Gouie
So here's the situation. My wife for years has been crazed with the beetle. We are now fortunate enough that we can afford one but I need some advice.

We live in central Alberta were temps can dip to -30 celsius for periods during the winter. Will we be o.k. with a super when temps dip this low? This will be her primary transportation so I do want something that will be reliable, both city and highway.

We'll be looking at spending between $5,000 and $6000.00, can I expect one in good condition, i.e. engine rebuild, body work? Where are the areas I should be looking for problems? In spending this much can I expect that the heat trays and pans, rear quarter around intake will be new/rust-free?

Sorry for the boat full of questions here. I am VERY new to the beetle and want to be sure it will be safe to carry the wife around in. I'm not bad around the garage but I'm no mechanic by any stretch of the imagination.

Thanks in advance for the help guys.
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Cobey
Not sure on the low temps, but generally speaking, you shouldn't have to worry over the engine freezing up like a watercooled as there is no water/antifreeze to freeze up.  Also, you could pick up a block warmer just to be on the safe side.

However, Beetles are not known for having the best heaters/defrosters.  This may be a major consideration, depending on how far it is the Beetle will be driven inthe cold.

The main thing you want to look for really is body rot (rust).  Especially if they use salt on the roads up your way.  I would suggest getting a "clean" car over one that runs the best.  Getting a Beetle to run well is a whole lot cheaper than rust repair generally.  And, you can learn to wrench on a Beetle a whole lot easier than learning to do body work.  Just about everything you could possibly need to keep her running tiptop is available on the web and/or in print.

Now, for your price range, I would suggest looking on Samba in classifieds to get an idea of what people are asking for a Beetle in your area.

[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/ghia](0)(=|=)(0)[/url] 68 Ghia Vert - Gina
[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/edel/](O\U|U/O)[/url] 72 SB Vert Autostick - Edel
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Gouie
Good advice, thanks. Was the beetle ever released with a water cooler? I guess my concern is the summer months stuck in traffic with an air cooled engine. Any problems there?

As far as looking for rust, I've heard that the heater channel and pans are the first to go. Is it as simple as looking at the underside of the car for rust or can the rust start from the inside at which point you would not see the rust until it made it's way through to the bottom.

Thanks for the help guys, trust me it's needed!
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Cobey
Nope, no water until the New Beetle arrived.

As for summer, as long as she is tuned correctly, all the cooling tins are in place, and the engine compartment seals are up to snuff, you should have no problems.  I run Edel around all year long with no problem, and the temps here get up over 100 in the summer.  I also have lots of stop a go traffic on my commute (300+ miles each week - 2/3rds of which is highway).

Rust - Yes, heater channels and pans usually go first.  But also look around the windows, doors, door frames, and suspension.  Surface rust is easy to fix but once it's gotten deeper....



[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/ghia](0)(=|=)(0)[/url] 68 Ghia Vert - Gina
[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/edel/](O\U|U/O)[/url] 72 SB Vert Autostick - Edel
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Gouie
Exactly what I wanted to hear, thanks. As far as the rust goes, I know exactly what you meant. I had thought about have the underbelly cleaned and protected. Might be worth while with the winters we get here. Although they stopped using salt and have moved to gravel, all that moisture is bound to start something.
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Cobey
Yup yup.  I would like to suggest Masterseries for the initial coat once you've got her belly cleaned off.  http://www.masterseriesct.com


[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/ghia](0)(=|=)(0)[/url] 68 Ghia Vert - Gina
[url=http://geeks-at-large.com/edel/](O\U|U/O)[/url] 72 SB Vert Autostick - Edel
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flash

It's reached 114 degrees here in the Arizona Desert. I've driven "The Blues" every summer since I bought her new in 1973. Some summers I have had the cool air brackets installed on the deck lid. Never have I had an over heating problem.

Loren

Loren R. Knapp
In The Hot Sonoran Desert of Arizona - 73 Super Beetle "The Blues."
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GRIZDOG

As far as mechanical stuff, I think I can tell you what to look for.  I didn't really know what to look for when I got my Bug.  An engine rebuild later, I know exactly what I should have been looking for!

 

Pop open the rear deck lid.  Try to do a little studying on what the engine should look like "intact".  Look to see if all the fresh air hoses, cooling tins and air cleaner are there.  I'd bet you'll find a little round aftermarket doohickey for the air cleaner.  That's fine for Summer, but in the Winter, that stock air cleaner with the air hose that leads to the underside of the cylinders is going to be key for keeping your bug running properly in cold weather.  I still have to get a stock air cleaner in my Bug before Winter comes this year.

 

Another crucial element is the thermostat.  Just like a water cooled engine, without the thermostat, the engine will never heat up enough (at any time of year!) and the car won't run like it should and the engine will not last as long.  These engines can't run too hot or too cold.  The thermostat regulates the temperature by opening and closing little doors that direct air flow.  To locate it, stand behind the car, drop to your knees and look under and to the right of the engine.  If it's a stock thermostat, it will look like a little accordian.  If it's a new style thermostat, it will look like a big bolt with a fat spring rapped around it.  If there it isn't there, and there's a good chance of that, plan on finding one and also plan on calling a vw junk yard to get the air flaps that it controls.  Typically, if the thermostat is missing, so are the air flaps that is controls, which go inside the shrowd (that big half circle of tin that sits in behind the engine).

 

Also, if the thermostat is missing, it's also a fair bet that the car has been running a long time without it, which means the engine has a lot of extra wear in it, due to the fact that it has never heated up properly.  When the engine doesn't heat up enough, it can run richer, which means less feul mileage.  Further, there are no seals between the heads and cylinders.  The heads seal themselves when they expand, due to the head, and they pull themselves against the cylinders as they expand.  If the engine doesn't heat up enough, the heads won't expand enough, so that seal never fully seals and there is less compression from less of a seal and a richer feul mixture.  If the feul mixture is too rich it can wash the oil off the wall of the cylinder if not fully burned and eventually the extra feul can work it's way into the bottom of the engine and mix with the oil.  That breaks down the oil and it because less of a lubricant to the escential parts in the engine and the engine can wear out a lot sooner.

 

Wear dirty "work" clothes so you can get underneath.  See if the bottom of the engine is soaked in oil.  Run it to see if the engine runs without struggling or making more noise than a cat trapped in a bag of tin cans.  If you are looking at a 1600cc engine (ask the seller), then test driving it shouldn't be much different than any other little car.  It won't blow your socks off, but it shouldn't be a dog either.  If it has trouble getting out of it's own way, it's a fair bet the compression is low, which will likely mean that you will at least need new pistons and cylinders.  In my case, I rebuilt the entire engine.  Everything was shot!

 

The good news is this:  these suckers are easy to work on.  Even easier if you've got your own paved driveway, and even easier still if you've got a garage!  I had to uninstall and install my engine on grass and/or on my stoney driveway.  Ooofff!!

 

I went from zero knowledge of how these cars work to rebuilding my own engine in a few months time.  It probably would have been quicker, but I knew I wasn't going to have the money to put it to use, so I took my time in learning.

1972 Super Beetle
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Gouie
Excellent info, thanks. Exactly what I was looking for. I too am in the same boat where I don't have a lot of knowledge about these cars. Just want to get as much information as possible so I'll have some sort of idea what to look for.

Thanks again

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javajuice

odds and ends

1 make sure the jack points (this where you insert your car jack), look under the running boards by the rear wheels, are in good shape. And that they have the jack too.

2 rebuilt engine? IF it was rebuilt by some one or some company you trust and they have receipts, documents, and service records since the rebuild you can give the rebuild a value above an original engine. Otherwise if not the former and not the original engine, I'd not give it any more and possibly less added value since you can not trust the rebuild. Although they may have parts you like- dual carbs, a good exhaust system etc.

3 rust

4 "all in the family" if you can find a bug that is the original owner or stayed in the family, I personally value that above all else. They can usually tell you the cars life story and have all the records and are usually looking for a good home for the family bug. I have bought all my collectible cars this way, it requires more patience and I reccomend it though if you think you want to commit to a bug for the long term.

5 spare tire

6 rust

7 009 dizzy hate it, they are cheap and you are un likely to buy a bug that needs a mechanical dizzy. subtract a 100 for an svda dizzy

8 1641 slip ins? wouldn't add value, may even subtract value

9 rust

10 interior will nickel and dime you to death

11 actually the whole car will, but it's an irrational love affair and good thing your wife wants one

formerly 1973 Super Beetle: Bugpack quick shift, Bug pack hide a way, TMI light grey tweed seat upholstery, a decreasing amount of grey primer ;)
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