ForumOther VW vehicles

Help! Engine runs like crap!

Date: 08/10/2004 18:03 | Topic / Title:
Hi, I hope you guys can help me. I just bought a '67 Karmann Ghia about 5 weeks ago. This is my first VW, and I don't know a whole lot about them yet. Anyway, my car is running like crap. I took it in for a tune up at Bug and Buggy in Napa, CA. The guy charge me over $200 for a tuneup. That seemed like a rip off, but I'm off at school and I live up in the boonies, so I didn't have too much of a choice. What makes it worse is that when I got it back yesterday, it runs worse than before. The guy said it seemed ok to him, and he wasn't willing to do anything about it. The previous owner said the engine has low miles. It's new as of a couple of years ago and has been driven only on the weekends. It has a 1915cc engine in it with dual Weber carbs. I don't know what size they are. This engine has NO power, especially at low RPM's. Unless you rev it up really high when starting off, it dies. Now after the tune up, it makes a popping, backfiring sound when accelerating or at about 3000 RPM's. When it warms up, it won't idle unless you keep giving it gas. It died on me yesterday on the way home from the shop, and I had to get a jump. But other than that one time I haven't had a problem with it turning over. The tune up supposedly consisted of replacing the points and condenser, adjusting the valves, and "tuning the carburetor." This sounds like flooding to me, and maybe the carbs are to big. I don't know! But if anyone can PLEASE help me, I'd greatly appreciate it.
Thanks in advance!
Date: 08/10/2004 19:04 | Topic / Title:
Before you spend another penny on this car, buy yourself a Bentley manual. Owning a VW without this manual is like letting your dog drive; Just don't make no sense! You can probably get it cheaper on E-bay.
Second, If this shop is unwilling to make their customer happy, don't take your car back to that place again! Ever! Sounds like he didn't help you at all. Only his wallet!

It sounds as if your timing may be off, maybe an intake leak. Possibly other issues also. You need to get as much info about the engine as you can from the PO, then slip down to SoCal and find a good, reputable shop.

Hope this helps, & Good luck.
Date: 08/11/2004 17:17 | Topic / Title:
Why is it that nobody ever replies to my posts?! I really need help here, and I'd appreciate if you'd take the time to make a post! Thanks low'n'slow for being the one person to help out.
Date: 08/11/2004 22:01 | Topic / Title:
Nothing personal... Its just that we aren't psychic.
    You have a non-stock engine
    You don't know what is non-stock about it
    You are not sure what doesn't work well
Anyway, here are my 2 cents:
    Read technical articles about carburetors. You can find links here in the ]'Articles' forum.
    Get the Bently manual (or any manual)
    Read the redline documents as they sold a lot of webers, or check this one - performance101
Check the basics, old VW people (locals, not in cyber space) or gearheads can also help.
Date: 08/12/2004 20:07 | Topic / Title:
[quote:956e0768a9="tortex"]I really need help here, and I'd appreciate if you'd take the time to make a post![/quote]
Sorry Tortex, you've bitten into a big apple here. A 1915 with dual Webers is a rude intoduction to ACVW's. If you want to co-exist with your new joy ... you're gonna have a steep learning curve.

Give us the particulars on your engine - dual Weber what's? Ignition? Exhaust system? Cooling?

Make friends with some locals that know performance VW's.
Date: 08/21/2004 08:36 | Topic / Title:
Sorry about the lack of information. Now that I know what you need, I'll try to provide it. I really don't know what size of webers they are. They are dual 2 bbl, and the rip-off shop guy said they were big carbs, but he didn't say what size (and I forgot to ask). The ignition is a Bosch 009 distributor with points and condensor. The points and condensor were just replaced. The exhaust is headers with a bug pack muffler. I don't know what type of mufflers they are. Cooling is a doghouse tin cover shroud.
The engine starts without too much trouble when it's cold. I think it's flooding, despite the mechanic's claims that he tuned it up. If you take the air filters off and punch the accelerator linkage, it stumbles and then dies, like it has too much fuel. If you slowly rev it up, it stumbles and then starts backfiring. Fire shoots up through the carb throat. The mechanic said he adjusted the valves (one of which was really tight), replaced the points and condenser, and "tuned" the carburetor. This engine is about 2 years old and has low mileage.
Date: 08/21/2004 08:38 | Topic / Title:
Oh, the mechanic said he moved the timing back to help it run cooler and I forgot what else. It wasn't backfiring before this, but all the other symptoms were/are the same. The cylinder compression readings were 130, 135, 110, and 120.
Can someone tell me some good sites for how to tune Weber carbs, engine specs, etc. Oh, by the way, I think this engine is pretty much stock except for the carbs. I hope this info helps.
Date: 08/22/2004 09:00 | Topic / Title:
Start with the tech articles on (you'll find links in our archive) - print them out and read (and re-read them all).

[quote:3243f57164="tortex"]the mechanic said he moved the timing back to help it run cooler and I forgot what else[/quote]
Ok, you learned your first lesson! Either work on it by yourself or make sure you know what someone else has done to your car. "Moved the timing" is a very hazy statement. Moved it from what? Moved it to what? With the 009 dizzy you'll have to be very precise with your timing settings (because the 009 isn't very precise). Sounds like your "mechanic" retarded the timing (just a guess)... Read up on the various distributors available... The 009 is simple but poor quality control makes it inconsistant. His "moved the timing" stunt may have induced your stumble... Don't start "tuning" the carbs until you have the timing set correctly. Read up on process and specs for setting the timing, go buy some test gear (multi-meter, timing light) and again... meet someone local that can guide you over the rough spots.
Date: 08/22/2004 09:26 | Topic / Title:
a 1915 cc motor is far from "stock." i wouldnt like those compression readings either. hopefully a vavle adjustment will fix that! i think you need to do your own tune-up. i learned the exact same lesson! you really should try and meet some guys locally, the VW community is full of great guys with tons of knowledge and willingness to help......UNFORTUNATELY the VW community is also full of rip-off artists and shop owners who will do MORE DAMAGE than good to your classic VW (just so you keep coming back for more)!!!

case in point: my brother had a guy "replace" his tranny becaue it whinned like the dickens! we get it back $400 later and that sucker leaked oil like crazy! we pull the shroud off to replace the oil cooler gaskets, lo and behold the oil cooler bracket is BROKEN! it fixed no leaks....a few months later we pulled the motor to replace it and put in new motor/body seals. i'm up under there and start looking at the tranny mounts those bolts hadnt been touched (in years!) come to find out that this "mechanic" has a very bad reputation ( and $400 of my brothers $)!!! we foudn out the HARD WAY about the bad side of the VW community! on the flip side we have found out the good side of it too!
Date: 08/22/2004 12:07 | Topic / Title:
[quote:9a6c5ceb73="73busT4"]i think you need to do your own tune-up
you really should try and meet some guys locally, the VW community is full of great guys with tons of knowledge and willingness to help[/quote]
73busT4 scores! I think most of us don't have a lot of faith or trust in others working on our VWs... I'm sure there are some locals in Nor Cal (that probably post here) that can give you a hand.
Date: 08/23/2004 19:11 | Topic / Title:
anyone can tune-up a VW! they were desinged that way!
Date: 08/27/2004 21:33 | Topic / Title:
i dont know much about engines but did you check if the stupid gready mechanic put the cables from the distributer cap to the sparks in wright order?
Date: 08/28/2004 07:52 | Topic / Title:
You can do this, the advise I see so far is really good. Start with the basics as mentioned;

[list]Verify timing
Verify as much as you can about parts used
Engine health (your compression test is not great, but it is good)[/list]The hardest part are the non stock parts. Don't freak out about the Webers. Take a deep breath, relax, take your time, they worked great on Italian cars and can be made to work on yours.

With as much information that is on the net, "meat space” is still useful. Have you looked at local car clubs?
Date: 08/28/2004 18:47 | Topic / Title:
Thanks for the input guys. Yes, the mechanic retarded the timing. I should have been more clear. I'm going to replace the points and condensor with a pertronix. I went to buy one tonight, but they don't have them at Kragens. Where is a good place to buy one? And do they have specific units for different engines, or would a pertronix from a v-8 work in a flat-four? From reading a website, it sounds like my symptoms point to a vacuum leak. I bought a can of starting fluid, and I'll check that tomorrow. You're completely right about finding a car club. I live in Redding, and I know of a good mechanic there and a car club. But unfortunately I go to school in the Napa Valley area, and I'm working down here for the summer. If anybody's from this area, it'd be cool to get info about any car clubs. Thanks again for your help.
Date: 12/03/2004 16:44 | Topic / Title:
hey champ let me try,

As far as I see it, that car just needs good tune up. What you need to ask is who put the engine together? 1915 is very nice engine when it is tuned good. Pleant of power, with right setup you can pull up to 200hp!

009 has a small problem with "dead spot" ( backfire problems) , so you need somebody who really knows what he does. Carbs for thet engine are never too big, I know some people who are running 48 IDF's on that engine. Even if that guy says that it is too big, you can rejet carbs to smaler venturas and the problem is solved. Check the "air leak" on carbs manifold, happends all the time..

Probably you have "wrong" camshaf for your style of driving. The result of this camshaft is that you have leak of power on low rpm's and good power on high rpm. This shaft will probably result higher speed... If you come to the point to change the cam, go for Engle 110, best street all range cam.

You have a good exhaust, you need big exhaust, what comes thrue those big carbs has to go out. You can just gain HP in that exaust..

Pertronix is good, I have it my self, once you put it in you can forget abou your timming and points but in your case I woud buy compleat Malory or somthing like that...

Anywayz, first contact the guy and ask him, what carbs do you have, what cam, what crank, what heads etc... it will make things easier to understand

take care