[VW] Sam And The Art Of VW Maintenance: Seeing Mechanic Bill

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Stopped by Trafton’s yesterday. It’d been 600 miles since the engine was replaced on the 72 VW Beetle, and it was time to get the valves adjusted and the oil changed apres-engine installation.

This service is a free after-installation service that Bill Trafton’s shop provides. And it makes sense. You can’t just install a rebuilt engine and say “see ya later, alligator” … you have to take another look and make sure it’s a happy engine. Bill’s shop does this.

One of his employees did the work, and I got to watch a bit of it. Primarily the thing I wanted to see was the changing of the oil. This is something that just about anybody can do on most cars, or can be shown or taught, but on the old VW air-cooled engines, it’s a whole ‘nother thing. Type 1 engines, you see, didn’t have an oil filter. The oil is strained through a metal screen in the bottom of the sump before being sent back up to the crankcase for another go-round.

This screen is held in place by a plate which is held in by seven bolts – one in the middle, six on the circumference. The literature I read says you do it thus: unbolt the big bolt in the center, which allows the oil to drain. Once drained, release the plate by taking off the outer bolts, remove the oil screen and the gaskets, clean the oil screen in solvent if necessary, reinstall the oil screen (with new gaskets), and reinstall the plate. Fill with SAE30.

It’s a little more complex than replacing an oil filter, but not really that much more.

We were there for about 1 hour and tootled along out of there.

When it comes to VWs on the east side, Bill Trafton’s my man.

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