Magura vs VDO Gas Gauge

Magura vs VDO Gas Gauge

Recently, fellow creator of, Eric Shoemaker showed me the Magura Gas Gauge from his 1967 Beetle. He has cleaned it to look like new. He reports that his sender unit (in the gas tank) as well as the cover for the sender, are a coordinated set from Magura.

Through production year 1967, Beetles in the USA came with a “grill” to the right of the speedometer on the dash. The mechanical gauge was located there.

My experience with VWs has been limited to living in Texas—mostly in the Dallas, TX area. I have seen Magura gas gauges but never fully investigated them. Most cars which I have seen had the VDO gas Gauge and related parts.

Frankly, I believed that Magura was a replacement gauge. End of story. That “story” now has been shown NOT to be ended! We need Reader response and input about the gas gauge and related parts in your 1967 Beetles! Let’s see what our combined experience tells us.

Here’s some more information to put into the hopper.

The VDO gas gauge for 1967 part number is 113-919-031A (the one which I am looking at is date-stamped 12/66). The cable is always silver colored. The VDO gauge is clearly marked on the face as VDO. The country of origin also is clearly marked as being Germany.

The VDO sender cover plate part number is 113-919-137A. The cover has the VW Logo and a raised VDO. This cover is probably a zinc coating.

I do not have a part number of the VDO sender itself.

The Magura gas gauge (this one date-stamped 6/66) part number is 113-919-031. The cable always is black in color. The Magura gauge face is clearly marked Magura.

The Magura sender cover plate is stamped with the VW Logo and the part number 113-919-137. The Magura crest-logo also is stamped into the cover. The cover is a gold colored coating—possibly cadmium.

No country of origin is given for Magura products—that I have observed.

Magura vs VDO Gas Gauge

Magura vs VDO Gas Gauge

In my many VW contacts, I ran into David Brown of Pennsylvania. David was trained by VW in their Parts Business and ran a VW Parts Department for some time before launching his own business for the following 30+ years. One of the side benefits for David was being able to replicate and retain all of the parts references for all models of VWs—including all years. Thus, I have enjoyed Dave’s expertise and call upon him for advice and information. Hey—it takes all of us to put this huge VW puzzle together!

David says:

“Hello Jay , I have always had in mind that the Magura Gas Gauge was another German-made Original Production Part. I base this on having seen some among my stuff which, given the time that I’ve had my stuff laying around, precludes most re-popped parts because they simply weren’t around back then. Add to this that I also have seen Magura Tank Sender Covers as well, so I suspect there are Original Production Magura Senders as well. I think that in the later years (‘66-’67) the production numbers were so high that VDO couldn’t produce enough to keep up.”

After some searching of his parts bins, Dave wrote again:

“I have gone digging in my boxes of Fuel Gauge stuff and find Maguras that are date coded from late ‘65 thru mid ‘67. I also find that the Brackets are stamped Magura. On the Tank end, I find the same date range of Maguras as well as Magura embossed Covers. Have you ever seen a Magura offered with a Date Code prior to ‘65?”

More information soon was coming from David. He says, “After looking at how different the Magura bits are from the VDO parts, it leaves me wondering if Magura wasn’t an early maker of Accessory Gas Gauges tapped in later years for VWs production needs. My Magura Sender has an aluminum can Float while the VDO has had the Plastic ones for ages. The VW Parts Department Books do not offer a choice ( nor mention ) of Manufacturer. Instead, Volkswagen AG specified that the UNITS of different makes must work with each other. Think Hella / Hassia, Bosch / Motorola. SWF / Kloster,etc. I will be very interested in what you find out. Thanks your interest, Dave Brown”

David further posits:

“VW approved them (Magura) for production–what can I say? For VW, then, that was the final word !! Hard to say which was available in the VW Dealer Parts at that time but I’d bet it was VDO except for that slice of time in ‘66-‘67.”

My (Jay Salser) personal feeling is that VDO probably WAS the main supplier of gauges in general. Looking at the vehicles (all models including T-1, T-2, T-3, Ghia, etc., etc.) VDO certainly has the overwhelming representation.

I have tried to find any reference to who manufactured Magura–no luck, so far. No help, either from the gauges themselves (from the ones which I have here), for no country of origin is given on them.

To be truthful, over the years I thought that Magura was a Brazilian company. Now–I have not a clue!

This is where you, The readers, come into the picture. Let’s get your responses and information. I bet that some knowledge and wisdom will be forthcoming with your comments. Join the conversation below.

Posted by Jay Salser

My wife, Neva, and I have been driving and working on VWs since 1976. In fact, we raised our family in these cars. Now, we are retired and enjoy VWs as a hobby. The ’67 Beetle always has been our favorite year. We own a '67 Beetle and a '68 Karmann Ghia.

  1. They have a web site. In Southern Germany they are based since 1893. Bicycles and vehicle parts are their thing.

    1. Good info! We would also like to know what other readers here have in their ’67s.

    2. Stephen…this is good information. Certainly the gauge cable is logical to the bicycle business, at least in later years–think brake cables, shifter cables, etc. The sheathing, the inner flexible construction and then, the cable itself. It certainly wouldn’t take much to do the rest. I’ll investigate the WebSite which you sent. Good job! jay

  2. This is a cool conversations. Like a VW Sherlock Holmes mystery. Interested to hear what others start to reveal. Fun Post!

    1. Hi, Timm…But…we want to hear of your own experience, too. What gas gauge are you running in your ’67?

      The detective work is ever with us. Just a little over a week ago, in talking with the new owner of a ’67 Beetle, we discovered yet another difference having to do with the fan shroud. Jody Sauvageau seems to have answered that one. Records, if there ever were records for some things, are sketchy at best. And so–the discovery process rolls onward! jay

      1. Hi Jay,
        I am driving a 62 Beetle not a 67. I love the 67 with all of their single year only parts and quirks.
        Love the site.

        1. LOL—I didn’t know, Timm…you are such a loyal Reader that I thought your car was a ’67. Well…we are encouraging you to do the right thing–that is–to obtain a ’67! How can we speed the process? LOL jay

        2. And we love you more, Timm.

  3. Hello. Mine is May 1967 production. It is VDO. Thanks!

    1. Thanks, Todd!

  4. I have been lurking here for the last several months, having just acquired a Zenith Blue ’67 in March this year. I have been investigating the gas gauges as I have a slight leak in the sender unit that is letting fumes into the trunk/passenger area. This is where I found out there are two suppliers of gas gauges and sender units. I have the Magura setup, and the cable, sender cover are all consistent with Magura which leads me to believe mine is original equipment. What’s not clear to me is if the sender units are interchangeable. They are quite different, and the Magura may be repairable as it appears there is an “o” ring sealing the sender shaft from the rest of the sender. The VDO one has a rubberized cover over the shaft, and is not repairable. There is a good thread about this on the Samba which helps with this

    1. Dave,
      Thanks for supporting our efforts here at! Lurk on. :)

    2. Hello, Dave…

      Thanks for including the Link to repairs for the sender! I repaired my sender–but, it was some time back so that presently I cannot recall which sender is in my car. It is not the original VDO sender. My problem was that I went to a place that had limited sizes of O-rings. I purchased a tiny one and further carved on it to create one which would do the job for me. I have tried to repair the VDO rubber boot (which you mention) with no success. It would need to be a gasoline resistant coating of some sort to seal the age-cracks in the original boot. Not feasible, I think.

      To answer your question–the Magura and the VDO senders can be used with either gauge–Volkswagen specified compatibility. The cable from the gauge attaches identically to either sender. The sender covers also should interchange.

      One of our Readers found a way to repair the cable. She used a couple of shops–one a bicycle shop–they know about cables, BTW! I’ve been after Beth Leverman to give us the full description of her repair! Beth????? Are you listening?

      Have fun in that Zenith, Dave!


  5. Stephen M Jaeger October 6, 2014 at 4:41 pm

    The only ones I’ve ever seen were VDO – both in my current and my original ’67. Maybe the Magura was a European thing and not US market?

    1. Well, my ’67 is a US import and has a Magura set up. My take, different locations used what they had on hand. Same as toolkits.

    2. Hello, Stephen…All Beetles destined for the US Market were fabricated in one location–Wolfsburg. Supplies/manufacturers of equipment could vary. We do not yet know what was the “usual” gas gauge for other countries. What is fact is that VDO AND Magura were installed into Beetles destined for the United States. Eric is going to post a comment from one of our Readers in Australia. His ’67 Beetle, fabricated in Australia, uses the VDO Gauge, etc.–albeit electric. We are hoping to get feedback from ’67 Beetle owners in other parts of the Globe so that we can get a better picture. There’s nothing critical about this issue–it’s just one of interest–at least to some of us. LOL jay

  6. Stephe Beckmann October 7, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Just checked my US import, it has the Magura sending unit, and the VDO gauge. Reviewing old receipts back to ’79, I am not finding any indication that the sender was ever replaced.

    1. Hello, Stephen…Thank you for responding with your information. I would suspect that the sending unit was replaced at some time (since the gauges themselves seldom go bad). The VDO sending unit utilized a rubber boot at the swinging arm. This boot was the failing point. It soon cracked and began to leak gas and fumes into the trunk area and thence into the cabin. This annoyance could be solved by installing a new sending unit–which could have been the Magura which you have in the car at this point. Of course, this is speculation, but it is based upon the knowledge/experience which I note above. It is extremely doubtful that the factory would have mixed brands on the assembly line. Things were presented as sets during assembly. Nevertheless…this is information which we can put into the hopper. Stay tuned as we hear from other Readers. On the side, I am checking with VW friends back as far as 1962 to see if we can discover any patterns. It’s all fun, I assure you! LOL jay

  7. Well I am curiouser, and curiouser.
    I looked at my two 67s, a custom, and a 67 Delux model both having the VDO components… I assume original . One does stink up the cab some…lol
    Further all the parts iv collected are VDO. Iv not came across the Magura pieces yet . But I’m still young . Lol

    1. Hi, Richard…I hope that you are staying relatively warm way up there in Canada! Yes…it is a strange journey upon which we embark when we get to looking intricately at the parts and pieces of these lovable little cars. What mysteries they hold! I almost think that they hold out on us, knowing that they can keep our attention for a while longer. And, yes–somewhere along the line, I have come to believe that Beetles “think”! And “plan’! jay

  8. My dad bought a ’67 in the Los Angeles area in June ’67… eight months before I was born. I remembered his gas gauge was VDO. He doesn’t have it anymore, but I just called him to confirm if my memory was correct. He distinctly remembers it was VDO.

    I also have two ’67s sitting in my garage now, one built around late August ’66 (most likely sold in the Los Angeles area), the other built around November ’66 (not sure where sold)… both cars are VDO.

    Thanks for the tip about the o-ring… the beetle I’m gonna restore smells a bit gassy :-)

    1. Hi, Jim…thanks for the evidence from your experience and from your two cars. We may not come to any conclusion other than that there were two brands of gas gauge systems used. Why there seems to be no pattern…???
      Jim, the O-ring was used with a non-VDO sender (in my case). I know of no way to repair the VDO sender ruptured boot problem. jay

  9. Bought mine in Europe 1966, US Specifications, born prior to November 1966 has Magura gauge, two spares, one Magura date coded 11/66 the other VDO date coded 5/67. I have not removed/replaced my original gauge that I can recall.

    1. Hello, Quinn…Thank you for bringing your information to our attention. There still seems to be a mixing of products during assembly. So far, we have no indication that there was a cut-off date for one and a start-up date for the other. We may never come to a conclusion but it goes to a little more knowledge about these cars we love. Have a great weekend, Quinn!


  10. Thanks to a friend here in Dallas, TX., we now know that VW supplied Beetles with the complete Magura system as early as 1962–when gas gauges were first used. Here’s a photo of the back of my friend’s gauge showing the manufacturer’s date of 5/62, the VW Part# and the Magura Logo. Noteworthy is my friend’s method for easily adjusting the gauge by using s short piece of vacuum tube over the adjusting screw. This extends the screw and enlarges it for easy adjusting. Thanks for the tip, Lou Harris, and thanks for the good photos! (click on the Link below–or…copy-then-paste if needed) jay

  11. I have a ’64 Beetle. It has a VDO gauge and a Magura fuel sending unit. All original from the factory.

    1. Hello, Joseph…Thank you for joining the conversation about Gas Sending Units and Gauges. While not disputing your word…it would be unusual for VW at the factory to use such a combination of VDO and Magura. It is possible that when the car reached the Port of Entry or a Dealership a faulty gauge/sender was discovered and a replacement was installed on the spot–before the car was sold. Check to see if the sending unit itself is Magura while the cap (cover) may be VDO–or vice-versa. This is another of the inscrutable matters which we may never unravel! In any case–keep enjoying your wonderful 1964 Beetle! And…stay tuned to jay

  12. I have had many vw’s through the years(close to 30 years). All have had vdo gauges. Currently I have 1 64 and 3 67s. The 64 and 1 of the 67s are Europeans, brought back from Germany by military personel. They both have Magura fuel gages and sending units. The 64’s gauge has no manufacturer date, but I’m pretty sure it’s original to the car, but not a 100% sure. The 67 gauge is dated 10/66 and is original to the car. My other 2 67s are American imports from California. They both have vdo gauges and are dated 11/66 ,5/67 and original to the cars. Theres my 2 cents for the conversation. Thanks to Eric and Jay for putting a light on the interesting little details. And teaching us to appreciate the stock beauty of our vee wees. Ohh, and filling me with regret over all the stock parts I threw out in the 90’s. :)

    1. Hello, Davey…I am crying with you over all of those tossed parts! Once I visited a local VW mechanic’s shop and noted that it was very clean. “What did you do with all of those VW parts, Robert?” I asked. “Jay,” he drawled…”You can’t save everything–I called the junk man and he hauled them away!” I nearly cried right there! Thank you for contributing to the VDO vs Magura question. Did you check to see if the senders on all of your cars correspond with the gauge which each has in the dash? The “why” of this use of the two manufacturing sources will never be answered, I’m sure. But what some of us once considered to be “replacement gauges” certainly is not the case. Our study has proven that, thanks to Reader input! Happy and Safe Motoring, Davey! jay

  13. Hi, this is Andy (glutamodo from TheSamba) again.

    Did no one yet mention the Notes in the VW1200 Workshop manual regarding Magura and VDO mechanical gauges?

    I’m sure this was just another instance where VW tapped two different suppliers for parts – and as shown, they had some initial inter-compatibility issues, which were then sorted out.

    I notice my “drama” thread on TheSamba was linked to above, in it I mention the NOS Magura tank unit and gauge that I bought off eBay, which had 1969 dates on them, if they were still making spares at that time, then I’m sure they were in the supply chain to the factory through model year 67.

    1. Hello, Andy…Great information! We depend upon Readers, like you, to add to the current topic of discussion. Mainly what we are doing at is trying to document how the ’67 Model Year Beetles came off the assembly line. The note from the 1200 Workshop Manual is great information. It goes to the history of how VWAG went about solving problems as owners experienced difficulties. And, your experience with the eBay purchase DOES go to show that replacement parts continued to be produced for earlier years of vehicles. jay

  14. My first ’67 had a VDO gas gauge. My current ’67 has a Magura gage. The lens has a crack in it, so I may be replacing it.

    1. Hi, Todd…I have a non-working Magura Gauge with what appears to be a good lens. If you are interested in removing the bezel on yours and using my lens to replace your cracked one–I will send this one to you. Let me know ( jay

      1. Thanks, Jay! I sent you an email.

  15. I didn’t read all the comments, but I did read a lot of them. I believe I have a Magura fuel gauge stamped 8/64. I’m not sure how to upload pics to this site. Dave

    1. David,
      Hello. You’ll need to have the images hosted somewhere. (Flickr, Google, etc) From there, it’s simply the Embed tag. (Basic HTML)

    2. Hello, David…If you have a VDO Gauge, the LOGO will be clearly indicated on the face of the gauge. If it is Magura, there will be a crown-like emblem on the face of the gauge. Check your sender (at the tank) to see if it, also, is Magura. My guess is that your gauge has been replaced–thus the early manufacture date stamped onto it. Thank you for reading and contributing, David! jay

      1. It’s definitely a Magura, it’s just a little hard to read the date stamp. I know there was some question as to how early they were being produced by Magura.

        1. David…We know that Maguras were being installed at least as early as 1962. jay

  16. Today while driving my EU 67 (original destination Finland), I saw my fuel meter was a Magura. A Google search brought me to this site (as always). Mine is date stamped 66.The sender unit is magura as well.

  17. Hello, Matijn! Thank you for commenting on the Gas Gauge comparison situation. That’s good information! I wish that we could return to 1966-1967 to ask the assembly line workers how they chose one fuel meter over another. Maybe they had no choice–perhaps they had to use the ones which were set out for them during a given work period. Maybe we shall never know but we can
    accumulate data. Thank you for being a Faithful Reader! Keep driving and enjoying your 1967 Beetle! jay

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