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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A Crazy Front End Shake and Its Different Solutions


Old Steering Damper Left, New Right

When I found my new mechanic he adjusted my points, timing, and did an overall tune up, but he also recommended somethings for me to do on my own. One thing was to swap to an electric ignition, but that is for a different day yet to come. The other recommendations related to a persistent shake that I have been dealing with since the rebuild and supposedly was even a problem for my dad.

Everyone had told me that it was most likely the tie rods, but during inspection Dave checked them out and they were fine. He than gave me three options to what my problems could be. He recommended tightening my steering box first. There was a lot of wiggle there and at least it would fix that. I went about tightening the steering box and it fixed the wiggle, but not my shake.


Old Steering Damper was Leaking Oil

His next recommendation was to replace the steering damper. I ordered the part and a few weeks ago finally got around to swapping it out. The process was not too difficult. All the forums I read recommended only removing one front tire, but I found it was easier to access the damper, which runs across the front of the VW, under the car, almost from wheel to wheel, but I found it simpler to remove both tires.

Once underneath the process is pretty self explanatory. You must simply remove the nuts from both ends and swap out the parts. Easy as that. While doing this I discovered that my bushings were beat, but hopefully that can hold on for a few  months.

I was really hoping this would be the fix, that my shake would finally be gone. Driving home that night I was so excited. I made it a few blocks and than became deeply disappointing. The shake was worse! So bad I pulled over believing my wheel was falling off. I guess luckily it was not, but sadly that meant my damper had not fixed the problem.

That means I must move onto suggestion three and hopefully that will solve my problem.


New Steering Damper in Place

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Shocks are Easy


Rear Shocks

IMG_2660I shared with you awhile back my hunt for new shocks. I decided on Cofaps finally and I have been driving around on them for a little over a month. The change has been amazing. I never realized what a big difference such a small little change could make and the process could not have been easier. To replace the shocks all I had to do was remove the tire, jack up the car, unscrew the top nut and bottom nut on the shock and slide in the new shock. Repeat the process on the other three tires. We completed the process in under an hour, and everything ran smoothly. Best of all I am more than happy with my cofap decision.


Front Shock

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But I Want Stock Wheels

IMG_2768I really want to put stock wheels and hub caps back on my IMG_2764Little Bug, but I do not think that will be happening. I currently have some Porsche rims that my dad put on shortly before his death. At first I hated them, but than once I started the restoration I had decided that I would keep them, go towards the Cal-Style. I still would love to do that, but at the moment I do not have the resources to do anything extra really so I decided I would just stick to a classic look for now.


With that decision made I went in search of the wheels my dad had IMG_2763removed. I had hoped they were being stored in our garage, but sadly that is not where I found them. They had been stacked away on the side of my house and have sat and endured the elements there for at least the last four years. Sadly to say they are not really in any working condition so my plans for stock wheels will have to wait.

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Oil Leak #2 – Fuel Flange Replacement


For the last few months, probably even longer, IMG_2674I have had a tiny, but persistent oil leak and for the longest time I was unable to locate the problem. With a little assistance I was able to locate two of the culprits, my oil censor, which I replaced awhile back, and my fuel flange.

The oil censor was simple, but the fuel flange was a bit more difficult. The task in itself was simple, but accessing it was a bitch. To get to the IMG_2679flange you must remove the fuel pump, which is held in place by multiple nuts, IMG_2685several which are located out of sight.

To make removal a little easier we removed the distributor, just to give us a little more working space. Once that was out of the way the nuts were still difficult to access. We could reach them now, but could not turn a wrench. To take the nuts off we used one of the newer ratcheting wrenches. IMG_2680I love them they made the task so easy.

Once the fuel pump was removed there was nothing more than just swapping out partsIMG_2681 and gaskets. During this I learned that the gaskets that were in place were barely a piece of paper. I believe that may have been contributing to the leak.

IMG_2683Reassembling was just the reverse of the previous and everything went back in smoothly.

I still have a leak coming from an unknown source, but at least I have fixed two IMG_2688of them and I shall continue to search for the rest.


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