The Lost Post – Electronic Ignition

I don’t know how this post never made it up. I did this work almost a year ago. I uploaded the photos, but for some reason never wrote the post.IMG_2917

IMG_2929Anyways my mechanic at Dave’s recommended that I switch to an electronic ignition and recommended the Pertronix brand. My boyfriend encouraged me to do some research on the different electronic ignitions and once I was clear on what I was doing he pitched in to help me buy it.

The process was super simple, just follow the instructions that come with the electronic ignition. Remove the distributor cap, pull out the distributor, remove the points, and replace it with the new electronic ignition. IMG_2930

Here are some websites I found useful with installation tips –


The only issue we ran into was where the wires connect to the coil. It only had one prong and we needed two. Easy fix, went to Pep Boys and picked up a box for a few dollars.

The whole swap took less than an hour to complete even with our Pep Boys trip.

I apologize for not having a more detailed post for this swap. I honestly do not know how this slipped through the cracks. It was a fun and simple swap and I wish I remembered in more detail the process to share with you. I can guarantee though that anyone can do this simple swap.

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VW are Very Sturdy

IMG_3727Classic Beetles are so sturdy, I love it! A while ago my Little Bug got hit and I would have never known had someone not seen it and told me.

My car was parked outside my boyfriend’s house and his neighbor backed into me with her SUV, hard enough to make my bug move I’m told.

My boyfriend’s father saw and confronted the women, but to no avail. I didn’t see the father that day, but the next morning he tells my boyfriend what happened.

I go out to check my baby and I can’t even see the ding. I have spotted what I assume to be the dent, but it is tiny.

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Safe Engine

IMG_3752  IMG_3749IMG_3740One thing I have always thought was odd about the VW bug was that anyone at anytime can have access to the engine. New car hoods need to be released from the inside. And while I have never had any problems, I never felt safe with my engine so vulnerable.

Luckily that is an easy fix. I finally bought a locking rear hood latch. It was super easy to put in. Simply unscrew the old latch and screw in the new one.

Now I sleep easy knowing my engine is safe.


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Window Regulator Fail


Doing a little research

About a month ago I took on the task of fixing both my windows. I was so excited. I researched different companies to figure out where I should  purchase my regulators from. I settled on Airhead Parts. Price was good and I have had good experiences with them in the past.

The task of replacing the window regulators seemed daunting and intimidating, but looking back now it was not too bad. A tad time consuming and frustrating since my car is just a little rusty, but it is a task I could take on again.


Part of removing the door panel

The process is fairly easy and self explanatory, if you are at all observant and do just a little research. First you have to remove the door panel then go about removing all the nuts that hold the regulator in.


Getting to the Screw

You also must remove the screw that holds the bar which separates your main window from your wing window. To find this screw you have to remove (well pull partially out) the felt lining type material at the top of the window. After you do this the screw is pretty easy to get to. The next part was the only part I really struggled with. You must wiggle that bar loose and into the area of your main window in order to slip the regulator out. It may take a few tries.


The Screw

To remove the regulator you are best off pulling the bottom bar, on your door which secures part of the regulator, towards you so not to scratch the window. Grease up the new regulator and reverse to install.

Removing and installing I think is probably easiest for two people.


New Window Regulator

Now onto my fail. Everything sounds good right? One problem. Airhead parts had sent me either a defective or wrong regulator for my driver’s side. The side that desperately needed replacing. We tried for hours to get it tow work, but it just did not align right to go back in. As far the the passenger’s side goes, once we got it out we realized it just needed a good greasing so I didn’t even need to order a regulator for that side.

Airhead parts was great and allowed me to return everything with little problem. I just had to pay for shipping, but got a full refund. Sadly though I am still without a working regulator on my diver’s side and if you read my last post, it is quickly heating up in California.


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Too Hot for the Winter

The last month or so I have been driving around with no way to put either one of my windows down. My only source of fresh air has been my wing window and the slow creep down of my broken window.

Now my passenger side window regulator has been going out since I started driving the car. Every time  I put the window down it got harder to put it back up. It still goes down if need be, but it has gotten to the point that I don’t even mess with it.

IMG_3723My window, the driver’s side however was fine, no problems, until it met the force of my boyfriends crank. We were getting ready to wash cars and I, for some reason found myself in a temporary moment of weakness and could not roll my window up all the way. I asked for his help, but he was busy at the time. While waiting for him I tried again and the window went up with no problem. I told my boyfriend never mind, but he must not of heard me. After he finished what he was doing, he walked over, gripped my crank and went to turn, hard I may add, and snap it spun around no longer connected to anything.

Since it is winter I decided I would just wait it out, but it is SoCal and things started to heat up, plus as a college student I like my fast food, but don’t like to get out and this really hurt my drive-thru capabilities. To make things worse the window slowly began to creak down and than the sporadic rain came. Not fun.

Needless to say I have decided I can’t wait out the winter and have ordered my new window regulators.

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Winter in a VW


Photo Courtesy of –

So it may not be winter yet, but fall is really in full swing or at least it has been for the last few days and it has reminded me how cruel winters can be in a classic VW. Luckily I live in California so I really don’t have too much to worry about in the coming months, but the last few days with rain (CA standard rain), and temperatures staying cool I have had to pull out my sweaters to layer up and remember how to drive with numb fingers.

Classic bugs have some unique problems when it comes to winter driving, at least in my experience. One of the biggest problems for me is the heater fogging up the windows. With no defroster I’m forced to open my wing windows to keep my windshield clear, but that leads to really numb fingers. Another Beetle problem is the heater itself. My heater used to drive me absolutely crazy. With no temperature control it was either too cold because I had it off or way too hot. Now as I enter my second cold season in my little bug I feel a little more confident in controlling my temperature. I still have to constantly open and close my heater vents, but I am getting better at predicting when to do so in order to keep the cab comfy.

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Drives Like New

It has been awhile since I last wrote, school has been crazy. Your senior year is never easy whether it is high school or college. If you read my last post you know that about this time last month my Little Bug was sitting in the shop with several problems.

I got my car back on the 20th of September, so right on time. It is so awesome to have a mechanic that actually meets his own deadlines. Dave had to do a lot of work, but it was completely worth it. Last time I wrote I was not sure what all he would be doing, but here is a list of everything he did –

All this was done for about $920. He didn’t put in a horn for me, but now I know how to go about that. I realize that I probably could have done part of this work on my own and saved myself quite a bit of money and it probably would have been a fun learning experience. I depend on my bug though and that oil leak really had me stumped. Dave was already tearing so much out, dropping my engine, that it just made sense to let him take care of it all. Also letting him do all of this pretty much took care of what should hopefully be all of my major mechanical work and now I can focus on making my Little Bug pretty.

Driving my bug home was trippy and so awesome. It was like driving a new car, well a new classic bug. The clutch was so smooth, I even stalled out a few times. I had never driven a stick except for my stubborn old bug and it was almost like reteaching myself. Since all these repairs she drives so nice and my mpg has gone up so much. It is amazing.

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A Week Without my Car

Currently I’m carless. My poor Little Bug is sitting in the shop getting some pesky repairs done and it has left me stranded since Friday.

With all the things I did to my engine this summer, my bug was in desperate need for a tune up and was over due for a valve adjustment. I was planning to take it in this past Monday, but before I did that I needed to do an oil change. My oil change is when the problems began to emerge.

IMG_3040While removing the nuts that secure the oil filter and everything else under the engine the entire bolt came out with it. It looked completely stripped. I tried using some artificial thread tightener to put it back in, but it remained super lose. The next morning I woke up to a huge puddle of oil under my car. It remained parked for the rest of the weekend.

Monday I spoke to my mechanic, Dave’s Little Car Shop, and he told me to bring it in Tuesday morning. From there things got worse. Currently my Little Bug is sitting in the shop and will hopefully be ready in a few hours, but only after paying another $1000. He was able to fix the nut that came out, but the oil leak I have had for the last several months has been coming from a main seal in the engine block and he also discovered that my oil cooling house was leaking horribly as well, oil poured out when revved. While examining the car he saw that I needed a brake adjustment, but after the adjustment something went wrong with my master cylinder and I only had brakes 50% of the time. Today while working on it he discovered that my clutch was also going out. On top of that I have asked him to take a look at my horn.

It is a lot of work I wasn’t planning on doing, but hopefully all will go well and it will run perfectly.

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That’s all it Took to Fix the Shake


I went back to school last week so with the end of summer and start of school I apologize for not posting anything sooner. Now that things are balancing out I am back and will try not to disappoint again. IMG_20130810_131604_986

As summer winded down I was able to make my last attempt to fix my horrible front end shake. As I covered in previous posts I had already installed a new steering damper and tightened my steering box. Everything just seemed to make it worse.

IMG_20130809_174809_783When I had taken it to Dave’s Little Car Shop, Dave had recommended three ways to fix the shake and I only had one more option left. My tires. The tires I had on there were the ones  that my dad had  put on. That meaning they were the same tires that sat for three years while the car was dead. So dangerous to be driving on, I should have replaced them well before now.

I went to America’s Tire to have them put on new tires for me. I was informed that VW bugs were the only car that use 165/15. He told me even the buses have a different size and soon 165/15 would be discontinued, at least by big stores. He talked me into changing to 185/15.IMG_20130810_132453_449

I know you can still buy original tires online, fancy white wash ones too. I could have done that and paid for labor and in fact will probably do that eventually, but for now I am good with these.

The next day I took my bug in for alignment, it was so off.

Since than driving has been perfect. No shake, no pull. So happy, but so upset. The simplest fix was the solution. Wish I would have taken care of this first.

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A Lost Nut Causes Trouble

IMG_2749A few weeks back I posted about my chaotic experience of getting my speedometer cluster rebuilt. In the post I mentioned problems with my fuel gauge once I got it back. The solution was so silly and so IMG_2750simple. During the rebuild one of the nuts on my vibrator must have gotten lost. I found a nut that fit, screwed it on, and ta da, it worked, well kind of. It now is temperamental, working only after it has warmed up. I am probably going to have to replace the float or vibrator, but until than at least my gauge keeps me up to date on my fuel level.

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