Category Archives: Beetle Restoration

May Have Found The Culprit

Carburetor ProblemsCarburetor ProblemsCarburetor ProblemsCarburetor ProblemsMay have found the carb issue with Mabel. I took the carb apart last night to clean the jets and tested the float. However, I tested the float in water which is heavier than gas, so it floated fine in water, but as you can see from the pics above, it doesn’t float in gas. These floats are notorious for absorbing gas over time and becoming too heavy to float. In the video below, you can see how rough it’s running and gas coming through the bypass. It’s not being cut off, therefore flooding the carb. Hopefully a new float will solve the problem.

Mabel Doing Better, But Not 100%

Clean CarbCarb ApartCarb JetsCarbon!Here are the preliminary results….drum roll…I took the carb off and pulled it apart…very clean looking, but I removed all the jets and cleaned them with carb cleaner, blew them all with 60 psi….all openings in the carb were cleaned with carb cleaner and blown out as well…float floated, so no issue there…As I mentioned before, I’m not a carb guy and while we can never be 100% sure, I’m 99.9% sure that this carb is clean…installed the carb, threw in a little starting fluid to get her going and of course, she fired right up…idled fine for about 40 seconds then began to spit and sputter, but not nearly as bad as before…she didn’t die…I began to adjust the volume control by first turning it all of the way in, then backing it out 4 turns, the bypass screw all the way in, the back out 2.5 turns. Idle was still rough, so I backed the bypass screw out 4 more turns and the volume control out 2 more turns….idle was better and she didn’t die…I let it run for about 15 minutes at idle, giving it some gas every few minutes….engine was good and hot…so, better than before, but here’s what I discovered…intake was still ice cold…heat riser on 3 and 4 cylinder was a little warm, but far from hot….heat riser on the 1 and 2 cylinder was very warm, but not extremely hot….main body of the intake was cold….so, that’s where I’m at…it idles (not ideally, but it idles)…so, what I’m thinking is that my vintage Abath exhaust may need replacing (possibly)….exhaust is still very, very rich smiling, I reek of carbon monoxide…lol garage is full of it and I have to open the door to breath….You can see in the pic above the exhaust residue on my leg, still very rich. I’m still confident that it’s running too rich, how to adjust that, I don’t know….I’m also confident that fuel has made its way into the case…I changed the oil about 200 miles ago and it’s already very thin….and a bit fuller than it should be…

Issues Continue

New PlugsNew IntakeCarbon BuildupReady For New IntakeReady For New IntakeNew Intake InstalledStill having some issues with Mabel that I’m struggling to figure out. Hope to get some input from somebody reading this. I’ll do a quick recap then explain everything I’ve done up to now. About a month ago, I was out for a ride, nothing out of the ordinary. About 10 minutes into the trip, I stopped at a red light and the engine died. I fired it back up only to realize that the car would not idle, it’d just bog down and die. So I finished my trip with one foot on the gas and one foot on the brake. When I got to my destination, I opened the deck lid and heard a percolating sound from the carb and the base of the carb was very, very cold to the touch. Almost freezing cold. The car sat for about 30 minutes before I returned home, so it was fairly cool. It started right up and initially idled fine until a few minutes into the return trip, the began to do the same thing. Got home and discovered the same percolating sound and cold base of the carb. I did discover that the wire to the idle shut off valve was in bad shape, so I replaced it hoping that it was the cause of the problem. Unfortunately, that did not fix the issue and the car continued to do the same thing. It was fine as long it was a cold start, but that would only last for a few minutes. On another note, this car has always seemed to have a very rich smelling black exhaust. So a couple of weeks ago, I started digging a little deeper. Thinking that the heat risers were clogged with carbon, I ordered a new intake and also decided to do a tune up. Over the last couple of days, I replaced the intake and completed the tune up, but I’m still having some issues. When the car is cold, it starts right up and runs fine for a minute or so, then it’s all down hill from there. I’ve made a video to show exactly what it’s doing, I’m hoping somebody can help shed some light on the issue. Any input is greatly appreciated.

What has been replaced…

1. new intake
2. new spark plugs (gap .025)
3. new condenser
4. new rotor
5. new distributor cap
6. adjusted valves (.006 clearance)

Note: when I shot the video, the car had just been running for a while and was hot. If it were cold, it would’ve started right away. It really struggled to start this time.

Having Some Issues

New GoodiesFixed DistributorNew IntakePainted IntakeAs I mentioned in a previous post, I ran into some trouble with Mabel. First thought it may have been the idle shut off valve and that still could’ve been part of the problem due to a loose connection, but it had nothing to do with the issue of the carb freezing and the car not idling after the motor was hot. Cold, the car would start right up, run fine for about 10 minutes or until hot, then it would not idle at all. I could hear a percolating sound coming from the carb and the base of the carb was freezing cold. That made me take a long look at the intake. Though the intake looks fine (fresh coat of paint when I bought it), it does appear to be the original intake and it is possible that the intake tubes are clogged with carbon. So, I decided to go ahead and order a new intake from And while I’m at it, I thought I’d go ahead and order some new points, rotor, condenser and distributor cap from As I began to dismantle the top end to replace the intake, I pulled the distributor, removed the cap and rotor button and proceeded to put the points. That’s when things when down hill. Unlike newer distributors and models, these points slid down on a shaft that was part of the VAC plate. Long story short, the shaft that the points sit on, pulled out of the plate. Hey, it’s almost 50 years old, but still a bummer. So the search began for a replacement distributor. Luckily, I found the same exact distributor on a forum and had it in hand in just a couple of days. So all the new distro gadgets that I ordered from, went on that distributor. I’m going to sell my original distributor, somebody with the know how can rebuild it or use it for parts. The intake I ordered from CIP1 shipped with that God awful metal protecting black paint. I spent a good 3 hours stripping it down and painting it with gray engine paint. Looks so much better. So that’s where I’m at currently. I still need to strip down enough of the top end to remove the intake which is just sitting on the motor, bolts have already been removed. Once that’s done, I’m go ahead and put in new plugs and wires and adjust the valves while I’m at it. Hope to get a lot done Friday after work. I plan on keeping the original intake, cleaning it out and eventually using it again.

Carburetor Gasket Replacement

Changing Carb GasketReplaced the carburetor gasket on Mabel because I looked as if it was leaking gas around the base. During the process, I found an issue with the distributor that I’m trying to get resolved. Unfortunately, it will require a replacement distributor. I’d like to keep it original and stay with the 009 distributor, but if I have to go with an aftermarket one to get her back on the road, I will. 🙁

VW Idle Shut-Off Valve

Idle Shut-Off ValveI see articles on forums written up all the time about this little device and the issues it may cause. I’ve never had trouble with one (except for the other day), so I thought I’d write up the symptoms that I experienced with a failing Idle Shut-Off Valve in hope that others may know what to look for if it happens to them. So this past Sunday, I decided to get Mabel out for a drive. It was a nice, warm fall day about 80 degrees outside. I drove her a couple of miles to a gas station, got a few dollars worth of gas, then headed down the road. About a mile away from the gas station, I had to stop at a red light. When I did, the motor died. It fired back up, but would not idle. I had to keep pumping the gas pedal to keep it running. I carried on to my destination, about another 3 miles away to visit my mother. After the visit, the engine was almost completely cool and fired right up but still wouldn’t idle. So I had to do the whole drive with one foot on the brake and gas all the way home. By the time I got home, the engine was good and hot, I opened the deck lid only to hear a percolating sound from the carb and the base of the carb was very, very cold to the touch. Almost freezing cold. Based on articles I’d read in the past, my first thought was the idle shut-off valve. Since it was so easy to get too, I removed it from the carb to test it with 12 volts. It appeared to work as it should when power was supplied. I checked the connectors from the valve to the coil just to make sure they weren’t corroded, the looked fine, but I cleaned the terminals anyhow. Put everything back together, fired right up and idled perfectly. I let it sit for a couple of hours, then took it for a test drive around town, again, no problem, she idled perfectly every time I stopped. So, the conclusion is that I either have a failing shut-off valve or I had a bad electrical connection. For now, she continues to run great and idle great. The shut-off valve is a pretty cheap item, 15 to 20 dollars. I may order a spare to have on hand in case this one decides to fail again. I’m leaning towards a bad electrical connection though.

Touch Up Paint








Some before, during and after of a little paint project I did on my wifes motorcycle. Same process applies to any touch up you may want to do on your Beetle’s interior parts. I’m no expert, but I’ve done it enough to know that it works and lasts. Total cost of this project was 18 dollars, total time spent (even when the paint was drying), 3.5 hours. Parts needed for this project: Glazing/Spot putty, putty spreader, automotive paint, clear coat, 600 grit sand paper, 2000 grit sand paper, polishing compound and a buffer (orbital or drill). First things first! If you can remove the part that you want to restore, that’s a plus. I started removing the scratched part and scuffed it with 600 grit sand paper. Next was to fill in the imperfections and scratches with spot putty. I applied the spot putty twice, making sure that it was hardened before sanding. I then sanded the whole part again with 600 grit sand paper, first dry, then wet sanded. Now it’s ready for paint. Before the paint, make sure your part is totally dry and CLEAN! Before I painted, I sprayed the part with Dupli-color paint prep that I had left from the Camaro splitter project. I gave the part 3 coats of paint, letting it dry and wet sanding with 2000 grit sand paper in between the 2nd and 3rd coat and after the 3rd coat. Once I was satisfied with coverage, I gave it 3 coats of cleat coat, again, letting it dry thoroughly in between coats. After the 3rd coat of clear coat was dry, I wet sanded the part with 2000 grit sand paper. (little tip: when painting and clear coating, it was hot outside (89 degrees), I held the spray can about 8 inches away from the part, using side to side motion and spraying past the edge each time) After wet sanding with 2000 grit sand paper to a smooth finish, I spent about 15 minutes buffing with polishing compound and a orbital buffer. Last step was a nice coat of wax. Not too bad for 18 dollars and a few hours work.

New Trunk Liner

New Trunk LinerNew Trunk LinerNew Trunk LinerGot my new trunk liner from Wolfsburg West today. Very pleased with the fit, quality and price (minus the cost of shipping which was more than the cost of the product). Just what Mabel needed to dress out the trunk a bit. Made from the same material as the original liner, you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference.