Set Timing On A Vintage VW

I’ve been wanting to put a video together about setting the timing on a vintage VW for some time, but recently came across this video by Chris Vallone that pretty much sums it up. Two of the most important things to remember are the type of distributor you have and the type of pulley you have. The circuit tester like the one used in this video can be picked up at most auto parts stores, I purchased mine at Amazon.

Just Some Pics

Our 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelOur 1968 VW Beetle MabelJust some pics of Mabel that I took today. Would love to have attended more local car shows this summer, but I just didn’t make it, mainly because I forgot about them. I think she’d do good in her category of all original, slightly modified. She’s a great conversation piece!

Mabel Oil Change (repost)

Ready For Oil ChangeDirty EngineOil UsedOil Change KitClean EngineToday was the day for Mabel to get her oil changed. There’s always a huge argument about which kind of oil to use in these old cars, but we won’t get into a debate about that, I’ll just let you know what I use and what works for me. I always start with getting the car as level as possible, running the engine long enough to get the old oil nice and warm so it’ll drain easily. I remove the oil drain plate (10mm) and let the oil drain into the oil catcher. I’ll let the oil drain for at least 30 minutes or so. This is also a good opportunity to tidy up the bottom of the engine, removing any oil and dirt from the cooling fins. I also like to give the oil drain plate a fresh coat of paint, just to make it look nice. Oil changing kits are readily available and pretty cheap. Most will come with new copper washers, gaskets and a oil strainer. If you’re re-using your oil strainer, just clean it good with a degreaser and make sure there isn’t any sludge in it. I usually use the strainer twice before replacing it with a new one. When you put your oil drain plate back on, make sure you use the correct washers and have the gaskets in the correct place. Do not over tighten the nuts that hold the plate in place. Just hand tighten them. My engine requires 2.65 quarts of oil, your engine probably requires the same amount. I use 2.15 quarts of Rotella T 15w-40 and .5 of the STP oil additive. I use the oil additive for its zinc content. Your air cooled engine will love this combination!

J C Higgins Cooler Update

Corona CoolerCorona CoolerCorona CoolerCorona CoolerCorona CoolerI’ve been wanting to do this for a while and finally found a company in Virginia to reproduce the proper graphics for me. Last year for Fathers Day, Lenora got me a vintage J C Higgins cooler for the Mabel. Of coure, no vintage Beetle would be complete without a Corona cooler (which you can still buy)….I took a short cut on this one and purchase the graphics separately. Very pleased with the turn out. 🙂

New Arm Rests (repost)

The previous owner of Mabel had about 95% of the interior restored when I bought her. One thing that has bugged me was the lack of arm rests on the door panels, my guess is that they ditched the old ones when the door panels were replaced. Have been looking for months for a good deal on OG arm rests and finally came across one the other day while searching the classifieds on TheSamba.com. Got in contact with the seller and he made me a deal that I couldnt resist. 20 bucks for OG arm rests and mounting hardware that are in excellent condition. Couldnt pass up the deal, hopefully theyll be here in a few days. Now I just have to get the door panels off without screwing them up.

New Arm Rests / HandlesNew Arm Rests / HandlesNew Arm Rests / HandlesNew Arm Rests / HandlesThe OG arm rests / handles that I ordered for Mabel came in the mail yesterday, so I got them installed this evening. Now we can shut the doors without rolling down the windows. Had been looking for originals at a decent price for a couple of months and finally came across a set the other day on TheSamba.com. Thanks to Ralph Hopper (user TSVW) for a great deal and extremely fast shipping.

New Turn Signal Switch (repost)

Old Turn Signal SwitchNew Compared To OldSolder All ConnectionsWas going to wait and do this tomorrow, but not really tired, so it got done tonight. The OG turn signal switch had seen better days. The plastic pieces had started to disintegrate years ago. I ordered a replacement from CIP1 last week because their having a huge sale the whole month of March. Pleased with the price, pleased with the quality. As you can see in the first pic above, it was certainly time to replace the switch. The new switch can be used in other VWs besides the Beetle, so not all of the wires will be used. You can cut out the ones you wont use, making it easier to get the wires through the steering column. Then its just a matter of splicing everything together. All of the wires are color coded, so its hard to get them wrong. I soldered all of my connections to ensure good contact. Put everything back together, then tested, works like a charm!

New Bumpers (repost)

Old BumpersOld BumpersOld Bumpers OffOld Bumpers OffBumper MountsBumper MountsGetting Ready To RaiseRaisedAccording to UPS, my new bumpers should be here tomorrow. Which means that this evening was a perfect time to remove the old ones, dress up the bumper mounts and have everything ready to install the new ones when they arrive tomorrow. Hoping the quality is satisfactory. I ordered mine from Parts Place Inc. Theirs were the same price as most every place else, but their shipping was about a third of what everybody else wanted. Guess Ill find out tomorrow. So anyhow, I removed the OG bumpers, pulled the bumper mounts and spent the evening sanding, cleaning, priming and painting them. They were in pretty condition, just some surface rust and fading, so they cleaned up nicely. I also cleaned the OG horn. Had time to spare, so I put the Beetle up on car stands and adjusted the front beam. I really needed to raise it a couple of inches for every day driving this spring and summer, so I figured Id go ahead and knock it out tonight. Really like it slammed to the ground, but its just not practical for me to drive it that way. For car shows and get togethers, I may knock it back down a couple of inches.

Bumper Brackets PaintedRefurbished Bumper BracketsClean HornCleaned Up The HornNew BumpersNew BumpersNew BumpersGetting Some SunGetting Some SunNew BumpersNew BumpersRefurbished BracketsNew BumpersStarted early this morning with the anticipation of my new bumpers being delivered by UPS. Installed the bumper brackets that I spent all evening yesterday cleaning, sanding and painting. Im very pleased with the way they turned out, they look brand new. I also gave the horn the once over. Cleaned it and hit it with a fresh coat of paint. I also installed my 68 speedo that I refurbished the other day. The 69 speedo that I refurbished last week was working very well, but I really needed to know if I solved the problem with the speedo whine in the 68. So while I waited for my UPS delivery, I swapped speedos and hit the road. Smiles from cheek to cheek! The 68 speedo works perfectly and is quiet as a mouse! And the new gels look awesome. I wouldnt hesitate taking on this task again, may even do it on the side for people who want to give their speedo a fresh look. Now that I know the 68 speedo is good to go, the 69 speedo will go to the classifieds. UPS arrived around noon with my Brazilian bumpers. Carrying them from the UPS truck I quickly noticed one big different between them and the bumpers I removed from the car. They weigh about 1/3 less. I unpack them, give them once over and for the most part, Im pleased. Definitely not the same quality of the OG bumpers, but for my application theyll be fine. My next concern was fitment. Ive read horror stories about these bumpers not fitting well at all. But I actually had these installed in about 25 minutes. They fit perfectly. I used the same bolts that I removed from the OG bumpers, but opted for new washers and nuts. For the price, I couldnt be happier, but if this car was going to be left outside in the weather, Id be real concerned. Look at the pics and judge for yourself. Over all, a very productive day!