Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide

Fluid Changes


ENGINE Oil and Filter

See Figures 1 through 10

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Fig. Fig. 1: After raising and safely supporting the vehicle, loosen and remove the oil drain plug ...

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Fig. Fig. 2: ... then allow the oil to empty into an aptly-sized catch pan until all the oil is completely drained

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Fig. Fig. 3: To clean the oil strainer, remove the 6 capscrews ...

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Fig. Fig. 4: ... then remove the strainer plate from the crankcase

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Fig. Fig. 5: Make certain to thoroughly clean all components of all dirt and grime, as can be seen on this oil strainer plate

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Fig. Fig. 6: Remove the lower oil strainer gasket ...

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Fig. Fig. 7: ... pull the oil strainer out of its hole ...

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Fig. Fig. 8: ... then remove the upper oil strainer gasket from the crankcase-1600cc engine shown

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Fig. Fig. 9: The oil dipstick is located near the right-hand side of the crankshaft pulley-upright 1600cc engine shown

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Fig. Fig. 10: After installing the oil strainer, gaskets, strainer plate and drain plug, fill the engine with the proper type and amount of clean engine oil

The engine oil should be changed only after the engine has been warmed up to operating temperatures. In this way, the oil holds in suspension many of the contaminants that would otherwise remain in the engine. As the oil drains, it carries dirt and sludge from the engine. After the initial oil change at 600 miles the oil should be changed regularly at a period not to exceed 3,000 miles or three months. If the car is being operated mainly for short low speed trips, it may be advisable to change the oil at 2,000 mile intervals.

TYPES 1, 2/1600, 3

When changing the oil in Type 1, 2/1600, and 3 vehicles, first unscrew the drain plug in the crankcase (1970-72 models) or strainer cover cap nuts (1973-80 models); and allow dirty oil to drain. The oil strainer should also be cleaned. This wire mesh strainer is held in place by six cap nuts, and should be cleaned thoroughly with solvent. The strainer plate should also be cleaned. The lower part of the crankcase collects a great deal of sludge in the course of 3,000 miles. Replace the assembly using a new paper gasket and copper washers. Refill the crankcase with 2.5 quarts of oil. Tighten the cap nuts to no more than 5 ft lbs. The drain plug (1970-72 models) is tightened to 9 ft. lbs.

TYPES 2/1700, 2/1800, 2/2000 AND TYPE 4

Types 2/1700, 2/1800, 2/2000 and 4 require a different oil changing procedure. The crankcase drain plug is to one side of the oil strainer. The oil should be drained before removing the strainer. The strainer is located in the center of the crankcase and is held in position by a single plug. Remove the plug and remove the strainer assembly from the crankcase. Clean the strainer in solvent and reinstall it in the crankcase with a new paper gasket and copper washers. Tighten the drain plug and strainer nut to 9 ft. lbs.

The Type 2/1700, 2/1800, 2/2000 and Type 4 also have a spin-on oil filter located near the engine cooling fan. This filter is removed by unscrewing it from its fitting using a special adaptor extension. When reinstalling the new filter, lubricate the filter gasket with oil. Refill the crankcase and start the engine. Run the engine until it picks up oil pressure and then stop the engine. Recheck the engine oil level. The filter should be changed every 6,000 miles (carbureted engine) or 15,000 miles (fuel injected engines).

See Figure 11

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Fig. Fig. 11: Before installing a new oil filter, lightly coat the rubber gasket with clean oil

TRANSAXLE Automatic Stick Shift


The Automatic Stick Shift transaxle uses hypoid gear oil in the final drive section of the transaxle, see below for draining procedures. The front section of the transaxle uses ATF, however it does not have to be changed. The level should be checked every 6,000 miles.

The engine should be off when the level is checked.

Use Type A or Dexronreg;.

Automatic Transaxle

TYPES 2, 3 AND 4

See Figures 12 and 13

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Fig. Fig. 12: Using a funnel and a short piece of hose helps avoid messy spills when filling an automatic stick shift transaxle

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Fig. Fig. 13: Automatic stick shift transaxle strainer location and related component identification-Types 2, 3 and 4

The Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) should be changed every 30,000 miles, or every 18,000 miles under heavy duty operating conditions. Heavy operating conditions include: continued stop and go driving; extended mountain driving; extremely high outside temperatures.

Drain the ATF by removing the drain plug (E) from the pan. Remove the pan and clean the ATF strainer. Install the pan using a new gasket and tighten the pan screws in a cross-cross pattern to 7 ft. lbs. Retighten the screws two or three times at five minute intervals to compensate for settling of the gasket. Refill the transaxle with the proper type transmission fluid using a funnel with a 20 in. long neck. Use Type A or Dexronreg;.

Manual Transaxle

The manual transaxle is drained by removing the 17 mm plug in the bottom of the transaxle case. It is refilled through another 17 mm plug in the side of the transaxle case. The plug in the side of the case also functions as the fluid level hole.

When refilling the transaxle, do not fill it too fast because it may overflow from the filler hole and give the impression that the unit has been filled when it has not.

After the transaxle oil is changed at 600 miles, it is generally not necessary to change the oil. However, the factory does recommend the fluid level be checked every 6,000 miles and topped up if necessary. Refill the transaxle with SAE 90 hypoid gear oil.


Automatic and Automatic Stick Shift Transaxles

The automatic transaxle unit has a separate housing for final drive gears which uses 90 weight hypoid gear oil. The unit is drained in much the same manner as the manual transaxle.