Category Archives: Beetle Restoration
Installed the new lap belts that I purchased from Wolfsburg West. Would love to have found real retro replacements or a good set of originals, but for now, these will be fine. I’m pleased with the quality and look. I probably hang on to the originals for now, but will probably sell them some time down the road. I spent yesterday evening rebuilding the donor ’69 speedo for practice and to use while I rebuild my ’68 speedo. I was very pleased with result and couldn’t wait to put it in the car. So the temps were high enough today and the garage was warm enough today, I headed out early to swap out the speedos. An hour or so later, the ’68 speedo was out and the ’69 speedo took it’s place. Gave everything a quick test and it looked wonderful. Nice bright gels, very clean looking speedo. Still don’t know if this is going to cure the speedo whine that I experience. Roads were still to nasty to get the Beetle out. However, this setup is only temporary. I immediately began to break down the ’68 speedo. Only thing I really notice that differed from the ’69 speedo was the bezel. The bezel on the ’69 was aluminum and easy to lift the lip to remove it from the housing. The bezel on the ’68 is probably made out of brass and it was a bit harder to lift the lip. It didn’t want to bend nearly as easy as the aluminum. So a little more time and patience and it finally decided to come off. Did the same cleanup procedure that I did on the ’69 speedo, repainted the speedo needle and fuel gauge needle and repaired the house on the fuel gauge where it was cracked. The gels on this speedo are in a lot worse condition then the ones on the ’69. I’ll be heading to Office Max tomorrow to try and find colored folder tabs that I can use to replace all of the gels. All in all, a very productive day!
Here’s a quick video of the ’69 speedo being tested after it was installed.
I just finished rebuilding this 1969 speedometer that I’ll put in the Beetle while I rebuild the 1968 speedo. Since I had never done this before, this was good practice to prepare me for rebuilding the ’68 speedo. Total process took about 5 hours and wasn’t that hard at all. I now look forward to making my ’68 look and perform like it did when it was new! Click here to read the tutorial I put together, hopefully it’ll help you rebuild your own speedo!
Got some goodies in the mail today despite the nasty weather outside. Got my lap belts from Wolfsburg West and an assortment of goodies from CIP1. I opted to go with the European tail light lenses just because I like the look a bit more. Also swapped out the OG turn signal lenses. Was skeptical about the quality and fitment of the aftermarket lenses, but I’m actually very satisfied with them. Plus CIP1 has a really nice sale going on right now, so the price was right. Also got some bulbs and sockets for my speedo that I’ll be rebuilding once I get the ’69 donor in the mail. Last but not least, a new turn signal assembly. The plastic pieces in my OG turn signal assembly are beginning to crumble. After being awake for 34 hours and working 19 of those, I mustered enough energy to swap out the lenses. The lap belts will have to wait until the weekend.
Since we’re not doing anything major to the ’68 Beetle, there are a few things that I want to freshen up on it. The car has a brand new interior, dash, carpet, rubber mats, seat padding and covers, etc. Last week I freshened up the wiper arms with a good cleaning and fresh coat of correct paint and new blades. I’ve also got a new emergency brake boot to install, but I’m dreading it because I remember what a pain in the butt it can be. All of the light lenses are original and suffer the fading and cracking of 47 year old lenses, so I’ve got replacements on the way along with a new turn signal switch. I’ve also got new lap belts on the way from Wolfsburg West. Can’t wait to get them installed! The speedometer is in really good condition, other than the gels needing replaced and the infamous speedo whine. This speedo really sings and it is annoying! The speedo and cable are original to the car and many times, oiling up the speedo cable will take care of the whine. I’ve oiled it up twice now and it hasn’t had a positive affect. And since most aftermarket speedo cables are crap, I really want to keep the original. So what’s left is to pull the speedo, take it apart and grease the gears. It’ll also be a good opportunity to replace the gels. Buying a ’68 speedo is an option, however, the ’68’s are a one year only speedo and they can be hard to find and very expensive to replace, so my best option is to rebuild and freshen up the one I have. In the meantime, I’ve purchase a ’69 speedo to put in it’s place while the ’68 speedo is being rebuilt. The ’69’s are much easier to find and much, cheaper. You can see the differences in the speedo in the pics above. The ’69 donor I purchased is on the left, the original ’68 in the car is on the right. So hopefully, this will be next weekends project if I get the donor speedo in the mail this week.
Got the new sled tins in from Chircoestore.com today. Props to Joe at Chrico! I ordered these off of Ebay on morning and later that night, I realized that I had ordered chrome tins instead of black. Dropped Joe an email and explained what happened and he replaced them before they were shipped out. Exactly why I like to order parts from Joe! Hopefully the industrial shields will be here tomorrow and I can get these installed.
I guess it’s safe to say that the engine is about 99.9% complete now. I need to finish the carb rebuild, add the sled tins and hose from the breather to the oil filler and that’ll be that. Three and a half months of cold weekend nights in the garage, watching Breaking Bad (for the 3rd time) and escaping the real world for a few hours each night. I’m happy with the end result. I’m confident that I could easily get a good return on my investment to this point if need be. Of course, for me, my time is free….my wife may disagree. lol Hindsight being 20/20, here are my tips thus far for anybody else starting a project like this. And this only covers the engine build, cleaning, etc.
1. Take lots and lots of pictures. Not only to admire your progress, but it’ll also help you when it comes time to put everything together.
2. Take lots of notes. I document everything I do, not only with pics, but lots of notes and diagrams.
3. Tools! Have the right tools for the job.
4. Patience! Temper tantrums, cussing and fist banging will ensue! Be patient…know when to walk away from the project for a while.
5. Budget. Know your spending limits. Don’t get in over your head!
6. Don’t throw anything away! What may seem like junk to you may be gold for a fellow VW enthusiast.
7. Aftermarket parts….Everybody will have their own opinions on aftermarket parts, for me, I’ll walk the fence. Buy your parts from reputable sellers, there are plenty out there, I have a lot of them listed on our web site. I keep track of every part I buy, where I bought it from and how much I paid for it. Hopefully this will help somebody else. Regardless, try to get your hands on as many original parts as you can. Nothing beats a working original part!
8. Do as much of the work as you can, but be smart enough to know when you’re out of your league and seek help when that time comes. When in doubt, don’t second guess yourself. There are plenty of books and web sites that have the answer you’re seeking. Take the time to look it up!
9. Have fun! For me, working on this project is an escape. A way to submerge yourself into something that you have total control of, even when the garage is freezing cold! lol
10. Be realistic. I’m in this for the long haul. I allotted 3 years for my project Beetle. That’s a realistic goal for me because I won’t have the time, money and knowledge to do everything myself. I’ll have to spread it out over the next couple of years, but still do as much as I can, when I can.
There….10 easy tips to get you on your way. Feel free to add your own input in the comments!
Had some time this evening to start making new wires for the engine compartment. A much lesser task that it’s going to be when I have to replace the wiring harness, but at least it’s a start. Also got the oil cooler tins that I ordered from JBugs in the mail today. They’ll be installed tomorrow after work. Other than the sled tins and air filter, the engine portion of the project is complete. The goal was to finish the engine before the end of winter, so I’m a bit ahead of schedule. Now it’s time to re-focus on the body and chassis, work up a game plan and go from there. Still a lot of decisions to be made. I’m confident that I could sell the 1835 motor as it is right now and recoup all of the money that I have into the project so far. Of course, for me, my time is free. It’s easy to get in over your head quick, that’s why I’m trying not to be in a rush to get anything done. Plan, plan and more planning.