View original topic: Push Start Stories Page: Previous  1, 2, 3, 4
MetalKing00 Thu Mar 13, 2008 7:41 pm

There was a while when I'd sneak over to this girls house at night and could never be sure if her parents were home or not. You could hear my car from a ways away, and she lived on top of a hill, I'd get going pretty fast and turn off the car and lights and roll up the hill on momentum. Wherever the car stopped, I'd park. After a little while, when it was time to leave, Id hop in, do a little turn around, roll down the hill and start it up at the bottom.

I felt clever. Still do :wink:

Crippler Mon Mar 17, 2008 10:39 pm

when i got my first car, a 71 squareback, it had a ton of electrical gremlins (aka a bad battery). i would have trouble starting it more and more every day. i was 16 i believe. in high school. my friends and i were hanging after a football game and hanging out by my car. when it comes time to leave, the car wont start. cranks and cranks, no fire. damnit. being the useless kid i was, i called my dad...collect... from a pay phone. lol. cell phones were only for the super rich at the time. my old man comes. no tools. nothing. he gets in my car and just says "push me". my friends and i, as ignorant as can be, look at each other, shrug, and push the car. there were three of us, so we pushed it as fast as we could (not knowing anything about push starting cars). my old man pops the clutch, and the three of us SLAM into the rear window of the squareback and fall to the ground. my dad drives back around to our fallen bodies and parks next to me. "There you go, see you at home" he says with a smirk.


Mike Fisher Tue Mar 18, 2008 6:59 am

My RHD 67 Austin Mini panel van was so light I could push it UP hill jump in and jump start it by myself. I guess you could prolly do it with a bug too. The wheel cylinders were so worn I ended up driving it for months w/just the emergency brake! :roll:

dogapult Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:52 pm

At the VW Club "Dutch Dubbers" in Allentown, PA, on a cruise last fall. I, being devoid of permit or license, I rode in another member's Type 1. I had to push start getting the car out of the parking lot, and pulling out of the ice cream parlor. But, considering the owner was nice enough to always park on a slight hill, and Beetles are pretty light, I pushed it with no trouble. I suppose it was my "unofficial" payment to the owner/driver, for being allowed to be a passenger in such a nice Bug.

desertbus Thu Aug 11, 2016 9:49 am

When I was in the Coast Guard back in 1978 I bought a good-running 1967 VW Bug in Philadelphia for one hundred dollars. The reason I got it for so cheap was because it was so rusted out that I had to use bailing wire for tightening things up at the nose and front fenders to keep the headlights from bouncing cop-magnet style towards all comers at night. That Bug was so rusted out I could push it with my feet while seated in the drivers seat. Even though the starter in it generally worked just fine, for fun I would park it outside of my apartment complex on a shallow hill facing downwards and then get it rolling with a few strokes of my feet for push-starting it that way. And if I had a passenger, he would sometimes push from the big hole in the passenger-side's floor-pan too, depending on whether or not he had the sense not to. If the passenger did join in, I'd then openly refer to him as being "My good buddy, Barney" before or after he would call me "Fred".

JuggButt Fri Aug 12, 2016 3:03 pm

I took a day off and decided to take my wife out for a drive in my Vert after our kid went to school. We stopped somewhere for coffee and I left the lights on. Wouldn't crank at all. Since she sucks at popping the clutch (she drives a stick shift car, though), I had her push while I got the engine started. I'm sure it looked like I was being a chauvinist pig or something...

hitest Mon Aug 15, 2016 8:48 pm

Twenty years ago a friend asked if I'd fly to Redondo Beach with him to pick up a '61 beetle he inherited from his Grandmother. My job was co-driver and extra roadside headscratcher if we had trouble. Of course I said yes and threw a bag together of basic road tools. I hopped on the plane and flew a few seats away from George Kennedy- pretty cool.

We flew in to LAX at about 10PM., got a super shuttle ride to G-ma's son and saw the bug for the first time about 11:30. We could not get it to start- so the uncle offered to push start it. He said he had done this several times with the car- as evidenced by the dented rear bumper. I just let everything happen- as it was now after midnight. Of course, the uncle managed to crush the bug's bumper up against the decklid- but they got it started. We drove it for about a half hour and called it a night for the long drive back to Boise.

In the morning, we got ready to leave and I could not even open the decklid greater than the thick of my hand! I was po'd the uncle wrecked this car and left us with little time to make sure the car was ready for the trip. I reached up in there, pushed down on the belt and it felt like about 1/2" play, and I said , let's go!. We had to stop at Midas and replace a brake cylinder from a blow out that morning- and headed home.

That car zipped all the way through Las Vegas and up to Boise without a single real mechanical checkout or glitch. We fried the speedo cable, disconnected it and that's it.

VWKDF Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:10 am

In the mid-eighties my daily was my 56 bug (that I still have). Every morning in the winter I would push start it in reverse with one foot on our flat driveway with the other foot doing clutch. Always started on the first try even going that slow. Driving with the Southwind heater keeping me toasty and lights on at night insured I would be push starting again the next morning.

ALLWAGONS Wed Aug 24, 2016 3:47 pm

Back in '86 I was a smart ass young punk (now I am an old jackass punk) I gave my mom a ride to the Greyhound station in Downtown LA as she was travelling to San Diego. As I dropped her off in my notch, this homeless guy came and asked for money, I told him to go away, as I waved my mom goodbye from the car, it didn't start. The same man offered to help me jump start the car, being young and cheap, I didn't have any money, so I ran inside to ask my mom for money to give this helpful man. Lesson learned.


thevinster Wed May 24, 2017 11:52 pm

When i was in my senior year of high school my brother our friends and i had just finished fixing up a 1963 vw bus. It was kinda jerry rigged together because we were teenagers. The second it was done we all hopped in and we all sat there in silence for a few seconds before my brother turned around and goes "what? Do you think we have a starter? get out and push!"

zombiebug Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:51 pm

When I first bought my 74 super I was told the ignition had gremlins. It was my first vw so I didn't care. Well it was more like Russian roulette if it would start. Some days you had to wiggle the key. Other days no problem. Other days god himself couldn't start that beast with the key. So I got lazy and hot wired the starter to a bump starter I hit under the rear seat. One day at college about four years ago I go to out of class and was going to head to work when the car didn't even make a click. I thought no problem. Reached for the bump starter. That didn't work. So I get out to push and realized I parked right by the speed bump...... near a slight incline.... so I waived down a passing pedestrian who was on the college football team. I asked for a push and he was so confused. He said "what are we pushing?" I replied the bug and he couldn't figure it out. So I told him to follow along. He helped me push it and when I hopped in and fired it up he was so confused. He came up to the window and asked how I did that. I thanked him and explained it's a manual car thing. I have never seen a person more confused but intrigued in my whole life!

Next story year later car still has bump starter. I got wiser by this point. Saw some friends after class who were picking on me for putting money into my car but not the starter. I let them laugh and when we left I get to my car.. you know where this is going. I end up push starting it and just as I hop in and drop the clutch. Just as the bug roars/ pops/ and jerks I pass my buddies in their parking space getting into their car. They were laughing so hard. I called it a work out and drove away. Glad I fixed That ignition but it was fun from time to time.

911pickup Thu Jun 08, 2017 11:31 am

Years ago I owned a 1970 single cab with a 2.7 Porsche flat six and 901 5 speed gearbox.
The fellow who did the conversion (European auto repair shop) went a bit over the top with the engine rebuild (high compression). So much so, the engine wouldn't run worth a damn with anything less than 94 octane.

The engine had a stock fuel injection setup and was a real bitch to start. On 3 occasions it wouldn't start at all, so my wife, who was too afraid to sit in the driver's seat, had to get out and give me a push.

She REALLY hated that truck....wonder why. :)

I REALLY wish I hadn't sold that beast. The sound that flat six made on its way to 7200 rpm was music to my ears.

GlockCop Tue Oct 17, 2017 10:53 am

Back several years ago we had a really nice 75 standard. Bright orange and ran pretty good. It was our fair weather car. One day my wife takes it to work. She worked downtown and I was already home as I worked a 6 am to 2 pm shift. I get a call at about 510. The car won't start. I run down there and sure enough...nothing. I check the battery with my multi- meter and it checks ok. Must be the starter. I said we need to bump start it to get it home so I can fix it. My wife said she had done that before but did not like being the driver for that. I said the only other option was for her to push. She said that's fine. So theres my wife in her 4 inch heels pushing this VW and Im in the drivers seat trying to get it going...luckily it fires on first try. We get it home and my wife said she heard about it the next day from some second shift workers watching the show from a few floors

bvolks Tue Oct 17, 2017 2:22 pm

For some reason we never bothered to fix the starter on our Thing dune buggy. We push started it for at least a couple years. Oh, to be young again.

oprn Sat Oct 21, 2017 6:20 am

This electrical no start glitch seems to be pretty common on old VWs.

A number of years back we brought Dad's old 7 passenger bay window out of retirement to shuttle a wheelchair bound friend to community and church events. Yes it had the same "no click" issue on occasion too! More than once we turned heads dressed in a Sunday suit push starting the old Bus full of kids and a wheelchair!

All it needed was about 6 feet of push room and we were off. You soon learn where to park!

We used the technique again about a year ago at a fuel station several hours from home. We discovered the battery in the 944 was weak. Don't you just love standard transmissions?

yellowcrawler Sat Aug 18, 2018 6:52 pm

I had a 1970 Beetle in 1976, battery was weak and I stopped to get gas. It decided not to start, no problem, key on, shifter in second gear, open door, jump out and push. Starts in 10 feet, but I stumble in a pothole as I try to jump back in. Fortunately I am still holding the steering wheel as the car is now dragging me to the 2 lane highway. Using all my strength, I pull myself back in, slam the door and hit the gas guiding the beetle around the traffic. Drove the same car for a week without the clutch, when the pedal dropped forward and unhooked from the cable. And the fun I had when someone else was driving and grabbed the emergency brake from the rear, slowing the car down for a few seconds.

Ceckert64 Sun Aug 04, 2019 2:08 pm

On my bug, it still had the horrible 6v system that didnít charge. The red light would go on and off if you bent the wire to it up or down. After 1/2 an hour of driving the car had trouble starting, and after an hour Itíd be near dead. Anyway itís 12v now with the 6v started and starts like a charm.

Once a couple of years ago in the winter me and my dad had to push start it on ice down the road. No one slipped though lol

Another time we had to push start it in the Tractor Supply parking lot. Luckily we parked it on the high spot.

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