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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
hi, sorry, i know ive prob posted in the wrong part here but im looking at getting a old beetle and i just wundered if anyone could give me some advice as i dont no much about them, technicaly....

what do i need to look out for when veiwing one etc. ?

cheers guys
 

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The words of Brian Burrows

Stand back and look at the body. Does it look like it's been hit? Does the car sit evenly side to side? Check that the gaps around the doors and front and rear lids are uniform. Look in the front, take the spare wheel out and look for signs of crumpled or rusty sheetmetal. Is it rusted around the windows? Look for rust in the gutters in the roof.

Get down on the ground and survey the floorpan and the bottom of the sills (heater channels in VW-speak because they channel the heat from the heat exchangers on the exhaust to the front footwell) for rust. Use your fingers and start tapping around. On really rusty cars, I've actually put my fingers right through the body!

Go up top and start tapping around the body. You should hear a hollow, metallic sound. A dull thunk is evidence of body repair. Especially check the rear quarter panel (imagine a big square between the back edge of the door, the front edge of the rear wing and the running board - this area is a prime place for rust and iffy repairs)

Open the doors and look at the sills behind the running boards, and the corners where these panels attach to the body. Look at the lower door hinge area. Lift the carpet up and have a look inside, particularly around the front end of the heater channels. Lift the rear seat cushion up and look at the area around the battery. You can also see the back edge of the heater channels and this area is well known for being rusty. Also look at where the sheet metal goes upwards towards the rear seat and the heater tubes come from the engine. This area is double skinned and time consuming to repair properly.

Get down on the ground and check the inner wings for rust, especially around the lower wing bolts. The rear bumper supports are also a classic rust area. Most cars will have at least some rust in these areas, and you'll have to ask yourself if this is something you want to tackle, or do you want to wait for a better candidate? Too many people dive blindly into a rusty car with have no idea what a huge undertaking it is!

Try and evaluate if any repairs have been done well, or if it's just patches put over rusty metal.

Now check the front end. Grab a front tire at 12 o'clock and push in and out. Feel for looseness and play. Then grab at 9 and 3 o'clock and push in and out. At this point you'll know whether the front end needs rebuilding or not. Pre '66 cars have kingpins and linkpins, later ones have balljoints. Both are rebuildable.

Check the wear on the front tires. Is it even, or are they worn excessively on one side or the other? While there, check the back of the brake drums for evidence of leaking wheel cylinders.

When you drive the car, feel for excessive play in the steering wheel. There should be no more than three quarters of an inch. The car should track smoothly and go where you point it, and return to a straight line when you let go of the wheel. If the car tends to wander, or is all over the road, the front end has issues. Excessive play is sometimes as simple as a steering box adjustment, but is also an indicator of a worn steering box, tie rod ends, bent tierod, or bad alignment. If there's shimmy in the steering wheel, this is most likely a worn steering damper.

Also listen and feel for clunking over bumps in the front end. If your car is a '66 or later and has noticeable clunking over bumps, this is a sign that the ball joints need to be replaced. You can do a visual inspection. If they look flattened, and the grease seals are shot, they need replacing.

Next, drive the car and feel for smooth gearchanges. Does the transmission howl or whine? The car should shift smoothly and should not "clunk" between gears. It should also downshift smoothly. If not, it could be as simple as a gear lever adjustment, or the synchros could be worn out. Difficult gearchanges down into any gear is a sign of worn synchros, 2nd is common for this.

Next take it up to 10mph in first gear and take your foot off the accelerator. It should not pop out of gear. Try it again just to be sure. Continue through the gears and test each one the same way. 20mph in 2nd gear, 30mph in 3rd gear and 40mph in 4th gear. If it pops out of any gear, the transmission will need to be replaced.

Excessive clunking when you accelerate and decelerate is a sign of weak or broken transmission mounts. Watch for the gear lever to move. (In severe cases the accelerator pedal can even move up and down.) The parts are cheap, but the procedure to replace them is involved.

Check the brakes. They should be smooth and effective and stop the car in a straight line. Pedal play should be half an inch to one inch. The handbrake should work and the adjustment should just be three to four clicks.

Do all the electrical items work? A good sign is if the interior light over the door works. If a non-essential item like this is operational, that's a good sign for the rest of the system.

Now that you've driven the car, go back and look at the engine. It should still be nice and cool in the engine compartment. An air-cooled engine is a relatively clean engine. If it's filthy and covered with oil, that's a bad sign. Grab the dipstick. It should be warm and not hot. If it's hot, that's another bad sign. Check the oil. Does it look like it's been changed in the last 10 years? Check the tension on the fan belt. It should be half an inch. Go back and start the engine. It should start easily by just a turn of the key without touching the accelerator pedal. Does it idle smoothly? How is the exhaust? You should be able to hear exhaust leaks. Run your hands around the outside of the exhaust system and feel for leaks.

If you're not sure about the condition of the engine, do a compression test. All four cylinders should have at least 100 psi and be within 10% of each other.

You need to check an engine for crankshaft endfloat too. Grab the bottom pulley (with the engine switched off......) and push-pull in line with the crank to check for wear in the thrust bearing. If you can feel it, it's ok. If you can see it, it's bad! I think the figure is around 0.15mm. If an engine's got more it'll still run, but it'll be pounding the bearings and giving the crankcase hell so don't pay top money because it'll need a full rebuild, crankcase, new crankshaft, you might as well get new pistons & cylinders while you're there.... heads too, you get the idea. Look on the bright side, you might be able to reuse the dynamo

Does everything in the car work? Beetles aren't exactly laden with equipment but the windows should all wind up and down smoothly, all lights and horn should work, windscreen washer etc. The obvious MoT checks.
 

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buy the best you can afford. what seems like a bargain can soon turn into a money pit. engines are easily replaced, bodywork is more of a priority :)

oh....hello and welcome to vzi :D
 

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welcome to vzi:)

make sure u take a screwdriver just to poke any bits of rust that look bad and a flashlight if it it is dark, and as for technical and mechanics just make sure everything is working before u buy it electrics on an old dub r a pain well they seem like it to me and the engine check for oil leaks, i would even say check for compression and end float, timming and other stuff
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
im kinda on a low budget... got about 2 grand, but im a student so cant really afford to be putting much money into it... cheers guys so far for the help... got a lot of reading up to do haha

hi everyone ;)
 

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im kinda on a low budget... got about 2 grand, but im a student so cant really afford to be putting much money into it... cheers guys so far for the help... got a lot of reading up to do haha

hi everyone ;)
in that case, i'd suggest going for a 70's bug. they are generally cheaper than the 60's equivalent. might be worth hooking up with a local dub club. they will probably be only to happy to check over a potential purchase or might even know of a decent bug for sale locally ;)

good luck :D
 

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Oooh I understand the student situation , I'm a first year at the University of Kent and I've considered a Mk1 Golf GTI - NO :lol: won't work with my very low income (on minimum wage at current job + loan and I even run out of money then!) so I've just decided to get a car when I leave uni!! What you studying?
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
im actually only in my first year of college... mature student lol... so no student loans for me..if i could id be well away haha... studying child care but not sure if i like it ;-S

dubwise, thanks for the advice, ill check it out :) thats what ive been looking at so far 1970s onwards, there was a really nice one on auto trader for £995, needed some welding, but it sold ;-(

juts need to keep looking for a bargain :)
 

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im actually only in my first year of college... mature student lol... so no student loans for me..if i could id be well away haha... studying child care but not sure if i like it ;-S

dubwise, thanks for the advice, ill check it out :)
you're welcome, in the meantime just get stuck in, this place is a wealth of knowledge and most folks are seriously helpful ;)

have you found the for sale section yet? :D
 

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thats what ive been looking at so far 1970s onwards, there was a really nice one on auto trader for £995, needed some welding, but it sold ;-(

juts need to keep looking for a bargain :)
sounds like you're on the right track, just keep searching, something will turn up, especially with the credit crunch on, it's a good time to be buying :)

yea been browsing in there... some nice beetles but way out of me reach haha i can only dream that one day ill win the lottery ;-)
no reason not to be able to find a decent solid bug for 2k or less. might not be the prettiest thing on 4 wheels but that can be sorted in time. ;)
 

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yea been browsing in there... some nice beetles but way out of me reach haha i can only dream that one day ill win the lottery ;-)

thanks again everyone
u will find 1 when i found out my old 74 needed work i stayed up till about 6 in the morning on here searching for another 1, i found a 68 for 600 was a realy good find had a full white golf interior nice engine and nice wheels, the next day i rung the person up and bought it. had it a year now and is almsot done should start drving it on l plates in a couple of weeks time does go quick. just gotta keep searching:)
 

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Oooh I understand the student situation , I'm a first year at the University of Kent and I've considered a Mk1 Golf GTI - NO :lol: won't work with my very low income (on minimum wage at current job + loan and I even run out of money then!) so I've just decided to get a car when I leave uni!! What you studying?
I'm at uni & ive got two bugs! :D but neither of which i drive at the moment as they are back home in Leics :(
 

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Hellooooo and welcome to VZI, can't help you with your quest for a beetle but it's always ACE to see more women in here :D
 
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