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wearymicrobe PowerDork
12/29/22 7:34 p.m.
preach (dudeist priest) said:

Love this.

RE Class 11: Pretty sure your engine needs to look stock and have the right displacement. Tons of cheat room there though.

Blake Wilkey is another good channel for Class 11. He also builds Baja (He was the guy that got arrested for the LS Baja Beetle shenanigans in San Diego a few years back). Pretty successful Class 11 guy though.

Most of the "cheating" in class 11 is for reliability. You can build one pretty darn cheap and I think my class 5 darted as a 11 or something in that vein before the motor swap. 

I love those wheels, I have the same thing on my 550 spyder. I looked everywhere for 356 brakes and they were unoptanium at the time and bought the aluminum covers for my disk brake setup. They come in a nice chrome finish and straight grey if anybody is looking. There are a few companies selling them now all from the same supplier. Some much cheaper then others. I want to say I paid 120$ a piece for my chrome ones. 



vwcorvette (Forum Supporter)
vwcorvette (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/29/22 8:07 p.m.

Having wrenched a few FVees and worked on many a VW and other German vehicles, I think you need to find lug bolts. It just looks wrong with the studs sticking out beyond the lugs. Otherwise, carry on!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/11/23 5:15 p.m.

It looks like I need to update this thread: I've been driving this car more and more and the sorting process continues.  There are a number of minor wiring issues that need to be addressed, including a battery drain when the car is parked. Recently, one parking light started staying on all the time, so i decided to start addressing the issues.

Even from the factory, Beetle wiring is never quite as neat as I like it, but this car is still better than many. There are a few substituted wires, cheap aftermarket terminations, and a couple of wires that have butt connectors and change colors. I'll eventually address all the issues, but for now I just wanted to make the light work correctly again and stop the battery drain, which existed before this light issue exacerbated it. The light issue was odd as there was a parking light wiring plugged directly into the headlight switch to an always-on terminal. That wire should have gone to the fusebox to the parking light fuses. That circuit also had an intermittent bad ground, so that's why the issue hadn't appeared before. Apparently, the ground vibrated and started grounding again so the light started staying on. Anyway, I switched the wire to the correct spot on the fusebox and cleaned the ground. 

The previous battery drain issue was likely the radio. The power wire to the radio was to an always-on fuse while the memory wire was to a switched fuse. I switched the wires to to the correct locations.

However, the test light shows there is still a little draw from the radio memory. Before I switched the terminals, it would drain the battery to a no-start condition in about three days. I'll see how long it takes now. Either way, the radio is probably going to be replaced. 

buzzboy SuperDork
6/12/23 10:08 a.m.

Jealous of how clean your wiring is. My friend tossed his clothes into the frunk of my beetle and knocked a random hot wire onto the ground and melted down the harness. Being a 74 though, I had a few more wires running about. Miss that pile

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/12/23 11:47 a.m.

Buzzboy, I hear you. Sometimes Beetles are a real mess. Below are pictures of one we had at the shop last summer. It had a big stereo, air bags, and an aftermarket fuel injection. It's supposed to come back for us to clean all of this up, but we suspect that the owner has sold it given the cost to make it right.

TurboFource HalfDork
6/12/23 12:11 p.m.

oh my!

Mezzanine Dork
6/12/23 12:43 p.m.
Carl Heideman said:

Reposted just for the nightmares. That's incredible/terrifying. If that were my car I'd start by ripping every wire from the car and starting over fresh. 

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/12/23 1:24 p.m.

In reply to Mezzanine :

We recommended exactly that. Note too that the battery is under the rear seat and as the car came in, the battery could have easily have shorted out against the steel seat springs/structure. Scary indeed.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/24/23 10:17 a.m.

It was accidentally Drive Your Beetle to Work day at Eclectic Motorworks on Thursday...

californiamilleghia UberDork
6/24/23 10:47 a.m.
Carl Heideman said:

In reply to Mezzanine :

We recommended exactly that. Note too that the battery is under the rear seat and as the car came in, the battery could have easily have shorted out against the steel seat springs/structure. Scary indeed.

That happened to me once in a Mexico City VW bug taxi ,  

ohhh and once in my 1955 oval with too much stuff piled on the back seat....

Both bugs survived !

GhiaMonster HalfDork
6/24/23 2:50 p.m.

I was going to share a picture of the  garbage wiring in my Ghia for comparison to Carl's neat Bettle but that customer car was next level. I can't wait to finish sheetmetal work so the old wiring can get the axe. 

preach GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/24/23 5:59 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

My 914 looks like that but with the original 50yo wiring.

It's a no brainer redo for me.

paddygarcia GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
6/25/23 1:33 p.m.
Mezzanine said:
Reposted just for the nightmares. That's incredible/terrifying. If that were my car I'd start by ripping every wire from the car and starting over fresh. 

x2 - I was going to be witty and say Kill It With Fire, but chances are good it'd take care of itself.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/26/23 9:35 p.m.

I've been driving the Beetle 3-5 times a week, but haven't had time for any more sorting. Then I noticed that the left front parking bulb was lighting up when I was on the brakes. And the left brake light wasn't lighting up. So I had a wierd problem to deal with.

The TL:DR version is that the brake light wasn't twisted in very well and was out of position, which made it back feed through the parking circuit to the front parking lights. The right front parking bulb was burned out, so only the left one would light. I cleaned the connections and got the bulb in tight, so it's fixed for now.

It's been converted to LEDs, but they don't seem any brighter than conventional bulbs. And they don't put enough load on the flasher, so the turn signals flash really quickly. I probably will convert back to conventional bulbs, which will hopefully fit the sockets a little better than these offshore LEDs.


preach GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
6/26/23 9:51 p.m.

In reply to Carl Heideman :

When I converted my Tacoma to LEDs I had to buy a special flasher relay. Fixed the problem easy.

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
6/26/23 10:14 p.m.

In reply to preach :

I've used those "no load" universal flasher relays on other cars, but VWs have this box that is the flasher relay and handles some other stuff:

I haven't researched to see if someone makes one that works with LEDs, but like I said, I don't think they're any better than an 1157 bulb, so I don't know that I'll need one.

buzzboy SuperDork
6/27/23 8:43 a.m.

Mine did the back feeding thing too. It was a bad ground on my taillight housing. For me, hitting the brakes illuminated all 4 turn signals solid. It also meant that hitting the brakes made the turn signals/flashers stop flashing.

RandolphCarter Reader
6/27/23 9:28 a.m.
Carl Heideman said:




When the guys driving an early 70s British car can look down on your car's electrical system...

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/4/23 8:44 p.m.

Holiday weekend, so some personal project work got done. If you look at the "drive your VW to work" photo above, you'll see Eclectic's shop manager's, Alan, heavily slammed Sun Bug. He initially used an adjustable beam that was narrowed 2", but his tires rubbed when he set the car in the weeds. He replaced it with a 4" narrowed beam. So I bought the first one from him since I'm not going so low.

I shot it with a quick coat of Eastwood Chassis Black before getting to work.

I contemplated swapping the beam with the gas tank in place, but it's only four bolts to remove it, easy enough and way better access.

I felt like a flat rate mechanic again, as I just pulled the whole side off off the car.

Here's a comparison pic of the stock beam and the slightly used adjustable beam. I'll ask Alan who built it, and edit this later. It's 2" narrower, which required shortening the torsion bars and putting a new dimple in one side for the trailing arms to index. Alan had done that, so it saved me the work. It's a heavy piece and I'm not sure it's very well engineered. It also is missing some things like steering stops, which are nice, but probably not too necessary. I consider it an interim beam as I dial in the car and consider how to get Porsche brakes on it.


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/4/23 8:48 p.m.

Everything went back together quickly.

The trailing arm slid back in easily. I cleaned up the tie rod threads and adjusted them to the shortest possible, wondering if I'd need to shorten the tie rods themselves to accomodate the narrower beam.

Once nice thing about this beam is that the shock mounts are raised about 2-1/2", so I can use stock shocks even when the car is lowered.

Adjustment is via these notched pieces that hold the torsion bar packs.

Back on the ground, I put the car on the alignment rack and found it toed in 1," so I didn't need to shorten the tie rods and even have a little wiggle room. I set the car to 1/16" toe in, which is what people seem to like.

I checked the camber, too, and was right about 1 degree, which is the right number for a Beetle.


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/4/23 9:09 p.m.

The first time I put it on the ground, it was too far in the weeds. I changed it once and it was 1.5" lower than stock and looked about right. After the alignment and first drive, it settled to 2" lower. 



And next to my stock 1966 for comparison.

It's very subtle unless it's next to a stock one. I'm happy.

TurboFource HalfDork
7/4/23 9:21 p.m.

Looks good!

Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
7/6/23 9:19 a.m.

While I had the car in the shop, I did a little more sorting.

This vintage Bugpack electric fuel pump was on the front bulkhead and had been abandoned but not removed. It's now removed. Stock fuel pumps work just fine, especially with stock engines.

There was quite a bit of play in the steering--maybe 6"--so I tried adjusting the steering box. That rarely works, but rather reveals that it's time for a rebuild. In this case, it worked! The result is "normal" play in the steering and no binding. Success.

Then, on to more electrical sorting. I tried conventional bulbs in the left tail light and to me they looked brighter than the LEDs, so I'm back on 1156 and 1157 bulbs. My turn signals flash at an appropriate speed again.

The next electrical problem was that it looked like the brake lights were lighting with the parking lights and sure enough, they were. So I traced through and discovered a hack from the past. For some reason, someone did this. Whenever I see a Scotchlok, I know there is trouble. Someone had tied the tail parking light circuit (brown/red) to the brake light circuit (black/red), and of course introduced a different color wire as well (black).  All I did to repair this was to remove the Scotchloks and reconnect the brown/red wire to the right tail light. Not only was this a wiring sin, but the person who did it tore up the firewall insulation pad to do it. 


Carl Heideman
Carl Heideman
10/8/23 6:13 p.m.

This is a long post, so the TL;DR is that I made the clutch and brakes better.

Long version: I drove the Beetle 3-5 times a week in July and August and didn't really do much more sorting as other chores (and racing) beckoned. But a few weeks ago, as I pulled out of a parking lot, I heard a snap and the clutch wasn't right. I'd been expecting something as the pedal never felt right and the floorboard stop was missing from the pedal. At one point, I did try to adjust it so that I could put the floorboard stop in (it's there for a reason...stay tuned), but I couldn't get it to fully disengage. Someone had done inappropriate things and I hoped to sort them out before something broke. There was also over an inch of brake pedal freeplay and the pedals didn't line up properly.

I figured I'd broken the clutch cable as that's fairly common thing, so I ordered one up along with new parking brake cables (one was broken and replacing in pairs makes sense to me) and waited for a few free moments to sort it all out.

I pulled the pedal assembly to change the cable and found the cable in tact, but the pedal damaged. It looks like it had broken before and someone welded it up. I don't know if that's why the pedal stop was missing, or if the missing pedal stop broke the pedal before, but it wasn't right. I could have welded it up again, but since the pedal ratio looks somewhere between 6:1-8:1, if I didn't get it angled perfectly, the pedal could have ended in a weird place. So I decided to replace the pedal.

This is my first car, a 1968 Beetle. It was my sister's first car, my brother's first car, and then my first car. My dad bought it for my sister out of a VW junkyard (Dale's VW Repair) in Iowa. Dale would take people out in the yard, and point to a couple of decent shells to build into cars. My dad picked this one. Dale rebuilt it in Lego fashion using other junked Beetles, painted it, sold it to my dad for $1000, and we used it from 1974-1984. It's the first car I ever drove, the first car I took the engine out of, and the first car I painted. Rust and 178,000 miles got the better of it, so I put it in storage in 1984 as it had too much history to scrap. I don't know if I'll every restore it, but I still have my first car. Occasionally, I take a part or two from it and I figured its clutch pedal would like to be used again.

As long as I'm down this rabbit hole, here's a little more. I painted the car when I was 15 but fixed the rust mainly with body filler, rivets, and body filler. By the time I was 18, I had learned to weld, so I started welding up the trim holes and planned to fix all the rust and make a Cal Look Beetle. But I realized it would be better to just buy a better Beetle. So I bought an MGB/GT, but that's another story. Anyway, I just put the Beetle away wet and it's like a time capsule. Whenever I move it or grab a part, I open up the glovebox, which has a combination of receipts, high school papers, and miscellaneous wrappers. I put everything back for the next time.

If I ever do restore it, the Holland High parking permit will stay. 

Back to the long, boring clutch thread. It took some real heat to get the clutch pedal off of the 1968 pedal assembly, but I got it. A quick sandblast and rattle can black came next.

I decided to replace the clutch cable as preventative maintenance, then replaced the parking brake cables. As long as I had the rear brakes apart, I checked the wheel cylinders and found them weeping a little. So I replaced them. Since the rears were slightly weeping, I checked the fronts. One was fine and one was weeping. I replaced them both so I could be done with it. 

The guy who messed up the clutch pedal must not have understood how pedals need to be adjusted as the master cylinder pushrod wasn't right and the jam nut wasn't near where it should have been. The jam nut wasn't necessary as there was just enough corrosion to seize the pushrod. Nonetheless, I cleaned everything up, greased it for the future, and adjusted the pushrod to have about 1/4" of freeplay at the pedal.

Getting the pedal assembly in is a bit of a dance, and then there is a spring for the brake pedal return. I've done a ton of these so I don't bleed anymore.

The clutch pedal has a floorboard stop again.

The pedals feel great, they line up, the brakes are adjusted just right, the parking brake works, and the car is just a little nicer to drive.

I have about 4-6 weeks of driving season left and I've never had a Beetle with working heat. This one has everything to have working heat, but the cables to the heater boxes are broken and the tubes from the engine to body aren't installed. I'm going to fix that so I can finally experience a Beetle with heat. Stay tuned.

Recon1342 SuperDork
10/8/23 7:19 p.m.

My mom had a Beetle as a daily for the first eight years of my life. There is a special place in my heart for that whistly burble exhaust note.

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