Fixing up a '74 VW Super Beetle

I’m in over my head with this one. Got a '74 super beetle that’s been sitting for a few years because of engine trouble. Dropped the engine, but now what do I do?

Do you have a repair guide? These are good:

and especially:

Bigger question - what kind of repairs have you done? And what kind of tools do you have? I guess a fair number, if you dropped the engine…

What kind of engine trouble are you having? What led you to drop the engine?

If You’re Uncertain Of What’s Wrong, You’ll Need To Inspect Everything. Depending On How Far You Want To go, This Could Be An Opportunity For A Remanufactured Crankshaft/Bearings, Heads/Valves, and a set Of Cylinders/Pistons/Rings.

I built one of theses 1600 dual-ports for a buggy a few decades ago, Over-Size jugs, new crank, balanced the rods, etcetera. I also had one in 71 Super Beetle, purchased new in 71. That car replaced my 64 bug. I have probably 5 years experience working for a Volkswagen dealer.

You’ve come to a good site. OK4450, one of the regulars here, speaks Volkswagen. He is a pro-technician and would be an excellent source of information for you. He should be checking in, shortly.

As others have suggested, you’ll have to give us a little more history and where this going in the future. Have you got a budget or trying to do this as cheaply as possible?

What else can you tell us? Is the body solid and worthy of a good engine?


I agree with the others about knowing why the engine was dropped and how sure are you the engine is bad or worth rebuilding if necessary.

The engines are simple but there are some specialized techniques and service tools involved if the engine is rebuilt properly.

The '74 Super Beetle is a good year to have. The interior is a little nicer, the strut suspension allows it to ride and handle better, and the engine has more power than its ancestors and which allows it to cruise along at a pretty decent highway speed.

You might try this. Facing the crank pulley, grasp it with both hands and pull it firmly towards you. You should feel it move a little.
Now shove it the other way firmly.
If you feel a fair amount of movement and hear a thunk sound this means the engine block main bearing saddle for the crankshaft thrust bearing is beat out and a proper rebuild or replacement is needed.

The engine block is magnesium and is softer than the bearings. Hard driving with heavy clutch use is the cause of this. It’s fixable but that goes back to knowledge and special tools such as a line boring tool.

I was driving to work a couple days ago, and lo and behold what do I see on the road next to me but a 1968 VW Beetle, dual exhaust, in near perfect condition, stock. And the perfect color, VW turquoise blue. The only problem with this car was the hubcaps and tires, they weren’t stock. Anyway, it sounds like you’ve got a great project brewing there OP!!

My suggestion, there’s a magazine published out of England, but stocked in my local B&N bookstore, titled “Volksworld” . They’ve been running a series of articles, one each month for the past 4 or 5 months, following with plenty of photos a total rebuilding of a Beetle engine. If you can figure out a way to get hold of those articles, or at least secure the latest issue and check what they have there, maybe you can see the prior articles via their website, I think you’d find that very helpful.

They have some tech guide articles on their website too, here’s the link.

@LadyBug74 - have you joined the VW forums, like thesamba and vwvortex? Lots of good info there, too.

Resurface the flywheel, purchase a new gland nut, clutch assembly and clutch release bearing and install on your replacement engine. Install engine. With some details more information might be possible.

We don’t have anywhere near enough information to be able to suggest what the OP needs to do next. We need to know why the engine was dropped in the first place.

But I actively solicit that information from the OP. We’d like to help, but we need to know what’s wrong first.