JBugs – What To Look For When Buying A VW Beetle

JBugs – What To Look For When Buying A VW Beetle


Good morning I’m Sam with California Pacific JBugs. We’re here today working on a
new project for us here at the shop. One of the guys picked up a bug. Today we’re going to go over a couple things you
should look at when purchasing a beetle Yeah this is Sam again. We’re going to go over couple places on your Volkswagen where you’re going to find your VIN number. This is more specific to the later to model beetles,
earlier beetles will have a the VIN number elsewhere. Starting in roughly 67-68 this is going to be key points where you’re going to find the VIN number. One being lower left windshield kind of
like most modern cars nowadays. Lower left of the windshield there should be the VIN number stamped to the dash. Another place is going to be on the back door jamb. These are commonly painted over, we’re
going to go over that in a minute. Not always there but this is one place that it should be. Another places is underneath the rear
seat, in front of the shifter access plate, you’re going to find the chassis
number stamped in there. Now these numbers aren’t always going to match. You have to realize these cars are old,
things do get swapped. Not a huge issue but it’s something that
could cause a problem with the DMV later. All right when you’re buying a car, don’t wear anything nice because you’re going to have to get dirty. On your hands and knees looking underneath the car in the fender wells as we’re going to show you here. Major rust spot as far as you know on Volkswagen’s where you’re going to find some issues. As we’ve found here right now, back edge of the quarter well right in front of the fender. On that heater channel that we mentioned
earlier another place where water is gonna gather and cause what we have here is cancer. As you can see here with this rust in the fender well,
it’s all just flaking off. That’s why if the owner of the car that
you’re looking to buy is willing. Bring a small screwdriver, this is
helpful to because it has a magnet. you can see if there’s any excess body filler otherwise. Which probably is not going to be in this area, but this I just want to show you the rust. Key portion to look at for rust on a
Volkswagen Beetle is the heater channel. Heater channel goes from the very front of the car, all the way up to the front frame head, all the way back to the rear quarter panel. It’s a structural peace the body, it’s at the bottom of the car next to all the water and everything else. Over the years it gets inside the body’s
going to sit down here and rust. If it’s rusted can be bad it’s a lot of work to replace but not the end of the world for the right project. One area to look for rust, as it sits in the back and often times if you have bad rear window rubber water’s gonna leak in and gather here in this padding. This padding is gonna retain moisture as I can feel here, you can’t see it video obviously, but it is wet. Fortunately you can kinda tap on it with a screwdriver or otherwise, nothing else just use your hand. I don’t know if you guys can hear that but you’re just her trying to hear the sound of solid rubber as opposed to your crunching or otherwise. One of the most common problem areas with Volkswagens for rust is directly underneath the battery. Problem being all the battery acid, sitting over the top of the medal, its gonna corrode it. It’s not the end of the world it’s something
that has to be replaced regularly. If your car the car you’re purchasing rather doesn’t have any rust there perfect, awesome one less
headache to deal with. We can see some rust has already eroded out of this and by the looks of it it’s actually
already been repaired possibly once already. Next thing we’re going to go over
is just general body shape. Overall fit and finish, the hood, the
fenders, the running boards, how do the doors fit, how all the body gap so to speak. Couple things I can see immediately here
this things obviously had a front end collision. We’ve got a little the rust and bondo here,
not a huge issue on a fender. In the body however we can see that
there’s a large gap between the hood and the body here which tightens up along the bodyline and then gets large again towards the back of the hood. Fender fitment here this car
doesn’t have any fender beading. Which is kinda helpful because we can see that the fender gap this actually relatively good. Although this car is missing some fender
bolts we can see that the body line and most important the fender bolts are in
good shape and not rusted out. Coming across to the back to the car the
rear fender fitment looks good. Fender beading although it’s out of place here slightly, shows that the body line across
the back to the car is good. Fender fitment to the apron looks really good. The body itself back here is in fantastic shape. I don’t see much information as far as indicating that this would be an accident in the rear. At least nothing major. The decklid fitment, which is always a pain, is a definitely out of alignment but that’s something that can be taken care of with just resetting the hedges. Also when we step back a little bit as
we open and close the decklid. Make certain that it opens nice we don’t have any interference here. Again back of this car is actually in really good shape I don’t see any major accident damage. With the door fitment this door gap here
is a little bit tighter than id like to see . Again with some issues with the front end that may have pushed the a-pillar back causing this tight gap. Across this edge here is alright,
across the top is perfect. Across the back at the door jamb it’s a
little bit larger than I’d like to see. The gap at the bottom or the more line
the body line the bottom is pretty close. Not a huge issue that might be some worn out door hinge pins which can be replaced, pretty easy to do. When opening the door first thing I can immediately feel and see somewhat, might come out in the video. There is a little bit play in the door hinges. Not a big deal replacement of door
hinge pins it is not all that difficult. You want to open the door, close the door
make sure that fits tight against the body. Most importantly that you don’t get any
scraping when you first open the door. Which would indicate the door pins are really worn. With the hood open we can see what I saw earlier as far as problems with the hood not fitting properly. We see a lot of body damage here, wrinkles, even some bondo along the front of the apron. Here you can see that all the metals been crunched in. This has been pushed in flat, this
actually should sit out further, which it would cause that large gap
when had when the hood was closed. Also inside the fender well or inside the hood our trunk this is where the spare tire would sit. We can see that this entire area down
here has been crushed. We can see lots of wrinkles cracks in
the paint even underneath all the black spray paint that somebody had done to
kind of you know cover-up some of the issues. Coming in and looking at the back and a dash here,
we can see there’s no speedometer cable attached. Not a big deal but if this guy is trying to
tell you that this things got really low miles, could be because he hasn’t been putting any miles
on it because there’s no speedometer cable. Typical Volkswagen wiring looks like a mess. A lot of people have been through
this thing, obviously an aftermarket stereo. Different sorts of wires, wires that aren’t necessary plugged into anything that maybe should be. This might the be kind of a red flag. That you might want to tow this car home instead of drive the car home, electrical fires are not fun.

About the Author: Michael Flood

39 Comments

  1. Hey thanks for the vid, I'm looking for my first beetle and I have my eyes on a '70 1300, they ask €4.5k and on pics it looks pretty nice and original, 3rd owner… I'll think about the points you said to look at. Any other tips for a 70 especially?

  2. How unreasonable would it be to consider one of these for daily driving? One that is in good running order?

  3. Did old bugs like these have air conditioning? i read somewhere that earlier ones don't but later ones do. is this true?

  4. what would be a good price for a 1969 bug with weathered paint ,deformed tires and not sure whether the engine runs or not.

  5. I had a 66 beetle from new for a few years. I wish I still had it. What a little gem. Is this two tone paint an original offering? 50 years is a long time to remember seeing any. A small clue that it might have been an original scheme is that I have a scale model in just that paint that I bought out of nostalgia for mine. The model is actually a 66. I know the clues to identify it and they're all there. Thanks. Nice vid too.

  6. is it illegal to have a hulla girl on the dash? ive been saving one from Hawaii for about 4 years and I want to know

  7. To just bugs, I have recently bought a 66 baja bug in ga. Rust is normal on every car their but I was lucky to find that their Is very minimal amounts. The worst rust is on the drivers side heater channels and I was wandering if you sold replacements. Preferably a non rustable metal. I look forward to buying from you in the future to restore my vdubs. I would aprieitiate if you would be able to respond. Thanks

  8. Hey! I’m in love with vw beetle and I’ve always wanted to have one but i’m only ten😕 but i’m a little worried that they will be harder to find and cost more when i’m old enough to drive, do you think so?

  9. I have a persistent crackle noise up front near the steering wheel and dash (around there)when the car runs. I get shocked when I handle my door. ?? No one has been able to help me with this. I am a bit scared because of the gas tank location. I do have an after market radio. Just a friendly suggestion would be appreciated ! It's a 74 super

  10. That is why i have a dry cell car battery in my 1969 volkswagen bug. Much healthier for vintage cars. But if you. Want extras. Get two dry cell batteries. In case you want large speakers. And other accessories

  11. 1968 1969 1970 1971 1972. Type bumpers and taillights. 1973 round shape taillights. And still haven't found what year this one is

  12. Nice video—lots of good information.
    Replacing heater channels on a Bug is doable but it’s an involved job that is not for the faint of heart. Checking the area around and behind the running boards is critical, as this is where some of the most serious rust issues will be found. Almost all unrestored Beetles have rust in this area, and the degree of rust found is a major factor in determining the value of a VW Bug, so checking this area of the car is a big deal.

  13. A lot of helpful advice in the comments but nothing in the video about the drive train and engine. For example it's easy to tell if the engine has high millage by checking for excessive crank end play. This should be done before spending time examining the car. Here's how – open the deck lid and grab the crank pulley and push in then pull out on it. If you feel more than a little movement it may indicate high millage and mean an engine overhaul.

  14. Check out the Optima Redtop 78 Battery. It's expensive and may require some modification to fit the stock clamping system (i'm currently looking into this… looks like the stock mount could be rewelded a little forward.) It will easily last 5 years and it has no top posts that can arc on the seat springs. Will require different battery connectors but will never leak and corrode your pan. (12V conversion assumed and recommended.) Any replies would be appreciated.

  15. Every one i see are rotted. Keep in mind people didnt buy a bug to put up and not drive like a 67 Z28. Nice bug but like 99 percent i see needs redone and 20 grand of body work

  16. Bit of rust here, no big deal.
    Here you can see this gap here, not a big deal.
    A small hole at the back, not a big deal. Here's a hole to the ''backwards dimension" has shifted a bit, we can buff that outnobigdeal.

    Just kidding great video, 😁

  17. Gonna buy my First super beetle today, a 1973 with 95000 miles😁.. all original second owner,, will join the club and post a video

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