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Oil Change and Strainer

Changing the oil in your air cooled VW is one of the most important things you can do to make it last. Dirty, contaminated oil can ruin a motor in a short time. A well tuned engine with minimal wear can run safely 6000 between oil changes. Short trips, big temperature changes, or dusty conditions call for more frequency. Always use good quality oil and try to stick with the same brand if possible. I prefer to use a straight weight oil in stable weather conditions. Multi weight is good in climates that change drastically.

The stock type one motor only has a wire mesh strainer as a filter. I suggest cleaning it with every oil change. To begin you will likely want to raise the rear of the car for easier access to the six 10 mm nuts that hold the strainer to the bottom of the motor. Removing it will allow the oil to drain. You will need a drain pan. I like the ones that can be closed back and later taken to the disposal station.
With the pan under the strainer plate start by removing the nut farthest away from you and work your way around to your side. That way you are not reaching through the oil as it starts to drain out around the edges.
When it begins to flow let it drain and then finish removing it.
With the plate off you can usually remove the strainer by catching it by the inside edge with your fingers and then working it out. If it seems to stick you can gently pry it away from the case with a flat screwdriver.
Both the strainer and the plate can then be cleaned in a small pan of mineral spirits and rinsed in water and then allowed to dry. You may want to level the car to be sure all the oil has drained.
You will need two new strainer gaskets when it is time to put it back. One on each side. Be sure all the old gasket is cleaned off the block and the strainer plate of course. The gaskets can sometimes be purchased as a kit that also includes some little copper washer that go around each 6 mm stud when the bottom plate is bolted on. This helps to seal the nut against the bottom of the plate. If you don't have these small flat washer will work. The original 10 mm outside nuts that hold the strainer were acorn nuts that bottom out against the stud. These have more threads and are less likely to strip. Another thing to be aware of is that if the strainer has been over tightened it will be dimpled around the holes and will not lie flat. This can often be fixed by peening them back down and smoothing with a file. A little time spent here could correct a pesky oil leak later. Using the copper crush washers or flat washers will spread the pressure out and make this less likely.
When tightening the nuts be careful to not over tighten. This is where most novice make their mistake and dimple the plate or break or strip these little studs. Just snug them up and tighten a teensy more later if they want to leak. I use a 1/4 drive ratchet and hold it close to the center. Fortunately if you do break a stud or strip one (you might want to have a couple on hand) they usually can be unscrewed from the block with a pair of vise grips. With the strainer back on all that is left is pouring about 2 3/4 quarts of your chosen oil back in.
Check the cork gasket in the filler cap and replace it before it falls apart and drops down into the filler neck. Now would be a good time to clean the air cleaner, oil the door hinges, check the brake fluid level, air up the tires and whatever other things that you might not get around to any other time. OK, now let the car down and write the mileage and date on something you can keep in the glove box and take her for a spin!! You can see this done in detail in our Vol.1 General Maintenance video available from Bug Me Video.

Rick Higgins and Crew
Bug Me Video, Inc

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