Tips Posts

Vintage Volkswagen Clutch Repair

’67 Volkswagen Beetle — Tim Mossman's 1500 CC Engine Build
It was 1977 and I was driving a 1967 Black SunRoof Beetle with that awesome brick red interior. Oh, the car wasn’t in tip-top condition, but, it was all stock. I drove the car every day to and from work and elsewhere, while my wife ferried herself and the children in a second ’67 Ruby Red Beetle.

At the end of one long work day, I left the job and got into my Beetle. Funny thing. When I put in the clutch and attempted to start the car and shift into first, I could not get a gear—just a lot of grinding. Oh-oh! I thought. The clutch cable is gone. My brain went into over-load and information began to sift. Today, I’d say that my cerebral computer began a data search—but, in them days personal computers were uncommon to the masses.

I recalled about speed-shifting (at least that’s what I called it). This involves using the accelerator to generate movement, releasing the foot from the accelerator and quickly pulling or pushing the stick to get the next gear—all without the clutch pedal coming into play.

Only one problem: When the key is turned with the car in first gear, the car lurches forward.

I checked for traffic, pushed the lever into first, then turned the key—away we went!

Let off the gas and pull quickly into second. Hey—this was working fine. Now, I hoped for clear streets and few stop signs and stop lights. I was in Dallas afternoon rush traffic and had 15 miles to travel to get home. I plotted my trip as I drove, taking alternate streets where I knew there was less traffic and few stop lights, especially.

I sweated it to the outskirts of Dallas and pulled into Big Billy Barrett’s—the largest Volkswagen dealership in the area. When I obtained our VWs, it hadn’t taken long to become acquainted with the parts division at this dealership. I purchased a clutch cable, got into my trusty steed and made the remainder of the trip without incident.

I had a method for changing the clutch cable. I raised the driver’s rear, placed a jack stand beneath the car, removed that wheel and had instant access to the far end of the clutch cable. Vise grips were clipped onto the cable just before the clutch arm to keep the cable from twisting as the wing nut was unscrewed and then reinstalled when adjusting.

Next, the pedal cluster was removed. But, what to my wondering eye should appear but a crack at the base of the clutch pedal where it is pinned to the pedal cluster shaft. Besides a frayed clutch cable, the crack was opening when the pedal was depressed, allowing travel, but not effective travel. The pedal would bottom at the stop but wasn’t pulling the cable sufficiently to move the clutch! My problem immediately was compounded.

Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter Installation

Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter InstallationI’ve heard this argument time and time again. I actually had a mechanic tell me once that he “refused” to put the fuel filter anywhere but the engine compartment. Bad idea. A fuel filter puts pressure on the inlet tube of the carb. If that comes loose; well game over for your vintage Volkswagen. Not to fear, moving your fuel filter out of the engine area is very simple!

For illustration, my fuel filter is already installed and I’m replacing it. However, the process is the same.
Let’s take a look at a few simple parts you’ll need.

      A German Fuel filter
      A few feet of German fuel hose
      4 German fuel hose clamps (Note: We offer two styles)
      Confidence (You can do it)

Alright, let’s get to work.
Jack the car up and remove the drivers side rear wheel.

Vintage Volkswagen Fuel Filter Installation

Buying Your Dream Vintage Volkswagen

Buying Your Dream Vintage VolkswagenIf you have been reading for a while, you probably have seen my article entitled: Buying Strategies.

While I definitely will touch on points which I used in that article, the focus of this article is different. I’m going to chasten sellers but at the same time not let buyers off the hook.

Things in the World of Vintage Volkswagens are heating rapidly. Prices of vehicles are rising steadily. As I have said before, the day of a running, driving VW for $500 or even a thousand dollars is over! Forgive that rare case, of course.

A decent vehicle that doesn’t take complete restoration to get it going is going to cost $6500 to $8500. I had to give up my idyllic world of cheap Beetles a few years ago. I consider myself a “veteran” VW buyer, having bought and sold scores of them over the years. In all conditions for all sorts of reasons. I could ferret them from backyards, garages—anywhere that owners had parked them. It was easy. Had I more money at the time and more space, I would have bought hundreds. But, that wasn’t the case.

Now, I drool when someone comes up with a decent Beetle for $3000. Wow! How did I miss that one?!

Okay…let’s examine a specific case. Eric and I field lots of buying questions but many people who come to us already have purchased a car which they hope will be the car of their dreams!

Let’s call him Bill. Bill and Eric and I conferred after the fact. Bill had purchased a Convertible 1967 Beetle. He contacted us when he noticed an anomaly—a simple thing at first, but as the story played out—a travesty! Bill gave permission for us to use his story in hopes that it will help others to avoid what happened to him.

Bill used a well-known VW WebSite to search for his dream car. He eventually discovered a 1967 Beetle Convertible in California. The seller sent multiple photos for Bill to see. When all questions had been asked, the deal was sealed, money crossed palms and the car was shipped across the Nation to its destination.

While cleaning the project Convertible, Bill discovered that someone had installed a ’68 and later shift lever. Wanting his ‘Vert to be original, Bill found a stock shifter Online and set about to install it. To his surprise, the stock, year-correct shift lever would not fit. ’67 and earlier shift levers have a pin on the “ball” which fits into the “cup” of the shift rod in the tunnel. The cup had no notch for the pin! What???

That’s when Bill talked to Eric and me. Questions began to pour from us. What’s the VIN beneath the rear seat? Does it jibe with the tag behind the spare tire? Are the wheels 4 lug or 5 lug? And on and on.

Bill’s answers elicited further questions. The picture began to come into focus. It came to a head when Bill closely examined the VIN beneath the rear seat and discovered that it was a little crooked. Upon further examination, he could see that it had been grafted into the chassis. Not only so—the original VIN that had been cut and removed was pushed beneath the heater tube on the driver’s side. It read: 118xxxxxx The chassis is from a ’68 Beetle!

Then, Bill began to compare photos which the seller had sent to him. The seller’s photo of the VIN showed it to be in good condition. Yet, when Bill received delivery of the car, he found the sound deadening material surrounding the VIN to be melted.

And…the aluminum VIN tag behind the spare tire was missing.

Vintage Volkswagen — Pan Off Restorations

Vintage Volkswagen — Pan Off
We receive a good bit of emails here at about the pan off restoration process. Yes it’s a lot of work, but can even be done at home. (With the right tools and knowledge) There are many friends of ours around the world that have accomplished this very task.

The submitted video below shows just how simple removing the body from the chassis can be. You have to remember, these cars were designed to be worked on.

Vintage Volkswagen Windshield Washer System

FOR SALE: '67 Beetle Washer Bottle Reservoir Decal
One of the features which the Volkswagen Beetle has retained since 1962 is the windshield washer system. Though it has varied in some details, it has remained a pressure operated system. The fluid bottle was to be filled with clear water or a windshield washing fluid which could consist of an anti-freezing-cleaning solution for winter months or for colder climate zones.

This bottle was also marked with either a yellow or red decal. Both are correct. It just depended on what the factory had on hand.

Pressure in 1961 was generated by a diaphragm—the switch was pulled to activate a diaphragm which pulled water from the unpressurized fluid bottle and pushed it through the washer nozzles onto the windshield.

For 1962, the bottle was changed so that it could be filled with liquid, the cap screwed shut and the bottle pressurized by use of a tire pump or some other source of compressed air. The washer hose, of course, changed to accept this pressure. The hose was routed around the gas tank to the passenger’s side and then to the washer switch. The bottle cap (in the Owner’s Manual illustration) was white and knurled.

Helphos was a major manufacturer of the washer bottle (perhaps the sole manufacturer). In the photo below, Logo and other identifying information has been highlighted in black for illustrative purposes only.