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lnsmman58, Auto Body Repairer
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 345
Experience:  ICAR Certified, A/C Certified, Plastic Repair Certified, 30 Years Experience
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I have a 1972 VW Super Beetle with stock engine. The beetle

Customer Question

I have a 1972 VW Super Beetle with stock engine. The beetle had not been driven much in last 15 years but after adjusting valves, tuneup, etc, the engine ran great. I pulled the engine and replaced rear main seal, trans seal, push rod seals, etc, cleaned, painted everything and put it back in. My problem is setting the timing-if I set it at 5 degrees ATDC it barely runs and won't take gas. If I back off the timing(counterclockwise) it runs better but won't idle right. I tried adjusting the carb per specs and it won't adjust properly either. This car ran great until I pulled the engine and worked it over. What have I screwed up? I did not pull the distributor, but did take it apart and clean everything put in new points and condenser. I have checked plug wires(they are correct) I am at a loss....Chris
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  lnsmman58 replied 7 years ago.

hello there Chris, I'm Scott,

It kind of sounds like you don't have power going to the idle soleinoid. Have you checked power to the soleinoid at the base of the carb on the left side? These have a bad tendency of sticking also, check to see that it is clicking when you apply power. Let me know what ya find.

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Power selonoid works fine-I took it out and checked with a hot wire and it clicked. What about the timing? I realize the carb has to be right before you can time it properly, but which comes first-the timing or the carb? I have worked on VWs all my life and have never had this problem.....Chris
Expert:  lnsmman58 replied 7 years ago.

Please be sure you are 100% satisfied with my answer before you hit accept! Bonuses and postive feedback is much appreciated!


You have to get the timing right before you can adjust the carb. Normally I set the timing at about 7 degree's BTDC and it should run out at about 30 degree's BTDC. If you have points, which I'm assuming you do I'd start with them with. Make sure are in good shape and not pitted, if so replace them and the condensor. The point setting is 18 thousands, make sure you set the points before you set the timing. Once you have this all done, then adjust the carb. Here's a link that is very informative on adjusting your carb. Copy and paste it in your browser. Do make sure your accelerator pump is working well and the dump tube in the carb is not plugged.

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Customer: replied 7 years ago.
.Before I pulled the engine the first time I adjusted the valves, put new points andcondensor in and set the timing to 5 degrees after TDC(check your Manual for 1972) and the engine ran perfectly. When I finished working on the engine and put it back in was when I had the problem. The carb pump is working perfectly-it shoots a stream of gas when the accelerator is depressed. Remember, I did not remove the Distributor, I changed nothing internally in the engine. I did work on the distributor-the guide holding the points plate was missing and the points could not be properly set. I put a new guide in and the plate moves freely when you suck on the advance tube. I have rechecked everything 10 times-valves, spark plug wires, firing order, points, vacuum leaks(I put new gaskets and rubber on the intake manifold) I had the heads off to put new valve guides and gaskets on the pushrods-Heads were torqued to 18 lbs as manual suggests. I am just stumped, there is something simple that I am overlooking I just can not figure it out......Chris
Expert:  lnsmman58 replied 7 years ago.
I'm so sorry Chris. I think you are right this should be something simple. I wonder if something is wrong with the plate you worked on, perhaps its in differently then it was before. Most of the old bugs I've worked on have the centrifical advance distributors. It does seem like with the vacumm unhooked you set the timing different.

Edited by lnsmman58 on 1/19/2010 at 4:47 AM EST
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
You may be right on that, I can not think of anything I did that could affect the timing other than that-and that should only affect the advance. I am going to start from scratch and work through everything again. If you have spark, gas, etc, the darn thing should run! Thanks for your input and ideas.....Chris
Expert:  lnsmman58 replied 7 years ago.

I do appreciate the accept, but I wish I could have been of more help. For some reason my manual source is down, probably due to server probs. Anyways I found this great site, it goes into very good detail on your 72' A little boring, but it is informative. Ya know I was thinking, make sure you run something through the points. I've had some misfires and problem with new point that got a little dirt in them when I was gapping them and they don't get good contact. I run a piece of clean card board through them to make sure they are clean and contacting good. Check out this link. Gosh dang I hope this helps!


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