Most of you folks who don't live in CA or the balmy South have your air cooled Volkswagens in the heated garage or down at the shop for the Winter, getting cosmetic repairs and dreaming of shows to come. But there's a bunch of us who drive these suckers through the salt and Arctic cold. Here's some notes:
Traction- Am I the only person out here with snow tires? Do they even make snow tires any more? Going over on the as yet virgin snow of the berm to pass the lady in the white car who's using all three lanes of I-71. The bug doesn't miss a beat. Passing cars on the interstate. Doesn't happen often.
I was running my 73 bus with four snow tires all of them studded. First time I hit the brakes and I was ice skating.
And who balances the 5 lug rims any more? Doesn't much matter with snow tires on the rear, but when you put them on the front too, balancing would make a big difference. Sometimes my arms are sore from the vibration by the time I get where I'm going.
Defroster- Heater? We Don't Need No Stinkin' Heater - we need a stinkin' defroster. Once again, those college boys demonstrate a sense of humor. Even with new rocker panels and hoses to the three windshield heat vents, there's not enough heat to melt the snow as it falls. Have to get a couple lengths of fresh-air hose (don't use vaccuum cleaner hose - it'll melt) and couplers and run a line direct from under the rear seat. Enough heat now to melt a creditor's heart. And by moving the end of the hose, you can heat your feet occasionally.
Lisa writes from California:
Q.B. and I were leading the caravan over the mountains at a snail's pace. As we were climbing into Vail, the snow became intense! My windshield froze up to a tiny little peephole which was okay until I reached the summit. At 10666 ft on the decline, as you well know, the heat isn't really effective anymore. I located a candle, lit it, and placed it on the dash. It worked great. Just enough heat to keep the patch clear from ice. I was heading west which meant warmer weather if I kept on email@example.com relates the following:
cd\ cold weather.. I remember in 75 or 76 I had a beetle with the factory rear window defogger, the back window was always clean, I guess they did that to you could look in the mirror and see what or who you just ran over. I realized the real plan ine day during the blizzerds we had those two winters, I was trying to get up Cleveland Massilon Rd. over in Copley just by the resiviour, after 3 tries to get up the hill I finally turned around and did it in reverse (lower gear ratio) then It dawned on me that Deiter and Gunther had planned it that way and during bad weather the beetle was to be drivin in reverse!!!! anyhow I did end up hitting the western auto store and buying one of those aftermarket rear window defrosters with the foil strips and stuck it on the front winshield! Sure it looked goofy but it worked , once the weather warmed up I peeled it off and was good for summer again. Geese the things we do to keep these things on the road.
Outside Rear View Mirror- The outside rear view mirror on a 67 bug may be useful in the Summer, but when there's heavy snow falling and the windows are fogged, it just doesn't provide more than a slice of the activity behind. Not like the mirrors in buses. Good thing its dark outside so the lights of other cars can be seen through the side and rear windows.
Is it my imagination? Does that outside rear view mirror clear itself after about 30 miles if you leave the wing window open? Why leave the window open? see Fumes below.
Brakes- And why don't the brakes work as well when the temperature plummets? Could it be all that yuckie, milky stuff that seems to have replaced the brake fluid when the brakes are bled? (Junkyard method- If you are tired of having the wife help you bleed the brakes - "Honey! Are they up?" "Honey! I said hold it to the floor" - then get a clear bottle and a chunk of hose (window spritzer hose is perfect), and put 1/2 inch of brake fluid in the bottle, one end of the hose into the brake fluid, and - after loosening the bleeder - the other end over the bleeder valve. Now you can pump the brakes yourself and you won't suck air back into the system. Plus, you can examine that yuckie, milky stuff like a true empirical scientist.)
The manufacturer suggests REPLACING the brake fluid every two years. How long since you've done yours? Probably more recent than me.
Wiper Blades- Who's Responsible for Designing These Wiper Blades? The early beetles had them on the other side, but the 67 seems to drop all the snow in the middle of the windshield where the middle heat vent provides insufficient heat to melt it.
Basic Courtesy- All those on-coming clowns with one headlight burned out use the brights to compensate. Does this bother anyone else on the road or just those of us with 30 years of scratches and stone pings in the windshield?
Here's the guy in the super-cab pickup truck pulling out onto the road in front of me just as though I had brakes. Must be in a hurry. Bale of straw in the back and talking on the cellular phone. If they really were worried about accidents with automobiles (air bags, seat belts, 35 mph bumpers, side impact protection,...), why wouldn't they prevent cellular phone use while the car is in motion?
Fumes- firstname.lastname@example.org writes
cd\ and yet another safty tip..... I was concerned about fumes from a poor engine seal on the bus..even more so from a bad gasket between the muffler and the exaust manifold. I was right!! I pulled the carbon monoxide detector off the wall and took it for a ride around the block, I was able to set it off!! no heat till I get the repairs made. btw, It you pass this advice around bear in mind those puppys have a differnt sound in a enclosed car than they do in your living room. Scared the shit out of me !!! and I was expecting ti to go off!!! It also got some strange stares from the gentelmen in the car stopped at the light next to me... he probally wrote it off as some sort of new wave music heh heh
Had to patch the muffler on the bug (junkyard method- old tin can, two hose clamps and good as new). Driving with the window open just wasn't enough. At the end of the ride I'd have a headache from the carbon monoxide. If I was to have taken the E-Check emission test, they could have just stuck the probe in the window to fail me.
It's just a car, Mister- The Manager at the bank comes out of his office special to bitch at me about driving the bug in the salt. He's even more perturbed when I point out that 67 was the first year of 12 volt and the last year of the plumber's nightmare bumpers, and one-year-only for fenders, deck lid, aprons, and that bizarre seat belt arrangement.
But what the hell? Am I going to put it up on blocks until I die so that some teen aged kid can buy it and run it in the salt himself? And in view of the fact that the Village of Richfield wants to throw me in jail just for OWNING the vehicle, I say drive it while I can.
The manager tells me I'm ruining a valuable investment. I told him give me $4000 and you can drive it home. He wouldn't do it.
c 1996 Air Cooled Volkswagen Junkyard of Richfield, Ohio
http://www.acvwjyro.com "Where Advice Is Always Free"(216)659-3638
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