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The Future Of The Manual Transmission

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  • ohenryxohenryx Posts: 285
    I see a couple of major problems with this, right off the top of my head. Number one, and by far the biggest problem, is this "Must take payments". No individual in his/her right mind is ever going to sell a used car to a stranger and "take payments". It simply ain't gonna happen, not in this life.

    Number two, air conditioning. Very, very few Bugs of that vintage were equipped with AC, and in your part of the world, it really is a necessity.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,773
    I don't know a ton about Beetles, but I know when that car was built automatic wasn't really ever offered at all - there was an "autostick" system (semi-automatic - you shift with no clutch), but they are fairly rare. Chances are, it is a stick.

    Beetles have pros and cons. Pros - cheap, simple, lots of parts, iconic, good build quality. Cons - slow, not refined, low prices when finished (if you want to sell), can rust. My mother had a 1970 Beetle - this was many years before I was born. Within a year or two, my dad blew it up, and replaced the engine with one from a Porsche 912. It was not 100% reliable from that point, and a gargantuan white on white 70s T-Bird would end up filling its spot (which wasn't 100% reliable either, but was beloved no less).
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    edited May 2013
    VW engines like to go KABOOM. They have no oil filter, and no oil cooler, and you are operating in the desert. So there you go. Either this VW engine has to be beefed up with an oil cooler and external oil filter of some sort, or you're driving around with a hand grenade with a loose pin. And at high altitudes going over desert passes, well....it's not a pretty picture.

    Correct on the auto-stick. They did make them with a vacuum operated clutchy-thingie (sorry if that was too technical :P ) but I doubt you'll see one.

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  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,753
    edited May 2013
    Anyone have any VW Bug warnings or experience I should know about before I plunk down big American bills on one?

    I drove a '66 Bug to 230K miles; my brother had a 1970 and my friend had a '71.

    The Bugs are very durable cars with a lot of positives. They are easy and cheap to work on - dead simple cars. They are as honest and basic as you can get. You don't have to worry about radiators, water pumps, coolant, etc. Contrary to other posts, I disagree that they have weak transmissions (when driven properly). Mine went to 235K with no transmission work. Change the oil in it (the transmission) every 30K miles.

    By today's standards the old Bugs are crude and pretty uncomfortable. They're underpowered, noisy, and don't handle very well. But they're fun to drive and there's no replacing that air-cooled engine sound.

    They're prone to burning valves, so make sure you have the valves checked/adjusted every 3-6K miles (it's really easy to do yourself). Cylinder #3 in particular runs hot as it's behind the oil cooler so the air hitting this cylinder is warmer than the others. If the valve tappets don't have enough clearance (.15mm as I recall), then the valves won't seat long enough to transfer their heat to the cylinder head, and they'll get hot and warp, or worse, break off. So keeping that clearance adequate keeps the valves cooled properly.

    There are no automatics, just a fairly rare auto stick that you definitely don't want. They also almost never have air conditioning. The vent windows are your air conditioning. :P

    The manifold heater works well in moderately cool climates but is inadequate in snowy temperatures. Wear a heavy coat while driving.

    You can easily shift without the clutch if you know what you're doing, too.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    If you keep plugging engines into old VW bugs (pretty inexpensive, even today), they can run a long time.

    I agree, the transaxles are pretty durable as long as they don't leak!

    But a VW engine, even very well rebuilt, is maybe good for 60,000 tops.

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  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    edited May 2013
    here.

    1) They're prone to burning valves, so make sure you have the valves checked/adjusted every 3-6K miles (it's really easy to do yourself). Cylinder #3 in particular runs hot as it's behind the oil cooler so the air hitting this cylinder is warmer than the others. If the valve tappets don't have enough clearance (.15mm as I recall), then the valves won't seat long enough to transfer their heat to the cylinder head, and they'll get hot and warp, or worse, break off. So keeping that clearance adequate keeps the valves cooled properly.

    OK, I can deal with the valve adjustment every 3-6,000 miles. I'll just learn how to do it (the internet can probably help here with a pictorial guide of some sort, or I'll just buy a manual that describes how to do this procedure) and keep to it with a smartphone app that reminds me when it's due again. I've got that one covered, with some learning and doing.

    2) The lack of an air conditioner. :cry:

    This one might be a bigger problem. It gets pretty hot over here in southern New Mexico. This one is worthy of asking the owner in the small town near Tucson and seeing how they deal with it. Might be a deal-killer there.

    Oh, about the payments. I get it that people don't like to accept payments. It doesn't hurt to ask, does it? :D

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,753
    But a VW engine, even very well rebuilt, is maybe good for 60,000 tops.

    I got 106K on the first one, and another 125K on the second one (which was still running well when I sold it).
  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,753
    OK, I can deal with the valve adjustment every 3-6,000 miles. I'll just learn how to do it (the internet can probably help here with a pictorial guide of some sort, or I'll just buy a manual that describes how to do this procedure)

    You just check the valves with a feeler gauge when the engine is stone cold. I found that I rarely needed to adjust the actual setting, so it pretty much was a "pop off the cylinder head covers and check the clearance" operation. Do it whenever you change the oil.

    Yes, the AC situation may be the biggest issue in a hot climate.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,778
    edited May 2013
    Even as ham fisted as I am, I learned to do the valves on my old Bugs. First got to Alaska in '73 in a Bug that was pretty new. Otherwise I drove them in Mississippi and the Bugs were subjected to a nice moist heat. Only engine issue was a head gasket in a '69 Bus failing.

    They still ain't safe. Sure were fun to drive though. :shades:

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    edited May 2013
    106K? Consider yourself among the blessed then. :)

    I picked 60K as the sweet spot in the bell curve. Some will do better, some worse.

    I've busted apart a LOT of VW engines in days past, and compared to a Porsche engine, they are really cheaply made. It's rather amazing they do as well as they do.

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  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    Bob Pease was a well known analog design engineer who was killed in a car accident in 2011. Bob was famous for his tales about his '69 Beetle that was his daily driver. If you Google "Bob Pease Volkswagon" you'll get a fair number of hits on this topic.

    Bob Pease
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    thanks for that link. I'll check it out.

    You just check the valves with a feeler gauge when the engine is stone cold. I found that I rarely needed to adjust the actual setting, so it pretty much was a "pop off the cylinder head covers and check the clearance" operation. Do it whenever you change the oil.

    Yes, the AC situation may be the biggest issue in a hot climate.


    Sounds like the valves will be easier than I thought. Good. I will call and talk to the owner about driving the thing in suburban Tucson w/o air conditioning. I may be all right w/o it.

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,753
    Sounds like the valves will be easier than I thought.

    It's really very easy. If any one valve isn't right, you just need a small box wrench (I think 13mm but might be wrong on that) and a screwdriver. Loosen the nut, adjust the clearance with the screwdriver, and tighten the nut back again.

    I found that once I was regularly doing it, I almost never needed to adjust them again, just check them. The key point is that a bit too much gap is ok, but not too little gap.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    If you can count to four, you can do it! :P

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Not a great endorsement of the safety of a VW Bug, however. :(

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  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    Never mind the future, can you name a full size minivan with stick for NA market in the last 10 years? That boat sailed a while ago. Easily 95% of soccer moms won't buy a stick, so none is offered. Only stick minivans I know are micros - Kia Rondo and Mazda5.
  • eliaselias Posts: 1,923
    the old beetle floorboards rust out, and the battery falls out onto the pavement and drags... car will run fine in this condition but watch where you put your feet.
    maybe that doesn't happen in the desert/baja beetle, but don't count on it.

    as for air conditioning in a 1969 beetle, bwaaaahahahahahahahahaha.
    heat is going to be almost as laughable and imaginary as A/C. the engineers seem to have relied on the placebo effect for heat... (the heating duct/rail/gaps would rust out, along with the floorboards.)

    as for a price of $1800, consider that my pops 1965 beetle was $1653 new (with optional rear seatbelts)... so $1800 for that 1969 is close to the original factory list price.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    edited May 2013
    And even the Mazda5 is now going the same way other manufacturers, most recently Subaru (much to my disappointment) have gone with all their models: you can only get the stick in the cheapo version. Want a moonroof, navigation, or leather? Then you can forget getting a stick. :-(

    It's a big let-down that Mazda is now following this same old pattern, but I should have known it was in the cards when Honda began removing the stick shift option first from the Accord, and then from the Civic (only LX and SI 4-doors can still be had with a stick), and even that is only in name - go into the dealer and ask to see the stick-shift selection and they will just fall over laughing. Tell them you will wait while it is ordered and they will sober up and talk about how it is an "unavailable model".

    As for Rondo, do they still even make that? I haven't seen a new one in ages, I think it is gone. You can still get a Soul with a stick, but again only in the cheapo version.

    Actually, when I wrote that comment I was thinking more of the crossover selection with a manual and AWD, which I BELIEVE (but don't quote me) is down to the Forester (cheapo model only, but not the turbo, oh no we wouldn't want to let you have the turbo with a stick shift) and the Porsche Cayenne. And that is in a market where crossovers are challenging the midsize sedans for biggest market sales segment, and almost 50% of all the sales are AWD. How many dozens of different models are there available? And only those two fringe models available with a stick. You talk about the minivan boat sailing a while ago but the AWD crossover boat is sailing as we speak. :sick:

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    edited May 2013
    as for a price of $1800, consider that my pops 1965 beetle was $1653 new (with optional rear seatbelts)... so $1800 for that 1969 is close to the original factory list price.

    I agree, elias, $1,800 is a decent price. Of course, when you buy a used rig, you really are rolling the dice, anyway.

    The issue of adjusting the valves is not even an issue anymore. Nuff said. I think I'll like doing that little happy, happy Bug boy task. ;)

    The fact I won't have air conditioning will be lost in all the fun I'll have shifting and driving the little Bug. All Alamodordan's have ta do is drive 15-20 miles east up into the Sacramento Mountains, the southernmost tip of the Rockies, to escape Alamogordo's hot and heavy weather. So I'll just Flintstone-pedal my Bug up the hill if I need "air conditioning" in a pinch! And the fact that it doesn't have very good handling dynamics is not an issue, either. I won't need good handling. The VW Bug was designed as a "car for the people," the German Model T. Right? Not a rally racer.

    There's just something about the small dashboard, the view of the curved nose of the car from the driver's seat, the sheer elementary-ness of the entire design that intrigues me. I was given a business card from a co-worker today of someone who works on restoring VW Bugs today. The old VW Bugs. So I'm still investigating things. Not in a rush about getting that particular Bug I posted the picture of (or, IOW's, my wife won't allow this), but I want to at least chat with the owner of it. Remember, we have had the beautiful sedan below in Rally Red for over 6 years now, and my wife was opposed to that, too.

    image
    2008 Mitsubishi Lancer GTS

    Stay tuned fellow car nuts. This is what it's all about! Only a silly car enthusiast would want to buy a VW Bug from the 1960's.

    At least one person selling their 60's Bug has installed airbags in their Beetle, though I'm not sure they would deploy properly in a crash. Still, visions of horrible accidents are not what normal people have when they think of a car purchase. If that's what I did in my mind whenever danger approached while driving I would abhor driving. I don't abhor driving, I absolutely love driving, and although I've never driven a VW Bug I think I'll absolutely love driving one! :P Perfect rig for a man that drives like a man about 30 years older than he is, eh?

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • ruking1ruking1 Posts: 14,896
    I am not sure what this means, but $1800 is what I bought a used 1970 VW Beetle with 10,000 miles in 1971 (42 years ago). I ran it for app 250,000 miles. Long about 110,000 miles, I was thinking that the clutch needed changing (it really didn't) and ran it another 140k.

    At that time, I was in the service and the owner of the shop knew the old clutch could probably be put back in, but if it is already apart, why not put in a new one? I guess he knew money was tight, so he said if I bought the parts from him retail, he'd finish the job for a case or so of Heineken and pizzas.
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    amen, brother, if you were anywhere near Alamogordo, NM, now I'd feel like taking you out for pizza and Margarita's! That's what someone wants to hear 'bout now, not goofy scary negative stories designed to worry and pester a fellow car nut (I...I mean car man).

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • dudleyrdudleyr Posts: 3,447
    Actually Honda is not killing off the stick as fast as was implied. They actually have more MT models of Accord available for '13 than for '12 - 3 vs 2.

    They do carry Accord sticks in stock. I bought mine off the dealer lot - no special order or laughing. EX with sunroof, backup cam, keyless entry and start, mirror cam, blutooth, remote window roll down etc. etc. So not that basic. No leather though, but maybe they will add that for the refresh.
  • slorenzenslorenzen Posts: 305
    There are several things you can to do IMMENSELY improve the handling for not much money, as well as improve the engine.

    Buy a '71 or newer bug. They have independent rear axle, a better oil cooler(called a "doghouse") and dual-port heads for better breathing. Another thing to give you an instant 1500 RPM of useable power is change out the stock 1.1 ratio rocker arms for a 1.4 ratio.

    I did this to a "slightly punched" motor, and my useable RPM's went from 4.5 K to 6K.

    Also, in that hot environment, install a higher capacity oil pump.

    By using the doghouse cooler and the high-capacity oil pump, the engine will run cooler than if you had the external cooler. You are reading the words of someone who tried 5 aftermarket coolers and filter setups, before realizing the stock doghouse was best for cooling.

    If you are mostly driving on the street, install a rear anti-sway bar(3/8" is all you need) and swap out the front bar from 3/8ths to 3/4 inch.

    With my bug, putting out 125HP bench tested, and the handling mods, I used to give my friend in his 2002 tii ABSOLUTE FITS 'cause I could power-drift around him on a freeway cloverleaf... :shades:
  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    hey, you're destroying te stereotype of VW Bugs being gutless bombs, stop it! Great ideas from this Edmunds' bunch of car nuts, I knew I could count on you guys! My wife pleaded again with me not to buy one, so here we go again.

    Gonna be a really, really tough sell to her on this idea.

    "Go ahead and hit me with it, Mary! What kind of chance do I have with you?" ~ Jim Carrey, 'Dumb and Dumber'

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    it's not a stereotype though------what he has done is all the right stuff to correct many of the car's original deficiences.....lack of power and squirrely handling. What he's telling you is that you don't have to be satisfied with the original as it is.

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  • tlongtlong CaliforniaPosts: 4,753
    if you were anywhere near Alamogordo, NM, now I'd feel like taking you out for pizza and Margarita's! That's what someone wants to hear 'bout now, not goofy scary negative stories designed to worry and pester a fellow car nut (I...I mean car man).

    I learned all about working on cars due to my '66 Bug. I learned how to change oil, adjust valves, points, timing. I learned how to change a clutch (you have to remove the engine--but in the Bug that's pretty easy and you don't need much other than some basic tools, a jack, and a collapsed cardboard box to do that, either. The only engines I've ever rebuilt were VW Bug engines, too.

    Ahh, such fond memories.....
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 45,013
    Aside from transaxle work, there's not much on a VW Bug that the amateur mechanic can't do in his driveway.

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  • iluvmysephia1iluvmysephia1 Posts: 5,707
    I got that. I was just kiddin'. I have a business card of a local here in southern NM who rebuilds them. He would be my most logical contact, especially if I want those updates done. And they sound like they ought ta be done, if for no other reason than to keep up with the traffic flow of the region.

    Way too many hicks in pickups around here that would love ta run my Beetle-bug right into the dusty ground en route ta their destination. :surprise:

    2011 Kia Soul Sport 5-speed

  • volkovvolkov Posts: 1,302
    New version of Rondo just came out. Still has a stick option but base only as you repeatedly complain. Broader options for both models in EDM and Asian markets. I'd love one of the many AWD micro vans the asian markets get. Know two people here with the Diesel stick AWD Mitsu Mivec, but they are quite old and RHD as they are Japanese cast-offs. Modern version of that would be sweet. Think AWD off-road version of the M5 - uber fun vehicle that can still haul the kids.
  • bob4021bob4021 Posts: 1
    I´ve always liked using a stick shift. Never cared much for automatics. Kinda takes the fun out of driving.

    image
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