Recommended Vintage VW Reading

I get about 10 emails a week from people asking what literature might be good for them to purchase for their new project. I recommend the Volkswagen Beetle and Karmann Ghia Official Service Manual Type 1: 1966-1969. You can purchase it here (affiliate link).

More info from Bentley Publishers:

This book features full wiring diagrams (including 6-volt systems), convertible top repair, carburetor rebuilding (30 PICT-1 and 30 PICT-2) and comprehensive year and model specifications and troubleshooting tables. Like the later-model Type 1 manual, this is a comprehensive source for service and repair information.

New Color Wiring Diagrams! The hardcover edition of this book now features an eight page color supplement with reproductions of original full-color Type 1 technical schematics.

Technical features:

  • Full data and instructions for all major repairs on engines, clutches, and transmissions.
  • Rebuilding and adjusting the carburetor for maximum economy and reduced exhaust emissions.
  • How to rebuild disc and drum brakes for safer stops with older cars.
  • Taking the play out of worn front ends and steering gears.
  • How to align front and rear wheels for reduced tire wear and lower rolling resistance.
  • Troubleshooting, replacing, or repairing every component of the electrical. system-with full wiring diagrams for every model.
  • Complete specifications and instructions for money-saving tune-ups.
  • Spark advance curves that will help you spot fuelwasting, worn-out distributors.
  • Do-it-yourself body repairs that help keep older bugs looking new.
  • Plus the comprehensive Volkswagen factory tolerances, wear limits, adjustments and tightening torque specifications that you’ve come to expect from Bentley manuals.

A must-have resource for anyone who owns a ’67 Beetle.

Posted by Eric Shoemaker

Hello, I'm Eric. I started Air-Cooled Artifacts (previously, and Lane Russell). I drive a '67 Beetle daily and love to share vintage Volkswagen stories with the world.

  1. Hi, I have a 67 beetle and the points in the distributor have been replaced with an electronic ignition. My question is: How can one tell when the distributor itself is defective and needs replacing?

    1. Ed,
      I’ve FWD-ed on your comment. However, the obvious reason is that it won’t start. Otherwise, you might have a huge lag and flat spot. These distributors can be rebuilt, so there is no reason to replace it. Keep it stock and German.

    2. Hello, Ed…

      I am not a distributor expert. However, one of the first things I look for is the up-and-down play in the shaft. Such play results from worn steel and fiber washers both internally (within the dizzy’s cup) and at the “dog” end where the dizzy is driven by the distributor drive. In either case, the distributor should be rebuilt with proper spacers/washers to return vertical play to acceptable limits.

      On a vacuum distributor, the vacuum pod (canister) diaphragm can be ruptured resulting in lack of ability to advance the distributor. While there are gauges to test and determine the viability of the diaphragm, you can do a “dirty” test by simply sucking on the canister tube to see if the diaphragm will pull the distributor plate. Also, suck on the tube to draw a vacuum and hold the vacuum with the tip of the tongue to see if it will hold. If faulty, the canister will have to be replaced. Testing with a vacuum gauge can tell how much vacuum is available–if insufficient, the operation of the distributor will be adversely affected.

      But…since you have an electronic ignition…that might be where upi should begin your diagnosis. Is the engine failing to start? If so, there might be a short in the electronic system. Some add-on systems are better than others. If you have one of the knock-off cheaper systems, it may have failed.

      A less likely problem is the breaking of the solder point where the small ground wire is soldered to the bottom of the breaker plate.

      You do not mention any symptoms. Perhaps you are just wanting to know the life-span of a distributor. They usually last for years. But, the stock distributors have many years on them–my experience is that a great many of the original dizzies need to be rebuilt.

      A lot of people have abandoned the stock dizzies in favor of the 009s. This is unfortunate, in my not-so-humble opinion, because the stock distributor was engineered to work with a specific carburetor. Substitution thwarts this purpose and introduces variables that may be difficult to chase.


      1. Thanks, Jay for chiming in.

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