’67 Volkswagen Beetle — Changing the Oil

'67 Volkswagen Beetle — Changing the Oil

That oil change comes due one time or another and this was “another!” I made a date with my ’67 and he cooperated.

I backed him out of his space but still under the shading cover. I put a jack under one side to level the car; our driveway slopes ever so gently. Then I carried the tools particular to an oil change to the work area. I slid a nice big sheet of cardboard under my ’67 and was set to drain the oil.

After it had drained, I removed the cover plate and began scraping the old gaskets off the screen, the plate and the bottom of the engine. Heavy on “scrape” and no gouging on the bottom of that engine! Once cleaned, I was set to install new gaskets. I always use some oil to coat and allow to soak into each gasket–both sides. Sort of gives them a better seal when the nuts are tightened and makes them easier to remove at the next oil change. Something that the mechanics at a refrigeration shop taught me way back in my college years.

Once the oil plate was cleaned, I reinstalled the drain bolt and tightened it as well as I could. I’d get back to it once the plate was secured by the 6 nuts. I got 6 new small copper-coated washers for the studs but chose to reuse the crush washer-gasket on the drain plug. It had been used but once and was still good for another go at it. But probably not for a third time; gets too flattened! The nuts and drain plug and plate and screen were immaculate by the time I had used the naptha, wire wheel and a rag to clean everything; spotless!

I washed the oil plate separately and saved the washings. Once they had settled, I drained the naptha and looked at the contents; a speck here and there that was shiny but nothing to worry about. Had there been a lot of that sort of stuff, I’d be having nightmares!

I never use anything larger than a quarter-inch drive and socket when tightening oil plate nuts. Using a larger wrench is bound one time or another to break one of the studs and “there you are!” You can better feel those nuts tightening with the smaller tool. I always tighten going from one side to the other, back and forth, rather than ’round the perimeter. I want to be sure not to get the plate tightened unevenly. A few last pulls at the wrench and done.

Then, to tighten the drain plug.

Time to introduce the oil. Knowing that I will not be driving much this Summer, I’ll keep using the HD 30 Wt. HD oil. More driving and I’d probably use 40 Wt. I’m old-school. I grew up that way and can’t get past it. It has worked for me for all these many years and for as long as I can get the single viscosity oil I’ll likely continue in my old pattern of doing things. I use a nice large funnel with a hose on the nether end that extends into the filler neck. That way I’ll not be dripping oil onto my clean surfaces. *

The oil pressure came up quickly with that new oil. The little engine likes it. Very satisfying!

*Note: Two experts in the field, in Dallas, Texas, tested different brands for sheer factor. They found Valvoline 20-50 Racing Oil (in their estimation) to be best suited for application to air cooled Volkswagen unfiltered engines, whether high-performance or stock. The Valvoline 20-50 Racing Oil also has more Zinc additive, which thing is very good for our engines. I know that there are a thousand opinions about oils for these engines, but this is what a studied and controlled set of experiments revealed for these two experts. Oils have changed greatly from when I was a young guy and I accept that these changes are for the better. Old habits die slowly but I’m not as change-challenged as I once was, I’m happy to say. LOL

Here’s a coherent but easily understood explanation of “sheering” which I gleaned from an online source:

“Shear stability is a measure of the amount of viscosity an oil may lose during operation. Oil experiences very high stresses in certain areas of the engine such as in the oil pump, camshaft area , piston rings, and any other areas where two mating surface areas squeeze the oil film momentarily. Most multi-grade engine oils contain special types of additives, called Viscosity Index Improvers, which are composed of very large, viscosity-controlling molecules. As the oil passes through the engine, these molecules are permanently sheared or torn apart over time, causing the additive to lose its viscosity-contributing advantages which reduces the oil’s ability to maintain its higher number…ie… 10w30, etc.

The shear stability of an oil is measured by using both ASTM test methods D445 and D5275. First, the viscosity of an engine oil is measured. Then, the oil is exposed to severe shearing conditions by repeatedly pumping it through a specially-sized diesel fuel injection nozzle at high pressure. After shearing the oil, its viscosity is measured again. The percentage of viscosity lost is determined by comparing the second viscosity measurement with the original viscosity measurement.

Although there are no specifications indicating required levels of shear stability for engine oils, lower percentages mean that an oil is more shear-stable and will retain its viscosity better during operation.”

The Finishing Touches for Your Vintage Volkswagen™
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Hello, I'm Jay Salser...

I’ve been driving and working on VWs for over 37 years. In fact, I raised my family in these cars. Now, I’m 75 years old and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been my favorite year.

10 thoughts on “’67 Volkswagen Beetle — Changing the Oil

  1. Hi, Jody…I have heard others remark about the oil drain plate silicone seals. One of these days, I’ll have to purchase a set. Until then, I have so many new paper sets that I may never run short! Ha, ha! Happy Motoring! jay

  2. I use the same oil as the author for the same reasons plus add a few oz’ s of the German product Molylube for extra measure.

  3. John Muir’s manual states on page 341 that the Oil drain plug should be torqued to 25 ft. Lbs. and the oil screen nuts to 5 ft. lbs.
    I heard that it is illegal in CA for a Jiffy Lube type place to replace oil in an aircooled VW engine becaused they are required by law to replace the oil filter and we don’t have one. Not that I’d want those clowns touching Luna in her personal areas anyway…………

    • It’s totally true. Long long ago, I drove my ’67 into one back in Atlanta. I quickly heard someone in the oil changing bay, “oh no no no. We don’t do those.” Idiots. Little do they know what they are missing.

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