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How to pull your aircooled engine out
In this article I’m going to explain how to get your motor out. If you’re reading this magazine, you probably already know how. You might go ahead and read it anyway and maybe there is a trick you didn’t know. If you’ve never pulled your motor then hey this is for you. Ok I’m going to cover bugs, ghia, things,and buses up to 1971. Buses 1972 to 1979 are a different animal and take different steps. Type 3s are different animals as well. Let’s get started.
First thing is to disconnect the battery. Why? Because if you short something out getting the smoke back in the wire is really hard to do. On a bug and type type 3 it’s under the rear seat. On a ghia and bus its in the engine compartment. You don’t have to take both cables off but at least take one of them off. I usually take the positive off. Tuck it down so that there is no way it can touch the post.
For a Bug, Ghia, or Thing: Get out your floor jack. Make sure it’s a good floor jack, not a mini floor jack. If you don’t have one go get one, you will need it if you own a VW. If there on sale get two. I’ll tell you that trick later. Also while you’re dragging out the jack bring your jack stands too. Where do we jack it up? First I make sure I’m on level ground. Then I come from the side at a slight angle about where the factory jack point is. Slide the jack under until the jack cup is just below the “Y” of the floor pan. You will see it just in front of the front transmission mount in the center of the car. Now jack the car up as high as your jack will go. Place your jack stands under the torrison housing out around the spring plate area. Make sure you’re on the round part of the torrision housing not on the casting. Get the stands as high as they will go. Let the jack down slowly until your on the jack stands. Make sure the car is steady on the stands.
Next I crawl under the car and you will want to bring some wrenches, 8mm and 17mm box end. Also bring a small pair of vise grips (needle nose ones work the best). A creeper is nice if you have one or piece of cardboard. Now find your heater cables. With your 8mm wrench disconnect those. “Hey Steve there aren’t any cables”, or “I just see bailing wire”. Yeah we find that all the time. Put it on your list of things to fix while the motor is out. While you’re in that area take off or pull back the heater hoses that go from the body to the heater boxes. If they were just hanging out around the heater box that might be another reason your heater doesn’t work. Now with your 17mm wrench find the two bottom nuts that are on the two lower engine studs. If you’re having problems finding them don’t feel bad, more than likely they are covered up in grime. They are just to the inside of the transmission horns. Take off both of these nuts. Don’t worry the engine won't fall on you. You still have the upper two bolts holding the motor in. Now the fun part. Take your vise grips and gently pinch the fuel line. Now pull it off the metal fuel line. “Steve I can’t, I have rubber line from the line that comes out of the pan all the way to the fuel pump.” Yeah, please fix that. If this is the case, pinch the line and with a pair of cutters and cut the line between the vise grips and the engine. Now keep in mind you’re going to get some fuel out of the line, not much but there will be some, so NO smoking. Ok that’s it for underneath. You can crawl out now.
Let’s look at the motor now. Find the wire harness and follow the wires. You can take them off. You might want to take a picture with your phone or mark them. Here is what you should be taking off. Black wire to the coil, Blue wire with a yellow strip to the oil pressure sender. Red wire (s) to the generator or alternator, There will also be a blue or green wire there as well, and sometimes a brown. On cars with backup lights there will be a black wire that comes from the around the back side of the motor. You will need to take it off as well. Get all these wire off to the side. Now with your 8mm wrench take off the barrel bolt that holds the accelerator cable on. If you have dual carbs you will have to take them off. Take off the linkage, fuel lines and then take them off at the manifold where it meets the head, it's kind of tricky. Make sure there are no nuns walking by at that point because you will be cussing.
Now we want to take off the generator belt and leave the outer half and the nut, bell and shims off. Take the air cleaner off and if it has a warm air intake hose take it off along with the air cleaner. Take off the two heater hoses that come from the fan shroud through the rear tin. Now with a flat blade screwdriver take out all the screws that hold the rear tin on. When you think you have them all out pull that piece of tin out. As you can see we now have a lot of parts off and some hardware so yeah get something to put them in. Almost there. Now we are going to pull the last two bolts out on the top of the motor. First, reach around the passenger side of the fan shroud and feel around the top of the engine case. You should feel a nut back there. It will be 17mm on the OD. Don’t take it off yet. I just want you to make sure it’s there. If your fan shroud is a dog house (factory cooler on the back side of the fan shroud) then it had a press in nut that holds the motor in on that side. You will need to unthread the bolt from the transmission side. This style cooler came out in 1971. If you have a flat backside to your fan shroud you will have to undo a nut from the engine side. Trick here is once you break the nut loose try and unthread it with your fingers and pull out at the same time. There is a lock for the bolt built into the trans for when you unthread the nut. If you find it just spins the bolt well go call Fred to help you. One person under and one person to unthread the nut. If you have the later style unthread the bolt on that side. Ok now we only have one bolt holding the motor in so now is a great time to put your jack under the motor. Place the cup of the jack under the sump plate. Put a little and I mean a little tension on the jack. We just want it to hold the motor not jack up the car. With the jack in place undo the last nut. Like I said earlier, the bolt has a lock on the starter side so if you can pull on the nut as you unthread it, it should come off. If you’re spinning the bolt you’re going to have a tough time reaching from under the car. It can be done, but it’s a bitch.
Now we are ready to pull the motor. I grab the exhaust and pull back. Sometimes you might have to wiggle it side to side. It should come back semi easily. If it doesn’t, you might have too much tension on the jack. Be careful letting the jack down. Get the motor back far enough to clear the mainshaft and the two lower studs. Have Fred let the jack down slow. What you will notice is the generator shaft wants to hit the rear apron. When it gets close to the rear apron grab the top of the shroud with one hand and the exhaust with the other. We want to tilt the motor back just enough to clear the apron and the engine seal if there is still one there. Once it clears as Fred is letting it down (slowly) let it tilt back upright. You now have the motor off the trans. If the car is high enough and you don’t have a deep sump you should be able to roll it out on the jack. If you do have a deep sump or for some reason the car is not high enough to clear the fan shroud go get that second jack you got on sale. Put it under the car where that “Y” is and jack up the car until the motor can be rolled out. That’s it you have done it. Beer time.
For a split window Bus: I jack it up under the “U” shaped hanger for the trans, Jack the bus up to a comforatalbe height for you to crawl underneath. Place your jack stands under the torrioson housing out by the spring plates. Make sure you’re on the round part of the torrision housing not on the casting. Let the jack down slowly until you’re on the jack stands. Make sure the bus is steady on the stands. Now take off the rear bumper and valance (piece between the bumper and motor). Next I crawl under the bus and you will want to bring some wrenches, 8mm and 17mm box end. The next steps are the same as above
If you have read the bug one then you have figured out an early bus is easier by far except for taking off the rear bumper. Beer time.
For a bay window bus 1968-1971: This is a lot like an early bus with one huge exception. YOU HAVE TO SUPPORT THE TRANSMISSION. You also need to support the trans after the motor is out. Please don’t forget this or you will just screw stuff up like your shift linkage. Ok here we go. . Slide the jack under until the jack cup is just below the front transmission mount in the center of the car. Now jack the bus up to a comfortable height for you to get underneath. Place your jack stands under the torrison housing out around the spring plate area. Make sure your on the round part of the torrision housing not on the casting. Let the jack down slowly until your on the jack stands. Make sure the car is steady on the stands. Remove the rear bumper and valance (piece between the bumper and motor) Next I crawl under the car and you will want to bring some wrenches, 8 and 17mm box end. The next steps are the same as above.
The last bolts are on the hanger mounts. Undo the bolt on each side that goes up through. Not the nuts on the top. Now grab the exhaust and pull back. Sometimes you might have to wiggle it side to side. It should come back semi easy. If it doesn’t you might have to much tension on the jack. Be careful letting the jack down. Get the motor back far enough to clear the mainshaft and the two lower studs. Have Fred let the jack down slow Once down pull it back and out.. That’s it you have done it. Beer time again.
If you read all of this that means you saw beer time three times and that’s enough work for tonight.
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