This must be one of those simple answers that any VW Turnwrench should know, but I don't. It's about removing the distributor driveshaft.

Chilton's says that I should simply be able to withdraw it from its socket, but after I put the handy little tool/puller on it, I could pull it up about 7/8", when it hung up. In fact, no matter how I tried to "rotate it to the left" and pull up on it, no matter how I tried to move it or remove it at different speeds (read, "yank on it"), it simply would not come out. It's there still.

The fuel pump rod under the pump rises and falls with the driveshaft as I raise and lower it. Is that supposed to happen?

OK, so I'm asking: is there a trick to this that Chilton's doesn't know about? How do I actually remove that distributor driveshaft so I can replace it so my distributor will continue to turn at freeway speeds (that's how I found out it was bad)?
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You need to remove the fuel pump pump push rod and the plastic guide them you can remove the distributor drive. The fuel pump is driven off of the distributor drive, that's why it would only move a little bit. See attachment for what needs to be removed. I have never been to impressed with Chilton manuals. Hope this helps.
Sometimes to move forward you must first fall backwards
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Hey, thanks, Airgecooled. I guess I'm going to have to get a Bentley manual after all? I'll let you know how the distributor drive works out. When the bottom of the distributor slipped out of the drive on the freeway I was not pleased. This will help a lot.

It's a pity about VW Trends Magazine folding after the April issue. I've only subscribed to it for a couple of years now and was learning a lot about the ins and outs of Beetles. Their series on the '71 SuperBeetle was very helpful, since the Super and the Standard are just about the same from the windshield back. But no more. Sigh.

What do you read? Is there another VW magazine worth subscribing to?

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So, you're pulling the drive pinion why? There are potentially disastrous pitfalls in this operation, I wouldn't recommend that a rookie undertake it without justification.
99% of the time if the distributor becomes disengaged from the drive pinion it's because it simply wasn't plugged in all the way - often because the clamp is tweaked and preventing it from doing so (buy a new one, or iron out the old one with vise & pliers). The distributor itself may have lost an endplay shim somehow so that the shaft is free to rise in it, restrained only by the little spring above the carbon button in the cap - if the shaft has a lot of endplay the distributor may be the real problem.
There are two thin shim washers under the pinion (in almost all installations - there are exceptions where one thick one or even a very thick spacer ring are found instead). If they're missing the pinion will ride too low in the case (and wear the hole deeper) which could cause your problem...but don't add any more without good reason as it will affect both the engagement with the crankshaft and the stroke of the pump pushrod.
As you withdraw the pinion, once in a great while the shims will hang on it until you get them up to where they hit the brass gear on the crank, at which point they may cock and prevent you from pulling it further - or worse, fall off and get lost in the sump.

When installing the distributor, intentionally misalign the drive dogs with the slot in the pinion and note how far from fully-in the distributor will go - that's exactly what the maximum engagement of the dogs will be when you click it home and push the distributor the rest of the way in, normally it'll be between 2/3 and 3/4 of the height of the dogs.

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Uh, huh--hit the wrong button and posted an empty post. Sorry about that.

I appreciate the input. I removed the distributor drive because after having my Bug towed home (oh, the humanity!) I found--eventually--that the problem was timing. I could grasp the distributor rotor and turn it completely around with a couple of small (emphasis on the "small") detents on the way around.

I pulled the distributor and checked it out. No problem there: Nothing loose, nothing broken, nothing borrowed, nothing blue. So I reinsterted the distributor and checked its movement a little more carefully. I could hold down on it with considerable force and feel it rise as the dogs on the bottom of the shaft slipped out of the slots in the driveshaft. It simply was not riding deeply enough in those slots to keep it engaged under the stress of freeway driving. Since the dogs were in good shape, and so were the slots on the drriveshaft, I figured that something was worn low enough to drop the shaft far enough to disengage it from the distributor at highly inconvenient moments.

So I replaced the shaft. I suppose I could have shimmed it higher, but a new shaft is only ten dollars around here--probably cheaper other, more civilized places--and I figured that it couldn't hurt.

That's the way it appears. After c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y removing the old one, noting its orientation, and then replacing it with a new one in the same position, I buttoned everything up, including that plastic fuel pump rod guide (wretched Chilton's that speaks not the whole truth. May it's name be blotted out), and violin...viola...whatever, "my monster lives." It fired right up and after adjusting the timing just a bit with my trusty Craftsman timing light (don't laugh, it works), it purrs like a Flat Four. Not exactly kittenish, but just like it did before.

I appreciate the warnings and the help. There is always something to watch out for that those of us unfamiliar with Ferdie Porsche's Brainchild don't know. I hope that I can avoid some of those in the future. A fellow with a salvage yard just got in a couple of old Bugs and is willing to let me have a bunch of parts because I have an honest face--that, and I happen to know his business partner really well. He's told me a lot of his stories from his Airborne days in New Guinea and the Philippines in World War Two. I can get an engine for a song, and I can find out how to rebuild one at my leisure. I figure I'll finally get to know something about Bugs that way.

Thanks for the help, guys. The Bug is fixed and running because of you.

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