This last experience was some of the most interesting. Looking for advice online is akin to asking monkeys for directions. As one person put it, “The internet is proof that a million monkeys typing on computers will never reproduce the works of Shakespeare.” How True.
6 volt starter
I got completely befuddled by all of the advice on the starter and keeping the 6v starter vs replacing it with a 12v starter and adding the bushing to make it compatible with the 6v flywheel. The upgrade kit that I received from MidAmerica Motorworks had the bushing, but no parts for upgrading the starter or flywheel. A few calls to the helpful people there, and I realized that i was just reading too much. I just needed to stick with the program and do what I was doing.
The 6 volt starter will work just fine in a 12 volt upgrade in a 1200 air cooled engine. Though the main advice was not to grind the ignition, as the starter will hit the flywheel harder with the 12 volts surging through the line. I saw where some people complained of teeth breaking off the flywheel because the starter was hitting it hard, but some simply replaced the flywheel and didn’t have any more problems.
The alternator came out very easy – really, it’s a matter of locating all of the bolts and keeping a note of where they came from. The shroud was amazingly dirty and oily – i had to wonder when the last time this beetle had thorough maintenance. At points in the project i had to wonder how this thing still ran.
I had to go to Harbor Freight, my new favorite hardware store and get a set of large metric ratchets. The bolt on the old alternator was 36mm, larger than anything I had, and the bolt on the steering wheel was 26mm – time for new ratchets.
Removing the Alternator
Simply by holding the fan and using the monster ratchet I got at the store, everything came off surprisingly easy. I used my miter saw box as a platform for holding the alternator upright, and it worked out OK, as the miter box was bolted into the workbench. The fan got a nice bath and cleaning, and then it was ready to go on the new 12volt alternator.
Oil Filler and Breather
Meanwhile, i was stumped on the alternator stand, as the Oil Filler and Breather was attached to the old stand, and it somehow had to come off and join the new alternator stand. The new stand was threaded, and I could barely budge the filler to twist off. I noticed that the inside of the oil filler was notched, and fortunately at that time, my engineer brother showed up in time to to save the day. Looking over the shop manual, they recommended the VW 170 tool to remove the cap. Right. I’ll run right out and get a VW170 shop tool to remove this thing, which I’ll probably repeat when?
This is when having an engineer brother comes in real handy. First we tried clamping the stand to a workbench – didn’t work out well, but, since it was an old workbench, we simply screwed the stand to the bench through the existing bolt holes – genius!
After reviewing the notches in the oil filler, we realized that we only had one tool that was wide enough to hit the notches – the crowbar. My brother took the end of the crowbar and put it on the grinder to take off the taper and make as much of a wide edge to grab the notch. It looked to work well, but still tough going.
Funny enough – he asks me for a torch. I looked at him odd, which i think he expected. He tells me this is what “the guys in the shop do.” He heats up the oil cap with the torch, takes the crowbar and easily twists off the cap. Amazing.
So much for the VW 170 tool. Putting the cap back on the new alternator stand was just as easy. Screw it on, heat it up, tighten it, and that thing was on.