Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

It’s been a dream of mine since I was real young to have an Aircooled VW, Always loved the Ghia and the Beetle, so probably either of the two.

My only other experience with motors is the dozen plus mopeds i’ve owned, my dads classic vespa scooters and my Subaru haha

What is everyone’s experience with these famous cars? I’ve done lots of research on the internet/ repair books and am contemplating saving and getting one after college.

any insight or tips/ tricks appreciated

Thanks!

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

They are amazing cars....for what they are. I used to be way into them, super easy to work on, used to be a cheap hobby like mopeds, but as they move more into the true antique category the price has steadily climbed, I can't believe what they are asking for even the rattiest examples. The biggest enemy is rust. Most mechanical parts are readily avail. I would go out west to "dry" winter free states were I to buy another. You can upgrade the tires and brakes and suspension and have an "almost" modern car, just remember it will not have modern climate control, stock system if rust has not killed is often bypassed, there was a gasoline fired heater as an option, if you have one of these, make DAMN sure either you understand it or have it checked out by someone who does, as it is a potential bomb if in bad shape, and they mounted them right next to the gas tank for some reason. Also remember even with seat belts they are not as safe as a modern car. Not a good daily unless you live somewhere with no winter, but an awesome fun hobby car! Enjoy and post pics of what you get! Oh avoid the weird semi-auto trans that some of them came with. Standard bug vs. Super beetle as well, as the super has a more complicated McPhereson strut front suspension, and handles odd when parts wear out. On the standards make sure the axle beam and floor pan connection is un-rusted. Fuel line connections are absolutely critical from pump to carb, no screw type, use the kind that are destroyed every time you take them off, as others will vibe loose, gas will spray on hot engine and you are now a rolling roman candle, (ask me how I know). Always run with all engine cooling tins in place, as well as the gasket between the body work and engine tins, for optimal cooling and engine life, unless of course you built a Baja! :) That's what I can remember off the top of my head, many others on here have/have had them, so I'm sure they will chime in.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

I have lots of old VW parts but I'm a bit too far away to ship them.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

Thanks guys! Stephen those are some great tips, seems like a lot of people agree on the same general things regarding buying VWs and preventing fires haha.

Lots of this stuff is common sense it seems.

(people’s car)

In the northeast with harsh cold/salty roaded winters, that seems to be my main concern... along with Money and space LOL

Now, I have a difficult time finding an answer to this question. But has anyone DAILY DRIVEN an Aircooled VW in recent years (obviously people did it all the time back in the day)

But given that I can realistically only fit and own 1 car, Although i’m confident in my mechanical abilities, i’m unsure of putting all my eggs in the VW basket for the sake of reliability (starting up every time I wanna go to work) Other than adjusting valves, setting points, changing oil etc, On average how often do I need to drop the engine with regular use.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

They are very reliable, but in state with winter, I just would not do it, to yourself, or the car. You can get an electronic ignition so as to not have to mess with points. If it's really cold you can end up with carb icing, but they always start, but you will be miserable inside, remember, this is in no way, shape or form a modern vehicle. Plus the salt will destroy the car. Stick with your Subaru until you can afford to store a second car.(edited)

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

I still love type 1 & 2 vw's butttttttttt the cost can get really high and finding body parts can be a real MF unless you go with cheap knock offs. try a 1st gen golf or jetta

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

> Dan (high idle) Conway Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> Now, I have a difficult time finding an answer to this question. But has

> anyone DAILY DRIVEN an Aircooled VW in recent years (obviously people

> did it all the time back in the day)

I wouldn't daily old shit in the north east, it's gonna rust. There is a dude at Ohio State who daily's a mint mint mint gray Beetle, even in the winter. We don't really get snow down here though; not like Cleveland does at least.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

Thanks for the advice,

guess i’m moving out of mass ;))

For you all who do face snow... and drastic temp changes/ conditions. What measures do you take to preserve your classics?

(Another than just stowing them til warmth comes back)

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Stowing them til warmth comes back. My whole family is from NJ and all have said to never drive a car you care aboot in winter, buy a old POS late 80s chevy with a 350 in it and let it rot.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

I mean I care about my Subaru obviously, I use it to make a living /get an education etc.

I just wish I could take the fun of a moped and turn it into a car yknow?

I was thinking a rabbit diesel for a while (a pickup would be nuts if I can find a good one or even a reasonable deal)

I’ll probably have my mind made up by the time the snow is melted anyways Lol

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Don't ruin a rabbit, or especially not a Cady (rabbit pick up) by driving it in salt/winter. Drive the Subaru until you can see through it, find a cool car for summer.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Just some ideas from my 27 years as a VW mechanic (1971-1998). Best Bugs are 1967 -first year of 12v system, last year of old-style bumpers and 1974- last year of carb system before troublesome fuel injection. Super Beetles are fine- front strut system actually easier to work on than regular Beetle ball joint or king pin system. I've owned over 20 of them thru the years. I would always buy a used/damaged one. The first thing I did was pull the engine and rebuild the heads. They had a propensity to drop cylinder #3 valve from worn valve guide and less cooling flow from the fan. (The oil cooler blocked some of the flow and what did get to #3 was already hot from passing thru the oil cooler). They were my daily drivers for years even thru NY winters. I remember scraping ice off the INSIDE of the windshield on my 35 mile commute to the dealership. If I had one today, of course it wouldn't be a daily driver, and I wouldn't recommend it unless you live in SoCal where it's a culture. They're a great toy if you can store it someplace in the winter and not have to use it everyday in the summer. And I doubt you'll find any rust-free ones left in the northeast unless it's been "imported " from the south.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dirty30 Dillon /

Aaron from the Ponies drove a VW Bus EVERYWHERE for years. and that thing was so fun.

Oh, and by everywhere i mean across the country a few times

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

The busse's are my fav. I had 4 Bay-windows, 3 of them Westy's, and one 1980 air cooled Vanagon, the Vanagon was almost a real car, being wider and more stable, also having the factory gas heater, but again the rust....the damn rust, ate the exhaust, I ditched the injection for some sort of Weber set up, huge improvement and bought an aftermarket exhaust, LOVED that Van, but so impractical. Would be on another if I lived somewhere warm. There is nothing like sitting on top of the front wheels for view and super fun driving! :)

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Had a 1960 double door vw van with corvair power.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Have a 76 westfalia that I've travelled the country in. Started with a 63 bug, was slammed fun little car but once I got my first bus the bug sat and I just recently sold it. I've also owned rabbits, pick up version and an mk1 gti.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Westy's are SOOO cool, but I hate how semi's can push you around in your lane with the air displacement, such narrow track. My dream would be an '80 aircooled Vanagon, with the crank open huge sun/safari roof, (these were what were supplied to Wesralia for conversion to pop tops) install the westy camping interior, carb the engine balance and blueprint it, and it would of course be a 4spd stick. Premium shocks and tires, and Hella headlights. Heavy bumpers. Ditch the converter of course, high flow exhaust. A diesel would be considered for a water cooled Vanagon with the sunroof as well, but they are moped slow. :) Sadly every year there are fewer and fewer of these around.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

The westfalia is very cool, guy down the street has a 4wd one.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Moped Lar (OFMC) /

I’ve owned four beetles, three KG’s and a westfalia bus. I loved them all, but like mopeds, I found myself wrenching on them more than riding them. I’d love to find another air cooled vdub, but this time I’d buy one fully restored and turn key ready. It’s cool when you’re younger to buy a beater and restore it, but when you’re older like me, it’s nicer to have one already restored.(edited)

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

^ A thousand times this, I never thought I would feel that way....but there it is.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

Glad this turned into such a great thread-

Lots to think about, I was thinking of saving up over the winter, picking on up for 2500-3k with a bit of work needed (I’ll wait to find one that’s had the floor pans changed already)

As far as body stuff goes I have no experience with something such as that, however the engine/ drive chain I can definitely handle.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Floor pan change is sadly a real thing....I've never done it, and don't feel up to it, which is why I got away from those cars, get one that does not need it, from a dry state. Always look under the battery, that is where the rot begins....pro-tip, I put the battery in a polyurethane box designed for boats, to keep the acid at bay, and to avoid the springs in the rear seat from sagging onto the terminals and causing a short/fire if someone sits back there, again, ask me how I know. :/ Please remember, and this is hard to explain to a younger person, (no offence intended at all) these are NOT modern vehicles, by a long shot, be very aware of what this means pre-purchase. Another pro-tip, the stock brakes, drums at all 4 corners, have not one, but two star wheel adjusters for the pads, when replacing brakes, get the hardware kit, just do it, and adjust both star wheels the same # of turns, I can't tell you how many I took apart grinding that had 1/3 of the shoes down to nothing and the drums ruined because people did not know this. I always as a kid wanted to be able to get the tooling to produce bug floor pans in stainless steel, to kick rusts ass. :) I have owned close to 100 cars in my life, and there are only a few I really miss, my 71 super beetle convert tops that list, but it was a mobile oil slick, had shoddy body work, looked good at 5 yards though, and a 1k top, glass rear window. Sigh...I LOVED that car. Air cooled VW are like mopeds, they can ruin your life, in a fun, though expensive way, be prepared young skywalker! ;) If you are clueless about bodywork run from Giah's, the fender seams were leaded from the factory, a serious skill that most body shops no longer practice. The convert Ghia, is a very sexy car, but be prepared to lay out huge money for a solid one, more than it will ever be worth. I don't mean to dissuade you from buying one, but be very aware of what you are getting yourself into. They are summer cars only.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

had a beatle and ghia, both rough, just flips.

i did have a Sandrail for a litlte over a year i would drive regularly. fun as shit, loud. with the paddle tires on the back, IT DID NOT GIVE A FUCKKKK what terrain you were on, it was taking you up it lol she'd have stupid traction anywhere on them - offroad only obviously

Had an air cooled 1841cc engine on it iirc. dual downdraft webers, open headers. pretty sweet. new owner blew up the engine, sounds like a dragging ring... wants me to rebuild it for him aha i told him i just dont have the time

sold it when i bought my samurai.

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Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Dan (high idle) Conway /

> Stephen Keller Wrote:

> -------------------------------------------------------

> Floor pan change is sadly a real thing....I've never done it, and don't

> feel up to it, which is why I got away from those cars, get one that

> does not need it, from a dry state. Always look under the battery, that

> is where the rot begins....pro-tip, I put the battery in a polyurethane

> box designed for boats, to keep the acid at bay, and to avoid the

> springs in the rear seat from sagging onto the terminals and causing a

> short/fire if someone sits back there, again, ask me how I know. :/

> Please remember, and this is hard to explain to a younger person, (no

> offence intended at all) these are NOT modern vehicles, by a long shot,

> be very aware of what this means pre-purchase. Another pro-tip, the

> stock brakes, drums at all 4 corners, have not one, but two star wheel

> adjusters for the pads, when replacing brakes, get the hardware kit,

> just do it, and adjust both star wheels the same # of turns, I can't

> tell you how many I took apart grinding that had 1/3 of the shoes down

> to nothing and the drums ruined because people did not know this. I

> always as a kid wanted to be able to get the tooling to produce bug

> floor pans in stainless steel, to kick rusts ass. :) I have owned close

> to 100 cars in my life, and there are only a few I really miss, my 71

> super beetle convert tops that list, but it was a mobile oil slick, had

> shoddy body work, looked good at 5 yards though, and a 1k top, glass

> rear window. Sigh...I LOVED that car. Air cooled VW are like mopeds,

> they can ruin your life, in a fun, though expensive way, be prepared

> young skywalker! ;) If you are clueless about bodywork run from Giah's,

> the fender seams were leaded from the factory, a serious skill that most

> body shops no longer practice. The convert Ghia, is a very sexy car, but

> be prepared to lay out huge money for a solid one, more than it will

> ever be worth. I don't mean to dissuade you from buying one, but be very

> aware of what you are getting yourself into. They are summer cars only.

Thanks for the advice everybody, I hear similar instances from most regarding floor pans. Definitely not something I wanna be doing right now.

There are a lot of beetles where i

live, on CL and marketplace all the time, a lot of them are rust buckets, and a lot of them have already had pans changed/ never got the New England treatment haha.

I’m gonna save my money over winter and do it right once spring comes, I’ll find out some way to store it during winter months in the meantime.

Just curious... what are you all playing ball park monthly insurance to keep an aircooled on the road?

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Moped Lar (OFMC) /

Get classic car insurance. I used to pay less than $100 a year for full coverage for my vdubs.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Josiah Radebaugh /

Oh my goodness... A VW Ghia is very high on the "Want" list.

A Pretty little Bug

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Jeremy Homser /
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I always wanted a beetle. So last year i bought one as a birthday gift to myself. Its a 68 that had an engine fire and was parked in the mountains of California in 1988. I have patched the rusted out pans and put in a junkyard engine. Just took it out on its first test drive in 30 years last month to test the transmission. Now i just have to learn stick.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

Jeremy Homser /
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Progress is a bit slow but im having alot of fun.

I just finished stitching three wiring harnesses together to get all the electrics working again. You should definitely go for it. Just make sure you know what your getting into and what to expect from one of these bugs. I found mine for $600 with no title and no engine but im still happy with it.

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

I had 6 at one time back in mid 70's all pre 70's , 5 running, the 61 bus with the single port 1300 stroker kit was the best . keep it simple,

pure rust ! and one heck of a curb jumper too ! I

Re: Thinking about Air Cooled VWs... who’s got em?

My bus doesnt get blown around too badly on the highway but extensive modifications have been done to it. And I actually take it places where jeeps wonder how tf we got back there lol.

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