Mudflaps (Schmutzfaenger)

by Richard Atwell
(c) Copyright 2003-2011

badge

service bay

So you want a pair of super-neato cool looking rear mud flaps for your 68-79 bus with the VW logo and you just discovered they aren't available. As I understand it, VW of America not that long ago hired a legal firm called Continental to enforce it's trademarks and unfortunately it got out of hand. As a result vendors dropped VW logos from their ads, added disclaimers denouncing affiliation with the VWoA and unfortunately stopped selling any item with the VW logo that wasn't officially licensed (spelled south american aftermarket).

Rocky Mountain Motorworks was targeted for some reason and it almost put them out of business. When this occurred all the other vendors followed suit, literally. I collected this information from the Type2.com mailing list archives so please correct any of these statements if they are not factual. RMMW is no more and now part of Mid America Direct which now calls itself Mid America Motorworks.


What are the options?

There are basically a few options available at present:

Hardly anyone wants the new mud flaps w/o the VW logo German or not. From what I understand and from looking at the catalogs, the mounting kits are far more complicated than necessary. More on this later.

As far as eBay and Samba go, for some reason people think these items are gold and offer them for sale at $75-$110. Anyone that bids up this high is crazy but some people do. Just wait for another set to be listed and grab it for $25-40. When RMMW did carry the flaps they were $25. Towards the end of availability the price rose to $50 so you're getting a decent price on eBay if you pay the recommended amount.

There only seems to be a couple of people who sell the mud flaps on eBay. I suspect they either bought the inventory from RMMW or some other vendor and have been selling them one at a time as the demand has increased. Another possibility is RMMW has been selling their inventory in a sneaky roundabout fashion to avoid Continental's lawyers. For example, this dude has been selling the majority of the venezuelan knockoffs:

Beware of anyone claiming they are NOS mud flaps from the VW dealer. They likely say "Hencho en Venezuela" and are poor reproductions but they are generally the best that are available. One time I caught two mudflap sellers bidding on each others auctions so I suspect there's some fishy-ness going on to artificially bid up the price as well.

The biggest problem with the VZ mud flaps are that they are too long and need to be trimmed by about 2" before you mount them or you'll drag them as you enter and exit driveways. Don't expect the logo to be painted neatly or be nice and white: many are a nasty yellow color.

Hencho en Venezuela image:

venezuela

The Genuine Article:

Genuine VW mud flaps have the VW logo stamped once or more and often are stamped WEGU by the German rubber manufacturer who made the mud flaps for VW.

They are part number 111 827 827 (beetle coded early style) or 271 821 821 (bus coded later style). The beetle variety often has the logo riveted on and the bus version has a logo that is molded into the rubber and painted white. There is a set of Genuine mud flaps without the logo and the part number is the same.

Genuine VW images:

WEGU

Chuck's part number accessory catalog

The image above came from a 74 VW Accessories catalog for a 411/412


Hardware:

Now you've found some mud flaps, how do you mount them? If you were lucky you found a set of brackets. If you were even luckier you got a set with your mud flaps. Whatever you find, and they may not be rectangular in shape like the mud flaps depicted below, be careful to avoid brackets the wrong brackets. They are beetle mounting brackets and I'm educating you now so don't go crying to the auction seller who sold you the wrong brackets.

wrong shape

If you are really lucky you have original brackets like these:

junkyard find

They look pretty ratty so you may want to consider new ones as sanding and painting those look like just as much work as making new ones. Here's a new set that I located but didn't purchase. They look like they've been pop-riveted to the mud flaps which isn't normal but the brackets are genuine:

mounting brackets

Mounting:

So how do they mount? The long bracket facing rear mounts in a hole on the engine carrier clip with a nut and bolt. The bent bracket facing front mounts to the rear of the wheel well with a nut/bolt pair. The mud flaps are held between the two brackets with another set of nuts and bolts.

Chuck's bracket

Click on the images to enlarge:

mount 1 mount 2

Like most people, brackets will be scarce and you'll have to make your own. Luckily Jamie Rivers has been kind enough to draft up some plans for fabricating your own brackets. I've measured them against the originals and they are very close if not better.

You are going to need a good piece of steel such as 16 gauge to take the weight of the mud flaps and tinsnips won't cut sheet metal this thick so you are going to need a metal saw of some kind that will cut the brackets quickly and cleanly. My advice is to cut all the pieces and drill all the holes except for the two that sandwich the mud flaps. My reasoning is that the holes already drilled in the mud flaps might not match the plans exactly so line up the brackets with the mud flaps in a vise and drill the last two holes.

The next step is to bend and mount the rear facing bracket. It will be your reference guide. Now line up the mudflap against the bracket on the vehicle, make you marks and take it back to the bench to drill the final two holes.

It make take a few attempts but you'll need to bend the front facing bracket so that it lies as flat as possible against the wheel well. If not, when you bolt it up the mudflap may not hang straight down. If your bus was like mine, the wheel well wasn't as straight as it was when it came from the factory.

When you're satisfied with the position you can use the holes at the top of the front facing bracket as a guide for your drill bit so you don't have to drill a pilot hole. All you need to do is mount everything together on the bus first (sans upper two holes of course).

You may find it difficult to drill holes without removing the rear wheel first so keep that in mind with your tool selection. The wheel well metal isn't very thick but it's study enough to make you sweat if you don't remove the wheel. You'll find the second one goes much quicker.


References:

History:

09/07/03 - Created
05/08/04 - Added more eBay info
09/11/04 - Added info about non-logo part number
09/06/11 - Fixed broken photos, added translate button, updated footer