Maintenance/service by a newbie?

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Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby Spydey » Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:29 am

Hey. I’m searching for a Spyder to purchase.

Wondering about maintaining and servicing one with very little mechanical experience? I realize that these are fairly simple cars, and I’ll do my best to learn. But, are these cars that regular mechanics can generally work on and service if there are issues, or do they require someone more specialized?

BTW - I’m in the Philly area, if you have any recommendations.

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Re: Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby egrant5329 » Sat Jan 19, 2019 7:10 am

In my area, New Hampshire, old school VW mechanics have disappeared, especially those that have experience with performance air-cooled motors.

The majority of what you might need to do on the car is change the oil, adjust the valves, unclog a jet and adjust your linkage. Anyone can change the oil. Setting the valves isn't hard, but you have to know if you have chrome moly push rods or aluminum (most are CM), because you set the gap differently. Weber IDFs are another issue. Unless they know what they are doing I wouldn't let a mechanic touch them. If your carbs are dialed in already, then generally the only issues you might run into is a jet getting clogged and linkage needing to be adjusted. Jets are really easy to clean and you should learn how to do it because it can happen at any time and it just takes a minute or two to unclog one in a spyder because they are so easy to access. The linkage adjustment issue depends on what type of linkage you have. Many use a cheap plastic bushing on each end of the crossbar that is often sloppy from the start. If you search for IDF linkage fix there is a lot of info on modifying the linkage using heim joints to eliminate the slop and the need to adjust them.

I'd suggest finding someone local that knows what they are doing and have them teach you. Local VW/Porsche clubs would be a good starting place.
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Re: Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby EEricson » Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:50 pm

Bottom line: if you really want one of these, you'll easily adjust yourself to the maintenance routine. The book "How to Keep Your Volks Wagen Alive" is basically all you need, along with a few simple hand tools.

If you opt for a Subaru engine it's even easier and, yeah, "regular" mechanics can work on them. Just find a shop run by someone with a sporting demeanor.

Meet us here in May: You can see and touch several Spyders there and talk to knowledgeable owners and probably at least one manufacturer.

There may even be one fore sale....
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Re: Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby danstern » Sun Jan 20, 2019 7:35 am

They are simple cars, just like the old air cooled VW was. If you can find a VW shop that's been around for a while and still works on the original Beetle, you're set. The cars are pretty easy to learn. As mentioned, John Muir's How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive is most of what you need. Throw in one Weber carb book (if you're running Webers) and you're really set. Mostly it's oil changes and valve adjustments, both very easy.
Best Wishes on finding a good car. They are great fun.
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Re: Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby RS-60 mark » Sun Jan 20, 2019 10:43 am

Spydey -- Maintaining the spyder yourself is not so much about mechanical "experience" as it is about mechanical "aptitude". You'll get the "experience" (and confidence) after the first time you perform each service/maintenance/repair task. You just need the "aptitude" to use basic hand tools and follow directions. Take the encouragement others have given you in the posts above; these are pretty simple machines. I can speak with some authority about how far you can go without previous "experience"; with a little bit of moxie you can build the whole thing; from chassis springs to valve springs.

My advice on how to get from there to there, one word: spyderclub. I have never seen a question or gasp for help go unanswered on spyderclub. Follow the directions offered by the "experience" on this Board and you'll be fine.

Good luck on your spyder search.
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Re: Maintenance/service by a newbie?

Postby Dwight » Mon Jan 21, 2019 2:27 pm

Spydey, I’m originally from Bucks County, but now live just south of State College here in Central PA, so I’m not that far from you. I’ve had a Beck Spyder for several years. You are welcome to visit me anytime although I’ll also be at Carlisle for the “Speedsters Meet Spyders” event in May which has been suggested to you by other owners. I can attest that maintenance is fairly simple and actually part of the enjoyment and satisfaction of owning a Spyder. Plus, this site is invaluable for any questions or information you may need. Good luck with your endeavors.
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