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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last Saturday, I was down eight "pips" so I went to my local Shell station to fill up. I figured one "pip" equals about a gallon. The pump shut itself down after 3.5 gallons. Figuring that it should take at least that much more, I removed the nozzle, reinserted it and started pumping again. It took 3.7 more gallons. When I turned the car on, 10 "pips" were showing. So far, so good. This morning when I looked at the gas gauge, I noticed that ten "pips" were still showing. I had traveled about 200 miles so it should have been down at least four or five "pips." Will it reset itself? What do I need to do to get the "pip" machine back up and working?

Fred 8)
 

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A pip is not necessarily a gallon.

I do top off. The first pip usually goes off at 150-180 miles at average 55 MPG. Used to get more miles on that first pip.
from there down to 4 pips, they come off after about 30 or so miles per pip. last 4 pips last about 50-75 miles. I can go at least 50 miles on the blinking pip, once got 87 miles.

The gauge is not linear, just like every other guage, though most analog guages I've come across start slow then speed up. Tanks don't have the same surface area at each height of fuel, so volume is not linear to fuel height.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
As predicted above, at 196 miles, "pip" one went off and at 220, "pip" two went off and so on. This being the case, the only "pip" that really means anything is "pip" ten. I reminds me of my first VW bug, I believe it was a late fifies model. It had no gas guage. When the car started to run out of gas, and the engine started to sputter, you took your foot and flipped a level down on the firewall which gave the engine access to an additional gallon of gas in the reserve tank. That meant you had about 35 miles to find a gas station. To ease the stress that went along with this odd VW process, most of us carried a small note pad. When we filled up, we added 300 miles to the current mileage and recorded the figure in our note pad. When we reached the target mileage, we filled up. I also remember that there was a small frosted area on the windshield to record your target mileage with a pencil. This area, about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch high was located at the base of the windshield. It normally wore out in a month or two and we had to switch to the note pad.

Fred 8)
 

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Only the Germans would omit a fuel gauge and then provide a place to write a target fill point on the windshield. :lol:
 

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River Rat said:
I also remember that there was a small frosted area on the windshield to record your target mileage with a pencil. This area, about 1 inch long and 1/2 inch high was located at the base of the windshield. It normally wore out in a month or two and we had to switch to the note pad.

Fred 8)
If you ever drove a VW where it was cold, you would have seen that the "small frosted area on the windshield" in fact would cover the entire windshield. It was alway my impression that the VW actually was able to defy physics and keep it colder inside the car than outside, even with the heater on and two to four people in the car.
 

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AANNDD, they were $5,000 dollars cheaper than the next priced car,
They got three times better gas milage,
spare parts cost fifty cents
nothing ever broke,
they took up half a parking place,
and you had to wear gloves in the winter to drive one. (they were the most popular cars in the parking lots at New England ski resorts.)
And it was one of the first cars ruled off the road by government regulations.


And I almost forgot, "They Floated!"


,,.........,,,.......... ./................. ..........
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Sub3,

You are correct. The early Bugs required that the ice/frost on the inside of the windshield be cleared as well as on the outside. The heat/defrost/vent system was driven by air flow caused by the movement of the car. When you slowed down and stopped, the warm air stopped. It made for some very exciting times during stop and go rush hour traffic in a Chicago winter. It was not uncommon to see early VW drivers with their heads out of the window to see where they were going. Damn, I loved that car!

Fred
 

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This in not correct; the Bug heater did not use vehicle motion, it used the engine fan. Early bugs in the 1950s used the actual air that cooled the engine; later "cleanair" engines used heat enchangers on the exhaust manifolds to heat the air. This avoided poisoning the occupants in the case of a head leak, and eliminated the oily smell of the old style heater.

The system had long, largely uninsulated airflow runs to the front windshield, so the air cooled considerably before getting there. Also, the system was cable operated, and a loose cable meant the air flaps shut off the flow. It took patience to adjust them, and also to make sure all the air hose connections were tight. With all that work, they worked almost well enought for SoCal winters (almost).

These are almost identical to the two heater systems used on the Corvair also.

The Bugs were toasty compared to the Buses, whose heaters worked even less well!
 

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So River Rat went through the Chicago winters too? I guess that explains why we're both living in warm places now.

KTPhil's statement, "The Bugs were toasty compared to the Buses, whose heaters worked even less well!" couldn't be truer. My high school friend had a VW Bus, and we froze through the Chicago winters riding in that thing. I didn't get a Bug until many years later, and it wasn't as cold. But it seemed you always had to adjust the valves. That was what I really got tired of.

But my mom had a Corvair, and I don't ever remember being cold in that car. She bought it new in 1963, Black with a red interior. A great car, except the mechanics couldn't get the carbuerators working right. So after 9 years she traded it in on a 72 Dodge Dart. Thankfully it had a 318 instead of a 6 cylinder.
 

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All air-cooled VWs needed periodic valve adjustment. The mix of metals in the valve train meant they varied all over the map with temperature changes, so you had to adjust them cold. With the 20K miles I drove a year, and the need to adjust them every 3K (the manual said 6K, but I knew better), I got real good at it. Every six weeks, so I had plenty of practice. So I got it down to about five minutes a side, plus another 15 for the oil change (including cleaning the screen and magnetic drain plug every oil change, since there was no filter) and ignition timing. Made a helluva difference in how it ran, important since it had all of a whopping 40 HP to start with, on a good day.

The VW was designed for the era of expensive parts and cheap labor. Lots of labor was required to lube, adjust, tighten, check many items on the car often, but very little in the way of parts was needed (such as air filter--it used a cleanable oil bath type, no paper element). But as the economy changed, it became a very expensive car to maintain, unless you did it yourself. I love them (still have one), but they are not a car for our times!

Maintenance I did every six months:
- regular oil change and screen clean
- regular valve adjustment
- adjust front wheel bearing play
- check (adjust if necessary) steering box play at steering wheel
- check (adjust if necessary) king pin/link pin play (using shims after complete disassembly)
- check (adjust if necessary) front toe-in
- adjust brakes (2 adjusters per wheel, requiring jacking each side)
- adjust point gap and timing
- clean and gap spark plugs
- lube front end (ten fittings)
- check (replace if necessary) rubber gas lines at tank, engine mount, fuel pump and carburetor
- clean gas filter
- adjust carb idle mix and speed
- lube door hinges, seat runners, cables, locks
- adjust clutch cable freeplay
- check (adjust if necessary) brake pedal freeplay
- check battery water level (under rear seat)

A good morning's work...
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I left Chicago in 1957, and have never been back. So far, so good. I also had three buses in the 1960s and 70s, but I lived in SoCal or Washington, DC so heat in the winter wasn't really a problem.

Fred
 

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River Rat said:
I left Chicago in 1957, and have never been back.

Fred
I didn't get to Chicago until 1960. I finally left when I was 20 (in 1980) and moved to Rockford! Which is even COLDER than Chicago. To some of the people here it's no big deal, but the coldest was about -28 F, with a wind chill of -80. (I decided not to ride the motorcycle that day.) It was a different planet.

I've been back to Chicago a few times. Amazingly I finally went up in the Sears Tower on one return visit, yet while I lived there I never had time to do that.
 

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KTPhil said:
This in not correct; the Bug heater did not use vehicle motion, it used the engine fan. Early bugs in the 1950s used the actual air that cooled the engine; later "cleanair" engines used heat enchangers on the exhaust manifolds to heat the air. This avoided poisoning the occupants in the case of a head leak, and eliminated the oily smell of the old style heater.

The system had long, largely uninsulated airflow runs to the front windshield, so the air cooled considerably before getting there. Also, the system was cable operated, and a loose cable meant the air flaps shut off the flow. It took patience to adjust them, and also to make sure all the air hose connections were tight. With all that work, they worked almost well enought for SoCal winters (almost).

These are almost identical to the two heater systems used on the Corvair also.

The Bugs were toasty compared to the Buses, whose heaters worked even less well!
I still have my 1970 Beetle in storage. In addition to the heat exchanger system, it is equipped with a heater that actually burns fuel from the gas tank (probably needed up here in Ottawa). You pull a lever under the dashboard and you get instant heat! Really hot heat. The exhaust from the combustion vents outside under the left front fender, and the heat comes straight out on to the driver's floor. The best heater I have ever had.
 

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Ah, the nostalgia - got me thinking about my old Bug. I retrofitted a gas heater and would run out and start it up 10 minutes before I had to leave to warm the car up. I bypassed the heat exchangers (mine was a '66) to get more warm air flowing and had to wire the flaps open every fall. It used to ice-up all the time and I had a winter routine where I would speed up to 50 mph or so [almost top speed :( ], throw it in neutral, kill the engine and wait for engine heat to melt the ice just before bump-starting it again at low speed. I had a second 6-volt battery in parallel so it would start better and had to wire-up a remote solenoid because of voltage drop from the keyswitch! I learned a lot about cars with that vehicle...
 
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