I bought a 71' westy a couple of weeks ago pretty cheap. I bought it knowing
that the peashotter exhaust was rotted and falling off and the single port
intake was loose at the head. I was still able to get in and drive it up the
highway 70+miles at 65mph and it never missed a beat (allthough old ladies on
mobility scooters were taking me in the 1/4 mile).
I tightened the intake when I got home and it ran really good, allthough
loud and still slow. I just put the exhaust on today, much better but still
felt almost like a slight mis. I noticed that the exhaust was burning in the
paint well on the # 4 but #2 was still cold. Uh oh, I pulled the wire, plenty
of spark, no drop in idle though :(
I pulled the plug and attached the compression guage. 120, good enough for me.
The plug sparked but I think that the insulater was cracked. I took a plug out
of another motor and stuck it in.
Now it fired up with even more enthusiasum than before (and it was pretty
dam good before). Ahh, smoother sound now and a little more PEP too. Grandma's
gonna have to step up the voltage on her "hoveround" in order to take me now!!!
I'm still really amazed at how well it ran (nice and cool and pretty smooth)
even with all those problems going on! I remeber some of the junker FWD small
engine cars I would go through monthly in my younger days. If they had the same
problems this thing did you may as well pop the hood and and call AAA!
Just had to share, I'm having a blast cleaning/tinkering with this $500 camper.
I kinda got burned out for ahwile there, the baja's just sitting there and the
new motor for it is on the stand 98% assembled for the last few months because
I just haven't been into it. Bummer is now I wanna work on my VW's again,
but now I gotta contend with moving and working on the new house. Oh well, at
least I'm getting a garage twice the size of my current one and lots of
driveway for "the kids".
On 16 Feb 2004 02:02:44 GMT, firstname.lastname@example.org (Mark Detro) wrote:
My Type 4 engine in my 1973 Bus now has 439,000 miles with four engine
tear-downs on original heads carbs distributor, just changed the
original alternator and crank last summer.
This past August 12th in Winnie Texas, Interstate 10 at 75 mph during
yet another cross-country blast, right at noon my oil light came on
for the first time in 25 years of ownership. I shut that sucker down
instantly and declutched off the road. Smoke pouring out. You know
when you just have to sit there a minute? Went back and looked at this
beautiful faithful engine covered in oil and tinking like mad.
Oil pouring out of the bell housing area. Smoke.
Didn't even bother to crank it. Walked into town accosted a man on a
lawn mower, he towed me off the interstate to a laundromat parking
lot. 97* and raining. Pulled the engine by 3:00 pm. Yanked the
flywheel off and dang if it wasn't a stupid oil gallery plug.
Could not find a pipe thread plug in all of Winnie. Finally bashed the
old one back in with a horrid blob of JB Weld, sweged the case around
the hole with a round chisel, man it looked bad. Rain, oil, slippery
jack, oily rags, wet oily tools and a stupid wind blowing trash and
sand all over everything. Irritated to death. That's when Billy Bob
comes out of the laundromat " heyyyyy, nice little buggy you got
there, having problems?" Engine sliding off my bottle jack, knee dug
into bottom of bumper, oil oozing off foam seal, hands slipping on
everything I touch, " Nah, just checking the oil."
Got it back together at 10:30 am next morning, dropped the sump plate,
looked at the silvery grey swirls yikes, put fresh oil in it, new
filter, started it, knockity-knockity-knockity, can it get worse?
# 2 spark plug wire pull quiets it down, my assessment is that I
collapsed a piston in that instant of no oil at 4,300 rpm with a very
hot engine yesterday. Drove it up and down the drag slowly, knock
seems better when the engine gets warm. Hit the Interstate at 12:00
noon and find that so long as the engine is around 3500 rpm and under
load, it seems OK. I run it with the access lid open in the rear so I
can hear it and to keep the engine compartment depressurized and
running hotter. The car hates hills and hates cooling down, like at
gas stops, and hates low rpms. Winnie Texas is 1695 miles from my home
in upstate New York.
By Pennsylvania, I have a new problem. Hateful hills must be
negotiated in third gear to keep revs up ( less stress on piston
skirts) but the engine cools down without enough load so piston loses
expansion which makes the engine sound like a Vanagon Diesel. But now
I have a scary little pecking sound when I shift.
So I have to drop revs, keep it under load for the benefit of some
failing rod bearing back there, but the piston hates loads. By the
border of New York State, my engine is unhappy no matter what.
Sweet spot is hot engine at 3,000 rpm under modest load, but I am in
hills now, bad down hills rattling, bad uphills piston slapping, and I
have to shift from 3rd to 4th all over. 38 hours after getting on the
road in Winnie, I am in my driveway at 3:00 am tockity tockity.
I sit and thank my bus for its loyal suicidal run.
The next day, I tear the engine down in my garage.
Piston # 2 has a collapsed skirt smeared all over the cylinder wall.
Connecting rod #1 WILL NOT MOVE on the crank journal.
Connecting rod # 2 inserts had just begun to spin in the rod, the
tangs were worn right off.
Both rods were blue, as was the crank journal on #1, with little bits
of copper smeared around it.
This engine was within minutes of death.
Four days later I reassembled it with new main and connecting rod
bearings, sanded the crank clean, installed a used piston from my last
engine teardown into this # 2 cylinder barrel with the rings off this
collapsed piston. ( had to lighten all the three other pistons to
match the "new" used one at the convenience store deli across the
street) flushed the oil cooler and passages, LEFT THE GALLERY PLUG
ALONE, and now have a very smooth running engine with an additional
3,000 miles on it. These engines are amazing. John Muir was right.
Love will go a long way with a VW engine, but do not push one mile
past what you promised it!
Just take 17 to 390 to Ontario State Parkway along the lake 30 miles
west until it is rural pick up trucks and beat up farmhouses, about
half way between Rochester metro and Buffalo metro.
I visit my 4th grade sweetheart down past Binghampton take Roscoe exit
off 17 (excuuuse me INTERSTATE 86! ) into the mountains.
These are such great winter cars, but damn the salt.
....................Don't leave that 'p' in Binghamton when you're in this
area or the indigenous types around here will make you eat a spiedie that's
been marinating in that part of the Susqehanna that's downstream from the
sewage treatment plant..............lol
.............Yeah, I know. I've been driving my nissan 4x4 since before
You too? Good story Colin. I only had about 600 miles to go,
but the last 150 was freeway. Talked a trucker into letting
me draft and hung right in there at 70mph to almost home.
Limped home from there. Just one of many stories. Hope the
Soobey engine - if it ever fails - has as much ability to
hang in there and get me home! - Busahaulic
and pretty smooth)
Apologies for derailing this thread, but I've never found a
satisfactory answer to this.. is there an "optimium" distance
to stay behind your average freight hault truck when drafting?
I usually snug up about as close as I can without disappearing
from the guy's mirrors and/or suffering an accident if he hits
the brakes hard.. usually seems to be about 3 beetle sized car
lengths. The reduced effect on engine strain is immediatley
noticeable, but I'm wondering if there's a better spot I could
Does the "envelope" change significantly enough to change habits
for different types of vehicles (ie, beetle versus a modern
I have to be noticeably closer to The Tandem rigs here in California in
order to draft them. I don't have a CB in the bug But they know what I'm
doing. I can definitely feel the pocket once I pull up to the rig. My
distance is about 14 feet from the trailer or so.
..............That is close!
...........I wonder if ground effect spoilers (or maybe I'm thinking of
air-dams) on those big rigs would create a bigger pocket. There's got to be
a lot 'dirty' air coming out from under them because of the larger ground
clearance compared to cars.
I drafted once, in an emergency. Its amazing how it works. This is what
happened (sorry, its kind of long):
Two years ago, my wife and I were driving on Christmas day. We had a death
in the family, so we ended up in different vehicles. I was in the car
(Mercury Topaz) and she was in the Van (Chev Astro) with the kids. The car
was running out of gas and there were no gas stations open. We were in the
middle of nowhere. The van had lots of gas, but we needed to get another
hour to the city on 30 minutes worth of gas. Christmas day driving through
rural Saskatchewan = no gas stations open. My low fuel light had been on for
50kms already, and we needed to go another 100kms. You can only
Anyway, I used the FRS radio to contact my wife, and I asked her if she knew
what drafting was. A very reluctant "Yes" was the reply. So, I got her to
set the cruise at 85km/h, and I followed just a few feet off the rear
bumper. I must mention that there was almost NO traffic, and it was a
divided highway. Normally I wouldnt do something this rediculous, but the
kids Christmas had been messed up already, and I didnt want to have to make
it worse by having to abandon the car and waste 3 hours getting gas. I
wouldn't recommend doing this, as it can be dangerous.
I just barely had to touch the gas to maintain speed. The terrain is very
flat, there was only one hill during that 45 minutes of Drafting we did, and
I dropped down into 4th gear (5 speed) to pull the hill without using too
So, we made the rest of the way, and the fuel pump was howling when I pulled
into the gas station. It would have run out of gas if we went another 2
minutes. My wife just couldn't believe it, we went really far on pretty much
just fumes. I figured out later the car was getting something like 60+ mpg.
It had a 50 litre tank, and it took 55 litres on that fillup. :-)
I was tucked in much closer than mirror visibility! The only
catch was, when he wanted to change lanes, it was my
responsibility to pop over and make a hole for him! It
worked well. Every once in awhile he'd ask me on the radio
if I was still there! Years back I got in the habit of
drafting off the chip trucks on Oregon's Coast Highway. Some
of them installed sensors and sirens to prevent that -
scared the crap outa me! I was easily less than ten feet
back when the alarm went off! I used to have this theory
about tailgating trucks - It's the CLOSING SPEED you need to
be concerned about! On my motorcycle I'd run about ten feet
back all the time. I figured that whatever he did, whatever
he hit, I would hit the back of the truck at the "closing
speed" - the speed difference between the truck and myself.
That way I'd have this nice big wall to protect me from
there down to zero! Of course this assumes that the truck is
going to continue in a relatively straight line for most of
its' sudden decelleration which is not real likely!
When you get the sidewind buffeting from the truck's wake,
you can feel the tow, but it's a bitch fighting the
buffeting. You can just let the steering wheel float and
there will always be a blast from the other side - kinda
like ricocheting down a tunnel! Move forward a couple more
car lengths and you get ahead of the buffeting and it's nice
and smooth like the eye of a storm! Remember there is a bow
wave that creates high pressure just to the sides of the
front of the big rigs, a low pressure area all along the
sides (bicyclist killer - bow wave causes biker to lean in,
then vacuum hits 'em and sucks 'em under!) And then there's
the dead air directly behind, the extremely low pressure
area and then all the vortices that are what cause the
buffeting. When driving a bus in dangerous gusty winds, big
trucks (heavily loaded ones!) can be a real blessing.
No. I don't ever drive like that any more! I have real
For drafting purposes, the closer the better. I do about a car length.
For safety, whatever your reaction time allows. I used to draft for
fuel economy when I was dirt poor. Then I drafted behind a JB Hunt
truck from Oklahoma to Los Angeles when I burned THREE exhaust valves
in 1985 after letting some kids I was teaching do my valve adjustments
(on the dynamometer my engine was putting out 7 hp) that I forgot to
double-check, now I only draft when there is a wicked
Thanks for sharing. Between your and Colin's engine accounts, I can't come
Still, when we bought our '71 SB to fix up for my daughter, I was a VW
newbie. The PO already had it cranked when we came for the test drive. He
was piddling around with a new accel cable clamp, trying to get a decent
idle. The engine had one of those 4-tip Monza exhausts with a worn muffler.
We took it for a test drive.
Had to feather the throttle sometimes when declutching to keep it from
stalling. Otherwise, it pulled pretty well (at least as far as I could
figure). Tremendous flat spot off-idle (009 dizzy), but it ran. We bought
it, fired it up after a few pumps of the accelerator and drove it home.
The next few attempts at starting this motor were usually eventually
assisted with a jump start. It took quite a while to get it running. Once
running, though, it ran pretty well. Pulled hills pretty good, decent
acceleration, idled pretty well if you set the idle up a bit high to keep it
running. Still, it was annoying that even when hot, it would take quite a
bit of cranking to get it to run.
Well, eventually, we did a compression check. I figured it was a fuel
delivery and/or spark issue because once you could get it to start, it would
run pretty darn well. Turns out this hard-to-start, but fairly well-running
engine had all of about 30 lb. of compression on one cylinder, 50-60 in two
others and a healthy 100 lb. in the #3 cylinder (the one consistently voted
"Most Likely to Fail" in most VW yearbooks).
I'm continually amazed at how well that sad engine ran once started. It's
since been replaced with a fresh 1600 DP.
'69 Bug (Gus)
'71 SB (Herbie)
I've been amazed with the flat four since the late 50's. Some might
call it abuse but I've kept these little engines going under extreems
that would have killed most unders. Right now I have a motor (1600)
that has been sitting in my garage for five years or so that ran ok when
it was shut off, so I have no doubt it will run ok when I fire it up
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