Tips Posts

Vintage Volkswagen Deftost System Rebuild

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Editor’s Note: Having never done this job on any VW, I was at a loss how to counsel Richard Diaz. My main job was to act as his cheering section. Richard’s solution to this problem is brilliant! Thank you, Richard, for persevering despite your VW War injuries!

WHY DO THIS?

Maybe it is a form of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, but owning a vintage Volkswagen seems to bring out that trait in most of us who own a vintage VW! Living in Southern California there aren’t many days that a heater, windshield wiper, or a defroster are needed, but to not have them work just drives me up the wall and over time I have dedicated a lot of time to making them work as they were designed to work.

When I bought my “Papa’s Slugbug”, about three years ago, two of the long list of things I wanted working before I picked up the car were the heater and the defroster! To close the deal, the seller agreed! Well, he installed the wrong heater boxes, bus heater boxes, and didn’t attach the heater cables from the lever controls at either side of the emergency brake back to the flaps under the rear seat. Then he used a three-way splitter connection, from a 1968 Bug, for the defroster on the passenger side, using the large size hoses for that splitter, which made the passenger side barely work and the driver and center vent not work at all! I fixed the heater by installing the correct heater boxes and connecting the cables! But the defrost system required a little research to figure out, since I did not have a clue that I was missing the two Y-splitters, nor was I aware of how the system was designed to work!

RESEARCH

I have been studying the defroster system to figure out how to fix it! What I have learned is that it is a very basic system, but the parts are a little difficult to find. After a Google search on tips to fix the defroster I was emailing my good and knowledgeable friend Jay Salser. Jay and I had a lot of discussion and he offered referrals to locations where I might find the correct “Y” splitters and hoses! Jay is always willing to help any vintage Volkswagen enthusiast and share not only his knowledge, but his resources. Many times he will share parts right out of his parts pile! Jay also is an advocate of keeping the restoration process as original as possible, so he quietly rejected some of the inventive ways others fixed their defrost systems. When Jay’s parts pile came up empty for the Y-splitter, I knew I was in trouble!

After his first referral for the Y-splitters didn’t pan out, Jay referred me to an advertiser on The Samba, Avery’s Aircooled Auto, located in Kelso, Washington. Soon two Y-splitters were ordered and delivered. The Y-splitters have three different hose sizes. The upper defroster hoses; one for the corner defrosters (1-1/4″ inner diameter fits over the corner defroster tube) and one for the center defroster (1″ inner diameter fits into either side of the center defroster tube) were found at Airhead Parts in Ventura, California. The third hose, the largest of the three (1-1/2″ inner diameter fits over the heater channel pipe flange), runs from the bottom of the Y-splitter to the heater channel, was more elusive.

Thanks to Jay’s persistence to find a single source for the three hoses he finally called and talked to Mark at Wolfsburg West. In a pretty excited phone call from Jay on a Friday morning he told me that Mark went out of his way to guide a search of their product site! You see Jay, and I had been trying to navigate the site by typing in what we were looking for in the “search” window and coming up empty.

Other vendors I searched online either did not have them, or only had the defroster hose from the heater channel to the Y-splitter, or the hoses from the Y-splitter to the corners and center. None had all three! None of the main sites I frequent sold the two-way splitter, either new, nor did they have used ones! And, one vendor who specialized in used parts took all my information and never got back to me! Another, who specialized in used parts never got back to me and after my third try to communicate on the phone I realized I had dealt with this vendor before and had a similar, but more serious, experience, so I abandoned further attempts!

Jay and Eric, of 1967beetle.com, are proponents of documenting system restorations and resources for parts for future restoration work that many of us will be involved in as we keep these fine cars on the road. For that reason I have submitted this article.

My opinion/theory of why Volkswagen Engineers used the varied hose size configuration is to increase the pressure of the warm air pushed by the engine fan to the front of the car to the Y-splitter. Reducing the size of the hose from 1-1/2″ to 1-1/4″ to the corner of the windshield, a relatively short distance, decreases the volume, but increases the flow pressure to blow the warm air into each corner (Venturi Effect) . The distance to the center of the windshield defroster is greater in distance and the reduction to a 1″ diameter hose further increases the flow pressure to travel the increased distance. But, because of this competition for warm air, the center defroster must receive warm air from both heater channels.

’67 Beetle Windshield Wiper Assembly Rebuild

329887This fantastic article was submitted by our friend Richard Diaz. Thanks, for your contribution to 1967beetle.com!

The journey started some months back with finding water on the mats inside my ’67 “Papa’s Slugbug” after I washed the car! I casually would look for the entry point of the water and just couldn’t figure out where it was entering! Then one day recently while lifting the wipers blades to clean the windshield, I saw it! The rubber grommet, (inner and outer bearing seal) on the driver’s side, that surrounded the wiper shaft and created a seal for the wiper assembly was hardened and cracked! I checked the passenger’s side and the same thing! But, there was something different between the two sides; the passenger’s side had a nut that threaded over the wiper shaft and held the entire wiper assembly! The driver’s side did not! (I purchased Papa’s Slugbug three years ago from a previous owner who did an incomplete and poor restoration).

Realizing that I was missing some parts, I made a trip to Larry’s Foreign Car Repair in Ventura, California, to hopefully pick up a nut that I was sure would be hard to find since, after all, this is a 1967 Volkswagen known for one-year-only parts! Larry is an “old school” Volkswagen mechanic and he quickly noticed that I was missing not only the brass nut, but also the stainless steel washers that are placed between the rubber grommet (inner and outer bearing seal) and the nut! They had to be brass and stainless steel to avoid rusting. Larry found some for me, but recommended that I replace the wiper shafts while I was at it, since I would have to pull the entire wiper assembly unit to replace the rubber grommets anyway! I never question Larry’s advice!

Online, I went to Airhead Parts, where I ordered new wiper shafts, rubber grommets and bushings for the wiper linkage arms! Not cheap, but while I was at it, I figured that I better do it right! As soon as I received the parts, I removed the wiper assembly and got started. The first thing that I noticed with the parts I received was that not only was I missing the previously mentioned parts, but on the back side of the wiper assembly there are a number of other critical parts: spring washer, brass nut and another stainless steel flat washer that is placed against the other side of the rubber grommet! Also on the outside there is supposed to be a wiper shaft seal to prevent water from entering the wiper shaft. Most of those parts on my wiper assembly were missing! Luckily Airhead Parts provides them and has them placed on the new wiper shaft in the order they need to be placed! Also the new wiper link bushings for the linkage assembly came with new C- clips.

Gavin LaMaide’s ’67 Beetle Pedal Alignment

Gavin LaMaide's '67 Beetle Pedal AlignmentEditors note: Gavin, we thank you for the article. As I’ve said, 1967beetle.com isn’t about me, it’s about the community of ’67 Beetle owners around the world. Let’s continue to help each other stay on the road. -ES

Quote for the Occasion..

“If you think you can, or think you can’t….you’re RIGHT!” -Henry Ford

Hello 1967beetle.com,

You will learn nothing new in the confines of this article outside of luck, determination and deep gratitude! In any case, I was asked by Eric & Jay to share my “little experience” with my clutch pedal cluster that I disassembled by accident and put back together. Based on my total lack of mechanical expertise, you can do it too!

It all started after I read the recent article about Pedal Clusters and the articulation and organization of such parts. I noticed for months my very own clutch pedal on my 67’ had way too much free play and was a two full inches depressed beyond that of the brake pedal. It really started to bother me. Although the clutch worked fine, it looked bad and clearly it was not adjusted properly. So, I thought, “ I’m not a mechanic, what could go wrong. Let’s give it a go!!”

’67 Beetle Steering Coupler Disc

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This past weekend (September 26th) my good friend James Anderson of Wylie, TX, was demonstrating his newly restored Zenith Blue 1967 Beetle to several of us VW friends.

While we were examining different aspects of this beautiful vehicle, James turned to me with this story.

He told me that during his test driving, following the nuts-and-bolts restoration, he noticed that the steering was “strange”. This demanded an investigation into the cause. Those who are acquainted with James, know that he is a very careful and thorough person in every aspect of his life.

As he examined the front suspension, eventually he came to the Steering Box and Coupler. Careful evaluation of the Steering Coupler Disc revealed that it was stretching and tearing—note photographs #2 and #3. James had installed a brand new urethane Coupler when he restored the chassis. During one week of light test-driving, following the restoration, the urethane Coupler failed.

’67 Beetle Pedal Cluster

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Editors note: Jay, you’ve outdone yourself with this one. The ’67 Beetle community around the world thanks you for your in depth knowledge of these great old cars. Let’s all take a moment to shine our timing lights in the direction of Garland, TX.

It occurred to me a few years ago that in the case of parts failures for my 1967 Beetle, I had few spare parts to call upon. I began in earnest to collect—first, only major parts which might fail and be more costly to replace down-the-road. Soon, I was examining possibilities for more parts. Eventually, I had collected so many parts that my inventory, if you could call it that—was in terrible disarray! Parts were crammed here and there on shelves.

Neva offered to help me. She sat with a clip board as I unloaded the shelves and began to reassemble the parts in a meaningful manner. Neva noted each part, numbering and naming each, including which shelf it called home. Soon, we had the job done—shelves and a large lateral filing cabinet.

My next operation was to transfer all to my computer. I called the file: VW Inventory. Now, I easily could locate any part which I had saved. Later, I went through the Inventory and rearranged in groupings of related parts, including condition (new, restored, used) and number of units of each part.

I had it in the back of my mind to restore and inventory a Pedal Cluster for my Beetle. I placed a Cluster on my work bench to remind me. On an opportune day, I scavenged every Cluster which I could find in my storage area. Now, the task was to sort to find appropriate examples to restore. I decided to restore two, since we also have a 1968 Karmann Ghia Coupe—which takes the same Cluster.

This discussion concerns only left-hand drive vehicles. There are extra components for the right-hand drive clusters.

When considering the Clusters, I had to note the condition of the Housings—that’s what I call the base unit to which the Pedals affix. The Housings are of cast aluminum. Over the years, moisture accumulates at the low spot where the Housing bolts to the tunnel. Corrosion and pitting occur, rendering many Housings unsuitable for reuse. This shows the importance of good rubber seals all around the car—to prevent moisture infiltration.

Right away, I discovered that I had two different Cluster Housings in my stash. Both styles bear the same VW Part Number: 113-721-109A. I checked my own Beetle and decided to use the example which corresponded to its Cluster Housing configuration. The difference can be seen in comparative Photograph # 1. Note the Accelerator Pedal Stop protrusion in the right hand example.