Engine for super beetle


Asked by Jul 19, 2015 at 03:26 PM about the 1974 Volkswagen Beetle

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I have a 1974 volkswagen super beetle ,is there a newer engine, fuel, injected, water
cooled,that I can put in it?  The air cooled engine always needs work. I am looking for a
dependable engine, that is don't have to tinker with

10 Answers


My wife had a 74 Super Beetle. It's a terribly under powered car. Compared to cars today, it feels like you're driving a conestoga wagon. If you're OK with that and like the nostalgia of this car, go for it. Now, to answer your question, yeah, I also had a 1970 Beetle and the annoying thing about these cars is the constant and necessary valve adjustments that need doing like clockwork every 6,000 miles otherwise you'll burn up the valves. Plus, they're noisy little cars with the harsh ride as I described above with mediocre handling. Can this thing still pass smog? I used to see them everywhere in California, but, they're not that plentiful anymore, our air quality restrictions have probably weeded out most of them. So, I've read that people are replacing their air cooled engines with a Subaru engine, which is liquid cooled and you won't have any more valve adjustments. A lot more power as well, but, you'll still have the same ride and suspension. Hope that helps. Good luck.


Back quite a number of years back in the dune buggy days we were running Ford 2.0 and 2.3 engines that were water cooled, even tried a turbo T-Bird engine and computer but the sand was too much for it for I went back to carved engines. Might be worth looking into now.


OK, well the ergonomics of installing a flat Four boxer engine like the Subaru is going to fit better than the inline Four. And, the Ford 2.0 and 2.3 engines you're probably referring to are more like old Pinto engines? The Ford Pinto was never highly regarded and had many problems. The Subaru engine will give you more power especially depending upon which one you choose, your budget. The only advantage of the Ford if you can get that in the space easily is that it's cheaper than the boxer engine. Plus, the boxer engine having a lower center of gravity like the original Beetle engine will give better handling and the sound of a Subaru boxer is much more distinctive. Just my two cents.


Sounds like you need a shop th hats familiar with your 40 year old VW. If it's set up right, it will be more dependable overall thana car with a completely different brand of engine installed.


Chris, you realize that Andy, the original poster on this thread said that he wanted a fuel injected, liquid cooled engine that requires less maintenance than the original air cooled engine. How does your previous post address this issue? Don't tell me you're thinking of a new Beetle engine, they have terrible reliability.


See this, http://www.bowtie6.com/vw-beetle-subaru-swap/


Here's another one for you, there's plenty of power with this, http://www.carscoops.com/2012/04/killing-machine-1973-vw-beetle- with.html

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

No one but you will know and wow they'll be surprised when you accelerate away.


If the main issue is reliability, the easiest solution is to keep the car stock. Maybe hydraulic lifters and electronic ignition to decrease maintenance. Installing all the components needed for a water cooled engine will create many new areas to require constant attention.


I forgot to say my 74 super beetle is semi-automatic, does this make a difference? If I decide to get a rebuild kit, what else would I get to make it better? Like was mentioned-- hydraulic lifters , carburetor, electronic ignition, what else, I don't know anything.

1 of 1 people found this helpful.

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