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Road side fix.....
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Samba Member

Joined: June 07, 2010
Posts: 154
Location: Wisconsin
supercub is offline 

PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: Road side fix..... Reply with quote

Earlier this summer, about mid July, I was returning home from Iowa in my '66 Beetle after a day of hiking in the bluffs along the Mississipi River. I am just coming into Madison, WI on US-18, a major route into and out of the city. It's about 5:00PM, peak rush hour, and inevitably traffic suddenly grinds to a halt. I slow down and as I am pushing in the clutch to downshift at about 30mph, the engine dies. Fortunately I am in the left lane so I use the remaining momentum to squeeze onto the narrow shoulder up against the guard rail, so close that I had to exit through the passenger door. I opened the hood and looked around, but nothing seems amiss. I had condenser troubles only about a month before, so naturally I suspect the distributor is the culprit. I get out my little tool kit and pull the distributor out while my mind occupies itself with various gruesome scenarios of being hit by inattentive drivers. Distributor and tools in hand, I hop over the guardrail to ease my mind and get down to the business of trying to work on a distributor that has been roasting at highway speed in the summer heat for the past 100 miles. I fumble with the hot screws and nuts holding the condenser and points to the distributor body. The points are all pitted and burned so I figure the condenser is likely fried. I jumped back over the railing and dug through my "good used" tuneup parts stash under the rear seat. I found another condenser and a set of serviceable looking points so I went about reinstalling them. Naturally the screw that holds the condenser to the outside of the distributor slipped through my fingers and fell into the crack between the curb and the grass. I could still see it about 5 inches down there so I got a flathead screwdriver and after a few tries and harsh words succeded in wrangling it out of the hole. I set the point gap, put the distributor back in, and set the static timing. I climbed back in the car through the passenger door and turned the key. To my relief the engine fired right up like it hadn't missed a beat. The VW and I continued to crawl through the remainder of Madison and buzzed the rest of the way home uneventfully. Having grown weary of the points/condenser troubles that have plagued the car as of late, the next day I ordered a Pertronix ignition module and it has been running great for the past couple thousand miles. I still keep a set of points and a condenser in my emergency parts box under the rear seat just in case though.
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Samba Member

Joined: October 04, 2014
Posts: 146
Location: Texas
jinx758 is offline 

PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 7:21 am    Post subject: Re: Road side fix..... Reply with quote

Summer 1986 ...
Drove 27 miles to Padre Island from Corpus in my '73 Super. Had good surf session. Turned key & nothing but spinning crank. Popped rear hood & touched a few things ... had only changed a spark plug on a lawnmower at that time. Guy walks over, pulls distributor cap & notices metal tab on top of rotor had broken off. He tears a strip out of Dr Pepper can from floorboard with dull pocket knife & wrapped it around arm of rotor with rusty pliers. Fired rite up & destroyed itself just as I'm pulling into apt parking lot. Pushed clutch in & killed key. Coasted into parking spot. Rode bus for 6 days till payday from fast food joint I worked at.

Best regards ... jinx
" It's not valuable unless you learn something from an experience. " Henry Ford
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