Home > Project Cars > 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1303 S > 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1303 S Part 7: Idle Hands and Idling Problems

1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1303 S Part 7: Idle Hands and Idling Problems

First of all, we’d like to greet everyone a prosperous and blessed Happy New Year! We all had a tough time in 2020 and, as the saying goes, “When you’re down, there’s no other way but up”, we look forward to 2021 with a renewed sense of hope and enthusiasm. There’s also a saying about how “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, so to keep us from being idle while waiting for better times, we kept ourselves busy working on our 1974 Volkswagen Super Beetle 1303 S project car. Astute readers will note that we recently installed a new INCOE 2SMF maintenance free car battery; replaced the old distributor with a brand-new EMPI assembly, installed a new Bosch Blue ignition coil; and fitted a new Reyflex heavy-duty fan belt.

We then took a good look around our green Bug and found that we need to work on a few minor rust issues hiding at the front edge of the front trunk lid (hood) and above the driver’s side footwell. We replaced the old window cranks with two new ones and cleaned the interior. We found some spare parts in the trunk that might be useful when we work on the front suspension soon and we realized that we will also need to replace all the Bridgestone Potenza RE94 tires, including the spare. We realized that there are more work to be done so just we got right to it.

Where’s the Telescopic Antenna?

While we were cleaning the front trunk, we noticed that the telescopic antenna was missing. We reached down into the space between the wheel tub and the bulkhead and found the antenna mast that may have fallen off its mounting pedestal. It was a quick fix but because we have big, fat hands and a recent injury to the middle finger, it took us a while to get the job done.

The radio antenna pedestal is there but where’s the mast?

We reached down, found the antenna mast, and remounted it back into the pedestal.

After we firmly bolted the antenna mast onto its pedestal, here is what it looks like when retracted…

… and when it is extended, standing taller than the roof and giving excellent AM/FM reception.

Loosening Things Up

With our green Bug parked in our open garage and the recent December rain showers, we deemed it necessary to spray some penetrating oil into the keyholes, hinges and small moving crevices to prevent them from rusting and locking up. One of the unusual things we noticed about our car is that there are three different keys: one each for the ignition, doors and engine lid lock. It’s not a big deal but usually, Volkswagen just supplies two keys – one for the ignition and the other for the door and engine lid locks. We can only guess that a previous owner replaced the engine lid lock in the past, hence requiring a third key. Oh, well… we can easily fix that conundrum, soon.

VW Beetles and Super Beetles have exposed door hinges that need to be lubricated regularly. We should address the nearby rust sooner than later.

Do you remember the days when you have to insert the key into a slot to get into your car? If you do, you also have to remember that the slot needs to be oiled regularly, too.

The rear engine lid lock also needs regular attention.

Hmm… Why does our Super Beetle have 3 different keys?

Quick and Easy Fix for an Idling Problem

One of the problems we encountered when we restarted our green Bug after 10 months of gestation due to the pandemic is that the engine won’t idle. We tried adjusting the air-fuel mixture screw and the idle screw of the carburetor and got the engine idling to improve. But after a while, the idling will become erratic and deteriorate until the engine stalls. We concluded that the idling circuit of the carburetor must be blocked and needs to be cleaned. However, we are actually lazy people. So, before we remove the carburetor for cleaning, we rummaged through our storage bin to try a quick and easy fix.

If you’ve had cars with carburetors, then you’d know that a carb cleaner is an invaluable tool to have in your garage.

With the engine cold, we generously sprayed all the orifices of the carburetor with the cleaner and let it soak for a day.

When we got the green Bug in June 2019, this fuel filter was already in the engine bay. We don’t know how long it’s been there…

… so we changed it with a brand-new one, just to make sure that only clean gasoline will go into the carburetor.

Even though we are admittedly lazy folks, we didn’t stop there. We wanted to make sure that our carburetor gets cleaned in places that the spray tube of our aerosol carb cleaner cannot reach. So, we got a can of fuel additive/fuel system cleaner, poured it into the gas tank, and drove again to the nearest Petron service station to fill our tank with several liters of Blaze 100. Our triple cleaning solution must have worked because the engine started idling again, albeit a bit roughly. A few twists of the carburetor’s idling screw improved the engine idle somewhat.

We just happened to have this bottle of Techron Concentrate Plus is our storage bin…

… so we poured all its contents into the fuel tank of our green Bug…

… and then drove into a nearby Petron service station to load up on several liters of Blaze 100.

We adjusted the idling speed once we got back to our garage. Our quick and easy fix seemed to work!

Driving Around in our 1303S

Now that our green Bug has decent engine idling and we’re more confident that it won’t stall on us anymore, we started driving it around and enjoying it – paint flaws, rust, rattles and all. We can hear a loud “thud” when the front wheels run over road undulations and we can feel it straining when we turn it full lock to the right. We can also hear a whining sound when we depress the clutch, so we know that we have a lot of work to do.

It feels great driving our green Bug around after we’ve worked on it.

We know we got more work to do but we’re enjoying the restoration progress so far.

We’ve also taken our green Bug on “errand runs”, going to the nearby convenience stores for supplies; driving to and from the laundry to get our clothes clean; driving to the hair dresser for a haircut; and just generally going around on short jaunts. We see people smile at us when they see the Super Beetle and we hear stories of how they used to have one, or how they learned to drive in one, or how they regret letting go of the one they had. We’ve been getting offers online and from people we meet but we’re having too much fun to consider these offers. Besides, where can you find a VW Super Beetle 1303 S in the same condition as ours for FREE? We consider this green Bug a blessing.

We took our green Bug to our laundry run…

… where it proved to be very useful and reliable.

Our green Bug’s friendly countenance has brought us smiles from strangers. It’s a friendly face that everybody likes.