Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide



The starter motor of the Volkswagen is of the sliding gear-type and is rated at about 0.6, 0.7, or 0.8 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 accidentally while the engine is still running-the device responsible for this safeguard is a nonrepeat 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 transmission housing. Attached to the starter motor housing is a solenoid which engages the pinion and connects the starter 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 free-wheeling device stops the armature from being driven so that the starter will not be damaged.


All 1974 and some 1975 models are equipped with a starter/seat belt interlock system. This system prevents operation of the starter motor until both front seat occupants buckle up their seat belts. For details, refer to Chassis .


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Fig. Fig. 1: Disconnect the negative battery cable, then use a wrench or socket to remove the starter motor wire retaining nuts

  1. Disconnect the battery.
  3. Disconnect the wiring from the starter. It will probably be easier if the right-hand rear wheel is removed.

On fuel injection models, take special note of the terminals from which the various wires are detached (terminal 30, 50, etc.). If the cold start valve wire, which should be connected to terminal 50, is connected to terminal 30 by mistake, the cold start valve will run constantly, causing poor gas mileage, rough idle and flooding.

  1. The starter is held in place by two bolts. Have a helper hold the nut on the top bolt with a wrench in the engine compartment while you remove the bolt from underneath the vehicle. This top bolt is also one of the four main engine to transmission bolts. Remove the lower bolt.
  3. Remove the starter from the car.

To install:
  1. Before installing the starter, lubricate the outboard bushing with grease. Apply sealing compound to the mating surfaces between the starter and the transmission.
  3. Place the long starter bolt in its hole in the starter and locate the starter on the transmission housing. Install the other bolt.
  5. Connect the starter wiring and battery cables.


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Fig. Fig. 2: Before installing a replacement solenoid, make certain that the distance shown (a) is 19mm when the magnet is drawn inside the solenoid

  1. Remove the starter.
  3. Remove the nut which secures the connector strip at the end of the solenoid.
  5. Take out the two retaining screws on the mounting bracket and withdraw the solenoid after it has been unhooked from its actuating lever.
  7. When replacing a defective solenoid with a new one, care should be taken to see that the distance (a) in the accompanying diagram is 19 mm when the magnet is drawn inside the solenoid.
  9. Installation is the reverse of removal. In order to facilitate engagement of the actuating rod, the pinion should be pulled out as far as possible when inserting the solenoid.