JBugs Video Series

VW Super Beetle Engine Removal:

Video Overview:

We're kicking off our 1971 Super Beetle restoration project with an engine removal. Diagnosing an engine problem is much easier when you can see all around the engine so follow along as we walk you through how to safely remove an engine out of your classic VW Beetle.

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Step-by-Step Guide to Pulling a VW Engine


Today, we're diving into the core of the matter, quite literally, by pulling out the engine to diagnose why it refuses to turn over. While we suspect an unwelcome intruder in the intake, our task is to uncover the truth and ensure our beloved Super Beetle gets back on the road.

Tools Needed:

-8mm Wrench
-17mm Wrench
-3/8" Drive Ratchet
-1/2" Drive Ratchet
-3" Extensions
-6" Extensions
-17mm Sockets
-Vice Grips
-Wheel Chocks
-Flat Head Screwdriver
-Philips Screwdriver
-Jack Stands

Step 1 - Preliminary Checks

Our first mission is to rule out a snapped crankshaft, a rare but serious issue. Considering the limited end play on the crank, it's unlikely, but we need to be certain. To unravel the mystery, we're set to pull the engine and dismantle it for a closer inspection.

Step 2 - Preparing for Extraction

With no battery in the car, we kick off the process with the deck lid open. The vacuum hoses from the carburetor are disconnected, and the air cleaner is removed. For those less familiar with Volkswagen engine wiring, a crucial step is labeling every wire to ensure a seamless reconnection later. The wiring at the generator, along with connections to the coil and oil pressure switch, is detached.

Engine Removal Pic 1 Engine Removal Pic 2

Step 3 - Detaching Components

The accelerator cable bids farewell to the carburetor, nestled back into the fan shroud. Although the reverse light harness wasn't connected, it's pulled away from the coil. Heater hose clamps are loosened, and the hoses are set free.

Engine Removal Pic 3 Engine Removal Pic 4 Engine Removal Pic 5

Step 4 - Removing Engine Components

The left and right pre-heater pipe tins are removed, allowing access to the rear engine tin. Spark plug wires are strategically pulled in to prevent pinching during engine removal. For those cautious, pulling out the spark plug wires entirely is a viable option.

Engine Removal Pic 6

Step 5 - Jacking and Loosening

A potential hurdle surfaces with a stubborn upper right engine nut behind the fan shroud. To tackle this, we secure the front wheels, jack up the rear, and place it on jack stands beneath the torsion housing.

Step 6 - Underneath the Engine

Underneath, heater box cables bid farewell to the heater boxes, and the hoses to the car are disconnected. The accelerator cable is pulled clear, and the fuel line is disconnected from the steel fuel line at the rear engine tin.

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Step 7 - Engine Extraction

Lower engine nuts at the transmission bottom are unthreaded, and the tricky D-bolt on the starter is managed with vice grips. Another pair of hands assists in loosening the upper right engine nut. With the engine nuts and bolts freed, the engine is ready for extraction.

Engine Removal Pic 9 Engine Removal Pic 10

Step 8 - Balancing Act

A jack is positioned under the engine sump plate, lifting the engine slightly and pulling it back from the transmission. The delicate dance of pulling, dropping, and pulling back continues until the engine is clear of the apron, and the lower engine studs are free from the transmission.

Engine Removal Pic 11

Step 9 - Engine on the Move

With precision, the engine is dropped into a rolling engine dolly. The jack is then repositioned beneath the chassis, lifting the back of the car until the engine can be rolled out.

Engine Removal Pic 12

Final Steps and What's Next

As the jack stands are removed, the car is lowered, and the engine is prepped for degreasing and cleaning. Stay tuned for our upcoming video, where we'll dive into the disassembly process. Meanwhile, for all your vintage Volkswagen parts and accessories, head over to JBugs.com. Let's bring that Super Beetle back to life!