Volkswagen Air Cooled 1949-1969 Repair Guide

Starter Motor



The starter motor of the Volkswagen is of the sliding gear type and is rated at about 1 / 2 horsepower. The motor used in the starter is a series wound type and draws a heavy current in order to provide the high torque needed to crank the engine during starting. The starter cannot be switched on accidently while the engine is still running-the device responsible for this safeguard is a non-repeat switch in the ignition switch. If the engine should stall for any reason, the ignition key must be turned to the OFF position before it is possible to re-start the engine.

The starter is flange-mounted on the right-hand side of the transaxle housing. Attached to the starter motor housing is a solenoid which engages the pinion and connects the starting motor to the battery when the ignition key is turned ON. When the engine starts, and the key is released from the START position, the solenoid circuit is opened and the pinion is returned to its original position by the return spring. However, if for any reason the starter is not switched off immediately after the engine starts, a pinion freewheeling device stops the armature from being driven so that the starter will not be damaged.


Disconnect the negative battery cable and remove it from terminal 30 and the lead from terminal 50 of the solenoid. After removal of the two retaining screws, the starter can be separated from the transaxle housing.

Prior to installation, the outboard bushing should be lubricated with special lithium grease, and sealing compound should be applied to the mating surfaces between the starter and the transaxle. After putting the long screw into the hole in the flange, locate the starter on the transaxle housing. Be sure that the cables are tightly connected to the terminals, and that the contact points between the cables and terminals are clean.

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Fig. Fig. 1 Before disconnecting the wiring from the starter motor, disconnect the negative battery cable


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Fig. Fig. 2 When installing a new solenoid onto the starter motor, distance (a) should be 18.9-19.1mm

Unthread the nut and remove the connector strip. Take out the two retaining screws on the mounting bracket and withdraw the solenoid after it has been unhooked from its actuating lever. When replacing a defective solenoid with a new one, care should be taken to ensure that the distance a in the accompanying diagram is 0.74-0.75 in. (18.9-19.1mm) when the magnet is drawn in. The actuating rod can be adjusted after loosening the locknut.

Installation of the solenoid is the reverse of the removal procedure. Be certain that the rubber seal on the starter mounting bracket is properly seated. A small strip of VW Sealing Compound D 14 should be placed on the outside of the switch. In order to facilitate engagement of the actuating rod, the pinion should be pulled out as far as possible when the solenoid is inserted.