Volkswagen Air-Cooled 1970-1981 Repair Guide



The tune-up is a routine maintenance operation which is essential for the efficient and economical operation, as well as the long life of your car's engine. The interval between tune-ups is a variable factor which depends upon the way you drive your car, the conditions under which you drive it (weather, road type, etc.), and the type of engine installed in your car. It is generally correct to say that these cars should not be driven more than 12,000 miles between tune-ups. If you plan to drive your car extremely hard or under severe weather conditions, the tune-ups should be performed at closer intervals. High-performance engines require more frequent tuning than other engines, regardless of weather or driving conditions.

The replaceable parts involved in a tune-up include the spark plugs, breaker points, condenser, distributor cap, rotor, spark plug wires and the ignition coil high-tension (secondary) wire. In addition to these parts and the adjustments involved in properly adapting them to your engine, there are several adjustments of other parts involved in completing the job. These include carburetor idle speed and air/fuel mixture, ignition timing, and dwell angle.

This section gives specific procedures on how to tune-up your Volkswagen and is intended to be as complete and basic as possible.

When working with a running engine, make sure that there is proper ventilation. Also make sure that the transmission is in Neutral (unless otherwise specified) and the parking brake is fully applied. Always keep hands, long hair, clothing, neckties and tools well clear of the engine. On a warm engine, keep clear of the hot exhaust manifold(s) and exhaust pipe. When the ignition is turned on and the engine running, do not grasp the ignition wires, distributor cap, or coil wire, as a shock in excess of 20,000 volts may result. Whenever working around the distributor, even if the engine is not running, make sure that the ignition is switched off.