Starter Bushing Removal & Installation

Your Starter fails and when you purchase a new one, the instructions tell you that unless you install a new Starter Bushing, the warranty on the new Starter will be voided.

Starter Bushings become worn out-of-round over time, causing the Starter Shaft to wobble and the Armature to drag inside the Starter Housing. 

Volkswagen air-cooled engine Starters (with the exception of the AutoStick Starters) have no front Bushings–they depend upon a Bushing which is installed in the Transaxle.

When a Starter is removed from the Transaxle, the Bushing location is revealed.  A receiving orifice holds the Bushing.  The Bushing is pressed or driven into this tight orifice.

When the Engine is removed from the Beetle, it us easy to see the Bushing location.  Simply look at the Transaxle bell-housing and it is staring you in the face. 

However, most of us will experience replacing a Starter from beneath the Beetle, with the engine still in the car.  Looking at the Starter location from beneath the car takes some wiggling and a good light—with the car on stands or a lift.

Our problem:  How to remove the Bushing cleanly and to install the new Bushing.

Volkswagen had the answer.  For every operation necessary on VWs, Volkswagen designed a tool.  And every Volkswagen Dealership had boards of tools conveniently located for the technicians who daily worked on cars. 

Volkswagen engineers designed a Bushing Puller for the 6 Volt Starter Bushing and another for the 12 Volt Bushing.

Let’s look at the Bushing Location first. In order to do this, I have a VW transmission which has been gutted and cleaned for the purpose. 

The first picture shows the 1967 Long-bodied Starter in place.  The Top Engine Mounting Bolt has been loosened and removed.  Then, the Nut of the Starter Positioning Stud can be removed.  The Starter easily can be pulled from its location to reveal the opening containing the Bushing Location. 

Now, let’s examine a 12 Volt Starter Bushing Puller. 

By backing off the large Extractor Nut, the Puller Shaft will extend so that the split end of the Puller Shaft can pass through and out the far end of the Bushing.  Once the user is satisfied that the Puller Shaft is extended to the proper length—

The Puller can be installed into the Starter Housing on the Transmission.  Note how the steel Fulcrum Plate (or Bar) fits exactly into the Housing.

It is time to flare the end of the Puller.

By tightening the 13mm hex-headed Bolt, the Pin is forced against the Ball into the split end of the Puller so that the end flares.  The more the Bolt is tightened, the larger the end of the Puller flares until it has become larger than the inner diameter of the Bushing.   To hold the Puller Shaft steady while the Bolt is being tightened,  the Shaft Threads have a flatted area on both sides for an 11mm open end wrench.

Once this has been accomplished, the large Extractor Nut on the Puller Threads can be tightened against the Fulcrum Bar.   Pressure is exerted upon the Bushing which begins to pull out of its location.  With little effort, the Bushing soon is loosened and removed from its location and the Puller, with the Bushing on it, can be removed from the transmission

Once the worn Bushing has been removed, a new one can be installed. 

The outer diameter of the new Bushing should be lightly greased to aid installation. 

Place the new Bushing onto the 12 Volt End of the Installation Tool.

Place the Bushing Tool at the opening where the Bushing is to be installed and use a small ball peen hammer to start the Bushing into its orifice.  Check the progress of installation until the Bushing is flush into its opening.

Lightly grease the Starter Shaft and install the Starter onto the Positioning Stud and secure it using the Nut.  The Top Engine Mounting Bolt can be installed and secured.

Notes:  My gratitude to David Brown of Pennsylvania for the two Starter Bushing Pullers and the Installation Tool.  David, now retired, was a Volkswagen of America trained Parts Manager.  David worked at several Northeastern VW dealerships and eventually established his own shop.  Although retired, David continues to do side jobs and serves as a consultant to others, including to me.  Thank you, David for your consistent expertise!

And, you guessed it!  My wife, Neva, snapped and processed photos for this article!

Fact Sheet:

12 Volt Puller has a 13mm X 1.25 X 38mm Hex Head Kamax Bolt

12 Volt Puller requires an 11mm open end wrench for holding the flats on the threaded shaft.

12 Volt Puller is a VW 228B by AST (Assenmacher Specialty Tools)

6 Volt Puller is a VW 228A by AST

Large Nut is 21mm  (turned by hand/wrench)

Original 1967 Long-bodied Starter Information:

(Logo) 704, Made In Germany

0 001 211 012  (Bosch Logo) 013

EF (arrow pointing left) 12V 0,7PS

VW Logo 211 911 023

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. As always, great article, Jay! The ’67 Beetle community around the world appreciates you.

  2. Richard A. (Dick) Diaz January 31, 2019 at 7:06 pm

    That looks like a difficult task for someone laying under a car! How available are the specialty tools? Probably not worth having one around just in case, but nice to know availability if one were needed! Great article Jay! As always awesome pictures Neva!-Dick

    1. Hello, Dick…I have seen these tools advertised OnLine–for about $40 dollars. I doubt that they will have the VW information on them but they are the “same” tool and perform equally well. In a VW club, it might be something to have to lend to first one member and another. That lessens the impact of the purchase price. jay

    2. Dick…I did some searches and find that the 6 Volt Puller goes for about $40 while the 12 Volt Puller is about $60-$70. Not certain why the big difference in pricing. Maybe because more people are converting the 6 Volt systems to 12 Volt? Demand drives pricing. jay

  3. Richard A (Dick) Diaz January 31, 2019 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks Jay!-Dick

    1. Richard A. (Dick) Diaz January 31, 2019 at 10:55 pm

      I agree Jay, sounds like a “community owned” tool to be shared!

      1. Dick–I did a bit more searching and found two sources which sell the 12 Volt Puller for under $40. jay

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