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Cars > BillG’s Garage > Blog


BillG’s Profile Photo


M –69
Houston, Texas
United States


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Back on the road!

By BillG

Found a new mechanic who actually knows VW engines (and drives a '63 Beetle himself). He discovered that the electric fuel pump I'd had installed was mounted wrong, was wired incorrectly, and wasn't the right pump for my engine in any case. He swapped it out for a stock pump, cleaned up the wiring (including a loose one that was the reason my tach wasn't working) and a pinched hose leading to the fuel filter, adjusted the choke slightly, and replaced the master brake cylinder. It's amazing how much better it stops now that the rear brakes are functional! The engine is running better than ever. Tomorrow I'll get it inspected, and then -- weather permitting -- I'll be cruising again.

Almost stranded

By BillG

I seem to have developed an intermittent starting problem. Ran a few errands the other day, and stopped for a bite to eat. When I climbed back in the Lafer to head home, turning the key gave me only two red lights on the dash and a whirring noise. The motor wouldn't catch or turn over. After several more tries failed, I was about to call Hagerty for a jump or a flatbed tow when I decided to give it one last chance. To my relief (and utter surprise) it cranked right up, and the engine ran smoothly all the way home.

The next day, however, it did the same thing in my garage. I put it on a trickle charger for a couple hours and it's been starting OK since. Have to wonder if the trouble may be in my distributor, although it's less than a year old and appears fine.

Bad vibrations

By BillG

I was getting a bad front-end vibration between 40-43 mph, regardless of whether the road was smooth or bumpy. Below that and above it -- no problem.

A quick stop at my nearby NTB confirmed my suspicion that one front wheel was out of balance. It also turned out to have a leaky valve stem. Both fixes were under warranty, so half an hour or so later I was on the road and driving happy. Got the Lafer on the freeway and up to 65 mph with no vibration at all.

What a great feeling!

Back on the road!

By BillG

The fuel pump problem is fixed (loose clamp), and the rear wheel cylinders have been replaced, so I'm finally able to fire up the MP and cruise.

This all happened a couple weeks ago, actually, but I've been having so much fun that updating the blog just slipped my mind.

Looking around now for a good local upholstery shop, to get a bid on replacing my top and repairing a rip in the driver's seat. Painting the wheels and windscreen frame will have to wait for warmer weather.

No juice

By BillG

The new electric fuel pump has been in for a week now, but there's still no joy in my garage. Either my battery is stone dead, or the wiring has gotten crossed somewhere. At any rate, Percy continues to sit idle. My wife and I both had some minor medical issues to deal with last week, and the weekend was filled with decorating the house for Christmas, attending our church choir's annual holiday concert, and going to a family wedding celebration.

The current plan is to get the Lafer flatbed towed to my mechanic's garage. If they can diagnose and fix the problem and get me rolling again, fine. If not, I'll have it taken to another shop near the house that comes highly recommended.

Frustrating. And all the more so because we're having another run of gorgeous sunny weather, with daytime highs in the mid-60s. Perfect for cruising, if only . . .

Still in the garage

By BillG

The mechanic finally got back and finished installing the new electric fuel pump. Unfortunately, by the time he was done I didn't seem to have any juice left in the battery.

Put a trickle charger on it for most of the day, but nothing seems to be happening. I think my next move will be to call a different garage, about a mile away, and have it towed in for a look. I've been told by several VW drivers that this place does solid work on old Bugs, which is essentially what my Lafer MP is under that black fiberglass body.

Ah well. Thanksgiving Day is supposed to be rainy anyway.

Wasting sunshine

By BillG

It's been so long since I've been able to drive my little MP that I've nearly forgotten the shift pattern.

With our daughters grown, my wife and I downsized this summer, moving from a big four-bedroom two-story in northwest Houston to a one-story three-bedroom a bit farther out toward Tomball. Smaller place, smaller yard, bigger garage (yes!). But getting the new (35-year-old) house in order left little time for my Brazilian beauty. When I finally did take a break and tried to crank it up, my new engine would turn over but wouldn't catch. Still had the original mechanical fuel pump, which had given up the ghost. Found an electric one that my mechanic volunteered to install at the house, rather than having it flatbed towed to the shop. He's got it bolted on, but didn't have a soldering iron with him to finish the wiring connection. So there it sits, under cover, while Houston's annual three-week "fall" nears its end. Any day now it'll get chilly and rainy.

All I can say is, "Rats."

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