Guidelines and Expectations

Freeway speeds generate a lot of heat and are known to be potentially devastating to air-cooled engines. Even with an already reliable air cooled engine consider going to high octane fuel (91) as it has a longer chemical chain so burns slightly slower. In theory that equals less heat at TDC and less chance of harmful detonation. Backing off the ignition timing a few degrees can also help your engine stay cooler on a long run. You might want to carry extra jets of the next larger sizes. Read a spark plug after a period of unusual motor exertion or after a long day. If it is burning too hot, or the engine still needs more cooling, you can try going up on the primary carburetor jetting. If your air cooled buggy has had reliability issues then please consider not making the trip.

Suggested Air Cooled VW maintenance prior to attempting this trip:

⃞ A general tune-up including engine timing and valve clearances. How is your oil pressure when the engine is hot? Any leaks? Look for visible deficiencies like worn fan belt, torn boots, etc.

⃞ General check of all problem areas you have had in the past.

⃞ Are all aspects of the buggy street legal?

⃞ Check engine compression. All cylinders should be above 90 lbs and within 25 lbs of each other.

⃞ Take a long run at freeway speeds and read your spark plugs. Re-jet if necessary.

⃞ Adjust your alternator belt. (Also, old belts tend to slip more)

⃞ Change engine oil. Due to consistent freeway speeds consider using a slightly heavier oil than you normally use, or better yet, go to synthetic for the trip.

⃞ Change fuel filter. Carry an extra or two. Install new fuel lines.

⃞ Check brake system thoroughly: Fluid level, shoe adjustment, e-brake function, look for leaks or seepage.

⃞ Your buggy needs to have a fuel range of at least 200 miles (more is better).

⃞ Check Transaxle fluid level. Adjust clutch. Does your buggy ever pop out of gear?

⃞ Check tire condition and set pressure for a street run. Check lug nuts/bolts for proper torque.

⃞ Grease all front end fittings. Any steering slop? Find out why and repair if necessary.

⃞ Lights. Are all lights working? Check headlight alignment.

⃞ Have a working CB radio and check CB radio functionality. We need to be able to talk to each other over perhaps a mile.

⃞ Check rear brake drums for spline slop and replace if necessary. Check torque on rear axle nuts.

⃞ Do you have a way to get out of the sun/rain while driving? A soft top or rack might be advisable.

⃞ Carry a rain suit and other clothing for most any type of weather.

⃞ Have a working windshield wiper. Motorized recommended. Rain not guaranteed but one would think probable. Rain-X the windshield inside and out. Carry a small squeegee to get water off the inside of the windshield.

⃞ Exposed air filters should have some sort of cover to shield them from rain.

In addition to buggy specific and personal items you need, everyone should carry necessary tools, an extra fan belt, fuel filters, ignition module or points, engine oil, brake fluid, spare tire and any fuses they may need. A working cell phone, street GPS unit, and a fire extinguisher are also good ideas.


A special ”Thank You” to Mel Folkertsma for the careful thought he put into this, and for allowing his list to be used on the website. Thanks Mel!