gratifying to see Jonesie driving and enjoying his car. He talked about it, joined a local club, went on cruises and even was joined by his wife in his forays onto the highways.

I wasn’t surprised when he asked for help to build an authentic engine for his year of Beetle. After considerable expense, he soon was cruising with an engine to-kill-for—a real German engine from ring gear to crank pulley.

When he talked to me some months later and announced that he was selling his Beetle and all of his VW things, I was shocked. He told me that he had experienced a problem with his speedometer. Then, there was some other minor problem. These distractions bothered him and resulted in his disenchantment with a vintage vehicle. He plainly told me that he had not expected these things to happen. Clearly he was under the impression that once “restored”, the car was going to run without a hitch.

His has not been the first case I have observed! A person spends thousands of dollars and countless hours laboring to “get it right” only to have little stuff happen—usually when it is least expected and least appreciated—in terms of money, time and inconvenience!

I am a diehard VW fan who doesn’t like break-downs and other mechanical distractions, but I am in there for the long haul! I never have been under any delusion that a restored vintage car is going to be like a brand new car off the assembly line. Nothing is going to work exactly as it did in those days long past. Never!

In an article in the September-October, 2014 Saturday Evening Post, Jeanne Wolf interviewed Jay Leno—known the World ‘round for his vintage car collection and now-famous garage (pp.38-41 and 82). When but a boy, Jay was given a ’34 Ford Pickup to work on. His dad told him that if he could fix it, he could have it. Jay met the challenge and eventually had the truck running. He said about that first challenge: “You sort of learned to respect the machine and how to make it work. That’s probably what really got me into cars. And that’s what has kept me involved in creating my own collection and building the garage.”

Vintage Volkswagen Keys

Jody is a friend of 1967beetle.com; as he’s been reading since the early days. Again, it’s the community that makes 1967beetle.com what is is. Thanks again, Jay for shining your timing light on another one that makes a difference.

Hello, fellow 1967 VW Beetle connoisseurs. My name is Jody Sauvageau (that’s sav-uh-joe). I’m 44 years old, live in Cumberland, Rhode Island, and have been addicted to Volkswagens since receiving my first Matchbox VW Bug “Dragon Wheels” at the age of 4. I still have that first Matchbox today. I always have owned at least one VW since my first car, a 1977 Rabbit, that I purchased at age 15½. I bought it 6 months before receiving my license so I could “fix her up” in time for that special day. Since then, I almost can’t count how many VWs I’ve owned and brought back to life in one way or another.

One car that never has left me, nor ever will, is my 1967 Sunroof Beetle Deluxe Sedan that has been highlighted here on 1967beetle.com in the past. Finished in L633 VW Blue with Platinum interior, it’s been a labor of love for the last 16 years. I fully restored her myself, aside from paint, from top to bottom, trying to replicate factory standards as best as I could. I have won numerous awards and trophies and was featured in the July, 2014, Hot VW’s Vintage Special Magazine, a dream come true. Now it is retired from judging, but I still take it to a few shows a year.

Besides buying and selling all things VW to feed my addiction (I mean hobby) my newest VW adventure has been cutting VW Keys. It started last year when a friend purchased a VW Beetle project car that had no Keys. He tried contacting a local guy who’s been making Keys “to Code” for VW’s for years, but had no luck getting in touch with him. Every VW lock has a Code stamped on it which represents its Key Cut, but more on that later. Eventually my friend located a locksmith who still could perform the task of cutting an “antique VW Key” by having just the Code, but this came at a premium cost. It was then that it occurred to me: “Maybe this is something I can do!”

Vintage Volkswagen Beetle Fuel Pressure

Another fantastic and well articulated article from Jay Salser. Our timing lights are pointed in your direction. Thank you for all you do here at 1967beetle.com.

I commonly hear the words—“I had a vapor lock!”

We mostly think of vapor in conjunction with heat. So a BIG question arises when the “vapor lock” occurs under cool circumstances. This renders such a diagnosis suspect.

It is very easy to blame a poorly functioning air-cooled engine on a “vapor lock”. When someone calls to ask what can be done to cure a “vapor lock”, I ask lots of questions.

I want to hear how the car-engine acted. I want to hear about the circumstances that led to the problem. I want to hear about the ambient temperature.

My mind follows the Fuel System from the Tank to the Fuel Pump. And I literally ask the caller questions during my mental perusing of the Fuel System. It’s like a movie playing through my brain as I listen and ask questions.

Did the engine just quit?

Did the engine buck, then finally stall?

Usually people try things like pouring water over the Fuel Lines or over the Fuel Pump.

Or, maybe the caller has changed the Fuel Filter.

In any case usually no firm diagnosis is reached and the next time it happens, the same scenario plays out.

One person reported that his car stalled at the roadside. A passing motorist stopped to give aid. He produced a bottle of water and poured it over the Fuel Pump. Soon, the engine started and the driver resumed his journey homeward. The assumption—the Fuel Pump had suffered a “vapor lock”—even though the weather wasn’t even hot.

Recently, Frank Salvitti talked to me about the “vapor lock” which temporarily put his car out of commission. He had driven a few miles, parked his Beetle and gone into the store to make his purchases. When he came out—the car would not start. He said that he could not see any fuel in the Fuel Filter (mounted, still, in the engine compartment). Eventually, after the engine had cooled, he surmised, the car started and he drove home.

Here’s what I asked Frank to do. I asked him to get a Fuel Pressure Gauge to connect between the Fuel Pump and the Carburetor. In a few days, he reported Fuel Pressure in excess of 5 PSI. This is far too much pressure.

The Float Valve (commonly called the Needle Valve) in the top of the Carburetor cannot withstand such High Pressure. Gasoline forces its way into the Bowl and begins to overflow down the throat of the Carburetor. When this happens, not enough air can mix with the un-atomized gasoline and the engine is choking to death on raw fuel. It either stalls or won’t restart after having been turned off.

Until all of that raw gas has dispersed and evaporated.

Think of the Bowl of the Carburetor as a toilet tank. If we hold the float down, water continues to fill the tank until it finally overflows. We have generated “excessive pressure” on the tank float—overpowering the cut-off mechanism.

Sometimes the Pressure is so great that gasoline can be seen percolating in the filter (if it is connected between the Pump and the Carb). With the Air Breather removed, raw gas sometimes can be seen over-flowing down the throat of the Carburetor. This especially can be seen if the car has been parked nose-uphill.

First, let’s review how the Fuel Pump operates through the following photographs.