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So what was wrong with these points?


vtfireman85

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My MIL has this Karmann Ghia, my wife drives it one or two days a year to keep her happy, otherwise I store it and siphon the gas out a couple times a year and run it in my lawnmower (to keep the tank full and the gas fresh). It is in front of a parts lawn tractor i have in the barn, needed to get it out today, it ran fine when i put it away in November, today not a fart. I messed with it, coil had output when I opened the points manually with a screwdriver, I cleaned the points up with 220 grit But no spark at the plugs. The cap had this nasty arcing but looked clean and new otherwise. I rummaged around in a box of parts looking for a used cap or anything and found a whole Bosch tuneup . Didn't have my feeler gauge set because I didn’t have my utility truck. I tried everything I could and put in all the parts except the points (because I didn’t have gauges) finally in desperation I pulled the perfectly fine looking set out and put in the new set by eyeball. It fired up in half a crank. Miserable POS. 

 

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They sure look like they were coated with a bit of corrosion. Always a piece of sandpaper to both sides. Blow on them and the points usually work again. Dad always eyeballed the points on stuff like that. . 20 thousands is when you can just see through points. Another trick on non firing points is leave key on with points closed. Take a screwdriver and flick them a couple times. Sometimes it burns the coating off.  Don’t get me wrong we set the dwell on vehicles with a meter and checked those sometimes. 99.99 percent of time he was right on. He set timing on those old IH tractors by ear also. 

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If inwere to hazard a guess the whole thing has 2-3 k on it since “frame up” restoration ( I know it has no frame) full engine rebuild from some german guru somewhere. By looks I will say the dist might even be newer than that. I suspect wear and corrosion are not to blame here. 

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1 minute ago, dale560 said:

They sure look like they were coated with a bit of corrosion. Always a piece of sandpaper to both sides. Blow on them and the points usually work again. Dad always eyeballed the points on stuff like that. . 20 thousands is when you can just see through points. Another trick on non firing points is leave key on with points closed. Take a screwdriver and flick them a couple times. Sometimes it burns the coating off.  Don’t get me wrong we set the dwell on vehicles with a meter and checked those sometimes. 99.99 percent of time he was right on. He set timing on those old IH tractors by ear also. 

IH tractors were sophisticated compared to this lawnmower 🤬

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1 hour ago, dale560 said:

They sure look like they were coated with a bit of corrosion. Always a piece of sandpaper to both sides. Blow on them and the points usually work again. Dad always eyeballed the points on stuff like that. . 20 thousands is when you can just see through points. Another trick on non firing points is leave key on with points closed. Take a screwdriver and flick them a couple times. Sometimes it burns the coating off.  Don’t get me wrong we set the dwell on vehicles with a meter and checked those sometimes. 99.99 percent of time he was right on. He set timing on those old IH tractors by ear also. 

I agree they look a little oxidized, i have revived much worse on 6v jeeps and tractors with sandpaper, perhaps i need to get out the jewelers loupe and do an exploratory.

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What's the rotor look like?

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22 minutes ago, Steve C. said:

What's the rotor look like?

New now, but it looked pretty good before.

I have installed stuff that looked much worse than this and had it run just fine. 

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32 minutes ago, 1586 Jeff said:

Is that like a jewler’s loupe?

Similar, more magnification with the extra E and less expensive with the double O, U is the most expensive vowel

 …jackass

 and you spelled “jewler’s” wrong 

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What year giha? I got a bunch of old Volkswagens a 70 pop top bus and a bunch of bugs. Been in to them for years. Cool simple and easy to work on. I got in to them in high school. They use to be cheap to buy but not so much anymore. 

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Best way to test points is to put a test light on the - side of the coil and crank it over. A steady, bright blinking light means they are ok. Anything else and you have a problem. Back in the days of points in small engines, we used a beeper box to set the opening of the points. With that, you could also hear how well the connection was in the contact set. I saw many that looked fine, but would barely produce a tone on the beeper.

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2 hours ago, yellowrosefarm said:

Best way to test points is to put a test light on the - side of the coil and crank it over. A steady, bright blinking light means they are ok. Anything else and you have a problem. Back in the days of points in small engines, we used a beeper box to set the opening of the points. With that, you could also hear how well the connection was in the contact set. I saw many that looked fine, but would barely produce a tone on the beeper.

Thats what threw me off and one of the reasons i was so resistant to changing them. I had a good steady light. 
conceivably my test light doesn’t draw enough power. 

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2 hours ago, 2+2love said:

What year giha? I got a bunch of old Volkswagens a 70 pop top bus and a bunch of bugs. Been in to them for years. Cool simple and easy to work on. I got in to them in high school. They use to be cheap to buy but not so much anymore. 

72’, if it was a Beetle or a bus I might be able to get excited about it, but i really detest it. It’s always in the way, at 6’2 i have to fold up like a jack knife to get in or out, the seat doesn’t line up with the door and once your in, the performance is more lackluster than a golf cart . Its my MIL’s baby and she really can’t drive it anymore so we keep it around to humor her. 

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1 hour ago, vtfireman85 said:

Thats what threw me off and one of the reasons i was so resistant to changing them. I had a good steady light. 
conceivably my test light doesn’t draw enough power. 

I've only ever used a filament style test light so if it's other than that, I don't know how it would respond.  And, I'm assuming that by "good steady light", you meant good steady blinking light. No blink, no spark, which I'm sure you already know.

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1 hour ago, vtfireman85 said:

72’, if it was a Beetle or a bus I might be able to get excited about it, but i really detest it. It’s always in the way, at 6’2 i have to fold up like a jack knife to get in or out, the seat doesn’t line up with the door and once your in, the performance is more lackluster than a golf cart . Its my MIL’s baby and she really can’t drive it anymore so we keep it around to humor her. 

I knew an acoustic Bass player when I was in college that drove a convertible Karmann Ghia. He had to put the top down to put the Bass in.

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2 minutes ago, yellowrosefarm said:

I've only ever used a filament style test light so if it's other than that, I don't know how it would respond.  And, I'm assuming that by "good steady light", you meant good steady blinking light. No blink, no spark, which I'm sure you already know.

I was only able to turn the engine by hand to test, so i was having difficulty there, it was coming and going somewhat, but again, without someone to crank i was having to make do and probably that alone was causing issues.

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Awh, some version of the 40 HP VW, I lived with a 1964 from 1971 to 1978, Came with my wife in marriage. She go it for HS graduation in 64. 

Lights never worked, clutch cable broke, remember to keep your emergency brake cable adjusted so you can stop.  Be careful of the center main bearing if you attempt to overhaul the engine.  Only car I ever owned that stranded me multiple times while I owned it. If you are lucky enough to own one of these you will either get good at repairs or learn to speak with Lars at  German Automotive Repair.

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2 minutes ago, Art From Coleman said:

Could have been worse, at least he wasn't getting "road ****".

Thats how I lost my grand Cherokee. 16 y.o. Kid getting it rear ended my wife (then girlfriend) while she was waiting to turn into a gas station, witnesses saw the girls head pop up at the last minute and the kid trying to get tucked in before he got out. There were several people getting gas… probably checking out the Mrs , so they happened to be looking. 

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That should go fairly decent compared to earlier versions. Should be 60 hp. Mine was 40 hp until it received a larger engine with header exhaust. Not like a modern car of course. Compare distributor access to Chevy v8.  Mine was a  64 convertible. Yours should be 12 volt. We sometimes had 4 adults in it and it also hauled my Miller portable. Top down, insert welder, top up and drive. 

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