1974 Super Beetle Autostick

Started by mouser98, 26 June 2013, 15:54

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hi, i am new to this forum and also new to VW Autosticks, in fact, until i bought mine in March, I didn't even know they existed. 

i was driving my '92 VW Cabriolet along a country highway one Sunday afternoon, and I passed by a house with some guys in the front yard working on a Chevy pickup.  Then I noticed sitting under a tree was a Beetle with a 4-sale sign in the windshield.  I stopped in and talked to the guys, one of them, Jimmy, was the owner of the Beetle.  He had been driving it to work every day, but lately it had started consuming way too much oil, like a quart every few miles.  So what he was doing was putting a new engine in his truck, so he could drive that, and he needed to get $500 out of the bug to finish buying parts for the new truck engine installation.  We cranked up the bug and it ran, but would not idle.  He said it wouldn't idle because it didn't have any compression.  I asked him why not just fix the bug but he told me he just didn't know anything about VW's.

The car was originally Marina Blue, with gray squareweave seat upholstery, and black door panels and carpet.  someone had repainted the car a dark greenish-purple color, and that paint was flaking off in spots.  the seat upholstery was torn on the drivers seat and on the rear seat.  the drivers door card was missing, but the armrest was still there.  it showed rust in the usual places but overall not bad.  the worst spot was where the death foam holds water behind the rear quarter window, its rusted through on the right side.  hail dings all over and missing bumpers.  oh yeah, the car also has a non-leaking moon roof (not sure if it is stock). 

I came back the next day with $500 in cash and had my friend Calvin who owns a rollback meet me at Jimmy's house.  we did the paperwork and put the Beetle on Calvin's rollback and took it home.  when we got it there Calvin, who is also interested in VWs, was looking it over and asked me if realized that it didn't have a clutch pedal.  i looked and sure enough he was right, no clutch pedal.  I didn't know anything about Autostick but Calvin knew what it was. 

Looking carefully over the engine, i noticed several things:  first that oil was everywhere, especially on the right side rear of the engine.  second was that the engine is an AE block so not original to this car.  third that the vacuum lines for the autostick need replacing.  fourth that the wire from the coil to the idle solenoid was broken.  i unplugged the choke and plugged that wire into the idle solenoid and cranked it up, it idled fine. lol. 

i cleaned up the engine bay really good with Simple Green and a garden hose.  then i took it for a short drive.  the Autostick functioned fine.  the car did okay at low speeds but struggled to go up hills or to get up to over 50 MPH.  when i got it back home the engine bay was again covered in oil, and it appeared from studying the dipstick that half a quart had been ejected.  i researched this problem on the Samba and it seemed most likely that blowby was forcing oil out from behind the crank pulley.  so i concluded that a rebuild was in order.

so, the good is:

brakes okay
steering okay
Autostick okay
electrical okay

the bad is:

body and paint
seat upholstery
drivers door card
body rubber
engine rebuild
dash cracked (of course)

I have a friend that has the bumpers and he is holding them for me, so that problem is mostly solved.

I would like to get the forum's opinion on what color I should paint the car.  My first impulse is to go back with the original Marina Blue, to bring the car back to its factory color and so that all of the un-repainted surfaces will match the outer surfaces (not planning to do a body-off paint job).  But, Marina Blue is not a color I much care for.  My prefered color from the list of factory colors is Kansas Beige.  What do you all think?






ugly awful paint and bad bodywork coming off

another view of VW awesomeness

what the heck is this weird looking thing?  (that was my question to the PO when i was first looking the car over, he didn't know either lol)

more awesomeness

so tell me what you guys think of the color conundrum:  original Marina Blue:

or the more preferable Kansas Beige, like this beauty:

Triker Walt

First off it's your car.  Paint it whatever color you prefer.  Your choice no one elses. 
Second the thing in question is the electrical,  vacuum control solenoid. 


yeah i know it's ultimately my decision, but i was curious to see if anyone had a strong opinion about whether or not to keep the original color, especially with respect to the car's resale value when all of the restoration work is done.


well i misspoke, apparently, they didn't do Kansas Beige in 74.  but they did do Sahara Beige which I like better, it's a little darker.  here is a sample from TheSamba, this belongs to Alex857 from Germany:

I think this is the way I'm gonna go, except my wheels will be painted the body color also.  it's gonna be sweet.


                Your vacuum lines are all hooked up wrong. Is the carb a H30/31 Pict? They are a bit of a pain to get "just right" with an A-S.

Savannah Beige looks better IMHO. Better than the Marina Blue and certainly better than Exorcist Projectile Vomit (Moss) Green mine was done with. That was a stock colour....but paint it whatever colour floats your boat!!

'71 RHD A-S Super - "Klaus"


i thought it was the correct carb for the year and application, but i am not very familiar with the solex nomenclature so i'm not sure which one it is.  should it be stamped on the carb somewhere?

regarding the vacuum lines, the Autostick was working fine before i pulled out the engine.  but, in any case, me and Mr. Bentley will figure it all out when i put it all back together.  with new vac lines also.

i'm thinking of doing the inside with mocha seats and door cards with beige or off-white inserts.

today (Saturday) I am stipping the engine down to the short block.  already found cracks in the #3/#4 head between the intake valves and spark plug port in both cylinders, its a shame because its an OEM head.  still haven't decided yet whether or not to tear down the short block.


okay, looked at the carb, it is a Solex 30/31 Pict made in Brazil.

got the other head off.  #1 piston was burnt!!


found some OEM German heads redone by a local machinist for $100 each :)


the Beige is a nice color, but as said, If You sell it, someone can paint it whatever they like? lol
so, it doesn't make much difference, so long as its a good paint job.  One of those sunroof's was in My beetle when I got it, and its still there [naturally] but the locking part broke about a year ago, so I have it closed with some clear silicon.. until I get another one...
shame about the heads.. but good luck that You have found good replacements..   Best to replace all the vacuum hoses, as they can crack at any time, and Yours do look old.. lol
Don\t forget to replace the ATF/oil pump seals and the Torque converter seal while You are working on the engine..  The rust looks bad on the rear quarter, although we don't have a major rust problem in Australia unless You live next to the ocean..  lol ..  it was worse on later cars with the foam they used, as you called it, the death foam.. lol..
Best of luck with your restoration... and a good find...


LEE in Australia

-- Helping keep Autostick beetles on the road --
   -1968 Silver metallic 1600 single port Beetle - with BOSCH  SVDA and new BROSOL H30/31 carburetor with GENIE Extractor exhaust system with a quiet thunderbird muffler



well its been awhile but any time is a good time for an update.

no pics right now, don't have a camera, but a brief listing of what i have been able to accomplish so far.

i had the case align bored and thrust cut by a local machinist.  he also provided me with the proper bearings.  while that was being done i cleaned and painted sheet metal.  also bought one of those Dansk stock mufflers.  i don't have access to the original grey paint the VW used and Dansk uses, but Duplicolor Ford Grey is really close.  Painted my heater  boxes and intake manifold with that.  the rest of the sheet metal is semi=gloss black.

got the case back and put together the short block.  when i got it all torqued down the crank wouldn't turn.  tore it apart and i had not properly seated #1 bearing on the dowel.  so i had to get new bearings and start over.  got it put together finally and then cylinders, heads, sheet metal, oil pump, alternator stand etc.  i decided to not go back with the split intake manifold grommets so right now i am waiting on J-Bugs to send the solid piece ones.  then i can finish up the motor and get it in the car.  oh, by the way, the Dansk muffler was a PITA to get to fit the heat risers.

so while i am waiting for that i decided to attack the engine bay.  i ripped out the old tar board and cleaned up everything really good.  cut out and installed new tar board from Wolfsburg West.  installed new belmetric wire reinforced 12mm vac hose.   i cleaned up the bell housing and took out the torque converter and emptied the ATF out of it.  i pulled off the old TC seal and am getting ready to pop the new one back on.  i also took off the ATF tank and wire-wheeled it, gonna paint it with rust preventing primer and then Ford Grey.  i may pull out the old rear transmission mounts and replace them, the PO left a pair in the trunk.  so that's pretty much where i am at.  should be re-installing the engine next week.

edit:  I forgot to mention, got the correct 34 pict 3 carb with autostick vac port from Tim at Volkzbitz.  I have the correct 205A distributor.  One thing i had to do was JB Weld the vac canister around the nipple.  It wasn't holding vacuum and the nipple was loose so i figured that was the problem.  its holding up pretty good for now.


painted the ATF tank black and reinstalled it.  took out the charcoal canister while i was up under there, it made installing the bracket for the ATF tank neck possible for one person.  with that charcoal can in the way, it would take two people to get those little 10 mm nuts back on the studs on the ATF tank-neck bracket.

also installed the rear transmission mounts (the PO had left some new ones in the trunk).  i have a question about the torque spec for the 13 mm nuts inside the bell housing.  the book apparently says 14 ft/lbs, but that seems light to me.  i'd hate for one to vibrate loose.  anyone got any advice?

also got my tabs made to measure end play and to lock down the flex plate while torquing down the gland nut.

so now all i have to do is get the engine off the engine stand, check end play, install the front seal, and torque down the gland nut.  then i can install the engine in the car which i hope to have done by this time tomorrow.


well Sunday i was able to get the engine off the engine stand and get the Beetle jacked up and blocked up ready for the engine.

but, when i went to check end play, i couldn't get it to spec with the shims i had on hand.  so now i am waiting for shims from Jbugs.


Got the shims in from JBugs.  I also decided to buy a dial indicator from Amazon and have it rush shipped.  Got this stuff Friday evening so my plan was to get the end play set Saturday morning and put the engine in Saturday afternoon.  But it took me most of the day to get the end play set right.  I kept trying to use math to determine the exact shims needed but for some odd reason the math never worked.  But I finally did get lucky and get the right combination in there to get 0.004".  Once i got the seal in and everything torqued down I had 0.003" which is good.

So I was really looking forward to getting the engine in on Sunday but it rained all freaking day.  As my workshop is half portable garage/ half open air i was screwed.

took some pictures with my daughter's Kodak Mini.

got this script from the Samba classifieds

here is my "workshop"

new transmission mounts and new TC seal and cleaned up bell housing

refreshed ATF tank and new tar board.  that's just water on the tar board from all of the freaking rain

vac control solenoid with new 12mm wire reinforced cloth covered vac hoses from belmetric.  you can also see the new front and rear engine seal.

rebuilt engine waiting to go in

wider shot of the inside of my "shop".   not pictured is the engine stand, no longer needed.  once i get the engine out of here, i am going to clean it up, and pack up all the engine building stuff, and then use this space for storing the seats and such while i start on the interior.  also, i should say that this Harbor Freight tent-garage cost me only $175, went up in a few hours and has served me well.

so, this is where i am at.  just waiting for a sunny day.


we finally had a nice day again yesterday and me and a friend got the engine up into the car and all tightened down and as i went to try to install the first TC bolt it fell into the bell housing.  i had to work today but tomorrow i guess i will pull off the rear plate, loosen up the engine/transmission bolts and try to slide the engine back some to open up the bell housing and hopefully retrieve that bolt.  i am so looking forward to that (not).


glad i took that picture of the inside of the bell housing.  knowing that there are two depressions on each side for the transmission mounting studs, i was able to fashion a coat hanger and coax the bolt down to bottom center.  the flange on this bolt is so wide that you really have to separate the case from the bell housing to get enough clearance for it to fall out.  using the jack under the engine i was finally able to accomplish that and out the bolt fell.