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How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot 19th Edition

4.7 out of 5 stars 419 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1566913102
ISBN-10: 1566913101
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Muir (1838-1914) was one of the most influential conservationists and nature writers in American history. He was instrumental in the creation and passage of the National Parks Act, and founder of the Sierra Club, acting as its president until his death. Muir was a spirit so free that all he did to prepare for an expedition was to "throw some tea and bread into an old sack and jump the back fence."
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Product Details

  • Series: How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive
  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Avalon Travel Publishing; 19th edition (August 29, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1566913101
  • ISBN-13: 978-1566913102
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 8.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (419 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. LaTorre on June 16, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
First, my credentials for this review. From 1971 to 1994 (with insignificant gaps), I've owned and driven three Vokswagen buses (not including a parts bus)and used this manual to keep all of them on the road. As of this writing, I'm driving my fourth bus. I've gone through four copies of the Idiot Book, using each one until it either fell to pieces, became illegible from grease and oil stains, or needed to be updated as I bought a later-model bus. It has guided me through six or seven engine rebuilds (I used my engines very, very hard) and God knows how many other procedures ... I think that I've done every single procedure in the book that applied to my particular makes and models. And using this book, I've done work on various WV bugs, buses, and squarebacks that belonged to friends of mine.
I agree with everybody who calls this the indispensable reference for VW owners. I also agree with those who point out its shortcomings. Muir quotes a friend of his, on a review of another VW book. as saying "I agree one hundred percent with ninety percent of what he says." That could also apply to my own feelings about this book.
As a technical manual, it mostly consists of solid information -- solid enough, anyway, to get you back on the road so you can find somebody to show you how to do it the right way. I've always advised a prospective repairer to own both this book and another manual (my favorite was the green Volkswagen Official Service Manual, also called the "Bentley"), read the Muir write-up first to get a general idea of what to do, and then compare it to the other manual, note the differences, and ask somebody why the differences are there. Usually it's because Muir assumes you're making do with a minimum of tools, or are too cash-strapped to make a proper fix.
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Format: Paperback
Don't
even think about touching anything else on your car till you read it cover
to cover. It, for lack of a better term, is THE aircooled bible. It is
written for the VW driver that knows NOTHING about anything mechanical or
electrical.
THIS is the best (...)you
can spend on your car.
Comment 34 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Paperback
I had a '72 Super Beetle, from 1973 to 1977, and kept it running using this book. I did all sorts of procedures using the book--tune-ups with setting the valve clearance (many times), replacing my muffler, heater box, clutch cable replacement, and changing my leaking fuel pump once in 15 minutes in the auto parts store lot--without the book.

The book is very good for general procedures, but it's really worthwhile to also have the model specific repair manual for your VW. There are subtle differences between each year, and the factory manual is helpful in figuring out what to do when the book doesn't look like Muir's illustration.

One time to let a pro take care of things--In the 90s, my son's fuel injected Bug with a damaged injector was just too much for us, even with my son's copy of Muir and the factory manual. Fortunately we knew a competent Bug mechanic (VW dealers can't repair them anymore--no parts or tribal knowledge), and got him running again.
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Format: Paperback
I first bought this book back in the 70's, when I think Muir was still alive. It completely captured the hippie, VW era, of which I was a part of, in Big Sur, CA. Step by step instructions for everything VW. Today, I am going to buy it just to read and remember an era long past, and wish I could bring back. I am glad it is still in print, because it perfectly matches the machine with the intended owners. I realize the Eurovan crowd will not be doing any repairs, but for those with 70-80's era buses, it is a must have.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Dear Amazon-- the editorial review you supplied here about the author is totally erroneous and laughable!! Please correct it. This book is NOT authored by John Muir the nature-writer and conservationist, born 1838 and who died in 1914, BEFORE the volkswagen was even invented. This book is by John Muir (b1918– d1977) who was a structural engineer who worked for National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA), who "dropped out," 1960s-style, to become a writer and long-haired car mechanic with a garage in Taos, New Mexico, and who specialized in maintenance and repair of Volkswagens. OMG!! This is exactly the sort of thing that makes the World Wide Web so damn dangerous Amazon. Fix it please!

Peter Aschwanden's art work is awesome. It reminds me of R. Crumb. The detail is amazing. The book itself is a master-piece of entertainment and a great combination of art and technology. Reading it front to back will give the novice a good understanding of what makes the wheels go round and round. You might want to have a Haynes manual handy too, but you can't go wrong with Muir/Tosh Gregg for taking your bug apart and putting it back together again. It's just damn fun!
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Format: Paperback
This is a great book, but I own a rare 1969 Auto Stick Beetle. After buying the book from a Motorworks dealer in New Jersey, I found to my dismay that the book contains no information or help for the auto stick owners. Despite this, the book is a great help for other VW issues. I especially like the illustrations. Many of them are funny, interesting and awesome especially for Bug fanatics like myself.
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