Friday, April 9, 2010


The Beetle has to be the most DIY enthusiast-friendly car of all, because engine removal can be accomplished more quickly and easily than with any other car. In fact, so easy is it to drop out the Beetle's engine, that it is tempting to remove it for some jobs which can be accomplished – albeit with some difficulty – with the engine in situ. In addition to a trolley jack and either axle stands or ramps, the tools needed are a 17 mm open end and ring spanner, an 8 mm combination spanner, straight and cross-head screwdrivers and a fuel pipe clamp.
Basically, engine removal involves raising the rear of the car, disconnecting everything which connects the engine to the rest of the car (wiring, fuel line, throttle linkage etc.), supporting the engine on a trolley jack, unbolting the four engine mounting bolts, then pulling the engine back clear of the gearbox input (first motion) shaft, then lowering it on the trolley jack and pulling it out from under the car.
Begin by disconnecting the battery earth strap. Because engine removal becomes easier the higher the rear of the car is raised, you may prefer to disconnect both battery terminals and remove the battery to prevent spillage. You can remove the engine lid if required, although this is not essential. Chock the front wheels fore and aft (it is good practice to engage the steering lock where fitted to prevent the wheels from turning side to side), raise the rear of the car as high as possible (using a baulk of timber to protect the sump) and support the car on axle stands placed under the side members, again using wood packing. Check that the car is raised high enough for the engine, when balanced on top of the (lowered) trolley jack, to be drawn out from under the rear valance. Check that the axle stands are secure by lowering the jack until the stands are taking the combined weight of the engine and body, then raise the jack so that it takes the engine's weight but does not lift the bodywork off the axle stands.
Remove the air filter assembly, pre heater and oil breather hoses. You can drain the oil if desired, although this is optional. Use masking tape and a biro to make up tags for wires as you remove them if you are not 100 per cent sure that you will be able to remember where each goes, and remove the wire from the oil pressure switch, the low tension lead, any wires attached to the carburettor, plus wiring which runs to the generator.
Remove the accelerator cable from the carburettor, and push it back through the hole in the fan cowling. Remove the heater hoses from the exhaust shield plate, then remove the exhaust shield plate itself.
From underneath the car, disconnect the flexible fuel line from the rigid fuel line, plugging both to minimise
The lower engine mounting bolts are not too difficult to get at. (Courtesy Autodata)

fuel leakage. The potential for fuel leakage is potentially far less if the fuel tank has already been removed.
Disconnect the heater control cables. Disconnect the heater ducting from the heat exchangers.
Ensure that the jack is taking the weight of the engine but not of the bodywork. Remove the top engine mounting nuts and bolts. These cannot normally be seen and you'll have to work by 'feel' alone (the car in the photographs has its bodyshell raised from the chassis which obviously improves access). On pre-1971 Beetles there is a nut on each bolt and removal is a two-person job. On later cars the bolts run into captive threads and the task can be accomplished single-handed. Check again that the engine is fully supported by the jack before removing the lower engine mounting bolts – it is essential that no weight is allowed to fall on the gearbox first motion (input) shaft. Check that no wires, cables or hoses connect the engine to the rest of the car. Pull the engine rearwards until it is clear of the input shaft, then lower it and drag it out from underneath the car.
Re-fitting is the reverse of removal, and the same cardinal rule of not allowing the engine's weight to hang on the gearbox first motion shaft applies. The engine bay side seal may need replacing, arid this is one of the less pleasant tasks in Beetle restoration! The rubber locates in rails and, whilst in theory it should be possible to work its lips into the rail, in practice you may succumb to the temptation to open up one of the metal lips, slip in the rubber then tap the lip back down.
If you have previously removed the sound deadening material from within the engine bay then replace this before the engine goes back in. The panels have wire reinforcing and this is all too easy to stab your hand with, so be careful! Whilst on the subject of trim, the engine lid seal can either be clipped or fed into place; in either case be sure to leave plenty of slack so that the
with this Or OEA great engir surfa the t; the sj onto swiv( engirRpair half c7,7trim lies flat and does its job.Do remember to feed the throttle cable through the hole in the fan casing before fitting the engine, and ensure that it cannot kink to become trapped in between the engine back plate and the bell housing. Raise the car just high enough to allow the engine on a trolley jack under the valance then, with an assistant to help balance the engine, raise it up to the same height as the first motion shaft, align it correctly and ease it backwards. Take care not to rip out the engine bay seal! Having a split crankcase and cylinder barrels gives the flat four more in common with a motorcycle engine than the average car engine, and the stripping and rebuilding of the Beetle engine is much easier than working on most other car engines. To properly inspect the internals, however, requires that you have access to highly accurate measuring equipment which is expensive to buy. This measuring equipment can reveal a need for certain engineering operations to be carried out, again using equipment which is unlikely to be available.
Tin ware, inlet manifold and heat exchangers have to come off. (Courtesy Autodata)
When the rotor arm lines up with number one plug lead terminal, it will also be in line with the notch in the distributor rim and the crankshaft pulley notch should-be at the top. (Courtesy Autodata)To ren in a dinew c) ligna the op, I the Before starting a restoration, it is worth while borrowing a compression tester and using this on all four cylinders to ascertain whether any are low. The desired compression varies between 100-142 psi according to the engine type, but if all four cylinders give similar readings in excess of 100-110 psi and within 10 psi of each other then compression is OK. If one or more cylinders give low readings then expect to find leakage either past the piston rings (worn or damaged rings or bores), past the barrel and /cylinder head or a valve (burnt valves/seats). If one or more readings are low, then try putting a little engine oil into the bore via the spark plug hole and re-test. If the reading is now normal, the chances are that the leakage is past the piston rings; if it is unaltered, look for burnt valves. Also, try pulling and pushing the crankshaft pulley to check for excessive end float (over 0.005 inch) and lifting and lowering it to check for play in the mains – if you can feel any play here then a bottom-end overhaul is called for.
If you were to strip your engine and then take the components to a professional engineering shop for inspection and for any machining work found necessary to be carried out, you could discover that the costs of the work plus any components which prove essential by far exceeds the cost of a straight replacement reconditioned unit.tVith t inlet f.ntra,Because of this, it is strongly recommended that you give serious consideration to replacing your own engine
;h the idetween the car jack as the y seal!with a reconditioned unit. In addition to a straight swap, this gives you the option of buying a more powerful unit or one built to withstand use with unleaded fuel.A clean work area is vital, and cleanliness is of the greatest importance generally when working on an engine. You can strip the Beetle engine on any flat surface such as a workbench or even on the floor, but the task is much easier if you can buy or borrow one of the special bench or floor standing mounts which bolt onto one half of the crankcase and allow the unit to be swivelled for improved access. Before starting to strip the engine, drain the oil.
Remove the spark plugs then turn the engine over by pulling the generator belt until the notch in the front half of the pulley aligns with the screw in the generator. Use a screwdriver between the two to lock the generator, then undo the pulley nut, remove the drive belt and replace the pulley nut with its shims. Undo the clamp which holds the generator and the set screws which hold the fan shroud, then lift the assembly clear of the crankcase.
Undo the inlet manifold nuts and lift the manifold and carburettor clear. Unbolt and remove the oil cooler. then blank off the oil feed and return holes in the crankcase to prevent anything from entering it.
Remove the thermostat. Remove the distributor and fuel pump,Unbolt the heat exchangers/exhaust assembly complete. Remove the crankshaft pulley bolt, and use a puller to remove the pulley. Remove the clutch.The flywheel nut should be tightened to 200 ft lbs, and can take some shifting! The flywheel has to be locked before the nut can be undone, and this is best achieved by using a steel bar of at least four feet in length with two holes drilled to correspond with clutch bolt holes, to which the bar is bolted. Using a 36 mm, three-quarter inch drive hexagonal socket and the best leverage you can obtain, slacken the nut. It may prove necessary to have an assistant or two to hold the engine still while force is applied; a better method is to arrange the two levers so that you can push them together. If one lever end rests firmly on the workshop floor, the second can be pressed downwards without any of the force being applied moving the engine. It is still advisableto have an assistant to hold the engine still. this fails, it may be as well to take the engine to a garage and ask a mechanic to start the nut – a powerful air impact driver can sometimes work. Mark one dowel peg and the adjacent area of the flywheel with a dab of paint so that the latter can be replaced in the same relative position, then remove the flywheel. A little help from a rubber mallet may prove necessary.Clean then remove the rocker box covers by prising me bof cvoliT, 'fist! 11;o remove the IT!!off their spring clips. Clean away all traces of the gaskets (which, like all other gaskets. must be renewed). Undo, as evenly as possible. the two rocker gear retaining bolts then lift the rocker gear clear and mark it in some way to show which cylinder it corresponds to. From now on, allcomponents must be marked or stored in such a way that they can he replaced in the correct location.
Remove and mark the pushrods, or (alternatively) place them in a piece of stiff cardboard with suitable holes and make your marks on this.
Slacken then remove the cylinder head nuts in the sequence shown, turning each nut a fraction before progressing to the next, then repeating the process until all are loose and can be removed. Lift the cylinder head from the cylinders, giving the underside of the head a tap or three with a rawhide mallet if necessary (it usually is). Never use any kind of lever in between the head and the cylinders, because this would ruin the seal between them. As the head comes free, remove the pushrod tubes and mark them.
Pull each cylinder in turn away from the crankcase until the piston pin and gudgeon clip can be seen. Remove the gudgeon clip, gently drift the pin until it is free of the connecting rod small end, then remove the cylinder and piston complete. You can remove the cylinder first and then the piston if you wish, but removing both together lessens the chances of cylinders and pistons becoming mixed up!Remove the oil pump cover plate. The oil pump is gripped between the two crankcase halves and its removal requires a special tool or, alternatively, can take place when the crankcase halves are split. Remove the six nuts which secure the oil strainer plate, then remove the oil strainer.Remove – where applicable – the generator pedestal/oil filler assembly. Remove the oil pressure switch. The crankcase may now be split. Ideally, the crankcase assembly will be held in a special mount of the type already described and photographed; if not, support it so that it leans to the left (viewed from the crank pulley end). Remove the nuts and washers from the join seam plus, on 1200 cc engines, the two bolts at the flywheel end. There are six large nuts on the right hand side of the casing. Remove these and, if no fastenings remain, the crankcase halves should begin to part when tapped with a rubber mallet. Remove the cam followers (tappets) and mark them.
The crankshaft and camshaft simply lift out of the crankcase half. Remove the distributor drive shaft and the fuel pump push rod assembly.

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