Over time, I’m learning never to say never and never to say always—when it comes to some of the knotty problems which we of the 1967 Beetle Community confront. Oh, yes—a lot of the time there WILL be an explanation for what appears to be a radical problem. But—what about those other situations which seemingly have no quick answers? Hummmmm!
The latest paradox arose when Eric copied me with a message which he received from Reader Justin Heath. Justin said:
“Hi Eric, It’s been a while since I’ve asked you about some ‘67 trivia. I’ve recently acquired an American spec Right Hand Drive (RHD) ‘67 Beetle. Unusual? It seems so… Very cool story about its travels. I’ll get into that later. But first, I wanted to ask about the ‘67 Rear View Mirror. I know that some ‘67 Rear Views had their stems painted black and the mirror head had a black plastic backing. Was this for the entire run of ‘67 VINs? Or (let’s say) did early ‘67s come with the chrome-stem/aluminum-head Rear View? Finally… is the black/black Rear View Mirror ‘67 only, or did that style continue into 1968?
“When I acquired the car, the owner claimed he was the fourth owner and the car came with some detailed history. It was shipped to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) from the Factory, then spent time in Malaysia and Indonesia before coming to Nor-Cal around 1980. It was originally owned by a college professor.”
During the brief research I’ve done, I’ve been told that there were a few select RHD markets that had the option of either Euro or American Spec ‘67s. Thailand and possibly Japan being just two that were named. I have no idea how to confirm this….but it makes for fun head-scratching moments.
I asked about the Mirror because I’ve seen the black/black ‘67 Mirror on more than one occasion. In my case, this RHD Bug was in need of a Rear View Mirror since the one it came with was bad. I found a RHD black/black Rear View on eBay UK, so I bought it. Knowing how hard it is to find RHD parts in the US, I jumped on it regardless of its color…it was for RHD!”
Along with the many other interesting things about the 1967 Volkswagen Beetle are the Head Light Rings Engraved with Hella SB-12. The SB-12s first were used by Volkswagen on Type 3s—the FastBacks and SquareBacks which came to US Dealerships.
Then for reasons unknown to us today, Volkswagen decided to install these special Head Light Rings on early ’67 Beetles—only those manufactured from August–October of 1966. The validation of this information has taken many years of checking the VINs of original, unrestored ‘67s which had SB-12s installed.
If you want to check to see when your ‘67 Beetle was manufactured, go here.
You also will be able to check your Engine H0 Case Serial Number to see how close it is to your VIN.
In today’s world, you will find SB-12s installed on a lot of ‘67 Bugs no matter what month the car was manufactured. Unless you are a purest, it really doesn’t matter if they came with the car, or not. They are very cool to have installed and finding a good set these days is getting harder all the time.
As we all are aware, Volkswagen made a lot of Beetles. However, the ’67 Beetle is the milestone year sought by collectors. It has been said that you either love or hate ‘67s. It really depends on how many of those one-year-only parts are already on the car when you acquire it and how many you have to chase down.
The bottom line is–if you have SB-12s on your ‘67 and it is an early ’67, great. If you have them installed on a later ‘67, enjoy them, because they are not easy to find these days and that is one of the first things folks look for when they are checking out a ‘67.
By the time Volkswagens were “in the womb”, carburetion was not a new thing. But the German Engineers tasked with creating a viable engine system for Ferdinand Porsche had to create a system that would work with the air-cooled engines which were being demanded. Bit by bit, the VW carburetors were evolving into what would become a virtually fool-proof unit.
With the advent of the 12 Volt Electrical System, Volkswagen was coming of age. Carburetion would be just one of the areas which would benefit—with better starting possibilities. Let’s look at the Choke Mechanism on the VW 105-1 30 Pict-1 Carburetor.
While there are several parts to the Choke Mechanism, it is relatively simple.
But first—what is meant by “choking the engine”? “Choking” might better be termed “restricting”—because that’s what’s happening. When the Engine is dead cold, the Fuel Mixture must be more “rich” in gasoline with less air. The Engine is “hungry”. So, by restricting (or choking) the in-coming air, this need can be met.
Eventually, in a matter of minutes, the Engine will be running well and will need more air in the Fuel Mixture as it begins to reach operational temperature. It will be “starving” for air. Now the restriction on air can be relaxed—the “choke-hold” can be relaxed and the Carburetor can seek its own Fuel Mixture levels as needed.
We will be examining only the Upper Half of a Carburetor during this discussion of the “processes” or elements which comprise the Choking Mechanism.
Looking through my parts shelves, I ran across a couple of 1967 Beetle SWF 12 Volt Wiper Motors (VW Part# 111-955-113). Not knowing if they were viable, I put them on my work bench for future testing. 1967 SWF Wiper Motors are a one-year-only part—the last with the small 5mm Eccentric Shaft and the first of the 12 Volt Motors. Thus, they are valuable to us ’67 Beetle Owners.
Finally, I got a chance to test them. While testing one, the positive wire got hot. Hummm—not good. I put that one aside with a note attached. Maybe the old Grease was so hardened that the Armature just could not turn the Gears.
The second Motor tested good. I decided to draw a Diagram, while I was at it, to remind me which connectors were for what function.
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.