First of all, we’d like to greet everyone a prosperous and blessed Happy New Year! We all had a tough time in 2020 and, as the saying goes, “When you’re down, there’s no other way but up”, we look forward to 2021 with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm. There’s also a saying about how “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, so to keep us from being idle while waiting for better times, we kept ourselves busy working on our 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1303 S project car. Astute readers will note that we recently installed a new INCOE 2SMF maintenance free car battery; replaced the old distributor with a brand-new EMPI assembly, installed a new Bosch Blue ignition coil; and fitted a new Reyflex heavy-duty fan belt.
We then took a good look around our green Bug and found that we need to work on a few minor rust issues hiding at the front edge of the front trunk lid (hood) and above the driver’s side footwell. We replaced the old window cranks with two new ones and cleaned the interior. We found some spare parts in the trunk that might be useful when we work on the front suspension soon and we realized that we will also need to replace all the Bridgestone Potenza RE94 tires, including the spare. We realized that there are more work to be done so just we got right to it.
Where’s the Telescopic Antenna?
While we were cleaning the front trunk, we noticed that the telescopic antenna was missing. We reached down into the space between the wheel tub and the bulkhead and found the antenna mast that may have fallen off its mounting pedestal. It was a quick fix but because we have big, fat hands and a recent injury to the middle finger, it took us a while to get the job done.
Loosening Things Up
With our green Bug parked in our open garage and the recent December rain showers, we deemed it necessary to spray some penetrating oil into the keyholes, hinges and small moving crevices to prevent them from rusting and locking up. One of the unusual things we noticed about our car is that there are three different keys: one each for the ignition, doors and engine lid lock. It’s not a big deal but usually, Volkswagen just supplies two keys – one for the ignition and the other for the door and engine lid locks. We can only guess that a previous owner replaced the engine lid lock in the past, hence requiring a third key. Oh, well… we can easily fix that conundrum, soon.
Quick and Easy Fix for an Idling Problem
One of the problems we encountered when we restarted our green Bug after 10 months of gestation due to the pandemic is that the engine won’t idle. We tried adjusting the air-fuel mixture screw and the idle screw of the carburetor and got the engine idling to improve. But after a while, the idling will become erratic and deteriorate until the engine stalls. We concluded that the idling circuit of the carburetor must be blocked and needs to be cleaned. However, we are actually lazy people. So, before we remove the carburetor for cleaning, we rummaged through our storage bin to try a quick and easy fix.
Even though we are admittedly lazy folks, we didn’t stop there. We wanted to make sure that our carburetor gets cleaned in places that the spray tube of our aerosol carb cleaner cannot reach. So, we got a can of fuel additive/fuel system cleaner, poured it into the gas tank, and drove again to the nearest Petron service station to fill our tank with several liters of Blaze 100. Our triple cleaning solution must have worked because the engine started idling again, albeit a bit roughly. A few twists of the carburetor’s idling screw improved the engine idle somewhat.
Driving Around in our 1303S
Now that our green Bug has decent engine idling and we’re more confident that it won’t stall on us anymore, we started driving it around and enjoying it – paint flaws, rust, rattles and all. We can hear a loud “thud” when the front wheels run over road undulations and we can feel it straining when we turn it full lock to the right. We can also hear a whining sound when we depress the clutch, so we know that we have a lot of work to do.
We’ve also taken our green Bug on “errand runs”, going to the nearby convenience stores for supplies; driving to and from the laundry to get our clothes clean; driving to the hair dresser for a haircut; and just generally going around on short jaunts. We see people smile at us when they see the Super Beetle and we hear stories of how they used to have one, or how they learned to drive in one, or how they regret letting go of the one they had. We’ve been getting offers online and from people we meet but we’re having too much fun to consider these offers. Besides, where can you find a VW Super Beetle 1303 S in the same condition as ours for FREE? We consider this green Bug a blessing.