I have always found changing the oil in an older VW a relatively simple task; that is until it comes time to pour the oil in the filler tube. It was easier for my beetle, but not spilling any oil was still a trick! Spilling oil from the bottle due to the glug-glug phenomenon was only one hazard. Not being able to see the oil level in the filler tube proved to by my greatest challenge; especially with buses! The problem occurs when too much oil is poured in the filler and begins to back up and out of the filler top. Usually it falls right onto the intake manifold and head tin and provides for a rather smokey drive for the next few miles. Past solutions usually involved stuffing a rag under the manifold or wrapping the filler to absorb any overflow, but I always managed to make a mess regardless of my efforts.
Skip forward a bit to 2005, about 4 years into my 10 year stint without an old VW. My grandfather passed and in the plethora of stuff I inherited was his father’s copper oil can. I am always one to admire old stuff so even though I had no need for it at the time (both our Jetta and Dodge are easy to fill with oil), I decided to keep it and threw it in a box, never to think about it again.
Skip forward to Sept 2010, the month we acquired Moby. I had pulled my stash of VW parts so I could get an idea of what survived the years of storage and various moves. In the midst of the stash was a plastic bag, the same type of bag you would find at the local grocery store, and in the bag was my great-grandfather’s oil can. My great-grandfather, who ran a garage before the depression, had passed his tools to both my grandfather and father. I had been using many of his home-made as well as professional tools since I started working on VWs as a teenager and immediately wanted to incorporate the can into my arsenal of tools; though I wondered how well it would work in the bus. My main concern was the lack of room between the filler and engine compartment ceiling; the can would fit but I did not know if there would be enough room to lift it for pouring.
Three oil changes later and I have yet to lose a drop, which for me is a pretty good statistic! The spout fits nicely into the back of the filler tube, preventing backups and since the can is open it does not glug-glug like an oil bottle, allowing for precise pouring. Not only does it work very well, but it is nice to find a use for a tool with some history (and it looks really cool too!).