A bad day in the garage, is better than a good day at work!

What started out to being a one hour job, turned into six.

I recently picked up a digital dwell meter and was anxious to tweak my timing rather than only using a timing light.

I decided to go ahead and remove my points and check for pitting and clean everything up a bit. Not that it was that dirty, but never hurts to do some cleaning. I began to reinstall the points and DROPPED the set screw underneath the engine tin. ARGH!!!

Tried my magnet in the hole and could never find it which began my quest of trying to remove the drivers side engine tin. I thought while I’m removing the tin, I’ll go ahead and strip it and repaint it from the unusual candy apple red color obviously painted by a previous owner. Ultimately, I’ll have it stripped and powdercoated, but for the time being a nice coat of semi-gloss black will be just fine.

To remove the engine tin, it was necessary for me to remove the carb and intake runners and also removed the distributor after making sure the engine was at TDC.

In an earlier post, I had written about having to repair one of the intake studs on the cylinder head. When I installed the intake, I was unable to tell if there was a left and right so I went ahead and installed which way I thought was correct. After installation, I noticed that the runners would not insert into the air distributor. So, I got them as close as possible and then used my silicone boots and there wasn’t any leakage.

I took this opportunity to reverse the intake sides to see if the fit was better. The fit is better, however, I noticed that the carb was now not sitting level. Thought at first it was just my eyes playing tricks. More on that later.

Back to the tins … I removed all of the tin screws on the left side and still was unable to remove the #3 and #4 cylinder tin. I was able to remove the two pieces from underneath and then the left outside piece. No matter how much I struggled it just would not come out and in fear of bending something I just gave up for now. I did read several posts about that once the screws are out, it should come out with some extra work. Went forward with stripping, priming and painting the engine tins I was able to remove. Finished those up last night. Not perfect but so much better than before. Pics to come. 😉

The good news is I was able to separate the engine tin far enough away to see the points set screw and was able to retrieve it. Then proceeded to installing the points again, and reinstalling the cylinder tin, carb and intake. I first tried setting my points gap to .016 inches, but that gave me a 39° degree dwell. For used points the dwell should be between 42° and 58°; for new,  42° and 50°. I went to .014 and was able to get the dwell to 52°. I then set the timing and have it set at 28° at 3000 RPM with the vacuum hose plugged.

The acceptable range for the point gap should be .016 to .020 inches.

After setting the dwell and the timing, it’s time to set the carburetor. With a progressive Weber, I used the initial settings provided by Redline. For some reason, the idle at times will vary from 500 rpm to 1100 rpm. I greased the distributor shaft and thought that would have helped that situation as I’ve run into that before. After several attempts and removing the mixture screw and spraying carb cleaner, I finally thought I had got it.

Took it out for a spin and it was actually running very well … except when I turned a tight corner to head home where it actually stalled out. Cranked it and ran fine, until I made another hard turn into the driveway and she died again.

My memory is not as good as it once was but surprisingly remembered about a post I had read on TheSamba website about someone’s carb not sitting level after reversing the intake runners incorrectly. Hmmm … ring a bell?

So, this weekend, I hope to remove it all again, try and remove my #3 and #4 cylinder tin and reverse my intake runners and see if I can pry the runners into the air distributor with some clamps. Then set everything back up again.

The good thing about all this struggle … practice makes perfect and I’ve never removed my distributor before and reinstalled.

What started out as a one hour job, turned into six hours and a hot, humid, sweat filled day. HOWEVER, a bad day in the garage, is better than a good day at work!

I’ll keep you posted.


It’s been awhile…timing and tuning

I’ve been busy with life and haven’t had much time to work on the bus lately. I did have my coil go out on me, so ended up having to install a new one. During troubleshooting, went ahead and replaced the points and condenser also. I replaced them when I purchased the bus 7 years ago and really didn’t have very many miles on them, but replaced them anyway.

Good news was the points weren’t pitted.

Also, I recently was given a timing light so I decided now would be a great time to give it a shot. I’ve only set the timing statically and tweaked by ear previously so I was anxious to be able to nail the timing hoping to eliminate the slight hesitation I’ve had when shifting gears and starting from a standstill.

Was also given a tach/dwell meter but it didn’t work so well, so I ended up picking up a small tach to hook up in the engine compartment.

After doing some research and taking the advice of fellow bus owners, I decided the best way to time it would be with the vacuum hose disconnected, running at 2800-3000 RPM’s and set around 28 degrees BTDC.

I tried it and was really having some issues with it running. I would set it with the engine warmed up and then when cold, try to start it and the timing was off so bad I couldn’t get it to start. So I would set it statically to get it started again and then try it again. Then I decided maybe I needed to tweak the carb a little to try and get them both working together.

After further research and more advice, I decided to set it the same way BUT to run it at 3500 RPM’s instead. That was the trick. Timing was set at 28 degrees BTDC and was running much more like it should.

I’m running a Weber Progressive Carb and set the idle mixture screw 2 full turns out from the bottom and then set the idle speed screw 1 1/2 turns after the screw touches the stop lever. These were great instructions from the Weber website and is what I followed:

Carburetor Set Up and Lean Best Idle Adjustment

I then tweaked the carb just a little per the instructions and she seems to be running better than ever. Took her out for a spin and the hesitation is gone and ran smooth the entire time. Let her cool back down and then went back out to see how she would start when cold, and fired right up.

That’s it for now. Until next time…

“I think I found the problem…”

Finally had some time to crawl under the bus and check things out. Started degreasing the area some and all of a sudden sparks are flying.

After getting the area cleaned up, a little more careful, I found that two of the wires had been rubbing together and were shorting out. So, wrapped a little electrical tape around it until I can address further, and see if that corrects the problem. I’ve driven around own a couple of weeks now, and it has started every time. Hopefully, that solves the problem.

Latest issue – No Start

I knew it was going to happen sooner or later.

I haven’t done too much lately, just been driving her around here and there. But over the past year, I’ve noticed a few times that when I turn the key, she wouldn’t start. Had power to everywhere – radio and lights work. Just no start. Turn the key off and the starter would kick in.

But not this time. I had just backed her out of the garage until the rest of the family came out to jump in and she would turn over, Tried it again  – no luck. Tried for another 10 minutes and nothing. I haven;t had time with Hurricane Irene bearing down on the SouthEast coast, and cutting grass and normal family responsibilities to check on the situation. But my first thoughts were that the ignition switch was going out. I had replaced it a few months after I purchased the bus and pulled the steering column, painted everything, fixed the horn, etc. It was a real pain changing out the switch and had heard a few rumors where other bus owners had to replace the new cheap made switches.

I really didn’t want to hafta go through that again.

Fast forward to yesterday, and my son and I were headed to the beach for some beach combing after the hurricane (in my other vehicle). And it dawned on me, he had asked me about a specific sound whenever I had tried to start it that day. I told him that it was the fuel pump.

HEY wait a minute, if we heard the fuel pump(which we did), that means that it is not the ignition switch, so it must be the starter solenoid or the starter.

So, a sigh of relief comes over me. I’ll keep you posted on the progress.

Frustration level is gone…at least for now. ;-)

Well, nothing but good news.

After discussing my issues with several Samba members, they insisted my problem was a vacuum leak problem. I couldn’t understand it, as I had replaced the distributor vacuum hose, made sure the base of the carb was flat, sealed the carb to the manifold, replaced the silicone boots.

Starting thinking about what had NOT changed over the course of the problem and the only think I could think of was the brake booster hose. So, I proceeded to remove the distributor vacuum hose and the brake booster hose and plug them. Low and behold the bus cranked and idled. Unbelievable. So I went back and reinstalled the distributor hose and it still idled. Reinstalled the brake booster hose and the problem arose again.

The brake booster hose is the only one in the engine compartment I hadn’t changed out yet and it was looking rough around the firewall. Replacement hose was a little difficult to find but found a local supplier for Gates Rubber – Power Brake Vacuum HosePart # 27233. It was 15/32″ and 3 feet long. Luckily they had two in stock as it takes 3 feet from the hard brake booster line into the engine compartment and connect to the check valve and then an extra foot to go to the carb. I also removed the check valve, cleaned it up and reinstalled, BUT TAKE NOTE. In this case, the Bentley manual is INCORRECT.

I’m not sure if the brake booster check valve is original, it appears to be but no guarantees. According to the Bentley, the arrow should face the brake booster. However, in this case, the check valve is clearly marked with the word “MOTOR” with an arrow. The arrow must face the carb. This allows air to flow towards the carb but not towards the brake booster, in case the engine were to backfire through the carb,it will stop the air flow and ruin the brake booster.

So, we are now on the road again and I have driven her around a little and she seems to be doing much, much better. I’m still working on tweaking the carb and need to adjust the choke some. Hope to do that a little more this weekend.

Retapping the head

After discovering the stripped 10mm stud, I had to search for another answer. I debated and debated and measured and remeasured on what to do. As much as I read, I kept hearing to stay away from a helicoil, as  helicoil is nothing but a spring really, and the heat from the head and engine can cause it to expand and contract, which is NOT what you want from a head stud.

So, it’s off to find another solution. After more and more reading, I decided to try a Time-sert kit. I didn’t really have anything to lose(except for about $75.00) but I wanted to avoid having to remove the engine and having the head repaired.

Here is a link to their metric kits: www.timesert.com/html/mtrcsert.html .

According to the Time-sert website, the Fastenal Company is supposed to carry the kits. However, after visiting the store and calling, they knew nothing about Time-sert or their kits.

So, off to the web I go.

I found a company called Mechanics Tools and Bits on Amazon that sold their kits. I placed my order for the TIME-SERT M10 X 1.25 Metric Thread Repair Kit 1012 and received the shipment in just a few days. Great Transaction. Then I discovered I ordered the wrong kit. I should have ordered the TIME-SERT M10 X 1.50 Metric Thread Repair Kit 1015. I contacted Neal Hillegass from the company and he gladly exchanged the product, no questions asked. Of course, I had to cover the shipping, but there was a price difference  and he’s response “just send it back” and we’ll take care of it.

A couple more days and I had the correct kit. However, I ordered the 14.0mm inserts as that’s what it appeared I needed based on the stud. But after getting the kit, I realized the next size – 17.0mm -would be better suited for the job. Luckily, the inserts are relatively inexpensive, so I contacted Neal again and purchased the 5 of the 17.0mm( a few extra just for future usage if needed, hopefully not) for less than $10.00.

Got everything I needed now to start the job and there was nothing to it. Had it installed in about an hour. First, you drill out the hole, retap it for the insert, use another included specialized drill bit for cutting a small circle around the hole to flush mount the insert, then another tool to install the insert.

And that’s it. the stud is installed, torqued at 13 lbs/in and is not going anywhere. It actually feels more snug with no wiggle than the 10mm studs I had to retap on the other side. The intakes are installed and everything seems snug and secure.

I have the studs

After spending nearly a month online, visiting local bolt supply warehouses, etc. trying to locate the needed 8mm-10mm step studs, I finally found some…at my local friend’s garage. Why I didn’t check their first, I don’t know. Although, I do know more about them now than previously.

The problem with ordering them online…it’s hard for me to justify spending $1.50 per stud, and having to pay $10.00 in shipping charges to get them. So, I finally have them. I also ordered this week a 10mm tap and drill set that hopefully will be here in the next few days.

Still working on a solution…

I haven’t had too much time to work on her lately, but am leaning toward the intake manifolds not being fastened snugly. When I removed the manifolds, it appears the previous owner’s mechanic must have had some issues, as instead of a stud, it had been replaced with a bolt, AND two of the studs were very loose. After attempting to tighten ever so slightly, they came out.

So, I’m in the process of locating some step studs from the standard 8mm to a 10mm. I’ll drill and retap the heads to accept the 10mm size, while leaving the 8mm for the intake.

It’s been busy, busy, busy

A lot has happened over the last week or so. I started reconnecting all of the gas vapor lines and charcoal canister, but had a time finding the correct metric size hoses. I could have used ASE sizes but still couldn’t find any 1/2″ hose for the breather. So, I dropped a local vw friend(Snoopy) an e-mail to see if he could recommend any import parts places in the Charleston area. He told me to give Ken a call in Summerville. I gave Ken a call and not only did he have the metric sizes, but also in the larger 13mm that I needed for the breather hose.

I headed up tp Summerville to pick the hose up and come to find out I knew Ken. Ken turned out to be Ken Irwin and owns Aircooled Automotive. Ken and I were charter members of he Lowcountry Volkswagen Club in Summerville back in the late 80’s. I had no idea he was still in the area, so we spent a little time catching up, bought my hose and was on my way.

Came home to hook everything up and I was loving how the correct hose sizes were installing with ease. Also stopped by Lowe’s to pick up a brass fitting to run the 13mm hose from the charcoal canister to the breather. Also, picked up a slide-on fastener for the canister strap. I get everything hooked up and crank her up…and she dies. Try it again and same thing. She’ll run for about 5 seconds on starting fluid and that is all. I unplug all of the vapor fuel lines and try again…same thing. Almost like she was getting any fuel.

After a day of scouring for more progressive carb info, I found the jets screws locations and removed them and gave a few shos of carb cleaner and compressed air. She started up…not perfect, but at least she would start and run a little longer. It appears that there must have been trash in the charcoal canister and when I fired her up, it blew it all into the carb.

I have now removed the carb, cleaned the exterior really good of the years oof grease and grime. Now, I will remove the idle screws and jet again and clean again. I’m debating on picking up a rebuild kit and go ahead and rebuild it while I have it out. I’m not planning on running it that long as I’m working on the new PDSIT’s I have for installation.

I PBblasted the intake nuts tonight, as I am going to remove the intake and clean everything up ontop of the engine, then reinstall with the clean carb.

Also, picked up a pair of little wheels for the engine lid rod that helps keep it open. Took about five minutes to install and now all is well…at least with the engine lid.