Urthwrite
there are two pipes that go to the muffler from the intake manifold on a single port setup. are these tubes just to return warm air to help the engine warm up faster, or is it actually returning exhaust?
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olspeed
Those pipes are for carb/manifold heat, and while there is exhaust running through the pipe up under the manifold there should be no exhaust gasses recirculated into the intake system. This is used on both the single port and dual port single carb (stock) system.
Olspeed
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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Urthwrite
So if I have an aftermarket exhaust there is no point for that extra tube? So much so that I don't even have to plug the ends of it? Is there a need for the stock heating elements in regard to the cooling the engine?
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olspeed
If you live in a REALLY warm area... say Arizona, New Mexico or some place like that you should be OK. But if you live anywhere else you will find that you most likely will need to hook up the carb heat. The problem with the stock manifold setup is the long run from the center of the engine out to the heads. The fuel has a hard enough time when its warm to stay atomized all the way out to the heads after dropping down from the carb into the manifold, when it's cold the fuel turns to droplets much more quickly and the engine will try to stop running. most aftermarket header systems have a hook up for the carb heat but most don't have the holes in the pipe drilled, if yours are this way and you decide you need to add the carb heat then drill one side larger than the other... or make one hole larger or smaller than the other so the exhaust will flow through.
 On the stock "heating elements" I am guessing that you are referring to the heater boxes for inside heat??? If so there are two trains of though here as some people say that the heater boxes help dissipate heat from the exhaust on cylinders 1 & 3 by having cooling air constantly flowing over them. If this is true I am not sure but, I know that unless you are running interior heat that the warmed air is being dumped out at the front of the engine under the car from the heater boxes. Also on early models of the VW type 181 "The Thing" they did not come with heater boxes, if you wanted heat you had to pay extra for a gas heater, they did not have heater boxes, what most called "stock heat" until the 1974 model.
 So I would suggest it is going to really matter where you live, same as for the carb heat. I would ask if you ever have to turn on the defrost to get the fog off of the windshield in the "other car" that you drive... if so then you need heater boxes and most likely carb heat if you run the single carb setup. (Dual carbs because of the short manifolds don't need the carb heat from the exhaust)
Olspeed
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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Urthwrite
so if I understand correctly, I can get a second carb and a dual carb intake manifold to not worry about the carb heat exchange. Do you know of any electric or aftermarket form of interior heater that will allow me to bypass the need for heater boxes?

'72 Super

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olspeed
Dual carbs are sold as a kit(check some of the companies that advertise here or the tech articles here for details) and completely replace the stock setup. Because of the short manifolds they heat up at the same time and to almost the same temp as the heads so carb heat(including the stock warm air intake on the stock air cleaner) is not needed.
 For the heater boxes, there are kits that enhance the workings of the stock boxes or you could just use a gas heater, but as long as the heat channels in the body are OK for ease of maintenance and reliability the later model heater boxes just can't be beat. with the stock late model boxes(75 and later) the BTU output is high enough that a gas heater is only really necessary for stop and go city driving even up here in Alaska. So unless you are going with a large displacement engine that needs the extra breathing of large tube headers I would stick with the heater boxes. It's what I have on my 1904CC in my Ghia(and they are the earlier fresh air versions up to 74) to keep the dew off the windows in the morning.
Olspeed  
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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Urthwrite
The only problem I have, is that I would have to get new heater boxes, and the price difference between a pair of heater boxes (approx $150 each) and a pair of j-tubes (approx $20 a pair) is significant enough for me to want to try to bypass the heater boxes entirely. Not to mention that I need to get a new muffler as well, and for the price of a stock muffler I can get and aftermarket version that is headers, muffler, & tailpipe all-in-one. The other draw, is that without having to worry about the interior heating element (the stock one) it seems like it would be a simpler engine bay rebuild. This is my first VW but I have done some pretty extensive work on my last car (a Honda) so I feel like I am up to the task of reviving the beetle. I am just concerned that I will run out of money before the beetle can even start, so I am attempting to keep costs down as much as I can. If I can still drive it with there being a few minor inconvienenceses I could get the rest of the features up and running later when I have a bit more money. If anyone knows somewhere where you can find just the intake manifolds for a dual carb system, that would be preferable since the car came with a rebuilt carb (I would hate to waste it since its already there). The only dual carb listings I can find are for entire kits.
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olspeed
First off are your heater boxes totally shot...you know all rusted out and falling apart or are they just in need of a little care? Usually...not always but, usually they just need a good cleaning with degreaser and a pressure washer and you will see that most times they are repairable. They sell kits to replace the levers that open the flap valves that let the heat into the car and replacement pipe ends for where the header or stock muffler would connect to repair worn sealing areas here also. If the little tabs that connect to the tin work are broken off or the pin that the flap levers work on is missing it is a quick and cheap fix to make up the missing pieces and then take the works to local welding shop and have them zap them back on. Even going to the local junk yard or used VW parts dealer and rebuilding a used set from them would be cheaper than any interior heating alternative. 
As for major engine work while the engine is in the car??? It's only four bolts some wires and cables and its on the floor. They even have engine pull contests at VW events where some people have it down to two minutes or less. So for anything other than valve adjustments, tune ups and the like... I would just pull the engine, that way it's on the floor,stand or bench where it's just easier to work on.
 For your dual carb setup. I don't know of any kits that use the Solex 34 pict-3 carb which should be the stock carb on your 72. That is not to say that the 34 pic-3 will not bolt up to a short manifold but trying to get a linkage that operates both carbs is going to be tough. So... and this is just my opinion. I would keep the stock carb and intake for now and put the money into the exhaust system. A header with the stock heater boxes will give you a 5% to 7% HP increase(per Hot VW magazine) for an engine with only 50HP to start with that in its self is a nice jump, that way you have a decent working heater a running car, and a good starting point to figure out just what you want to end up with and how much money it will take to get there. Also if you don't have an official Bentleys VW service manual for your car(the orange one) then get one as you will need it to start with. Also before you get too far into Hot Rodding your Bug I would suggest that you read the tech articles at this site.
http://www.geneberg.com/techtips.php
I will say that his parts are not cheep but... they are the BEST on the market... This is also my opinion but I must say that I have never had a problem with anything I have purchased from Gene Berg and I don't know of anyone else that can say differently. Basiclly if you put it together right his stuff works and lives as long or longer than stock, which is more than I can say for some of the other junk that is out there.
Olspeed 
66 Ghia, "Dexter" 76 flat window Beetle
It's not a Car it's a VolksWagon!
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