Oil Change for Air Cooled VW Engine

Oil Change Procedure for Air Cooled VW Engines

Oil Change Procedure for Air Cooled VW Engines

This should be done at least every 3000 miles or as conditions dictate.

    1. Run the engine until warm, drive it around the block. No need to flog it, just enough to put some heat in the oil.
    2. Find a nice level parking spot to park your bug.
    3. While you are waiting for the oil to drain back to the crankcase, gather these tools and parts you will need for this project:
      • Drain pan for the old oil, something at least 6 quarts or so.
      • One pair latex gloves if you desire to use them.
      • Safety glasses
      • Gasket scraper or equivalent.
      • Medium sized funnel.
      • Ratchets, one each of 1/4” and 3/8” drive.
      • Sockets, ¼” drive 10mm for the sump plate capnuts and typically a 3/8” drive 21mm for the drain plug.
      • Oil change gaskets for your engine. This kit should two paper gaskets, six smaller metal gaskets for the oil sump studs and a larger metal gasket for the drain plug. (Certain late model air-cooled engines do not have this plug in the sump plate)
      • Appropriate oil strainer for your engine. Typically single port engines have a smaller oil suction tube than the later dual ports. The one in your engine can usually be cleaned but if you damage it on removal, it is handy to have a replacement.
      • Three quarts of your favorite engine oil in the appropriate viscosity for your climate.
      • Shop towels or equivalent. (You will needs these to clean up your mess)
      • Parts washer or something to clean the screen with.
    4. Chock the front wheels, jack up the rear of the car just enough to allow access to the sump plate. Too much and the oil will run to the front of the engine and not drain out. Be sure to support the car with jackstands before crawling under your car, being mindful of the warm exhaust components.
    5. Under the car and in the center of the engine should be a circular disc arrangement. That is the oil sump plate. It is held on to the engine case by 6 capnuts. Put on your gloves and glasses.
    6. Clean the area around the sump plate and drain plug of any dirt/grime/oil residue.
    7. With the appropriate socket, remove the drain plug, if applicable, and let the warm oil drain into your pan. If your car is a later model without the plug, loosen the 6 capnuts and let the oil drain from around the plate.
    8. When the oil is finished draining, remove the capnuts and gently pry the sump plate away from the bottom of the engine case working your way around the perimeter.
    9. Next is the screen, gently pry it off and set aside.
    10. With the gasket scraper, remove any residual gasket material from the bottom of the case and the sump plate.
    11. If your screen is in good shape you may clean it thoroughly in solvent in a parts washer or you can use brake cleaner or the equivalent and a metal pan of some sort. Note any debris that might be on the screen. Metal shavings, copper shavings or extreme gray metallic sludge may be an indicator of engine problems.
    12. Clean the sump plate of residual oil and sludge.
    13. Install the first gasket to the bottom of the engine. I do not like to use gasket sealer personally as it makes the area harder to clean up on the next oil change.
    14. Install the oil screen you just cleaned or the new screen if necessary. Domed screen shape up. Sometimes it is necessary to gently “tap” the center and perimeter of the screen to get it seated properly. It’s not a nail so don’t pound on it.
    15. Install the second paper gasket, then the metal sump plate.
    16. Install the new small metal gaskets from the oil change kit and the 6 capnuts. Using the ¼” ratchet and 10mm socket tighten those 6 capnuts in an alternating pattern. The torque spec is 5 ft. lbs so it doesn’t take much. Grasping the ¼” drive handle near the socket area, tighten it until it is just snug. These are easy to strip.
    17. Install the drain plug (if applicable) and new metal gasket. Tighten snugly making sure the new gasket has “crushed”. Do not overtighten as these are susceptible to stripping the threads also. The torque spec is 20-25 ft. lbs, or “good-n-snug”.
    18. Next is refilling the crankcase. Remove the oil cap. It is on the generator/alternator stand.
    19. Insert the funnel into the fill hole and install approximately 2-3/4 quarts of your favorite engine oil. Pour this in slowly as it is easy to overflow the oil fill. I usually recommend a good 10w30 oil.
    20. After allowing a few minutes for the oil to drain into the crankcase, pull the dipstick, wipe it with a clean shop towel and reinsert.
    21. The oil level should be at or slightly above the top mark at this point.
    22. Remove the jackstands and lower the car.
    23. Recheck the oil level, add if necessary and replace oil cap.
    24. Start the engine. Be sure the oil light has gone out or the gauge shows good oil pressure. Allow the engine to run a few minutes.
    25. Observe the sump plate to be sure no oil is leaking.
    26. Shut off the engine. Allow the oil to “settle” and then recheck the level.
    27. Top off as necessary to bring the level to the top mark on the dipstick.
    28. Dispose of the old engine oil properly. Notate the mileage on your car to schedule the next oil change.
    29. Check the oil level at every fuel stop or as engine conditions dictate.
    30. Enjoy!