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New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue
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hiwesty
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:37 pm    Post subject: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Hi,

Just recently bought into the Westy life. I bought an air cooled 1980 2WD VW Vanagon. It's not FI, and has a centermount weber carb on it. Had a few other issues, which I was prepared for. Found a well rated VW mechanic online, and found out once I got it to him, it had those few issues, and needed a new long block as well. Ended up having that replaced, new CV joints, rack and pinion and new wheel bearings. He fixed everything he could see. Drove it home just fine, and 2 days later it was cranking poorly. Took it back to him and he found that the choke in the carburetor was stuck. He put the carb back together and told me it would be fine to drive so long as I didn't mind giving it a few revs and letting it warm up a minute or two.

Picking it up again, and driving it a mile down the road, the thing cut off on me going from neutral to first after I had stopped. Did so 3 more times. Once i got it running again, any time after I shifted, released the clutch and hit the gas, the thing shook horribly, lunged, and either continued or cut off again. This was the case going from neutral to first, and first to second. My house was 1 mile away, and I finally made it home. Let me also say once i got it well into second it drove fine.

I called another mechanic, (one who works on VWs only), ran the symptoms by him and he said it sounds like the carburetor being poorly timed. Anyone have any helpful thoughts on that? Also, could driving on that for a mile ruin the engine? I didn't see any leaks, but I did smell a faint burnt smell. Not strong at all.

I'm well aware from recent research that this carb setup is not optimal, but i'm already in and dont have much of a choice for something else at this moment.

Let me know if any additional information is needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:50 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Can you get a picture of the carberator and top of engine , those carbs are tough to get to work right on that engine. You might try to search on that setup.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:51 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

hiwesty wrote:
Hi,

Just recently bought into the Westy life. I bought an air cooled 1980 2WD VW Vanagon. It's not FI, and has a centermount weber carb on it. Had a few other issues, which I was prepared for. Found a well rated VW mechanic online, and found out once I got it to him, it had those few issues, and needed a new long block as well. Ended up having that replaced, new CV joints, rack and pinion and new wheel bearings. He fixed everything he could see. Drove it home just fine, and 2 days later it was cranking poorly. Took it back to him and he found that the choke in the carburetor was stuck. He put the carb back together and told me it would be fine to drive so long as I didn't mind giving it a few revs and letting it warm up a minute or two.

Picking it up again, and driving it a mile down the road, the thing cut off on me going from neutral to first after I had stopped. Did so 3 more times. Once i got it running again, any time after I shifted, released the clutch and hit the gas, the thing shook horribly, lunged, and either continued or cut off again. This was the case going from neutral to first, and first to second. My house was 1 mile away, and I finally made it home. Let me also say once i got it well into second it drove fine.

I called another mechanic, (one who works on VWs only), ran the symptoms by him and he said it sounds like the carburetor being poorly timed. Anyone have any helpful thoughts on that? Also, could driving on that for a mile ruin the engine? I didn't see any leaks, but I did smell a faint burnt smell. Not strong at all.

I'm well aware from recent research that this carb setup is not optimal, but i'm already in and dont have much of a choice for something else at this moment.

Let me know if any additional information is needed.


If this is a single carb (likely 2 barrel, progressive secondary) then there is no "carburetor timing". For dual carbs, they do need synchronized from a throttle operation perspective, but timing, no. You should check the ignition timing, but if that's not correct after the work you've had done, your mechanic is very suspect.

Sounds to me like a serious vacuum leak. I'd check all of the vacuum lines to make sure you don't have a line off, or broken somewhere. Also check the carb base gasket. Grab a can of starting fluid and when it's stumbling at idle gradually spray fluid in the carb throat (primary throat if it is a progressive 2-barrel). If you can get it to smooth out using the starting fluid, and there are no external vacuum leaks, then likely you'll need to go through the carb with a rebuild kit, or a new/rebuilt replacement if you've not built carbs before.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:52 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

A carb doesn’t get timed , so either you got lost in translation or you’ve found two bad mechanics.

It sounds like mechanic one disconnected your choke and the idle is not set correctly.

There is no magic which will make a center mount run well, they suck.

You need to work a tuneup of ignition and fuel side , and you need to learn to go this yourself.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


My terminology may be off. He said it could be the carb. I wasn't clear with him what type of carb I have I don't think
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:59 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

OMG are you in for some fun! Not in a good way.

First things is to overhaul the carb with new fuel safe parts. Or get a new setup for today’s fuel with Ethanol (corn alcohol.)

Check fuel pressure and you may need a fuel safe pump too.

Next make sure the distributor is doing what it should. Advance and retard as it should.

Also be sure no intake leaks.

I trust it has a cam meant for a carb.

A basic tune up is what a good mechanic will do and not just send you down the road with out testing that it drives right!!!

Remember even when running right with fuel injection that van only had a whopping 68 hp and now likely less. It will not go fast.

Further the well versed VW specialist will be doubly sure all the engine cooling stuff is in place and sealed correctly.

Air cooled vans can be quite challenging these days. I know 15-20 years ago we were scrounging around to get the right prices to make an AC van run safely reliably. It is worse today since parts just are not readily available. It takes a die hard to keep one on the road today.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
A carb doesn’t get timed , so either you got lost in translation or you’ve found two bad mechanics.

It sounds like mechanic one disconnected your choke and the idle is not set correctly.

There is no magic which will make a center mount run well, they suck.

You need to work a tuneup of ignition and fuel side , and you need to learn to go this yourself.


Agreed, but for stock motors I've had better luck with progressive 2-barrels than dual Solexes or Delortos. But they can be made to run decent although throttle response sucks. Emissions are a killer if you have it in your state as well.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:04 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

The first mechanic said the choke on the carb was sticking, but he said it would be fine to drive. I'm ok with getting a new carb. What i'm really concerned about is if any of that sounds like it could have done serious damage to the engine.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:13 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Sadly, you've got a "one off" there...... not many have encountered such a setup.

It will be touch and go and experiment.

Dave
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:16 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Yeah, i'm way in over my head. Depending on what the first is going to do, i'll just take it to the second mechanic. They sound much better versed in all of this. I appreciate everyone's input so far. Jesus this is nauseating.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:17 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

hiwesty wrote:
The first mechanic said the choke on the carb was sticking, but he said it would be fine to drive. I'm ok with getting a new carb. What i'm really concerned about is if any of that sounds like it could have done serious damage to the engine.


I doubt any damage has been done yet. But you don't want to run long at all with either a very lean (vacuum leak, lack of fuel supply) or rich (stuck choke) condition. Both can cause serious damage.

I would also check your thermostat when you get a chance (closes air exhaust flaps from the shroud around the cylinders). It's not your problem, but just a common failure point for people that aren't familiar with assembling AC motors, so once the running issue is solved, I'd make sure you check it before it gets hot again. Here in the desert, they die quickly if the flaps are stuck shut Cool
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

hiwesty wrote:
Yeah, i'm way in over my head. Depending on what the first is going to do, i'll just take it to the second mechanic. They sound much better versed in all of this. I appreciate everyone's input so far. Jesus this is nauseating.


What you need is to find an old crusty dude that grew up with carbs and knows how to rebuild, jet properly and adjust them. But they/we're getting rare... Confused

Just recognize though that unless it's an imported van that was originally carbureted (yours is not stock though) the engine is designed for fuel injection, and will never run "right" on a carb setup. They can run OK though. Parts and experience though are hard to find for them.

Good luck!
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:40 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

You didn't damage the engine so don't worry about that. Those progressive Webers are good on a Toyota but not so great on these engines because of the long runners on the intake. The fuel stops being vapor by the time it hits your engine so they love to run rich. I drove all down the Oregon/California coast with one without troubles, but it wouldn't pass emissions... I loved carbs but eventually bought a used fuel injection system off the classifieds. You may want to do the same or out a mini/mega squirt setup on.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:57 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

I am going to guess that you experienced carburetor icing. Without an air preheat stove or a heat riser the carb is going to run icy cold, and in a place like Florida which is known for its high humidity this is going to disrupt the air flow through the primary venturi and across the throttle plate. What you need to do is shut the engine down for a couple of minutes when the symptoms show themselves so heat from the engine can melt the ice.

Adding some kind of system to get hot air to the carb inlet will help. This is the setup I ran for years. It took air off the right heat exchanger and fed it to the air cleaner. I later got all the parts to use the air preheat stove setup VW used on the '72-74 models, it gave a faster warmup still.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You can find all kinds of variations of an air preheat stove to use with a progressive on the Bay Window Forum.


.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 6:58 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

chompy wrote:
You didn't damage the engine so don't worry about that. Those progressive Webers are good on a Toyota but not so great on these engines because of the long runners on the intake. The fuel stops being vapor by the time it hits your engine so they love to run rich. I drove all down the Oregon/California coast with one without troubles, but it wouldn't pass emissions... I loved carbs but eventually bought a used fuel injection system off the classifieds. You may want to do the same or out a mini/mega squirt setup on.


Thank you. That helps a ton. So i read the notes the mechanic left. "Engine idles, but sputters when throttled out of idle. carburetor needs to be replaced" This is essentially what was happening, but the problem got progressively worse. When I spoke with the owner yesterday, he said if i revved the engine a few times and gave it a few minutes it would be fine. This was to address the alternator light coming on and persisting.

The problem here was the handoff. His office assistant only read me a portion of the assessment and failed to disclose the part I quoted. That was new to me. I do share some of the blame for not reading the paperwork I was given, but I was just excited to get my van back.

Do you mind if i ask what the technical term for mini/mega squirt system is? I've looked around for FI parts but can't find any. Thanks.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:54 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

hiwesty wrote:
chompy wrote:
You didn't damage the engine so don't worry about that. Those progressive Webers are good on a Toyota but not so great on these engines because of the long runners on the intake. The fuel stops being vapor by the time it hits your engine so they love to run rich. I drove all down the Oregon/California coast with one without troubles, but it wouldn't pass emissions... I loved carbs but eventually bought a used fuel injection system off the classifieds. You may want to do the same or out a mini/mega squirt setup on.


Thank you. That helps a ton. So i read the notes the mechanic left. "Engine idles, but sputters when throttled out of idle. carburetor needs to be replaced" This is essentially what was happening, but the problem got progressively worse. When I spoke with the owner yesterday, he said if i revved the engine a few times and gave it a few minutes it would be fine. This was to address the alternator light coming on and persisting.

The problem here was the handoff. His office assistant only read me a portion of the assessment and failed to disclose the part I quoted. That was new to me. I do share some of the blame for not reading the paperwork I was given, but I was just excited to get my van back.

Do you mind if i ask what the technical term for mini/mega squirt system is? I've looked around for FI parts but can't find any. Thanks.


Mega squirt is a standalone fuel injection system - i.e. and add-on system. They can be tuned to be very good, but you'll still be in a one-off situation since they are not that common, and you won't find mechanics out "on the road" that can deal with it. Looking for a FI system from a wreck or rust bucket may be your best long term solution. But, if it's something you want to learn about, and implement, you'll have all brand new parts for a relatively reasonable price, and you'll know how to troubleshoot if needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 7:57 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
I am going to guess that you experienced carburetor icing.


In Florida??
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:18 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

khughes wrote:
Wildthings wrote:
I am going to guess that you experienced carburetor icing.


In Florida??


Yep. Panhandle can dip into the 30s, perfect for carb icing
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:22 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Abscate wrote:
khughes wrote:
Wildthings wrote:
I am going to guess that you experienced carburetor icing.


In Florida??


Yep. Panhandle can dip into the 30s, perfect for carb icing


That's not Florida, that's Dixie Not talking
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PostPosted: Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:29 pm    Post subject: Re: New Westy owner here. Carburetor issue Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
I am going to guess that you experienced carburetor icing. Without an air preheat stove or a heat riser the carb is going to run icy cold, and in a place like Florida which is known for its high humidity this is going to disrupt the air flow through the primary venturi and across the throttle plate. What you need to do is shut the engine down for a couple of minutes when the symptoms show themselves so heat from the engine can melt the ice.

Adding some kind of system to get hot air to the carb inlet will help. This is the setup I ran for years. It took air off the right heat exchanger and fed it to the air cleaner. I later got all the parts to use the air preheat stove setup VW used on the '72-74 models, it gave a faster warmup still.

Image may have been reduced in size. Click image to view fullscreen.


You can find all kinds of variations of an air preheat stove to use with a progressive on the Bay Window Forum.


.


I peaked in the Bay Window Forums and found a lot about my problem. Same symptoms to a T. I spoke with a new mechanic on the phone and he's very familiar with air cooled engines, as well as the heat problem with these engines combined with a single carb. He told me he could set me up. He said he's done hundreds over the years (due to the lack of available FI parts) with this type of setup and said i'd be riding just fine after.

I'm going to check out the classifieds in the meantime and see if i can find fuel injector parts, but if not, i'm going to give this a shot.
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