Anyone who works on a Vintage Volkswagen finds ways to facilitate disassembly and reassembly. Sometimes, it’s only a piece of dowel rod or a simple punch which helps to do the job.
There ARE professional tools for working on our cars, BUT they sometimes come at a cost which is more than we’d like to expend!
I have accumulated a few tools which help with common jobs which don’t “break the bank”. I’ve opened my work bench drawer to show some of these. Let’s take a look at them.
If ever you have adjusted the tension on the Clutch Cable you’ve probably used regular pliers on that large Wing Nut. And, you’ve found that pretty soon those “wings” have suffered the indignity of being bent and mangled in the process. Here’s a handy tool for the purpose—it’s made of wood.
Slip the Tool over the Wing Nut and begin to loosen or tighten it by hand.
Not having a special socket tool for draining and refilling the Transmission on our ’67 Beetles, I located a vendor who had a large Allen Wrench for the purpose. If I cannot turn it by hand, I use a large adjustable end wrench and soon have the Fill or Drain Gland Nut uninstalled or installed. This one was manufactured in the USA and fits perfectly.
Once you’ve drained the Transmission Fluid and have reinstalled the Gland Drain Nut, the quandary occurs: How do I refill the Transmission?
Or, maybe you just need to top the Transmission Fluid after replacing an Axle Boot or a Rear Wheel Bearing. Fluid drains a bit during both of those efforts and must be replaced.
Here’s a simple Tool which I found at a local automotive supply house—a Hand Pump.
Simply remove the fluid container’s cap and install the Pump. Insert the Tube into the Transmission and begin pumping. It is filling made easy! Note that this Tool also is made in the USA.
Sometimes a Crankshaft Pulley will need to be removed. All of the “banging in the world”, using a hammer, usually results in nothing more than a completely warped and useless Pulley. But wait—there’s a simple and affordable way to remove that recalcitrant
Pulley. A Tool, again, made in the USA.
Once the Crank Pulley Bolt has been removed, the Puller can be installed.
The arms of the Pulley Puller perfectly span and fit around the Pulley. The Bolt Head rests against the center of the Crankshaft. Begin tightening the Puller Nut and watch the Pulley inch its way off the Crankshaft. (again, made in the USA)
Maybe you’ve needed to remove the Oil Pump from your Engine. This can be accomplished optimally with the engine out of the car. But, with some difficulty, it can be done with the engine still in the engine compartment.
Again, there is a Tool for this job. Once the Oil Pump Cover Plate has been removed (4 nuts and their washers), the two Gears can be removed easily. Now, the cavity of the Pump is revealed showing the inlet and outlet openings. The Puller has two “arms” on its shaft. Fit these “arms” into the inlet and outlet holes. Position the Puller so that the two outer arms rest against the Engine Case. This is going to allow the Oil Pump Housing to slide outward between them. Begin turning the Nut and the Pump slowly slips out of the Engine Case.
If you have removed your Beetle’s Engine for rebuilding, you will have removed all of the fasteners—nuts and bolts, the Flywheel, Crank Pulley, Oil Drain Plate and Strainer, Oil Pump, Oil Cooler, Cylinder Heads and all other external parts. You are left with the “naked” Case.
But wait! How to separate the two halves of that Case? Remember, the two have been “glued” together using an aircraft sealant. The halves don’t always want to part company
I’ve seen the results of Case Halves which had been pried apart using pry bars, screw drivers and by hammering. All of these methods usually serve only to damage the mating surfaces of the Engine Case Halves.
There is a very simple Tool for the purpose. Mine was fabricated in the USA. It is comprised of two (almost) half circles of steel—reminding me of the brake shoes of a wheel.
Welded to one of the curved pieces, there is a Bolt—13mm head X 8mm threaded portion, a few inches in length. Onto the opposite curved piece there is welded a steel tube—it is left hollow inside. A 13mm Nut is screwed onto the Bolt. A large Washer is placed onto the bolt.
Around both Curved Shoes is a large “rubber band”. This one appears to have been cut from an inner tube—perhaps of a large bicycle or very small motorcycle inner tube. This Band serves two purposes—to hold the two Shoes together and as a buffer to the inner surfaces of the Oil Pump Cavity. It would not serve our purpose if the bare steel Shoes damaged the inner surfaces of the Oil Pump Cavity.
The Nut is to be screwed clockwise to expand the circle. Eventually, the Shoes firmly rest upon the inner surfaces of the Pump Cavity. Continue putting pressure upon the Shoes and the Splitter begins to push the Case Halves apart. Now, it is time to use a wooden or other non-metallic Mallet against the Case Tang at the Flywheel End of the Engine Case. This will cause that end of the Case to begin to separate. By alternating pressure at the Splitter and at the Tang, the Engine Case opens evenly—eventually to the point where it can be separated by hand.
Early during my personal Volkswagen experience, I found the need for fresh upholstery.
I examined the types of upholstery covering materials and kits offered in the catalogs (remember-no Internet back then), matching those materials and techniques to what already was on the cars from the Factory. This was in the day when most of the VWs which I was acquiring had not had many repairs and replacement parts. I decided to try my hand at the original style—with the use of “Hog Ring” fasteners instead of the less expensive slip covers using ties to secure the covers to the seat frames.
JC Whitney, that venerable catalog company, sold TMI covering kits. Whitney also sold Hog Rings and simple Pliers for bending and fastening the Rings. Eventually, I bought “better” Pliers, but found that they were no better than the more simple Pliers-they just cost more and had an adjuster screw (which I’ve lost) and which I never used.
Since then, I’ve used those cheap Pliers over and over again on many front and rear seat covers for ’67 Beetles, even a ’67 Karmann Ghia, and some other years of Beetles.
The Clutch Plate and Disc must be aligned upon installation. To accomplish alignment, a simple Tool is necessary. By inserting the Alignment Tool through the centers of both the Plate and the Disc and into the Flywheel Gland Nut, alignment can be guaranteed with the use of this Tool.. When I built my first engine, I had a wooden Alignment Tool. Later, I purchased a steel Tool for the same purpose. This one will never wear out and always will be true. Again, a Made in the USA part. There are plastic ones available now, as well. This Tool is sometimes referred to as a “Pilot Tool”.
The Distributor Drive Gear Removal Tool:
This Tool is specifically manufactured for the removal of the VW Distributor Drive Gear. It’s an interesting tool. Its design is simple–when one sits to think about it. Expansion! That’s it. First, the Distributor must be removed—pulled from the Engine Case. Next, the Drive Gear Spring must be removed.
Looking into the hole where the Distributor was–insert the expansion end of the Tool into the top cavity of the Drive Gear. By turning the T-Handle threaded “bolt” clockwise, pressure is exerted upon a small ball bearing at the Tool’s far end. As more pressure is exerted by tightening the threaded bolt, the ball bearing exerts pressure to push four flanges outwards. The flanges contact the interior sides of the cavity in the top of the Drive Gear and eventually are firmly forced against the sides of the cavity. Now, the Puller Tool and the Shaft “become one” and, by twisting the Puller clockwise by its T-Handle and pulling upwards, the Drive Gear can be twisted from its access hole in the engine case.
This is my short list of interesting Tools for VWs. I have numerous other Tools in my workbench drawers. If you continue working on your VW, you, too, soon will accumulate specific Tools. They will become your Best Friends!
What are YOUR favorite, specific Volkswagen-oriented tools?