Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide

Connecting Rods



The factory suggests you split the crankcase to remove the connecting rods. However, if you're just checking your connecting rod bearings for wear, you can remove them without splitting the case. See the appropriate procedures, located later in this section.

Crankcase Splitting MethodSee the``Crankcase''section for additional information

After splitting the crankcase, remove the crankshaft and the connecting rod assembly. Remove the connecting rods, clamping bolts, and the connecting rod caps. Inspect the piston pin bushing. With a new bushing, the correct clearance is indicated by a light finger push fit of the pin at room temperature. Reinsert the new connecting rod bearings after all parts have been thoroughly cleaned. Assemble the connecting rods on the crankshaft, making sure that the rods are oriented properly on the crankshaft. The identification numbers stamped on the connecting rods and connecting rod caps must be on the same side. Note that the marks on the connecting rods are pointing upward, while the rods are pointing toward their respective cylinders. Lubricate the bearing shells before installing them.

Tighten the connecting rod bolts to the specified torque. A slight pre-tension between the bearing halves, which is likely to occur when tightening the connecting rod bolts, can be eliminated by gently striking the side of the bearing cap with a hammer. Do not install the connecting rod in the engine unless it swings freely on its journal. Using a peening chisel, secure the connecting rod bolts in place.

Failure to swing freely on the journal may be caused by improper side clearance, improper bearing clearance or failure to lubricate the rod before assembly.

Non-Crankcase Splitting MethodSee the``Engine Rebuilding''section for additional information.

Remove the cylinder heads, cylinders and pistons. Put a dab of grease in the end of a socket and, using an extension and ratchet, loosen and carefully remove the connecting rod nuts. The nuts face the piston side of the connecting rod. Turn the crankshaft as necessary to remove both nuts. Have an assistant hold the connecting rod cap from the other side of the engine and gently tap the cap bolts with a brass or plastic drift to separate the caps from the connecting rods. Pull the connecting rod out through the cylinder hole, then remove the cap. Be careful not to drop anything into the crankcase or you may have to split it after all. Reverse procedure to install. Install the connecting rods with the forged marks up: see illustration. Torque to proper specifications and using a small hammer, relieve pre-tension as instructed under Crankcase Splitting Method, above,

You will not be able to stake the nuts using this method, therefore it would be wise to apply Loctiteor an equivalent sealer to the threads.