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1973 bus won't start
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bsavitch
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 12:47 pm    Post subject: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Hi there,

I'm still quite new to working on cars, so if if anything should be obvious, I apologize in advance.

I had to pull my engine to replace a cylinder head, cylinders and pistons. I labeled most of the wires and reinstalled the engine and now it won't start. The battery was fully charged last week. I also installed a new distributor cap and rotor and points and condenser while the engine was out and adjusted the points according to the Bentley service manual. I verified I'm getting power at the voltage regulator and at the coil. There is gas in the tank. I pulled the plug from cylinder 1 to test for a spark by connecting it to an old plug and verified there's a spark. Then I tested the other cylinders and no spark. So I tested cylinder 1 again and no spark. Not sure what's going on and I don't really know where to go from here. Any ideas? Could it be as simple as the spark plug wires? They are new plugs and wires.

Thanks,
Brian
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timvw7476
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 10, 2017 1:55 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Recheck the breaker point gap is still .016".
If you did not disturb the distributor drive or body, there is the possibility you
flooded it while attempting to start, sparkplugs short out when droplets of
fuel lodge in the gap, as though the ignition is non-functioning, usually just
floor the gas pedal & crank, fresh air gets pulled through the cylinders &
eventually it fires up. Or you can wait & let the gasoline evaporate.
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bsavitch
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:27 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

I checked and the breaker point gap is still .016". I typo'd on my last post. I didn't pull the plug, but rather the wire from the plug and used a spare plug, so fuel on the plug shouldn't be an issue, right?

I rechecked the coil and also tested the ignition wire that runs between the coil and the distributor. I'm getting a good spark when I hold the end about a half inch from the fan housing while running the starter. I tested the plug wires at cylinder 1 and cylinder 4 with the spare spark plug and got a good spark as well. Now I'm thinking maybe it's a fuel blockage. Any other things I could be missing?

Thanks for the help.
Brian
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lil-jinx
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 1:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Put about a spoonful of gas into the carb and try starting again.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 4:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

I've had a bad condenser out of the box. Scratched my head for two days (lost some hair) wondering what could possibly be wrong after replacing rotor, points, condenser.
Could be just a bad part.
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timvw7476
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:26 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

nothing wrong with the spoonful of gas idea to see if this is a swapped/
plugged fuel line problem, I was just curious if the distributor body had been
loosened/removed during your major repairs, losing the timing sweet spot.
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bsavitch
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

OK - so I was a little freaked out about adding fuel to the carburetor after reading some horror stories, so I pulled the hose off the carb and ran it into a bucket at about the same level and ran the starter. I got gas! So the thing is, I have gas in there that's about 3 years old. It should still start with gas that old, right?

I definitely pulled the distributor when I pulled the engine (without marking the location, of course). I don't know if I'll get to work on it again before Friday, but I guess I could loosen up the nut and turn the distributor little-by-little and run the starter until I get success. Is that reasonable?

Maybe I'll start replacing parts if that doesn't do it.

Thanks for all your help everyone! I'll post again with the results, positive or negative.
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lil-jinx
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 5:59 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Don't start throwing parts at it,right now you may have just one problem,start swapping parts and you may end up with many problems,
Go up to the tech sticky and learn how to properly set the timing and tune it up,when you get that done and it still don't start then start with fuel trouble shooting.It is not difficult,but it has to be done step by step.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:38 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

bsavitch wrote:
OK - so I was a little freaked out about adding fuel to the carburetor after reading some horror stories, so I pulled the hose off the carb and ran it into a bucket at about the same level and ran the starter. I got gas! So the thing is, I have gas in there that's about 3 years old. It should still start with gas that old, right?

I definitely pulled the distributor when I pulled the engine (without marking the location, of course). I don't know if I'll get to work on it again before Friday, but I guess I could loosen up the nut and turn the distributor little-by-little and run the starter until I get success. Is that reasonable?

Maybe I'll start replacing parts if that doesn't do it.

Thanks for all your help everyone! I'll post again with the results, positive or negative.


Whoa Nellie there - you verified that you have gas coming out of the fuel pump but you do not know if you have gas in the carb. That is why the suggestion to put a spoonful of gas down the carb and try to start.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 6:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

If it's got 3 year old gas in it then the carb/s will probably need to be removed & rebuilt. The small passages in the carbs are probably gummed up with old gas/corrosion. Does your bus have the original dual carbs or a replacement single carb in the center?
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Tcash Premium Member
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:07 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

I have gas in there that's about 3 years old. It should still start with gas that old, right?
No it will not start, Gas is Bad. Drain the tank and put fresh gas in it.

This is for a Type I but will give you the idea how to Static time it to get it started.

Link

Use the Marking for your engine.
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Good luck
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 7:42 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

bsavitch wrote:
I got gas! So the thing is, I have gas in there that's about 3 years old. It should still start with gas that old, right?



No no no no no. That gas is bad. Drain tank, put in fresh gas. Also after sitting that long you will probably have to take the carbs apart, clean out the passages and jets, and reassemble.

Gas goes bad and turns into a nasty varnish over that time frame.
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:06 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Messing around with old gasoline is one of the most unpleasant aspects of
working on a VW bus, three years old is too long, just keep in mind you will
need to pick up some fresh fuel lines as well as fresh gas or you get fire
possibility along with your project.
The good news is you can go nuts with some Vise-Grips & the tank does
gravity drain, the Grips will help pinch the old fuel hose to act as a control
valve, just collect enough containers to dump it and try to have the back-half
of the bus outside of a garage when you do it. Draw the fuel from the pump
entrance.
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Whaanga
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 8:16 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

I had the same issue last summer after pulling my engine in that it would not start after re-install. The issue came when I was setting the endplay - I turned the engine over a couple of times - BUT - I had removed the dizzy so I messed up the timing. With some help from the great folks here, I was able to first time it statically (using a simple light), found TDC and then using a timing light, set it at 28* BTDC @ 3500 RPMS and it's been running very well ever since.

I did not have the same issue with the fuel because when I pulled the engine, I also drained and removed the fuel tank for cleaning. I replaced all the fuel hoses as well as moved the electronic fuel pump and filter out of the engine bay. I also added a mechanical shut off valve before the filter and pump so that when I need to change or service these items, I can simply close the valve and keep gas from running out and making a mess.

SO - in addition to replacing the old fuel, you may have to retime the engine.
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bsavitch
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:17 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

OK, I statically timed it to 10* after TDC. My bus was converted to a single carb by the PO. I was also planning to put some fresh gas in the carb, as suggested above. Sorry if this is a stupid question, but where exactly should I put the gas?

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Thanks again for all the help.

Brian
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lil-jinx
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:28 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

10 degrees ATC is for a stock set up with dual carbs and a dual vacuum canister,DON'T start your engine with the timing set that way'!
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1968 Dune Buggy
1974 parts bus
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 5:44 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

bsavitch wrote:
Sorry if this is a stupid question, but where exactly should I put the gas?


Get yourself a small metal can like a tomato paste can and squish one side down to make a spout. Fill the can with maybe 3-4 ounces of fuel and with the air cleaner removed pour the fuel into the bowl vent. The bowl vent will be a 1/4" diameter tube angling into the top of the barrel/venturi. If you add maybe 5-10% FI/carb cleaner to the gas you are pouring in and then let it sit a while the cleaner may (but maybe not) at least partially dissolve the varnish in the jets.

You will probably spill some gas down the venturi as you do this. Within reason this is okay.

Open to others' recommendations on which FI/carb cleaner to use.

Replace the air cleaner before trying to crank the engine as the air cleaner should contain any flash back.
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bsavitch
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:57 am    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

I can't seem to find any information about what to set the timing to, given my setup. The motor appears to be stock, with the exception of the dual-to-single carb conversion. It appears to be an EMPI two-barrel progressive carb. I feel like I've searched pretty thoroughly on the internet. Any advice?

Thanks,
Brian
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Wildthings
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 12:31 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

The timing for all VW aircooled engines with a mechanical, or mechanical-vacuum distributor is 28 BTDC @3500+ rpms, hoses off and plugged.
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 17, 2017 1:14 pm    Post subject: Re: 1973 bus won't start Reply with quote

Wildthings wrote:
The timing for all VW aircooled engines with a mechanical, or mechanical-vacuum distributor is 28 BTDC @3500+ rpms, hoses off and plugged.


Yes, and if you are looking for a static timing baseline just to get it started, try 7.5 degrees BTDC and then when running time as above and let the idle timing fall where it may.
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