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So still being a New Beetle Noob but one that wants to keep his bug in tip-top shape, I was wondering what are some special tools that are good to keep on hand. I know there are a lot of torx and hex hardware on these machines and the rear brake calipers require a retraction tool for the pistons, but what other tools would you guys recommend for a vw nb owner to do most/all maintenance on their own? Hopefully this will be helpful to others like me too.:D

I like to be prepared and I have always performed my own car maintenance unless it was beyond my skill/time/equipment available.

I'm mostly asking because I will be performing a timing belt/water pump replacement next weekend (ECS ultimate+), and rear brake pads this weekend.

Also any tips on replacing a 1.8t timing belt are welcome. I have a Bentley manual in the mail and I know it will be intense.

Also also, has anyone had success using one of these?: TEKTON 5807 5-in-1 3/8-Inch Drive Disc Brake Piston Retractor : Amazon.com : Automotive

I ordered it with my brake pads to give it a shot but I likely rent the proper tool from a parts store to be safe.
 

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For the rear brakes I borrow a tool from Autozone (free with deposit by credit card) that works perfectly for retracting the pistons. Last time I did the rears I replaced the parking brake cables and added new parking brake retracting springs that are available now:

Volkswagen New Beetle 2.0 > Braking > Parking Brake

The parking brakes had been chronically dragging a little for the whole life of the car and those fixed it.

For the timing belt I would recommend a tensioner adjusting tool which is a wrench with two pins to engage the tensioner. I also built an engine support beam from 2 oak 1x4's and some threaded rod to support the engine from above by the fenders. It worked great.
 

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I just used my floor jack to support the engine when replacing my timing belt.

Not sure if all the 1.8t are the same, but on my 2003 1.8t the timing belt tensioner is an automatic gas strut style tensioner, no special tool needed if you install a new tensioner, just pull the locking pin once the belt is on.

As for other tools, you may need as set of triple square bits, many strange things on these cars use the triple square bit.

Amazon.com: Neiko 10-Piece XZN Triple Square Spline Bit Socket Set, Quality S2 XZN Bits: Home Improvement

Also 3/8" drive metric hex bits/Allen head. Use the ALL the time on this car. As I recall the lower pulley may have these??




Also
 

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Metric everything.

It's usually not the specialty tools I end up missing during some work on the bug, it's the odd metric wrench or socket that I find myself missing.

As an example I was removing the accessories belt, the manual stated to use a 15mm wrench to turn the tensioner. But it was actually a 16mm wrench that I needed, and did not have on hand. So I had to use one of those adjustable wrenches which never seem to hold in place that well.
 

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Ugh yes. 16mm everything. We had a bunch of tools for working on our '84, and most things are 10,11,13, or 15mm. When we realized things on the mk4 were 16mm (which was in the middle of a auto->manual trans swap), we realized we had no wrenches or sockets in that size! Its not a size that comes in a lot of kits. When we put together our emergency tool kits to keep in each car, finding a 16mm in a set was tough.
 

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Discussion Starter #6

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I don't think the kevlar kit is really worth the extra money. Just make sure you keep it changed at the proper intervals (which really should be 60-80k or 5-6 years, whichever comes first). I'd go with their regular ultimate plus kit.
 

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Having a set of deep sockets is also quite handy, and a 12inch extension for the socket set. A wobble extension would be good to have too for those bolts that are just a little off to the side and hard to get directly.

Torque wrenches that have Nm and Lbs are a must. I have two, a small one that goes up to 29 Nm, and a large one that goes from 28 Nm and up.

Almost every bolt, nut, and screw has a Nm torque value that would ideally be followed when installing parts.

And speaking of those bolts and nuts, a lot of them on this car are one use only, replace each time. So before you start working on a task run through the Bentley and check online too to verify that you have on hand all the bolts that need to be replaced to do the job right.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I don't think the kevlar kit is really worth the extra money. Just make sure you keep it changed at the proper intervals (which really should be 60-80k or 5-6 years, whichever comes first). I'd go with their regular ultimate plus kit.
Cool, I'll take you advice and save $40.

Torque wrenches that have Nm and Lbs are a must. I have two, a small one that goes up to 29 Nm, and a large one that goes from 28 Nm and up.

Almost every bolt, nut, and screw has a Nm torque value that would ideally be followed when installing parts.
Well I have a ft/lbs torque wrench, I guess in a bind I could convert from Newtons. I should know better when dealing with a European car!
 

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