GOOD OL’ DON. He’s the bloke who bought my rare-in-Oz 1976 V W Bee­tle Kar­mann Cabri­o­let a few years ago. Don has had a run of bad luck lately. Can you be­lieve the poor fella had not one, but TWO of his V Ws catch fire in the space of less than a year? His Kombi pop-top camper burnt to the ground but thank­fully six months later the fire dam­age to his V W-based beach buggy wasn’t quite so bad – it was re­paired.

Don’s bad luck hasn’t spared the gor­geous Cabrio, ei­ther: one day a stiff breeze yanked the driver’s door from Don’s grasp as he opened it... it was hit by a bus.

More re­cently, oil leaks have caused Don some grief. Due to their de­sign and lay­out, there are at least two dozen seals, joins and gas­ket son a VW air-cooled en­gine that are a po­ten­tial oil leak. The en­gine’s eight pipe-like push-rod tubes are par­tic­u­larly prone as each has a seal at both ends; they drain oil from the heads to the sump, and are eas­ily dam­aged. Don had a stick­y­beak un­der­neath and sort-of guessed the push rod tubes was where the oil was es­cap­ing.

So Don re­placed the eight stan­dard pushrod tubes with af­ter­mar­ket two-piece items. Trou­ble is, he in­stalled them arse-about which meant, due to the seal de­sign, oil drain­ing from the heads couldn’t cas­cade back to the sump with­out leak­ing… Fed-up, Don’s next step was to take it to a me­chanic who cor­rectly re-in­stalled the tubes.

But the oil leak be­came worse.

De­spon­dent, Don called me for ad­vice. I’ve re­built, re­freshed, re­stored, recom­mis­sioned, wrecked and raced plenty of V Ws over the years so, yeah, I know what’s what with these happy, funny lit­tle air-cooled clas­sics.

To cut a long stor y short, when dis­cussing the en­gine and the work he’d paid for since buy­ing it from me, Don men­tioned that the oil filler unit had been dam­aged and re­placed with a new one. Know­ing what I know about these en­gines, I knew that the oil filler unit was part of the crank case ven­ti­la­tion sys­tem. I also knew high­er­speed free­way driv­ing causes more crank-case pres­sure… I be­gan putting clues to­gether: could the new plas­tic oil filler/breather unit be – in­di­rectly – caus­ing the oil leak?

We took a look, gave it a big rev and voila… oil spurted from the dip-stick hole. I re­moved the crank-case breather hose and when blow­ing through it – like blow­ing up a bal­loon - there was ob­vi­ous re­stric­tion. I un­bolted the new oil filler and in­stead of an 8-10mm breather hole, we found one the size of a match-head…

I drilled the breather hole to a de­cent size and the prob­lem was solved: my old Cabrio no longer dumps its sump!

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