Basic engine tuning
Whether your Buggy is a standard or a street terror, it is important for you to know basic engine maintenance procedures. If you do a fair amount of the mechanical work yourself, you should already have a good service/repair manual for your VW. However, if you don’t have a manual or you’d like to know more about the different tune-up specifications for Type 1 aircooled VWs, read on.
The necessary tools for you to perform an oil change and tune-up include a 3/8-inch ratchet, 13/16-inch spark plug socket, 13mm box-end spanner, flat-bladed screwdriver, 10mm socket, feeler gauges in 0.006-inch and 0.016-inch, some type of spark plug gapping tool (or a 0.024-inch feeler gauge) and a compression tester. You will also need a 3-inch extension for the 3/8-inch ratchet and a rather standard extension. Commonly known as a “wobbly,” this handy little item comes in 1-, 3- and 6 inch lengths and allows whatever socket is fitted to it to wobble around, which makes installation and removal of certain items possible if you cannot get straight-line access for the socket and the extension.
For setting the ignition timing, you will also need a timing light, although a static test light will work for most early models. From the factory, VW engines are equipped with Bosch ignition equipment, and we would suggest that you stick with the factory example and purchase a Bosch ignition kit (points and condenser), rotor arm and distributor cap (if needed). For spark plugs, VW recommends Bosch 145-1 plugs. Although 175-T1 plugs are a little cooler, they have less tendency for run-on or pre¬ignition, and they transfer their heat to the cylinder head quicker; 145-T1s are listed as the correct plug to use. Actually, the difference between the two plugs is very slight under normal circumstances.
Since we know you will change the oil when administering a tune-up, you will also need six pints of oil, two valve cover gaskets and an oil strainer gasket kit. When looking for a strainer gasket kit, try to find one with the thick copper gaskets, as they have less of a tendency for leaking than the thinner brass¬colored gaskets. Depending upon the age of your engine, the strainer plate may, or may not, have a drain plug. Originally all VW strainer plates had a drain plug, which mad the draining of oil a lot easier. The problem was a lot of people didn’t remove the plate to clean the gauze screen. Without the drain plug you will need to remove five of the cap nuts and slowly loosen the last one. You may need to pry the plate down a bit.
Volkswagen recommends you change the oil and clean the strainer, plus adjust the valves on your aircooled engines every 3,000 miles; do a tune-up and either clean or change the air filter every 6,000 miles, plus do a compression test at this time. Check to make sure the points gap is set at 0.016 when they are opened all the way, and remember to grease the small block on the points.
Specifications through to 1974 : Type I Engine Code Letter Ignition Timing TDC: Aug. ’60-July ’65 D 10 degrees before. Aug ’65-July ’65 F 7.5 degrees before. Aug. ’66-July ’69 H 7.5 degrees before. Aug ’69-July ’70 B 0 degrees TDC. From Aug ’70 AE 5 degrees after*. From Aug’71 AK 5 degrees after. From Oct. ’72 AH 5 degrees after. From March ’73 AM 5 degrees after. (* From April ’73: 7.5 degrees; checked with vacuum hose off)