That will teach me Colin!

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wcfvw69
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That will teach me Colin!

Post by wcfvw69 » Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:53 am

So Colin, I recently indicted you for suffering more oddball VW failures/oddities than others the past week. Ever heard of Karma? Well, my wise ass comment caught up to me and bit me in the ass!

My 70' bus a few weeks ago developed an odd symptom. I was driving home from some errands. As I made a left turn, the engine about quit, hesitated, loaded up then suddenly caught itself and ran fine again. I thought "that was odd". Thinking I may be experiencing a failing condenser, I made a note to check it out in the near future.

Last weekend I jumped into it to do an errand. It fired up then provided the same symptoms. It wouldn't rev up while loading up and bogging down when I tried to rev the engine. I didn't have time to troubleshoot it so I took another VW instead.
Well today, I decided to see if I could figure out what the hell was going on. The issue felt electrical to me like something was grounding out or arc'ing.

The bus has a fairly new Bosch coil, NOS German points and condenser, new spark plugs and wires, new German barrel connectors on all the connections to the coil and a freshly restored German Pierburg Dome top fuel pump. I was thinking through what could be causing this issue other than the condenser or possibly the coil.

I checked the harness that feeds power to the coil and the other ancillary electrical items in the engine compartment. All the harnesses were perfect with no scuffs or bare wires. I double checked that a spark plug wire wasn't loose on the distributor cap or hadn't come off the plastic holders on the fan shroud and burnt through on the carb heat riser. All were fine. I popped the distributor cap off to look at the points. I noticed the gap had closed up a bit on the points. I yanked the distributor out of the engine to reset the points on the bench.

Once I had the distributor in a vise under a bright light, the problem presented itself. The little braided ground wire on the breaker plate had broken loose from where the factory had soldered it. It was laying against it which was causing the intermittent issue. I resoldered it in place, reset the points gap and then installed the distributor. After setting the timing and dwell, the engine ran perfectly again.

In 35 years of VW ownership, I've never experienced a breaker plate ground breaking loose! It was pretty enlightening as to the consequences of that ground not being firmly in place.

Note to self, don't be a wise ass to others when they suffer oddball VW issues. :)
1970 Westfalia bus. Stock 1776 dual port type 1 engine. Restored German Solex 34-3. Restored 205Q distributor, restored to factory appearance engine.

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Amskeptic
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Re: That will teach me Colin!

Post by Amskeptic » Sun Dec 24, 2017 6:35 am

wcfvw69 wrote:
Sat Dec 23, 2017 10:53 am
So Colin, I recently indicted you for suffering more oddball VW failures/oddities than others the past week. Ever heard of Karma? Well, my wise ass comment caught up to me and bit me in the ass!

Just remember, remember that the VW gods and I . . . we're a pretty tight group.
Colin :cyclopsani:

(p.s. solder can have a difficult life in that environment. If you should suffer another failure there, you could do what Chloe and I have run for the past 6 years, a limp little braided wire looped around the breaker point adjustment screw and going over to the breaker plate-to-distributor body screw. Loosen the screw, pry a little space between the breaker plate "bracket" and the side of the distributor, stick the exposed end of the wire in horizontally, and retighten the screw. I put in a fancy little serpentine bend in the wire so it doesn't affect the advance motion)
BobD - 1978 Bus . . . . . . . . . . .111,130 miles
Chloe - 1970 bus . . . . . . . . . . . 206,787 miles
Naranja - 1977 Westfalia . . . . . 94,615 miles
Pluck - 1973 Squareback . . . . . 55,510 miles
Alexus - 1991 Lexus LS400 . . . 72,990 miles

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