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VW Bug Bus work Diary

Cymbi the Kombi The kombi (1973 Bay 2 ltr) has just had some rust cut out around the front window and both vent windows. I have also replaced the vent windows on the side with the more modern sliding type. Not in keeping with the year I know, but allows far more air for passengers, and that is more important with our summers.

I am trying out a modernisation to the starting system by installing a Cranky kit, which is basically a conversion from a VW starter to a Subaru starter. The kit arrived yesterday so hoping to install on the weekend.

Cranky Kit Installation on Bug

Cranky kit arrived on 31st August so will start to fit it on the weekend (5/9/09)

Would never have been able to do any of this without (Click here)

September 5 Saturday 7am

Ok well now to start on installation. I purchased the kit complete with Starter motor (This saved me the job of changing the gear pinnion as had already been done by Cranky).

The first thing to do was remove the plate from Subaru Starter and check it fits ok. So hopefully I have the Allen key required to remove the two bolts that hold the Starter. Nope a trip to auto shop required.

(Added this later). There are actually 3 hezagon key nuts and the one that holds plate to transmission housing is a different size (7mm). I had to make two trips to Auto shop as I never realised this when bought the 10mm allen key that fits nuts to hold starter.

I then jacked up drivers side rear wheel and removed wheel and VW starter motor. To remove the starter you will need a 14 mm open ended spanner for terminal nut and an 18mm for bottom starter nut and top stud bolt. Removal of connector terminal nut and bottom nut is fairly easy but the top stud has a gap that is just big enough for the 18mm open ended spanner or two fingers, so this one is a pain. Once all removed, starter pulls out easy.

The next job required is to remove the bottom stud from the transmission housing as it needs to be replaced with the Hexagonal nut provided with Cranky kit. The easiest way would be to remove heater box from exhaust or use a small size vice grip. I went the hard way and used normal size vice grips and only removed heater hose, as too lazy to go back to auto shop for smaller vice grips or remove heaters. Though slow, this was just possible.

Pictures above are Car jacked up showing access area, Stud removed and the allen keys required for kit

12am (5 hrs later)

Seems a long time to have got to stage of just installing the adaptor plate. But have had Lunch, been twice to Auto shop and generally had to look for the right tools. So could easily get to this stage in no more than 2 hours if organised, and never had to baby sit a 2 year old!.

Now I was warned of two problems that can occur at this stage.

1. That plate may not sit properly and need a light bit more off the grounded Chamfer edge. This is not the case it fits good


2. Semi round stud bolt at flat edge may need grounding as it may interfere with fitting Starter.

I think this has occured so am having a break to work out how to grind locking head side of stud.

Below Adaptor in situ

Ok have now tightened bottom nut holding adaptor and removed top stud completely. Fitted starter (without top stud) and now tried to insert stud, and it seems to fit fine! It just does not protude very far from back where nut is? Will research a bit more.

Well it was not fine as was hitting subaru starter, but only by a very very little. In fact I ground far more of the flat edge than was needed (not that it matters). Below is Subaru starter in situ with adaptor plate (Angle looks weird as top stud not in place) and a poor quality picture of stud before and stud after being ground.

Have now tightened all bolts, connected the connector and Terminal (the new nut on terminal is 13mm, not 14mm like VW Starter. This is very easy to tighten (even though in blind spot) but not when using wrong size spanner :-)

I then reconnected the battery and the VW bug fired up!!!

Dont know why but volt meter reads 14 volts charging when running (am sure read before 12 volts)? Anyway the Cranky is working great. Now a beer and sod the tools, will do them tomorrow.


Picked up some British Racing Green auto paint cheap and wonder how would look  :

VW Bug For an Automatic car

Anyone interested in a Swap? I have a 1971 Superbug Beetle with 1800 cc engine. My lovely lady can only drive Autos. So looking for a swap with cash difference either way for a hatch type car that has to be automatic. (scroll to bottom of page for pictures of Superbug).

From VW to Triumph Bonneville