VW BUG Repair

by Wayne Heikkila

For those members that didn’t know it, I have a 1974 Super Beetle that the front fenders got wrecked several years ago. Since then, I have been looking for a pair of original front fenders. They are hard to come across because they are unique for this particular year. I found the fenders early last year but several months passed by before I decided it was time to get the bug back on the road.

When I started working on the front end, I realized that the damage to the right rear fender became more noticeable resulting in having to change it too. I proceeded to paint and reinstall all of the fenders. When I thought I was done with this project, I realized the lights were not working. Upon cleaning the grounding locations and the lights, the turn signals started working again. Project done!

I took the bug for a drive which was when I felt that the shifter was loose and it was hard to find the gears. Back to the garage! After replacing the front and rear shifter bushings, the bug was ready for one more road test. The shifter felt great! I replaced the front bushing with a brass type instead of the plastic. Over the years I have replaced the front bushing twice and am hoping that I won’t have to do it again for a long time. I took the car out on the road for its first long test drive. Although, it ran good, it had a little hesitation when I stepped on the gas. All was going well, until I drove about 50 or 60 miles and the car slowed down and had no power. It idled ok but would hardly make 30 MPH so I limped back to the garage to find that the right side carb was not working.

So I pulled both carbs and found that the main jet was clogged on the right one. After cleaning the carbs and reinstalling them, I replaced the old fuel filter, adjusted the valves along with installing new spark plugs, too. The car was now running good and I was driving it around to put miles on it. Driving down south to take my mom to church, the alternator light came on during the trip home. It turned out the alternator had stopped charging so I replaced the alternator and installed a new belt. At this time I also replaced the aftermarket steering wheel (that the rubber was coming apart on) with a classic looking steering wheel. The steering wheel looks good but if I pushed too hard on it, the horn goes off. I will need to pull the steering wheel and remove the horn ring to sand it down on the back side to give it a little more clearance. However, for now, it runs and drives better than it had in years…