Basic servicing of your air cooled vehicle

Step 1 Changing engine oil
Engine oils should be changed at 3000 mile intervals, to ensure that your engine doesn’t suffer from undue wear and tear. Some people even suggest that it should be changed every 2000 miles. If this seems a little extreme just think about how much it will cost to replace your engine should you have a catastrophic failure due to excessive engine wear! The actual oil change interval is up to you, but I wouldn’t recommend that you go more than 3000 miles. Always check you are using the recommended oil for your engine.

Step 2 Tyre pressures
It is important that your tyres are inflated to the right pressure. Your buses ride will be better and its road handling will be much improved, which also means that it will be safer. Check your tyre pressures at least every two weeks and always before a long journey. Make sure you know the correct tyre pressures for your model of VW Bus.

Step 3 Windscreen Washer bottle
The washer bottle on a VW Bus is located behind the front kick panel to the left of the steering column. The peculiar part of the set up is the fact that it needs compressed air to force the water from the bottle to the windscreen. You can attach a normal air line at your local garage and pressurize to 40psi. Warning, do not pressurize it any more than 40psi because you run the risk of blowing the pipes of the washer nozzles. It’s a lot of work to put them back on!

Step 4 Gearbox Oil
Although the gear box should only be changed every 30000 miles it may need topping up from time to time. The fill plug is located on the side of the gear box near to the clutch cable. The official documentation suggests you will need a 17mm Hex spanner, but mine seems to be 18mm! Use Hypoid EP80/90 gear oil and fill so the oil is level with the bottom of the hole. It is essential that you locate your bus on a flat surface when you perform this task.

Step 5 Spark plugs
Cleaning your spark plugs should be undertaken every 5000 miles or so. The electrode gap should be 0.7mm or 0.028in. You can clean the electrode with a little piece of emery cloth or a fine wet and dry. Personally I prefer to completely change my spark plugs every 10000 miles and check them every 5000 miles or so.

Step 6 Distributor Cap
When you replace or check your spark plugs it is necessary to inspect the condition of the distributor electrodes because they can become corroded. If so they can be cleaned or replaced depending on the level of corrosion.

Step 7 Rotor arm
The rotor arm (inside the distributor), should be checked, cleaned or replaced every 5000 miles or when you check the condition of your spark plugs. They are not expensive so I prefer to replace new for old on every service.

Step 8 Ignition points
The Ignition points should be checked every time you undertake the general electrical servicing outline above. The points gap should be 0.4mm or 0.016in and should be clean. If they are pitted or corroded in any way they will need replacing.

Step 9 Fan Belt
Check every time you look in the engine bay! Its easy. 10 – 15mm play is fine, anymore and you should adjust. There are some small shims that can be removed if the fan belt is too loose.

Step 10 Air filter (Oil Bath Type)
The air filter will need to be cleaned and the oil replaced every 5000 miles. Drain the old oil, clean and fill up with new engine oil. Make sure you dispose of your engine oil properly. Your local council will have an oil disposal unit.

Step 11 Fuel lines and hoses
Check the condition of your fuel lines every time you follow this service check list. If they are chapped in anyway replace them. Remember – no smoking! You can get very high quality steel lines if you prefer. Whilst you are doing this you can check the heater pipes for holes or badly fitting joints and repair if necessary. Having holes or bad joints will reduce your buses chance of keeping you warm.

Step 12 Brake fluid
Brake fluid should be checked and topped up periodically. The brake fluid reservoir can be found behind the front kick panel.

Step 13 Brake Pads
The brake pads can be checked very easily on a bus, although you will need to remove the wheels. To do this jack up the vehicle and remember to always use axle stands. You will be able to see if your pads need replacing, they should be at least 7mm thick.

Step 14 Axle
The axle will need to be greased every 5-7000 miles. There are multiple points that need greasing. These are the steering idler that is located in the middle of the axle and the four trailing arm bushes at the ends. So a grease gun will be a great buy!

Step 15 Clutch
Your clutch should be checked for play periodically and should have around 20mm play at the foot peddle. You should also grease the clutch cable periodically to help its ability to work efficiently and to stop it breaking because it gets stuck.