In this video Sam gets the brakes of our 1967 VW Beetle bled and working properly, but he discovers other issues. The clutch petal bracing inside the tunnel has broken free. It will need to be welded. A test drive will have to wait.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Tech Tips

Watch the video to see Sam's progress on this 1967 VW Beetle.

Sam gets to work on the rear brakes, but not without uncovering some more issues. He gets the brakes bled and quick bleeders installed, but discovers the stock master cylinder is not cutting it. He has to switch it out to a large bore master cylinder.

Sam was hoping that by finally getting the rear brakes working he could take this car out for a drive. However, once he finally sat down and pressed the clutch pedal he discovered a problem. The clutch cable tube bracing inside the tunnel has broken free. This means that regardless of how tight the clutch cable is the clutch cannot disengage. So...add that to the list of things to do before we can finally take this Beetle for a drive!

Video Transcript

Well, I've got wheels and tires back on, but I'm still not going for a drive.

All right well, it's October 11th and I've got the car up on jack stands so I can get to the rear brakes. Pull off the drums, take a look at the shoes, replace the wheel cylinders, replace the brake hoses. At which point I can go through and bleed the brakes and finally get this thing stopping. At which point it will be safe enough to actually take out for a test drive. Follow along see what happens, see what we discovered and uh let's get to work.

Far away, that's better.

11 mm if memory serves.

Well, even with the parking brake on so pardon me. So parking break off.

Two more lug bolts. Get a piece of cardboard down to keep that damaging the floor.

That's on with a lot of force, now isn't it. As it should be.

All right, now we can get the actual socket. And my apologies, I still got some still have some leftover sniffles from this cold. And I can smell a lot of a gear oil so I'm betting we've got some leaky wheel seals. Yeah, actually not horrible.

Our pads look to have good thickness. Our drums, our drums aren't perfect, but they aren't bad. I'm going to replace the wheel cylinders and the brake hose while we're here. I'm just going to clean up all the shoes and the hardware and we're going to stick it all back together. Everything looks usable otherwise. And honestly, the wheel cylinders might be all right, but I ain't going to take a chance. So yeah, give me a few to get all this stuff vacuumed up, cleaned up and then I'll start swapping out the wheel cylinder and our brake hose.

I need more light in here. Probably should also get my glasses.

All right, see break hose, break hose. That's also a whole bunch of gunk and junk in there. That's going to be a fun one. I got to chip all that stuff out. Bear with me.

So much stuff in here this brake so the clip don't want to come out.

There we go. That was fun, wasn’t it.

We've got brake fluid. That's a good sign.

There, disconnected the brake hose, cleaned up all that junk and gunk from in the side there. I'll disconnect this steel line from this hose, which is now cut off and free. And then I'll disconnect the wheel cylinder, pull the wheel cylinder out, swap it out, put a new hose in, and then make sure that our brake adjustment screws can spin freely. Cause chances are, those probably locked up. But we'll get there.

Hopefully you guys are a little bit closer and you can see a little bit better. I'm going to start disconnecting our steel line from our wheel cylinder. Here we go.

One new wheel cylinder. One new brake hose.

Take our clip, put him back in place in there.

Keep that guy loose. And where' my little cap go?

Now I can remove that guy. Uh, I can't see back there cause it's dark and all the lights on this side.

And honestly, we’d probably be better off taking off this spring. At least for now.

Much better.

And actually before I do anything I'm going to swap that out to a quick bleeder. Quick bleeders, built-in check valve. They make bleeding brakes so simple that it's stupid not to spend a couple dollars. Out with the old, in with the quick bleeder.

Think that might be it. Feels like it. Oh, where did my ratchet go so I can tighten my wheel cylinder. There we are.

All right, need another brake hose clip right there, but in the meantime I need to tighten that fitting cause it's leaking like a sieve. That's clear, clear. Awesome, that's good.

Let's put our top spring back in place. And let's pull our bottom spring and make sure our brake adjustment screws are free.

Doesn't appear that way, not to begin with anyway.

Now that one, a little bit. This one, not so much.

The blocks are locked. That one's, all right that's a good start. There we go.

Cause that will make adjust in brakes very difficult if that's locked up, like it is. So, let me do some more cleaning see if I can free these up and I'll be back in a bit.

I've got all of our screws freed and spinning nicely. So now a little bit of anti-seize on our threads and on the barrel. That way it's got a nice easy spin on our adjusters.

Also note that there is a ramp on these shoes. You want that ramp to match the angle of the shoes. Anti-seize in there and that just acts as a lubricant in between.

Where did our springy ding go? There we are.

One final douse with some brake clean. And I didn't notice any gear oil in here so we're going to leave these seals and O-rings alone. But at this point everything over here is good to go for the brake drum to get back, put back on.

Little rusty, but a couple miles and those should be back in decent enough shape.

Not tight enough. Torque this guy down super, super tight. Otherwise you could potentially strip those splines inside that drum. I've seen it happen many a time. We actually did a video on it.

25 foot pounds, torques to 225. 30 foot pounds torques us to 270. We want to go 270 plus on these axle nuts. So we would torque it to 30 foot pounds, but I need to go a little bit more, a little bit more. Now I can get a cotter pin.

Now I'm not going to put the tire on until I bleed this side, but in the meantime I'm going to go do that side. I need to get a brake line clip for that, but otherwise everything over here is good.

I'm going to double check that fitting, that fitting and that connection there just to make certain all my hoses and my lines are tight. It's a good thing I did because I never tightened this guy back up. That would have been a big mess when I went to bleed the brakes.

I'm going to clean up all my mess over here and go make a mess on that side.

Okay, my new mic gave up a ghost in the midst of that one. As I was saying, I was just going to do everything that I did over there over here and I would show you if anything unusual came up.

Well first, this kept skipping so then I tried this with a breaker bar and I broke the breaker bar using the breaker bar and some leverage. So now, after a quick trip to Harbor Freight, I've got a 3/4 inch drive instead of a half in drive. And I've sprayed this with some silicone, beat on it a little bit, and now we'll give this guy a whirl.

Well, I'm going to need more leverage. And I don't want to damage my floor any more than I already did.

I'm literally just lifting the wheel up off the ground. That guy's on there tight.

Well, I'd say it's not looking promising without some heat.

That is now bent. I mean, at least the welds held, but yeah that thing is just on there tight. And just for the percussive action, not that it has any chance of actually getting it loose, but maybe that vibration will help get that penetrating oil in there.

Let that soak in for a while. Back to the torque meister, let's see. Uh oh, well it looks like we might be getting somewhere.

Thank the Lord.

Honestly, I think what the biggest help was banging on it with, well breaking it with that just hitting it, hitting it, hitting it with that silicone lubricant. You know, obviously that I'm amount of torque didn't really help anything, but this did.

I just thought on a whim let's give it another shot before I go really, really big and I'm glad I did because it worked. Woohoo!

Thank you, Lord.

That was super tight. How tight? Well, I don't know what the uh tensile strength on a half inch drive husky breaker bar is, but we took more torque than that did. We applied more torque than that did and I don't know what the bend strength is on that, but obviously it isn't much.

Nice. All right let me get the vacuum out.

I'm going to torque this guy back down and uh clean up my mess and then I'm going to get to bleeding some brakes.

Pulling off hub caps so you don't have to use a screwdriver and jang dang thing in and mess up your paint or your aluminum wheel, you just take your clip, hub cap remover rather, and pop it in and pop it off. Now sometimes these can be really tight and you can use just use a screwdriver pushed in and pushed against the wheel and then pop it off that way if this doesn't come off as easily as this.

This thing hasn't even been outside and it's still got rust on it from just getting splashed around in here. So that might be a good reason to come in and at least paint this surface if you want it to look good.

Oh, I still need to get a cotter pin for that. I'm going to leave that cap off to remind me to get a cotter pin for that.

As I noted before, when it comes time to bleed because this hose is above this fitting I'm actually going to take the caliper off, rotate it up, and then bleed it with this fitting up top.

But speaking of that fitting, I'm going to swap it out for a quick bleeder. It makes life so much easier. We offer these in 6 mm for the stock wheel cylinders like I put in the rear, as well as 7 and 8 and 10 mm for all the various disc brake kits that we offer. So regardless of what brake system you got, we' got a quick bleeder that will work and they are worth every penny.

We've got a brake fluid reservoir topped off. Got a rag and a funnel there in case I spill anything when I'm filling it up. But now I'm going to set up this bleeder in that wrench on this rear bleeder here or bleeder there. And I'm just going to open that up about a quarter turn, maybe a third of a turn. Let me get my tripod so I can hold the camera right here.

Open up a little bit more, see what we get.

There we go. Now we're talking. Much better.

Getting some air. Rust in it too.

We getting there.

It's looking little better. Top off our reservoir again.

Man, I really wish I could see what's happening. Maybe I can.

Well that was handy. I was able to lean in through the passenger side door and still see this. And as I can see that every pump is getting good fluid so we will take this off. Ah, draining all over the drum. Tighten that guy back up, cap that off, and we'll come in with some brake fluid and clean that up real quick.

All right let's go do the left side on the rear.

I’d say we're looking pretty darn good. You get smarter the more you do this. Let's put that down. Let's drain it this way this time. That’s more better. That side's done. Let's go take a look at that front right.

As I'm pulling this rotor off, note any shims that you happen to have for setting your back spacing or your caliper spacing. On this one I do have two shims. So take note of that. Don't lose those guys and also don't lose track of where they were.

All right, you guys aren't being able to see it, are you? Here, let's try that view.

And honestly I don't like the feel of the brake pedal push rod so I'm going to go check the adjustment on that real quick. Yeah, I don’t like the pushrod. I hold on for a moment guys.

Day two. After adjusting the push rod yesterday I had to go back to my office and do regular work, sorry.

So, I had to adjust that brake pedal push rod with that new master cylinder. Then while I was added I pulled it out clean up all the threads, put on anti-seize on everything. But now just that about a quarter to a half inch of free play right there is all we're looking for. That feels much better through the pedal stroke.

So now I'm going to get back to bleeding that brake.

Looks like all fluid to me. Let me see if I can't pump and see at the same time. I see no air bubbles in these lines at all, or in this line, so I'm going to call that one bled.

Click, click. Good and tight.

Wonder if I can brace that brake pedal somehow and see if that caliper moves or not.

Come on, there we go. Both my back drums are stopped and that is stopped as well. So this guy's done. I'm going to clean him up with some brake cleaner and we'll go do that last side.

And, that I'd say we're looking pretty good. I want to close that off and see how the pedal feels. And the petal's a little bit lower than I'd like. Honestly, I might end up swapping out this master cylinder for a large bore.

I'm going to go through and do one more round of bleeding it all the way around now that that push rod is actually properly set, but I won't bore you guys with all that. You've seen the process. I'm going to put this back in place and take it from there.

Well, it's day three and I’m finally ready to get the wheels and tires back on the Bug.

I ended up having to swap out that German master cylinder because although it would have a firm pedal, the pedal would only be firm once the pedal got almost down to the floor. The problem being is the wide five disc brakes, the pistons on those calipers are so large that the stock German master cylinder cannot put out enough volume to actually collapse the pistons and firm up the brake pedal until it's traveled almost all the way to the floor. So, I swapped out to a large bore master cylinder and now I've got good brakes. So let me show you on the uh the caliper what I'm look looking at.

So this will kind of give you an idea of what we're dealing with. This is a wheel cylinder from the rear, but the fronts are obviously pretty much similar. The amount of volume in between the two diameters inside the boards of that caliper versus this wheel cylinder just means that the stock master cylinder couldn't push all of this volume out to lock our rotor. Whereas on a wheel cylinder it's, you know probably goodness, probably half the volume of fluid. And of course, we've got two calipers to fill up on the front which are much larger than two wheel cylinders so that stock German master cylinder just could not push that amount of volume until it had traveled pretty much all the way almost down to the floor. At which point it was solid and it had a good pedal, but it was just down at the floor. So now we've got a large bore master cylinder and we've got a firm brake pedal.

We're closer to driving, but we did come up with some other issues and I'll show you those here in a minute.

Got the old steering wheel in, old seat in. But anyway, we've got a good pedal. Keep my foot off the pedal so you can see. That's all good there.

Let’s see if you guys can hear that. You definitely can't see it but.

I'm looking inside there with a little light shining down through the heater cable lever. So right inside of there as I push the clutch pedal down, we can see that cable housing is actually moving inside the tunnel and that should not be. So, I'm going to have to cut an access hole in this area right here, open it up, weld that tube back to the chassis. At which point then the clutch pedal should have a much better feel. Add that to the list of things to do.

Well, until I get that clutch cable fixed not a whole lot I can do as far as driving. Just got a lot of welding to do. Fortunately we finally got our 220 drop so I can bring my welder in. I can put in some new floor pans. I can weld up that hole in the bottom of the a-pillar. And, I can weld up that clutch cable tube.

So the work continues before I get that first drive.

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