The ignition trouble I was having with my new SVDA dizzie has
re-surfaced. To be fair, it is only presumed that the trouble is with
this distributor, it could only be coincidence.
Re-capping from last week:
1. Driving along, then noticing that the tach was getting spasmodic,
spiking up and down. Then engine dies. First time this happened, I
checked to see if the voltage on the line from coil to points was
switching when I hand turned crank -- no, voltage remained at zero.
Install 009, get jump (drained battery trying to start the darn thing),
drive home, examine distributor, no problem found, re-install SVDA,
things are fine again.
2. Next day it happens again ALMOST same symptoms, (tach, engine dies,
will not start again), but this time I did find that voltage on
coil-dizzie wire was switching, indicating that points were operating,
and did find spark at plug wire #4 at least. But car would not start.
Remove SDVA, install 009, car starts, limp home.
3. Replace points and condenser in SVDA, re-install, car drives fine for
one week. Problem solved.
/Or so I thought./
4. Today, pulling into driveway, engine just quits. Starter does not
even turn engine over. Grumble grumble. Make a couple phone calls, eat a
sandwich, turn key, car starts easily. Looks at me innocently. "What
5. Drive to train station to hop commuter train to meet wife in nearby
town to watch "Touching the Void" at beach town theater. On way to train
station, notice one upward spike of tach. "Uh oh," I think. Then notice
that tach is reading high. I know what the engine sounds like and the
tach is reading high. Reads 1200rpm when engine is idling (idles at 950
and sounded like it), reads 5200 when engine is at 3800 when I normally
shift. I shift by ear and know there is no possible way the engine was
running at 5200.
6. Back to car. Now it's dark (all other fault times were in daylight).
Tach starts out okay, but GEN lamp starts glimmering. Then gets brighter
as headlights get dimmer. Tach reads higher. Managed to get home without
getting hit or hitting anything, but battery is clearly faded.
Will look into all this tomorrow. Either alternator is not charging, or
something is pulling a lot of current. Tach is apparently showing high
when voltage is low. But what causes spikes in reading while driving?
Momentary drops of voltage? With ignition off, tach has needle resting
at about 1000 rpm. What causes engine to suddenly die? And changing
dizzie to (apparently but maybe coincidentally) fix this? Why did car
die this afternoon in driveway with not enough juice in battery to start
it, yet 15 minutes later, car started just fine?
These and other mysteries are, I think, all tied to a common fault. But
while I slumber away the night with the sleep of the innocent, perhaps
some more intelligent form of life -- someone who knows how these things
work, for example, or someone in a different time zone, or some poor
tortured soul with insomnia -- will look at this list of symptoms and
say, "ah ha!" And explain It All.
Then again, I might just have to hack at this until I find it myself.
I'm man enough.
Mike "Rocket J Squirrel" Elliott
71 VW Type 2 -- the Wonderbus (AKA the Saunabus in summer)