When I bought Miss Hilda in May of 2008, she had about 98,000 original miles on her 1966 Beetle engine. (1966 VW Bugs have a 1300 cc engine with a maximum output of 50hp! Whoa - built for speed!)
I hoped, with a lot of love and care, I could get at least 120,000+ total miles on her original engine. Easy miles by just driving around town.
Then the Big Idea struck while my husband and I were in Montana, in August, 2008: why not drive Miss Hilda across this beautiful country of ours? I'd always wanted to take a cross-country trip and now I had my dream car!
(Here I am, underneath Miss Hilda, when she was up on a lift.)
But I knew I'd have to get my engine in tip-top shape for such a trip. I needed a master mechanic to help me. Where could I find an expert on vintage Beetle air-cooled engines? A mechanic I could trust?
I thought it would be a tough mission.
I started to ask around and one of my co-workers recommended Earl Huber at Huber Autos. Located right up the street from my office! Earl specializes in VW sales and service. I went to talk to him and immediately liked him. Here's a picture of Earl and his staff - Earl is on the far right:
Earl started working on VW engines when he had his first Bug in the 1970's. And he is a collector of VW's too! Earl was easy to talk to, patient and didn't laugh at my crazy plan to drive Miss Hilda across the country. He smiled and said he'd be happy to take a look at the engine to see if Miss Hilda could make the trip.
A few days later, I got the bad news from Earl: the #3 cylinder was in bad shape and would probably fail during a cross-country trip. That's bad. Very bad.
But I was determined. And I knew I'd found the master mechanic to rebuild Miss Hilda's engine for the trip.
So Earl worked with me to find new/old stock parts to rebuild her engine. He even took Miss Hilda to his service bay, at his own house, to give her extra TLC during the "operation". Earl emailed this picutre that said "Getting Ready for Surgery"! How cute is that?
A few weeks later, I got Miss Hlda back and her engine sounded strong and sure. Very peppy. Her rebuilt engine gave her new life and convinced me that we were both ready for a cross country trip!
9/1/09 I took Miss Hilda to see Earl, to get her new valves adjusted and an oil change. Earl patted her on the back and pronouced her ready to drive to California!
Earl Huber from
Huber Auto Group in Ephrata, PA
is simply the very best! I highly recommend him and his staff for work on any Volkswagen or Audi. Can't say enough good things.
JUMP IN THE BUG - Join us, man, by subscribing to our VW trip blog. You'll get cool updates on our three week cross-country adventure. Just click on the button below:
OR you can watch our little tour VIDEO's on YouTube as we slowly putt-putt across the USA.