Someone said, “Never say never and never say always!” A cute saying when you first hear it but “meaty” when you think about it. It was a piece of advice given to Neva and me when we were getting married.
Randy Drubek, a faithful Reader of 1967beetle.com, is working hard to restore his ’67 Bug. He’s had many questions about knotty problems over the months during which we’ve been in communication. One thing about Randy, he doesn’t spare the questions. He makes a guy think!
When he came up with a new part he was having trouble installing, he told me about it.
Oh, yeah, he did! He even told me where he’d purchased it and the part number.
What? I didn’t want to look like a dummy. After all, I’ve owned ‘67s for many years and I’m supposed to know a few things about them. But, I sure did not know about THIS part! In fact, the part and its supposed application made no sense.
Are you following me here? No! Of course not—because I haven’t said which part it is.
It is called by one retailer: “Seal, Head Light to Body”.
No way! Here’s why. The Head Light on a ’67 Beetle can never “seal” to the body of the vehicle to effect anything. Water from rain or washing enters freely around the sealed beam and immediately flows into the Head Light Bucket.
In the bottom of the Head Light Bucket is a Hole. Into this Hole fits the Drain Hole Rubber Fitting (Plug), 111-941-187, which keeps road dirt out of the Bucket but which allows moisture to seep out of the Bucket through slits in the Plug.
Volkswagen engineers obviously knew that they could not keep water out of the Bucket or they would not have engineered the Drain Hole and Drain Plug. For one thing, there must be clearance around the Head Light in order to allow for adjustment of the Sealed Beam so that it focuses properly.
So what could be the purpose of this supposed “Seal”. The answer is, it is not a “seal” per se, but it is a Buffer to protect against chaffing between the Head Light Outer Ring and the Painted Fender. This made sense.
I consulted David Brown—he chuckled.
Yes”, he told me, “There is such a part” and “Yes, it protects the Painted Fender against chaffing by the Head Light Outer Ring.”
He agreed with me when I told him that of the many VWs which I’ve “handled” over the past 40 something years, I’d never seen one of these rubber rings in any condition on a ’67 and later Beetle. He told me that once in a while, he’d see a Bug with the remnants of one of these rubber rings still clinging to the fender.
Apparently it’s one of the forgotten parts which many owners and mechanics have deemed to be unimportant.
Armed with this information, I removed the Outer Head Light Rings on our ’67 Beetle in order to install the Buffering O-Rings on each Fender. Whoops! Randy told me that they were a bit difficult to install. I called my Chief Helper—my wife, Neva. Together, we did the installation in quick succession.
Then, I reinstalled the Outer Head Light Rings.
A Note: when installing the Outer Ring, start the screw at the bottom. Once it is started, raise and clip the Ring over the Top Lip of the Head Light Bucket. Then, check for alignment and fitting all around and tighten the screw.
The Buffering O-Rings already had been in existence long before the first 1967 Beetle exited the Wolfsburg Factory doors. Type 3 FastBacks, SquareBacks and NotchBacks already had the Up-right Head Lights as far back as the 1962 production year. (The SqBk and FstBk did not debut in the USA until the mid-‘60s. The Notches stayed in Europe)
Supposedly, Type 2s (Buses and that entire line of vehicles) also used the O-Rings from 1968 onward, when they also assumed the same Outer Head Light Ring.
There was a question which David Brown posed—when, in later years, Volkswagen began installing Plastic Outer Head Light Rings—did Volkswagen AG continue to install the Rubber O-Rings on Beetles and Buses? Retailers assume so, posting 1968-1979 on their labels.
Today…if anyone asks me if my Beetle has the Buffering O-Rings, I truthfully can answer “Yes”. Chalk off one more stock 1967 part on my list.
Thank you, David Brown for your consistent help with these adventures into the Annals of Volkswagen History.
And many thanks to you, Randy Drubek of Lynden, WA, for prompting me for answers to so many knotty questions. May your 1967 Beetle soon be giving you great joy as you drive the result of many months of painstaking labor.
Neva worked with the photos. I dragged her out into 100F temps to snap some of them. Only a fraction of photos taken appear in any of these Articles.