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67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ???
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fifthcenturycheese Premium Member
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:43 pm    Post subject: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

I own a 67 beetle with a mystery stamped rebuild case and I am assuming it is a sp 1600. The case is the type that has the little horizontal rib lines on the right side around from where the serial number should have been stamped. It has a noisy idle that almost sounds like a diesel, but has great horse power and pulls nicely, climbs grades easy on freeway???? Just drove it today from L.A. for 3 hours and had no problems. Running premium fuel as well. Any ideas on what to look for to quiet things up? Thank you for your time reading this, Mike.
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:51 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Top things that come to mind would be the valves need adjusting, or the exhaust is leaking.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 12:16 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Thanks Mukluk, will check those things. Hoping it is exhaust issue.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 1:01 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Not sure why you'd hope it's the exhaust, valve adjustments are part of necessary periodic maintenance on the car and rather easy to perform... I know I would personally prefer to find a few valves showing the lash a little on the loose side and adjust them back into spec than to have to mess with replacing exhaust seals, leaking heater boxes, or a muffler.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:03 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Why not bring it to a shop and have someone take a look at it?

Or just keep driving it like you stole it, then when something finally breaks you will know exactly the problem. Rolling Eyes
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:48 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

You need to have someone with VW engine knowledge look at the engine. They can tell you what's what and check the valve adjustments. They could also see if this engine has chromoly pushrods vs. aluminum. Chromoly pushrods are steel and are usually louder than aluminum. They also adjust to lose zero vs. .006 which some people mix up. If you adjust chromoly pushrods to 006, the valve train is loud and clattery when the engine reaches temperature.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 7:57 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

exhaust leak can be found often by the black staining near the leak, you can also feel the escaping gasses if you can get you hand near the leak.

A magnet test can be done on the pushrods to determine if steel or aluminium. The different thermal expansion charectoristics between aluminium and steel rods is the reason the two types require different valve lash settings.

Good luck, now keep it quiet, Im trying to sleep!,!! Wink
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 5:53 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

One other thing I noticed about the clattering is that it goes away when I accelerate and returns as I let off the gas. Clatters at idle speed...engine was rebuilt 2000 miles ago. Going to check valves tomorrow, then I guess it's shop time....
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 09, 2017 9:02 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Check the valves. You know how to find TDC and do the valve adjustment?
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

check valve lash and look for broken things around there, also post a picture of your rocker arms, you might have solid shafts badly shimmed for example
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:25 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

fifthcenturycheese wrote:
One other thing I noticed about the clattering is that it goes away when I accelerate and returns as I let off the gas. Clatters at idle speed...engine was rebuilt 2000 miles ago. Going to check valves tomorrow, then I guess it's shop time....


checking valve adjustment is usually done ever few thousand miles as part of regular maintenence. however afetr a rebuild, it should be rechecked sooner as parts settle in. Note the instructions in the service manual, the gaps specified are for a COLD engine, dont use that specification if engine is warmed up, else it will be wrong. also a closed end wrench is prefered to the adjsuter lock nut, open end wrenches tend to chew up that nut.


also you may wish to replace the cover gasket eaxh time with new gasket, this will minimize the chance of a cover leak. gluse the gasket to the cover so that it cant slip over time and cause a leak do NOT use glue on the head, only on the cover side of the gasket.

good luck
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:00 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Valves adjusted cold to .006, checked for exhaust leaks, found none but did find heater box leak. Case is a AS-21 from Mexico. After valve adjustment, car seemed to have just a bit more hp and has no problem with getting with the program. I figure if it were some internal issue, it would have blown apart on the 3 hour drive home two days ago. Car starts great, idles great, has great torque, just noisy. Noisy at lower rpm's, goes away after 2200 to 2500 or when on the fwy. Seems the noise returns when I let off the gas. When I turn off the ignition, I can hear the diesel like noise slow down and come to a firm stop.

Thanks, Mike
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 10, 2017 9:06 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Mike post a video of the engine running so we can hear it. Lots of experienced VW engine ears on this site. Wink
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:22 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Without hearing it, could be piston slap.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:03 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

fifthcenturycheese wrote:
Valves adjusted cold to .006, checked for exhaust leaks, found none but did find heater box leak. Case is a AS-21 from Mexico. After valve adjustment, car seemed to have just a bit more hp and has no problem with getting with the program. I figure if it were some internal issue, it would have blown apart on the 3 hour drive home two days ago. Car starts great, idles great, has great torque, just noisy. Noisy at lower rpm's, goes away after 2200 to 2500 or when on the fwy. Seems the noise returns when I let off the gas. When I turn off the ignition, I can hear the diesel like noise slow down and come to a firm stop.

Thanks, Mike


What where the valve lash readings prior to adjustment?
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:22 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

fifthcenturycheese wrote:
checked for exhaust leaks, found none but did find heater box leak.


Where? Sounds like an exhaust leak to me. And those leaks can sound very mechanical under some conditions.

Between the 'hand test" and the "hose in the ear stethoscope test" you should be able to locate the leak, then remedy as needed.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:32 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

I would figure out what is wrong with it before I kept driving it. Could be something minor or could be something serious.

It could be a loose or poorly sealing head. Generally they will run worse but if it is very minor it might still run fine but be really noisy. If it is a mexican case it should have the 8mm head studs with the case inserts so a stud probably hasn't pulled out of the case but it could be a loose head nut. Some of the aftermarket 8mm studs were pretty iffy quality and could stretch compared to factory studs.
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PostPosted: Wed Oct 11, 2017 9:33 pm    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

Valve lash readings prior to adjustment varied towards the tighter side. Any where from loose zero to .004 with the biggest being .006. All were readjusted to .006 . Changing exhaust system tomorrow, the baseline begins! Will try to post a video asap, depending on that pesky working for a living business! I appreciate the input from everyone so far, Mike.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 4:51 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

I would do a compression test before replacing the exhaust. It won't cost anything and might save you performing a lot of unnecessary work.
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 12, 2017 7:41 am    Post subject: Re: 67, assumed 1600 sp noisy like diesel even at idle, great hp ??? Reply with quote

oil leeks? pulley moving back&forth, busted piston..tight piston pin(probably),valve train noise....should not really go away with axcellor8tion.loose fan...loose belt dead/dying hamster, rubber band needing replacement. smoke trying to get out.
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