1969 volkswagon


car overheats after driving 3 to 4 miles and will not start the car was bought by my neice and was told by theowner that he had just overhauld the motor?? the car was bought as is, so there no remorse any buddy out there have any ideas as to what is wrong with this car? sure could use some help on this matter… thanks Ed.


How do you know that the engine is overheating and it’s not another issue? I’m assuming this is a beetle, which means it has a very simple air-cooled flat-4 engine. Troubleshooting the car should be easy. That said, this is not really a car that I would recommend as a daily driver for a young girl for a multitude of reasons such as safety, reliability and practicality.


Dave has some great points. Overheating could be a lean fuel mix, or some sort of blocked air flow. I also question about the over heating thing. How about vapor lock? If the overhaul was done professionally contacting the mechanic that did it may be a good idea.

Finally if you intend to keep this car the first step is to find a copy of the book “How to Keep Your VW Alive” Subtitled: “A Step By Step Manual For The Complete Idiot.”


I agree overall with Joseph and with Dave.

IMHO, the overheating problem is most likely the result of blocked air flow. Another possibility is that the generator belt is slipping. IIRC, this belt also drives the bug’s cooling fan, and a slow-turning cooling fan could well result in overheating.

Once the engine is very hot, then vapor lock is likely blocking fuel flow to the carburetor. While these engines are very easy to work on, if someone does not have experience with that type of engine, then it is difficult to know exactly what to do.

Joseph’s book suggestion is an excellent one. Also, although it is undoubtedly out of print, there was a book many years ago by John Muir (not the naturalist) on the care and repair of VWs. This old book is excellent, and I’m sure that a Google search or an Amazon search should yield a used copy of this spiral-bound repair manual. The book’s emphasis is on DIY repairs, it is very easy to understand, and it has good illustrations.

ADDENDUM: I just did a Google search, and apparently the book that Joseph mentioned and the one that I mentioned are the same book. It appears that it has been reprinted (30th Anniversary Edition), but I am pretty sure that the original title did not contain the words “For the complete idiot”!

Anyway, it is an excellent book that can become your Bible for maintaining and repairing that Volkswagen bug.


Just out of curiousity, how do you know the thing’s overheating? A stock 69 doesn’t have a temp light.

Go buy yourself the Muir book and read the section called “How to Drive Your Volkswagen”. When I first bought mine, I was used to driving a big old truck, and I was driving it totally wrong and overheating it. Basically, since all of the cooling comes from the fan that runs off of the engine, you need to keep the RPM’s high enough to keep the fan turning fast enough to keep the engine cool. When you’re accellerating, don’t even think about upshifting until you get to the little hashmarks on the speedometer.

Air-cooled VW’s are very fun cars, but they definitely have to be a hobby. They can be very reliable daily drivers, but they’re so maintinence-heavy that unless you’re doing most of the work yourself they’ll be very expensive to own.