Sam makes some last minute fixes with just hours to go. He rebuilds the speedometer and installs a new speedometer cable and, after some trial and error, installs a new electric fuel pump.


JBugs Video Blog, VW Tech Tips

Watch the video to see Sam tackle some last minute repairs.

In this video Sam does some last minute repairs before the big day. He takes the 1967 VW Bug in for an alignment, but on his way home he comes into some trouble. The speedometer cable snaps while he is driving and the car is misfiring. With just hours to go before this car’s debut journey, Sam has to diagnose these issues and get this car dialed in.

Video Transcript

Friday morning, November 10th before the day of. 

It's Wednesday November 8th and I am back at Firestone with the Bug. This is kind of where we started getting new wheels and tires on this thing. Down here to have the alignment done. So it's not so darty when I take this thing on the road all the way down to Florence. 

And I am now driving the car home. Hopefully I get home safely. First issue, speedometer cable just snapped. Speedometer is just making a whole bunch of noise. Going to have to go through pull the speedometer out and pull it apart see if I can't get it working. 60-65 on the freeway. Not too bad. She's cruising along. 

About 30 minutes later and we made it home, as my son opens the garage for me. There we are. She is kind of ready for the show. I I hope we make it to the show. She had a couple bips and bobles and spits and spurts along the way, but she's been asleep for about 25 years, so I’d be a little bit shaky too. Anyway, see you on the way to Florence guys. 

Well, I don't know if that's because it's an old cable. I did reuse the old one. Or if the speedometer is truly locked up. But that's my speedometer cable. No housing, not attached to the wheel so. I'm going to bring home a new speedometer cable tomorrow and we'll swap that in see how it goes. 

What happened to my segment of speedometer cable after trying to get the speedometer to turn over. So I'm saying it's a problem with the speedometer, not necessarily the cable. 

Just take a little flat blade screwdriver, pry this lip back, and you can pop the face off your speedometer like that. And then you got these two screws here that hold the whole face in place. So I'm going to pull those out see what's going on with that gear. I applied a bunch of grease on the drive gear. I put some on the cable, shoved it inside this gear, this gear, this gear, this gear, and that gear. 

And, woohoo this Bug is super fast. So now that I've got it apart our a indicator is all but busted up. I'm going to try and take a piece of scotch tape, tape it over the top, and then take a sharpie and color up that. So that when our indicator lights butt up against the back of it on this side they'll show the green and red and green and whatnot like they're supposed to. 

My son's going to do the honors of sticking a piece of scotch tape over the top of the indicator lights and then I'll come in and trim them and make them dark with a marker. And we'll see how it looks. 

I'd say it worked out pretty well. What do you guys think? And ended up switching out to a green paint pen because my big old Sharpie, whatever the heck this thing is, didn't work well for the green. But when we hold it up to the light you can still see through it. I think that'll work out pretty well. 

Now I'm going to clean up the glass and put it all back together. And while I had the glass apart I cleaned both sides of it. And now other than having a nice rusty, crusty chrome ring for that genuine authentic patina, we've got a fairly clean and operational speedometer. I'm going to go throw this back in the car. 

Well the Sharpie is definitely the way to go. The paint pen, I mean it looks green and it looks great when the flashers aren't on, but when the flashers are on it just kind of looks like a cloudy green indicator. But oh well, overall the speedometer looks much much better. And once I bring home a new cable tomorrow and stick that in we'll have a operational speedometer again. 

I did use my GPS app earlier today while the speedometer was still working and at 45 on the speedometer we were doing about 47 mph. 47-48 so the speedometer reads a little bit slow, but not by a huge margin. And since at the freeway my max speed was 65 I'm not too concerned about speeding in this car. 

All right speedometer is back working. Turn single indicator, well it's hard to see, but I can hear it so that's all that matters. I swapped out the idle jet to a 60, a little bit fatter. We're still popping under higher RPM, under a load, so I'm going to see if I can't swap out the main jet maybe. It just feels like right upon acceleration that's leaning out a little bit and popping so I don't think it's our coil. 

My coughing and my spitting and my sputtering I tracked it down to two things, fuel pressure. That mechanical pump, it was only putting out about 1 psi of fuel. So I swapped out to an old electric fuel pump. Hopefully it does the job. It's only been sitting for probably 30 years in my toolbox. Well maybe not 30, but at least 20 years it's been sitting in my toolbox. 

So, out of the corner of my eye I just caught the fuel pressure gauge drop down to about zero so I'm probably going to swap out that old 20-year-old fuel pump to a  new electric fuel pump. I do have a good high quality fuel pressure regulator and gauge so I can monitor that. 

Also my electronic ignition, there's a little nut that holds it to the securing plate from the factory. I never bothered to check that it was tight. Well, it wasn't. So, it had come loose and the electronic ignition plate was bouncing around inside the distributor. And anytime it would started to advance it would shift and that was causing popping as well. 

So with those two items fixed right now it's doing all right. I'm going to take this thing to work tomorrow, see how it goes. 

Friday morning, November 10th before the day of. I did make it to work. One minor issue with the fuel pump on the freeway when it was dark and same issue again. So I'm going to take mini persuader and beat it till it works, and the fuel pump turned back on so. 

Now I'm going to swap out that new old electric fuel pump to a new, new electric fuel pump. Take off the old mechanical fuel pump. I'm guessing the replacement fuel pump that we had put on the engine back when we first got it running, some debris in the old fuel line it wasn't completely flushed out and it's probably just clogged that fuel pump up. Since I had to already swap out to an electric fuel pump I'm just going to keep on rocking with the electric fuel pump. 

Oh also, speedometer cable broke again so I'm going to pull the speedometer back out again and as opposed to just greasing the gears on the external, the main drive gear or the main drive shaft. I've got to pull that out, clean that up, clean up the housing, grease that, and then put it back together and hopefully then speedometer will be good to go. While I'm at it I'm also going to redo the cellophane. I don't like the green turn signal indicator so I'm going to redo that. 

I'm going to pull up the fuel tank so that I can get to the fuel pump. The new old, very old, electric fuel pump that has failed twice this morning, swap it out. While I have the trunk liner out I'm going to pull out the speedometer again so I can replace the speedometer cable again and fully pull apart that speedometer drive gear. Fix that and then we'll take it from there. 

I'm going to probably leave here about noon hopefully. Go home, I need a haircut or rather I need to cut my hair, shave, get cleaned up, go to nitrocross tonight watch Kyle race. Might bring you guys along for a little bit of that. And then get up early, early tomorrow morning and take my oldest daughter and my son Nathan, who's behind the camera here this morning, and go down to Florence. 

All right I'm going to go like a little bit crazy. I'm going to take the two holes that I put self-tapping screws in last night. I'm going to actually put in some threaded nutserts so that I can just put two bolts down through the top of the fuel pump, through two rubber grommets. Make it double isolated as far as the mount, make it that much quieter and have a mount down here for a fuel pump. 

All right so, now I've got two nutserts in the frame head which will bolt that in place. We'll mount it with rosters, rubber on top rubber on bottom. That way the fuel pump is isolated and shouldn't make a bunch of noise. All right let me turn the key on and see what we get. Pretty quiet I would say. Yeah that's is as much as we got. Let me see how much pressure we're getting back at our regulator. Oh, getting much higher pressure than we want to see so I will back that off of our regulator in a moment. Let's start the engine up and see if we can get that pressure to drop down. 

As I turn it in, our pressure goes up. As I turn it down, pressure goes down. With a stock carburetor that's what I'm looking for, about 3 PSI. 

Much better. Now I can take off the mechanical fuel pump, put a block off in its place, and I still got to get to work on that speedometer. Let's keep going. 

So now that everything's broken, what I need to do is grease this guy right here and repair that guy that I just dropped. All right, repaired. Now we just have that twisty tab and that twisty tab and then this whole mechanism will pull off of here. And what I need to do is I need to get this shaft right here is just putting too much wear and tear. And that should spin freely and it doesn't. So I'm going to bend this guy like so, straighten him out and I'm going to take this guy and do the same thing. And hopefully now I can separate this from the backing. There we go. 

Now this guy is our centering wedge for our needle. Pull this guy off. This thing should just pry up. Pull that off. Now down here this retaining plate, a couple metal tabs straighten those guys out and pop those up. Oh, I need to pull this guy off too. Wish I have a pair of side cutters here. This is closest thing to a side cutters as I have. Aha, got got it. That little collar, now this guy can slide out, hopefully. There we go. And this guy, which is all locked up, yeah very locked up, so I'm going to do my darndest just to clean inside of here, clean this, and then we'll regrease this, reassemble that. And then hopefully this shouldn't lock up on us anymore. 

Shot of some brake clean. 

A lot of scoring on that right there. And let see if I can get a drill bit close enough to this size, not too big, and just try and run it through there a little bit. All right this quarter inch bit is just oh so closely perfect. That's for mine, not necessarily for yours. If you're doing this on yours at home so be careful. 

Oh and that thing's magnet so be careful where you put that. 

Hey, we got all the way through that time. That's promising and this is just with brake cleaner. I haven't even put any oil or grease on here yet. That's better. 

That's, all that area right there, is where we were having an issue. All right, that's much better. I can't feel it with my bare finger so much better. 

Put on a retaining plate, pair of bullnose pliers or linesman's pliers, flatten out those tabs as straighten them out as best as possible. There we go, almost by hand. That's good, ah sorry guys.

And now let's see. Oh like butter. Much better, much better butter. 

All right drop that guy back in there all right and we'll take our bushing and that is what holds that guy back in place. Put on our magnetic drive.

 I'd say we're slightly off center there. I’d say we're still looking kind of out of wobbly, but that just might be in the way that. Ah, there we go. 

Hopefully that doesn't present an issue. But guess what, it wasn't working at all before. Then it's working somewhat better now. Whatever, we went from being broken to maybe working. See what happens. Nothing else, um that plus everything else should hopefully keep everything in order. 

All right now, still got to cut that section out. I'm going to leave these red cause they worked out really well. But now and the fun part I can feel is trying to make certain that speedometer needle lines up in the center. I say fun part factiously because this is not fun.

There it goes, woohoo, beautiful. All right, now notice this is actually spring loaded at that point so lift it back up and over. And there we go. Like that, bend our tabs back. I want to make sure that our tripometer works properly.

Perfect, everything's working. All right now I'm going to redo this green arrow right here. 

Here we go. Not perfect, but a lot better. 

From there, one more clean rag and wipe off the face one last time. Don’t what that scratch is all about, but not much I can do now. Probably from when I drop kicked it. Good enough. It's old, what do you want from it? 

There we go. Let's go put it back in the car. 

That looks a lot better. I mean granted, I can see all the way into the bulb, but I could see all the way into the bulb before. Better than it was. Wish my fuel gauge glass was as clear as this one is. 

I'm going to hook up a speedometer cable again and put on my hubcap again. Got my clip in place and see if I can get this hubcap. There we go, pull that guy out. And that's about the only good reason to have the jack holes is for holding a fancy hubcap puller. But I do like them. I mean that's a cool little feature that not a lot of cars have, but I just prefer using a regular jack. 

Now I will hook up our cable one more time. I'm going go for a test drive, make sure it works. 

All right with that, speedometer is working. So that's good. Doesn't make a peep which is a good sign because before it was still kind of doing a little bouncy, bouncy and squeaky, squeaky even with the new cable and the greased up gears. It was that main drive shaft that needed to be greased to make things happy. 

Obviously the electric fuel pumps in. Carb has great power. Doesn't skip a beat now with the ignition lock plate actually locked in place. And fuel, we have got good fuel pressure. 

So that note, I'm going to put all the stuff back in the trunk, clean up my workbench a little bit, grab a couple things for the camera gear and whatnot, chargers and stuff like that, my mic and little pieces throw them in a bag and go home, cut my hair, shave, clean up, go to nitrocross tonight, and then drive to Florence tomorrow. 

While I'm doing that I want you guys to remember the world's full of good people. Can't find one, be one. Later.

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