Engine removal and installation are easier on the Beetle than just about any other car. However, it is still a big job.

Since I converted my Bug into a Baja Bug, I cut off the rear car. This makes it much easier to get to the engine.

You must disconnect the battery.

You'll have to jack up your Bug, and use large, strong jack stands to support the car since it has to be a couple feet off the ground in the rear. Removing the rear wheels simplifies the process.

You'll need to remove the fuel line where it goes through the firewall tin at the front of the engine. When I did this gasoline started pouring out. I shoved the fuel line back together. Luckily I was wearing latex gloves. The gloves almost immediately shrivelled, but they kept the gas off my hands (mostly). Based on more recent experience, nitrile gloves are superior. After making a big mess, I figured out a better way to do this. I used my hand operated brake line and vacuum system testing pump to draw a vacuum on the gas tank. Let me stress that I used a non-electrical, hand pump called a "Mity Vac". It is intended for automotive use, however, you must not let liquid gasoline get in the pump, or the pump will (probably) be ruined. You must never use electrical pumps with gasoline or gasoline vapors, unless the pumps are specifically for gasoline. I've got a 1973 Bug, and the tank has a extra small connections that are handy for attaching to the vacuum pump. With a vacuum at the tank, only a few drops of gasoline leaked out of the fuel line in the rear. I blocked the rubber tubing with a 1/4 inch drill bit (smooth end into the tube, of course). The drill bit is cheezy, but it works ok. There are special smooth-jawed clamps specifically for clamping fuel lines.

Given the hazards and headaches of gasoline, it is probably wise to drain the fuel tank. However, then you are faced with where to store as much as 10 gallons of gas. This could be good time to make sure there's no water in the bottom of the fuel tank.

All the wires have to be disconnected. Label each one, or you'll spend hours sorting them out. The list (roughly) is: coil, oil temp and pressure senders, alternator/generator wires.

The throttle cable end clamp comes off. Save that barrel nut and it's bolt somewhere. It would be a good idea to attach it to the carb with a wire tie or cable tie.

Remove the breastplate at the rear of the engine. This is the cooling tin between the pulley and the rear body apron. You may have to remove the heat riser covers.

Support the engine with a jack. A rolling floor jack is very, very useful at this point. I have a $50 jack (3 ton?) from Sears. I put 5/8 plywood under the car if I'm in the back yard so I have a smooth surface to work on. The floor jack and plywood are great!

I like to put a sturdy board across the bottom of the engine case, and put the jack under that. There are 4 little "feet" cast into the engine case. It seems like a bad idea to support the engine on a jack that is only under the oil drain plate.

Loosen the 4 bolts/nuts between the engine and transaxle. Start with the two on the bottom.

When removing the top two, make sure the jack is high enough that the engine isn't hanging on the bolts. With the bolts 1/2 off (about 5 mm or 1/4 inch) you should be able to see the engine separate from the tranny. Ideally, that separation is parallel. You don't want the engine too high or too low since that bends the tranny input shaft.

Even with the top bolts out, the engine can still be supported at the bottom. You'll have to raise it, and when you do the weight of the engine comes off the suspension. If you are on jack stands, the car stays put. If you still have the rear wheels on the ground, the rear of the car raises up, so you have to raise the engine more. With a Baja Bug it isn't necessary to jack up the car. Normal Bug owners will already have their car on jack stands.

Wiggle the engine (on the jack). The idea is to pull it back a couple of inches. Once the clutch clears the input shaft of the transmission, you can tilt the back of the engine down. Tilt down, move the engine back. Once you clear the lower engine mounting studs (bolts fixed in the tranny), you can lower the engine, and roll it our from under the car.

At this point, it is good to have a U shaped, 8 inch tall wooden stand for the engine. (I'll post photos or a diagram). I lowered the engine onto the wooden stand, and then removed the jack. Otherwise, you have to lift the engine off the jack. I've seen photos where a person working alone lowers the jack as much as possible, then tilts the engine forward onto the ground. I was worried about dropping the engine, so I didn't try this.

I borrowed a heavy duty 4 wheel dolly from a friend. Two people can pick up the engine and put it on the dolly.

Installation is the reverse of this procedure. It often take some wiggling to get the lower studs and tranny input shaft to all align. Make sure that the front (towards the front of the car) face of the engine and the rear face of the tranny are parallel. If the engine is cocked, it won't go in.

To "wiggle" the engine, grasp the fan shroud firmly, and move side to side, back and forth, and up and down.

 

 

 
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