Sam and Nate get the distributor and carburetor adjusted and the engine running properly on this 1972 Baja Bug


JBugs Video Blog, VW Lifestyle, VW Tech Tips

Follow along as Sam and Nate get the distributor and carburetor tuned on this 1972 VW Baja Bug.

Now that Sam and Nate have their engine back together they bolt it up to the transmission of the Baja Bug. Sam installs a temporary wiring harness so he can start the engine up and ensure everything is working as it should. Once the distributor and carburetor are both adjusted and the engine is running properly, Sam and Nate jack the car up and set it on stands so they can test the transmission, before it is removed to make way for a stronger Bus transmission and larger rear suspension!

Video Transcript

We have light and started.

Hi, I'm Sam from, and I'm Nate. We've got this engine in and running. It's not that big of a deal; it's an engine. You slide it in. I think we've only got one bolt holding it in place, the D-bolt, which is also holding the starter in place. It's not like I need to do an install video at this point because we just slid it in. We put it in.

A cool thing, if you want to call it cool, is my little test harness, bench running engine wiring diagram piece thingy thing that I made up.

So, yeah, so on starter, the alternator, oil light, and then yeah, it just runs to the power from the starter, and then it goes all the way up to the alternator of course, and then the green wire is just the green is alternator power from the starter positive cable power to our switches, power to our coil, oil pressure switch, lighting, and anyway, everything comes up to that. Yeah, and then you want to go grab the jump box, just round it out straight to the starter bolt, power to our threaded bolt on here.

Oh, there we go. Okay, we have light. Now we got light and starter. Let's hit our throttle to open our choke. I already did that, and all right.

This engine hasn't started in probably a week and a half, and it started right on. Yeah, we'll let it warm up for a little bit.

Let me do this because I can't really see that. Mark, uh, take off the exhaust real quick. I'm just going to turn it over, and I'm about to put a paint pen mark on it or a sharp mark. That's bottom dead center. All right, there's my timing mark. Okay.

I've got a big crimping mark in my pulley so I can see top dead center because I really can't see it coming across the face. So, and let me get this as well, little mark so I can actually see where the top dead center's at.

Oh, I'm making around 10°. See where we're at. 10.

That's 10° top dead center. Yeah, the idle's too low, but.

There we go. So it's a little hard to talk and for you guys to hear me, but what I ended up doing was going through, and I had to add more fuel to the carburetor, uh, in conjunction with setting our initial timing at about 12° advance. So right now, if we can see, we're idling about 1,000 RPM, and our timing is at 12° initial timing. Uh, I'm going to set maxed timing at... I don't know what this car is doing over here. I wish Nathan was over here, but he's being a kid playing. So, it's his car. He should be learning this stuff, but oh well. I want to get our timing set so that max timing or max advance is at 33° with the distributor fully advanced. Vacuum line is not hooked up to the carburetor. Once I get the timing dialed in, then I'll go through, and I'll start setting the high idle and low idle on the car, on the carburetor, and then, uh, should be tuned relatively well on this thing. Even though this thing, again, it started right up. This engine's been sitting in the car for about 2 weeks, if not longer, and I don't think I've seen a single drip of oil one out of it, so that's pretty good. Anyway, I'm going to do some work.

Got the carburetor idle set down to about 850 now. Now I'm going to check my timing. Go 33°. Now I'm going to look for my timing mark. And now it's spot on. Perfect. I don't know that I can... basically 11° initial timing, and if I can, that timing is set perfectly at basically 12°. So I'm going to lock the distributor in, and then we can go through and adjust our carburetor.

Now the distributor can't turn, coming locked in. Now for tuning purposes, that's a really low idle. Touch more. Now come into a small screw.

So what I did on the big screw, I went through on the big screw and I adjusted the idle to 850 RPM or thereabouts. Once I had the big screw set and the car was idling at 850 RPM, I went down to the small screw and adjusted that to the highest smooth idle, which right now is at 1250 RPM. Now that I've got the idle set to the max high RPM on the small screw, I'm going to go through and turn the big screw back down to a smooth idle of 850 RPM.

Turn it in for about 850 RPM. Timing is set, carburetor is tuned, and it actually sounds really really good. The biggest test, of course, is how does she start after the fact. We go. All right, Nathan, we got to put this thing in gear and see if the transmission works. I got a jack right here, kill it, yeah sure just in case. So what we did, once the timing was set, 12° initial timing is normally what these SVDA like, and maxed out, we got 33° and we got that set. Then we went through and we adjusted the big screw so that we had about 850 RPM on our idle, and we go to our small screw and we find that point where either in or out we get the highest idle off of the carburetor. Once we had that about 1250 RPM, then we go back to our big screw and we turn it in until we get back to our 850 RPM idle, and now this thing is tuned.

And now that it is tuned, we're going to jack up the car, put it on jack stands, and before I pull out this transmission, I want to make sure this transmission works so that I know what I can do with it. If it's working, I can sell it as a working transmission. If it's not, I can sell it as a not working transmission. But anyway, we're going to get jacked up and make sure the transmission works.

Star her up, well neutral works. Before you patter, all right dude, they have no brakes so I can't stop it. Hop in, put it in first, In gear, is it in gear?


Hold on, yeah put it second. That's reverse, reverse works. That's second, yeah it might be to lock out place out of place. Put it in third, third gear works. Put it in fourth. No brakes and we got things rubbing but yeah. Put it neutral, work all right.

With that, I got the carburetor tuned up, once the timing was set again, the SVDA distributors, they like about 12° initial timing, and they'll max out to about 33°, that's kind of what I found with them. So I've got that distributor timing is set, went back, set the carburetor, car starts right up, jacked the car up, made sure that first, second, third, fourth, and reverse all work in preparation for a 002 bus transmission.

Uh, 3x3 arms, much bigger rear suspension, basically, uh, we're going to put in some 28 mm torsion bars because we have that longer and a heavier trailing arm, we're going to need bigger springs, basically the torsion spring. We're still going to run torsions, we're not going to get coilovers, uh, I'm not going to cut a hole in the body yet for a rear shock. I'm going to reposition this shock and probably build a subframe, uh, that mounts underneath the body to mount the shocks to, as opposed to cutting into the body.

I mean, I still want an enclosed cab, yeah, we want to have a nice interior so that's going to be waterproof.

We're going to keep it closed down on the inside, so we've got a lot of work to do. Now that we've got a running engine, it's good to go, but I might pull Nathan off at this and actually have him build his first full engine, full engine, and basically do all the stuff on the top end after we put together a bottom end, and I'm going to have him build his first short block, at which point maybe he'll want to keep that short block, and then we'll pull this off and we'll put it back in the sand rail like the original plan was. I don't know, we'll see how it goes.

I mean, overall, we have three engines here. We have three engines. I need one for the sand rail, I need one stock engine for you to learn how to drive on in this, and then we one engine that we can build into a bigger engine later once you know how to drive. Yeah, like a 2180 or bigger, you know, who knows, whatever. Maybe we'll throw a hair dryer on it and turbocharge it and have fun. Who knows, maybe I'll throw a turbo on the sand rail and really get crazy. But on that note, life's full of good people. If you can’t find one, be one. Later guys.

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