Please note that during this teardown I had bought two engines already removed from a car, so those steps are not included. When I install the engine I have, I will also show how to remove it.

1. Drain oil

If you haven't already, drain the oil from the engine. Since my engines are "free" I supported them securely on a couple of bricks. The drain is directly underneath the engine.

This picture shows the 6 bolts going around the oil drain plate, and one center bolt. To drain the oil, it is only necessary to remove the center nut, but since I was completely dissassembling the engine I took off the entire plate after draining (this is required to split the case).

View from beneath the engine
After removing the center drain bolt, the oil drains right out. Mine was thick and dirty from sitting so long

2. Loosen Generator/Alternator Fan Nut

Behind the alternator, within the fan shroud you will see a 36 mm nut. Muir recommends loosening this (I couldn't see why, but I did it anyway). I used a flathead screwdriver in conjunction with the 36 mm socket to hold the fan in place in order to loosen the 36 mm nut.

3. Remove Starter

The starter is located on the fan shroud, directly left of the carburetor.

To remove it, unscrew the two 10mm nuts, that hold the starter clamp and starter to the fan shroud. Then unhook the green wire (running from the starter to the distributor), and the red wire (running from the starter to the carburetor) - by removing the nuts holding them in place to the starter. There is also a spark plug wire running from the center of the starter to the center of the distributor.

10mm bolt
Red and Green starter wire connections, and spark plug wire location on starter (goes to center of distributor)


3. Remove Carburetor

There is a vacuum line that runs from the distributor, to the left side of the carburetor. Unplug this from the carburetor. Then remove the two 13 mm nuts that hold the carburetor to the manifold. They are located at the bottom of the carburetor. The carburetor should lift right off (don't forget the gasket).

loosening one of the 13 mm nuts holding the carburetor to the manifold
removing the carburetor from the manifold (top view)
the carburetor removed from the engine


4. Remove the distributor

To remove the distributor, first unplug the spark plug wires going from the distributor to the cylinder heads. There is a 10mm nut at the front of the distributor - unscrew it, by also holding onto the 10mm bolt it is attached to. Finally there is a 13mm nut that attaches that holds the distributor's bracket directly to the engine case. Remove that nut and the distributor should lift straight out.

The distributor removed from the engine
Engine without the distributor


5. Loosen Manifold

I found it easier to loosen the manifold, in order to remove the alternator easier. Remove the 13mm nut at the center of the linkage (picture below left). There are two tube clamps on each side - loosen them with a phillips head screwdriver, so that the center linkage can be moved around (picture below right).

On each cylinder head, there are 2 13 mm nuts holding the manifolds to the cylinder head. After removing them I could then remove the manifolds themselves but not the center linkage - but no worries. The point was giving myself enough freeplay and access to bolts so I can maneuver the alternator out.

The two 13mm bolts holding the manifold to the cylinder head

6. Remove Alternator

Take off the front pulley nut (19mm), pulley, spacers and belt. The generator stand is held to the case by 4 13mm nuts and 1 17mm nut in the back.

Loosen the 13mm nut, the tightens the alternator clamp around the alternator, as well as the four 10mm bolts & washers holding the alternator to the shrouding

13mm nut - alternator clamp

You can now rmeove the 36mm nut at the back of the alternator that we loosened back in step 2. With all those bolts loose you should now be able to lift up on the shrouding, alternator and manifold linkage and take everything off (note - my alternator stand was stuck on the case pretty good. I was hesitant about forcing anything, but I found out later it just needed a good tug).

After the shroud and alternator have been lifted off
The alternator removed from the shroud
The engine at this point


7. Remove pressure plate and clutch disc

If you look at the back of the engine you will see the flywheel, covered by the pressure plate. To remove this remove the 6 13mm nuts and washers and lift it off with the clutch disc. Keep two of these 13mm nuts handy for the next step when we remove the gland nut.

8. Remove flywheel gland nut

Without the proper tools this can be a real pain - however with the right tools, removing the gland nut is a snap. This bolt is torqued to something like 250ft/lb - so the name of the game is torque and leverage. The way I did this is with a foot long piece of flat iron, a 5 foot pipe, a cheater bar, a 36mm socket, and something sturdy about a foot tall (I used a heavy duty wire basket).

I screwed in 2 13mm nuts from the when I took off the pressure plate, so I could wedge the flat iron between them. I then positioned the flat iron so that if the flywheel moves counter-clockwise (which it will when you rotate the gland nut), it would come into contact with my sturdy one foot tall sturdy object. The end result is that when I rotate the gland nut, the flat iron stops the flywheel from rotating - this allows me to rotate ONLY the gland nut, instead of just spinning the flywheel around.

Now that the flywheel is locked, we need a LOT of leverage. I hooked up a 2 foot cheater bar (with the 36mm socket on it) onto the gland nut, and then put my 5 foot pipe on the end of the cheater bar. With that much leverage and the flywheel securely locked - it was no problem! I made a video to show how I did it:

9. Remove Cylinder Tins

Now we can get rid of these pesky cylinder tins - there's not much to say about this, other than see where the cylinder tins are attached, and remove them with a flathead screwdriver and various small bolts (I believe most of them were 8 or 10mm). This will allow us access to remove the oil cooler. *Note - you will be able to remove all of the engine tin, except for the very front engine tin which is covered up by the crank pulley - when we remove the crank pulley you'll be able to take it off.

10. Remove Oil Cooler

First remove the 13mm nut and washer on the front right hand corner of the oil cooler. Next in the back of the oil cooler (flywheel side) you will see 2 10mm nuts w/ washers that hold the oil cooler plate onto the back of the oil cooler

2 10mm nuts holding oil cooler plate
oil cooler plate being removed

Then remove a 10mm nut on the bottom / back of the oil cooler. The cooler should now lift right off the engine.

11. Remove crank pulley

To remove the crank pulley, I utilized the same setup I used to lock the flywheel, in order to turn the 30mm crank nut. I wedged the same piece of flat iron on the flywheel only this time I made sure it could not move clockwise (picture below, left).

After removing the crank nut, you'll need a harmonic pulley removal tool like the one pictured below. Some do not recommend using this for fear of bending the pulley (if you're reusing the pulley). I do not intend on using the pulley, plus I think as long as you go slowly the pulley pops off with no problem (picture below, middle).

With the pulley off you now have your last engine tin able to be pulled off - the crank pulley tin. In the front of the engine there are 2 flat head screws securing it to the case (picture below, right).

Video: Removing the Crank Pulley

12. Remove Exhaust

Since I could plainly see that a lot of the exhaust was rusty (including the bolts), I had been dreading and putting off removing it. However, in order for me to move on I had to at least get most of it out of the way. In my case, I had to hacksaw it off since the bolts were hopeleslly stuck, and I knew the cylinder heads were probably junk.

In order to properly remove it, just remove the nuts holding the exhaust to each side of the cylinder head. However, be careful if they're rusty as mine were. If you want to salvage the cylinder heads be sure not to break off the bolts protruding from the heads that hold the exhaust nuts on.

I recommend soaking these bolts in plenty of rust penetrator, to avoid that ugly situation

13. Disassemble and Remove Cylinder Heads

I. Remove valve cover

We now have the cylinder heads exposed. First, pop off the valve covers on each side by wedging a screwdriver between the valve cover and the bale (the bar that snaps over the valve cover, holding it in place). The valve cover then lifts off with its gasket.

Prying off the valve cover bale
Video: Prying off valve cover bale


II. Remove rocker assembly

You now can look at your valve train (picture below, left).

You can take this time to remove the spark plugs (13/16 Spark Plug Socket). To take off the rocker assembly, take off the two 13mm nuts and washers on the shaft - it will lift right off, giving you access to the pushrods. The pushrods slip right out. The pushrods will probably be coated in oil and will leak so place them in place where they won't ruin things.

Valve train
Lifting the rocker assembly off
pushrods poking out the bottom of the cylinder head


III. Remove cylinder head and cylinders

There are 8 cylinder head nuts which hold the cylinder head to the cylinders. These nuts are screwed on the case studs. It is not uncommon (it happened) with me to not loosen the nut, but the entire stud from the case. If it happens - it happens, there's not much you can do it about it, to my knowledge. These 8 15mm nuts are located within the cylinder head (4 of them), and on top of the cylinder head (4).

You can now removed the cylinder head from the cylinder but HOLD ON. It is also fairly common for a cylinder to come off with the cylinder head - it's not the best thing, but also not the end of the world. Just ease everything off each other with a rubber mallet being careful not to break the cooling fins on the cylinders, as they are pretty prone to breaking off. When you remove the cylinder head, just lift the pushrod tubes out along with it (you can remove them after you've removed the head).

Cylinder Head w/ pushrod tube removed with one cylinder still stuck on


Rest of Teardown to be continued...




Engine Planning

Engine Teardown

Building a VW Engine