View Full Version : 1968 Volkswagen Beetle 2.3L

11-11-2008, 12:44 AM
Here's my '68 Beetle Deluxe with a few mods:

Stock motor was 1500 cc, but now has a bored & stroked 2332 cc, with Weber IDA's, hot street cam (Engle FK8), beefed transmission, headers and drag radials. Been racing at Race City and also Castrol Raceway, with best 1/4-mile of 13.156 seconds at 100+ MPH. Here's a few pics.
M&H street legal drag radials:
Race City Secret Street:
Castrol Raceway Street Legals vs. Jeep SRT-8:
Das Volks Show at Stanley Park:
2332 cc with 48 Weber IDA's, MSD ignition, etc:

03-28-2009, 05:00 PM
Added a roll bar from Ron Lummus Racing and installed the new Web 86C camshaft and Becker lifters. Hoping to run in the 12's this year:



05-16-2009, 05:38 PM
Dynojet test at Concept 1 yesterday. Peak HP was 180.4 HP at ~6,000 rpms (versus 169.2 HP last year). Hoping the extra 11 HP will produce a high 12-second 1/4-mile pass this year. Will give it a try at Race City on Friday. Here's a dyno video:


09-27-2009, 04:47 PM
Went up to Edmonton on Friday, for the JB Power Street Legals at Castrol Raceway. Decided to drop the tire pressure to 17 lb. and also launch at 6,000+ rpms.

Finally broke into the 12's with a best ET of 12.942 seconds at 104.27 MPH...60' time was 1.763 seconds...not my best, but not too bad with no burnout!

03-22-2011, 08:26 PM
Just received my new cylinder heads from JPM. Now with 48 x 38 valves and should flow 25-30% more than the previous set:




05-07-2011, 06:48 PM
Got the manifolds machined to clear the heads properly. Manifolds are from CB Performance, heads from JP Motorsports, so they didn't quite match at first.

Manifolds are match ported to the Weber IDA's as well:


Bevel edge to clear head castings:


Cosworth style ports:

05-11-2011, 10:13 PM
Found some videos from Castrol Raceway:



05-20-2011, 06:08 PM
Installed the dual Oteva 75 valve springs today. Concept 1 had the correct air-cooled VW head compressor, as my other spring tools would not apply sufficient pressure. These springs are real bruisers, so it took some effort to compress them properly and reinstall the keepers. Retainers are titanium and the dual springs are rated to 10,000 rpm and .700" lift, more than I'll be reving or lifting:



05-23-2011, 05:31 PM
Finally got the linkage adjusted on the Weber IDA's and the manifolds clearanced, so everything fits with the shorter manifolds. Just need to install the engine and do some tuning:


05-30-2011, 08:42 PM
Well, I finally got the engine installed and had to make some mods to the exhaust, carbs and linkage, as the new heads are a different size. My seat-of-the-pants judgement is that there's more power than with last year's heads. Hope to get to Race City on June 10th to test and tune. Here's a short video:


08-31-2011, 08:42 PM
Well, after getting poor results with the Web 226 camshaft, I installed my old 86C cam. Ran a 13.09 ET at Castrol, and then last Friday 12.812 seconds at 104.02 MPH at Mission Raceway. Here's a photo from Mission:


01-13-2012, 04:55 PM
Going to try a new camshaft from JPM for 2012:


06-02-2013, 10:54 PM
Well, after racing with heavy steel wheels, I finally picked up some lighter spun aluminum wheels. They're 6" wide CMS rear and 3.5" Bogart on the front. Hopefully saving over 30 lbs on the set of four will gain a tenth or two on the 1/4-mile...not sure what the usual gain is:


09-18-2013, 08:57 PM
Went out to Mission Raceway and clocked a 12.6-second ET at 106 MPH...that's a new best 1/4-mile time for the Beetle.

Also, made another trip to Castrol Raceway and pulled out a 12.8 at 106 MPH, another best for that track.

Still playing with the jetting on the Weber IDA's, so we'll see what happens this week...

01-18-2014, 05:48 PM
Ordered some new venturies for the Weber IDA carbs. These are from JPM in Sweden and should improve flow as well as dispensing with the stock auxiliary stacks. Also, should smooth out city driving. These are 44 mm venturies, which should work well with the 48 mm intake valves:


01-24-2014, 02:17 PM
Here's a comparison of the stock Weber IDA venturies and the aftermarket JPM Raptor vents. The new vents replace both the stock venturi and the auxiliary stack:


09-03-2014, 10:57 PM
Had the Beetle on the Dynojet at Concept 1 for some carb tuning. We experimented with different Weber IDA jets and ignition timing. Came up with a best jetting combo of F2 emulsion tubes, 2.10 mm airs, 1.85 mm mains and 0.60 mm idles. Best run was 204 WHP with the 7500 rpm rev limiter. This was with 10:1 CR on 94 octane Petro-Canada. Will probably bump the CR up to 11:1 next, and maybe try mixing a bit of race fuel, if need be.

Hoping to race at Central Alberta Raceway in Rimbey next, and also Castrol Raceway later this month (when the Street Legal's return).

Here's a short video taking it up to 7500 rpm. The cam can handle more rpms, but I'll wait until I bump up the compression ratio next winter:

10-25-2014, 05:19 PM
Had a lot of fun racing Street Legals at Medicine Hat, Rimbey (CAR) and Castrol Racway this summer. However, the Beetle is stuck in the high 12-second range for the 1/4-mile. Decided to upgrade the exhaust and bump up the CR, maybe port the heads...would love to run an 11.90 next year.

Picked up this nice stepped header: it starts with 1 5/8" stainless steel pipes, then increases to 1 3/4" and finally to 2". My current header is simply 1 3/4" for the entire length and is a very basic economy merged header. The new JPM-CSP header has equal length pipes from all four cylinders and a quality pyramid at the collector. On a similar 2.3L engine, this header added 13.5 HP to the wheels, so I'm hoping for a similar improvement.

Toying with the idea of adding a turbo, but I'm a diehard carb guy, so that will require some further thought:


01-13-2015, 12:01 AM
Finally got around to installing the new stepped header. Had to do some cutting and welding to get the Magnaflow muffler setup to fit, and will also have to cut & weld the traction bar to fit. Here's how tight the header pipes fit, however, it had to be that way to get equal length pipes from all for cylinders:

04-17-2015, 03:48 PM
I've been using Manton chromoly pushrods in order to have sufficient strength at high valve spring pressure and rpms. However, in an air-cooled engine, the problem is that the aluminum heads and block expand as the engine warms up, but the steel pushrods do not expand (as much) thus creating a larger valve lash...and an annoying clatter in the valve train. Stock Beetles use aluminum pushrods, but they're only strong enough for stock or mild hi-po valve train.

I researched the issue and found that there are several manufacturers now producing dual-tapered aluminum pushrods. I ended up buying the Logmech brand from Sweden: http://logmech.se/eng/products/engine/pushrods/

Just need to cut these to size and install in time for the start of the Street Legal season:


07-12-2015, 10:19 PM
Update: replaced the old Weber IDA velocity stacks with a newer design from JPM. These are their Raptor stacks that create a smoother entry for the air flow, and also add a few cfm.

The Raptor stacks must have helped as the Beetle ran 0.16 seconds quicker and 3 MPH faster at Castrol on Friday. This was my first 12.6-second ET at Castrol, as I've only ever achieved that once before at Mission Raceway (sea level):


09-28-2015, 10:39 PM
Made the trip to Mission Raceway, as part of the 24th Annual Great Canadian VW Show weekend. Managed to get four races on the drag strip, including a couple of 12.5-second ET's...best ever for the Beetle.

Experimented with the jetting on the Weber IDA's, but the dew came early and the track had to shut down.

Will ponder some changes for next season...different camshaft (probably closer to a race cam). Also, need to work on the suspension and lighten the car a bit, to improve the slow 60-foot times.

02-21-2016, 05:32 PM
After leaving the engine together for a couple years, I decided to remove the cylinder heads and check the valve train for wear and geometry. So far, everything looks pretty good. I wll probably replace the dual valve springs just to be sure, as it's cheap insurance.

The ten-year old Scat 1.4 forged rockers are still in top shape:

The OEM magnesium crankcase is holding up well, with no cracks or leaks visible despite the high RPM racing:

The Weber IDA carbs might have been running a bit rich.
The valve notches have worked well on the Mahle pistons. No witness marks are visible:

03-06-2016, 12:16 AM
Did some more research on jetting for the Weber IDA carbs, to improve 1/4-mile performance but still remain streetable. Next step is to change the emulsion tubes from F2 to F4. You can see the extra transition holes:


03-20-2016, 09:44 PM
Pulled off the pistons & cylinders to check the rods, lifters, camshaft, etc. Everything looked good with no excessive clearances anywhere.

Inexpensive Mahle 94 mm aluminum pistons made in Brazil:


Piston is installed into the cylinder on the bench. Install the inside circlip prior. I needed 3.0 mm cylinder spacers to get the deck height sorted out as I'm using 140 mm rods instead of stock 137 mm (some blue sealant is used to prevent oil leaking past the cylinder to block joint):


Lined up the wrist pin with the rod and tapped it in. This is simple to do on an aircooled flat 4, whereas on a Subaru you would insert the wrist pin through a hole in the shortblock:


The stock wire clip is replaced with a more reliable circlip. Rods are H-beam chromoly from CB Performance with ARP bolts:


Piston shows 93.93 mm diameter with 0.035 mm clearance all around (to prevent seizing on cold start-ups). Arrows on piston tops must point towards flywheel to minimize piston slap. Cylinders are inexpensive Mahle cast iron:


Deck height is 0.5 mm prior to installing head gaskets:


1.0 mm copper head gasket creates 1.5 mm (0.060") total Deck Height and 10:1 CR with valve notches. Head studs are Scat 8 mm chromoly and have worked well for 10 years. Heads are torqued to only 18 ft lb, since the engine will grow during operation and torque will rise:


03-21-2016, 10:15 PM
The stock Beetle engine only use 2.5 litres of oil, which is sufficient for it's intended low rpm economy heritage. For high rpm racing, an aftermarket deep sump is required, and I'm using the Gene Berg aluminum sump which holds 3 litres more (the oil pickup tube had to be extended). I run the oil level a bit lower than the stock dipstick mark with 5 litres. This might reduce the amount of oil splashing around inside the engine, but still providing enough to the rods, camshaft and under the pistons:


Using a lightened 12.5 lb chromoly flywheel which is torqued to 405 ft lb via a 36 mm chromoly Berg gland nut (torque multiplier tool helps):


Disc is a Centerforce dual friction model which grips well at the drag strip (but is easy on the gearbox), and is still smooth in city driving:


Clutch is a Kennedy Stage 2. The cooling fan is stock but with welded vanes by Berg (otherwise it could turn into shrapnel at high rpms). The venturi ring improves cooling air intake into the shroud, which then blows over the cylinders, heads and oil cooler:


03-22-2016, 09:24 PM
Here's the JPM Raptor camshaft with 10.8 mm lobe lift (0.425") which combines with the Scat 1.4 ratio rockers to produce 15.1 mm valve lift (0.599"). The cam lobes clear the lifters just enough to account for engine expansion (minimum 1 mm gap recommended):


The cam lobes barely clear the 84 mm crankshaft counterweights:


The camshaft was turned down, so the rod caps would clear. In the flat 4 VW engine, each lobe acts on two lifters...one on each cylinder bank. The two centre lifters control the intake valves, and the two outer lifters are exhausts:


03-23-2016, 10:52 PM
Oil pickup tube extension was made by brazing pipe, to reach down into the bottom of the bolt-on deep sump:


The #3/4 cylinder bank has the oil galleries feeding the cam bearings, lifter bores and main bearings. Oil pump has 26 mm gears. Centre main has a split bearing while the other three bearings are full-circle and slide onto the crankshaft:


Lifters are JPM and are tapered to match the cam lobe taper. Cam bearings are plain style:


Here's the #1/2 cylinder bank before the oil pickup was extended. Main bearings are plain style with groove on the back side for oil flow:


03-23-2016, 11:02 PM
Here's a photo with the previous camshaft, which shows the straight-cut cam gears. The oil pump (top left) is driven directly off a slot in the end of the camshaft. The distributor is driven off the brass gear (top right) on the crankshaft. The OEM stock fuel pump rod runs on a small cam on the distributor drive.

Everything is direct drive, as there are no timing belts or chains. Once the engine is assembled, then the timing never changes...except for the distributor ignition timing (adjusted with a standard timing light).

Little disc on the (top) end of the crankshaft is an oil slinger which keeps oil from seeping out the end of the crankshaft...pretty bare bones design:


03-24-2016, 10:47 PM
I measured and cut the Logmech dual-tapered aluminum pushrods and re-installed the Scat rocker arms. Lash caps are used to protect the valve tips:


Spring-loaded pushrod tubes are used, as they will expand and contract with the engine temperatures. VW flat-4 engines use pushrod tubes to allow cooling air to circulate around the cylinders and heads:


While digging out the adjustable measuring pushrod, I found an old Manton chromoly pushrod that bent while drag racing a couple years ago. It was the 0.035" wall thickness, which while being light, was not strong enough. I switched to their 0.058" wall thickness, and that worked well. However, they're too noisy at operating temperature, and the aluminum pushrods should "grow" with the engine width much better:


I began using the silicone valve cover gaskets a few years ago and this has worked well. Just glue them in, and they stay put without leaking. Aircooled VW valves require regular adjustments, so the valve covers are removed regularly:


Valve covers are retained by thick spring wire bails, which keep the cover tight during all temperatures:


03-30-2016, 10:58 PM
Installed the stainless steel Wasp stepped header. Here's #1 cylinder exhaust pipe starting out at 41 mm, then stepping up to 44 mm and then 48 mm:


#3 header pipe:


Here are the #1 & 2 cylinders with the head studs passing through the fins. The cylinder cover tin is in place and the fanshroud will sit over top:


#3/4 cylinder bank & you can see how air passes between each pair of cylinders and also between the two head chambers to cool evenly:


04-02-2016, 11:33 PM
The aluminum oil cooler has six rows of tubing inside with fins that direct the cooling air to pull heat out of the oil. This is the new later doghouse aluminum oil cooler that was required once emissions standards changed in the early 1970's:


When I installed the fanshroud, I noticed that three of the four tabs holding the air intake ring were broken...40 years of engine vibration had taken it's toll. Decided to braise the tabs, and then gave them a quick shot of spare rustoleum paint. This velocity (venturi) ring was added when VW introduced fuel injection to the original 1600 cc engine:


VW also increased the width of the fan blades to 38 mm and added larger air scoops to the shroud (the bulges that you can see around the air intake). The term "doghouse" refers to the rectangular housing that you can see attached to the shroud. Previously the oil cooler sat inside the flat shroud, which was less effective:


05-14-2016, 06:15 PM
Went up to Castrol Raceway for the Street Legals last night. On the very first race, a lash cap broke while shifting into 4th. I didn't have any spares with me, as this has never happened before. These are Scat brand and they've worked well for several years:


11-05-2016, 06:20 PM
On windy days, I was finding that the Beetle was getting a bit wobbly on the drag strip at around 100 mph. Did some investigating and it seems the California drag racers and Bonnyville Salt Flats competitors have been using something called the Herrod Helper.

It's a very basic wing (spoiler) that helps reduce drag and pressure as the air drops down over the back window at high speeds. Since the Beetle is shaped like a wing, the back end can lift, thus reducing traction (rear-wheel drive). The Herrod Helper, named for the California inventor in the 1970's, was sold by JC Whitney back in the day and is now being reproduced by a Las Vegas company. In addition to stabilizing the car, it also increases fuel economy and reduces noise in the cabin:


11-26-2016, 07:33 PM
Picked up a fibreglass reproduction of the Kamei front air dam/spoiler that was sold for Beetles back in the 70's. This should help reduce lift at the front and improve stability at higher speeds and on windy days:


11-27-2016, 12:59 AM
Got the spoiler installed tonight without too much difficulty. Had to drill four 5 mm holes into the bottom of the bumper. That 60's German steel sure is solid...I dulled one drill bit before finally getting the holes finished:



12-19-2016, 10:00 PM
CSP parts has finally produced a tuned pipe and muffler to match their Stage 2 stepped header. Since my old Magnaflow muffler has seen better days, I decided to order the matching pipe from California Import Parts out of Vancouver.

The trick was how to fit a 1000 mm pipe after the collector and before the muffler, and still fit underneath the back end of a small Beetle flat 4 engine:



12-28-2016, 12:09 PM
Just received a new pair of M&H street-strip tires. These fit nicely on my 6" CMS wheels and have excellent grip at the track. They test as being very similar to slicks, but they are street legal DOT approved. They ship via USPS to Canada, so it's a simple on-line ordering process:


01-01-2017, 10:38 PM
Got the CSP Wasp exhaust finished. It took a bit of experimenting to adjust and fit the muffler behind the brake caliper, between the valve cover and traction bar mounts and also clear the 6"-wide wheel and 215/65 tire:


01-15-2017, 11:15 PM
I decided to change the rear discs to studs, instead of carrying multiple types of lug bolts. Stock VW's use a radius/ball lug bolt, while my CMS aluminum race wheels use cone bolts. It's a pain switching the bolts and trying to hold the wheels in place while threading in the bolts. Now I can mount the wheel quickly, and spin on the lug nuts and torque them at the track. The studs are 10.9 grade Audi/VW upgrades manufactured by White Knight (from Concept 1). Stock thread pitch is retained M14 x 1.5:


02-20-2017, 01:30 AM
Installed some HD rear brake caliper brackets and fixed a slight gear oil leak:

Still using the original bearings. They're lubricated with gear oil that seeps down the axle tubes (1940's technology that was used in the old-style Beetle up until the end of production in Mexico in 2003), although some models later came with greased CV joints:

Torque multiplier tool helps with the 253 ft lb spec. 30 ft lb on the torque wrench is multiplied by 9, giving me 270 ft lb (for racing). One of my original axle nuts had some bad threads, so I used forged chromoly replacements:

Here's a shot of the Swayaway Race axles being installed. Stock axles while durable, wouldn't last at the drag strip. These will twist but not break: